The Best Views of Shipwreck Beach in Zakynthos, Greece!

Greece is home to some of the most iconic sights in the world - the Acropolis, the blue domes of Santorini, the windmills of Mykonos, and the shipwreck beach of Zakynthos.

Of them all, shipwreck beach (whose official name is Navagio Beach) is said to be the most photographed. And it's not hard to understand why!

The breathtaking spot is best taken in from above, where you can hike along the ridge line that offers unbelievable views. See for yourself:

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The best way to get to the Navagio Beach viewing area is by car. There's free parking at the view point access. From the parking lot ahead to the right and you'll see the viewing platform and the beginning of the trail head. It's an easy walk along the ridge. Make sure your memory card has plenty of room - because you'll be taking more pictures than you know what to do with. 

Are you going to Zakynthos soon? Have you been to Navagio Beach? We'd love to hear! Share your story with us and others in the comments below!

11 Things to Do in Hoi An, Vietnam

Hoi An, Vietnam is one of the most vibrant and historically fascinating places you'll ever visit. Seated on the central coast of the country, the city is the perfect intersection between a growing chic scene and wonderfully preserved culture. The food, the people, and the atmosphere are part of the many reasons that exploring the beautiful city will be an adventure of a lifetime. Not to mention it’s a photographer’s dream. If you’re headed to Hoi An, here are 11 things you won’t want to miss: 

1. Exploring the Old Town

The center and most popular part of Hoi An is the historic Old Town (also known as Hoi An Ancient Town) which was awarded UNESCO World Heritage site status in 1999. Here you’ll get a glimpse of the city’s diverse history – the iconic Japanese bridge, the Chinese temples, and the strikingly yellow (and somewhat dilapidated) facades with their French colonial influence. As you wander through winding alleyways, you’ll be in awe of all the hanging lanterns which light up the streets at night.

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Exploring the Hoi An Ancient Town does require an entrance fee, which can be bought at kiosks scattered throughout town. The system itself is not very clear, or consistently enforced (some people are never asked for a ticket), but you should be prepared to show your ticket or pay if asked. One ticket covers your entire stay. 

2. Ride bikes

Riding bikes is a way of life in Vietnam. While the larger cities like Saigon (Hoi Chi Minh City) and Hanoi have become dominated by scooters and motorbikes, Hoi An remains a bike friendly haven – making it the best mode of transportation for exploring. The Ancient Town closes to motor-traffic between 10am-3pm every day, making it another great place to explore by bike. 

3. Hit the beach 

On the outskirts of Hoi An, you can get your fix for a lush beach getaway. The closest beach is An Bang, which has a dozen beach-front restaurants and beach clubs that you can rent lounge chairs and umbrellas from. 

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4. Take a cooking class

Food is one of the best ways to learn about a culture. And it’s no surprise that the food in Vietnam is amazing. Throw on an apron and learn how to cook some delicious local staples, including gỏi cuốn (spring roll), pho ga (chicken rice noodle soup), cao lầu (rice noodle with pork, a Hoi An speciality) and bánh xèo (savory fried pancake). 

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5. Drinks with a view

While Hoi An isn’t known for its rooftop bars – there are several restaurants and eateries in the Old Town that give you a beautiful view. At sunset, you can watch from above as people light up candles in the river and the lanterns in the alleyways.

6. Pamper yourself for cheap

Enjoy getting pampered but can’t justify spending top dollar to do it? You’re in luck! Sprinkled throughout Hoi An are spas and salons that offer amazing services at bargain prices. Eyelash extensions, manicures/pedicures, waxing, massages – you name it. Don’t be surprised when you pay a fraction of what you pay at home.

7. Get something tailor made

Hoi An is known for its tailoring and bespoke specialty. You’ll see the streets are filled with tailor shops offering custom-made suits and dresses. Some deals are better than others – but if you know you’ll get long-term wear out of it, it’s definitely worth the splurge. Plus, it’s a great way to remember you adventure every time you slip it on.

8. Take a ride along the river

The canals and rivers throughout Hoi An offer yet another unique way to explore the area. Throughout the day you can hop on a river tour or hire a small row boat to take you up and down the water ways. The further away from the old town you float, the more untouched landscape you’ll enjoy.

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9. Enjoy a Vietnamese coffee at a local cafe

Vietnamese coffee is unlike coffee anywhere else. Sweet, strong, and an art in and of itself. Plus, the cafes in Hoi An are Instagram-worthy. 

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10. Go shopping in the local market

Every morning, while the streets and alleyways of the Old Town are still asleep, a corner of the town comes to life – as local merchants wheel in their fresh produce, meat and seafood at the local market. 

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11.  Surprise your palate with international fare

You’d be surprised in a place that feels small and secluded that you’ll find some of the best food from around the world. Italian, Indian, you name it! The number one rated restaurant in town is actually a Greek restaurant, owned and operated by a Greek couple who moved here after visiting for the first time a decade ago. 

Are you going to Vietnam soon? Have you been to Hoi An? We'd love to hear! Share your story with us and others in the comments below!

A Couple's Week in Belgium & Paris on €918

Welcome to Travel Money Diaries - where we're uplifting the broader travel community by talking openly about money and travel! Each month travelers around the world will track and share how they spend (and save) their money during a 7-day period.

This month: A couple of travel bloggers share their week on business in Paris!

Name: Birthe (& Brecht) from Wandering the World

Blog: Wandering the World - WTW on Instagram - WTW on Pinterest - WTW on Twitter - WTW on Facebook

Industry: WordPress Plugins / Travel Blog

Occupation: Self-employed

Age: 26 (& 29)

Based in: Hasselt, Belgium

Paycheck Amount (x per month, after or before taxes, etc.): It's complicated. (We can set it as high or low as we want, depending on our needs. About €3600 per month at the moment.)

 

Monthly Expenses

Housing Costs (rent/mortgage): €1300 mortgage for our newly bought apartment

Loans (car, student): N/A

Credit Cards: N/A

Phone: €25 (yes, that's for both!)

Health Insurance: €100

Subscriptions: €20 (shared) Netflix and Apple Music

Savings: €1000 (more or less, depends on our travels)

Retirement: €0 (paid for by our business) 

Currency: EUR

 

Day One - Hasselt, Belgium

7:42AM – It’s a regular weekday at Bootstrapped Ventures. Our second alarm just went off and I still don’t feel like getting out of bed. Instead I think about all the things that have to get done today. There are just so little hours in a day.

7:53AM – I’m finally out of bed, starting my morning routine. After about 10 minutes checking my phone on the toilet, I head downstairs. Morning Mom! I take a seat at our desk and open our support system. As usual there aren’t any questions I’m able to answer yet.

8:18AM – Brecht takes a seat beside me at our desk. I realize I got sucked into my Facebook feed and quickly head to the kitchen to make our morning smoothie. It’s strawberry today, made from the fresh strawberries from my grandma’s garden. Yum!

9:56AM – In between work I do my daily workout routine. I’m trying to get a flat stomach and lose some thigh fat, but I’m afraid my beach body won’t be ready in time for our trip to Thailand in July. Not giving up though!

10:45AM – Brecht asks me to check if the cash in my wallet matches the amount I’m supposed to have according to YNAB, our personal budgeting program. We do this at least once a week, to make sure we entered all our earnings and expenses into the system. It’s important it all matches before we leave for Paris tomorrow.

1:02PM – Our lunch break is over, time to pack my backpack for 4 days of Paris. *Sigh* How I hate this part of traveling. Choosing beforehand what I want to wear for the next couple of days? Not my strong suit.

2:33PM – Packed my bag in less than an hour, quickest ever. Writing a new blog post now, to publish on our travel blog on Monday.

6:28PM – Dinner's ready! Mom made that casserole dish we all love, she's the best. Yes, we're living with my parents, but only until the apartment we bought is finished. We're still enjoying the perks of living at your parents, but we do also cook regularly and help out with household chores.

11:16PM – Finished watching another episode of House of Cards. Lights out!

Daily Expense: €0 (the benefits of living with your parents!)

 

Day Two - Hasselt, Belgium / Paris, France

6:45AM – Rise and shine! We’re going to Paris today!

7:46AM – Buying tickets for the train to Brussels South. Our best option is a multi-trip card, costing €77 for 10 one-way trips. We’ll just be needing 2 today, and another 2 when we’re coming back.

9:19AM – We just arrived in Brussels South by train. We’ll change trains here, taking the Thalys to Paris. Bummer, a visit to the toilet costs €0.60, but I really have to go. On the upside, you get a €0.60 discount if you buy any food or drinks in the railway station.

9:34AM – Time for breakfast. A coffee, a latte, a croissant, and a chocolate roll cost us €7.80. Brecht forgot to hand over the toilet ticket, no €0.60 discount for us.

10:01AM – We board the Thalys. After a couple of terrible selfies we take out our laptops and connect to Thalysnet, the free onboard WiFi. Time to get some work done.

11:43AM – Paris, we’re back! We leave Paris North and make our way to the hotel on foot. About 10 minutes later we’re storing our luggage in the luggage room and leaving again for lunch. Check-in only starts at 2PM.

12:52PM – We just had a yummy salad at Le Relais Gascon and some free tap water, costing us €26.40 in total. Now we’re ready for some city exploring.

3:05PM – It's embarrassing how excited I am about this, but we found the sinking house in Paris! Can't believe we looked past it the last time we visited Sacré-Coeur.

3:17PM – Our feet need a break, so we decide to check in at the hotel. Card declined. Is it getting warm in here? On the second try it's accepted though. Phew. *Wipes sweat off of forehead.* 4 nights at the Best Western Hotel Montmartre Sacré-Coeur for 2, including breakfast: €352.20.

6:12PM – After getting some more work done at the hotel (WiFi connection is pretty good), we head to the nearest station to take the metro to the Arc de Triomphe. We bulk buy 10 metro tickets for €14.50. These should last us a couple of days.

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6:39PM – We decide to climb the Arc de Triomphe for an amazing view over Paris, costing us €24 for the both of us. Worth it though!

8:36PM – We spread out our makeshift picnic blanket (a travel towel) at the foot of the Eiffel Tower. It has taken us a while, but we managed to find a shop selling chilled wine (it was no good, but hey, it had to be a screwcap). We bought cheese and some salami too, and a baguette of course. Total cost of this romantic picnic: €20.94.

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11:49PM – We slept even before our heads touched the pillow. It was an exhausting, but lovely first day in Paris!

Daily Expense: €523.44

 

Day Three - Paris, France

8:30AM – Slowly waking up in our cozy hotel room. Time to grab our laptops and check for support questions that need to be answered.

9:54AM – Climbing the stairs back to our room after a basic but good hotel breakfast. We'll spend the rest of the morning getting some work done.

12:02PM – We're starting to get hungry, so leave the hotel for lunch and an afternoon of wandering through Paris.

1:57PM – While Brecht heads to the toilet, I pay our lovely lunch (with wine of course, we're in Paris!) at Restaurant Café de le Nouvelle Mairie. It's €36.40 in total for the both of us. We start our DIY walking tour through Paris, doing some geocaching along the way.

4:30PM – It's so hot! The perfect excuse to try the best ice cream in Paris. We each order a cone with 2 scoops of ice cream at Berthillon. The scoops are tiny compared to the ones we get at 't Kremmeke back home, but they taste good! This welcome refreshment costs us €9.

5:07PM – While hastily licking our ice cream (it's melting quickly in this hot weather) we make our way to Sainte Chapelle. Tickets to enter the chapel and admire the stunning stained glass are €10 per person. I'm not that excited, but Brecht deems the inside of Sainte Chapelle worth the money.

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5:51PM – Next stop: Musée D'Orsay. On Thursdays the museum is open late, so we'll have plenty of time to look around. The entrance fee to this former railway station is €24 for the both of us. We stroll along the paintings and sculptures, recognizing some famous ones every now and then. The biggest work of art is the building itself though. Pretty impressive piece of architecture!

8:16PM – Le Relais de l'Entrecôte Saint-Germain is packed with (mostly) tourists, but their steak is quite delicious! I ask the waitress about the sauce, but she doesn't know what's in it either. Apparently it's a family secret. This dinner, including a small bottle of red wine, sets us back €64.50.

10:45PM – We got some work done and watched another episode of House of Cards. Francis is quite the character. I set the alarm for 6:50AM before cuddling up to Brecht and closing my eyes.

Daily Expense: €153.90

 

Day Four - Paris, France

6:50AM – Our first alarm goes off, but we snooze.

7:00AM – Time to get up and get ready for the first day of the conference we're attending: WordCamp Europe 2017.

8:32AM – We took the metro to the conference venue, got our badges and are now browsing the sponsors hall. In a couple of minutes we'll need to find some seats for the opening remarks. Let's do this!

12:35PM – We attended some talks and connected with a couple of other attendees. Now it's lunch break. Lunch is included in our €40 tickets for WordCamp we bought a couple of months ago, together with drinks and snacks throughout the day.

1:20PM – We have over half an hour before the next talk starts, so we go through the sponsors hall once more. Maybe we can score some gadgets, like a fidget spinner or a popsocket.

5:14PM – We didn't stick around to hear the last talks at the conference, but returned to the hotel to get some work done.

7:51PM – On our way to the restaurant I spot a nice little store selling jewellery and handbags. I convince Brecht to go have a quick look and I end up buying a new wallet for €25. My old one really is worn out, I promise.

8:02PM – We take our seats at Le Vache et le Cuisinier, a cute little restaurant near Sacré-Coeur.

9:39PM – The waiter brings the check: €81. The food was delicious and we had a lovely bottle of white wine, so we leave a €5 tip. We probably shouldn't have ordered dessert, but they had crème brûlée, one of my favourite desserts! We're heading to Sacré-Coeur now, for the sunset.

10:45PM – Yes, we're addicted to House of Cards! Had to stay focused to not fall asleep during the episode though. It's been a long and exhausting day.

Daily Expense: €111

 

Day Five - Paris, France

7:30AM – We get out of bed for the second (and last) day of WordCamp Europe 2017. Hopefully we'll meet some more interesting people today!

9:20AM – Morten Rand-Hendriksen is knocking it out of the park with his talk about CSS Grid. Brecht is getting really excited about trying this out for himself.

11:30AM – We hang around at the spot where the tribe meetups take place. The next one will be about support. We're not entirely sure what we'll be talking about, but Brecht would love to hear how other people are handling their support questions.

12:55PM – It's time for lunch. Just like yesterday, it's already paid for when we bought our tickets for the conference.

6:15PM – The closing remarks weren't really interesting, except for the announcement of the city that will be hosting WordCamp Europe 2018. It iiiiiiis… Belgrade! We hurry to the metro station to stay ahead of the crowd. Heading back to the hotel now for a shower and a change of clothes.

8:15PM – We arrive at the WordCamp Europe 2017 After Party. Theme: 1930's Paris. There aren't that many people yet. We look around for a while, get a drink, and make a couple of photos at the photo booth.

8:45PM – Only one drink on the house, so we buy drink tickets for another 4 consumptions for €16.

8:50PM – We're part of first group of people that found the food stalls. Behind us, the line starts getting out of hand. By the time we get our hands on a burger (€16 for 2), we can't even see the end of the line anymore. And those people at the other side of the stalls don't seem to be used to these kinds of crowds. They're struggling to keep up.

9:30PM – Ladies, those feathers aren't in fashion till the 50's! I try my best not to get agitated by the poor choice of clothing and accessories for this 1930's Paris theme party.

10:05PM – We had a couple of glasses of wine and some finger food too. Now, let's hit the dancefloor!

11:00PM – I'm not entirely sure about the time, but we spent another €24 on drink tickets and danced the night away.

12:40AM – OK, "we danced the night away" is slightly exaggerated. I'm getting tired, so Brecht orders an Uber to get us back to our hotel. We're surprised about how busy the Paris streets are at this hour. This 20 minute ride costs us €15.24.

1:07AM – Our clothes dropped to the floor, we dropped in bed. I'm sure the alarm will go off way sooner than we'd like.

Daily Expense: €73.24

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Day Six - Paris, France / Hasselt, Belgium

8:00AM – The alarm goes off. I don't want to wake up yet! We have to though, we're heading back home today.

9:48AM – Apparently there was some kind of equipment breakdown. The Thalys is leaving Paris with a 25 minute delay.

10:20AM – Breakfast was a real bummer: a tiny croissant and a glass of orange juice. I thought this was first class?! (It's the same price as second class on weekends.)

11:12AM – We made it to Brussels in time for us to board the train to Alken, where my dad will pick us up. I'm so hungry now!

2:05PM – We've had lunch, took a shower and are now at a party for a newborn baby. We put €30 in a card as a gift. Welcome to this world, Kamiel!

7:30PM – Lots of beer, sparkling wine and chocolate covered strawberries later we decide to have Belgian fries for dinner with some friends.

10:06PM – The Belgian fries, some more sparkling wine and some beers, add up to €27 for the two of us. Sun, friends, and a couple of drinks: we had a lovely night!

Daily Expense: €57

 

Day Seven - Hasselt, Belgium

9:05AM – We sleep in a little today, it's been a busy couple of days. Not too long though, our bedroom is already starting to warm up. Temperatures are through the roof in Belgium for the last week or so.

12:00AM – We take a nice long lunch break, squeezing another episode of House of Cards in.

3:00PM – We arrive at Strouven for a meeting about the electricity in our future apartment. It seems like there's no one here though, so Brecht calls the owner. He apologizes for running late and ensures us he'll be there in 10 minutes.

9:32PM – I take my bike to the shared vegetable garden we have with some friends. There are some zucchinis ready to be consumed. I pick some lettuce too, for dinner tomorrow. Our little garden looks pretty nice now all the vegetables are more than just seedlings.

Daily Expense: €0

 

Weekly TOTAL Spent: €918.58

Note: This trip to Paris was a business trip. The train tickets for the Thalys, the accommodation, and €100 per day are paid for by our company Bootstrapped Ventures.

How to Get From Railay Beach to Koh Lanta by Ferry

Island-hopping is one of the best ways to experience all that the Thai islands have to offer. It can be hard to decide to which islands to visit - since there are just so many to choose from - but once you do, it's easy to get around!

Unfortunately, there isn't always a lot of information available about how to get from one place to the next. I found this out the hard way when I was planning our trip from Railay Beach to Koh Lanta. Luckily we figured it out!

Here's what you need to know about getting from Railay Beach to Koh Lanta by ferry:

Ferry is the best way to travel between Railay Beach and Koh Lanta for one simple reason: both places are only accessible by ferry. You can drive to Koh Lanta from the mainland - but it still requires using a car ferry. So bottom line? Passenger ferry is the best mode of transportation between the two places. 

The passenger ferries between Railay Beach and Koh Lanta operate November to April via several companies. The travel time from Railay Beach and Koh Lanta (or the reverse route) is 1 hour on the speedboat (operated by Tigerline) and 2 hours on the regular ferry (operated by Ao Nang Princess). It costs cost 1500 TBH and 550 TBH, respectively. There is usually one ferry per day, which leaves in the morning. 

Passenger ferry ticket via Ao Nang Princess

Passenger ferry ticket via Ao Nang Princess

Meeting point on Railay Beach West

Meeting point on Railay Beach West

Timetable for passenger ferry (as of March 2017)

Timetable for passenger ferry (as of March 2017)

You can book tickets online through both operators - but there's really no need. You can easily book once you arrive, either through your hotel or at the company's ticket office at the respective piers (in Railay Beach, there is no pier so the company's ticket 'offices' are located at the beach front where the ferries depart). The advantage to not booking in advance is it gives you the flexibility to decide once you get there. Plus, neither company puts a cap on the number of passengers (as you'll see, the ferries are notorious for being crowded). Having a booking in advance doesn't give you any advantage. 

Departure point on Railay Beach West

Departure point on Railay Beach West

From Railay Beach, the departure point is Railay Beach West. It's easy to see where the meeting point is because it'll be where all the other travelers will be with their suitcases. You'll check-in with the ticket office to validate your ticket and get instructions on what to do next. Once they're ready to board, attendants will check your ticket a final time and direct you to your ferry.

Because Railay Beach doesn't have a pier, you'll first get into a long-tail boat, which will shuttle you from the beach to the actual ferry. The attendants will take care of loading your bags. Once you're on the ferry, you can find a seat - either down below the main deck or on top. There's very little shade so don't forget your sunscreen! 

One to two hours later, you'll arrive in Koh Lanta! At the Saladan Pier. Grab your bags and exit the ferry. When you disembark in Koh Lanta be prepared for the crowds of people who are there to offer their transport services. It can be overwhelming but just keep moving until you get past the crowd. Most hotels can help you organize pick-up from the pier, or you can easily hop into a tuk-tuk to get you where you need to go.  

Saladan Pier in Koh Lanta, arriving from Railay Beach

Saladan Pier in Koh Lanta, arriving from Railay Beach

Are you going to Railay Beach or Koh Lanta soon? Let us know what question you have! We're happy to help! 

How to Travel to Cuba: Visas, OFAC, and "People-to-People" Licenses Explained!

UPDATE AS OF JULY 2017: 

In June 2017, the White House announced it was reimposing restrictions and regulations between the US and Cuba. This reversal in policy means that travel to Cuba will go back to being a restricted activity, as it was prior to President Obama's foreign policy in 2016. Travel to Cuba is still possible - but only through sanctioned group trips under the 'people-to-people'  license or one of the other license categories. According to the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), travelers who booked their trip to Cuba (even partially) prior to the announcement in June will be allowed to go ahead. For the most up-to-date and accurate information on travel to Cuba, check the OFAC or US Embassy in Cuba website.

Editor's Note: This post was originally published on February 25, 2017. It has been updated for accuracy based on latest available information. Key changes are noted in italics below. 

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With recent political developments, finding clear information and getting answers to your planning questions isn’t as easy. Luckily, we’ve got you covered. Here is what you need to know about travel to Cuba now:

What is OFAC Certification and “People-to-People” Licenses?

Legally speaking, U.S. citizens are not permitted to travel as tourists to Cuba. U.S. law restricts travel to Cuba to 12 authorized travel categories, each requiring travelers to meet certain requirements. The categories include: family visits; official business of the U.S. government, foreign governments, and certain intergovernmental organizations; journalistic activity; professional research and professional meetings; educational activities; religious activities; public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions; support for the Cuban people; humanitarian projects; activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes; exportation, importation, or transmission of information or information materials; and certain authorized export transactions.

So how are most people getting to Cuba? Answer: under the travel category “Educational activities and people-to-people exchanges”. The category is relatively broad, only requiring people traveling under this category to have “a full-time schedule of educational exchange activities that will result in meaningful interaction between the travel and individuals in Cuba.” This is why Americans traveling to Cuba have to go as part of organized, sanctioned trips (called 'people-to-people' exchange tours, or the like).

Under the Obama administration (2016), you could travel under the “Educational activities and people-to-people exchanges” category without an organized tour group. You could go solo, with a friend, or your own group – so long as you technically fulfill the category requirement (i.e. have a prepared itinerary and keep receipts of all your engagements - museums, business cards, etc.) Unfortunately these policies have now been reversed.

Under the current administration (as of June 2017), you are no longer able to travel under the“Educational activities and people-to-people exchanges” category without an organized group. So travel to Cuba is still possible but only through sanctioned group trips under the 'people-to-people'  license. Alternatively you could potentially travel without an organized group trip if you qualified under one of the other license categories. For example, you could travel solo under the "Journalistic activity" category if you have the appropriate credentials listed under that category. 

When you arrive at the airport before your flight, you’ll be required to sign a form certifying that you are traveling under one of the 12 travel categories and specifying which you are traveling under.

How do I get a visa for Cuba?

As of June 2017, travel to Cuba is only permitted through sanctioned group trips under the 'people-to-people'  license or one of the other license categories. According to the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), travelers who booked their trip to Cuba (even partially) prior to the announcement in June will be allowed to go ahead. If you are booking travel to Cuba you will want to do so with a licensed operator, who will provide you a tourist card as part of your trip package.

Traditionally you would book your flight and then apply for your visa either through a third-party operator, a travel agent, or directly with a Cuban embassy. If you were flying via Mexico or Canada you could purchase your tourist card at the airport or on the plane.

Now that you can fly directly from the States, U.S. airlines also allow you to purchase your tourist card at the boarding gate before your departure. So you don’t need to worry about getting one before you fly. The cost of the tourist card is $50 (but can vary based on which airline you fly so check ahead of time). As mentioned previously, if you are traveling to Cuba as part of a sanctioned group trip, your tourist card will likely be included as part of your trip package - so you won't need to worry about applying for it beforehand or getting it at the boarding gate.

The tourist card is valid for a single-entry for a period of up to 30 days. Upon arrival in Cuba, a portion of your tourist card is retained by immigration authorities, and you hold on to the remaining portion until it’s collected at the airport prior to your departure. It’s important that you don’t lose the second half of the tourist card because you won’t be allowed to leave the country without presenting it at passport control.

Do I Need Medical Insurance?

In addition to the tourist card, you’ll also need to obtain Cuba-specific medical insurance. Luckily, airlines have also helped streamline this process. Most include a temporary policy within the cost of your ticket. Delta, for example, automatically includes a medical insurance surcharge of $25 in the cost of each passenger's fare. The boarding pass will serve as evidence of the insurance policy should any emergency medical services be required during the trip. If you are traveling as part of a sanctioned group trip, your tourist card will likely be included as part of your trip package. you obtain your medical insurance through your airline or tour operator, be sure to hold on to your boarding pass during your entire stay in Cuba.

 

Headed to Cuba soon and have more questions? Check out our complete Cuba travel guide! Or share your questions and plans with us in the comments below!

6 Touristy Spots in NYC That Are Totally Worth Visit!

New York City has no shortage of touristy spots - Times Square, Rockefeller Center, the list goes on and on. While some of them aren't worth the hype, others are. Here are just a few spots that you (and your camera) won't want to miss - some obvious, some delicious, but all special:

 

1. TOP OF THE ROCK

There are rooftop views, and then there is the Top of the Rock. Nothing quite compares to the sweeping, unobstructed views you get from atop the 67th, 69th and 70th floor open-air observation deck of 30 Rockefeller Plaza. From here you can see Central Park, Midtown Manhattan all around, and Downtown Manhattan. On a clear day, you can even see as far as the Statue of Liberty. 

 

2. SHAKE SHACK @ MADISON SQUARE PARK

Shake Shack is an NYC institution, with nearly a dozen locations across all boroughs. But this is by far the best thanks to the picture perfect setting. 

You know it's good when even locals are willing to wait in line for it (tip: check the Shack cam online to see what it looks like before you go).

With the whole menu available, including wine and beer, this location basically becomes a delicious beer garden. There's plenty of seating so even on busy days you should have no trouble finding a spot under the twinkling lights. 

 

3. CENTRAL PARK

It's not hard to understand why Central Park is the most visited urban space in the US. Famous in every sense of the word, Central Park is an oasis for locals and visitors alike. The best way to experience the park is on foot or rented bike. To experience the city like a local, strap on your sneakers and do a lap along one of the park's dozen running paths! In the summer months check out listings by the Central Park website for free events. If you're visiting in the winter, don't let the snow stop you from enjoying a stroll in the park - it's actually one of the most amazing times to go. Less crowds means you get to enjoy the the winter wonderland all by yourself.

It's snowing again but not the big fluffy fun kind. So let's daydream back to when it was {#reedit}

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4. ROOFTOP BARS

While not a 'touristy spot' per say, Manhattan is known for its chic rooftop bars. And rubbing shoulders with the city dwellers makes you feel like you're a local. Most places are pretty pricey but worth it if the view is good! Places like Refinery Rooftop even have both indoor and outdoor spaces for year-around enjoyment. 

 

5. BROOKLYN BRIDGE

Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge is a must for any first-time NYC visitor. You're rewarded with great views as you cross in either direction, the wind sweeping through your hair. Unsurprisingly the bridge gets busy and crowded so it's best to go early! 

Rainy morning run across the bridge🏃 {#lookingup}

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6. THE HIGH LINE

The High Line is a 1.45-mile-long public park built on an elevated section of a disused New York freight rail line. Located on the west side of lower Manhattan, the park is home to unique views of the city and amazing art work - making it every designer's/photographer's dream. During the warmer months vendors set up shop selling souvenirs, food, and drinks so you can enjoy the park as long as you want.

Brace yourselves, #Fall is coming 🍂💕 #nyc

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These colors👌🏼💕🍂 #nyc

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Have you been to NYC? What are your favorite spots? We'd love to hear! Share your thoughts with us and others in the comments below! 

These Photos Will Convince You to Go to Railay Beach, Thailand

Railay Beach is a small but popular beach town on the coast of the Krabi province in Thailand. It’s located on the neck of a peninsula and surrounded by karst mountains – which means it can only be reached by boat. The town itself straddles the narrowest part of the peninsula. Because of it’s size, the town is completely walkable. The only vehicles you see are small motorbikes for transporting goods from ships to the various shops. 

The first time I saw a picture of Railay Beach, I wasn't very impressed. But the more I read about it, the more it seems like the quintessential Thai island getaway - complete with long tail boat rides, stunning sunsets, and secluded beaches surrounded by lush mountains. Of the places we visited in Krabi (the other two being Koh Lanta and Koh Ngai), Railay Beach quickly became my favorite. It's not hard to see why: 

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On our first night in Railay Beach, we were gifted with the most stunning sunset. Dare I say it is the most incredible one I’ve ever seen. There is a rain storm in the distance over what looks to be Phuket. The long tail boats bob up and down in the water as deep yellows and orange hues take over the sky. It started to rain but that only seemed to add to the amazingness of this moment. In that moment, it finally started to sink in that we were in Thailand. A country that has been number one on my bucket list for years. What an incredible welcome. 

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Are you going to Thailand soon? Have you been to Railay Beach? We'd love to hear! Share your story with us and others in the comments below!