Glaçons

When seventy-year-old Grandma Lynn visited Paris for the first time, she chose to learn only one word in French: glaçon. Each day, my mother and I were electric with excitement to see the sights of Paris, but instead, my fluffy-haired grandmother dragged us through every cafe along the Seine. Worse, none were able to provide glaçons for her Diet Cokes and Oranginas. “And can I have ice in it?” she would always ask the waiter after ordering. “Oui, oui,” he would reply, bowing out of our presence. But when he would come back a few minutes later, three soda bottles and three glasses balanced on his tray, there would be no ice in sight. “But wait, where is the ice?” Grandma Lynn would plead, clasping her hands. The waiter would think, then respond, “We do not have ice.” “It’s just a cultural difference,” I explained once. “It’s not tradition for them; think about all the centuries French people spent enjoying wine and other drinks before they had ice. It’s more natural without it.” “That’s goofy. Don’t they have freezers?” Grandma Lynn insisted. “It’s not hard to make ice! Glaçon!” Somehow the lack of glaçons even spoiled Grandma Lynn’s desire for the paragon of French pastries, the macaron. A few days later, my mom and I left a disgruntled Grandma Lynn at a cafe while we made a mad dash to Pierre Hermé’s macaron shop in the minutes before it closed. Grandma had had enough of stairs that day, so she was less than enthused about the idea of sprinting in and out of metro stations. She stayed behind to drink...
Knowing Where You Stand

Knowing Where You Stand

I was twelve when my parents took me to Washington, DC for the first time. It was the first stop on a family vacation where we would be attending the funerals of two of my grandparents. Washington, DC, was the first major historical place any of us had visited. My father connected easily with the heritage we found there. I wouldn’t have a similar connection with history until a decade later. My father loves history and wanted to see everything that he found interesting. As a result, we went to the newer National Air and Space Museum near Dulles International airport, as well as the World War II memorial that was being dedicated that weekend—things that a twelve-year-old girl wouldn’t be interested in. Then we took one whole day to drive to Gettysburg to visit the battlefield. I wasn’t pleased when I realized that we had traveled half a day to see a field of grass. The day was overcast with a slight drizzle, making the humidity unbearable. It was also the year that the cicadas had emerged from their seven-year slumber, and they were chirping in the woods, making the experience as creepy as it was miserable. To add to all that, my dad stopped at every little statue and monument to read its plaque. I thought it would never end. In hindsight, I can see that my dad wasn’t just seeing the same field or monument I was seeing. He was seeing the men who fought on that battlefield during the Civil War. He knew the history of Gettysburg, and his experience was shaped by the knowledge he...

Making the Most of Your Bazaar Experience

One of the hardest decisions to make when traveling is how to remember your trip once you get home. The perfect souvenir can help to rekindle the experiences of your trip long after your sunburn has faded and you have recovered from jet lag. However, finding that perfect souvenir can be tricky. One place many people wouldn’t think to look for amazing deals is large markets, commonly known as bazaars. Found in every corner of the globe, bazaars can be indoor or outdoor, open seasonally or year-round. Each bazaar sells authentic specialty products for very low prices that tourists often pass over because they don’t know what to look for or what constitutes a good deal. Check out what a few bazaars around the world are selling to see where you can find high-quality items for economical prices. La Feria de San Pedro Telmo: Buenos Aires, Argentina Next time you take a trip down south, don’t forget to stop at the bazaar of La Feria de San Pedro Telmo in Buenos Aires, Argentina. This large open-air market takes place every Sunday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm in one of the oldest neighborhoods of the city. After visiting this extensive market in La Plaza Dorrego, you will need to take an extra suitcase home because you will encounter scarves, brass pots, antiques (including old telephones and gramophones), dinette sets, knives, and much more. But some of the best bargains here are for genuine leather goods. The leather belts, bags, and purses you will find here are high quality, often made locally, and very inexpensive. As an added bonus, while shopping...

Pick-less Pockets

Money: Let’s face it, we need it to survive, especially when we are traveling away from home. Unfortunately, thieves like to pick tourists’ pockets, which are easy targets. Traveling with the right gear can help you hold on to your money and still enjoy yourself. Money Belts These belts have a pocket on the inside with a zipper and are great for stowing cash, particularly emergency cash. You can open up the pocket and stash a few hundred-dollar bills inside. This is great for emergencies, since you will have spare bills on hand (or in your belt!). Passport Pouches Your passport is your most valuable possession when traveling—a person without a passport is a person without a country. These pouches are good for carrying your passport, but never wear them outside your clothes. It labels you as a tourist and makes it easy for the thief to just grab it and run. Wear the passport underneath your clothes, either under your shirt, or on your hip under your pants. Never put your passport in a bag or a backpack. You can usually find these pouches at places like Walmart and Target. Shoes The brand Slotflops has designed shoes that have a secret compartment that pops out of the bottom of the heel, letting you carry your credit card and even a little cash. This brand only does flip flops, but the website Stashvault.com offers other styles of shoes with compartments. These shoes are useful particularly for emergencies and when bags are inconvenient. The prices range between $26–30. slotflops.com stashvault.com Secret Pockets Whether you buy clothes and bags that have...

Travel Appropriately

Trips don’t need to be chaotic and frustrating. Make your travels easier with the use of these free and helpful apps! Roadtrippers Road trips can be complicated. What if there were an app that simplified the entire process? Roadtrippers does just that—for free! Whether your trip is short and local or extensive across hundreds of miles, the Roadtrippers app will help you designate certain spots to stop along the way. You can add URLs, phone numbers, and addresses to help you organize your trip. Roadtrippers has teamed up with Google Maps to navigate your journey, and you can share your trip with others who travel with you or want to follow your progress. Cass Hawkins, an avid road tripper from Redlands, California, says she wishes she had this app on every trip she’s ever taken: “I love having all of my stops listed in one place and on one map! I want to use this app everyday!” Google Translate There are few things scarier than feeling completely alone and confused, especially when you are in a foreign country and can’t figure out where you are or where you’re going because you don’t know the language. If you ever find yourself in this situation, the Google Translate app can help you read signs, menus, and anything else written in a foreign language. You can translate languages using voice, type, or camera. Just take a picture of the text you want translated, highlight the section you want to read, and the foreign words will turn into English! This app is free, and it translates a variety of languages. The camera function only works...

Flying Red-eye

Let’s be honest: red-eye flights are awful. Who wants to sit in an airplane all night when you could be sleeping at home or in a hotel room? However, even though flying red-eye does have its cons, it also has its share of pros. Pros They’re cheaper. One of the main reasons people choose to fly red-eye is the cost. These flights tend to be much cheaper than flights during regular day hours. By that same token, people can save on a hotel by just sleeping on the plane rather than staying at a hotel. Faster check-in. If you hate standing in line while getting your boarding pass or going through security, then you’ll save time by flying red-eye. It will also be easier to claim your luggage when you land. Late night passengers are more tired and less disruptive. If you hate sitting next to annoying passengers, then flying red-eye is one way to shut them up. Like you, your fellow passengers will be tired and would rather sleep. Also, if you’re flying with kids, they’ll be more likely to sleep, instead of fussing the whole time. More time for your vacation. Think of it this way: By taking a red-eye flight, you’ll have more time for vacationing once you get to your destination. You’ll arrive there early in the morning and have the whole day to explore and have fun (if you’re not too tired, of course). Cons Staying up late. To board a red-eye flight, you’ll have to wait at the airport late at night, sometimes past midnight. Airports are depressing enough as it is, especially...