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Great Places To Follow Your Passions In Retirement In 2019

Want to be happy in retirement? Then cultivate relationships and spend more money on leisure activities—at least that’s what new academic research (as well as common sense) suggests.

To help you with the leisure part, Forbes presents its 2019 list of 25 great places to pursue seven retirement passions: arts, fine dining, lifelong learning, volunteering, outdoor activities on water, outdoor activities on land and (in its own category) golf.

Most are recommended for multiple passions and two—Seattle and Austin, Texas—excel in all seven categories. Our picks are spread across 21 states in all four continental time zones.

While our flagship Best Places To Retire list highlights locations that offer the best retirement value for the buck, our passions list doesn’t disqualify places simply because they’ve got high costs or taxes. Athens, Georgia, our most affordable passions pick, has a median home price of just $178,000, while San Francisco, our most expensive, has a median home price of $1.36 million. Although high costs (or high taxes) won’t keep a city from making this new list, we do take into account such practical quality of life factors as air quality, crime, doctor availability and how walkable and bikeable a city is. You can read more about our selection method here.

Legend:

  • Arts 🎨
  • Fine dining 🍴
  • Lifelong learning 🎓
  • Volunteering ❤️
  • Outdoor activities on water ⛵
  • Outdoor activities on land 🍁
  • Golf ⛳

Annapolis, Maryland

PASSIONS: ❤️ ⛵

Great for volunteering and outdoor water activities

POPULATION: 39,000

MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $428,000

Water on three sides, good air quality and a moderate climate make this charming historic Chesapeake Bay city an ideal spot for those who love boating, fishing or a waterfront view. For the newbie, the city offers lots of recreational boating schools and chartering opportunities. There’s a high rate of local volunteerism and the downtown area, which doubles as Maryland’s state capital (and was the U.S. capital for a year starting in 1783) is very walkable. Doctors per capita are at the national average. Elevation is 40 feet. On the downside, cost of living is 41% above the national average and the crime rate is above the national average. Taxes are on the high side, too; while Social Security benefits are exempt from tax, the top state/local income tax rate is 8.31% and the state has both an estate and inheritance tax.

Ashland, Oregon

PASSIONS: 🎨 🎓 🍁

Great for arts, lifelong learning and outdoor land activities

POPULATION: 21,000

MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $462,000

Located 285 miles south of Portland, this cultural outpost offers art galleries and the nine-month a year Oregon Shakespeare Festival, all set amid scenic mountains and forests. Southern Oregon University hosts an Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and allows free auditing of regular college classes. The highly walkable downtown (elevation: 1,950 feet) is set in a moderate climate with little snow, good air quality, a low serious crime rate and a high number of doctors per capita. Nature trails are just outside town. But the cost of living is 40% above the national average and Oregon makes up for its lack of a sales tax with an income tax rate that hits 9% at just $50,000 of income (with Social Security excluded). There is also a state estate tax.

Athens, Georgia

PASSIONS: 🎨 🎓 🍁

Great for arts, lifelong learning and outdoor land activities

POPULATION: 127,000

MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $178,000

This affordable college town, just 70 miles east of Atlanta, has a vibrant arts scene. The  University of Georgia hosts an Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, plus offers seniors free admission to regular classes. Mild terrain and climate (the nation’s first garden club was founded here in 1891) and good air quality are all conducive to warm-weather outdoor activities at an elevation of 600 feet. The ratio of doctors per capita is sufficient. Cost of living is 7% below the national average and the serious crime rate is low. Georgia doesn’t tax estates or Social Security benefits and offers a generous additional break for other retirement income. Top state income rate is 5.75%. One notable downside: Not very walkable.

Austin, Texas

Passions: 🎨 🍴 🎓 ❤️ ⛵ 🍁 ⛳

Great for arts, fine dining, lifelong learning, volunteering, outdoor water and land activities and golf

POPULATION: 950,000

MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $369,000

Sunny capital of Texas offers scores of dining and entertainment venues (including the annual SXSW festival), plus learning opportunities at the University of Texas, all surrounded by dozens of golf courses. The city boasts a high number of physicians per capita, good air quality, a good economy and a high rate of volunteering. The impressive state capitol building is higher than the one in Washington, D.C. At an elevation of 300 feet, the city is very bikeable and somewhat walkable. While there is no state income or estate/inheritance taxe, the cost of living is 30% above the national average and the serious crime rate is slightly above the national average.

Bend, Oregon

PASSIONS: ⛵ 🍁

Great for outdoor water and land activities

POPULATION: 98,000

MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $440,000

Lots of snow guarantees vibrant downhill and cross-country skiing in this scenic “Outdoor Playground of the West” 160 miles southeast of Portland. Other outdoor pursuits at an elevation of 3,600 feet around the north-flowing Deschutes River include fishing, tubing, hiking, rock climbing, bicycling and paragliding. Besides good air quality, a low serious crime rate and a high number of doctors per capita, the area boasts a strong economy. But Oregon makes up for its lack of a sales tax with an income tax rate that reaches 9% on just $50,000 of taxable income (which excludes Social Security). There’s also a state estate tax. The town itself is not very walkable. Cost of living is 34% above the national average.

Boise, Idaho

PASSIONS: 🎓 ❤️ 🍁

Great for lifelong learning, outdoor land activities and volunteering

POPULATION: 227,000

MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $299,000

The surprisingly mild climate in Idaho’s capital city, nicknamed “City of Trees,” is conducive to outdoor land activities, while Boise State University hosts an Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and offers free auditing of regular classes for seniors. Other pluses include a high level of volunteerism, a high number of physicians per capita, a low serious crime rate, good air quality and a good economy. With an elevation of 2,700 feet, the city is very bikeable, though not as walkable. Cost of living is only 7% above the national average. There is no state income tax on Social Security earnings, nor a state estate/inheritance tax. Idaho’s income tax rate for married couples is 6.925% on taxable income above $23,000.

Boston, Massachusetts

PASSIONS: 🎨 🍴 🎓 ❤️ ⛵ 🍁

Great for arts, fine dining, lifelong learning, volunteering and outdoor water and land activities

POPULATION: 685,000

MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $604,000

This buzzy historic coastal state capital city of 685,000 offers a wealth of cultural. and educational activities. Not too surprising, considering there are more than 50 area colleges. Boston has good air quality, abundant doctors per capita, and a good economy. At an elevation of 140 feet, the city, named for an English town, is both highly walkable and bikeable. The top state income tax rate is only 5% and there’s no state income tax on Social Security earnings. On the negative side, there’s a state estate tax and a higher than average serious crime rate. But the big downside is the cost of living: 82% above the national average.

Boulder, Colorado

PASSIONS: 🎨 🎓 ❤️ 🍁

Great for arts, lifelong learning, volunteering and outdoor land activities

POPULATION: 107,000

MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $742,000

This city, 30 miles northwest of Denver, is at the center of a huge recreational open space abutting the Rockies at 5,400 feet of elevation, which can be enjoyed in 10 months of annual sunshine. It’s also the home the University of Colorado, which allows seniors to audit courses for free. Boulder is a walkable and bikeable city with a low serious crime rate, good air quality, abundant doctors and a strong economy. Volunteering is a way of life here. While there is no state estate/inheritance tax, the state income tax (a flat 4.63%) does hit Social Security benefits. One big downside is the cost of living: 87% above the national average.

Chandler, Arizona

Passions: ❤️ 🍁 ⛳

Great for volunteering, outdoor land activities and golf

POPULATION: 235,000

MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $317,000

This Phoenix suburb, named for Arizona’s first veterinary surgeon, offers myriad outdoor activities, including 185 golf courses in the region. There’s a low serious crime rate, a good economy and a high rate of volunteering. With an elevation of 1,200 feet, the city is very bikeable, although not all that walkable. There is no state income tax on Social Security earnings and no state estate/inheritance. The sate income tax rate tops out at just 4.54% on a married couple’s taxable income above $317,900. On the downside, the number of doctors per capita is below the national average and the air quality is poor. Cost of living is 23% above the national average.

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

PASSIONS: 🎨 🍴 🎓 🍁

Great for arts, fine dining, lifelong learning and outdoor land activities

POPULATION: 60,000

MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $376,000

The home of the University of North Carolina, which offers free auditing of classes for senior citizens, this college town has been called America’s “foodiest small town” for its range of culinary options. It also has a high number of physicians per capita, good air quality, a low serious crime rate, a strong economy—and quirky blue fire trucks. There’s no North Carolina income tax on Social Security benefits and no state estate/inheritance tax. The state income tax rate is a flat 5.499%. At an elevation of 500 feet, the city is somewhat bikeable, but not very walkable. Cost of living is 30% above national average.

Charleston, South Carolina

PASSIONS: 🎨 🍴 ⛵ ⛳

Great for arts, fine dining, outdoor water activities and golf

POPULATION: 130,000

MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $322,000

This historic coastal city brims with activities, both indoors and out. (The first game of golf in the U.S. took place here.)  Pluses include a high number of doctors per capita, good air quality and a good economy. There’s no state estate/inheritance tax, no state income tax on Social Security benefits and there are additional tax breaks on pension income. But the state income tax rate tops out at an above average 7% on taxable income of just $14,860. At an elevation of 20 feet, the city is somewhat bikeable, but not very walkable. Cost of living is 22% above national average.

Dallas, Texas

PASSIONS: 🍴 ❤️ ⛳

Great for fine dining, volunteering and golf

POPULATION: 1.34 million

MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $217,000

Scores of public golf courses plus fine dining (far beyond the nation’s first drive-in restaurant, which opened here in 1921) and what is said to be the nation’s largest arts district distinguish the Big D. At an elevation of 430 feet, the city is somewhat walkable and bikeable and has an adequate number of physicians per capita and support for volunteering. Atop of a strong economy, there is no state taxation of income, estates or inheritances. Cost of living is only 8% higher than the national average. On the downside, the serious crime rate is above the national average and the air quality is poor.

Fayetteville, Arkansas

PASSIONS: 🎓

Great for lifelong learning

POPULATION: 85,000

MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $219,000

The University of Arkansas offers free tuition to senior citizens at its flagship campus in this Ozarks city 200 miles northwest of Little Rock. Besides a cost of living 1% below the national average, other pluses include good air quality, adequate number of physicians per capita and a good economy. At an elevation of 1,400 feet, the city (originally named Washington) is somewhat bikeable, although not that walkable. There is no state estate/inheritance tax and there’s no state income tax on Social Security benefits, plus there’s a small additional break for pension income. But the state income tax reaches 6.9% on a married-couple’s income above $35,099. The serious crime rate is above national average.

Las Vegas, Nevada

PASSIONS: 🎨 🍴 ⛵ 🍁 ⛳

Great for arts, fine dining, outdoor water and land activities and golf

POPULATION: 2 million (Las Vegas Valley)

MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $277,000

World-class entertainment centered around the hotels and casinos, famous chefs, and nearby water and land activities, including golf, grace this exploding desert valley. (In 1900, the population was just 18.) While summers are hot and dry, the other nine months are quite pleasant, and sun is year-round. At an elevation of 2,000 feet, the area is somewhat walkable and bikeable. A good economy is bolstered by no state income or estate/inheritance tax. Downsides include poor air quality, low ratio of physicians per capita and a high serious crime rate. Cost of living is 18% above the national average.

Los Angeles, California

PASSIONS: 🎨 🍴 🎓 ⛵ 🍁 ⛳

Great for arts, fine dining, lifelong learning, outdoor water and land activities and golf

POPULATION: 4 million

MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $686,000

The City of Angels has multiple colleges and universities offering reduced-price programs for senior citizens, world-class restaurants, numerous performance venues, a wide range of outdoor activities and many golf courses. Pluses include 28 days a year of sun, sufficient physicians per capita and a strong economy. Despites its reputation as car dependent and congested, the city, with an elevation of 300 feet, is both very walkable and bikeable (despites safety concerns for bikers). There is no state tax on Social Security benefits, estates or inheritances. But the state income tax hits a hefty 9.3% on taxable income above $150,000 per couple and goes up to 12.3% for the very wealthy. Among the drawbacks: poor air quality (although better than it used to be) and a serious crime rate above national average. Cost of living is 95% above national average.

New York, New York

PASSIONS: 🎨 🍴 🎓 ⛵ ⛳

Great for arts, fine dining, lifelong learning, outdoor water activities and golf

POPULATION: 8.6 million

MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $682,000

Dozens of colleges, fabulous arts and dining, and even golf courses accessible via subway can be found in the country’s largest city. Pluses include a high number of physicians per capita, good air quality and a strong economy. With an elevation of 30 feet, the Big Apple is very walkable and bikeable, despite concerns about bicyclist safety. There is no state income tax on Social Security benefits, plus there are additional state tax breaks on pension income. But there is a state estate tax, the combined state and city income tax rate can reach a whopping 12.696% and the cost of living is 109% above national average.

Pinehurst, North Carolina

PASSIONS:

Great for golf

POPULATION: 13,000

MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $281,000

Some 40 golf courses, led by famous century-old Pinehurst Resort, plus golf schools surround this scenic village 90 miles east of Charlotte. Pluses include an extremely low serious crime rate, above-average rate of doctors per capita and good air quality. At an elevation of 600 feet, the town, originally named Tuftstown, is somewhat walkable and bikeable. There are no state taxes on Social Security earnings, estates or inheritances. The state income tax rate is a flat 5.499% and the cost of living is 11% above the national average.

Portland, Maine

PASSIONS: 🍴 ⛵ 🍁

Great for fine dining and outdoor water and land activities

POPULATION: 67,000

MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $314,000

This coastal city offers a wide variety of water and land recreation, including boating, kayaking, rafting, cross-country skiing, hiking and bicycling. There’s a good restaurant scene, a low serious crime rate, a high ratio of doctors per capita and good air quality. The city—named after an island in the English Channel—has an elevation of 60 feet and is very walkable and bikeable.  There is no state income tax on Social Security earnings, but there is a state estate tax. The state income tax rate reaches 7.15% at taxable income above $103,400 for a couple. The

Portland, Oregon

PASSIONS: 🎨 🍴 🎓 ❤️ 🍁 ⛳

Great for arts, fine dining, lifelong learning, volunteering, outdoor land activities and golf

POPULATION: 648,000

MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $426,000

City affords wide range of pursuits, including free senior citizen auditing of classes at Portland State University. Pluses include a high ratio of physicians per capita, good air quality, a high rate of volunteering and a good economy. At an elevation of 50 feet the city—named after Portland, Maine—is highly walkable and bikeable. The state makes up for its lack of a sales tax with an income tax rate that hits 9% on just $50,000 of income (with Social Security excluded). There is also a state estate tax. Cost of living is 48% above the national average.

Salt Lake City, Utah

PASSIONS: 🎓 ❤️ ⛵ 🍁

Great for lifelong learning, volunteering and outdoor water and land activities

POPULATION: 201,000

MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $402,000

Mountains, lakes and rivers create a choice of outdoor activities, including skiing, bird watching and fishing around this state capital city. Indoors, the University of Utah offers courses a wide range of courses for seniors in concert with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. The city has a high rate of volunteering, a high rank on the Milken Institute list of best cities for successful aging and a strong economy. At an elevation of 4,300 feet, it is very walkable and bikeable. There is no state estate tax, but the state income, levied at a flat 4.95% rate, hits Social Security benefits. The cost of living is 27% above the national average.

San Francisco, California

PASSIONS: 🎨 🍴 🎓 ⛵

Great for arts, fine dining, lifelong learning and outdoor water activities

POPULATION: 860,000

MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $1.36 million

Surrounded by water, this scenic city is a mecca of culture and food, with 57 Michelin starred restaurants (compared to 76 in 10 times more populous New York). Opportunities for senior learning are offered at an Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at San Francisco State and at other venues. There’s a high ratio of doctors per capita, good air quality and a strong economy. Despite the famed hills, the city, with an elevation of 50 feet, is very walkable and bikeable, with both trails and protected bike lanes. There is no state estate/inheritance tax and no income tax on Social Security benefits, but the state income tax rate is a hefty 9.3% on income above $150,000 per couple and goes up to 12.3% for the very wealthy. The serious crime rate is above the national average, but the biggest downside is the cost of living: a stunning 205% above the national average.

Santa Fe, New Mexico

PASSIONS: 🎨 🍴 🍁

Great for arts, fine dining and outdoor land activities

POPULATION: 84,000

MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $397,000

Scores of art galleries, fine restaurants and museums, plus world-class skiing, distinguish this scenic state capital mountain town (elevation 7,200 feet), 60 miles north of Albuquerque. Somewhat walkable and bikeable, the city has a high number of doctors per capita, good air quality and a low serious crime rate. There is no state estate tax, but the state income tax does hit Social Security benefits. The state income tax rate is 4.9% on taxable income of married couples above $24,000. The cost of living is 21% above national average.

Sarasota, Florida

PASSIONS: 🎨 🍴 🎓 ❤️ ⛵ 🍁 ⛳

Great for arts, fine dining, lifelong learning, volunteering, outdoor water and land activities and golf

POPULATION: 57,000

MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $261,000

Nearby beaches, fishing, boating, a big arts/cultural scene and 30 golf courses dominate this Gulf Coast city 60 miles south of Tampa. With an elevation of 16 feet, the area is very walkable and bikeable, with good air quality, a strong economy and an adequate number of physicians per capita. The cost of living is only 9% above national average. There is no state income or estate tax. One downside: a serious crime rate above the national average.

Seattle, Washington

PASSIONS: 🎨 🍴 🎓 ❤️ ⛵ 🍁 ⛳

Great for arts, fine dining, lifelong learning, volunteering, outdoor water and land activities and golf

POPULATION: 725,000

MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $730,000

Still-booming Puget Sound city offers all the passions, including an Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Washington. At an elevation up to 500 feet, the city is extremely walkable, bikeable and even boatable, with good mass transit. Other pluses include good air quality, a high ratio of doctors per capita, a very strong economy, and a good volunteering culture. There is no state income, estate or inheritance tax. But the cost of living is a whopping 104% above the national average and the serious crime rate is also higher than average.

Traverse City, Michigan

PASSIONS: 🎨 🍴 ⛵ ⛳

Great for arts, fine dining, outdoor water activities and golf.

POPULATION: 16,000

MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $255,000

Frontage on Lake Michigan, the famed Interlochen Center for the Arts, 50 area golf courses and a reputation as a top foodie town all make his city, 250 miles northwest of Detroit, a top passions choice. There’s good air quality, above-average doctors per capita and a decent economy. At an elevation of 600 feet the city—center of the nation’s largest area for growing tart cherries—is very walkable and bikeable. Cost of living is only 2% above national average.  There’s no state estate or inheritance tax and no tax on Social Security benefits, plus additional breaks for pension income. The state income tax rate is a flat 4.25%. One downside: The serious crime rate is above the national average.

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A journalist for nearly five decades, I’ve written for Forbes since 1987. I’ve covered personal finance, taxes, retirement, nonprofits, scandals and other topics that interest me. I also am the author of a novel, OFFSIDE: A Mystery. Email me at: wbarrett.forbes@gmail.com .

Source: Great Places To Follow Your Passions In Retirement In 2019

The World’s Retirement Havens – Top 10 Best Places To Retire In The World For 2018. ============= ► Subscribe for latest video ! ► https://goo.gl/lOasu9 ► Follow me on Twitter: https://goo.gl/srKHao ► Facebook: https://goo.gl/yB9XvG ============= Today, retiring abroad is about launching a new life in a new country, starting over someplace sunny and exotic with white-sand beaches or Old World culture. But there is no one way to determine the best place to retire for every person. And with a seemingly endless amount of choices, how will you ever find the right one for you. International Living’s most recent Annual Global Retirement Index 2018 compares 24 countries that give you the maximum return for your money and promise to deliver a better quality of life. Overall, the Index is based on ratings in 12 categories: buying and investing, renting, benefits and discounts, visas and residence, cost of living, fitting in, entertainment and amenities, healthcare, healthy lifestyle, development, climate, and governance. Here are the 10 retirement destinations in the world for 2018: 1. Costa Rica – The World’s Best Retirement Haven 2. Mexico – Convenient, Exotic, First-World Living 3. Panama – Friendly, Welcoming, and Great Benefits 4. Ecuador – Diverse, Unhurried, and Metropolitan 5. Malaysia – Easy, English-Speaking, and First World. 6. Colombia – Sophisticated and Affordable 7. Portugal – Europe’s Best Retirement Haven 8. Nicaragua – Best Bang-for-Your Buck in Latin America 9. Spain – Romance, History, and Charming Villages 10. Peru – Low Cost Living, Vibrant, and Diverse. Thanks for watching this video. I hope it’s useful for you. (This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment) ============= If you have any issue with the content used in my channel or you find something that belongs to you, please contact: ►Business email: truthseekerdailys@gmail.com Music by: Nicolai Heidlas (https://soundcloud.com/nicolai-heidlas) Title: 50 New Cities

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8 Travel Hacks That You’ll Actually Use on Your Next Trip

These days, the internet is chock-full of travel “hacks” that promise to help you book, pack, and fly for a fraction of the effort and expense.

Reading through some of these lists, however, can trigger an eyebrow raise from the savvy traveler. You may find yourself thinking, “There’s no way that really works.” Chances are, there’s merit to that gut feeling—many so-called hacks rarely play out as portrayed on Pinterest.

In an attempt to cut through the noise and offer advice you’ll actually use, below are a few time-tested travel tips gleaned from more than two years of full-time traveling (and more 10-plus-hour flights than I care to reflect upon).

1. Talk to strangers—and get creative.

Whether you’re talking to a local bartender, a tour guide, or a fellow traveler, there’s no more trite question than, “What’s your favorite [restaurant, city, etc.]?” Come up with at least two go-to questions that are a bit more inventive.

Getting more specific with these queries can lead to the discovery of true hidden gems. Try asking, “Where’s the best place for people-watching in this city?” or “What’s been your most memorable meal in the past six months?” instead of leaning on clichés, and you’ll be rewarded with equally thoughtful responses.

RELATED: How to *Actually* Sleep on a Plane

2. A dedicated pouch for cords is a necessity.

One downside of technology: an abundance of accessories. If you’ve ever spent 20 minutes digging through your carry-on for a portable charger, earbuds, or USB cord, you know how frustrating (and elusive) these items can be. A little pouch that’s specifically dedicated to these cords—and kept easily accessible in your carry-on—will save you serious headaches.

Pro tip: Some airlines give out little goodie bags with earplugs, an eye mask, and socks to every passenger. These baggies make perfect travel tech-cessory pouches. (I’ve been using one I picked up from Qatar Airways for the past year; it’s the perfect size.)

3. There’s an optimal number of alcoholic drinks to have while flying.

Downing four glasses of wine to relax sounds like a great idea during a three-hour layover or before a red-eye flight, but think twice before drinking half a bottle of Cab. Being on a plane causes dehydration and naturally messes with your circadian rhythm, and alcohol exacerbates both these things.

Too much booze can disrupt everything from your sleep cycle to your neighbor (who won’t be thrilled when you have to get up from the middle seat to use the lavatory six times). If you want a drink to take the edge off, that’s fine—but stick to one, one-and-a-half max. You’ll thank yourself later for having a little restraint.

RELATED: This Brilliant Trick Will Keep You Calm the Next Time You Hit Turbulence

4. Carry pens.

Sometime after smartphones became prolific, the practice of carrying pens fell into sharp decline. Nobody wants to be the plane neighbor who has to ask the surrounding three rows to borrow a pen to fill out a customs form (or a particularly tantalizing crossword puzzle in an airline magazine).

This one is an easy fix: You probably have an entire drawer filled with pens somewhere in your house. Grab a couple, toss them into your carry-on, and leave them in there as permanent fixtures.

5. Keychains are amazingly useful.

Especially if you frequently stay in apartment-style rooms or Airbnbs, it’s a good idea to carry a keychain so that you don’t lose the keys to your home away from home.

Here are a few of my favorites: surprisingly stylish Gorilla Tape; a sleek corkscrew wine opener (this one will fly with TSA); a tiny, powerful flashlight; and a simple carabiner. These gadgets take up very little space in luggage and come in shockingly handy in a pinch.

RELATED: Take These Steps to Make Sure You Don’t Lose Your Luggage

6. You can use a hotel room kettle to steam your clothes.

Wrinkles are the bane of a frequent traveler’s existence, and unfortunately nobody has yet invented a truly effective wrinkle spray. In addition to using a hair straightener or steam from a hot shower as a quick fix for wrinkled clothes, using a portable kettle as a steamer when you’re boiling drinking water or making tea takes resourcefulness to the next level. (If you’ve got extra room in a suitcase, these travel-sized steamers are a more conventional option.)

7. Make it a practice to take in 20 seconds of tech-free silence every day.

In a world in which little white earbuds have practically become appendages to our bodies (and in which we’re constantly glued to Google Maps), technology can be as much of a distraction as it is a valuable travel aid. And while friends or family can certainly add to travel experiences, being engaged in constant conversation with your travel companions means you may miss out on important solo moments that will later come to define your time in a new city or country.

So, watch a sunset in silence without trying (and, let’s be honest, failing) to capture it on a smartphone; look up from Google and actually take in the street you’re walking down. Find a way to remind yourself to take 10 or 20 seconds of each travel day to truly soak in it all in. (Downloading the 1 Second Everyday app is a fun way to develop this habit.)

8. Stop stressing about “hacking” travel.

Sometimes travel hacks are quirky shortcuts, and sometimes they’re fabulous failures. Regardless, focusing too hard on having a seamless travel experience misses the point. Sometimes, the best travel memories come out of sheer happenstance—or even in the aftermath of a mishap. Learning to roll with the punches is one of the most valuable lessons that travel can teach, so channel your inner spontaneity and embrace the unfamiliar.

This article originally appeared on Travel and Leisure. For more stories like this, visit travelandleisure.com.

By TRAVELANDLEISURE.COM/Stephanie Walden

Source: 8 Travel Hacks That You’ll Actually Use on Your Next Trip

How Bali’s Legendary Mulia Spa Is Embracing Affordable Luxury

The Mulia's famed Oasis Pool.

Some places are easier to get to than others. Then, there’s Bali. For me, the journey took a 15-hour flight from New York to Hong Kong, a four-hour layover, and another five-hour flight. Needless to say, I landed at the Denpasar Airport in pretty grimy shape.

But once I stepped into the elegant, open-air lobby (think gleaming marbling floors, crisp white and beige palette, and local accents like oversized, wall-hanging abacuses) of The Mulia, an award-winning resort in Nasa Dua, my self-consciousness melted away. (The calming tones of traditional Balinese instruments, easygoing staff, and refreshing welcome drink surely helped). And it didn’t take long for me to realize why Bali has been such a longstanding, popular destination for well, most everyone: outdoor enthusiasts, spiritual seekers, honeymooners, and spa fanatics.

The Mulia offers three distinct categories of accommodations: The Mulia (all suites), Mulia Resort, and Mulia Villas (pictured).

The Mulia offers three distinct categories of accommodations: The Mulia (all suites), Mulia Resort, and Mulia Villas (pictured).

The Mulia & Mulia Villas

As for me? I fall squarely into the last category. But I wouldn’t categorize myself as the typical spa-goer. With a professional background in beauty and retail – I owned a Brooklyn apothecary with an in-house aesthetician for ten years – I’ve always held the belief that spa treatments are about far more than pampering and vanity. I also know that a breathlessly expensive, big brand name experience doesn’t necessarily correlate to quality, either.

This is when Mulia Spa’s Full Day Spa Wellness Package enters the picture. As the name implies, the comprehensive, mind-and-body experience takes course over an entire day, from early morning through dinner. Yes, it’s definitely indulgent – Mulia Spa is widely and consistently recognized as one of the region’s best for good reason – but as I mentioned before, what makes this treatment a real standout is how it ticks off all the boxes (including one many travelers won’t typically discuss). Below, four reasons why Mulia Spa’s Full Day Spa Wellness Package shouldn’t be missed.

The dazzling entrance to Mulia Spa.

The dazzling entrance to Mulia Spa.

The Mulia & Mulia Villas

Relatively speaking, it’s a bargain.

It’s funny how many travel writers are loathe to comment on pricing. Because guess what? Everybody, regardless of income level, loves getting more bang for their hard-earned buck. Mulia Spa’s Full Day Spa Wellness Package costs around $787 – which includes tax, along with breakfast, lunch, and dinner – and spans approximately six hours. And if you break down the price per hour, it comes down to about $131. (Just for quick comparison: a basic, hourlong Swedish massage at a no-frills spot in my Brooklyn neighborhood is $130.) So, for the same amount of dollars, you’re receiving world-class facilities and service (and not to mention, the breathtakingly Bali backdrop) at Mulia Spa. 

Alternate between the warm and cold hydrotherapy pools before your treatments.

Alternate between the warm and cold hydrotherapy pools before your treatments.

The Mulia & Mulia Villas

It’s not just about pampering – which there’s plenty of.

Make no mistake: you’ll be thoroughly scrubbed, rubbed, and treated like royalty during most of the Full Day Spa Wellness Package. But you’ll begin the experience bright and early at 7:00 a.m. with your choice of fitness activity. While most guests opt for yoga – which makes sense, given that Bali is also a destination for yogis – I went on my own with a five-mile run. Commencing with physical activity not just helps you connect with yourself, but sets a positive tone for the rest of the day. And the spa’s famed Wellness Suite, comprised of hydrotherapy pools, steam room, sauna, and Asia Pacific’s only ice room – where you can sit in a 30-degrees Fahrenheit, and massage crushed ice all over your skin – just adds to the good vibes already set in motion.

Cool yourself off (and boost circulation) in Asia Pacific's only ice room.

Cool yourself off (and boost circulation) in Asia Pacific’s only ice room.

The Mulia & Mulia Villas

Customization is key.

We’ve all tried out spa packages where the treatments are fixed beforehand. While they’re fine, Mulia Spa goes above and beyond by letting you create a truly bespoke experience for yourself. To that end, you’ll have a consultation at the spa the day before your appointment. After refreshing yourself with an oshibori and pink ginger drink, you’ll fill out a form detailing your specific needs and concerns. In addition to selecting a massage, facial, body scrub, and salon experience, you also get to pick what you’d like to eat for your meals throughout the day.

You'll enjoy a spacious, dedicated suite for most of the day.

You’ll enjoy a spacious, dedicated suite for most of the day.

The Mulia & Mulia Villas

This isn’t your standard spa food.

I usually cringe when I hear the words spa food. Why? Because it almost always sacrifices flavor and creativity for low-calorie nutrition. But when I glanced at Mulia Spa’s menu, which was filled with a wide range of tantalizing options (including soups, small plates, juices, and entrees), I shelved my doubts. Everything I ordered was generously portioned, balanced, and nutritionally sound. My lunch of miso black cod, dashi spinach with eggplant, and steamed quinoa, for example, left me feeling completely satisfied for hours, without the least bit weighed down.

I cover travel – like hip hotels, a destination’s can’t-miss dining, and products that make the journey easier.

Source: How Bali’s Legendary Mulia Spa Is Embracing Affordable Luxury

10 Best Things To See and Do in delightful Bruges, Belgium

When I look back on the past decade of our travels, all I see are little city breaks scattered throughout the years. Instead of burning all the vacation days on one big, proper trip, we favoured spontaneous voyages around Europe and Ireland.

One thing I was surprised to discover- I found real satisfaction in planning all the trips and loved the anticipation of what might happen. Actually, when I think about it, I enjoyed organising weekend getaways and staycations even more than remembering them after.

I got so hooked that I needed this happy feeling in my life repeated as often as possible. I started planning prospective road trips and crazy adventures. Over the years I plotted pretty much everything I could, from a two-week Pacific Northwest adventures to The Great Ocean Road trip and even several Around The World Trips.

Some of the journeys and routes that I have planned are still bookmarked for later and some of them we had a chance to experience several times.

When it comes to pretty European getaways, Brugge is one place I always wanted to go. It was one of the first trips that I personally planned with great enthusiasm. Was I seduced by chocolate fountains that never dry out or inspired by long exposure pictures of the medieval city at night with silky smooth waters on my Instagram feed?

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Pretty cobbled streets in Bruges, Belgium.

 

All I know is that since we had to cancel long weekend in Belgium a few years ago, because of Valters work circumstances, urge to go surfaced from time to time in my head.

The purpose of our visit to Bruges, that was founded in the 9th century by the Vikings,  was to see its beautiful squares, hear folkloric tales and to climb 366 steps to the very top of the Belfry.

And even though we arrived in Bruges hearing rain pound on the train window and even though we never made it to the medieval bell tower, we were swept away by its laid-back ambience and delectable foods.

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You gonna love Bruges!

10 best things to see and do in delightful Bruges, Belgium

For those world wanderers who want to discover the best things to see and do in this city, we put together a list of some of the most beautiful places you’ll find in Bruges. If you ask me, there’s no denying that with the quirky houses, incredible Christmas markets, and the cobbled streets, Bruges is one of the Europes most beautiful cities.

It’s so beautifully unique and full of history that in fact, the centre of it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010.

After spending a full day in Bruges, we can recommend this medieval town to everyone. Bruges is a very walkable place, and you can fit all the major attractions in a day. So, bring your walking shoes and explore this place.

#1. Eat all the Belgian chocolate you can

On a quest to find the best sweets in town? You have come to the right place. White and dark chocolate, macaroons, pralines, truffles, strawberry ganache, waffles – whatever you fancy! Bruges is cheerfully dripping in sweets. For the most amazing chocolates in the World, go to The Chocolate Line.  Lavender and the Cuban cigar flavour, anyone?

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Pure deliciousness.

#2. Find the 18th-century windmills

The Koeleweimolen and Sint-Janshuismolen mills are located on the outskirts of town and are worth a visit. Out of four remaining windmills, these two are still used today to grind the grain. Each of the houses a small museum and if you are in luck, you’ll see the sails in motion.

#3. Look out for In Bruges filming locations

Before our trip I scrolled through the Netflix archives, looking for a black comedy starring Collin Farrel and Brendon Gleeson, In Bruges.  Not only this movie was hilarious; it also revealed beautiful Gothic architecture, old bridges and lots of tourist attractions.

Most of the filming locations are freely accessible, and you can see Minnewater Bridge, The Groeningemuseum, the Relais Bourgondisch Cruyce, The Huidenvettersplein, The Jan Van Eyckplein and many more. Bring your camera, get the map of all the filming locations at the tourist information bureau and have fun finding them.

#4. Go for a Boat Ride

The canal boat ride was the very first thing we enjoyed in Bruges. The price of the ticket is around 8 euro, it takes 30 minutes for a round trip, and this trip allowed us to see the town from a different angle. Jumping into the boat with other travellers was a perfect way to see the city and our tour guide was quite the character, telling jokes and interesting facts about everything we saw along the way.

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Bruges, Belgium.

#5. Go for a walk

When you go for a walk around Bruges, the evidence why this place never needs to fight for visitors attention, unlike Ghent or Antwerp, is on every corner. Strolling through unfamiliar streets and squares filled with small cafes and shops, we stopped many times to gaze into the beautifully decorated shop windows, tried to imagine what the rooms look like behind those pink painted window frames, admired the unique architecture and tried to absorb its energetic vibe.

#6. Explore Bruges on bike

Bruges is a land of bicycles. ROour advice, rent the bikes, ditch the mid-day crowds and go for a ride. You can use the pedestrian/bike path that circles nearly all the way around town. If you enjoy hopping on two wheels and like to see the countryside too then go all the way to Damme, situated north-east of Bruges.

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Bruges, Belgium.

#7.  Find cute door knobs

As we wandered from one cobbled street to the next one, we found many beautifully detailed doors often with symmetrical designs. One thing to look out for in Bruges is door knobs that come in all shape and sizes. We spotted everything from flowers and animals to beautiful ornaments. Knocking on the doors in this town sure is fun.

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Cute, isn’t it?

 

#8.  See the impressive Town Hall

Located in Burg Square Bruges Town Hall is strikingly remarkable inside and out. Interior of this place is decorated with a golden ceiling and valuable paintings. 19th-century murals adorn the Ghotic Hall and may original documents can be found in the historic chamber.

#9. Go on a tour  with a horse-drawn carriage

While walking around medieval town, we quickly learned that that Bruges was in a class of its own.  Another fun way how to enjoy the sights and listen to the stories told by the coachman is to go for a half-hour carriage ride along beautiful streets. It is definitely one of the priciest things to do in this city, but its good fun!

#10. Send some love

Last thing before we left – postcards. I send one home to Latvia and to my friends from every place we visit. I love this old fashion way of keeping in touch as it’s an effective way to show you care. Who doesn’t want to receive a hand-picked card with a personal note from the other side of the world?

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Sending postcards from Bruges.

How to get to Bruges

Typically for most visitors, the first stop in Belgium is Brussels city. From here, you can take a train ride to Bruges with Belgian Railway.  To make the most of your trip, especially if you are going on a day trip, you need to get an early start. It takes around an hour to make it to Bruges from Brussels by train, and it’s possible to purchase the ticket in advance. To do so, use the Belgian train online page.

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Bruges, Belgium.

Now, over to you!

Have you been to Bruges? Let us know in the comments below!

Let us know if you are plotting a visit to Bruges and have travel related questions!

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Our Crossings follows daily adventures of Latvian expats living in Sligo as they surf and explore the world

Source: 10 Best Things To See and Do in delightful Bruges, Belgium

The Ultimate Luxury Gers In Mongolia’s Expansive Gobi Desert – Beck Bamberger

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The best places in the world are often the hardest to get to. I’ve found this time and time again at places such as the Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge in Uganda, the Galapagos Safari Camp in Ecuador, Nihi Sumba in Indonesia, and the Explora resort in Patagonia. Now on my list is the Three Camel Lodge in Mongolia, a wildly obscure and pristine luxury ger camp set in Mongolia’s expansive Gobi Desert……

Read more: https://www.forbes.com/sites/beckbamberger/2018/10/22/the-ultimate-luxury-gers-in-mongolias-expansive-gobi-desert/#97b28334031c

 

 

 

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