Monthly Archives: August 2018

Best Shoes for Travel

Packing appropriate clothing is crucial for any trip, but many people fail to realize the importance of choosing the right shoes! Taking care of your feet during your travels can be stylish and also safeguard from blisters and sore feet.

Here are our best tips for choosing shoes that are fashionable yet practical for any kind of trip!

Unless you’re embarking on an extreme hiking or mountain climbing challenge, you’ll probably want to skip packing traditional hiking boots. I’ve found a great alternative to bulky hiking shoes for trips where I know I’ll be hiking, but also have limited luggage space. These lightweight hiking shoes are perfect for even the most intense outdoor adventures and I usually end up wearing them on the plane to save space.

For a more lightweight option that will condense down in your suitcase easily, these Cross Trainers are comfortable and provide ample support for most hiking and outdoor activities.

For those outdoor trips that involve snow and ice, I find Sorrel boots extremely comfortable and they keep my feet warm no matter how cold it is outside.

 

The Lively Party-Goer

Some people revel in the daylight, and others really let loose at night; for those of you who choose to spend your vacations sleeping in and enjoying the local nightlife, choosing shoes appropriate for dress codes (but that also won’t kill your feet) can be a challenge.

My solution? A convertible day-to-night shoe, that can easily be dressed up or dressed down depending on the atmosphere. I typically choose block heel sandals or mules, preferably with a rubber sole for shock absorption. Keep the stilettos at home!

 

The Budget Traveler

Budget travelers will own up to cram-packing a single carry-on, just to avoid a checked baggage fee. I’ve found that when I have limited suitcase space, bringing one pair of all-in-one shoes will suffice for an entire trip.

Choose a pair that you can wear all day and night, to any activity (within reason), and with any outfit. With this, I’d recommend short/no heels but nothing overly casual; I’ve found ankle booties like these go with any outfit in any season. Soft suede and rubber sole are very forgiving on your feet, while a simple style and neutral color make them easy to pair with jeans, skirts, or even leggings!

I also have numerous pairs of inexpensive elastic sandals that in recent years have become my favorite because while they may be cheap in price, the thick elastic lasts forever and makes for super comfy traveling shoes.

Most interesting ethnic mixes

Despite having turquoise-ringed tropical islands, misty rainforests, cosmopolitan and arty cities, colourful festivals and one of the world’s most interesting ethnic mixes, Malaysia remains Southeast Asia’s most unsung destination.

In 2017, the country turns 60 years old. With a new hi-speed train system, comfortable buses and low-cost air connections to most of Asia and beyond, backpacking in Malaysia today is quicker and easier than ever. Here are our top tips to help you make a trip.

 

1. Don’t rush

Most travellers visit Malaysia too quickly, making a beeline between Penang, the Cameron Highlands, Kuala Lumpur, Melaka and exiting to Singapore. But it’s by getting out of the well-worn trail that you’ll experience the best Malaysia has to offer.

Consider going to the east coast for island-hopping, stopping in Kota Bharu to experience a blend of Thai Buddhist and Malay Islamic culture. Or stop at Taman Negara, the world’s oldest rainforest, visiting the quaint little towns that surround it. Cheap flights can get you over the South China Sea to Sarawak and Sabah, in Borneo, where you may see orangutans, meet former headhunting tribes, and experience a side of Malaysia that feels like another country.

 

2. Ever considered hitchhiking?

Back in the 1970s, travellers on the Hippie Trail considered Malaysia the easiest country to hitchhike in Southeast Asia. Today, this adventurous way of travelling is less common, but it’s still very rewarding. Malaysians are very fond of foreigners (Western tourists, especially), and hitchhiking can be a great way to reach off-the-grid places that are poorly served by public transport. And since English is widely spoken, you will also make interesting connections that may end up in invitations to visit local homes.

 

3. Don’t try to speak Malay to everyone

Bahasa Malaysia may be one of the easiest languages to crack in the world. But remember that in this multicultural nation, the predominantly Malay Muslim government is well known for giving preferential rights to the Malay group. As a consequence, ethnic tensions are everyday issues, and addressing non-Malays in Bahasa may trigger unpleasant reactions.

On top of that, to most Malaysian Chinese and Indians, Bahasa Malaysia is a second, or even third language. Stick to English: as a foreigner, everyone will expect you to do so. Practise your Bahasa only in Malay-dominated regions, such as the Peninsula’s east coast, or in Malaysian Borneo, where it really helps befriend locals.

The next foodie break

Not so long ago, Turin (Torino) – Italy’s great northern powerhouse – was largely ignored by tourists, unfairly dismissed as little more than a giant Fiat factory. Yet this elegant city of Baroque palaces and graceful piazzi would be a prime draw were it anywhere else other than this spectacularly beautiful country.

Since hosting the Winter Olympics back in 2006, Turin has undergone major regeneration, transforming its former industrial spaces into cultural quarters, sprucing up its museums and investing in a swanky new metro system.

The city and its hinterland, the Piemonte region, is also one of Italy’s top food destinations. Its traditional lures – wines (such as Barbera and Barolo) and the white truffles of Alba – are now joined by the Slow Food movement and a cosmopolitan approach to cooking rare in Italy. Here’s why Turin should be your next gourmet trip.

 

1. Breakfast is a grand affair

Italy’s first capital, and the seat of the royal House of Savoy for centuries, Turin’s illustrious legacy lingers on in its array of sumptuous nineteenth-century cafés.

Several grace the grand central square, Piazza San Carlo. Start your day amid acres of gilded mirrors and plush red velvet of Caffè San Carlo, where coffee – served by a bow-tied barista oozing expertise – and a croissant savoured at the marble bar will set you back little more than €2.

Festooning the counters and cabinets of Turin’s grande-dame cafés are mounds of tiny pasticcini (pastries), delicate morsels of sweet treats originally designed for aristocratic appetites. They come in dozens of varieties, from crumbly baci di dama (ladies’ kisses) to bignole, mini choux buns filled with cream.

There’s a fine selection at Caffè Torino, another of Piazza San Carlo’s august fin-de-siècle institutions, and don’t miss Caffè Mulassano on nearby Piazza Castello. With its coffered leather ceiling and a marble-and-bronze water fountain, this diminutive, three-tabled spot is a fantasy of Art Nouveau.

 

2. The world’s first ever choc ice was made here

Work off your breakfast with a visit to the brace of fine museums east of Piazza San Carlo: the beautifully restored Museo Nazionale del Risorgimento Italiano, which preserves Italy’s first parliament chamber, and, more impressive still, a wander among the pharaohs at the atmospheric Museo del Egizio.

For generations of schoolchildren, the real highlight is a stop between the two at the unassuming Pepino gelateria for a pinguino – the world’s first choc ice, patented in 1939. Still family-owned, and run by the inventor’s great-grandson, the dapper, youthful Edoardo Cavignano, Pepino focuses on quality over range, with just six flavours of artisanal gelati. For an unusual floral twist, try the violetta.