Guest Post by Another Blond in Beijing

I adore Steph over at Not Just Another Blond in Beijing.  We can relate on many levels when it comes to travel opportunities, passion, and obstacles.  I go to her blog to see her adventures and to get great travel tips.  Do make sure you sneak a peak at her blog.  Below are some quick questions about the girl behind it all:

1. Where are you now and how did you get there? I'm currently living in Beijing, China. My husband and I have spent the last year and a half studying Chinese in California, and we are here now continuing our studies and traveling! We have a plan to travel at least 2 weeks out of every month for the year we are here, and an itinerary that includes every province and some of the surrounding countries.

In Beihai Park, Beijing, China
2. What has been your favorite vacation/ travel adventure and why? Each place I've been to is really special, but one adventure that sticks out in my mind is staying in a cabin in a small town on Vancouver Island, Canada. Tofino is a small coastal town with the Pacific on one side and snow capped mountains on the other. We were on our own island - during high tide it was an island, but during low tide you can walk across a spit of sand to the mainland. We stayed in an entirely eco-friendly cabin that is chained to the rocks. It has solar panels for electricity, and the water is rainwater. The shower was outside and there was an outhouse! We read on the deck, explored the beach, hiked in the forest, watched bald eagles return to their nests & otters play in the ocean, and stayed warm at night by huddling around the fire.

Our gorgeous cabin in Tofino, Vancouver Island, Canada
3. Do you have any favorite helpful travel websites? I almost always plan our own travel, and the #1 website I use is Tripadvisor. It includes hotel (and B&B) reviews from travelers who have stayed at that hotel in the past, area to-dos and attractions, as well as awesome forums where you can post questions specific to your city/region/country, and get answers from local experts as well as other travelers. You can also search the forums for past travelers' experiences. One word about the hotel reviews: take them with a grain of salt, consider what is important to you, and then judge according to whether or not that particular thing is important to you as a traveler.
Other favorite sites: Lonely planet, Frommers, and Fodors. I also love to search travel blogs for other information, especially less-traveled destinations.

4. How can people travel nowadays without going over their budget? One of the ways my husband and I save money when we travel is by:
A. Don't have a set destination in mind. The plane ticket is usually one of the most expensive things, so what we do is enter different destinations into sites like Kayak.com and Sidestep.com, and we will often choose where to go based on the best ticket price.
B. Stay in bed and breakfasts. Bed and breakfasts are usually much cheaper, nicer & cleaner than hotels, more intimate, and you often get personal suggestions from the host/hostess.
C. Be spontaneous - if you are spontaneous and have a flexible schedule, take advantage of "last minute" deals - many travel sites offer them & you often save big time.
and finally,
D. Don't be afraid to take advantage of travel agents. I plan most of my trips myself (especially to somewhere like Europe), but occasionally have used a travel agent, especially for logistically-complicated travel, like for our safari trip to South Africa. Most travel agents are FREE to you - they make money on commissions they get from hotels. Sometimes they can get much better deals because they have relationships with certain hotels, airlines, etc.

The room from our amazing B&B in a very small Belgium town

5. A couple words on how you can vacation while saving money and not going very far at all: Staycations! Many people thinking of traveling when they think of vacationing, but it doesn't have to be that way. There a couple things that can make a successful staycation. 1. See your city/town/surrounding area like a tourist would. Many of us live in some really great places but don't take advantage of it at all! So, see your area like a tourist would! A staycation may or may not include staying in a local hotel - if you do, look into bed and breakfasts, and another thing to keep in mind - many local hotels and B&Bs offer local discounts (as do area museums, parks, etc!). 2. Treat it like a true vacation - that means no work, no chores. Enjoy yourself, you are on a vacation! You deserve it.

I hope you guys enjoyed my post, I am truly honored to have been asked by Rachael to do a guest post on her blog.


Liesl @ FabulousFashions4SensibleStyle said...

Thank you for introducing Steph and her lovely blog to me...I just stopped by it and love it!

I hope you are having a fun start to the week, Rachael!

Liesl :)

Ken said...

i have never been to china
and i am chinese~!

Marcie said...

Cool post rachel! I love all the bloggers you introduce us to.
:) Marcie

Shannon of ** Happiness Is...** said...

Nice interview - I love Steph's blog! I'm totally going to check out Tofino, since I'm nearby. It looks amazing :) xo

Tere said...

muchas gracias por tu comentario wapisima!!
I don't know if you speak spanish or english. if you like, you want to tell me this thing.
thanks for your comment and nice post!!
very kisses

Kelle Dame said...

This was great! The tips were most helpful and I love the part about being spontaneous. It's so easy to forget that part even though it's the most fun!

Diana Mieczan said...

I love those posts...So interesting and I adore meeting new people..She sounds so lovely and what a great photos!!! Rachael...well done.:)))
Kisses sweetie and I am off to check her blog!

britni @ Antika Moda said...

Yes!! I love staycations!! We'll do that sometimes on a weekend, we call it a "no obligation weekend." Love it! :)

Michele Lee said...

These were such great tips! Especially because I will be vacationing quite soon! Thanks Rachael for sharing her with us and thank you again Steph for the awesome tips!

tifsong said...

i LOVE guest posts.
but i miss you.
where have you gone?

i will see on thursday?
yes please.

shari @ little blue deer said...

That's awesome, Rachael! I love her blog, she has such a cool life! Thanks for featuring her! Great tips! XO!

Jessie said...

Love her blog so much!!! Yours is wonderful as well! I am now following you!


P.s. I have a giveaway up right now... if you get a chance check it out!

The Zhush said...

Great interview! Thanks for introducing me to a new blog and to this lovely lady!

LyddieGal said...

I love reading about Steph's Beijing adventures over at her blog, and this has been a really great interview -- now I want to go plan a trip!

Chic on the Cheap

Anonymous said...

I loved reading this.
I hope you had a great day!


junghwa by amy stewart said...

She's so cute. I was consistently checking out her blog for a while there and just stopped all of a sudden. Not sure why. I think I need to start reading it again!!! Great interview. :)

Chiaki in here said...

I really love to travel..visit Indonesia some other time..especially Medan...
U will love the Lake toba :)

Kristin said...

LOVED this post. I'm a huge fan of staycations!

OneCraftyFox said...

Lovely feature, thanks for sharing. Hope both you girls have a fantastic day!

AnnGela said...

amazing!!! =]

check out my blog also...



Pop Champagne said...

I've never been to Beijing but I would like to one day, and super cool you have a cabin in Tofino, when I lived in Victoria BC we used to drive up there to go surfing every summer, it's beautiful!

Dancing Branflake said...

She has so many good tips. I'm definitely using trip adviser the next time I travel. And a cabin village sounds way too amazing.

Domesticated-Bliss said...

Steph is one of my favorite bloggers :) thanks for featuring her and I'm glad I found you through her!


Love Steph! You little travel expert you... :)

locationvilla said...

I have never be to China, but really want to visit there...nice posting...villa ibiza

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