Category Archives: General Advice

Travel Reviews- Which to Trust, Which to Ignore?

Going a trip can be a big expense. For the majority of us, a vacation is a major purchase and like any other major purchase, decisions should be made carefully. This often means people scour the internet for travel reviews and suggestions. A lot of people even ask their friends and family for advice. It’s…

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  • Frank - Pertinent post. I don’t trust blogs for specific travel reviews (like hotels, restaurants) because I honestly don’t trust that they haven’t gotten a freebie. I honestly ignore those kinds of posts, I think they’re the scurge of travel blogging. And they’ll always say “we were given free lodging but opinions are entirely our own…”. Yeah, right.

    I do consult reviews on, Trip Advisor, and Airbnb because I do believe in numbers, or the average agglomerate of all those numbers. Of course you have to check most recent reviews, but if a place consistently ranks high I usually take confidence in that.

    And also totally agree with you about friend’s reviews. So dependent on how you travel.

    Frank (bbqboy)January 8, 2016 – 10:13 amReplyCancel

    • Rhonda Krause - I never read hotel reviews on blogs because I don’t really trust them. Plus I don’t find them interesting. I do like to read reviews because only verified customers can leave a comment about a hotel they stayed at.January 13, 2016 – 5:36 pmReplyCancel

  • Josh - Good pointers for weeding out the useless reviews. Like you, I rarely read blog posts about hotels unless it’s a really unique hotel. I also agree with people writing about places they haven’t been. What good is someones account of something they’ve never experienced?? hahaJanuary 18, 2016 – 5:39 pmReplyCancel

    • Rhonda Krause - Thanks so much, Josh. I’m amazed at how opinionated people can be about places they’ve never been to. Cuba is one that always comes up in that way!January 24, 2016 – 10:40 amReplyCancel

  • Sara - Have really enjoyed reading about you 5 week trip to Europe that you did by train. Can you tell me how this all worked? Did you buy euro rail pass for a certain number of days during the 5 weeks or did you book local trains that can be very reasonable. I went to Italy in May 2015 with my elderly mother, 19 year old daughter and her friend. We fell into Venice took atranitslia over to Milan then up the Stresa for a week, over to lake Como for a week,then back to Milan and flew out of Milan back to Toronto. We also did a couple odd at trips to Switzerland. I really enjoyed the trains, very comfortable, on time and very reasonable by booking the local trains ahead of time. I plan my intinery like you. Down to last sight I want to see and on what day. Would like to plan a Europe trip much like yours and think train would be a way to see all the major sights. Am very curious as to how you booked yours. Thanks for any help you can give. Your pictures are amazing.January 18, 2016 – 5:43 pmReplyCancel

    • Rhonda Krause - Hi Sara! Yes, we did buy a Eurail pass for 15 days (we had two months to take 15 trips). It was the most convenient and economical option for the trains we took. We bought our pass in advance and it was mailed to us before we left home. I also booked reservations in advance for the trains that required them. Before we left home, I looked through the train schedules and wrote down the trains that I wanted to take so that we could make the most of our time. I didn’t want to be trying to figure out what train to take while we were there! Overall, the process was very easy and enjoyable. I loved travelling by train in Europe! Hope this helps!January 24, 2016 – 10:48 amReplyCancel

Train Travel- 5 Reasons Why We Love It!

When I was a kid, my family took a trip to Jasper, a small town in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. We’d been to Jasper many times, but this time was special. This time we took the train. The scenery we got to see was different than what we saw from the highway and I felt…

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  • Frank - Good post and totally agree – we love train travel in Europe for all the reasons you state. The only thing I don’t like is fighting with ticket machines…sometimes you can’t get a real person.
    Frank (bbqboy)February 15, 2014 – 10:10 amReplyCancel

    • Rhonda Krause - We had a rail pass so luckily we didn’t have to worry about that.February 15, 2014 – 10:27 amReplyCancel

  • Iain - A brilliant article.

    I couldn’t have said it any better. So I didn’t.

    I’ve linked to this article from the home page of – I hope that you don’t mind.March 2, 2014 – 1:51 pmReplyCancel

  • Becky Padmore - You’ve convinced me! Look at those views! March 3, 2014 – 9:08 amReplyCancel

  • Bridget - I agree- I’ve always loved trains! Its a great way to travel, especially in Europe where the system is so developed. Thanks for sharing!March 4, 2014 – 5:59 pmReplyCancel

  • Jennifer - I do think you got very lucky to not encounter any strikes. I’ve lived in Europe for five years now and strikes are far too common. I’ve been late because of delayed trains or gotten stuck and not been able to get home at all due to the lovely strikes, which can happen at any time without notice.March 19, 2014 – 5:48 pmReplyCancel

  • Bryanna Plog - 5 for 5! Love train travel as well, perhaps also because it is still a novelty for us in the U.S. and does seem nostalgic. The mere sound of the click-clack is something that makes me want to explore far more than any other form of transport. Hoping I can do a cross-country trip across the U.S. this year and sometime want to do the same across Australia!March 25, 2014 – 7:03 pmReplyCancel

    • Rhonda Krause - I think a cross country train trip would be amazing, both in the US and Canada. If I could travel everywhere by train, I probably would never fly again! Trains are way more comfortable!March 25, 2014 – 7:09 pmReplyCancel

  • Lisa Cheek Temple - I haven’t had the pleasure of traveling by train in Europe, and train travel is severely limited in the southern U.S. where I live. However, I have taken several long distance train trips in the U.S. (Birmingham to Boston, B’ham to Chicago, B’ham to New York) and I’m hooked! Well done on the article. You are singing to the choir!May 9, 2014 – 3:28 amReplyCancel

    • Rhonda Krause - I really wish the train networks were more extensive (and affordable) in Canada as well. It’s such a relaxing way to travel! Thanks for reading!May 9, 2014 – 11:41 amReplyCancel

  • Jeff Titelius - One of my most cherished European memories is when we hopped onboard on the Artesia Train for an overnight adventure from Florence to Paris! It was such a fantastic journey, we had our cabin and our butler made our dinner reservations! I LOVED LOVED LOVED watching out the windows as we tunneled through the Alps and emerged on stunning vistas of lakes and villages!! I will never forget that journey, so romantic, so relaxing, truly an unexpected adventure that I hope to relive one day soon!June 16, 2014 – 5:28 pmReplyCancel

    • Rhonda Krause - That sounds like a wonderful trip- especially the part about the butler! Must have been a fancy train! I’ve yet to try an overnight train, since I worry that I wouldn’t sleep well.June 16, 2014 – 5:43 pmReplyCancel

  • Iain - “The other great thing about trains, is that they take you right into the heart of the city.”

    This is one fact that is often overlooked when people are comparing air/rail travel.

    And it’s not just the cost in money terms.

    I’m always being told that air travel is just so much quicker. Yes, in many cases, getting from runway to runway is indeed faster.

    Added to this is usually pre and post flight time spent at the airports.

    What is often overlooked, though, is the time and hassle of travelling between airports and city centres.

    Give me a train any day. Stroll up to the train, sit down, read a book, walk around, eat, drink, snooze. In a word: RELAX!!!!

    Travel should be fun and enjoyable.

    Coming from Europe (Scotland), I realise that I’m very spoiled when it comes to rail network coverage. Trains go just about everywhere. I don’t, for one minute, take this for granted.

    Jeff. Did you write/blog about the Artesia?

    Rhonda. There’s been a bit of a redesign here, and I’ve just realised that the link to this article has “gone”. Will think of a way to permanently include it somehow.June 17, 2014 – 12:29 amReplyCancel

    • Rhonda Krause - Train travel is far more convenient and comfortable than plane travel. I also find that people are much more pleasant and friendly on trains than on airplanes because they’re not crammed into such a tiny space and made to abide by so many rules and restrictions. If I could travel everywhere by train I would, but unfortunately the ocean gets in the way!

      I was so happy that your site linked to this post and it would be great if you could include it in the new design. I hope to convince more people to discover the joys of train travel!

      We’re taking a train in Alaska this summer from Denali National Park to Anchorage and I can’t wait!June 17, 2014 – 10:37 amReplyCancel

  • Iain - Rhonda. I wouldn’t worry about not being able to sleep on a night train.
    There’s just something about the rocking movement that makes sleep so comfortable (probably a subconscious reminder of babyhood).

    And if you have remembered your corkscrew, sleep won’t be hard to come by. :0)June 17, 2014 – 12:36 amReplyCancel

  • Iain - Amen to that Rhonda. I think that deep down most people are quite sociable. They are just too rushed/stressed to talk to strangers most of the time. Put the same people on a train, with all the time in the world, and the smiles will soon reappear.

    Plus. The grass is always greener…

    June 17, 2014 – 3:03 pmReplyCancel

  • Julie - Rhonda – Your photos are exquisite!! I am planning a Spring break 12 day trip to Austria with my almost 17 year old grandson. Austria was his choice and since I have not been, that is where we decided to go. We will visit Vienna, Graz and Salzburg traveling by train between cities. I ran across your blog and I thank you for it. Your hits and misses were informative – loved that part. We are each taking one suitcase and one carry on each from Los Angeles. Looking forward to a wonderful adventure!!! Can’t wait.February 28, 2015 – 2:34 amReplyCancel

    • Rhonda Krause - Thanks so much, Julie! Austria is so beautiful and you’ll get to see a lot of great scenery from the train. I’m sure you both will have a wonderful trip. Enjoy!March 1, 2015 – 1:58 pmReplyCancel

  • CultureTripper - All so true! I’ve got great memories of traveliing around Europe by train. And in North America. Can I add another reason to love trains? The relaxing rhythm/sound of the train compared to that nerve-shearing ambient noise inside aircraft. European trains may not compare costwise with low-cost carriers like Ryanair but sometimes travel really is about the journey, not the destination. I’d love to ride the Ghan across Australia. No train trip is too long for this rail lover!April 8, 2015 – 11:43 pmReplyCancel

  • Mark Warrick - Couldn’t agree more. I live in the UK so European train travel is my norm: I seldom fly and I drive as little as I can get away with. Switzerland and Britain have the densest rail networks and France the fastest.November 29, 2015 – 9:54 pmReplyCancel

  • Danial - Your last point hits it right on the spot. Train travel gives you the space & time to just clear your mind and zone out. The panorama helps compared to the tin can nature of airplanes.January 29, 2016 – 5:03 amReplyCancel

  • Fateme - Yesterday I had an exam and the writing part is about traveling. Your post is really helpful for me. I wanna say thank you for sharing your feeling in your  lovely trip. I like traveling by train too.
    With best wishes?from Iran.September 9, 2018 – 10:01 pmReplyCancel

Making Travel Dreams Reality- 7 Steps to Stop Dreaming and Start Packing

When I created this blog, my goal was to inspire others to travel, encourage people to live out their travel dreams. It was my hope, that by sharing my experiences and photos that people would be intrigued, excited and set out to visit these places for themselves. I get many comments from readers saying how…

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  • Laura - I really like the recommendation of traveling close to home. I’m surprised by how many people tell me the just don’t know where to start with planning a trip. Traveling close to home is a great way to get experience with travel planning and make mistakes when you’re not at risk of messing up your dream vacation!December 27, 2013 – 12:35 pmReplyCancel

    • Rhonda Krause - I couldn’t agree more!December 27, 2013 – 12:36 pmReplyCancel

  • Jennifer - You’ve hit the nail on the head here, Rhonda! If you don’t make travel a priority, you’ll never travel. Truer words were never spoken. The only thing holding people back from traveling more is themselves. Time, money, and every other excuse is just that…an excuse.February 3, 2014 – 3:18 pmReplyCancel

    • Rhonda Krause - Exactly! I am always amazed at how often my friends tell me they don’t have “time” to travel. I always say, if you really, truly wanted to travel, you would have no trouble making time for it.February 3, 2014 – 3:47 pmReplyCancel

  • Stephen - Great points. #3 I think is a huge way for people to realize their travel ambitions, but I’m always so surprised when I talk to long-term travelers who still haven’t gotten started with these programs!March 14, 2014 – 12:59 amReplyCancel

  • NZ Muse - Travel isn’t everyone’s top priority but if it genuinely is, there’s a way to make it happen. My ‘aha’ moment was when I learned about volunteering abroad!March 17, 2014 – 4:02 pmReplyCancel

  • RUSS - You and I are alike with how we see traveling. It gives me this awesome kind of high that I don’t get from material things. Traveling is bliss!April 20, 2014 – 10:16 pmReplyCancel

What’s Your Travel Style?- How to Choose a Trip That’s Right for You

There are so many different options available when it comes to travel- cruises, coach tours, all-inclusive vacations and independent travel. You may not know what your travel style is until you get out there and try and few different options. What you find out about yourself may surprise you. How I Discovered My Travel Style…

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  • Jennifer - We felt the same way about cruising. Definitely not our travel style! We prefer to travel independently.July 14, 2013 – 3:16 pmReplyCancel

  • Agung John Suyono - As Tourist Guide I love to Travel even to Indonesia Archipelagoes which is contain of more then 13.000 Islands spreading around 5000 km from the west to the east border snd such alike from the north to the southJune 29, 2016 – 7:21 pmReplyCancel

How Athens Taught Me to Travel Differently

Plopping down onto the bed in my Athens hotel room, I burst into tears and announced that I wanted to turn right around and head back home. “I hate Athens!” I pouted like a tantruming child. “I’m phoning my mom and telling her I’m coming home!” Was Athens was really that bad? So bad that…

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  • Liz smith - Great read. I agree, I’ve had some of those moments myself. The first I visited Venice I was immediately impressed – but after a day, I fell in love and discovered the real city. Been back 3 times since. Things aren’t always what we expect, but sometimes it’s a good thing.June 18, 2013 – 7:33 pmReplyCancel

  • Edsel Sismar - Oh my god! Just look at that beautiful and amazing photos of Athens, I really wanted to visit Athens so bad! But I just couldn’t I don’t have the opportunity. Oh well just watching these beautiful and wonderful places in Athens makes me feel I visited the place without stepping foot. Great post by the way.December 3, 2013 – 4:14 pmReplyCancel

  • Meg - I was disappointed in Amsterdam, initially. Your article totally rang true for me – the crying in the hotel room bit. But you’re right, you’ve got to get out there, give it time, and at least see the things you went there to see. Otherwise, you’re just shooting yourself in the foot – maybe I won’t ever be back to Amsterdam in my lifetime, but at least I saw the Rembrandts, the tulips, the Delft china, the pancakes, etc.November 14, 2014 – 1:57 pmReplyCancel

    • Rhonda Krause - Oh good, I’m glad I’m not the only one! I think most places are worth visiting at least once. Even if it’s not what you expected, you still need to make the best of it. As soon as I let go of my preconceived notions, and just accepted Athens for what it was, I had a much better time!November 14, 2014 – 5:07 pmReplyCancel

  • Sarah Jayne Keck - Thank you so much for an honest review. I’ve found this feeling in a few places, Cusco Peru, Krakow Poland. It wasn’t until I learnt to realise I was somewhere different and to not even compare it to the other cities in the same country. Enjoy what you’re experiencing at that time. I liked this post, it’s forewarned me of what to expect in Athens. Cheers, Sarah.September 17, 2018 – 7:49 pmReplyCancel

  • Jonathan - My first trip to Paris had a flight from hell and lost luggage oh and it was in the immediate aftermath of the ‘05 riots so the burned out metro station I saw leaving CDG had me questioning my sanity. However when I emerged into the Place St Georges it was pure magic from there. England I hated the trains my first time there. And Cairo (another even worse flight from hell experience) was a massive disappointment that never really redeemed itself in my eyes. But the rest of Egypt and Jordan will stay with me always. March 9, 2019 – 7:35 pmReplyCancel


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