Travel Tips & Advice | Casey from Land of Marvels

26 October 2015

A few months back I introduced you to the lovely Casey from Land of Marvels. Land of Marvels, or True Colours back in the day, was one of the first travel blogs I began reading before I even considered writing my own! Casey and her blog have provided me with numerous tips on travel over the last few years. Her advice is enlightening, yet always sincere. From Amsterdam to Hawaii, it is obvious Casey knows the ins and outs of travel. I recently asked her a few questions to get a better insight on what goes into traveling Land Of Marvels style. 

1 | What motivates you to keep travel as a priority in your life?
Travel has always been a huge part of my life ever since I grew up as an expat kid in the Middle East.  But as an adult, it’s definitely a balancing act to keep regular travel a priority, both time-wise and financially.  It’s just something that my husband and I really enjoy, so we’ve figured out ways to make that our priority.  While some of our friends are buying big houses or going out every weekend, we’re putting that money away and dreaming of where to jet off to next.

2 | How do you research a destination?
Usually we start thinking of our trips about 6+ months in advance just to work it into our work schedules.  And generally we have an idea of where we want to head to next.  But we sit down and look at photos we’ve saved or go over options.  Once we have our destination decided on, then I do a ton of research!  I start by looking at blogs, at Wikipedia, at Pinterest.  Once I have a pretty thorough overview of the place, then I head to booking flights first.  Even then though, I watch airfares for a few weeks at least, and look at flying in and out of different airports to get the best deals.  Then I move on to hotels, then activities last.

3 | Once you have chosen a destination, what steps do you follow before leaving?
Once we have our destination set and I’ve got flights and hotels booked, then I work on a day by day itinerary over the next several months.  I’ll keep doing research or mark anything that comes up that I see.  We personally like to have a plan when we travel (different for everyone) as it allows us to see a lot more if we’re organized.

4 | What are some of your favorite sites and apps that help you plan any trip?
I love Tablet Hotels for hotel research!  I’m a big fan of boutique hotels with great design (I am an Interior Designer afterall!) so Tablet filters out the big chains and just gives you options for boutique hotels.  I almost always book my hotels through though because their loyalty program is so great.  I also love Orbitz and have had really great customer service from them over the years!  FlightTrack is one of my go to Apps while traveling to keep track of flights and gate numbers - it’s always up to date before the airlines!  And using airline apps and Passbook/Wallet to access mobile boarding passes is a must!

5 | When you are visiting a new destination do you find yourself in touristy spots or places off the beaten track?
Honestly, it ends up being a healthy mix of both.  While we generally do prefer to get off the beaten path more, we do end up spending time as well in the tourist areas, because after all, they are famous spots for a reason!  But a balance of the two is the key to a great and unique trip!

6 | You travel quite frequently for work. How do you allot yourself time for both work and pleasure when on a working trip?
I travel a lot for work.  Whether it’s jaunts across the Atlantic to South Korea or to Honolulu, I end up doing about 6-7 work trips per year.  One of my favorite ways to see more of a place while you’re traveling for work is to get up early and go for a walk around the city before everyone is up.  When I travel to Seoul, I wake up to see the sunrise every day and head out to wander a new section of the city.  It’s easier to get around when it’s quiet and empty and you’ll get to see a lot more.  Then grab a coffee on your way back to the hotel and then head out for your workday.  Another great way to see more is to have dinners in different areas so that you get to see more.  I also love letting my work colleagues take me around when I’m traveling for work as you’ll get the true local scene through them!

Land of Marvels is always my go to blog when trying to plan a holiday, so make sure to check Casey out!

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