RD
Robin Davis
27 days ago

Portugal’s Not Complete Without a Porto Travel Itinerary

travel
see the world
Sure, Lisbon is Portugal’s big bustling capital, but Porto has all the charm. And the vibe is way more chill—in a good way! Here’s why you shouldn’t skip the smaller city when planning a trip to Portugal.

The food scene is diverse and eclectic.
Porto has all the good traditional eats you’ll find in Lisbon, but also a trendy and innovative food...
Sure, Lisbon is Portugal’s big bustling capital, but Porto has all the charm. And the vibe is way more chill—in a good way! Here’s why you shouldn’t skip the smaller city when planning a trip to Portugal.

The food scene is diverse and eclectic.
Porto has all the good traditional eats you’ll find in Lisbon, but also a trendy and innovative food scene. One of the best meals I had was at Tapabento, a recommendation from the late great Anthony Bourdain. The food was incredibly fresh and the menu (which changes often) offered so many great options (like foie gras toast, oxtail empanadas, wild shrimp) we could barely choose.

Brunch at Rosa et al Townhouse was not at all what I expected. In a country where meat and seafood reign supreme, this bed and breakfast had delicious healthy meals featuring produce plucked from the land. Not to mention that the décor is Pinterest-worthy. On a warm day, have your meal outside in the garden and enjoy the lush scenery.

Save room in your luggage—it’s a book lover’s paradise.
It seems like everywhere we look, bookstores are vanishing, but bookworms, fear not! Porto has an infinite amount.

Live out your Harry Potter dreams at Livraria Lello, the bookstore that inspired J.K. Rowling! You’ll have to buy a ticket and wait your turn to take a picture on their famous staircase, but if you’re a true Potterhead, it’ll be worth it. (For me, the bookstore wasn’t as beautiful as the pictures made it seem online, but hey, do it for the culture.)

If you’re looking for a Portuguese author to round out your bookshelf, I highly recommend José Saramago. Pick up one of his books while waiting for your staircase picture (I recommend Blindness, an enthralling novel in which a country is hit with a plague where everyone has lost their vision).

Explore the Douro Valley and sample Portuguese wines.
Porto is located near/in the famous Douro wine valley, and along the riverfront are tons of wine houses that offer both tastings and tours everyday. Make sure you sample vinho verde (light, bubbly and crisp wine in a green bottle), a wine unique to northern Portugal.

Riverside lounging is a must do.
Porto has a well-developed riverfront area full of restaurants, bars, the aforementioned wine houses, and shopping. Go shopping in the artisanal market where you can buy everything from jewelry to home decor to linens. Or just lounge along the riverside. It’s one of my favorite things to do (and apparently the Portuguese feel the same way).

If you want to take a picture of the river, the best views come from the bridge. But be careful—it might look like a pedestrian bridge, but it’s not! Watch out for the train that comes barreling through every so often. Instead, take the cable car to get sweeping views of the river and the rest of Porto.

Relaxed vibes for a relaxing time.
There’s a reason Porto consistently shows up on the list of best places to visit. You don’t need an itinerary to enjoy yourself (though you’ll still have fun if you abide by one—I see you, Type As). 

Whether you’re lounging on the riverside, watching the peacocks in the Jardins do Palácio de Cristal, or curled up in one of the many bookstores, it’s a trip you won’t regret. 
LA
Lisette Austin
about 1 month ago

Travel Hack Alert: How to Get Wifi While Traveling

travel
travel hacks
With all my recent travel, I’ve been needing to catch up on work (and blogging) on flights. This means I need to use wifi. I often forget to pre-pay for a gogo in-flight pass, which is already fairly expensive at $20 for an all day pass. Once you are on the plane the price goes up even more. I don’t know about you, but I think paying $20-$30 for a few hours of wifi is a...
With all my recent travel, I’ve been needing to catch up on work (and blogging) on flights. This means I need to use wifi. I often forget to pre-pay for a gogo in-flight pass, which is already fairly expensive at $20 for an all day pass. Once you are on the plane the price goes up even more. I don’t know about you, but I think paying $20-$30 for a few hours of wifi is a complete rip-off. 

Enter the travel hack for how to get wifi while traveling.

I stumbled across this when frustrated that I would have to pay $10 for just a few minutes of wifi to check my email. I had noticed that I could still do Google searches but just couldn’t access actual websites. I started searching for hacks for free wifi, and hoped to catch something in the meta description viewable on the google search page.

This led me to a YouTube video about how to get free wifi, but I couldn’t view the video. Thankfully someone explained in the comments (for some reason I could view YouTube pages).Here’s what you do
And this should work on Alaska, American and Delta (not sure about United):
  • Get on the Gogo in-flight wifi network
  • Open your browser
  • When the Gogo entertainment page pops up – look for where they list movies you can watch for free inflight. Click on a free movie.
  • You will then go to a page saying you need the Gogo in-flight app in order to watch the movie. Click on the option to download it from the app store (even if you already have it)
  • Fill out the captcha form which will then allow you to move on to the app store
  • Don’t bother with downloading the app, instead immediately return to your browser (or texting or mail apps) because you now have about 10-15 minutes of free wifi!
  • Once your wifi time runs out, repeat the steps above. I found I could do this about 8-10 times before they said my limit was up. Then I switched to another device.
Why this works
The reason why this works is that in order for you to be able to watch the free movie, they have to allow you to download the Gogo app (many people don’t realize before they get on the plane that they will need it). So a temporary portal to wifi internet is opened, giving you enough time to download and set up the app. So simple. 

Of course this is a hack, so try it at your own risk – and who knows how long it will last. But now you know how to get wifi while traveling.

Happy internet browsing, Nav.igators!


WH
Whitney Hansen
about 1 month ago

Part 2: The Ultimate Guide to How I Paid Off My Debt and Celebrated in Hawaii

travel
debt
If you haven’t yet read part 1, go back to get the foundation for how I paid off my debt ($30,000 !!) in just 10 months. If you have, you’re ready for the tools to my success.

Step 3: The tools
Paying off debt is not an easy task. A plan isn’t enough. Working two jobs isn’t...
If you haven’t yet read part 1, go back to get the foundation for how I paid off my debt ($30,000 !!) in just 10 months. If you have, you’re ready for the tools to my success.

Step 3: The tools
Paying off debt is not an easy task. A plan isn’t enough. Working two jobs isn’t enough. Sacrificing isn’t enough.You need to have the right tools under your belt.

Don’t underestimate the importance of creating an effective budget. Creating a budget is nice and even easy to do ...but creating an effective budget--that’s a different story.

Fortunately, I learned some extremely valuable tips to creating a budget that works. Effective budgeting makes your money start working for you. It takes into consideration paying off debt, building up an oh sh*t emergency fund, saving for retirement, and even sneaky expenses like holidays and birthdays. (Pro-tip: using the Nav.it app can make all of this even easier.)

Trick to saving hundreds in student loan debt
One trick to how I paid off my debt is by paying principal only. Your payment is composed of two main pieces: principle and interest.

When you make a payment, the amount paid is divided into interest and principal. Paying principal only means that your money is going toward the amount borrowed only--and NOT to the banks pockets.

But did you know you can’t pay principal-only on student loans?
Don’t worry; I learned a secret workaround for this. This secret literally saved me hundreds of dollars. I put my findings in this handy cheat sheet and added a couple more tips in the cheat sheet as well. It’s free, so download it, print it off and keep it handy as you go through your process of paying off student debt.

Stay motivated throughout the process
Getting out of debt isn’t easy. You have to keep going back to your “why” to stay motivated and on track. Ask yourself these questions:
  • Why are you getting out of debt? 
  • What are the feelings you felt that led to you wanting to make this change? 
  • Are you embarrassed? Did you overdraft your checking account? 
  • Did you not have enough money in your account to buy groceries? 
Reminding yourself of your story and your "why" will keep you motivated throughout this process. That’s how I paid off my debt.

Step 4: Living a Debt-Free Life
Do you know how nice it is to have the freedom to travel whenever you want, spend $500 on a shopping trip guilt-free, and purchase luxury items? It’s not out of your reach.

You can do it.

In May 2014, I went to Kauai. Kauai is a beautiful, beautiful island. I hiked along the Napali Coast, some of the most rugged and gorgeous terrain; snorkeled with tropical fish and turtles; watched endangered monk seals snooze; rode in a helicopter around the island; drank Mai Tais, relaxed while reading on the beach; and my favorite memory--got caught hiking in a tropical rainstorm.

But the best part of livin’ the debt free life…When I return home, I have only the memories with me--and not the credit card bill. 

I also could start my own business without the financial stresses that go with it. As an entrepreneur, living a very low-risk life is important to me and keeping my monthly expenses to a minimum makes a huge difference in business growth versus business flop. 

Imagine what you could do if you were debt-free?

I really hope this post has helped you gain some insights around what I did to pay off my debt. I am a very normal, average, person. If I can do, anyone can do it. Go forth, and conquer your debt, Nav.igators!

If you're interested in connecting with Whitney Hansen for one-on-one coaching, reach out here. If you want to hear more from her, check out this episode featuring Whitney on the Nav.it podcast.


DF
Dana Filek-Gibson
21 days ago

4 Ways To Protect the Environment While Exploring Vietnam

travel
environment
When I’m at home, being an environmentally responsible citizen is a no-brainer: I recycle, use my own grocery bags, walk everywhere I can and tote my reusable water bottle to and from work. I’m lucky to live in Toronto, where considering ways to protect the environment is common practice.

But eco-friendly habits can be hard to take on the road. In Vietnam, a coun...
When I’m at home, being an environmentally responsible citizen is a no-brainer: I recycle, use my own grocery bags, walk everywhere I can and tote my reusable water bottle to and from work. I’m lucky to live in Toronto, where considering ways to protect the environment is common practice.

But eco-friendly habits can be hard to take on the road. In Vietnam, a country I called home for seven years, recycling rarely happens, plastic bags – along with straws, bottles, containers and packaging – are everywhere, and walking even a couple blocks in a city like Hanoi can be a sweaty, chaotic ordeal.

By and large, we travelers want to do our part to protect the environment, but figuring how to stick to our environmentally responsible practices in a foreign country isn’t always easy.

Here are four ways to protect the environment while making the most of your trip to Vietnam and showing the country some love while you’re at it.

Pass on the plastic.
Plastic is everywhere in Vietnam. At corner shops, convenience stores and restaurants, you’ll find bottled water by the case and plastic straws in every drink. When shopping, most items – from food to souvenirs to clothing – are wrapped in at least a few layers of unnecessary packaging. This waste not only winds up landfills but in the ocean as well.

To stem the flow of plastic waste, you can do your part by politely refusing straws, bags and other extras. But the number one way to cut down on your own plastic use is by bringing a reusable water bottle and filling up at larger water coolers and other safe water sources in hotels, restaurants and cafes.

Stick to reef-safe sunscreen.
Catching rays on any one of Vietnam’s beaches--like Phu Quoc, Quy Nhon, Mui Ne or Con Dao--is a worthy way to spend your holiday, but not all sunscreens are created equal. Chemicals like oxybenzone and octinoxate might protect you from the sun, but they’re also harmful to coral reefs and marine life.

You’ll want to stock up on sunscreen before your trip – and there aren’t many good, affordable options in Vietnam.  Look for mineral sunscreens that have “non-nanotized” zinc oxide or titanium dioxide so that you can protect your skin and protect the environment.

Eat local.
With all the fresh, locally grown ingredients that are part of Vietnamese cuisine, this is a habit you’ll have no trouble adopting.

Pass on imported food and drinks and spend your holiday diving into local dishes, from world-famous favorites like phở and bánh mì to lesser-known gems like bún chả (grilled pork with fresh greens and rice noodles), cơm tấm (broken rice, usually served with barbecue pork) and bánh bèo (savory steamed rice cakes).

If I had to list specific food destinations, head to Hanoi (home of phở and bún chả), HCMC/Saigon (home of bánh mì and cơm tấm) and Hoi An (home of cao lâu, a dish with pork, fresh greens and noodles that are only supposed to be made using water from a famous well in the town).

Thanks to a large Buddhist population, there are loads of vegan-friendly local options, and Vietnam’s abundance of rice-based dishes make it a great country for gluten-free diners, too.

Embrace slow travel.
No matter how you slice it, even a single plane ride has a significant impact on the planet. If you’re going to fly all the way to Vietnam, seek out airlines with a more eco-friendly track record, and consider purchasing carbon offsets for your trip. Once you’ve arrived in Vietnam, you can also limit your carbon footprint by making an effort to choose more eco-friendly transportation options.

If you’re traveling between destinations, for example, train travel is affordable and often safer than hitting the local highways on a bus. In town, hop on a bicycle or explore on foot instead of taking cabs and motorbikes.

Not only is slowing down one of the best ways to help the environment, it also gives you the opportunity to stumble upon unexpected finds: hidden street stalls, conversations with locals, and glimpses of everyday life you’ll find in pagodas, at roadside cafes and on sidewalks.

Dana Filek-Gibson is the author of Moon Vietnam,a guide for solo travelers produced by one of our partners, Moon Travel
JN
Jordan Nadler
11 months ago

Is the Grass Always Greener?

travel
fomo
We don’t know about you, but we’re those people who, no matter what we’re doing, or how happy we are, when we hear of other people’s travel plans and don’t have any immediate ones of our own, go straight into existential-crisis mode.

No matter what’s happening in the present, that Instagram post that pops up in between snapshots of your friends’...
We don’t know about you, but we’re those people who, no matter what we’re doing, or how happy we are, when we hear of other people’s travel plans and don’t have any immediate ones of our own, go straight into existential-crisis mode.

No matter what’s happening in the present, that Instagram post that pops up in between snapshots of your friends’ engagement pics and ultrasounds suddenly makes you feel like your life will be wholly unfulfilled until you, too, can't go see that really cool door in Samarkstand, Uzbekistan. 

Suddenly, a thing you didn’t know existed until five minutes ago feels unattainable and is giving you heartburn.

You know what they say about social media. It doesn’t accurately represent people’s lives, and actually makes us depressed and dumb. But when it comes to travel, many of us are masochists. 

We tune out the truths we know. We see meticulously chosen travel photos from accounts we follow and allow a part of ourselves to believe the snapshots are representative of the subjects’ entire lives. 

That photo you saw of that girl running through a flower field on Instagram? Yep, she's still there - just perpetually in that field, spinning in circles wearing that amazing 18th century-looking dress, while the Goddess of Extra takes pictures from the sky. Let’s be clear, ladies. No one is ever accidentally caught laughing alone in Portrait Mode. 

We at Nav.it (travel-masochists that we admittedly are) want to take the FOMO out of social media. We are building a community of female travelers, for female travelers. And with that community will come what we like to call a real Instagram. A feed for real travel, real experiences and most importantly, real connections with women globally. 

Avert your eyes from the perfectly curated feed of professionals, and instead, learn about the world through your fellow women. Meet each other. Use social media to socialize. Get each other’s tips. Budget for your trip with Nav.it, and share your actual experiences with women who want to hear all about them.

For weekly newsletters and the best female-forward travel content out there, sign up here! Our app launches in September, and you don't want to miss your ride!


EP
Erin Papworth
11 months ago

And So It Begins

travel
traveling
see the world
borderless
international
empowered
My name is Erin Papworth, and I am the CEO of Nav.it, the travel and lifestyle app for women who run the world and want to see it. 

We have a saying at Nav.it: Be Borderless. For many of us, it feels like that was never a choice, it was just a part of who we were - citizens of the world.

In my early twentie...
My name is Erin Papworth, and I am the CEO of Nav.it, the travel and lifestyle app for women who run the world and want to see it. 

We have a saying at Nav.it: Be Borderless. For many of us, it feels like that was never a choice, it was just a part of who we were - citizens of the world.

In my early twenties, I went on what was meant to be a week-long safari in Africa. Thirteen years later I returned home, having worked for humanitarian groups in 15 countries across the sub-Saharan region. I’ve met so many incredible people in my travels, but what always resonated with me was how utterly universal and unique the female experience is.

You see, “travel” means much more to me than a week long vacation somewhere. It is a way of life; a form of incomparable enrichment. Through my work and the way I budgeted my money, I was able to establish a level of financial freedom that gave me opportunities to live out of the box (boxes have borders, after all), and deeply shape my understanding of life. 

I created Nav.it so that women can find the tools they need to navigate the world on their own terms; to understand their power and agency, and most importantly - to learn how to manage their money in a way that turns travel dreams into plans.

When my team at Nav.it says we are a community of female travelers for female travelers, it comes from the knowledge that women comprise two-thirds of the world’s globetrotters, and make 92% of all online travel purchases in the U.S. That is a lot of decision-making and a lot of travel stories to be told. Our team is a group of passionate, primarily former expats who want nothing more than to elevate other women’s lives through travel.

And here’s the thing. We didn’t want to be yet another travel app that simply shows you pictures of the most beautiful places you’ve ever seen and tell you that you’d be happier there. Because...yah. Obviously. 

The barrage of #travelinspo content rushing across our screens every five seconds making us feel irresponsible for having jobs when we could be frolicking down some French Polynesian beach instead? It's not helping anyone get anywhere.

So we decided to change the game. Nav.it takes aspirational travel and makes it actionable. 

We firmly believe that wealth is experiential, but it does cost money to get places. Knowing how to manage your money and save what you have is paramount to freedom, whether you're traveling on a sexy shoestring or going on a luxury blitz. 

We don’t just tell you about amazing finds around the world, we help you get there. We give you the option to sync your bank account with our app, and set saving goals for trips you want to go on. We create monetizable city itineraries for you. We let you budget for every restaurant, hotel, museum and flight we review. And to top it off, we've created a community where you can share your tips and experiences with others while learning from their travel fails, their hacks and, most importantly, where to get the most amazing crème brûlée in Nice. We do this all focused on the female experience in the world. 

Women’s lives are not one-size-fits-all, so neither is the Nav.it experience. We are here to empower every woman to see the world in a way that is feasible to her, and we hope you come along for the ride!







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