A Walk Through Athens Greece

As a hardcore history nerd and amateur cultural anthropologist (yes, I’m only two classes away from having a bachelors in Anthropology), Athens was the perfect opportunity to finally live out my fantasy of exploring and studying ancient cultures and their ruins. It was an honor to have a personal experience with one of the most prolific civilizations that has ever graced this planet.  Think about it!  Without Athens modern democracy wouldn’t exist!  The idea of forums and a government by the people for the people was a concept that arose from the Athenians who, like the goddess Athena for whom


Port of Hamburg: Photo Essay

Sorry Philadelphia, but I’m having a love affair with Hamburg, Germany.  I love its old traditions balanced with a spirit of new ideas, its humble, working class beginnings, and this port city’s seafaring feel.  Where Philadelphia’s shipping history was almost snubbed out because of America’s highway system (in recent years, there’s been a huge push to revitalize it), Hamburg’s is still thriving 826 years later.  Honestly, a life at sea is not complete with a stop at Hamburg Harbor. This past winter, I took a trip back to visit Hamburg and was welcomed by unseasonably beautiful weather.  As a result,

Heini Hiltunen Timo Kaukonen, left, sweats it out at the Sauna World Championships.
From ESPN "Sports from Hell"

That Time I Almost Died in a German Sauna

There are two types of people in this world: there are those who go to saunas for relaxation.  Then there are those who turn relaxation into a competition.  Yes, there are literally people who go to saunas to challenge one another on who can stay in a sauna the longest.  Back in 2010 I read a story about that Russian guy who died in a sauna competition in Finland.  The relaxation aspect of it I can get, but I think it’s a bit crazy that people take it to a whole new level and put their bodies through stress just

dall sheep

Have You Seen the Dall Sheep?

Alaska is teeming with wildlife.  In fact, Denali National Park & Preserve is home to 39 species of mammals, 169 types of birds, 14 fish, and 1 amphibian.  Amongst them are wild bears, moose, coyotes, wolves, eagles, and other creatures worth excitedly wiping out your camera and accidentally dropping it for.  But no animal in Alaska gets the older male tourist population more pumped than the Dall sheep. When compared to the other majestic creatures that you encounter in Alaska, the Dall sheep are simpletons.  You can usually observe them far off in the distance, hanging out on the peaks

Sun Rise

From the Darkness Comes Light

Hey there readers, On A Travel Broad, I tend to focus only on the positive and exciting side of my life and travels.  I share with you pictures from my time living in Germany and stories of my jaunts through Europe and North America in hopes of inspiring you to go out and experience the world for yourselves.  But I hardly ever discuss the difficult times I sometimes face.  Some of these challenging times are by my choice because I love traveling and sharing my travels with you gives me purpose.  In the 5 years since I’ve started this blog,

deutsche bahn

How to Navigate Germany When Deutsche Bahn Train Drivers Go on Strike

If you want to tick off a group of Germans, tell them that the train is going to be fifteen minutes late. But if you tell them that none of the trains will be running due to a strike? Utter chaos! Hundreds of thousands of travelers depend on the Deutsche Bahn to transport them to airports, cities and neighboring countries in Europe. But as Deustche Bahn train drivers prepare to go on strike tomorrow through Monday, these travelers, many of whom will be converging on Berlin this weekend for the 25th anniversary of its fall, are scrambling for an alternative.

roma kids

Playing with Roma Children

Below Acropolis in Athens, Greece, Roma children work as street performers, playing accordions, drums and the bouzouki, a type of Greek guitar, for money.  They purposely target marketplaces and tourist areas, knowing that that’s where the cash flows the fastest.  There are several levels of aggressiveness when it comes to begging.  Some casually perform on the street corner — in fact, the older kids are very talented at playing folk music, turning street corners in to concerts.  Then there are others who go from cafe table to cafe table playing music while simultaneously begging for money. Some get creative by

favorite place in the world

Answer to the Infamous Question, “What’s Your Favorite Place in the World”

“What’s your favorite place in the world?”  It’s often the first question that everyone asks when they learn that I’m a travel writer.  In my younger years, I often answered with a place I had recently gotten back from, mostly for the sake of conversation.  “Oh I was surprised how much I loved Denmark” or “I loved Barcelona for the food”. But the more I travel, the more I realize that there is no definitive answer to this question.  People sometimes expect me to pick a favorite place because of the sites (“isn’t Paris the best because of the Eiffel

York Post

York: England’s Most Haunted Town is Actually Charming

York: England’s most haunted town.  Seems like a bold claim, but when you look at York’s gruesome history of the Black Death, murder, poverty, war, and genocide you can kind of see where these ghost stories come from.  As a result, many businesses in York are cashing in on things that go bump in the night.  Nightly ghost tours take upwards of 75 thrill-seekers at a time to go ghost hunting at famous sites, hotels offer premier rates to stay in their “haunted suite”, and pubs have banners and signs claiming York’s most haunted pub, not because of any quantifiable

cats of athens

The Cats of Athens

People often talk about how many dogs are roaming around Athens, but let’s take a moment to enjoy the cats. With the picturesque views and the natural coyness of cats, I have enough photos to do a 15-month “Kittehs of Athens” Calendar if I wanted to.  Here’s a few of my favorite felines so far.

The Advantages of “Winging It”

Lately, I’ve been considering going to a travel agent and booking one of those group vacation packages.  You know, the ones where every minute of every day is scheduled with tons of activities.  There’s tours for foodies, tours for historians and even tours for younger people in their early 20’s like me, however those are more geared towards nightlife.  Even though I enjoy all of these aspects of travel, I don’t think I would enjoy such a strict schedule.  I would be especially annoyed if I was with a group and we spent a day somewhere that I may want to spend several days.  I’m the type of traveler who enjoys going at my own pace and like to be spontaneous and flexible with the destinations on my “To Visit” list.  To me, even though some travel packages look mighty awesome, it doesn’t fit my style of travel.  Sometimes the fun in travel is preparing and planning your own adventure!

Nowadays, with the power of the internet, crafting our own travel itinerary is easier than ever.  Here’s a few tips to get you started on creating your personal perfect vacation!

1.) Picking the Destination

The first step is always picking where you’re going to go.  You might have a travel bucket list in mind, but what is feasible? Most of us have that extremely extravagant vacation in our dreams, but will our budget allow it?  Start looking at the cost of getting to your destination.  Will you fly, will you drive or will you take a bus? Factor in the cost of travel and that will determine your budget for the rest of the trip.  You can have a luxurious trip close to home or have a budget savvy trip somewhere far away.

Badrutt's Palace

For the small fee of $5,427, you can stay in the luxury suite for a night!

2.) Deciding on your Accommodations 

After you pick your destination and how you are getting there, the next step is picking where you’re going to stay.  Do you have enough money in your budget for a 5-star hotel or are you going to rough it and stay in a hostel room with 20 other people?  Once you pan out your accommodations, you will know your day to day budget as well as how many days you can stay.

3.) What do you Want to Do and See?

What kind of traveler are you?  Do you enjoy a good adventure in the wilderness or do you like fine dining and shopping when you travel?  Search blogs, travel websites and other resources to see what kinds of things you want to do and see.  Make a list and try to map out a tentative itinerary for each day.  This is the part of the journey that I like to keep flexible.  Perhaps my first day was originally dedicated to visiting parks, but it started to rain, so I went to a museum instead.

Though I’m sure tour groups have their positives, they can never outweigh the satisfaction of doing your own thing and “winging it” on a vacation!

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