What It Feels Like to Win a Trip to Vietnam

Ever wonder what it would feel like to win a trip to Vietnam?! Kelly and John share their amazing story.

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We recently teamed up with Mr. and Mrs. Smith (side note: we are all obsessed with Mr. and Mrs. Smith’s gorgeous hotelsto co-host a Vietnam Giveaway and are so excited for our winners, Kelly and John! You know how there always seems to be that one hip and inspiring couple you know and love? That’s Kelly and John. They are wanderers at heart. In true adventurous fashion, they shared with us their how-to for enjoying life to the fullest and what they’re most excited to try in Vietnam.

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Kelly, what was your reaction when you found out you had won the contest?

My first reaction was of skepticism and disbelief. I received the email from Ann Marie [of Mr. and Mrs. Smith] while I was at work and talking with a co-worker. It was like “OMG, I think I just won a trip to Vietnam” and then I called Ann Marie to see if it was legit and she assured me it was. I was just super floored by the whole thing, I’ll enter these contests from time to time, you know, “The Downton Abbey” sweepstakes, “Win a Trip to Wimbeldon”, “Win a Trip to the French Open” (we’re both big tennis fans), I just fill them out and forget about them, never expecting to win, but this time I did! I called John and let him know and we both still cannot get over how crazy the whole thing is. We’re super, DUPER insanely, excited!

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What are you and John most excited about for your Vietnam trip?

The prospect of taking a REAL, proper, vacation! Overseas! To an exotic locale! On the beach! 5-star hotels! John has never been out of the country aside from Mexico and I’ve only ever been to Paris so having a real vacation is just a dream come true. Neither of us has EVER stayed in a 5-Star hotel. We plan on extending the trip a bit and taking a full two weeks. Seeing the temples of Angkor Wat has been on my bucket list for years and we figure, while we’re over there, let’s just go to Cambodia too! We both love Vietnamese food so we plan on spending a lot of time sampling the offerings of the various street vendors. We’re just so excited to explore a part of the world that’s so different from ours!

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We’d love to hear, where did you and John go on your honeymoon?

Well, we had initially registered for a Croatian and Slovenian honeymoon but because we didn’t have a traditional wedding (we were married in a courthouse in August 2012 and had a party the following October with our friends to celebrate), we didn’t quite make our goal, funding wise. Instead we used the money our friends donated through Wanderable and took an epic two week camping trip through the Eastern Sierras and the Cascades and back down the coast of California with our dog, Juniper. We both love the outdoors, camping, and hiking, and this turned out to be the ideal trip for us at the time. We had a blast!

Why did you choose to register for experiences over things when you got married?

Being an “older” couple (I was 40 when we got married and John 38, first marriage for both us!) we really didn’t have a need for household items, we already had them. Life and marriage for us at this point wasn’t about things or kids, it was just about spending the rest of our lives together. John’s mom had been fighting cancer throughout our engagement and she lost that fight the week that we were married. The importance of enjoying life to the fullest was really and profoundly made apparent to us. We’re both super adventurous and love new experiences, exploring different cultures and foods and really just seeing, smelling, hearing, laughing, loving, doing and living as much as possible! Our time here is short and our time together even shorter, why spend it in the aisles of Target registering for an espresso machine when we could be sipping espresso along the Dalmatian coast, or in this case, sipping Vietnamese Iced Coffees on the beaches of Hoi An!

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How amazing do Kelly and John sound?! Thank you so much, Kelly! And a huge shout out again to Mr. and Mrs. Smith for helping to make Kelly and John’s next adventure to Vietnam a reality!

#WanderOn

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#IKnewILovedYou, the Trip of a Lifetime

The winners of last year’s #IKnewILovedYou‬ giveaway share about THE trip of a lifetime!

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Ever wonder what it would feel like to win a dream trip to Bangkok and Bali? We recently caught up with Alexis and Willie, the impossibly cute couple who won the I Knew I Loved You‬ giveaway hosted last summer with our amazing partners, Clear Channel. Alexis and Willie were whisked off to paradise and treated to the trip of a lifetime with the luxurious Alexa Private Cruises and Oazia Spa Villas. Alexis shares her top moments with us, from the mouth-watering food they’re dying to recreate at home to their favorite memory of a spontaneous boat ride down the Klongs. Live vicariously through their images and favorite moments below!

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What was your reaction when you first found out that you won the I Knew I Loved You giveaway?!

We were completely floored! We were so excited to be finalists, but we never thought we would win. Who wins contests?! Particularly when the prize is an amazing trip to Bali!

What sorts of activities did you enjoy while staying at Oazia Spa Villas?

Oazia has all kinds of activities. Whether you want to lounge at your own private pool or have day trips, they are there to make sure you get everything out of your experience you hoped for. For us, they took us on a day trip to Ubud where we saw the Monkey Forest, Rice Terraces, and fed elephants! Had we had more time we could have taken an art class, surfing lessons, or had a spa day. We DID get a couples massage our last day and that evening had a romantic candlelit dinner on the beach 🙂

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What towns/cities did you stop at during your Alexa Private Cruises trip?

Given how remote that part of Indonesia is, there aren’t really towns or cities – mostly tiny fishing villages we passed that were pretty private, where we enjoyed the boat and the diving. The one stop we did do was on Rinca Island to see the Komodo Dragons. What an amazing experience!

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What was your favorite part?

Hah – we have to pick a favorite? That is almost impossible! Can I pick two? If so, I would say eating and diving. We ate some of the most incredible food! It was amazing given the tiny kitchen our chef had. You would have thought he had a huge, full-service kitchen and staff with the things he was serving! Even breakfast came with bread he made from scratch! We loved eating that bread in the morning (and dipping it into the hot chocolate 🙂 while the sun was coming up! The dives were also unbelievable – a once in a lifetime experience. The diving instructor was so knowledgeable and showed us all the wildlife to look for! We saw manta rays, sea turtles, and thousands of species of fish!

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Where else did you go?

Bangkok, Thailand! 🙂 We also had a 10 hour layover in Singapore so we spent the day there!

What is the best moment from the entire trip?

Oh golly…again with the hard ones. If you are MAKING us pick…the manta ray dive. It was pure magic. Well, that or the komodos? Or the beach dinner on our own private island? Or…ugh, you get the picture! This question is impossible.

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Did you pick up any travel tips? Care to share? 🙂

Definitely precise exchange rates :). We had done all our research and were feeling pretty proud of ourselves, but we found out in Bali we had forgotten a 0! We were so confused why everything was so expensive! HAHA – good thing the locals were nice and filled us in :). Also, we exchanged cash at our banks at home so we didn’t have to pay any exchange rates while were there which was awesome…well, until the Bali fiasco and we had to hit some ATMs! We only ended up bringing 20 instead of 200! OH! Also, tipping customs – learn those :).

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Do you have any tips for couples who are planning for their honeymoons?

Since we had about 6 months to plan I took my time and was as detail oriented as I could be. We used literally every resource we had: Tripadvisor, Pinterest, travel blogs. etc. For our Thailand portion we planned every day out, making sure that things we wanted to do were open the day we had planned to go. For example, we had to switch a few things around because of a holy holiday. If we hadn’t planned that day, we wouldn’t have known and may have missed out on the experiences. What I will say is that some of the best stuff wasn’t planned. It just fell into our lap – like the boat down the Klongs. That just fell into place and was one of our favorite days in Thailand!

For Bali, I knew we couldn’t really plan for the boat so we had to look into our 2 days on land. I knew I wanted to go to Ubud for the day so I looked into what activities I wanted to do and how far they were from one another so we could pack in as much as we could. One of the biggest pieces of advice I could give is that you need to remember jet-lag! It was great going to Thailand first so we could really truly enjoy Bali without any jet-lag. We also planned less stuff our first few days so we could adjust. Helped so much!

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What were your travel essentials?

Sunscreen and a camera

Are there any memorable dishes you want to try and recreate at home?

BREAD! I know it sounds silly, but now we are dying to make bread from scratch now! We loved it every day on the boat. Also, we took a cooking class in Bangkok and made some pretty great curry and Pad Thai!

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Did you discover any interesting things about the culture that you didn’t know before?

Oh goodness. Lots. We had no idea about the traditional food of Bali or much about their religion. Bali has GORGEOUS active temples which still are very much alive and worshipped. On our drive back from Ubud we saw all the women of a village walking to a temple ceremony with so much fruit and incense balanced on their heads for the ceremony. To them, it was just a normal routine to carry a shopping cart worth of stuff on their heads, but I can’t even balance a book! It was amazing!

Did you and Will learn anything about yourselves as a couple?

We learn something about each other every day :). I would say we were reminded how well we work together. We worked through any crisis we may have had and we compliment each other pretty nicely 🙂 – if we don’t say so ourselves. This isn’t particularly new info, but we learned that Willie just can’t eat squid. No matter how well it’s prepared.

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Where else is on your travel bucket list? 

Oh this list is QUITE long :). I think our next trip will be South America (thinking the Salt Flats in Bolivia, hiking in Peru, and either Chile or Argentina). Then I am hoping for Greece (Santorini and Mykonos), then Southern Italy and the Italian Islands. Also have our eyes on Vietnam and Cambodia.

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Didn’t their trip sound amazing?! We are so happy that Alexis and Willie experienced so many incredible adventures on their I Knew I Loved You‬ giveaway. Congrats again, Alexis and Willie! And a big shout-out to all their friends and family, as well as Alexa Private Cruises, Oazia Spa Villas and Clear Channel, who helped make their dream trip a possibility.

#WanderOn

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Win A Dream Wedding, from the Best in the Wedding Industry!

STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING RIGHT NOW: We’re giving away an entire wedding, from the invitations to the honeymoon.

Yup. You could win a dream wedding…

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Yes, you read that right.

Today marks our biggest giveaway yet. You could win custom, luxe invitations & stationery; top-of-the-line wedding planning advice; rings for you and your love; wedding attire for the bride, groom, & bridal party; your dream venue; a luxury photography package; an engagement photo session; and your entire honeymoon– valued at over $16,000! Feel free to shout it from the rooftops, because this may sound too good, but it is so, so true. 

Why are we doing this, you ask?

We got together with some of our friends (more on them later) and decided this would be the best way to kick off 2015 (plus, total karma points). Also, we’re sick of hearing that Pinterest-worthy weddings can only be a dream for the everyday bride. Not when we’re involved.

Here’s the prize breakdown:

Custom, Luxe Wedding Invitations & Stationery from MintedFrom Save-the-Dates to day-of decor and everything in between, Minted helps you tie it all together, connecting you with the world’s best artists to create something one-of-a-kind.

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Expert Wedding Planning Advice from Happily Wedding.  Happily brings tranquility, effervescence, and effortless organization to your wedding planning journey. “Ever after” begins as you learn to revel in the planning process instead of dreading it.

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Attire for the Bride, Groom and Bridal Party from Dessy Group. They pride themselves on chic, breezy simplicity, and have a diverse selection, so you can choose whatever aesthetic resonates with you and your wedding party.

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Wedding Rings from Brilliant Earth.  Brilliant Earth offers more ethically sourced fine jewelry then you could ever imagine. When it comes to both your wedding and your engagement rings, Brilliant Earth has got you covered.

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Venue Credit from The Hitch.  Search and discover one-of-a-kind venues, save your favorites, and book your viewings all in one simple, easy-to-use platform. Why tire yourself out running around town when you can do the research from the comfort of your own bed, espresso in hand?

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A 1 Hour Engagement Photo Session AND Luxury Photo App Package for your wedding from Eversnap.  Eversnap allows you to collect all your guests’ photos & videos in one giant online album using their smart phones! Why didn’t we think of that?

wedding_iphone (1)Read all about it on Lover.ly. Lover.ly is the one-stop virtual wedding shop. Brides, grooms, and guests can uncover the most unique wedding ideas, hidden gem venues, and renowned designers, as well as organize details and acquire expert advice. Yes please!

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And of course, the honeymoon, from us, Wanderable

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The total prize is worth over 16K. So, like we said before, stop what you’re doing and enter right now

We hope you will join us in pursuing this once-in-a-lifetime chance to snag a dreamy wedding of your own design! For free. This is not a drill. You deserve this. Enter HERE.

#WanderOn #WinAWedding

 

Win a Trip to Greece with Wanderable and How He Asked!

We want to know: what’s better than a Greek honeymoon, with its crystal-blue waters, unfaltering luxury, and amazing seafood… well, winning one, obviously.

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We’ve teamed up with one of our favorite blogs, How He Asked, to give away $6,000 in hotels and experiences to one lucky couple to  jumpstart to their honeymoon (or pre-weddingmoon, lovermoon, anniversarymoon) in Greece!  Spend 7 relaxing days at Okeanos Luxury Villas in Lefkada, provided by Chic Retreats, then 3 Wanderable experiences in Santorini and 3 Wanderable experiences in Athens!  You can fill in the gaps with some of your own planning, but this giveaway will get you started (and save you tons of money) on an absolute dream trip.

Head over to How He Asked to find out how to enter!

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 Okeanos Luxury Villas provided by Chic Retreats 

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The Villa: Okeanos Luxury Villas provided by Chic Retreats

Chic Retreats has the best collection of small boutique hotels, luxury villas and B&Bs around the world, and this one has romance written all over it.  This is your view. For 7 days. Omg. Okeanos Luxury Villas sits on Egremni Beach, which was voted one of the top 10 beaches in ALL OF EUROPE.  In case beaches aren’t your thing (we can’t imagine how they can’t be) did we mention you have OWN infinity pool, too?

Make sure you Like Chic Retreats on Facebook (not only will you receive an additional entry to the contest, but you’ll get some major wanderlust inspiration and exclusive offers).

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Athens:

Solebike: We’re firm believers that everyone should travel Europe by bike. With Solebike, choose between  two amazing tours: “All Sights View Master” or “The Promenade of the Gods” – both will engage your adventurous and cultural side.

Big Olive City Walks Orientalist’s Tour: Admire the historical diversity of Athens by strolling around through the narrow streets of the old quarter just like a 19th century traveler! This is a meandering walk that will show you some major sites and lead though the city’s lesser-seen historic side streets to discover monuments rarely visited by tourists. This tour includes Byzantine and Armenian churches, stately Ottoman mansions, Turkish bath houses, mosques and synagogues.

Two  Fish Spa Pedicures at Athens Fish Spa: Have you ever wanted to do this? Now’s your chance!

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Santorini

45- Minute Flytographer Photo Shoot On they day of the shoot, your photographer will suggest local hotspots tailored to your interests.  You’ll then get to explore and wander around Santorini as your photographer takes beautiful photos of the two of you enjoying each other!

Hidden Paths Jeep Tour with Santorini Experts: You’ll be taken on a fun Jeep ride around the island to discover what Santorini is really like for locals. Find hushed churches, admire breathtaking landscapes, relax on secret beaches, and wander through charming villages. Along the way, you’ll learn more about the history, agriculture, and traditional way of life in Santorini.

Santorini Wine Tour: The grapes that grow in Santorini produce a unique wine that is also representative of the relaxed pace of Santorini’s island culture. With a relaxed itinerary featuring three traditional wineries, your day will be as rich as the wine you sample during this tour.

Head over to How He Asked to find out how to enter! Good Luck!

Need more convincing? Check out these hashtagnofilter images of where you could be spending your honeymoon!

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 Our amazing partners:

 

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Good luck!

#WanderOn

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#BeachLife: Win a Hawaiian Honeymoon!

#BeachLife: We love having cool friends (especially ones that help us giveaway a Hawaiian Honeymoon). Enter Now… but also read on, there is some cool stuff in here, too.

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We are thrilled to announce a partnership with a start-up we truly admire. Wedding Spot is a brilliant solution to the stress and intimidation of planning a wedding.  They are a tiny but mighty female-owned company and the first ever online site that allows you to search, price out, and compare wedding venues without ever leaving the comfort of your bed.

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You can search by category: hotel wedding, vineyard wedding, ranch wedding. That’s nothing new, but Wedding Spot calls every single venue to interview them, enters their information into a database, and offers automatic, instantaneous price quotes to users when they enter in their specific wedding details (think of Kayak, but for weddings).

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The best thing about this partnership? We’ve teamed up with Wedding Spot to give away a dream Hawaiian honeymoon! Emphasis on dream: You get to stay three nights at the Fairmont Kea Lani, fill your days on Maui with snorkeling, a sunset cruise and a luau. Then, hop on over to the Big Island where you’ll get to stay three nights at the Fairmont Orchid and receive a Flytographer vacation photographer to capture your favorite moments as you soak up the sun!

With a Mai Tai in your hand and the sand between your toes, this is #BeachLife.

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#WanderOn & Enter Now

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