How to Choose Your Travel Gear

via The Huffington Post

Choosing your travel gear is an important step before setting out on any adventure. As obvious as it sounds, many people an unequipped to travel efficiently. Here are a few tips on choosing the right travel gear for you.

Your travel gear should be both lightweight and durable. You will have numerous kinds to choose from, depending on your travel variables. For example, for how long will you be traveling, and will you be able to do laundry? Are you sturdy enough to carry everything in a backpack, or do you need a rolling suitcase?  Before choosing among your existing gear, or shopping for something new, make a list of these variables, as well as the things you are planning to pack. Continue reading

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How to Write on the Go

Travel-Writer
via Audley Travel

As an aspiring novelist and blogger, writing is more than a hobby—it is part of my everyday life. So when I travel, I face the inevitable decision. To laptop or not to laptop? Fortunately, there are solutions to writing on the go without a hefty computer weighing down your luggage. Continue reading

London at a Glance

london-travel-1
via Eupedia

Only have a few days in London? There are so many sights to see that it can be an overwhelming task to take on The Big Smoke. The other day, a lady at church asked me what I would recommend she see if she ever got the chance to visit London, and this was the result: London at a Glance. (the underlined hyperlinks can be viewed while it is in PDF form)

With the help of a few nifty apps, this two page guide can get you around the city by the Thames in just three days. Granted, there is so much more to see than what I have mentioned here, but these are many of the highlights that make London great. I have packed several sightseeing destinations into each day, but of course you can take as much time as you please. Travel is about what you want to see, and it isn’t any good if you aren’t enjoying yourself. Continue reading

How to Pronounce British Place Names (without sounding like a git)

Leicester_Square_tube_station
Lie-ses-ter? NOPE. “Lester.” via Wikimedia Commons.

In addition to learning spelling differences between British and American English, there are some other things that are helpful if you’re a first time pond-hopper. There are some obvious pronunciation differences between these two version of English that most people are already aware of, such as “aluminium” instead of “aluminum,” “herb” with an “h,” or the contrast between emphasizing of syllables like “laboratory” versus “laboratory.” But one of the hardest things to learn is the pronunciation of place names. For example, when I see the name “Holborn” I want to say it more or less the way it is spelled— “hole-born.” But surprise! It is actually said “ho-bun” with a very, very soft “r” in the “bun” bit. The Brits tend to swallow some consonants, and sometimes entire syllables.

You don’t want to sound like a complete idiot while traveling abroad, so it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with some place names. Here’s a little guide from Anglophenia showing you how to properly say some commonly mispronounced place names.

Anglophenia has several other videos constructed to help Americans understand many things that are inherently British. Check our their Youtube channel for more.

Happy travels!

How to Turn a Wish List into a To-Do List

St. Paul’s Cathedral

Around Christmas time last year, I compiled my first England-centric Travel Wish List. I posted the first part of it on my blog, and talked with my friends about the places I wanted to visit. “That would be nice to do…someday,” most of them said. I would nod and smile, but I had a secret. I’d been covertly planning on moving to England since August, and I was determined to make my wish list a reality. My cousin Kendra and I had been trying to figure out how to become expats without having to have a job-sponsored visa, when the answer suddenly became clear—school-sponsored visa!

To make a long story short: a few months after I posted the Travel Wish List, I woke up to an email from City University London. Wiping the sleep from my groggy eyes, I read it once, twice, three times just to make sure I wasn’t imagining things. I had been accepted into their Creative Writing and Publishing program! But the first thing that came to my caffeine-deprived mind was that I would finally be able to turn my wish list into a to-do list. All the places that I had only dreamed of seeing would soon be within my globe-trotting reach.

I have an entire year to visit all the places on this list (and this is only part 1!), so I’ll be keeping track of each location I get to experience first-hand. I plan to take full advantage of this opportunity, and use this year to learn all I can about travel writing as well.

1.) Westminster Abbey

2.) Houses of Parliament (Palace of Westminster)

3.) Trafalgar Square

4.) National Gallery

5.) Buckingham Palace

6.) British Museum

7.) British Library

8.) Abbey Road

9.) Sherlock Holmes Museum

10.) St. Paul’s Cathedral

11.) Tower of London

12.) The Roman Wall

13.) London Eye

14.) Shakespeare’s Globe

15.) Victoria and Albert Museum

16.) Kensington Palace

17.) Hampton Court Palace

18.) WB Studio Tour: The Making of Harry Potter

19.) Harrods

20.) Windsor Castle

21.) Highclere Castle

22.) King’s College Chapel at Cambridge

23.) Roman and Medieval Baths

24.) Bath’s Fashion Museum

25.) Jane Austen Centre

26.) Glastonbury Abbey

27.) Wells Cathedral

28.) Avebury Stone Circle

29.) Stonehenge

30.) Salisbury Cathedral

31.) Wilton House

32.) Corfe Castle

33.) St. Fagan’s National History Museum

34.) The Doctor Who Experience

35.) Chatsworth

If you have visited any of these places and have suggestions or tips, please let me know in the comments. I love hearing other people’s travel stories as much as I love telling my own. You can also check out my travel board on Pinterest to see photos of other places I would love to see.

Cheers!