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Mistakes Every Couple Makes When They Travel Together

Scroll through Instagram and get a load of all the traveling couples: mugging for selfies, star-jumping on piers, and cheers-ing over sickeningly romantic sunsets. If you’ve ever taken a trip with a significant other, you know this is, at best, far more rose-colored than real life on the road with bae, and not just because of the Amaro filter. Truth is, traveling together is hard, and comes with as many pitfalls as it does perks.

These are the mistakes to avoid when you go abroad with a partner, so you can travel the world together and not only live to tell the tale, but do so without bickering too much between sentences.

Sex is usually pretty high up the to-do list on a couples getaway, so make sure you’ve got everything you need to start your trip with a (*ahem*) bang. In many countries, you won’t have as easy access to birth control as you do back home -- and even if you can find a pharmacy, good luck trying to mime out “prophylactic” in the local dialect.

So now you’ve got the kit, but don’t drop trou just anywhere simply because you’re on an exotic vacation. Make sure you’re on top of the local laws, as well as each other -- in some countries, the authorities don’t look kindly on PDA. Get a little too affectionate on a Dubai beach for example, and you might get handcuffed and locked up in jail for the night (and not in the fun way).

A dirty weekend in a tiny hotel room sounds romantic, but it’s actually a pretty intense breakdown of boundaries -- especially for a new couple. For the first time, you’re basically obliged to spend 24 hours a day in each other’s company, and you’re finally going to find out if your partner does, indeed, poop like everyone else.

It’s tempting to book the cheapest room, but it’s worth shelling out for a bigger option just to ease yourself into sharing personal space. Go ahead and book a suite or a room with a balcony so you’ve got somewhere to get some fresh air, when the time comes.

Walking around with your hands in each other’s pockets sure looks cute, but it screams “easy target” to people who make a living out of ripping off tourists. Before you can say “Nah, Nah, Nah thanks, NAH,” you’ll be propositioned for average-at-best caricatures, $20 single roses, and upgrades to fancier cars at the rental place. You might feel awkward like you’re obliged to stump up cash or look like a cheapskate in front of your beau. But that’s how these people want you to feel. The truth is, if your partner is halfway worth holding onto, they’ll be a lot more impressed if you politely tell the scammers to move along, sharpish. And have a conversation ahead of time about how you plan to handle any sudden big-ticket expenses.

There’s nothing quite like a $50,000 hospital bill to sour a romantic trip. If you do get hurt abroad, it’s nice to have a spot of travel insurance, so your partner doesn’t have to play an absolute hero. Juliette Sivertsen, who writes the Snorkels to Snow blog, went exploring ancient burial caves in Fiji with her partner, John. “His first mistake was disturbing the hornets’ nest,” she recalls, “but then he tried to run away, and fell down a cliff, breaking his wrist and smashing the front of his leg on a rock. You could see the bone coming out -- I’ve never heard a grown man howl and scream so loudly in my life.” Juliette’s top tip is “if in pain, get on a plane” -- in their case, New Zealand was the best option.

Extra tip: Before you go, commit to memory all your other half’s vital statistics -- birth date, medications, allergies, blood type, health insurer and so on. And make sure you’ve got a contact number for their family too, in case of hornet nest incidents.

No matter how much you wuv your partner, don’t spend 24 hours in their face -- you’ll get sick of it eventually, probably about 23 hours after your partner does. Jarryd and Alesha, who have been traveling together for nine years under the joint pen name Nomadasaurus, suggest that couples schedule that time apart. “Go for a solo hike, head to the shops on your own, hit up different bars one night,” they say. “Not only will you get a break from each other, you'll also have something new to talk about.”

Sharing is one of the best and worst bits of a relationship. There’s nothing more infuriating than ordering a prime steak and then having your partner ask for half of it in exchange for some of their soggy mushroom frittata. But there are bonuses, too. Don’t stuff two sets of boring essentials (sunscreen, toothpaste, shower gel, etc.) in your already-too-heavy backpacks. Pack together, do a pre-trip shop together, or even agree to share some clothes to cut down on luggage.

By all means, post the heck out of that couples selfie at the Eiffel Tower -- just be conscientious of your partner, who might start feeling like they’re on a trip with your followers instead of you. There’s a vast difference between being an obnoxiously happy couple and just playing one on Instagram. Lest you spend the better half of your trip staring at your screens instead of each other, make an effort to stow your phones and, I don’t know, talk or something.

All you need is love. And passports. And money. But everything else is pretty much non-essential, so don’t throw a hissy fit if you forget to pack your fourth-favorite sweater or leave your sister’s headphones on the plane. Frank and Cathy from Roarloud say “We’ve forgotten loads of stuff on our travels, but there’s always a way to figure it out. In fact, it has become a running gag for us to say, ‘Did we forget anything?’ when we set out on a trip. The answer always is ‘Of course.’” Cue chuckles all around, until it turns out Frank’s forgotten Cathy’s birthday.

Cathy offers their surest rule: “Whenever you go off to do different things, arrange a time and place to meet back up -- and stick to it.” It’s no use having phones if you hit a signal dead zone, and nothing will melt down a trip like it becoming a missed connection. Of course, if your partner is driving you nuts, this is also an excellent way of making sure they’re elsewhere while you scroll through Tinder.

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Travel Tips

The Best Things To Do In Kansas City When Someone Visits

Kansas City sits at the center of an identity crisis. It’s a liberal oasis in the middle of two red states, and the state line divides the city itself between Kansas and Missouri. That’s good news for you though. Each day is a chance to explore cultures, worlds, and time periods the average visitor probably wouldn’t expect from a flyover state. Give yourself a weekend and you’ll be hooked.

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Various locations
You can’t come to Kansas City and not indulge in the primal joy of eating meat right off the bone. This is a BBQ city and your BBQ choices will get you judged. Q39 is the newest contender (39th Street), where you can get whiskey with an ice cube made of meat juice. Gates is an all-time classic (found all over town) and The Peanut (the original is downtown but newer locations abound throughout the city) is a city secret for killer wings, dating back to 1933 when it was a speakeasy. Joe’s, located inside a functioning gas station, was featured in the final season of Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown, so you know it’s worth a stop. And Arthur Bryant’s (also multiple locations) is the move if you’re looking for the most meat for your buck.

Free - $$$
Kansas City has an incredible history steeped in blues and jazz. Around 18th and Vine you’ll find the city’s jazz district, which is also home to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and the American Jazz Museum, which are both excellent. But if you’re ready to get genuinely funky, head to the Blue Room for till-dawn drinking and music, or treat yourself to an equally late-night adventure (365 days a year) at the Green Lady Lounge.

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Various locations
One of the biggest draws of Kansas City is the music scene. In addition to the city’s blues and jazz roots, there’s always killer acts hitting up the city to break up the empty drive between tour stops in St. Louis and Denver. Riot Room, Uptown Theater, Knuckleheads, and Arvest Bank Theater are all fantastic venues that always seem to have a show worth checking out. recordBar is one of KC’s best, just-big-enough venues, where you can catch all your favorite medium sized acts as they travel through town (recordBar also has a flying-under-the-radar brunch that is to die for, should you find yourself hungover in the area the next day.) And tiny record shop Records With Merritt has gained a sudden prominence in the local music scene, hosting almost nightly multi-act lineups in an intimate space where just 30 people will pack the room and me it feel like a special show.

Free - $$$$
The Plaza
As a kid I came here to gaze at the millions of dollars in Christmas lights. As an adult I'm still impressed, but I’m equally interested in cruising the bars. This 15-block area just north of the river is filled with nice shops and high-end restaurants.The yearly Plaza Art Fair in the fall brings in international artists of all mediums and draws a crowd of over 250,000.

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Various locations
Just off the Plaza, the nearby Nelson Atkins Museum of Art is the go-to stop in KC for high brow arts and culture. The exhibits range from the great masters to the new renegades, with a mile of gorgeous architecture that would be worth the trip even if there weren’t painting on the walls. There’s also a gigantic shuttlecock on the back lawn that has become an odd landmark in the city (it’s a must grab selfie while you’re here).

Not an art fan? Union Station is a historic train station built in 1914 with touring exhibits from around the world. It also sits across the street from the World War I Museum and Memorial, making it an excellent two-for-one destination.

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Various locations
KC loves to get loose. Pawn & Pints is a bar and restaurant with a six-layered wall of board games that are available to you and your party. Take your pick from literally dozens of games, including Cards Against Humanity and Scattergories.

Tapcade and Up/Down are arcade-bar experiences with wildly different line-ins: the former being a combination movie theater and old-timey cabinet set-up, and the later being a balls-to-the-wall neon blowout. Both will reignite your inner child.

Free
Arthur Bryant’s (see the BBQ entry) is where most people love to stop for a quick photo, but if you want a selfie that the locals will respect you for, try to pose in front of the Western Auto sign. A gigantic glowing mainstay of the KC skyline, the sign has been unlit at night for decades, until now. Grab a shot of you and a friend outside one of the many local distilleries, with the huge glow of KC spirit behind you.

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Things to See Trip Ideas

9 Of America’s Finest Just-Outside-The-City Drives

Living in the city can often feel oppressive with traffic around every corner and tall buildings blocking most of the sun. Luckily, salvation isn’t far away. Get out of the concrete jungle and enjoy the open road for the first time in weeks. Here are nine of the best quick drives you can easily hit from some of America’s great cities. Get moving.

Chuckanut Drive is a road along the coast that’s maybe greener than any drive you’ve taken in your life. You’ll be surrounded by overhanging trees and it’ll often feel like you’re driving through a tunnel of foliage. There’s a faster way to get to and from Seattle, but why would you skip a beautiful, twisting, cliff-bound drive full of farmland and mountains? You can even make make it a foodie trip by stopping along the way at places like Breadfarm or Taylor Shellfish Farms.

West coast drivers have the ultimate asphalt blessing: Highway 1, an idyllic, 655-mile stretch of Pacific coastline driving. Blast some music and take the trip up to the perfectly unfancy and delicious Malibu Seafood Fresh Fish Market. Open your window for the ocean breeze. Get some fish, grab a picnic table across the parking lot, and stare at the water. Now, drive to Point Dume, and sit on the beach for as long as you possibly can.

You can see the mountains from the city and they’re calling your name. Drop everything (except your keys) and drive straight to Gem Lake Trail. Cruise up the mountains and keep the windows open for that fresh air, even if it’s cold. Lean into the curves and accelerate at the apexes. You’re in the Rocky Mountains, for God’s sake: Not having your windows down should be criminal.

Even though Asheville isn’t known for hustle and bustle, everyone needs to get out of town once in a while -- and you’re so close to an amazing drive, especially in the fall. Meet up with the Blue Ridge Parkway wherever it’s closest to you and take it to Mount Mitchell State Park. The overlook is spectacular. Keep driving on the parkway and, pro tip, throw on some driving music you can turn up.

A drive in the City by the Bay is now more stop than go, so take the Golden Gate Bridge out of the city, head to Muir Woods National Monument, and drive among trees that were around when Charlemagne was crowned emperor of Rome. Then go directly to Hog Island Oyster Co in Marshall. You’ll take the famous Highway 1 and enjoy stunning views of the ocean and Point Reyes National Seashore. You might not want to stop.

You’ve heard of Minnesota’s many, many lakes, but there are also many, many rivers that make for great weekend cruising. Take I-94 E out of Minneapolis and connect with MN-95 N/St. Croix Trail North. You’ll follow the St. Croix River, which you can take all the way up to the National Scenic Riverway Visitor Center. The whole trip feels like you’re canoeing along the St. Croix, but in a much better (and faster) vehicle. You can easily take this route back to the city if you’d like, but you can also head back by starting on US-8 E if you want a change of pace and enjoy views of some of the state’s 11,842 lakes.

Iceland has its famous Ring Road that circles the entire country but America has the Maui Loop in Hawaii. You’ll drive from Kahului, taking the Hana highway to Ho'okipa Lookout for a spectacular view of the ocean. When you’re not on the ocean, you might be climbing mountains with stunning overlooks and steep curves. Drive to Halfway to Hana for their famous banana bread, and then stop at the Hana Lava Tube, Waianapanapa State Park, or Koki Beach -- or just keep going to the Laulima Farm Fruit Stand or Grandma’s Coffeehouse on your way through the trees.

The Columbia River Scenic Highway was the first scenic highway in this country and you’ve probably never heard of it, even though it’s beautiful and filled with moss, waterfalls, flowers, and, of course, the river. Take it to Vista House for a panoramic view, or keep driving to Latourell Falls or Bridal Veil Falls or Multnomah Falls or Horsetail Falls (there are a lot of waterfalls). Keep your window open and listen to the falls thunder as you speed by on your way to Cascade Marine Park where you can overlook the Bridge of the Gods. Yes, that’s what it’s really called.

What New York has in traffic and congestion it makes up for upstate. To make the most of it, head north along the Hudson River and take the road to Bear Mountain, which is known for its hiking (the Appalachian Trail runs through it) and stunning view from Perkins Memorial Drive. Then drive to the giant sculpture park that is Storm King Arts Center or see farm animals at Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture. Or, you can cross that bridge you saw, Bear Mountain Bridge, and get lost in the windy roads of the mountains. Hopefully you have a car that can handle turns and hills. If not, take it easy, enjoy the view, and head back down to the city along the river.

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Trip Ideas

How to Survive A Road Trip with Kids and Their Grandparents

Multi-generational travel.

Are you game enough to embark on a family road trip with kids and their grandparents?

The road ahead is fraught with possible danger, possible tears and head slapping moments.
But, it’s also filled with treasured bonding experiences between your children and their grandparents (and of course between you and your parents.) Having a plan is key to making it heaven rather than hell (so is daily meditation in the months leading up to you it so you can practice letting IT go.) You define what that IT is when it comes to the grandparents!

We checked off many lifetime bucket list experiences, grew closer, and didn’t have one bad moment. You can read more tips for planning a multi-generational family road trip in this post.

Our tips for surviving a road trip with kids and grandparents will help you reach that divine experience.

First and foremost, this is the greatest challenge for you to solve. If your vehicle is not big enough, you may have to look at renting a bigger car, or two cars. Perhaps your parents can drive their own vehicle, or you can rent two smaller cars if separation is needed.

Although, I do think time spent together while driving between destinations can often be the most rewarding! Don’t forget to consider luggage space.

If this is an issue, you can buy skyboxes for the top of your car which helps. We have a Yakima Skybox which is excellent and came in handy for our multi-generational road trip.

It’s great to give everyone a role to play in the car, and exploring a city. If you have multiple drivers, you’ll want to switch up the roles as well. Give the children something they can easily manage and will enjoy doing. I’m pretty sure Savannah was Chief Entertainer and Kalyra, simply The Boss.

You decide what makes sense for your family style but here are a few suggestions:

  • Driver
  • Chief Navigator
  • Time Keeper
  • Entertainer
  • Organizer
  • Foodie

A car can quickly turn into a messy toddlers bedroom when road tripping with multiple people. So it’s essential you start with a clean and organized car and do your best to keep it that way!

  • Where will you put the luggage?
  • What about storing entertainment inside the car?
  • What about food and water?
  • Do you have a garbage bag?

Storage boxes, small trash cans, and over the seat organizers come in handy.
Have a place for everything and instruct all passengers of where things belong and their roles in keeping a tidy car. Every time you stop the car, instruct everyone to collect any trash and dispose of it. These good habits will keep a tidy car.

Make sure you service the car before your trip. The last thing you want is car troubles on your dream family vacation.

There are multiple ways you can entertain kids in the car:

board games – we like the miniature magnetic versions you can get of games like snakes and ladders, checkers, and clue. They’re easy to store and use in a car.
interactive games – you know those common ones like, Eye Spy.
coloring and reading books
Journal writing
iPad games and movies

We currently homeschool our kids, so we use driving times to do some school work.
If this is not you, your children can research the next place to visit and discover some fun facts or interesting things to do and see while there. This helps them to connect to and feel ownership of the experience.

You could have them map out the journey or keep you updated on driving times and how much longer there is to go.

I know how challenging this one is!

Road tripping with kids is exhausting and you’re tempted to let them get lost in movies and games. But you’re traveling with the grandparents and kids for quality time together, and hours in the car makes for good bonding opportunities. Allow your child to use their device but restrict their time on it. An hour on the device will give the grownups a bit of quiet time and Nan and Pop some time to snooze.

Encourage talking and interactive games in the spaces between and during rest breaks.

It’s a good idea to map out the day’s driving journey before you leave, noting possible places to stop for food or a stretch break.

This saves you the headache of researching while you are driving, only to find what sounds like an awesome place for coffee just as you drive on past the exit for it.

You may even want to research any quirky or historic roadside attractions you can stop off at to bring in those unexpected and memorable travel experiences.

We decided to stop at Gettysburg for a couple of nights as it was on the way from Asheville to New York City and we couldn’t drive the entire way in one stint.

We usually move so quickly after breakfast, and are on the road for such long stints, that we can be very disorganized with this road trip tip.

It does mean we waste a lot of time and money finding places to eat along the journey.

We also love to stop for coffee, which can chew up your time finding a good one! But, there’s just nothing like a hot coffee while you’re driving!

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Bucket List Ideas

What Kind of Music Do You Like?

Mario Peshev piano.

You need to listen to something that focuses you. It needs to keep you motivated, as well as keeping you calm and collected. Ready for business.