Why It’s Completely Okay to Be Obsessed With Traveling

We’ve all heard the saying, “spend your money on experiences, not things,” and others like it. Sometimes, however, that new iPhone or pair of shoes really is what will make us happy.

Traveling imparts lasting experiences that impact us in much more profound ways than new material possessions, and it is totally okay to love to do it!

Shelling out just a little bit more money for a summer road trip or flight to Europe brings everlasting memories and undeniably, much more happiness.

It is more than okay to be obsessed with traveling, so what’s stopping you?

Whether you’re headed across the country or across the world, exploring an unknown destination through cuisine and local people teaches you things a textbook never could.

If you love food like me, we can probably agree that eating your way through a country is the best.

Just as studying abroad in college certainly gives you an appreciation for the world around you, traveling, too, makes us realize the things we take for granted.

Even after a week-long trip to Bermuda or an escape to the Swiss Alps, an undeniable respect and appreciation grows for the place you call home.

As extremely cliché as it sounds, it seems like when I come back from a vacation, I am never quite the same person I was when I left. Every small memory, trip, or mistake can leave some kind of impact on your character. Getting lost on the subway and trying to maneuver your way around the city can be quite daunting for travelers, or maybe, it’s exploring another country where the only barriers are the language or what side of the road they drive on. Whatever it is, learning to embrace unfamiliar and unexpected moments lead to seeing life around us in a completely different perspective.

What interesting places have you traveled to recently? Let us know in the comments below or show us on social media! Don’t forget to tag @Cfashionista

A College Student’s Guide to Plan the Perfect Trip

Traveling is one of the most refreshing and enjoyable activities for college kids like us. Every single spring, summer, and winter break, you just want to gather your friends and get away from the 7 a.m. classes, the agonizing tests, and the captivity of your dorm. But before actually going somewhere, you need to go through the struggle of planning a trip. We’ve all been there, staring at our laptop with 20 tabs open, hoping some kind of magic trip fairy would just plan it all for us. Well, your prayers have been answered.

1—The longer you wait, the more you’ll pay. Booking tickets at least two months before your trip is one of the biggest ways to save money. Southwest usually has deals if you buy tickets well in advance. Signing up for the Spirit $9 Fare club is also a great way to save.

2—Where to go. Really think about what you want to gain from this trip. If you’re looking to take your mind off things, somewhere peaceful and nature-friendly like Colorado or Oregon can be very helpful. If you’re more into museums, architecture, and fine dining a big city like New York or Seattle will do the trick. A reference book before traveling always comes in handy while making a decision.

3—A queen bed or a couch. If you like to live like a local while figuring stuff out yourself, book an Airbnb. They tend to be cheaper most of the times, and really give you a sense of belonging. If you want to be in a safe haven of concierge desks and room service while you explore a new city, a hotel is the right choice for you. This could be the difference between risking your life for a 3 a.m. hot-dog craving in Chicago and ordering room service from the convenience of your comfortable and plush hotel bed in the Omni.

4—Plan everything. The best way to travel efficiently is to plan every day. Put pen to paper and write everything down. This includes making lists, figuring out food stops, and accounting for travel time between places. It is also smart to keep some wiggle room in case of unexpected hiccups along the way.

5—Bus, train, or Uber. You need to have decent knowledge about how transportation works in the city you’re going to. If there is public transport, the smartest thing to do is buy a three-day pass or something similar. Having a rough idea on what train is going to get you back to your hotel safely is always a plus. If it is not a public transport-friendly place, you can rent a car from the airport. If none of those is an option, be prepared to splurge a lot of money on Uber and cab fare. It is also smart to carry some currency and loose change in case of emergencies.

There you have it! Happy planning!

Share your travel plans with us by tagging @CFashionista on social media!

What Happened When I Became a Tourist in My Own Town

The summertime is full of expectations of traveling and exploring near and far, yet sometimes that’s not possible. You can’t always leave the city that you’re in, unfortunately. It’s very easy to assume you’ve seen everything there is as a local in your hometown—at least all of the good stuff. With the gathering of some friends, a camera, and dedicating myself to thinking like a city tourist, my adventure did not disappoint.

After stepping into a café with zero expectations, I discovered unique, bold pieces of artwork. While enjoying a refreshing cup of cold brew and way too many croissants, the art functioned as a conversational piece with friends. Fellow coffee consumers worked in the quiet atmosphere that’s unique to cafés, motivating me to do the same. Because living in the city requires sharing a lot of public spaces, perhaps it won’t be so bad to share.

With more exploring to do, I stumbled upon a thrift shop, something which Richmond city never seems to run out of. I was immediately entranced by all of the records on sale that cost only $1! Its small size is used to the fullest to display a variety of garments, books, music, household supplies, and even bikes. These shops are key to learning more about classics because they always have a variety of genres. Furthermore, they play an important role in supporting local artists by showcasing their works and selling affordable pieces.

Finally, as the heat began taking its toll, I worked my way back home. I didn’t expect to uncover the best hidden gem, Stoplight Gelato Caféto end the most adventurous day. With ranging flavors from Thai curry to strawberry basil—in addition to my personal favorite, ash—they truly made the decision process both delicious and difficult. Supporting small businesses in my city is one of my favorite pastimes, one that I thoroughly encourage. How else could we enjoy delicious sorbet and gelato?

Have you tried being a tourist in your hometown and checking out some local businesses? Let me know in the comments below!

A Weekend in London

As soon as I stepped onto the platform of Euston station for the first time, I was instantly captivated. I’ve fallen in love with the city of London more with every visit, which led me to make the decision to study fashion marketing there starting this fall.

From the street style to the architecture and, of course, the food, you simply can’t go wrong while spending time in London. Therefore, I devised a list of some of my favorite Instagram worthy things about London, as well as my London bucket list items of what to do and see while spending a long weekend in the city.

All you need to help your weekend run smoothly is a good pair of walking shoes, a raincoat, of course, and a cool pair of sunglasses to give you some London street cred.

The first sightseeing stop has some of London’s best-known sights, that happen to be all in the same proximity—Big Ben, the London Eye, and the Parliament buildings. By simply opening Instagram and searching London into “places,” you should be able to see how significant these three sights are to the city’s tourists.

Next on my list is Covent Garden, which includes all of the cafes, shopping, and the effortless Instagram-worthy shots.

You can’t discuss the architecture of London without mentioning the colorful and picturesque houses of Nottinghill and Marylebone. From the abundance of flowers and wrought-iron fencing to the quaint coffee shops and boutiques, these two places should be near the top of your London bucket list.

Last but not least, the London sights that are on top of my bucket list for once I’m living in the city.

1— Sketch. Where you can enjoy afternoon tea in an all pink parlor or take a trip to their wonderland fantasy restrooms with each stall being in the shape of a giant egg (you’ll have to look them up on Instagram at @sketchlondon to believe it.)

2— Rooftop Film Club. The coolest movie theatre I’ve ever seen, where you can experience your favorite classics and recent films while eating popcorn on a rooftop.

3— Farm Girl. A healthy, Instagram worthy Australian cafe in the heart of London. You’ll be sure to get a lot of likes once you post a picture of your French Bulldog latte art or pink hibiscus matcha latte.

4— Christmas in London. I would have to say at the top of my London bucket list is Christmas time, due to the twinkling lights over Oxford Street and the window displays at Harrods.

Make sure to tag us at @Cfashionista on Instagram to let us know what’s at the top of your London bucket list. 

Why You Need to Visit Boston’s Harbor Islands

One of the best things about Boston is its Harbor Islands. Boston Harbor Islands National and State Park is a must for anyone visiting Boston, or for anyone living near the area. You all need to visit these islands at least once in your life.

It’s important that you visit the Harbor Islands when you visit Boston because it’s a great chance to get away from the nonsense. Yes, people come to Boston to visit all of the buildings, skyscrapers, monuments, and museums, but if you need a little break from the city life, why not visit one of the Harbor Islands? You’re secluded from everyone and you have a nice quiet area to relax. Who wants to be crowded by tons of people? At the Harbor Islands, you can get away from people, the traffic, and the nonstop car honking.

You can do numerous things here on the islands. On each island, you can go kayaking, snorkeling, swimming, hiking, tanning, or a have a picnic. Each island supplies the kayaks and equipment you need to have the most adventurous day.  You do not have to come with your own supplies because they’ll be there for you. There’s food and water for you if you did not come prepared to have an adventure. There are tables for you to eat and drink. Or bring your own blanket and food and have a picnic on the grass! You’re surrounded by nature and you never have to hear a car honking. You’re allowed to bring outside food, drinks, and water bottles to the islands. So if you want to save money from buying the food on the islands, you also have that option to bring your own.

You can also go hiking. Each island has its own pathway for you to walk and hike. I’d be prepared with water and comfortable shoes because it is a tough hike to the top! It’s a great exercise for anyone who wants to be active and get their daily jogs. You’re also surrounded by the most amazing views. You can see the other islands from any island that you’re on, and you get a great view of Boston. What’s better than that?

Finally, the best part about going to the Harbor Islands is the ferry ride to and back. You can take amazing photos of the views while on the ferry. If you don’t like the sun, you can sit inside and still get a view of Boston. Or you can sit outside and soak up the sun in a pretty sundress.

What are you waiting for? The Harbor Islands are one of the best things about Boston. Plan your next trip now!

Have you ever visited any of the Harbor Islands? Would you like to visit one day? Let us know in the comments or tag us on social media at @CFashionista.

Top Travel Tips for Paris Exploration

Traveling to the charming city of Paris sounds like a dream until you come back from your trip and realize how much more you wanted to do while you were there. Remember that you will only have so much time in this city and will want to take advantage of every opportunity you can to explore sites and be a typical tourist. However, also remember traveling should be fun and relaxing, not stressful. Do not try to squeeze all sightseeing into one day just to take a picture and say you have been there. Take the time to enjoy everything this beautiful city has to offer.

Appreciate the aspects of culture that surround you and make the best effort to put yourself in uncomfortable situations. It will make Parisians appreciate that you took the time to speak their language, follow their culture, or eat their food in their country. Paris is known for having fresh everything. The fresher the better. Take a minute to smell the fresh cut flowers, breathe in the fresh air, and grab a bite at some of the most authentic French restaurants. Food is a large part of the Parisian lifestyle. Cheese, wine, and bread are an important part of a daily French diet. They may seem like heavy foods, but consuming in moderation is key.

Enjoy the architecture. It is not everywhere that you will find stunning medieval and renaissance architecture on every other street. Be sure to visit the Louvre Museum and Chartres Cathedral to see some examples of these artistic styles. There are plenty of large buildings with historical significance, but also pay attention to the detail of lovely miniature homes that house French families. Go on a boat ride at night through the Seine River and get a magnificent view of multiple sites in Paris. Don’t forget to grab your camera to capture some amazing shots!

Most importantly, travel to make memories! Make Paris everything you wanted it to be by enjoying yourself and who you’re with. Nothing is worse than coming back from a trip feeling unhappy about your time there.

Let us know in the comments if you have any other recommendations or advice for traveling to Paris!

How to Visit Venice Like a Local

A few months ago, I was lucky enough to travel to Venice with my boyfriend. We spent a full day on the island taking in the sights, sounds, and tastes of Venetian paradise. As descendants of Italians ourselves, we tried our best to immerse ourselves in the culture. Doing this meant avoiding the so-called “tourist traps” in favor of lesser-known attractions.

If you are planning a trip to Venice and wish to shy away from tourist areas, look no further. Here are my tips for visiting Venice like a local.

1—Eat (and drink) as the Venetians do. When in Italy, it can be tempting to opt for the classics: pizza and pasta. However, Venice has a few classics of its own. For a true taste of Venice, try a plate of Cicchetti. Cicchetti is similar to tapas in that they are small, snack-sized portions of food. Venetian Cicchetti often contains seafood, bread, and different types of cheese. These small bites are great options for any meal, especially because they are often less than 2 Euro each.

Additionally, if you want to drink like a local, you can’t go wrong with wine. If fruity drinks are more your flavor, sip on another Venetian classic: the Bellini. A Bellini is a refreshing, summery drink made of peach juice and prosecco. Saluti!

2—Skip the gondola ride. I get it—cruising down the canals in a gondola, listening to Italian songs sung by a gondolier, it sounds like something out of a dream. However, the price tag on a gondola ride will quickly bring you back to reality. A half hour ride can cost you upwards of 80 Euro! If you really want to see Venice from the water, take a ride on a vaporetto, or waterbus. Each ride only costs a few Euro, and they’ll quickly connect you to other places on the island!

4—Speak Italian. When in a tourist area, it can be tempting to use English. The idea of speaking in a foreign language may seem daunting at first, but even just learning a few phrases can make your experience that much more authentic. Before my trip to Venice, my boyfriend and I made a notecard full of helpful phrases, such as how to order and say please and thank you. Don’t worry about pronunciation. The locals are just happy to know that you’re trying.

5—Dress like an Italian. In Venice, you might get weird looks for wearing a midriff baring crop top with booty shorts and flip flops. If you want to blend in with the locals, opt for a fashionable, yet conservative look. When I was in Venice, I wore a white chiffon blouse from Forever 21, a patterned skirt from J. Crew, and black sandals from Forever 21.

Final Tip

Finally, if you really want to experience Venice, don’t be afraid to go off the beaten path. Zig-zag through empty alleyways, climb over quiet bridges, and see the magic of Venice the way it was meant to be seen.

Have you been to Venice? Share your pictures on social media! Don’t forget to tag @Cfashionista.



How a True Foodie Travels

When exploring a new city, I don’t want to waste any time. Show me the cutest coffee shops and the best dinner spots. I want to know which parks are great for picnics and a long list of the must-see attractions. If we’re being honest, Yelp just doesn’t cut it for me. I want something more focused toward my age group. I’m looking for an aesthetically pleasing atmosphere, a meal that shocks my taste buds, and at a reasonable price that allows me to consider ordering another round of drinks.

I recently went to Chicago for the first time and would dare to claim I hit the jackpot. By using my usual “travel tricks” I arrived at the airport with my iPhone notes filled with several spots I was dying to check out. All of them found with a little (or a lot) of help from Instagram. By using the app wisely, you can find amazing spots to check out no matter where your destination is.

1—Find local bloggers. Local bloggers are always hungry for the next It spot, and will always be sure to sniff it out first. They can typically be found frequenting at any and every Instagram-worthy restaurant, so don’t forget to pack your Polaroid camera and your Ray-Bans. Start your google search with “Chicago fashion bloggers,” and pick a few that appeal to your style. Don’t hesitate to scroll down for miles, they’ve probably ventured quite a bit.

2—Stalk foodie Instagrams. For this trip, I typed “Chicago foodie” into Instagram’s search bar and was definitely not disappointed. This led me to the majority of restaurants I tried, and boy, were they good. Popular foodie Instagrams have a great variation of restaurants which is much needed when you are dining with a large group or your family that’s all ages. Once your group has decided on a cuisine, simply stalk a place that looks delish and grab a cab!

3—Scope out the location on Instagram. Let’s say you find a brunch spot on Yelp that has 4/5 stars. Not entirely convinced? Find the restaurant’s geotag on Instagram to see what everyone is posting. Perhaps their signature dish is to die for, and those posting can vouch for it. Scrolling through these pictures always gives you a good taste of what to expect, as well as great suggestions for what to order.

4—Ask and you shall receive. Always, always, always call your location! That gorgeous rooftop bar might not open until 5 p.m, or is booked that evening for an event. Your brunch spot might typically have an hour wait on Sundays, but perhaps they let you call ahead and put your name down. You never know. The hunt for great spots doesn’t stop when you’ve arrived—it has only begun. Grill your server about her or his favorite spots, and maybe you’ll find a great hole in the wall. As we all know, Chicago is known for their deep dish pizza. And after our chatty breakfast waiter told us we were wasting our time if we didn’t have dinner at Lou Malnati’s, that’s precisely what we did. Definitely worth the massive food baby I developed after scarfing down slice after slice.

Last but not least, don’t forget your essentials. My personal favorite is this leather wallet from Rebecca Minkoff. It’s a wallet, phone case, and a portable charger all in one. Talk about a travel must-have.

So now that I’ve shared my secrets, you share yours! Comment below!

Brussels is the Best Place to Visit This Summer

Tired of being at home all the time? There are ways to escape mundane life and explore the beautiful views in other places of the world. For this summer, take a break to visit the beautiful city of Brussels, Belgium. You’ll be able to see the Manneken Pis, the Grand Place, and enjoy some amazing Belgian waffles, chocolate, and French fries. Excited yet? Here are some of my favorite places to visit in Brussels.

The City of Brussels is the largest municipality of the Brussels-Capital Region and is the capital of Belgium. The City of Brussels covers most of the center of the Brussels-Capital Region as well as the northern outskirts where it borders municipalities in Flanders. The people here speak French and German and are very nice. The Manneken Pis, the Atomium, and the Grand Place are all places of interest here. Brussels is a place mixed with the modern and the ancient, with gorgeous architecture and amazing scenery.

When you come to Belgium, make sure to taste the delicious French fries. We thought French fries were called French fries because they came from France, but they actually originated from Belgium. The French fries in Belgium have a one-of-a-kind type of crispiness, and it’s something you should try when coming here. The seafood in Brussels, especially the mussels, is extremely fresh as well. I strongly recommend Chez Léon—the seafood there is fresh, delicious, and beyond imagination. Don’t forget the king of the sweets, chocolate, and waffles. Make sure to get a waffle with chocolate on it!

In addition, Belgium is the birthplace of some really famous cartoon characters, such as Tintin and the Smurfs. They will always have a special place in our childhoods. You might want to dress nicely when you go traveling—but not so nice that you’ll restrict your movement. Don’t forget your cool sunglasses and a cute headband.

Use this information well and you will be able to rock your stay in Brussels. Want further advice or other questions about traveling in European countries? Ask me in the comments down below!