Revisiting Mallorca: Kicking off Year 24 With a Bang

While many Americans celebrate their 21st birthday by getting drunk at a bar for the first time, I was studying abroad in Madrid when I rang in year 21, so what better way to mark the occasion than hopping on a flight to the Spanish island of Mallorca? Three years later and living in Madrid once again, I treated myself to an early birthday present by hitting up the Mediterranean island once again.

21st birthday in Mallorca, Spain

Celebrating my 21st on my first trip to Mallorca. (A friendship love heart for my travel buddy Connie and me)

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Can Americans Travel to Cuba Freely and Directly Now?

Thrilled beyond belief to be heading to Cuba in T-minus 34 days, I’ve been sharing the news with just about everyone I talk to. More often than not, I get the same reaction: “Oh, right, Americans can now travel there without any restrictions!” While it is true that U.S.-Cuba relations are changing rapidly these days, it is a misconception that Cuba is completely open to American tourists now. So, what is the deal currently? Can all U.S. citizens travel to Cuba? And how can Americans get there? After months of researching this trip, I have your answers!

Trinidad, Cuba

Fellow Americans, have no fear! You can travel here! (photo credit)

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24 Hours in Lovely and Lively Logroño, Spain

If you’ve heard of the Spanish region La Rioja, it’s likely because of their world-renowned wines, in my opinion some of the best in the world. But it’s also one of Spain’s 17 comunidades autónomas, located in the north, and its capital Logroño was our final destination for the May long weekend that also took us to Zaragoza, Huesca, and Pamplona.

Logroño, La Rioja, Spain

Locals of Logroño – and a typical sight in Spain

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7 Things I’ve Learned from 7 Years of Travel Blogging

Happy birthday to Venga, Vale, Vamos, a little blog that was born seven years ago today!

This blog was born out of my UCLA dorm room in 2008, before I had even been admitted to my study abroad program. I was just so darn excited to go – and (as a web design geek since the age of 10) happy to have any excuse to launch a new website – that I kicked off a new blog, hand-coded my own WordPress theme from scratch, and began rambling to myself.

One of the earliest versions of this blog. The design is a bit dated, but I do admire how fun it is, and I'm proud of my own hand coding skills!

One of the earliest versions of this blog, from May 2009. The design is fairly dated, but I’m proud of doing it all myself!

Venga, Vale, Vamos has been through various incarnations, changed from La Vida Madrileña to Entre Flores, Fandanguillos y Alegrías to suit the Andalucían theme when I moved to Sevilla, then finally to Venga, Vale, Vamos when I returned to Madrid and continued on to Sydney. It began as a total hobby with one reader (me), then a handful (my family), and somehow, here it is seven years later, a mini side business with a network close to fifteen thousand. Continue reading  

The Search for the Perfect Travel Backpack: The Carry-On

Scream, shout, kick me out of the bona fide travelers club, but it’s true: I’ve technically never “backpacked” before. Yes, for as much as I’ve embodied the backpacker lifestyle by living out of cheap hostels and making a diet out of Nutella on stale baguettes, I have always dragged along a rolling suitcase instead of a traditional travel backpack. Please forgive me.

Incase Travel Backpack Review

But watch out, world. I’m making my debut as a backpack model.

Rolling suitcases do have their advantages: they save your back, they make it easier to pass discount airlines’ carry-on restrictions, and you can fish through your belongings without having to reach into a deep abyss to find what you need. However, I think the time has come. I’ve had enough violent massages as I yank a suitcase over cobblestones, and I need to declare a moratorium on running over innocent bystanders’ feet in crowds. I’m on the hunt for the perfect travel backpack. Continue reading  

The Village in the Rainforest: Kuranda, Australia

Snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef, soaring over the rainforest, and stopping in what is, quite possibly, the most picturesque town I’ve seen in all of Australia. Could Tropical North Queensland be any cooler? You may remember my recent adventure on Skyrail Rainforest Cableway. Its terminus is the “village in the rainforest”, Kuranda, population 3000 but sights and activities aplenty.

Kuranda Birdworld, Australia

Some of Kuranda’s feathered wildlife

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Back to Fiji’s Mainland: Anchorage Beach Resort & Nadi

What is it about the new year that inspires epic travel plans? I recently announced my exciting plans to roll into 2016, and 2015 kicked off just as spectacularly with a four-day layover in the tropical paradise of Fiji. After staying on a private island and relaxing at a quiet resort, we returned to Viti Levu, Fiji’s mainland, for a final day at Anchorage Beach Resort and the city of Nadi.

Anchorage Beach Resort, Fiji

Loved all the little touches at Anchorage Beach Resort

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