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travel blog

Tips & Recommendations

The best places and advantages of traveling alone

“People do not make trips — trips make people.” -John Steinbeck, American writer

Every day, more people dare to take flight, take off their wings and explore this beautiful world in which we live. Fortunately, I have been able to be one of these people and on several occasions, I have traveled alone, and I am completely grateful for each of these opportunities.

There are risks of traveling alone – of course there are. Is it better to travel with a group of friends? Undoubtedly! But traveling alone is the perfect opportunity to get out of your comfort zone, engage in conversation with other people, be the absolute owner of your time and eat everything you want.

The first time I visited Barcelona, I went for a walk in the Guell Park. Recommended.

So for all those who in this 2018 are already planning in their #MaityconmiGOPlanner to give themselves the opportunity to travel, here the advantages and some tips to enjoy to the fullest.

✈️ It has been discovered that traveling alone helps reduce stress levels and improves the connection with oneself. You have the opportunity to do what YOU want to do, control your schedule and you can visit all the places you like.

✈️ Traveling alone offers the lone traveler to reflect, relax and rest. Although you can get more expensive accommodation, rest better and recover sleep.

✈️Traveling alone can be an advantage when buying tickets. Many times it is easier to find a ticket or ticket office that two or three and almost always, are in a better location.

✈️ Traveling alone forces you to leave your comfort zone, meet new friends and talk with new people, try new food and participate in new activities, traditions and foreign customs. Be very careful about revealing personal information. I confess that more than once I have said a little white lie as my friends arrive in a few hours, or they are waiting for me in another place, when I do not feel comfortable saying that I am alone.

In Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Do not be afraid to ask someone to take your picture, or practice your selfies technique.

✈️ You can travel and move easily. If you are late to the train station or the airport, it is easier to run alone than to be waiting for a group. Also, if you have to change your reservation or ask for a seat or change of seat, you are more likely to do so for one person than for a group.

✈️ Always note the address where you are staying. Even if you know the way, it never hurts to have this information. And although the idea of traveling alone is often disconnected from the world, at least tell a person you trust your plans and location.

✈️ Leave your valuables at home (do not travel with them) or in the safe in the room.

Puerta de Alcalá in Madrid, España.

✈️ Plan your route and study your map before going out into the street. You do not want to attract attention with a map in the middle of the street.

✈️ Take photos but wait to be back in the hotel or room to share them on social networks. So you make sure you are enjoying the moment and also avoid revealing to strangers your exact location. Making a #latergram always works and has many “likes”.

✈️ Download the translator to your mobile phone or learn the basic words to be able to communicate with locals.

Touring the streets of Copenhagen, the cleanest and safest cities. It is said that this is where the happiest people live.

 “I think it’s very healthy to spend time alone. You need to know how to be alone and not be defined by another person. ” -Oscar Wilde

Believe me that when you travel alone, you will never feel alone. Like you, there are many people who are pursuing their dreams of exploring and knowing. One ends up meeting people who travel alone with the sole purpose of discovering, learning and enjoying their time in that country.

Dining alone in front of the Roman Colosseum.

Here is a list of safe and easy to travel cities only:

? Barcelona, España

? Seattle, Washington EEUU

? Austin Texas, EEUU

? Salzburg, Austria

? Copenhagen, Denmark

? Melbourne, Australia

? London, Reino Unido

Tips & Recommendations

#TiempoparaMi in Playa del Carmen, Mexico

I did not want more time to pass bye before telling you about my escape to Playa del Carmen, Mexico a few days ago. My friends of Aveeno & Neutrogena organized a girls trip where various friends of Miami and NewYork went and we disconnected from our daily routines to enjoy a real “#TiempoParaMi “.

Upon arriving at Playa del Carmen, our first activity was an all white dinner.

The Aztec gods where there to receive us.

Aboard a ship they took us to the secret place where the welcome dinner was hosted.

Our  fresh flower crowns matched perfectly with the event “feeling” & our white clothing.

At the sea’s shore and beneath hundredths of lights we enjoyed an exquisite dinner. Without doubt this was only the beginning to what was awaiting for all of us.

Next morning, very early we had an appointment to pamper ourselves. The indications where the following: be punctual, no makeup except Aveeno’s new face cream  (btw it is AMAZING)  and confortable clothes.

I had just woken up yet I was ready to enjoy “#TiempoparaMi “

Dear, Dr. Berthe Baum, presented all the new 2018  products for our skin care.

Aveeno Positively Radiant & Aveeno Absolutely Ageless are some of my favorites.

All ready for a massage with the new products of Aveeno & Neutrogena.

On my way to receive one of the best massages of my life… thanks to Patty at Banyan Mayakoba

Take a look at the room where the massages where done.

Every single detail was well thought in order to make us feel like queens. THANK YOU!

I literally felt I was floating after the tremendously needed massage. As if that wasn’t enough, they later took us to the Rainforest part of the spa where we enjoyed pools with different waters and temperatures, saunas, jacuzzis, and everything you can imagine.

Once we were very relax, we went on bike rides around all the Banyan Mayakoba property.

On your marks, get set, GO!

 

I was HAPPY with my bike with basket and everything. It brought me back to the good years, where I rode a bike to school with my brothers.

As we finished… time to celebrate with tequila. Cheers!

 

With the ladies responsible for organizing this unforgettable trip to Mexico.

 

The amazing CCom Group Team doing the #SaltodeMaity

 

THANKS Aveeno for reminding me of how important it is to make time for myself #TiempoparaMi.

Travelers on the Go, Uncategorized

Six days in Beijing by #TravelersontheGO Giancarlos Merced

Where was your vacation/trip and how long did you visit that place?  Well, to be fair, it wasn’t exactly a vacation. I am currently studying abroad in Hong Kong until December but have had the opportunity to travel several times. To answer the question, I did some traveling for two weeks. I visited Beijing, Malaysia, and Singapore, respectively. Out of all the locations I visited I loved Beijing the most.

My classmates and I spent six days in Beijing. We visited historical landmarks such as Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, The Great Wall, Confucius’ Temple, Temple of Heaven, famous hutongs (alleyways) like Nanluoguxiang, the Great Wall…Shall I keep going? Haha.

Your favorite thing to do and eat there…I am a big lover of international foods. But I went very traditional in Beijing. Most of my meals were steamed dumplings, baozi, and the famous Peking duck.

Where did you stay? (If a hotel, name, and location) I stayed at the Otani Chang Fu Gong Hotel. It was a beautiful hotel with great breakfast, staff and located around 10 minutes from Tiananmen Square. Although I would recommend walking towards the nearby metro station of Jianguomen because traffic around this area can get hectic.

Would you go back? Why? I did go back! Haha. This was the second time visiting Beijing; the first time was when I studied abroad there for four months. So, you can say I love China.

 

Any tips for someone planning to visit  for the first time? I am sure a lot of people are not very familiar with Beijing or China in general. I wasn’t my first time visiting/living there. What I can recommend is to go with an open mind and no expectations. Stuff there is really cheap if you have US dollar, Euros, or Pounds.

For moving around, I recommend getting a metro card. Trips usually cost around 4 RMB, which is less than 1 US dollar.

What about visas? Well, the visa application is an easy one to fill out. Make sure to follow all the instructions as specified or risk getting rejected. The cost of the visa – if you apply at a Chinese consulate – will set you back around $140 US dollars but the benefit is, you could get multiple entries, meaning you can exit and come back to China how many times you want, and your visa has a lifespan of 10 years. How great is that?!

 

As for the language barrier, most people speak English, although not perfect, but enough to get your message across. If you are a foreigner, be ready to be stared at by locals, mostly the elderly. This is perfectly normal. Sometimes, you will be asked to get a picture taken with groups and hold babies because apparently it is a sign of good luck. No one gave ME any babies..

Any upcoming trips planned for this year? Where and when?  Yes! I have a huge backpacking trip coming up this winter. I am still working the entire logistics of it and can provide more information later on. I want it to keep it a secret for now but all I can say is that it will be somewhere in Asia for a length of 25 days. Did I mention I’m doing it alone? Yeah, it will be a heck of an adventure.

You can follow me on Instagram: gianwanders or visit my blog (which I hope to be more active this and the upcoming months)

Food

Rose Sundays in the heart of Miami Beach

If you are one of those that waits all week for Sunday to come around to indulge in a good brunch with unlimited drinks, good music and even better company, this post is for you.

Nautilus South Beach in Miami Beach offers one of my favorite Rose Sundays brunch.  For $55 per person you can enjoy an all-you-can-eat feast that includes everything you can think of thanks to its executive chef Richard Fuentes.

Some of my favorite that you can’t miss: truffle gnocchi, seafood paella and quinoa salad. Click here to check out the full menu.

Don’t be fooled, this was only my first plate…and first glass of Rose. ?

Be sure to get there on time so you can really enjoy the bottomless Rose until 4pm and pack your bathing suit so you can hang out at the  Nautilus Cabanas or the beautiful Miami Beaches for sunset.

Make sure to ask for Chef Fuentes and when you meet him, tell him #MaityontheGo recommended his food. ?

Enjoy your Sunday, don’t forget to tag #MaityontheGo, and share any other cool Brunch places you know of.

Nautilus a SIXTY Hotel

1825 COLLINS AVENUE, MIAMI BEACH, FL

+1.305.503.5700

Tips & Recommendations

Travel Pillow Talk. A good investment or a waste of money?

I used to think that travel pillows were a waste of money and, instead of bringing comfort during your trip, they looked undesirable, uncomfortable and uncool. But think again! There is more to love in these silly-looking-donut-shaped pillows and here are some reasons why:

#5 – Airplane seats are getting more and more uncomfortable every day, so why not bring your own pillow to rest your head. Keep in mind that only a few airlines are still proving pillows and who knows where the pillows have been before they get to you.

#4 – Travel pillows actually give you support! Surprised? Even if you are watching a movie, they serve as a nice cushion and balance
for your head and neck.

#3 – Pillows keep your back and neck straight helping avoid stiff neck and back ache during long flights.

#2 – They help you stabilize your body while seated and if you doze off and fall asleep, it prevents you from tilting your body, falling on your neighbor or putting your face against the window.

#1 – They are cheap!

During my last visit to Marshalls, while I was waiting in line, decided to “test” some of the pillows and here’s what I found:

Cool gel and bamboo microbead – $12.99

Designer Isaac Mizrahi travel pillow- $11.99

Wrap around-your-neck in 3 different ways- $9.99

What something more fashionable: BEBE therapeutic travel pillow- $9.99

???- $7.99

Soft velvet travel pillow- $12.99

So if you don’t want to lay your head on your neighbor or walk off the plane with a stiff neck, consider packing a travel pillow for your next trip!

What has been your experience with travel pillows? Do you have a favorite? Share your comments and suggestions with other #TravelersontheGO. ✈️

Destinations

Unforgettable outdoor experience at the Florida Everglades

Florida is so much more than Miami , Orlando, and the Keys. If you are up for an unforgettable experience, you must visit the Everglades in South Florida.

After almost ten years of living in Miami I finally got the chance to have a risky but fun adventure into the Everglades with Dragonfly Expeditions, Johnny Tiger Tail, and an amazing crew.

The “brave”crew that survived the Everglades adventure (and the mosquitos).

The adventure begins aboard an airboat. The only transportation allowed in the Everglades.

Johnny Tiger Tail introducing me to some of the wild animals.

Close encounter with the wild pigs.

Listening closely to Charlie and Johnny Tiger Tail.

Getting used to my new friend: baby gator.

This is a real alligator! Check out video on this blog to listed how MamaGator communicates with Johnny Tiger Tail.

Welcome to Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park: One of the Everglades’ secret locations.

Paying close attention to Charlie from Dragonfly Expeditions.

Making sure Alex was “fine” from all the mosquito bites. Bug repellent is a must!

Girls that are always ready for an adventure! Wonderful experience with Gilcia and Sari.

Loved my Indiana Jones look!

Have you been at to the Everglades? What was your experience like? Love to read your comments, suggestions, tips and recommendations. Don’t forget to tag @maityonthego and #travelersonthego in your next adventure.

For more information about Dragonfly Expeditions and their amazing tours, click here and make sure to mention you read about them in #MaityontheGo.

 

Destinations

What I found underneath Cappadocia, Turkey.

Cappadocia is more than its enchanting and unique moon-like surface.

In this remote region in Turkey not only can you fly up-high in an amazing hot air balloon but you can also explore the underground caves. Two years ago I lived this experience with two of my best traveling buddies. Here are my favorite pictures and some fun facts. Let’s dig in, shall we?

There are more than a hundred of underground settlements in the region but just a few are open to visitors. The underground cities, which are guessed to be used since the Bronze Age, used to be a settlement mostly in Byzantine period when residentes were forced to build underground cities for protection and religious purposes.

We visited Derinkuyu underground city which is located is located 40km from Goreme (30 minute drive). There are about 600 outside doors to the city, hidden in the courtyards of surface dwellings. The underground city is approximately 85m deep. It contains all the usual rooms found in an underground city (stables, cellars, storage rooms, refectories, churches, wineries, kitchen, classrooms etc.) Here you could find everything needed to survive several days without having to up into the mainland.

Derinkuyu is the widest of the underground cities. Here we are in one of the largest spaces with very little ventilation. Not recommended for those who suffer from claustrophobia.

Some of the tunnels are very very narrow and unlike many buildings now a days, there is no emergency exit in case you start feeling sick.

No windows, very little ventilation.

 

Interesting paints, drawings and scriptures in the wall of the main rooms in the underground city.

Although smiling, I have to confess that was short of breath at many points in the tour.

 

Besides being World Heritage Site, the rock sites of Cappadocia are described by UNESCO as “one of the world’s most striking and largest cave-dwelling complexes” and for those music lovers, it is highly recommended to plan your visit during the week-long Cappadocia Music Festival which showcases choirs and orchestras.

From Istambul you can fly to Nevsehir Kapadokya Airport, located 25 km far from city center. Keep in mind its a small airport so book your flight ahead of time and arrange transportation to and from your hotel, especially if you are flying in at night. There are not that many cabs at night and no Uber anywhere near (at least two years ago when we went).

To have a full Cappadocia experience make sure to book your hot air balloon ride and spend at least one night at a cave hotel. Check here for  more about this experience.

Have you been to Cappadocia? What was your experience like? Make sure to share your comments, suggestions, tips and recommendations.

Destinations

The Alhambra, Granada’s Jewel on the Mountain

This past April I got a chance to visit Granada, Spain for the first time and walk all around the impressive Alhambra palace and fortress.

I had read about it, heard about it, seen many pictures on the internet, but nothing could have prepared for this once in a lifetime experience. Now I understand why over 2 million people a year come to the Alhambra, making it one of the Top 10 most visited palaces and castles in the world!

Keep in mind admission is limited to 6,600 tickets per day, and they usually sell very fast, so when you are planning your visit, try to purchase yours ahead of time. Tickets in the main office can cost you anywhere from 15-20€ . Click here for more information.

 

Welcome to the Alhambra

One of the first things you see (and impressed me to most)  when you walk into the Alhambra are the gardens of Generalife. The Generalife was built between the 12th and 14th Century and it  was used by the Muslim royalty as a place of rest.

Walking through the Lower Gardens

If you love flowers, May and June are the best months to visit as the are fully bloomed.

The Alhambra is an awe inspiring blend of Moorish and Christian architecture and design.

 

The Court of la Acequia in Generalife.

Here some interesting historical facts of the Alhambra that will help you better understand its grandiosity and historical value:

? The first signs of construction date back to at least the Roman times.

? It wasn’t until the 14th century that the foundations of the Alhambra as it is known today were laid.

? In the mid-13th century the Moorish emir Mohammed ben Al-Ahmar commissioned the palace’s construction, which was eventually turned into a royal palace by Yusuf I Sultan of Granada in the mid-14th century.

? 1492 the Emir of Granada surrendered the Emirate of Granada to the Catholic Kings of Spain, King Ferdinand II of Aragon and Queen Isabella I of Castile, who soon made it the home of the Royal Court.

? Under Christian ownership the Alhambra grew into the large complex of rooms, palaces, courtyards, chambers and gardens that we can admire today.

The Arab influence  is evident in the horseshoe arches, arabesques and calligraphy.

View of the Alcazaba the residential area of the royal guard in charge of the security of the palatial city.

View of Albaicín, a painteresque neighborhood that maintains the layout of Medieval Moorish narrow streets and well-kept traditional houses.

The Court of the Main Canal.

Here with the two “sultans” Luis and Franz. ?

Things to keep in mind if you are visiting The Alhambra for the fist time:

? Ticket office opens from 8am-7pm during the summer season (March 15-October 14) and 8am-5pm in the winter period (October 15-March 14). The price of admission is €14 (£11) for adults and €8 for children aged 12-15. Visitors under 12 enter for free, but still need a ticket. The site is open 8.30am-8pm in summer and 8.30am-6pm in winter. Tickets are defined as “morning” or “afternoon” – with 2pm as the dividing hour.

? If you decide to go to Granada last minute and are unable to get tickets, you can have two options: 1. Try to make it out to the Alhambra as early as 6 am to buy one the 100 tickets that are held for early risers. 2. Hope there are cancellations and you get one of those tickets. 

? Get  a guide. You will find them in the main ticket office for an extra fee.  My amazing guide is called Luz and has been giving tours for over 20 years. If you are interested contact me and I will share her information.

? Wear confortable shoes because you will walking a lot. Expect to be there for at least 2 hours.

? There are four main places to visit: Alcazaba, Nasrid Palaces, Partal and Generalife. You should bear in mind that there is a specific time to access to the Nasrid Palaces, printed specifically on each admission ticket, when deciding the order of these places to visit.

? Unfortunately there is no international airport in Granada. You can either fly to Malaga, Madrid or Barcelona and rent a car and drive or get on the train. I took a bus from Malaga and was there Granada in 90 minutes.

Have you been to the Alhambra already? What was your experience? Tips and recommendations are always welcomed.

 

Tips & Recommendations

5 places to unwind, forget your troubles and relax.

Want to get away…far away…avoid the crowds…the noise…work….and just relax for a couple of days? #MaityOnthe Go gives you 5 destinations for you to unwind, forget about your troubles, and let your senses rest for a while.

?️   VANCOUVER, CANADA

Unlike any other busy, fast-passed cosmopolitan city, Vancouver proudly rises above them all due to its amazing natural, clean environment and its laid-back attitude. If you are looking for a city with open space, great dining options and relaxing atmosphere, don’t look any further! You can read a book at the beach in the summer, go skying in the winter, and all year long enjoy walk or bike ride along Stanley Park. I visited Vancouver not to long ago for a 24hr work trip, and was amazed by this city. I am definitely coming back…soon!

Amazing view my hotel room at the Sheraton Vancouver.

Locals and visitors enjoying a summer afternoon in Stanley Park.

Walking around Kew Beach Park.

?️  SACRED VALLEY, PERU 

Disconnect from the internet and re-connect with yourself in Peru’s most “sacred” valley, neighboring Machu Picchu. The Sacred Valley is more than sacred. It’s a gateway to self-exploration, an opportunity to reconnect with nature, and surround yourself by the mystical forces of this ancient spiritual spot. And so easy to get there! Your best option is booking a flight directly into Cuzco International Airport. Sacred Valley is only 40 minutes away by car. More on my Peruvian experience here. 

After a nice hike, couldn’t resist but sit down and enjoy all the natural beauty.

Loved the local markets and handcrafts in Peru.

?️  MOUNT TAMALPAIS STATE PARK, CALIFORNIA

San Francisco’s charming but busy streets can be a little overwhelming, but just north of the Golden Gate Bridge, Mount Tamalpais State Park rises majestically for your viewing pleasure. From its 2,571-foot peak you can admire San Francisco Bay and the surrounding beauty. If your idea of relaxation is a walk among nature and out-of-the-ordinary forests, this is the place to be. A perfect spot to heal body and soul. It’s a hiking, camping and sightseeing paradise!

Breathtaking view from Tamalpais.

If you can, plan to go to Tamalpais for sunset.

Beautiful view of the clouds from Tamalpais highest point.

?️ AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS

Amsterdam is included here for obvious reasons…and is not because of the coffee shops. Amsterdam has been named one of Europe’s most laid-back city for several years. Explore the enchanting streets renting a bike, riding a boat or just getting “lost” walking around the city. It will be inevitable to stumble upon a museum or two (and a Heineken factory) and wake up the artist in you. Did you know Amsterdam has the lowest crime rate in the entire world? That gives you an idea of the city and its people. ☮️✌️ Click here out my post on my Amsterdam experience. 

Cloudy day in Amsterdam.

At Van Gogh Museum.

I ❤️ Amsterdam

?️ KEY WEST, FLORIDA

Just 90 miles north of Cuba you can find Key West. No other place is more relaxing than the southernmost point in the United States. Shoes and shirts are optional when you enter a bar, the seafood is abundant and delicious, and is home to some of the most laid-back residents in the world! The colorful architecture, the location, and the ocean breeze makes Key West the perfect destination for a moment of relaxation. How do you get there? Fly into Miami and rent a car. Play Jimmy Buffet while going down US1 for about 3 hours of amazing ocean views on each side of the road. No wonder Ernest Hemingway made Key West his home and got inspiration for some amazing writing.

Ernest Hemingway House and Museum with my mom.

The southernmost point in continental USA: Key West.

Sunsets in Key West.

Where do you like to relax? I would love to hear your comments, tips and recommendations. ?

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