What to Pack – Thailand Edition Featuring Ashley from Her Sparkle

The only Thailand honeymoon packing list you’ll need, by fashion blogger, Ashley Fehr Hajjar

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Ashley Fehr Hajjar of Her Sparkle is one of our all-time favorite fashion bloggers and wedding enthusiasts. ICYMI: Ashely has already given us the DL on what to pack for Hawaii and Italy and is back to share her tips on what to pack for Thailand.

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Ready for another edition of Her Sparkle’s What to Pack!? This time we are going {or dreaming of going} to Thailand 🙂

When packing for Thailand it’s ALL about bright colors & prints. These pretty prints will be perfect for Thailand’s gorgeous beaches. It’s important to note that Thailand is a modest country so don’t go overboard with any skin bearing outfits. Also, the basic rule for Thai temples is to cover your shoulders so the printed wrap would be a welcome edition to your packing list! xx

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Mara Hoffman Slouch Pants // Trina Turk Beaded Halter Top // Personalized Towel // Elephant Tank // Neon Print Maxi // Madewell Fringe Beach Tote // Michael Stars Print Wrap

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Well now you can all understand why we love Ashley and her packing lists so much. Thanks for all your tips Ashley! Now it’s time to plan all of our future trips and put these packing lists to good use!

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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.

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This Kickass Playlist Will Kickstart Your Memorial Day Weekend

Be warned: this kickass playlist will kickstart your Memorial Day weekend (and your wanderlust!). 

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Memorial Day is pretty much the perfect holiday. It ushers in all that is awesome about summer, like long-awaited sunshine, long-anticipated trips, and the inevitable long lines at your favorite brunch place. Whether you’re planning on hitting up the beach with buddies or you’re looking forward to enjoying travels near and far, this playlist full of fresh tunes will get you through your weekend. 

So, put on your headphones. Press play. Chill out. Repeat.

 

After listening to the songs from this kickass playlist, we’re ready to recharge this weekend. After all, good music is essential. Everyone needs a soundtrack for their adventures.

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#WanderableGypset: Kylee & Steve Niederhauser

Travel Tuesday: Kylee Neiderhauser is the latest #WanderableGypset, bohemian tastemaker in this exclusive interview series

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 What is a Gypset?:

A gypset is a gypsy-jetsetter, a free spirit who is young and heart and leads an unconventional career and life, traveling the globe and wandering through life at her own pace, in her own style. For more detail, check out this post, and this one AND this one-  and of course stay tuned here to peek into the lives of Wanderable’s favorite people to follow.

Who is Kylee (and her fellow Wanderer/husband, Steve)

Kylee and Steve are literally professional travelers. After growing up in sunny Palm Springs, California and studying at University of San Diego, Kylee found herself getting married to the love of her life and moving across the world to Germany for Steve’s job.  Now loving her life as a “Hausfrau,” the two of them are all about collecting moments (not things!) as they jet set their way across Europe, Asia, and beyond.  Together, they have been to over 30 countries on 4 continents in 6 years (and have some really fun facts for how to fly first class, every time).  We picked her brain on what its like being an American living abroad, the best thing she’s recently eaten, and whats on her (growing) bucket list.

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Walk me through an average day in your un-average life.

I’m more of a morning person than a night owl, and morning is a great time of day to connect with friends and family back in California. By mid-morning I’m on the U-bahn (subway) and heading to my German language class. My classmates are from all over, and getting to know all of them has been just as enriching as the class itself. Then I usually head to the market and pick up some daily groceries, and the rest of the afternoon I spend catching up on “hausfrau” duties and homework. On nice days, I like to go out and “get lost”. Munich is an incredible city to explore. Evenings mean leisurely dinners with my husband and catching up on each other’s day.

How did you come to lead such a life? Did you always want to be a traveler, or did you just fall into it?

I was lucky to be able to vacation abroad with my family starting at a young age, so I have always enjoyed traveling. When I first started dating my husband, his job took him frequently to Asia and Europe. I joined as often as my work schedule would permit, but the more places we visited, the longer our “bucket list” grew!

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Paris: Obviously

What is the difference between somewhere you’d want to live & somewhere you’d want to visit?

I think the difference comes down to whether or not the place feels like “home.” I knew we had picked the right place when, at the end of a vacation this year, I said “I’m ready to be home” (and we both knew that home was our cozy German apartment). That was definitely a moment.

What are you feeling/loving/reading right now?

Feeling: Chilly! The leaves have fallen and winter has arrived!

Loving : Evening visits to one of Munich’s outdoor Markets and warming up with a glass of Glühwein

Reading: Under the Wide and Starry Sky by Nancy Horan

What was the best thing you recently ate?

We recently spent some time in Vietnam and couldn’t get enough of the street food! Ten days of Banh mi, Pho coun, Bun cha, Xoi xeo, Banh coun, Ca phe trung and countless bowls of Pho bo. Take me back!

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What pays the bills?

My husband has been the bread-winner of the family since our move.  He works for an American company whose Munich office develops technology to charge electric vehicles. It’s very exciting to see something that he’s worked so hard on starting to come to fruition.

What do you miss about “home?” (Where you’re from.)

Unsurprisingly, not having family and friends with us has been the hardest part. Thank goodness for FaceTime. We’ve also been fortunate to have 20 loving visitors in the past year!

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If you could bring anything/anyone from home, what/who would that be?

My family

Televised football (American football, not “soccer”)

San Diego sunsets

In-N-Out…definitely In-N-Out.

Advice for aspiring Gypsets? Go.

If you’re set on seeing the world, but your travel budget is limited…LOYALTY POINTS! We have planned vacations where our entire international airline fares were covered using points earned. Travel blogs like FlyerTalk can be a great resource. Even small things like sticking to one airline or hotel chain can help out over time.

What location is on your bucket list, and why?

We are really excited to be visiting southern Spain and Morocco in a few weeks! Outside of Europe, Australia and New Zealand are high on our list along with South Africa. We also still have plenty to explore in Germany.

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What are your go-to travel essentials?

Lo&Sons O.G. bag

Kindle

Downy Wrinkle Release

Digital camera

Last, but not least, my hubby!

What has recently taken your breath away?

Recently we did a day-long hike in the Swiss Alps near Lauterbrunnen. The contrast between the lush green valleys and snow-capped mountains is unbelievably beautiful.

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What was the last thing you bought abroad?

A Vietnamese lacquer painting…we walked through a small studio where they were being made, and it was really interesting to watch the artist intricately layer the paint, egg shell and mother of pearl.

What is the best part about traveling with the one you love?

We love looking back on things like that leisurely picnic with a bottle of wine in that cute little park we found in Paris, or that time we wound up lost on a dirt road in a tiny, tin can they called an Italian car!

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What have you learned about each other?

We’ve both found that we enjoy learning about the food culture in the different places we visit, so we try to incorporate that into our travels by taking a local cooking class or exploring markets. I’ve learned that he is better than any map I could bring along with me.

If you guys were to go on a Wanderable experience, witch one would it be?

We think the idea of Wanderable is really cool– and it’s exactly who we are as a couple.  After we got married, we moved pretty quickly to Germany and have been traveling the world together ever since (we didn’t go on a traditional honeymoon, you could say). I think that if we were to pick just one, it would be something in Santorini, Greece, like a sunset jeep tour or exploring their wine caves.

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All photos courtesy of Kylee and Steve 

Wanderable On The Road: Bike Adventures in Rouen & Les Andelys

Wanderable enjoys bike adventures in the the small towns of Rouen and Les Andelys.

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Fall colors of Rouen offset the gothic spectacle that is the city’s main Cathedral

Ah, Normandy. We’re completely obsessed with your whimsical small towns, cobblestone streets, and strong apple liquor.  And there is no better way to see these towns than by bike. We traveled to Rouen and Les Andelys, and we were able to see more of each town than we would have by foot. We’ve decided there might not be anything more luxurious than Europe in the Fall: the colors, the crisp air…getting lost down side streets…and hidden-treasure alleyways with the one you love.

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On Monday we were in Rouen: a lovely town that has the second largest population in France, next to Paris.  Even though there are tons of people, be warned: most of the town is closed on Monday until the afternoon (after 3pm).  This was both a good and bad thing. The Good: we got the town to ourselves, so we didn’t have to watch out for pedestrians as we cruised down cobblestone streets and took literally 1,000 photos. The Bad: we were hard-pressed to find an open fromagerie (we were successful, however, in finding a patisserie, so at least we were set with many croissants). There is a ton of history in this town (like the Cathedral and a memorial to Joan of Arc) so we did do our fair share of Instagram- worthy sight-seeing.

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But our favorite part of the day in Rouen? Sitting at a little cafe, playing cards and drinking cappuccinos. We watched as the towns people went to work as this sleepy little town started to wake up.

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The view from our seats at the cafe      

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 …and our seats at the cafe

Les Andelys was our next stop. This town was adorable (straight out of Beauty & The Beast). This town also houses a huge Cathedral Notre-Dame, the focal point of this city.

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As we rode around this tiny town, we stopped at intricate little shops selling art and came across a Salon de Thé (tea house). Along with their homemade, organic teas made from real leaves (we’re talking real mint leaves infused for hours) they had some amazing food. We ordered two different kinds of goat-cheese stuffed peppers in local olive oil, as well as octopus and baby squid. It. was. Incredible. #TravelTip: Always try the food. We came across this place by accident, and it was the highlight of our day!

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                                                                    Spicy peppers                                                     Octopus and baby squid

And even though it’s late November– this town was ALL ABOUT the Christmas decorations.

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Unfortunately, we ran into the same issue we had when we were in Rouen; a lot of this town was closed in the morning.  But that was fine– enough of the shops were open and the scenery was beautiful (can’t you tell?)

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Moral of the story? When you have the option, always go by bike. ALWAYS. You’ll see more of the town, and when its cold (like November), you’ll warm up quickly. And always try to be adventurous with the local cuisine– especially in smaller, quaint villages. They’re not touristy like some places in Paris can be, so you know you’re getting authentic food that the locals eat.  There also isn’t a lot (or any) of mark up at these places, so the food you’re getting is worth the price.

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#WanderOn

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