Monday, December 1, 2014

Algonquin Park

Some of my fondest childhood memories come from time spent camping with my dad in Algonquin Park. While only being a few hours’ drive from the Toronto area, there is just something enchanting about getting away from the urban sprawl to a place where the air is fresh, the water is clear and the outdoor recreation is endless. We would spend each 3 or 4 day getaway hiking the various interpretive hiking trails, cycling the daunting mountain bike routes and of course relaxing around a campfire under the stars at night. Years later I have rediscovered my love for Ontario’s most popular provincial park and try to make it there at least once a year for my dose of Canadian escapism.

Towering Pines 
A beautiful vista, one of the countless in the park
Transportation around the park is easy. The main road (Highway 60) runs right through the park from the West Gate to the East Gate, with visitor centers at each side. Pick up a park map on your way in as all of the trails, campgrounds and other points of interest are mapped based on kilometre marking from the West Gate. This section of the park is known as the ‘corridor’, whereas the less accessible ‘interior’ can only be accessed via portage routes and is recommended for more experienced and adventurous folk.

Whiskey Rapids 
As an avid runner and cyclist I am always looking for a cardio-based outdoor adventure. The hiking trails of Algonquin are unbeatable. Each one explores a different element of the park’s geography, eco-system and history from raging rapids to beaver dams, early 20th century logging camps to peaceful spruce bogs. The views from these trails probably haven’t changed much in hundreds of years since the early settlers portaged through the land. Be sure to grab a guidebook (50 cents) at the starting point of each trail (or from the park visitor centres during the off-season) to get an excellent description of each section of the trail via numbered posts.

Lush forests and pristine waters

A hiking trail post marker
 Unlike most of Southern Ontario’s well known lakes, many of the lakes within Algonquin Park’s boundaries ban the use of power boats, meaning both the noise and oil pollution is non-existent and the water is calm and crystal clear; a canoer's paradise. Some of the golden sand beaches I would wager could compete with the best in the country.

Blue sky reflecting off of clear waters in a typical Algonquin bog
My most recent trip to Algonquin Park was this past October. Like the last couple of years we stayed at a very well located cottage complex in Dwight, only a 15 minute drive from Algonquin’s West Gate. Full review of this property can be viewed here, but in brief as long are you are not looking for luxury, this is a clean, well equipped and very affordable option in the area. On the way back to the city be sure to stop at 3 Guys and a Stove in nearby Huntsville for the best gourmet buffet breakfast you’ve ever had!

Logging Chain Lodge - our base for all Algonquin adventures


Mike @ Palms & Pints

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Ripley's Aquarium of Canada in Photos


This past September my wife and I finally made it over to Ripley's Aquarium of Canada in Toronto. Working downtown, I passed by this highly reviewed attraction many times over the summer but chose to wait until the fall when the suffocating crowds they were reporting had somewhat died down. 

As the aquarium is open until 11pm on many nights, we made our reservations for 7pm and had more than enough time to explore the entire premises quite thoroughly and crowds were no issue at all.

We had a fantastic time at this creative, interactive, state-of-the-art facility and would highly recommend it to anyone living in or visiting the Toronto area.

Full details and review of our experience can be found on my TripAdvisor review here.

These are some of our favorite shots from the outing:

Arriving at the Aquarium 
Sharks overhead in the uniquely designed 'Dangerous Lagoon'
A Sawfish trolling the faux-ocean floor
Sting ray getting up close and personal in 'Ray Bay'
Chillin' with some Nemos (clownfish)
A stunning jellyfish in 'Planet Jellies'
Wifey posing with the crew from 'Ray Bay'

Thanks!

Mike @ Palms & Pints

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Manitoulin Island in Photos

I spent a sunny August weekend with my wife and in-laws on beautiful Manitoulin Island. As a life-long Ontario resident I was surprised it had taken me nearly 29 years to make it to the world's largest freshwater island. To be honest, a day and a half wasn't nearly enough time to take everything in, but we did our best, exploring on foot and bike as much as possible. Here are some of my favorite photographs from the adventure:

Picturesque beach at Gore Bay - after a 20min bike ride from our cottage.
Gore Bay (the bay, not the town), as seen from dock level.
Getting ready for the next cycling adventure, with Ice Lake in the background
The Meldrum Bay Inn, where we had a fantastic dinner - Full Review Here
The stone pier out into Meldrum Bay. It was cool to see, but likely not worth the hour drive from Gore Bay as there wasn't much else in the area.  
An old sign that lists just about everything you are going to find in quaint Meldrum Bay.
Majestic Bridal Veil Falls. We wished we had more time to swim in the lagoon below like some were doing, but sadly we only got a quick visit on our way off the island. 
One of the many beautiful sailboats docked at Little Current, our entry/exit point of Manitoulin Island. 
Manitoulin Island is a pretty well kept secret compared to other Ontario 'Cottage Country' destinations, so we were a little surpised to see a cruise ship making the rounds.
Enjoying the sunshine and the view. If I want my own boat one day I may have to start a little smaller. 

Some musings about Manitoulin Island:

-There are two ways to get to the island, a 3 hour drive from the Toronto area, followed by a 1.5 hour car ferry, or a 6 hour straight drive. When you factor in having to arrive at the ferry 1 hour before departure you are looking at similar timelines. We choose the road route as it provided a much more flexible schedule. 

-As the island isn't very accessible by car, there are surprisingly few on the road. This makes for fantastic cycling with little towns and places of interest separated just enough for a nice ride. 

-Take a week if you truly want to experience the island. A weekend is far too short. Plan to picnic by beaches and hike the trails. The more you can cover on bike & foot the better as it's hard to really appreciate it's beauty from the non-coastal main road that spans across it. 

Here is my review of Evergreen Resort, the cottage we booked for the trip. 

Thanks!

Mike @ Palms & Pints

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Day Trippin' The Toronto Islands

My wife and I made the journey down to the Toronto Islands to attend a kids birthday party on Centre Island. After the party was cancelled last minute due to a rainy forecast, we decided to board the ferry across anyways and explore this under-appreciated piece of Toronto parkland.

There are several islands just off the coast of downtown Toronto in Lake Ontario. A ferry is needed to get to the islands, but once across everything (except Billy Bishop Airport) can be reached on land routes through a series of paths and bridges.

Toronto Island Ferry making the journey across - Source 
As the birthday was cancelled there was no need to linger at our child-centric ‘Centre Island’ entry point, and we quickly headed east towards the residential Ward’s Island. As the rain started to spit we decided that a roofed 2-seater pedal car (are these considered bikes?) was the best method of transportation. While the island won’t mistake for Algonquin Park, it is almost surreal to see the secluded homes and open fields while the Bay Street skyscrapers practically still cast a shadow over you.

Toronto skyline as seen from Ward's Island
A typical home on Ward's Island
Riding the 2-seater bike across the island
Wet conditions didn't deter from the adventure!
We wheeled around on leg-power to the far reaches of Ward’s Island, exploring the residential areas that dot the island in addition to an old church house and some marinas filled with nice little sailboats (one day!). As the rain was increasing and temperatures dropping we decided to head for shelter at the local island eatery. We just ordered drinks but they served all sorts of lunch and dinner fare for those whose picnics were cut short by the weather.

Historic St. Andrew's Church 
Picturesque marina
While we were able to make the best of the rainy and chilly conditions, the Toronto Islands would be much better served on a warm sunny day when you can bring a cooler and a hibachi BBQ and enjoy the cottage lifestyle in downtown Toronto.

Mike @ Palms & Pints

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Unlocking The Power of Hotwire


Hotwire is becoming more and more a go-to tool for even novice vacation planners. While it can provide fantastic savings, it may also deter from your trip if not used correctly. For those unaware, Hotwire is a third-party hotel booking website which typically offers lower rates than booking directly through the hotel or other common third-party sites such as Expedia or Hotels.com. They are able to do this by allowing you to book a hotel based on a set of criteria (rough location, amenities, star rating, customer review aggregate) without knowing the exact property ahead of time. The hotel name is only revealed once your non-refundable payment has been made. While I don’t fully understand the economics of this method, I have assumed it works because hotels use the service to sell-off otherwise unfilled rooms at a discounted rate which doesn’t contradict the ‘lowest advertised rate’ found on their website. 

Here are six tips to help you decide if Hotwire is right for you, and get the most out of it: 

1) Not For Brand-Loyal Travelers

If you are loyal to a specific hotel brand or chain (i.e. you wouldn’t stay anywhere other than a Homewood Suites by Hilton when traveling in North America), Hotwire isn’t for you. Besides the fact that you have very limited control over which brand you end up with, you are also likely missing out on deals associated with loyally programs run by your favorite brand.

2) Are The Savings Worth The Risk?

Find a few hotels on a regular third-party booking site like Expedia. Pick ones that you like based on area, reviews and star rating. Now compare the prices of those hotels to what Hotwire is offering within the same criteria. If you are saving under $20 per night you must decide if the risk of booking the ‘unknown’ is really worth it?  

3) Area, Area, Area!

A major concern some travelers have with Hotwire is the inability to know exactly where the hotel will be located. The website will divide cities into ‘zones’ which can be as small as a few square kilometers, but may be much larger. Carefully review their zone map and when you find the zone you want to be in, imagine your hotel being on the far edge of that zone. Is that something that would severely disappoint you? If so, Hotwire may not be your best option as they cannot offer the location precision you are looking for. 

Intercontinental Wien (Vienna) - easily my best Hotwire find.

4) Consider The Bed Situation

When booking a hotel direct or even via Expedia/Hotels.com you are usually offered a choice of bed configuration. Two doubles, two queens, one king etc. When booking through Hotwire they will only guarantee there will be enough bed space for the people you’ve specified. If you are booking a room for two people you will have no control over which configuration you will be given. Thus two people expecting their own beds may be forced to share one. This is typically a moot point for a traveling couple.

5) Insider Information

Because Hotwire assigns you a hotel based on a series of criteria, chances are someone has previously looked for the same thing and made the booking. There are websites where fellow travelers post their search criteria and subsequent hotel bookings. This can be very helpful with narrowing down the list of potential hotels you may receive. BetterBidding.com is a well-known website which provides this information. While there may be many hotels in a certain area with a certain star rating, if you pay close attention to the exact amenities they are listing (pool, conference center, gym etc.) it may rule some of them out. Explore sites like these and you may be able to narrow down your choice to 2 or 3 possible outcomes. Please keep in mind however that Hotwire can change the selection of hotels they offer at any time and there is no way to identify the options with 100% precision.

6) Contact The Hotel

After booking you can always contact the hotel directly to discuss any special requests including the aforementioned bed issue, or to just verify your details . Because you booked via third party and likely got a price below their posted rate, they may be unable or unwilling to guarantee your requests or may want to charge you an extra fee outside of your payment to Hotwire. There is no harm in trying though as the worst they could say is no.

Have any Hotwire questions, or know some other tips I didn’t list? Drop a comment below!

Mike @ Palms & Pints

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Quebec City - So Europe, So Close

After using up quite a bit of my 2014 vacation time with a February trip to Europe, an April trip to Florida and my final week tied up for a December destination wedding in Punta Cana, I was excited when an opportunity arose for a little weekend getaway in Old Town Quebec City. 

I knew very little about Quebec City prior to arriving, other than that it was one of the oldest cities in Canada, the only North American ‘walled city’ north of Mexico and also the holy grail of French culture in the country.
                
Upon pulling up to our hotel (Le Manoir d’Auteuil) within the fortified walls of Old Town, we were quickly immersed in shades of our European adventure a few months earlier. Old Town Quebec is split into two historic segments, Haute-Ville (or Upper Town) and Basse-Ville (or Lower Town). The Upper town sits atop a plateau overlooking the region and the majestic St. Lawrence River, with Lower Town down below. Both parts of Old Town are quite interesting, historic and worth exploring. 
  
We began our time here with a walk down Rue St. Jean, a tourist hub with a variety of restaurants and shopping. The main part of the street was blocked off from traffic which turned it into a European style pedestrian zone which was pretty cool. When we were done wandering we set in for some good pizza eats at Mille Et Une Pizzas. The thin crust pizza was excellent and on par with one of my favorite Toronto Pizza restaurants, Pizzeria Libretto. As night was approaching and we were tired from the travel we decided to settle in for some gelato and catch a (fully bilingual!) street performance in a city square in front of the historic Notre Dame de Quebec cathedral. 


Bustling Rue St. Jean
Street Performer in the square

Saturday we were up early and first headed to the Citadelle, a military fortress just outside of the walls of Old Town. While it may have been interesting to walk around the Citadelle, we were not prepared to pay $16 per person to enter its main core. We got there just in time for the ceremonial “changing of the guard” (10am) and were able to see some of the action from the common areas outside of the paid center. 


'Changing of the Guard' underway at the Citadelle

From there we ventured to the neighboring Plains of Abraham. A formal battle site turned public parkland. We strolled across some of the many different paths weaving through the rolling hills. There isn’t all that much to see here, but a visit to the south edge of the park which overlooks the St. Lawrence is a must. 

Finding our way at the Plains of Abraham

After taking in the views we decided to head down a massive wooden staircase to Lower Town. These stairs were unlike anything I had been on before and seemed to go forever. If you are nervous about heights then I would definitely avoid them as they are quite steep and imposing. Once we (finally) reached Lower Town we were able to walk alongside the river bed with some nice views, cool old houses and plenty of other walkers, runners and cyclists. We eventually reached Rue du Petit Champlain, a narrow pedestrian zone street with plenty of souvenir and boutique shopping along with a slew of restaurants. This was a charming area, if you can get past the thick crowds. Upon reaching the end we choose to skip the pay-per-ride funicular back to Upper Town and instead took another set of lengthy, however less imposing, stairs back to the top. 


Cool looking homes along the river-front
View of Rue Petit Champlain

Our next stop back in Upper Town was the centerpiece of Quebec City architecture, the Chateau Frontenac Hotel. This towering giant of a building can be seen from all over the city and we spent some quality time walking around it’s perimeter as well as the surrounding area known as the Dufferin Terrace. We were able to enter the hotel and explore the lobby areas, but felt the views from outside were much more impressive. 
  
The beautiful Chateau Frontenac
View of the St. Lawrence River from the Dufferin Terrace

While in that area we stopped for lunch at Le Chic Shack. A trendy little quick-service spot which specializes in burgers and poutine. We were impressed with the food although felt it was a bit overpriced for a quick lunch. Afterwards we headed back to Rue St. Jean and enjoyed some sunshine on a patio with a beer. While the beer and people-watching were nice, the service was terrible so we quickly left and had a 2nd drink on our hotel’s patio. 

Smoked meat poutine from Le Chic Shack
Ice cold Boreale on Rue St. Jean

Dinner that night was spent at La Pizzalo, the top-rated Pizza spot in the city. While the pizza was unique and service excellent, we agreed that their signature cheese overflow was a little much for our tastes and made their paper-thin crusts almost disappear. 
Our final evening saw us grabbing a drink on Rue Grand Allee, a hotspot of nightlife with several bars/restaurants in a row all with jam-packed front-facing patios and music pumping. Definitely the spot to be if you’re looking to party in Quebec City.

Mike @ Palms & Pints 

@palmsandpints

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

How to Plan an Effective ‘Guys Road Trip’

I have done a lot of trip-planning in my day for all sorts of adventures, but none of them more frequently than buddies road trips. There is just something about hitting the open road with anywhere from a couple to a dozen of your good friends that can almost guarantee a great time! 
  
My exquisite planning has seen us through successful automobile journeys to great cities like Pittsburgh, Columbus, Nashville, Montreal and Philadelphia. While I’m not saying that any of these trips were without their road bumps (pun intended), they all stayed on track thanks to careful research and focused execution. 
  
The challenge with being the group’s “planner” is that you are faced with the responsibility and pressure of planning something that meets or exceeds your friends’ expectations. The plus to this is that you have full control over all of the details like dates, budget & itinerary. While this role isn’t for everyone, it can be quite rewarding if you go into it prepared. Here are some of my best tips: 
  
Note – these tips are based around a 2 to 4 night, single-destination trip where travel is done by car/van. 
  

Good old open interstate

1)      Set Trip and Payment Dates
  
Everyone will say they are “interested” in a trip without a set time-frame for both the trip itself and payment. Plan ahead and pick a date that works for you, then give a reasonable deadline for your party to provide the cash. Don’t get caught waiting for stragglers and be firm with your deadline. Book hotel room(s) and car rental (if needed) for only the people who have committed with cold hard cash. If you’re a nice guy you can assist any late-comers with booking their own accommodations themselves (or in another small group). 
  
2)      Over-charge, don’t Under-charge 
  
Ensure you collect enough money from everyone to cover the full hotel, car rental (if necessary) and gas costs. When doing your math, err on the side of caution and inflate the price slightly. Keep in mind there are things like road tolls, hotel parking, in-room phone use or other small charges that may arise during the trip. By collecting a little extra at the start, you don’t have to nickel and dime your friends at every turn.   
  
3)      Know Your Group and Plan Accordingly
  
Is the bulk of your travel party big spenders who like to live large and have cash to burn? If so, by all means go all-out. But if you party is like mine and wants to cram the most fun into the tightest of budget, keep that in mind while planning. You can force them to spend a little out of their comfort zone to ensure you secure quality accommodations (see #4 below), but don’t force them to break the bank just because you want to. Secondly, if you are travelling with married guys they will likely have different tastes and expectations than those of the 'single and looking' demographic. The focus on day-time sight-seeing vs. nightlife should be weighted based on the group. 
  
4)      Get a Hotel that Works 
  
The Four Seasons is not required, but find a hotel that will suit your needs. Use TripAdvisor and find something that is a fair price but still decently reviewed. Four grown men in a tiny room doesn’t work (I’ve tried it). Try keeping it to three per room maximum. It is a known fact that hotels away from the downtown core are cheaper than those in it, however do some research and look at all of the factors. Is a $20 cab ride or time consuming public transit to the heart of the city worth saving a few bucks on hotel costs? Note: This is a guy’s trip (see: boozing), the vehicle that brought you into the city won’t be (and with some exceptions, shouldn’t be) moved until you are heading home. 
  
5)      Enjoy The Journey as much as the Destination 
  
My typical road trips are anywhere from 2 to 4 nights long. A rule of thumb I like to go by is no more than 4 hours of driving per night spent away. Any longer and the time on the road just simply won’t be worth it. Since these trips are short, it’s best to make the journey as much a part of the fun as the destination. For us this begins with ‘Duty Free’ shopping when crossing the border. Nothing gets our group more psyched for the trip than a rock bottom price for 24 cans of Coors Light or a 40oz bottle of Crown Royal. In addition to this it’s fun to keep an eye out for interesting road-side restaurants and of course have some crowd-pleasing music on hand. 
  
6)      Set Rules and Expectations 
  
Not to be everyone’s ‘Dad’, but as the planner of the trip you and your credit card are responsible for any negligence on your group’s part.  Ensure they know and respect the 'No Smoking' rule in the hotel room and rental car. If you have a group that might get a little rowdy, let them know that it is a quality hotel, not a house party and you don’t want to be kicked out or charged for damages. If you’ve chosen your group wisely they will respect your planning and happily oblige. If there is a 9am wake-up call to hit the road, make it clear that you don’t want to be waiting around for certain people because they chose to party a little too hard on the last night. 
  
7)      Have a Food Plan 
  
Nothing kills the vibe of a vacation more than everyone sitting around in a hotel room for an hour trying to figure out where to eat. Have a list of some interesting restaurants at the ready. It’s a guy’s trip so leave fine (or even semi-fine) dining out of it. Focus on famous local cuisine like cheesesteak in Philly, poutine in Montreal or Pizza in NYC. Research good street food and late-night eats as road-trips are usually short and busy so you’ll often look to grab something on the go. 
  
8)      Set Meeting Places 
  
If you are a Canadian travelling in the US or vice-versa chances are you will not be able to readily call or text your buddies if you split-up. Have a set time and place to meet up for dinner or night plans. Don’t feel like you have to always “keep the group together”, remember this isn’t just your trip, and everyone wants to get something a little different out of it.   

 
Have any of your own tips or questions about road trip planning? I would love to hear from you in the comments! 
  
Mike @ Palms & Pints 
@palmsandpints 
  

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Anyone been to Malta?

Whenever I plan a major trip I always have a dilemma. I quite enjoy two uniquely different types of travel and I can’t really favor one over the other.

There is the ultimate R&R vacation in a tropical paradise… the heat, the ocean and the booze…

There is also the ultimate exploration vacation in Europe… the culture, the history, the food…

Lucky for me, an upcoming Punta Cana destination wedding in December has solidified my plans for the next trip, leaving my 2nd wedding anniversary (Spring 2015) travel slot wide open for another European adventure!

In a previous blog I mused about a possible itinerary for my next Euro trip, however after I gave it some more thought I realized that a four or five city whirlwind tour might not be how I would best experience the ‘old world’ this time around. A nine-to-fiver like myself can't commit to more than a 10 day trip either. Don’t get me wrong, jumping from Munich to Prague to Venice was a trip for the ages, but what if I could combine what I love about Europe with what I love about the tropics… and come home with both memories and rejuvenation.

My biggest gripe with past trips was the constant regional travel and lack of time to really dig into the heart of each destination. We could only really do a few things in each city before moving on to the next.  If there were any “out of town” attractions that caught our eye, they were almost certainly left by the wayside due to time constraints. (The Erdinger Brewery outside of Munich is a prime example). Moving through the continent using a variety of transportation methods can be fun, however no one wants to turn down excursions to sit in an airport or shady bus terminal.  

What if I went somewhere in Europe that was equal parts sun, relaxation, history and food? I think this place might be the tiny island nation of Malta.

Often overlooked by more well-known Mediterranean hot spots like Italy, Spain, South of France, Greece and Croatia, Malta may be the perfect European escapist destination.  

Malta doesn't mess around in the 'Epic Churches' department
The main island is less than 20km from end to end, thus 8-10 days would be perfect for exploring many of the towns and the natural beauty the country has to offer. The small islands could be visited via day trips, plus the location in the southern Mediterranean provides perfect spring time weather (that means palms and beaches!). A quick bit of research shows that the country hosts some of the planet's oldest structures. That's cool! 
A Maltese beach - as good as any
I’ll be honest and say I know very little about Malta… it’s food, it’s people or it’s culture, but the aforementioned criteria alone are enough for me to commit to checking it out.

Are you from Malta? Have you been to Malta? I would love to hear your thoughts and tips in the comments!

Mike @ Palms & Pints

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Part-Time Traveler

I started my travel blog (and related twitter account) back in January, as travel planning has been a huge passion of mine for quite some time. I was looking for a way to pass on some of my knowledge on the subject, but more so to connect with and learn from other like-minded bloggers. In just a few months in the community I have been exposed to so many whose lives revolve around travelling the globe. My first reaction was a bit of jealously. I typically go on two major trips per year. “Major” being defined as a trip of a week or longer. On top of that I may squeeze in another 2 or 3 long-weekend type getaways. The jealousy lies in the fact that many of these bloggers are spending more time on foreign soil in a month than I do in a year!  It’s seems the sentiment from many of these full-time globe-trotters is that “anyone can do it, but it’s not for everyone”, and this couldn’t be more accurate.

Venice - sadly one of only two major trips I will take this year

I love to travel, and maybe just as much, I love to plan travel. For my February ten-day Europe trip I must have spent 30+ hours over 3 months planning it, ensuring we were getting the best possible value and the most out of our brief time in each location. Same could be said for my Florida “guys trip” in April. I find myself reverting back into travel-plan mode mere days after returning from a previous trip. If holding down a full-time job means that I can only travel a few times a year, so be it, but it’s sure not going to stop me from the research!


With that said I will be the first to admit that “full time travel” might not be for me, even if the work schedule provided more flexibility. Part of what makes travel so special for me is the rarity and exclusivity of it. Little things like being at an airport, checking into a hotel or grocery shopping in another city are exciting events. I work downtown Toronto and my office is in a hotel building in the city’s tourist-filled entertainment district. Everyday going to and from work I see those arriving in the city with their luggage, grabbing breakfast in the hotel or strolling Canada’s Walk of Fame along King Street West. On one hand I’m jealous of their current travel excitement juxtaposed against my dull work-day grind, but at the same time it prompts me to think about my next adventure abroad. A friend of mine who travels more than regularly on business told me that he looks at airports like a stop-and-go highway during rush hour. Nothing but a hassle. I can’t imagine experiencing an airport like this. Airports represent your gateway to amazing new places and memories. There is just something about being on the road at 5AM en-route to a 7AM flight that screams VACATION!



Made a 3-day trek to DC last summer

From my reading, long-term travel is typically done on a modest budget, thus one would have to have the lifestyle to match. I don’t fancy myself much of a budget traveler like many of the aforementioned “digital nomads”. I enjoy certain comforts when I travel and this is twice-fold for my main travel companion, my wife. This doesn’t mean that we stay at the Four Seasons, but it means that backpacking between hostels is not necessarily our cup of tea.

Does the idea of travelling the world full-time appeal to me? Absolutely! But I don’t think it’s something I will ever do. I love my house and take great pride in its ownership. We have a pool in the backyard and settling back there on a hot and sunny day with a drink in hand is something not even a five-star hotel room overseas would ever replace. I love my car, my MacBook and my gadgets. I couldn’t sell off all of these things to fund full-time travel. I am a self-proclaimed “Trip Research Aficionado”, and this is a passion I can maintain from the homestead. There are so many destinations to learn about and hotel reviews to read through, so travel will always be a huge and on-going part of my life... and when it does eventually come time for my next adventure, I’ll be wide-eyed and well-prepared.


Nothing beats home in the summer time!

Mike @ Palms & Pints
@palmsndpints