Travelers Insider Guide

Travel | Taste and See Life | Houston Food, Travel, and Lifestyle Blog | Michelle Carr

Travel like a pro with the Taste & See Life’s Travelers Insider Guide featuring recommended accommodations, favorite products, travel links and tour companies. From best walking shoes to practical luggage, Taste and See Life provides the honest truth: how to plan, how to pack, how to get best bang for the buck and what to look for to meet your travel needs.

What to Consider?

Planning a trip depends on various variables: location, number of travel mates, trip duration and budget. A long urban weekend trip with one travel mate or solo would be a perfect match for luxury accommodations or a boutique hotel. A longer adventure with multiple destinations would require affordable rentals at selected base sites. Trip Advisor is a great resource to obtain accommodation reviews to help select the perfect travel pad that meets your needs. Travel groups on Facebook and Twitter are also excellent sources to find flight deals, vacation packages, and what to see.

If traveling solo, especially if female, I suggest using a tour company that will customize an itinerary with planned tours and independent free days. This allows you to obtain your bearings in the new environment and gain confidence prior to winging it on your own. There are some locations that I would not leave the hotel without my tour guide due to safety reasons. Be smart and use your own judgement. I’ve listed the tour companies and travel links I use for planning domestic and international trips. If you have questions about planning an independent group trip or a first-time solo, just ask!

Favorite Travel Products

Eagle Creek makes durable luggage. I still use one of my original carry-on bags from 1992 which I’ve nicknamed, “The Green Bean.”  I love the bag because it holds a lot, and it can bend and twist and squeeze into tight spaces. Since then, I’ve acquired four other Eagle Creek pieces.

Clarks are my preferred brand for travel shoes: flip-flops, sandals, and walking shoes. I own several pair and love them. My most recent pair is called the Wave.Trek and they handled intensive all-day walking with no problems. Clarks come in various widths and sizes so be sure to read the online reviews on how the shoes are sized before purchasing. I normally go up a size or order a wider width because my feet swell when walking long distances. I learned this lesson the hard way while hiking the Grand Canyon in hiking boots that were too heavy, too small, and poorly crafted to handle the elements of the terrain. Things to consider when purchasing travel shoes:

  • What is the terrain? (city streets, cobblestone streets, unpaved roads, hiking trails, beaches)
  • Is the shoe practical? Look for light weight, waterproof or quick dry, durable shoes that are easy to pack. Go for comfort first, fashion second. Trust me.
  • Take more than one pair of shoes to give your feet a break.
  • Always break your shoes in before going on walking intensive trips. If you can walk two to three miles in your travel shoes with no pain, blisters or issues, those are the ones to take on your trip.

Squeeze Pods are ultra-portable natural toiletries that make traveling and packing a breeze. I was introduced to Squeeze Pods at the Women in Travel Summit this year and took their products with me on my European trip. The ingredients used in Squeeze Pods worked well with my sensitive skin, freed up space in luggage and didn’t weigh my bags down. I love this product, it’s a winner!

Travel Products, SqueezePods

Links & Accommodations

Austria & Turkey Vacation
Salzburg: Mozart Hotel
Bad Ischl: Goldenes Schiff
Vienna: Mozart Hotel
Istanbul:  Erboy

Sayulita, Mexico Vacation rental
Property ID#:  163322 Casa Jaqui, Sayulita, Mexico
Also highly recommend Playa Escondida Resort for romantic
getaway or destination wedding location

Costa Rica
Funky Monkey Logde, St. Teresa, Mal Pais

Hong Kong
Langham Hotel

Anahi Boutique Hotel

Tophams Hotel Belgravia

La Maison Champs Elysees

Swissôtel The Stamford

The Prince Park Tower Tokyo

Lima: Sheraton (recommend JW Marriott)
Cusco: Jose Antonio
Sacred Valley: Sol & Luna
MachuPicchu:  Inkaterra MachuPicchu Pueblo

Thailand and Cambodia 
Bangkok: Siam Design Hotel & Spa
Chang Mai: De Naga Hotel
Phuket: Indigo Pearl
Siem Reap: Borei Angkor Resort & Spa

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