Our Stay at The Perry Key West

While we were in Key West, we stayed at The Perry Key West, and it was AMAZING! We’ve been to Key West multiple times before, but staying at The Perry made our visit to this tiny island even better. This hotel is like nothing else we’ve ever experienced. With two huge pools, three restaurants, two dog parks, 288 boat slip marina, and even a distillery that makes their own rum, vodka, and whiskey, you’ll definitely never get bored here!

Our room had absolutely everything we could have ever needed. We stayed in the Stock Island King room which has a view of the main pool on property and the marina! We loved opening the sliding glass doors every morning to watch the sunrise from our balcony. The huge king bed was insanely comfortable and the walk-in shower that was in our bathroom was beautiful! The room even came with a complimentary bottle of champagne!

 

By far our favorite thing about the hotel was the MASSIVE pool. It is situated right on the waterfront, so you have incredible views of the marina and the huge boats that occupy it while relaxing on their 50+ white lounge chairs. They have a bar located right next to the pool, called the Salty Oyster, that serves delicious drinks, appetizers, and sandwiches. It was very hard for us to leave the pool!

The hotel is doing an incredible job of creating a safe environment for you to escape during this time. All of the staff members are wearing masks, and all of the guests to the hotel are also required to wear masks when walking around the hotel property. There’s hand sanitizer stations all throughout the hotel, all of the chairs at the pool and tables at the restaurant are 6 feet apart, and their housekeeping crew is constantly cleaning and sanitizing everything. We felt extremely safe the entire time we were there.

If you end up staying at The Perry, you MUST eat at their main on-site restaurant, Matt’s Stock Island. The food was absolutely incredible. They serve an amazing breakfast spread (try the Banana Bread Pancakes!), but our favorite was our dinner experience. We got the Shrimp & Grits and the Grouper Gnudi. It was TO DIE FOR. Their cocktails are also incredible. We highly recommend you eat here at least once during your stay. The restaurant also welcomes guests who don’t have reservations at the hotel!

The hotel is not actually located on the island of Key West, but on a small island right next to Key West called Stock Island. They offer a complimentary shuttle service every hour to the downtown area of Key West which takes less than 10 minutes to get there. The hotel also has onsite scooter and bike rentals.

Another main selling point of this hotel is the water activities that they offer. Since they are located right on the marina, they have partnered with multiple private boat charters that can take you snorkeling and diving, fishing, sandbar hopping, and even sailing. Just go to their onsite concierge and they are happy to plan any of these exciting activities for you.

They also have a huge event space that is perfect for weddings and any other parties available for rent. We were also told that they will start having concerts on their lawn once it is safe to do so!

Our stay at The Perry Key West was absolutely perfect. This hotel is the best place to stay in Key West if you’re looking for a relaxing getaway. The customer service, rooms, food, and hotel amenities were all top notch. We seriously can’t recommend this hotel enough!

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Travel Insurance: Is It Necessary?

The truth is, when it comes down to it, travel insurance is a necessary evil. It’s something you don’t want to spend money on, but when you find yourself in an unfortunate situation far from home, you will be happy if you have it.

What is travel insurance?

Travel Insurance is financial security against accidents that may happen on your trip. It will provide you with medical coverage if you get sick or injured on your journey, reimburse you if your new iPhone gets stolen or your flight gets canceled, or if a family member dies and you need to go home. It’s protection against those emergencies that can come out of nowhere and cost you dearly if you are not prepared.

Since most health programs will not cover you overseas and credit cards often provide minimum protection, buying a good travel insurance is a no-brainer.

Why should I buy travel insurance?

We can’t speak for others, but we can tell you why we never travel without travel insurance.

For us, it’s peace of mind knowing that if one of us do get sick, we do not run the risk of potentially running up huge medical bills and that there will be someone there to pick up the tab if we get unlucky and need to go to the hospital.

It means that we can do the activities that we love like skiing, surfing, diving, and many other things without worrying about the financial consequences of an accident.

It means that there is someone we can call if we are in the middle of Thailand with malaria symptoms, who will tell me what hospital we should go to or even more importantly which ones we should avoid.

And if my bags get lost or stolen, at least we know we haven’t lost everything. We have someone to call that can help us with some emergency money if all our credit cards and money are stolen.

Is travel insurance expensive?

The price can vary depending on your age, medical history, where you are going, how long you will be traveling for and what you planning to do during your trip. Activities like hiking in Nepal, which is considered a high-risk activity with potentially enormous costs for medical evacuation, will for instance often add a bit to the price of an insurance.

But on average, for a regular travel insurance, we are just talking a few dollars per day. Less than you spend on a smoothie, a coffee at Starbucks or a beer!

What to look for in travel insurance

Not all travel insurance are created equal. Make sure you read the fine print of your policy. I can only tell you what we look for and you will have to decide for yourselves. We look for a travel insurance that:

  • Has sufficient coverage to pay for any medical expenses. Typically at least 100.000 USD, preferably more.
  • Covers both injury and sudden illness
  • Will cover emergency evacuation and care, so if we get injured on a trek in the jungle, it will cover the expenses to get us to the hospital.
  • Will pay for transportation back home to my own country if necessary
  • Includes the activities that we enjoy. If you think you might do a scuba diving course then make sure your insurance covers you for that. Sometimes you need to purchase extra coverage for more extreme activities like kitesurfing or horseback riding.
  • Covers the countries we want to visit. Make sure your insurance covers you in high-cost countries like Japan and the US if you are traveling there.
  • Can be extended while traveling if our travel plans change
  • Covers my most important valuables should they get lost or stolen
  • Has a twenty-four-hour emergency contact number we can call to get help
  • Cover cancellations if ourselves or a family member get sick and we can’t travel after all
  • Covers any political unrest or emergency situations that may result in the trip getting cut short
  • Claims can be filed online
  • Is reasonably priced

CLICK HERE TO GET A QUOTE FOR TRAVEL INSURANCE

Which travel insurance should I get?

There are tons of companies offering travel insurance. We have traveled for a long time and have researched a lot of travel insurance providers over the years.

Our favorite is World NomadsWe have used them several times over the last ten years and have been very happy with them. Their customer service is in our experience top notch, the insurance can be bought and extended online while traveling, and it covers quite a few of our favorite adventurous activities.

World Nomads is also the travel insurance recommended by Lonely Planet and National Geographics.

Use this widget below to find a plan for your trip:

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Our Travel Guide to Aruba

While we were braving the harsh winter months in our hometown of Florida (60 degrees Fahrenheit is cold for us!), we decided to take a last minute trip down to the country of Aruba for an extended weekend. As soon as we arrived, we knew we had made the right decision coming here.

Aruba’s slogan is “One Happy Island,” and it doesn’t take long to understand why. Warm water, beautiful beaches, and towering palm trees greet you at every turn. And if that wasn’t enough, the people of Aruba are so friendly that it was often hard to tell who lived there and who was actually just on vacation.

Read on for our Aruba travel guide, including our favorite restaurants, swimming spots, and more…

What To Do

Rent a Jeep

This is one thing we highly recommend. Aruba is very small and easy to get around, if you rent a car. There are so many beautiful beaches to discover! We decided to rent a Jeep because almost half of the tiny island is a national park that doesn’t have paved roads. This park is where the natural pools and caves are that we loved visiting!

Explore the beaches

Aruba has some of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean. Eagle Beach, where we spent most of our time, even shows up on many travel websites as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world! The water here is turquoise, clear, and has a long stretch of white sand. It’s not as crowded as the main tourist beach on the island, Palm Beach. Our other favorite beaches we visited were Mangel Halto and Baby Beach. Look for the donkeys on the side of the road on your drive down to Baby Beach!

Eagle Beach
Mangel Halto
Wild donkeys on our drive to Baby Beach!

Take a boat tour

There are plenty of options to choose from on the island, whether you’re looking for a day trip or sunset cruise. We decided to book a snorkel and sail cruse with Pelican Adventures Aruba. They took us to two different snorkel spots, one of them being a 400 foot World War II shipwreck. Oh and they had unlimited rum punches the entire time!

Visit Arikok National Park

You can easily spend half a day exploring this national park, which is located on the south side of the island. Highlights for us were Quadirikiri Cave (a beautiful cave with an island legend attached), Andicuri Beach, and the Natural Pool. Tip: the park rangers start closing the entrances to the caves around 3pm, so head over around noon to make sure you get to see them!

Where to Eat + Drink

Zeerovers

A local favorite, Zeerovers is a casual lunch spot with views of the boats that bring in the fresh fish that is served. You’ll order before sitting down, and choices include: the catch of the day, shrimp, and a variety of tasty sides. This was some of the freshest fish we’ve ever tasted!

Pinchos Bar + Grill

This restaurant is located on its own dock underneath string lights and with views of the coast. It’s the perfect choice for a romantic dinner on the water with an incredible view of the sunset. Trust us, you’ll want to order their catch of the day (we had the mahi mahi and it was amazing).

Eduardo’s Beach Shack

From acai bowls to green juices to poke, this is the spot to grab a healthy, casual lunch and enjoy it right on the beach. It’s located right in the middle of Palm Beach.

West Deck

We stopped here for lunch as it wasn’t located very far from where we stayed in Eagle Beach. We loved the rustic atmosphere and the outdoor seating right on the water.

MooMba Beach Bar + Restaurant

If you’re in Aruba on Sunday, then this is the place to be. Located right on the beach, they take pride in having the best Sunday Funday spot on the island. Live music, great food, and killer drink specials. We had a blast visiting this place!

Where To Stay

Most of the hotels are located near Palm Beach, which is right in the middle of everything. There are tons of restaurants, bars, and things to do in that area. But we decided to stay in Eagle Beach, which is a few miles south of Palm Beach, to get away from all of the hustle and bustle. We were definitely glad we did. It was only a 5 minute drive up to Palm Beach so we weren’t far away at all.

We found an AirBnb called Bubali Bliss Studios. It wasn’t located directly on the beach, but it was only a short 10 minute walk to the white sand. We ended up saving a lot of money by not staying at a hotel right on the beach. We loved our stay at Bubali Bliss. It was located right next to a huge supermarket that we visited almost everyday!

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How to Plan for an International Trip

Planning an international trip can feel overwhelming and even a bit daunting, but taking the time to plan ahead will not only make your trip way less stressful, but it will also help you feel less overwhelmed so you can actually enjoy yourself once you get to your destination! That’s why it’s important to make sure you know what you want to do, where you’re going to stay, and how you’re going to get around while you’re traveling. We’ve planned for so many different international trips, and after a lot of trial and error, we’ve found that these are the things we always make sure we’ve thought about and planned before we leave, so we’re not hit with too many surprises once we land. Here’s the best way to plan for a trip abroad:

  1. Pick where you want to go and create a budget: Decide where you want to go and create a budget. Traveling abroad can get expensive quickly if you’re not careful, which is why we always suggest creating a budget first. Knowing how much money you have to spend will help you choose the best place to go and which activities you can afford to do during your trip.
  2. Find a great flight deal: Sign up for email notifications for flight deals. We use Google Flights. When you’re choosing departure dates, if you select the month view and are flexible with your dates, you can see which dates are the cheapest to fly. Even though it’s not always possible, you can save a lot of money if you’re flexible with which days you fly.
  3. Create a spreadsheet: We love creating spreadsheets to organize our plans. That way everything we want to do, where we want to eat, and where we plan to stay can all be written out in one place. Start by adding in your travel dates and then create a rough itinerary by listing out the activities you want to do on each day.
  4. Research: Read travel blogs, go on Pinterest, or search on Instagram to find inspiration for what you want to do during your trip. Pinterest is a great way to find good travel blogs and find inspiration for places to go and things to see. We always suggest reading blogs written by people who are similar to you, because then you’ll know you can trust their style, the type of food they eat, and the way they travel. And that way you’ll know that their suggestions are likely things you’ll be interested in doing as well.
  5. Fill in your itinerary: Once you have an idea of the activities that you want to do, go to Google Maps to start organizing and filling in your itinerary. Within Google Maps, you can pick the places that are a priority for you on your trip and star them. To create a star, click on “save” on the left hand side and select “star place.” Then you can start to see which activities are in the same area. By starring things on Google Maps, you can easily see which activities are in which area. Once you have an idea of the activities you want to do, start filling in your itinerary. If two or three things are in the same area, then you’ll know that you should do those things on the same day. And if there’s something else nearby that looks fun/worth checking out, you can add that to your itinerary for that day too! To make sure everything is done as “timely” as possible, stick to one area of town each day. That way you won’t be crossing back and forth across town going to different places, and you’ll also save money by not paying for taxis or other transportation.
  1. 6. Book your accommodations: Now that you know what activities you’ll be doing each day and where you’ll be spending most of your time, it’s much easier to decide where you want to stay. Book your accommodations close to the things you want to do, so you won’t waste time or money getting back and forth to your hotel every day. We always use Hotels.com to book our hotels, because not only do they always have great deals, but they also have a reward system where your 11th night is “free.”
  2. What they do is take the average amount that you’ve spent on the previous 10 nights you’ve booked through Hotels.com and then you get that many dollars toward your 11th night. So say you’ve spent $100 on 10 nights at hotels, then on your 11th night, you’ll get $100 off. It’s essentially 10% off, which is a pretty good deal if you ask us, so that’s why we always book through Hotels.com. You can also search for hotels based on neighborhood or attractions in the city, which makes it easier to find the best place to stay.
  3. 7. Book transportation: If you have everything booked ahead of time, then you won’t have to worry about anything once you show up. There’s nothing more stressful than showing up to a foreign city and not knowing how to get around or where you’re going to sleep, which is why we always suggest booking everything ahead of time.
  4. 8. Buy tickets to your “must do” activities ahead of time: If you book tickets ahead of time, you’ll save yourself time by avoiding lines and you might even be able to get a better deal. If there’s a museum you know you want to go to, or if there are certain activities like skydiving or snorkeling, you can generally buy those tickets online ahead of time. Then you’ll also be able to fill out your itinerary better, and it’ll save you so much time when you’re at your destination. You’ll also avoid showing up somewhere to buy a ticket and finding out it’s completely booked for the day or that you have to wait a few hours before you can go in.
  5. 9. Complete your itinerary: Fill in the rest of your spreadsheet and make sure all of your activities, places you want to eat, transportation, and accommodations are booked. We also always suggest leaving a few hours open every day for “free” time. That way your days won’t feel too rushed and you’ll have time to do things that you stumble upon as you’re out wandering and exploring the city. We also try to leave one or two days on our itinerary completely empty. We might add one place to eat or one thing to do on that day, but other than that, we leave the rest of the day open, so we can relax on a beach, go back to a place we enjoyed earlier on our trip, wander aimlessly, or even just relax and take a nap.

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Our Travel Guide to Cartagena

When most people normally think of Colombia, one thing comes to mind: Narcos, the popular show on Netflix about Pablo Escobar and his drug empire in Colombia, who was responsible for over 25,000 cartel related deaths. To be honest, before we did any research on this beautiful country in South America, we thought the same. But forming opinions based on what happened in the 80s isn’t fair to what Colombia has now become.

We absolutely loved our trip to Colombia. With mountains, jungles, white sand beaches, colonial architecture and bustling cities, Colombia has transformed into one of the best places to visits in South America. We spent most of our time in Cartagena and the Rosario Islands during our short stay.

What To Do

Get Lost in the Old Town Cartagena

Strategically located on the Caribbean coast, Cartagena was historically one of Colonial Spain’s most important ports. Stone fortresses and gigantic walls up to 30 meters thick and 11KM long line the city, which was so well protected after many pirates (most notably Sir Francis Drake) in the 16th Century attempted in sieges of the wealthy port city’s riches. We recommend that you just wander around the city and stop in at the many coffee shops, historic sites, and restaurants that are all over the city. Be warned: it gets very hot during the middle of the day. We usually left our hotel early and wandered around until we couldn’t take it anymore, and then went back to our hotel pool after lunch until the sun started to set.

Catch a sunset on a rooftop bar

Cartagena is known for their sunsets, and what better way to enjoy the golden hour than by drinking an aguardiente sour (Colombia’s national drink made with orange juice, sugar, egg whites, lime juice, and anise-flavored liqueur) on one of the many beautiful rooftop bars! We especially enjoyed the rooftop of the Townhouse Cartagena hotel, right in the middle of the old city.

Visit the neighborhood of Getsemani

Within walking distance of old town Cartagena lies the up and coming barrio (neighborhood) of Getsemani. This neighborhood used to be riddled with drugs and prostitution, but the city did a great job of cleaning it up and making it a must see destination during a visit to Cartagena. Beautiful graffiti art lines the walls of many buldings, open air restaurants are popping up everywhere, and smiling locals made this our favorite area of Cartagena to visit!

Experience the amazing nightlife

Cartagena is known for their lively nightlife, especially their salsa dancing. One of the most famous salsa bars in the world, Cafe Havana, is in Getsemani. People flock there to hear live salsa bands and drink delicious mojitos. One of our favorite watering holes to visit was Alquimico, a three story bar in a renovated old mansion. They have amazing craft cocktails and a beautiful rootftop!

Venture out to sea

While we were obsessed with the old town, we recommend breaking up your trip with some time on the water or the beautiful beaches of the nearby islands. (Note: there is a beach in the nearby neighborhood of Bocagrande, but we heard it gets very crowded and it wasn’t the scene we were looking for) We decided to spend a day at the Blue Apple Beach House, located on the island of Tierra Bomba. It was a short 30 minute boat ride from Cartagena. Once you land on this tiny island, the vibe completely changes from the hustle and bustle of the city to a serene and tranquil experience like no other. This resort comes equipped with two pools, beach front loungers or huts, and six private villas if you choose to stay the night. We highly recommend you stay the night like we did, we loved every second of it!

Where to Eat + Drink

Abacus Book + Coffee Shop
Alma

Where To Stay

During our three days in Cartagena, we decided to get a hotel in the old town because it is centrally located to practically everything in the city. We stayed at Casa del Coliseo, a charming small boutique hotel within walking distance of many restaurants and bars. It is a gorgeous hotel and it even has their own rooftop pool! For one night, we rented a villa at Blue Apple Beach House on Tierra Bomba. We also highly recommend this place!

Rooftop pool of Casa Del Coliseo

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