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Review: My Inaugural Admirals Club Experience at DCA

I usually love airports. The novelty of the entire flying experience somehow still hasn’t worn off—the wait at an airport bar is always my favorite excuse to eat some garbage and drink some beer and anticipate the adventure ahead. Even just sitting by the floor-to-ceiling windows at DCA and watching planes take off with the Capitol and the Washington Monument in the background is soothing to me. Especially after reading David McCullough’s engrossing biography of the Wright Brothers last year, it’s impossible for me not to marvel at the miracle of what I’m about to do: take flight.

But this week, when I arrived at DCA three and a half hours early for a flight home to New York, it was… decidedly not magical. One might even call it nightmarish. It was more crowded than I’ve ever seen it. After a long week at work, my nerves just couldn’t handle the masses of people. And so it ended up prompting a travel first: in a split second of extravagance and anxiety, I bought a day pass to the Admirals ClubContinue reading “Review: My Inaugural Admirals Club Experience at DCA”

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3 Delicious Veg-Friendly Cafes in Bali

So… let me begin by saying that (a) this doesn’t even scratch the surface of the incredible vegetarian dining scene in Bali, and (b) of course there’s a whole lot more to the island than just Seminyak and Ubud, the only two towns represented here. But, you know, I only get so much time off, so I’m going to have to return at some point to eat my way through the rest of Bali.

With that disclaimer out of the way: Man, there is some good vegetarian food in Seminyak and Ubud. I wasn’t sure what to expect of Bali’s vegetarian scene—I wasn’t really sure if that was even, like, a thing. Happily, it both exists and excels. Here are three of my favorite places—I sourced all of them from Foursquare and highly recommend that as a strategy, whether you’re in Bali or anywhere else in the world. Continue reading “3 Delicious Veg-Friendly Cafes in Bali”

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Things to Do in Bali: Ubud Sacred Monkey Forest

Even though my first hotel in Bali was just a ten-minute walk from Ubud’s Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, the insane horror stories around the internet almost made me leave it off my itinerary. My interest level in having my purse snatched by a thieving monkey, or having to take my travel insurance for a spin after getting bitten, was, uh, less than zero.

But the Monkey Forest also sounded like one of the most interesting places in Ubud. Not only did it offer a chance to see a whole lot of monkeys up close (600, to be exact), it’s also a spiritual center, home to three 14th-century Hindu temples. And the expanse of forest seemed like it could provide a welcome escape from the Balinese heat and humidity. Continue reading “Things to Do in Bali: Ubud Sacred Monkey Forest”

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How to Save Hundreds of Dollars on Flights

I get asked pretty frequently how I manage to travel as much as I do. Fair question, given that I’m 23 and live in one of the most expensive cities in the U.S. and, like, am definitely not making a six-figure salary. A lot of it is good fortune (cheap rent, no crippling student loan burden). But a lot more of it has to do with my luck in finding great flight deals.

Lately, I’ve been spotting most of those deals on Scott’s Cheap Flights List. A friend turned me onto it a couple of months ago and it is magical. A few weeks ago, I booked a mistake fare on TAP from Newark to Heathrow for $290.45 for my trip to Europe in November. One more time for the folks in the back: I’m flying across the Atlantic Ocean for TWO HUNDRED AND NINETY DOLLARS. Continue reading “How to Save Hundreds of Dollars on Flights”

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3 Places to See DC’s Cherry Blossoms

Since it would probably be meteorologically impossible for DC’s chilly winters to immediately give way to swamp hell summers, District residents get a few weeks’ reprieve in March or April to actually enjoy being outside. Lucky us, this also means we get to enjoy the historic cherry blossoms.

Granted, peak bloom means peak traffic. But as far as I’m concerned, it’s 110% worth battling the crowds to take in one of the most impressive sights DC has to offer.

We’re currently mid-Cherry Blossom Festival (this year, it’s running from March 20 through April 17). Peak bloom just happened on March 25. And between two early morning Tidal Basin visits, a morning and afternoon run, and one drive out to Bethesda, I’ve gone cherry blossom spotting on, uh, five separate occasions in the last five days.

Continue reading “3 Places to See DC’s Cherry Blossoms”

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Staying in Amsterdam: citizenM Schiphol

On a weeklong trip to the UK (which already included a stopover in Iceland), I had the bananas idea that I could also fit in a quick jaunt to Amsterdam for the Nike Women’s 10km race. After all, when else would I ever get to run a race that started and finished in an Olympic stadium?

The only way to make it work would be flying out of Southend at 7 a.m. on race day, landing at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport at 9:30 a.m., and flying back from Amsterdam to Gatwick at 7:30 a.m. the next morning. And that stupid-early flight meant I wasn’t going to get to hang out at a cool backpacker hostel in the city center—but luckily, I did get to stay at a surprisingly cool airport hotel, just a few minutes’ walk from the terminal. Continue reading “Staying in Amsterdam: citizenM Schiphol”

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8 Hours in New York: Breakfast & Broadway

For a while, it was kind of weird to think of New York as a dream travel destination because for four years it was just… so accessible. Sort of the way it’s easy to forget DC’s international appeal now. When a place is at your fingertips, you take it for granted.

But now, instead of popping into ~the city~ for an afternoon on a whim once or twice a month, I only get there a few times a year. And the distance has started to restore a little of the excitement of a visit. And it’s cast me much more decisively in the tourist role. As much as college-me liked to play at being a New Yorker, my relationship with the city was always one of an outsider—but being a proper out-of-towner somehow seems to confer a less contentious outsider status than being a suburban asshole traipsing in on the Long Island Railroad.

But I still like to play at being a New Yorker, just as I like to play at being a Londoner, so even though the bulk of my day was to be spent around Times Square, the first thing I did after arriving was hop on the uptown 1 to meet my friend for breakfast in her neighborhood. Continue reading “8 Hours in New York: Breakfast & Broadway”