A Build-Your-Own Itinerary for Both First Time and Repeat Visitors

Ah, London. The global city with its uniquely British charm. There’s no place quite like it, and with each visit I come to know and love it all the more.

So when the call came to explore the city on a scavenger hunt-type challenge, I jumped at the chance. Flights to the UK from the US are at an all-time low (I once said I’d fly there in a heartbeat if I could fly under $600, and my friend flew out to join me from SF for only $400 roundtrip.) That combined with a (finally) favorable exchange rate for the dollar made for a visit in which London became more accessible than ever.

What follows is a collection of my favorite spots in the British capital — those I recently discovered on this unique latest visit, as well as tried-and-true favorites that I never skip. With so many options, you can choose-your-own-adventure based on your style and interests.


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Heading to Kauai soon? Here are all the places I wish I had known about before I went.


I’ve written a fair amount of itineraries for this site, mostly because it’s the travel information both you as readers and I myself need help with most often. I have personally spent hundreds of hours researching destinations, and even more time benefitting from the planning of others and my own experience.  And as much as I love writing personal pieces or thoughtful narratives, I find quality itinerary and genuine recommendations surprisingly difficult to find — online or otherwise.

I also want to continue to demonstrate how much can be seen, even at a reasonable pace — for the part-time travelers who feel limited by a few weeks of vacation time. I hope to show that it’s as simple as aligning your priorities, doing the research (which I hope I am contributing to,) booking the ticket, and going.

The good news is Kauai is a fantastic place for the part-time traveler who only has a week of time.

When I sat down to share my tips from my recent time in Kauai, however, I found dividing the island into regions and subcategories to be more effective for explanation.  I’ll share those along with a brief breakdown of what to plan for each day in a week.


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Vietnam seems to be on everyone’s list these days.  As little as one year ago, I had little clue how much the country has to offer travelers.  As I sit here today, it seems the word has gotten out — the culture, the sights, the FOOD.

Vietnam is an experience.  There is culture, language, and flavor here that is unlike anything you will experience in the rest of the world, in Asia.  Though traveling there (starting with the visa process alone) is a bit more complicated and a bit more emotionally challenging (particularly for Americans) than many of the other destinations in Southeast Asia.  More than other countries I’ve visited, Vietnam has layers and layers that you could spend weeks uncovering.

If you’re looking at a trip to Vietnam as a part-time traveler, however, you’re likely to have limited time to spend there.  I still find practical itinerary advice — where to visit, for how long, and what to prioritize, to be mostly missing online.  I’ve outlined the highlights based on my experience traveling through most of the country.  Whether you’ve got two, three, or four weeks there, one thing is for sure — you’re going to have plenty to see.


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How to Plan Your Time in Burma + Itinerary 

[Author’s note 2017: Please consider the impact of your visit and the plight of the Rohingya when making your decision to go to Myanmar.]

What you will see in Burma (Myanmar): men in skirt-like longyi, women and children with thanaka paste on their faces, red betelnut-stained sidewalks, lady monks clad in pink, horse carts as a main form of transportation.

What you won’t see in Burma: Starbucks. McDonald’s.  Hardly any ATMs.  Tourist infrastructure.

Burma, to me, is one of the most exciting places on Earth to visit at this moment.  A friend and I remarked that the experience was how we imagined traveling fifty years ago might have been.  In many ways sheltered from the rest of the world until recent years, the country retains a raw, unfiltered quality — unsullied by mass tourism.

Two Weeks In Burma/Myanmar

The challenges of planning and executing travel in Burma, while steep at times – offer the reward of experiences (and conversations with locals) you just can’t get elsewhere on the planet.

So without further adieu, let’s dive in.  Whether you have two, three, or four weeks to spend in Burma…you won’t forget your time there.

Baseline Burma Trip: Two Weeks

This trip is the “Golden Kite” classic itinerary, featuring the highlights.

 


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Let’s talk New Zealand! I’ve gotten a few requests from readers (love getting these!) for my New Zealand itinerary.  While I’m certainly no expert, I did spend three weeks driving what was essentially the entirety of the country.  I did talk with a lot of Kiwis (as will anyone who travels there, they’re the nicest people on Earth!)  So with a little bit of research and a bit more of experience, may I present….

Two Weeks In New Zealand

I’ll start with two weeks, because if you are indeed a part-time traveler as I am, that may be the most that you can gather to be there in one trip.  I will also include a more comfortable three week itinerary–which is close to the one I followed–as well as a longer 4 week one to accomodate a few other schedules. Please note: two weeks is the absolute minimum I would plan in New Zealand.  Though fast-paced, it can be done, and you can see a lot of the highlights.  It depends on your preferred speed of travel; I know some people would prefer to just see the North Island and come back a separate time to see the South.  Others have shared they may never return to New Zealand, so they want to see what they can in the time they are there.  I can’t recommend enough that you extend your time to 3-4 weeks here if possible.


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