1. try the local cuisine

bonus points if you take a cooking class. not only will you get to try the delicious traditional balinese foods, but you will learn how to create them in your own kitchen! be sure to try sate and nasi campur!

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thailand has always been such a dream of mine. i was elated when i found out we were going for a long weekend to ring in the new year and celebrate david and i’s one year anniversary. [he’s going to have a lot to top next year!!]

needless to say, i got right to packing. packing for thailand was very similar to packing for bali. be prepared to be hot, so pack things that are breathable and show minimal sweat stains [it happens to the best of us].
if i was packing minimally i could easily have lived off of 2-3 pair of shorts, a skirt and some sensible t-shirts. oh, and of course.. add in a swim suit or two! so, if you need to pack light, it is most definitely do-able! i like to think i fall somewhere in between on the scale of minimal to extra.
 

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packing for any tropical destination is rather simple. stick to two rules and you will be good to go.

1. pack something breathable

and

2. pack something comfortable

it’s truly as simple as that. you want to pack anything that allows for air flow, because when i say it gets hot in bali, i mean it gets hot and humid the moment you think about stepping foot outdoors. and well, nobody travels to bali with plans stay inside all day, so the heat and humidity is unavoidable. therefore, breathable and comfortable material it is.

i opted to pack flow-y dresses [they’re great for taking pictures in], skirts [casual skirts], shorts, tanks and of course, beach wear. depending on what areas and sites you will be visiting, you do want to stay reasonably humble in attire. most areas in bali are relaxed and laid back on this, but if you are visiting a temple or holy place most will require shoulders and knees covered. [you can purchase or rent articles of clothing at most sites to cover required body areas].

below are my favorite picks to bring along to bali or any tropical destination you may find yourself visiting soon. you can click on any image to shop directly.

maxi dresses

bali is an adult playground with a photo-op at every corner. flow-y dresses will make any photo you take look instagram ready without even trying. however, they are not practical for every adventure you may embark upon while exploring. i wore a dress when i could and braved wearing one to the tegalang rice fields, all for the photo. it ended up pouring on us and walking around in a maxi dress was the last thing i wanted to do. but hey, girls gotta do what a girls gotta do.

click on any image to shop

skirts

packing a loose fit skirt is a great option to pair with a one piece bathing suit if you plan on seeking out a hidden waterfall or posting up by the beach somewhere. most are breathable and can also be paired with a tank that you can later re-wear with shorts. a great packing tip is to always pack pieces that you can wear in multiple ways. it saves luggage space which we all know is prime real estate!

click on any image to shop

shorts

this is just a given. my favorite kind of shorts are ones that have a loose fit [you’ll thank me after being outside for 30 minutes or more] or ones that are made out of softer and more breathable material because well, they end up feeling like pajama shorts and who can complain about that!

click on any image to shop

tanks and tops

this is another given. i would go for tank tops and t-shirts that are breathable and versatile. like i mentioned before, if you pack a top that could go with both a pair of shorts and a skirt, then that saves you luggage space which leaves you room to do a little bali souvenir shopping. 😉

click on any image to shop

cover ups and bathing suits

find your favorite bathing suit and pack it! if you plan on doing a little sun bathing and lounging around, you can pack whatever suit you feel is best. if you plan on jumping into waterfalls and hiking around, i would opt for a suit with support and lots of comfort. i personally, pick a suit by how it ties. i am rather picky about bathingsuits that have a tie behind the neck. if i tie them too tight, i get a neck sore and if i tie them too loose, well.. the girls end up giving everyone a show. so, unless the suit provides extreme comfort, i typically lean towards suits with straps.

one-piece bathing suits are a great option to bring because they can double up as a top worn with jeans and/or your skirt. aka, more luggage space, aka more bali shopping!

cover ups can also double up as a dress/day outfit. i highly recommend packing a cover up that you would feel comfortable sitting in a casual lunch spot in. that way you can make the most out of your beach day.

click on any image to shop

wishing you the best time on your next tropical vacation!

xoxo | jasmine

 

*please note, this is a free site to all users. in order to keep it running, affiliate links are used throughout the site. so stick around a while and be sure to check out all the great ready to shop items!

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dressing in boracay is rather simple. pack light, and pack anything that will keep you cool. i always travel with a carry-on or medium sized suitcase and a backpack so i can keep all valuable goods on me at all times. my suitcase consisted of swimsuits, coverups, shorts, tanks and a couple of sundresses that would double as date night outfits. it’s rare, but i opted to forego packing any heels or wedges. i often don’t go without a good pair of wedges, but have come to realize that beach destinations are better off with sandals. nobody wants to be the girl walking in wedges in the sand. i mean killer calf workout, but spare yourself and go comfy with a pair of cute flats that won’t get destroyed by a little water and/or sand.

my birkenstocks are my beach go-to sandals because they’re comfortable and i can pair them with just about anything. i always pack my tory burch sandals for when i want to feel fancy for a date night dinner.

i typically try to pack cover ups that can double as an outfit for day excursions or beach lunch breaks. because summer is coming to an end, most of my favorites are on sale [hip hip hooray!] buying pieces at the end of the season always guarantees getting great deals. so, stock up for spring or any beachy getaways you have coming up.

as for colors, i try to stick with anything that is either really light or really dark. the beach is a wonderful place, but it can get hot and humid. the last thing you want to worry about is sweat stains. you can avoid them by sticking with a more neutral color palette [avoiding light greys] and/or by wearing breathable material.

beach trips should be relaxing and fun, so don’t sweat the small stuff and remember to have fun and leave a little space for souvenirs. 🙂

shop vacation outfits

shop vacation shoes

shop cover ups

shop swimwear

shop travel luggage

xo | jasmine elias

don’t forget to enter the nordstrom gift card giveaway below. if you win, you can stock up on many of these pieces. 🙂

NORDSTROM GIFT CARD GIVEAWAY

now…it’s time for a fabulous giveaway!
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simply enter below by completing the rafflecopter.
you’ll receive one entry per completion.
this giveaway is open internationally and runs until 9/20.
winner will be announced here. good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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the number one topic i get questions about is travel. i started writing this post and realized it quickly became information overload. so, i pumped the breaks and found a way to break my top travel hacks into segments. i hope this helps you save a buck or two on your next european extravaganza, or gives you a little tip on how to make the most of your trip. so, here it is… travel hacks, europe edition.

booking your flight

book your flight at least 2 weeks in advance. 3 months is ideal, but get any closer than 2 weeks and you can expect to front a little extra cash to get to where you want to go. this could also be the complete opposite. if an airline has tons of seats left, you may be able to score an incredible deal at the very last minute. however, chances of that are slim to none and i do not advise you leave an international trip to chance unless you have ample amount of time off and are great with spontaneity . [kudos if that’s you].

booking your flights early can not only save you money, but also allow you to choose a seat next to whomever you will be traveling with. this will make your flight so much more enjoyable. it also helps with the prevention of getting stuck next to a chatter box who does not get the hint after you plug in head phones and pretend to be sleeping. [we’ve all been there].

another perk to having your flights booked ahead of time is that it also frees up your time prior to your trip so you can properly plan for your actual stay.

flight hack: if you are traveling overseas, take a look at layover locations. london, germany, and prague are just a few of the most common layovers. if you want to get see an extra city, take the flight with the longer layover. this flight is usually the cheaper option and you can check your bags at the airport and go and experience the new city/country with enough time to hit some of the major hotspots. think of it as a bonus day.

if it’s a city/country you want to spend extra time in, you can typically search for a “multi-city” flight and there would be no additional cost for extra time. for example NYC to London to Paris to NYC would be the same cost as NYC to Paris to NYC because london is a natural layover destination. in other words, if you can expect to have a layover in that city regardless of whether or not you want to spend a little extra time there, you can typically add that city into your itinerary at no extra cost. this will not be the case with every city, and every time, but leave yourself a little time to play around with ticket searches so you can choose the flight that suits you best.

to save money, you can also look to fly out of a major city such as New York, Houston or Dallas. this does add time to your travel day, however if money is a constraint, look into domestic flights to a major city from your home and then international tickets from the major city. my husband and i have done this numerous times [while using southwest companion pass] and saved over $600 on our tickets, as well as snuck in a little new york visit. weigh the cost of extra travel time. if it’s a $50 difference, scrap it. also pay close attention to boarding times. international flights require additional time for check-in and if the major city has multiple airports, make sure you are domestically flying into the correct one, or have a method of transportation. [most airports have shuttles to and from, but confirm this before taking this route].

activities

don’t plan it down to the wire, but have a general idea of where you want to be and what you want to do. i typically make a list of the things i want to see and do in order of priority. then, i pull out a calendar and try to fit as much as i can on there. europe can be explored in two ways. you can spend all of your time in 2-3 cities and really explore them or you could see 4-5 while there on one single trip. if you choose staying in 2-3 cities you are allowing yourself more time to really enjoy the culture and see all that the city has to offer. if you choose to ambitiously see 4-5 cities during your trip, know that you will have to choose the highlights of each city.

when i travel, i always opt for seeing as many cities as possible. this can be exhausting, but i always say, i can sleep when i get home. 🙂

activity hack: let me introduce you to my friend named rick steves. he’s quirky, informative, tries to be funny and will save you a bundle. i recommend purchasing his corresponding book for every city you plan on traveling to. even better, save yourself some money and check them out from your local library. his books will act as your personal tour guide and give you incredibly detailed tips and information on where to go and how to get there. where to eat, where to stay, what to see and what to do. seriously, cannot recommend these books enough. ideally, it’s best to snag the book prior to your trip and skim through and see what interests you most in each city. that way you know exactly what you want to do when you get there. david and i would read up on the places we were going to visit during our train rides to and from cities. it made the time fly and we felt much more knowledgable about what we were looking at and experiencing in each city.

but wait, there’s more. rick steves has an app that will act as your very own personal tour guide while visiting all of the hotspots. you can purchase audio tour guides [in english] or hire your own tour guide [that speaks english] in most locations while in europe. it does not cost much, but it all adds up. $10 here and $25 there will come out to hundreds before you know it. and best of all, you don’t need to spend any of that. download the rick steves app [it’s free] before and pre-download the audio tour of your choice. rick has it down to where he even gives you walking directions while in the museum/landmark. seriously, amazing.

if you forgot to download the audio tours while having free roam to wifi, you can download the audio tours using free wifi on trains, or find your nearest mcdonalds and connect there. when my husband and i travel we carry a headphone splitter and headphones for this exact reason. we will use the headphone splitter to plug in both headphones to one phone so it’s as if we’re taking the tour together. it’s cheesy, but it works for us :). *do bring a powerstick with you so you don’t drain your cell phone battery throughout the day.

shop rick steves’ books

shop headphones and headphone splitters

accommodations

this is where the bulk of your travel cost comes into play. you can opt to stay at a very nice and fancy hotel that you will enjoy all the amenities at. for some, this is what a vacation is all about. consider the extra cost for amenities as an additional cost for activities. or you can find a highly rated hotel that may not include a spa and nice restaurants, but is still clean and comfortable. then there is always the airbnb/vrbo option.

personally, when i know my planned travel is ambitious, i spend very little time in my actual hotel room. i like to be on the go so for the most part, i am okay if my hotel does not make the top 10 in travel + leisure [bonus points if it does].

for me, the biggest question comes when choosing hotel vs airbnb/vrbo. if you choose to be in the same hotel for 2-3 nights minimum then airbnb/vrbo can typically save you on cost. especially when you are in a group. do keep in mind, when choosing this route you will have to meet up with the owner to get keys, or find the apartment on your own. hotels are a little easier to find because they are more well known within a city, whereas someone’s personal home may have you on a hunt. not to mention, if you don’t have access to wifi then calling, texting and searching for directions can become a real challenge. so if you’ll only be in a city for a short time, consider the amount of time it will take out of your day to locate the home and gain access into it. most have specific hours for check-in as well and add additional costs for checking in late. you will come across owners that enforce this and others that are extremely accommodating and will coordinate and adjust to your travel schedule. again, this is hit or miss. and if you have limited time to explore a city, you do not want to spend half of your day just trying to get into contact with a home owner while you have a new city to explore.

directions hack: load google maps whenever you have wifi access and put the starting point as your drop off point and the ending point as your hotel or accommodation. hit start and let the directions load. google maps will work offline so once you lose your wifi connection, you will still have a way to find where you are going. you can do this when walking to a site, or anywhere really. as a back up, screenshot the directions as well as the map just in case.

transportation

the train system in italy in particular is absolutely incredible. each city and country varies a little bit on this one, but if you have 4+ people renting a car is probably the most cost efficient. however, this is not the most time efficient. also, using public transportation also means you don’t have to navigate through a foreign country.

weigh your options. think about how long you will be in each location, whether or not public transportation is safe/reliable, whether or not it is a walking city and the costs of additional plane tickets/car rentals. every european location has options, you will just have to choose what is best for you.

sorry- no hacks here.

meals

this can go one of two ways. if you are a big foodie and the highlight of your vacation is trying the best local cuisine, you want to budget your top notch meals under activities. also, consider making reservations ahead of time so you don’t waste hours waiting for a meal when that time could be spent exploring.

i personally plan meals around activities and look for restaurants near the activity of the moment. some switch this around and plan activities around meals. [one way is not better than the other, it comes down to complete personal preference].

meals hack: to save on one meal of the day, find a hotel or bed and breakfast that serves complimentary breakfast. also, if visiting italy, try the house wine! it’s fabulous just about anywhere you go. splurge on a glass or two here and there because, you are in italy! but don’t feel like you have to at every meal. every house wine i tried was spectacular!

most importantly… remember you’re on vacation and ENJOY IT!

 

xo | jasmine

 

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