Shut Up and Go

How I coordinated my own connecting flights and saved $300

By May 24, 2015 Life Stories, Lisbon, Must-Haves, Uncategorized
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As someone who’s trying to travel as much as possible, and someone who also just quit her 9-5 job to do so (meaning spurts of income here and there but nothing stable), it becomes obvious that I have to get reallllly creative when buying tickets. I first learned the beauty, and beastly, part of connecting flights when I was planning to study abroad in Paris. Way back when I was a travel n00b, I decided to book what I thought would be a flight from New York to Paris, and then half an hour after I booked the ticket, I realized that there was an hour layover in Iceland.

I thought it’d be another adventure, and that it would be cool to say I had seen Iceland’s airport, but all I ended up feeling was crustiness and exhaustion from the 3AM layover. Luckily, I did it for the sake of cheapness, and to tell you about it now. If you don’t know, connecting flights are two flights packaged on the same airline with a time span in between both flights where you just chill out in the airport with dark circles and no wifi. Why do airlines do this? So they don’t lose a customer despite not offering direct flights. Most people avoid them for various reasons but mostly because no one likes to have the stress of traveling not only once, but twice for one journey. This is exactly why they’re cheaper, and why you’ll always find me taking at least two flights to get from city A to city B.

What you probably don’t know is that you can make your own connecting flight and save even more money.

Oh snap, you’re reading real close now huh?

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9 Things I Enjoyed in Belém more than the Torre de Belém

By May 21, 2015 Lisbon
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Today I learned one of my new favorite quotes, but I learned it in Portuguese so this may be a bit off:

Tudo vale a pena quando a alma não é pequena.

This was exactly the mentality I was trying to have while visiting Belém, a suburb of Lisbon known mainly as the part of the city that used to guard the port into Lisbon and secondly as the departure point of Vasco De Gama as he set off to conquer India in the 1500s. Now, Belém is visited mainly by tourists to visit the famous Torre de Belém, the Presidential Palace, or the Pasteis de Belém.

I had visited Belém on my last trip to Lisbon and thought it was pretty mehr to be honest, so when I arrived this time and heard all the talk about how you “must go to Belém,” I felt pressured to try it again.

So I took a few hours on Monday morning, paid €1.70 for the thirty-minute train ride, and arrived in Belém…with pretty much the rest of the entire train who also got off at the Belém stop. It seemed like there were two groups of tourist motives – those who headed straight for the Torre de Belém and those who headed straight for the Pasteis de Belém. I decided to part left and go for the Torre as well, but upon arrival, I noticed nothing had changed except that this time there were were segways and selfie sticks.

It’s not that I don’t mean to give credit to a worldwide-known statue that represents something important to a country, but for the sake of making your Lisbon trip the most exciting it can be, I just want to say that a trip to the Torre de Belém is probably not going to much of a marker of your trip. So with this new tudo vale a pena quand a alma não é pequena mentality, here a few things I personally enjoyed 10x more than the Torre de Belém.

First off, you don’t have to go to pastel de Belém like everyone says you do

Bring up Belém to anyone in Lisbon and the first thing they’ll ask is, “You got the pastel de Belém, right?” Let me break it down for you in my very watered-down knowledge of cuisine. The pastel de nata is português for a vanilla cream puff with a croissant-y flaky crust. It’s sweet and cinnamon-y and perfect paired with a cafézinho (an espresso shot). With that being mentioned, the pastel de Belém is said to be the crème de la crème (literally), as you’ll notice from the ten-minute line of tourists wrapping around the building. This line, by the way, is only for take-away service; you can still get a pastel de Belém in the same amount of time or less if you opt for table service by simply walking in the restaurant like you own the place.

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How I ended up working at a hostel bar in Lisbon for one month

By May 16, 2015 Life Stories, Lisbon

Every traveler knows there are cities you connect with, and others you just don’t. For me, it’s been Paris, Berlin, and Lisbon – and I’ve lived in two of those. Lisbon, though, has been on my radar ever since I visited in 2012. The orange tile rooftops, the crooked alleyways filled with colorful street art, and ha, let’s not forget the Portuguese language – it was all so different from everywhere I had lived before (New York, Barcelona, Paris…um, Indiana, hello!).

After spending the past four years going through a true love-hate relationship with New York City, I could feel my time there was about to expire, as my relationship was starting to turn more hate than love. I knew it was time to do something. Yes, a move to LA was imminent, but ever since living in Paris, I’d been dying to move back to Europe, even if it’s only for the 90 days the Schengen Region allows Americans. With all that on my mind, it was time to check back in with Lisbon.

I emailed the hostel I had stayed at my first time in Lisbon (Lisbon Destination Hostel) to tell them how much I enjoyed my stay and just how MTV Real World their hostel looked (seriously). I decided to throw in a quick PS about how I’d love to work at the front desk for a few weeks.

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The hostel that put other hostels to shame.

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5 Things You Can’t Forget to Do Before Traveling

By May 14, 2015 Must-Haves
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1. Put a travel notice on your debit and credit cards

To avoid having your heart sink to your butt because you got an “error, can’t access your funds” message in the middle of a foreign country while trying to withdraw money from a local ATM, you need to make sure that every time you travel, you put a travel notice on your bank cards. If you forget to do this, your bank will assume a rando overseas is trying to steal your money, when in reality, you’re now broke with no access to your own account. Let the bank know where you’re traveling abroad and for how long to avoid living this nightmare. The only thing that’s just as bad as getting robbed abroad is having your cards without being able to actually use them, don’t be that #traveln00bie.

2. Call your phone company to see if you get free data overseas, or suspend your line altogether

Damon and I both have T-Mobile’s simple choice plan (no this is not a sponsored post but is something you might want to look into getting yourself). This plan allows us free unlimited data overseas, aka we’ll be posting our adventures on social media and youtube free of charge, can’t forget free calling on facebook messenger or whatsapp. It also allows free wifi calling to people back home, so if you’re connected to your hostel wifi, your phone will work just like it would back home. If you don’t have a plan that gives you free data abroad, or just want to disconnect while traveling, call your phone company and have them suspend your line. You’ll most likely have to pay $10-15 for suspending it each month, but it’s better than paying the full amount that your bill would normally be. Save the dollars for travel, not unused cell phones!

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