Visiting the Keukenhof – Holland’s flower garden

Visiting the Keukenhof – Holland’s flower garden

If you’re coming to Amsterdam between mid-March and mid-May, you are in for SUCH a treat! Those bright and colorful images of flowers you think of when you imagine what it’s like to be in Holland will come to life. A day trip to Keukenhof will have you bursting with the feeling of springtime. You can’t help but leave with a smile on your face. It’s funny how happy flowers seem to make people!


Rows of tulips at Keukenhof


Popular post: Day trip to Giethoorn

In my effort to help you fall in love with my new home in the Netherlands, I want you to be able to experience the wonder that I feel so often. To make that happen, I’m creating guides so you can do more and worry less!

Without further ado, I give you Keukenhof!


Keukenhof garden landscape

The basics of Keukenhof

It’s not in Amsterdam, it’s in a town called Lisse but is super easy to get to. More on that in a bit.

For 2017 it’s open from March 23 until May 21. Within that time, it’s open daily from 8:00am-7:30pm. Grab a free map at the entrance. Here’s a sneak peek at the map.

There’s FREE WIFI!!


Many varieties of flowers at Keukenhof


There will be SEVEN MILLION bulbs. It covers 32 hectares or 79 acres.  Yeah…plan some time 😉

Every year has a theme, this time it’s Dutch Design. The Keukenhof’s website says “Dutch Design is characterized by Dutch sobriety combined with innovative solutions.” It should be interesting how it translates into gardens!


History of Keukenhof

Keukenhof translates to “Kitchen garden”, so yeah…it was just a regular kitchen garden for the (now named) Castle Keukenhof at some point. Then, many years later, a Baron and Baroness decided they wanted a real garden that had beauty and structure. So they hired Jan David Zocher and his son. They also worked on Vondelpark — the most famous park in Amsterdam.


Mixed colors of tulips at Keukenhof


The mid-20th century was when it really became what you see today. The mayor of Lisse at that time wanted to use it as a place for growers to show off their flowers. A showcase of beautiful flowers…how wonderfully Dutch! As if the Netherlands didn’t already have an obsession with flowers, this was just a super popular addition. And why wouldn’t it be? Have you seen these beautiful flowers?


Things to know

Keukenhof: the garden of Europe is much more than tulip gardens. To be clear, though, there are a TON of tulips. Over 800 varieties. Can you spot the differences?

They rotate flowers that are planted…even during the 2 month window that the garden is open. This is to keep the flowers you see at their peek!


Tulip fields in Lisse near Keukenhof


The rows of tulips that you see representing Holland a lot…those are not at the Keukenhof. Those are actual tulip fields. As in, they are being grown to sell. You can definitely take a bike ride through the fields, just wanted you to know that those are not in the garden itself. But they are close by!

Got allergies? Even those with mild allergies, I would suggest taking some medicine. Flowers don’t affect me too much but I felt like I got smacked in the face when I got there. Just be prepared and all is good!

There are lockers, which can be so nice depending on how you are traveling!

Restaurants are sprinkled throughout so if you’re feeling peckish, don’t fret!


How long to stay

Hours. Seriously. I wouldn’t plan anything else except dinner on this day. I was so disappointed when we had to leave and missed most of the garden after 3 hours! There’s more to see than you think. There’s gardens of flowers, there’s a greenhouse with flowers, there are art pieces, water features, etc. Really, for those who love flowers, this is basically Disney World.


Bee on flower in Keukenhof


What to do

Meander. Chill. Smell the roses…or whatever flowers are there at that time!

Watch out for the selfie sticks. I would bet you’ll get bopped in the head by at least one. If you use selfie sticks, just watch where you are swinging those things!

Explore the exhibits that aren’t flowers.


Delft pottery at Keukenhof


Price and how to get to Keukenhof

The entrance to the gardens is 16€ (Euro), but we use the combi-ticket that includes transit and the entrance fee because it just makes our lives a bit easier. And really, when traveling easier can be a sanity-saver. But, if you’re by car, then 16€ it is!

Related: Day trips from Amsterdam

For the rest of us in Amsterdam, I suggest using the combi-ticket and taking the bus from Elandsgracht, Leidseplein, or Museumplein to Schiphol airport, then switch to the Keukenhof express (aka bus 858) and pull up right outside the entrance. For the convenience, the combi-ticket is 29€. So, 13€ for less thinking and getting dropped off right where you need to be.


Clusters of flowers at Keukenhof


There are other options if you aren’t in Amsterdam and want to take public transit, so I will leave the link to browse through here.

Tip: Go early in the day because the line for the express bus can get a bit long!



Stay on the paths. Don’t pick the flowers.

Let’s really drive that home…DO NOT PICK THE FLOWERS.

You can bring dogs that are on leashes, but you must stay in the gardens area. Don’t forget to pick up after them. I’m pretty sure that’s why dogs have humans.


Variety of flowers at Keukenhof



Avoid front gate area. Seriously, get in and keep walking until you hit another end, and then start meandering through the garden. Much less crowded and stressful. You’ll probably even find some super quiet corners!

Take your new profile picture. Get lots of Instagram-worthy photos. Basically, just keep snapping away and you’ll always have the memory of the “Garden of Europe”.


Varieties of flowers at Keukenhof


How to dress

Dress for Dutch weather. This means it could be any kind of weather. Of course check the temperatures, but be prepared with layers and a poncho or umbrella. A light rain coat that can keep in the warmth isn’t a bad idea either.

Wear the right shoes. Really, you’ll be on your feet for hours and with so many people, there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to sit right away if you or your feet get too tired. So, please keep that in mind when choosing your footwear.


Dutch pottery at the Keukenhof


Take it all in

I so hope you enjoy Keukenhof! It’s definitely a cool experience. Yeah, it’s a super touristy thing to do, but walking through the gardens makes me so happy. Really now, how can you NOT be happy when surrounded by colorful flowers?


Bright flowers at Keukenhof


Have fun and act like a kid in a candy store. That’s what I did because that’s how I felt. I hopped from platform to tiny platform in a pond while we tried to get funny pictures. It’s easy to get caught up in the beauty of one part of the garden, but I promise you, there’s a lot more!

Have you been to a massive and beautiful garden before? Where was it? What was your favorite part?

Day trip to Keukenhof from Amsterdam - The Garden of Europe

Monday Check-in (Feb 13th, ’17)

Monday Check-in (Feb 13th, ’17)

*waves* Hey guys!

Happy almost Valentine’s Day! Just so you know, I have so much love for you all. Seriously. Thanks for sharing in my adventure <3 Hugs!

We aren’t really doing anything special, we have our own yearly tradition for Valentines Day, more below!


Sean and Jess


I’m on these random lists now as a blogger and usually get information that I’m not remotely interested in, but this time there was an email from an agency that represents Bloomy Days who did a study on how much people spend on Valentine’s Day.

Are ready to drop that cup you’re sipping from?

Los Angeles is among the most expensive place to spend the day of love (Venice just right behind) and Prague was the cheapest. The numbers included a dozen roses, day at the spa, dinner as a Michelin starred restaurant with wine, movie tickets with snacks, and a night in a 4-5 star hotel. Sounds like an awesome day to me no matter the day it falls on. Am I right?!

So, L.A. was €1237,45 and Prague was €430,84. Sounds like Prague is the best answer here!


Looking back

It snowed in Amsterdam!  Usually when it snows here, it doesn’t last very long and it doesn’t really stick to anything. But this Saturday morning we had a beautiful show put on by Mother Nature and it was so pretty!


My new computer came! Oh it’s so beautiful and small and perfect for blogging. I haven’t put it through its paces yet with video editing, but I was told that it should be fine.  It’s so beautiful and I got such a good deal on it. Even got the fancy bag and mouse for free which were specially made for it!


HP Spectre


What is it? It’s an HP Spectre (not the x360 that does a backflip, but the normal one). I’m not normally one to go after tech because it’s pretty (and I didn’t this time either), but it is so nice to look at and use. I’m just so happy. It’s been SIX YEARS with my current HP. We’ve been through a lot but it’s just about time to say goodbye once I get all my data off of it. It’s big and bulky, the battery is shot, and it’s needed a lot of help to get this far in life. I’ve been extremely happy with my HP Pavilion, but the Spectre is my new baby.

If you’re looking to buy an HP Spectre (or anything really), here’s my affiliate link for Of course it’s no extra charge for you! Just helps keep the site running.

Are you here because you’re curious as to where I’m taking Sean for our anniversary?

Well, I hope you’ll be as excited as we are! In case you missed it, each year Sean and I take turns planning a secret anniversary trip. Last year he took me to the Amalfi Coast where we got to experience some of the best cheese ever at an amazing wine and cheese tasting

Ok, ok Here you go!

Photo by Jen of

Do you know where that is?!

It’s Lisbon, Portugal! I’ve been waiting for MONTHS to share the surprise with Sean. I kind of made him guess after I set up a photo of Lisbon on my laptop and had Pastéis de Natas laid out. He got that it was Portugal right away! Can’t wait to spend 9 days there.

He is SO excited, as am I. Can’t wait to explore, eat, drink, and take day trips. Any recommendations of what we must do, see, or eat there?


Looking ahead

There is still quite a bit of planning to do for our trip to Lisbon. I will be pitching a few places and experiences so we can get the most out of our trip and share those amazing experiences with you. I know there are tours, tastings, and day trips that we absolutely can’t miss out on, and I am so looking forward to visiting a new country.

Sean is taking a work trip this month, so I’m going to be a little bit of super social so I don’t get lonely and super introverted and hopefully get a bunch of things on my blog to-do list done. It’s always a never-ending list! If you’re a blogger, you feel me, if not, I’m not going to explain it here. Let’s just say it’s kind of all-consuming at times!


plane wing


We have some flights and hotels to book for April because that month is coming up crazy fast. There’s a 4-day weekend around Easter that we still have no plans for though we keep tossing around ideas. Time to see where we can get some cheap flights! I think Malta or Greece would be GREAT. Or do more of a staycation. We’re saving for something big…but that announcement will be later.  

The end of April will have us in the UK! First we’re heading to Cardiff to visit The Doctor Who Experience, then we’ll be taking our time getting to London by train and seeing some of the countryside. Anyone in Cardiff or London up for a meet up?  Honestly, I would rather be going to the all-inclusive Tuscany trip, but Traverse is a commitment I just can’t miss! But if you’d rather be exploring Tuscany, sipping wine, and learning all about olive oil and cheese while seeing all come from the source, then definitely check it out. And please share that with anyone you think might be interested!


In case you missed it

Picking the right souvenir can be confusing. Do you really want it? Will you love looking at or losing it? We have a guide to help you with those exact questions.

How to find meaningful and unique souvenirs from travel


Delft is a super cute little (and I mean little!) town about an hour train ride from Amsterdam. Gotta love those day trips! If you’re in the area for a week or so, it’s a great little town that you can soak up in about a half day. Get lost in the picturesque streets and find a cafe to people watch.

A Delft day trip 

Interesting reads

We don’t write much (if at all) about being digital nomads since Sean and I both work full-time at “normal” jobs, but as a travel blogger, the thought is always there.  We frequently meet digital nomads at blogger events, and they seem to love it!  I won’t go into our thought process here, but I just wanted to highlight that it isn’t for everyone and it doesn’t always work out…and that’s OKAY! Here’s Eva’s story


Sean REALLY wants to go to Edinburgh so I’m hoping we can make it happen this year. When I can across this post from Travelettes, I knew I had to save it for when we go. Maybe it has some tips if you have a visit to Edinburgh in your future too!


Business Insider has a bit of insight on mistakes that you shouldn’t make when you’re in Europe. Seriously, these tips will prepare you for a trip to Europe so you don’t feel the need to facepalm when these things happen.


Follow on Twitter…I’m super chatty

Have a great week!!

How to pick meaningful and unique souvenirs

How to pick meaningful and unique souvenirs

The experience of travel means something different to everyone.  There are so many types of travelers out there — from people going to Europe for the first time, to veterans taking Caribbean cruises, to those backpacking through Southeast Asia, and of course groups taking family trips to Disney.  So, how how can you choose the best travel souvenir to take home? Will it be worth buying? Will it be worth the suitcase space or the cost to ship it home?

Well, here’s some advice to help you pick out the right souvenir for your trip!


Hill Top Berry Farm and Winery


What do you want to remember?

What will your souvenir mean to you? I’m sure we all take photos, most of which will never get printed and may not even make it onto the computer. So, what is it about your travels that you want to remember?


Beach memories


Was that beach trip spectacular? Do you want a glass of sand in your house with the name of the beach written on it? Maybe instead you can collect some seashells from the beach and have a shadow box made from them. Finding your own unique spin on what you find in the touristy shops will make it feel even more special.


Culinary dreamsEggs and Grits


Was it the food that took you over the moon? Get the recipe and maybe the brand names of the ingredients to see if you can find them at home. Or buy a few and take them with you as long as it’s allowed (not all cheeses, fruits, meats, etc. are allowed into other countries). This is a memory you could relive countless times just through making a meal!


Spirited souvenirs

Cider as a souvenir - What souvenirs to bring home


Sometimes the local liqueur, cider, beer, or wine can bring you right back to that special place. We’ve been there with Lemoncello from Italy. Why not buy a bottle or two and bring it back? This souvenir is even better when you share! But don’t forget to pack it really well!


Breathtaking views

Painting of Prague from local artist - Great souvenir to bring back from traveling


Art from a local artist can be such a treat. Seeing the city from their unique point of view and supporting the local economy by paying the artists directly instead of a tourist shop is just an added bonus. Buying high quality postcards (without the writing on the front) and making a collage with the help of a framing shop can also make for a great memory because you pick exactly the scenes you want to remember.


Regional specialities

Perfume from Capri in Italy - Great gift from traveling or souvenir for yourself!


If you’re visiting the mecca for glass-making, or the city for perfume or cologne, then there’s probably a reason. Pick something that smells nice and the scent will always remind you of that one place.  As always, try to find a local shop to get a higher quality and more unique experience.



Scarves - Fashion as a souvenir to bring back from traveling


Just thinking about some places around the world and the styles they wear makes me want to find those patterns and show them off. Be practical though! A silk scarf, handmade sandals, even a bespoke dress or suit can really bring that culture and all those memories home…if you’ll wear them. You won’t remember a thing if what you buy is in the back of a closet because it doesn’t match your style. Maybe something smaller is best, like jewelry or watch.



Pieces to decorate your personal space can be perfect additions to your home or office. Same as the clothes and accessories though, you’ll want it to be “you” enough so you can really enjoy it with the rest of your decor. A colorful pillow in a culturally relevant pattern, or a small statue to place on a table or desk can really add fun personality and work as a conversation starter. 


Photos - Photobooks from travel memories

Image from


Your photos are a great memory and represent exactly what you were seeing or doing on your trip, so be sure to sort through them and keep the ones you want backed up for future reference. Have them printed on canvas or get them framed so you see them everyday. Maybe even design and create your own photo books to add to your coffee table! There’s nothing more personal or unique than your own photos.


Souvenirs we collect

In the many, many years we’ve been together, we’ve collected a few things on our travels. Mostly Christmas ornaments (specifically glass baubles) and local art. I started collecting silver charms after my mom gave me a charm bracelet when I was younger, but it seems these are getting harder and harder to find.


Christmas ornaments are a great item to bring back from a holiday


Other unique souvenirs we’ve purchased to relive our travel memories are Lemoncello, a Capri Watch, and Carthusia perfume (the one pictured earlier in the post!). What you will never find us buying are magnets, shot glasses, key-chains, or other knick-knacks. While they may work for some people, they are definitely not our style.  When we find something that really “speaks” to us and we feel like we just have to have it, generally we let it go for the moment, take a note of where we found it, and realize that if we want in later in the trip, we know where to go. 


Postcard collage of Amsterdam


Top tips

  • Buy locally and not from a tourist shop if you can help it.
  • Find something that you absolutely love.
  • Make sure you have room in your luggage or can have it shipped back home.
  • If you want one of a kind but aren’t sure if you’ve picked a mass produced piece, just ask. Hopefully they will tell you the truth. If you really love it though, does it matter?
  • Be aware of your country’s restrictions if you buy food or plants. Perfect example: In the Netherlands, not all tulip bulbs can be taken into the United States or Canada. There are specially marked ones.


Make sure you take home something you love

What this all really comes down to is that you should take home a souvenir that is meaningful to you. If you want an apron with the Italian flag because it will help you channel that Italian grandma spirit, do it! When you see it or use it, be sure it makes you smile. That’s what it’s all about…happy memories.


How to Pick Meaningful and Unique Souvenirs

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A day trip to Delft

A day trip to Delft

I absolutely adore my city of Amsterdam. It’s beautiful and there’s always something to do. But now that we are all settled and we’re not in the honeymoon stage anymore, sometimes I get antsy. You know…that “I have GOT to get outta here” feeling?

We travel a lot — about once a month — to keep this feeling away. It doesn’t have to be far, but it can’t be in Amsterdam! So, how about a little day trip to an idyllic town easily accessible by train from Amsterdam?


Delft portrait


Sounds like a great time to visit Delft. It has an old town that is perfect to get lost in, find some antiques, and if you’re lucky…chocolate! Yes, I’m starting off with chocolate because it caught me by surprise and it’s CHOCOLATE!


What a treat

As we were walking along taking photos of the charming streets, I saw a chocolate shop. Immediately I made a bee-line for it. Not sure what it was that attracted me, but we are both oh-so-happy we went in. Sean said it may be the best chocolate he’s ever had. And yes, we’ve been to Belgium. This shop that stole our hearts is called Van der Burgh Chocolaad. Get the milk chocolate with the dark chocolate pieces. Then try not to drool while eating it. And if you visit Delft and then visit me, you’ll be my best friend if you bring me a bar…or two.


Delft Chocolate - Van der Burgh Chocolaad


Ok…so there’s a lot more to Delft than chocolate. A heck of a lot more. You may have heard of Delft due to its namesake pottery. It’s super famous! It’s the white stuff with the beautiful shade of blue painted in different patterns all over it. I love it and I love how something so beautiful represents not only Delft, but the Dutch as well.


Groot Markt

Delft Groot Market City Hall



A huge square sits between the New Church and city hall. Both of which are beautiful. Seriously, if city halls were this pretty in the U.S. maybe people wouldn’t hate going so much. Anyway, I can only imagine the festivals or markets that might set up on this huge space for the community. While we were there, Sinterklaas made a visit with his helpers, Zwarte Pieten.  
Jessica with Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet


Yes, he looks like Santa, but the Dutch are very clear that he is not Santa Claus. But the kids were going nuts…and the adults too. Obviously I had to get a photo!


The joy of strolling

When in Delft, just walk. Find a path and take a stroll. We found an old city gate that was not only well kept and quite a sight to see, but we realized someone lives in it! Can you imagine living in something like this?


Delft City Gate


A few canals snake through the city but we didn’t see anyone using their boat. That could be because it was so cold. It was the end of November after all! Between the canals and the small streets and the cat or two that seemed as curious as we were, it felt like we were discovering a entirely new way of life. One that is calm and quiet.


Door in Delft

Canal in Delft


Then, while walking along, we caught something out of the corner of our eyes that just didn’t seem right. Then we realized we’re in Holland and there will always be bikes in the canal.


Bike in the canal


When is the last time you took the time to just stroll along? No, really, let me know!


Delft houseboat

Experience the quieter side of the Netherlands

Delft is one of those places that it’s just nice to visit. Don’t feel rushed or like you HAVE to do anything specific. Of course you can always buy the walking tour map at the tourist office and do that (it’s what we did) if you want some structure. But finding a nice cafe where you can people watch is always the good option…next to being on a boat of course!

This is an easy day trip from Amsterdam and can even be combined with The Hague! Amsterdam is amazing, but for a well-rounded Dutch experience, we highly encourage you to travel outside the city as well!

For even more detailed information on trips and places the Netherlands, Rick Steves Amsterdam & the Netherlands book has a ton of suggestions and tips.


Pin it for later or to share!

Day trip to Delft in the Netherlands | Perfect for strolling, people-watching, postcard photos, and chocolate!

Monday Check-in (Jan 30th, ’17)

Monday Check-in (Jan 30th, ’17)

Hi hi!

It’s almost the end of January…how did that happen?! We’re already 1/12 the way through the year and that feels insane. This time last year we were super inspired by the #take12trips challenge and had already been to Berlin, Germany. This year we have something big coming up so we are going to do a few more domestic trips, but we’ll still be on the move!


Zaanse Schans Windmills


Looking back

I got a care package. Awww! My grandma likes to send me things in the mail and I so love it. She is so thoughtful and loves that we are following our dreams and living in Europe. I think she wishes she had done it too for a while. In this package, I got some long socks that are perfect for the winter and gives that extra layer of warmth under my jeans, and some other goodies that I can eat! There’s nothing like a taste of home. Am I right?!

Something exciting is getting delivered TODAY! We have a big box store for electronics and big appliances that is similar to Best Buy in the United States and they had an insane sale. Like, I was shocked. Tax here in quite high on goods. 21% of VAT (value added tax) is included in all the prices. Included-meaning not tacked on when you check out. So the price you see is the price you pay. But for this sale, they essentially pay the tax for you! So, when I saw the laptop I’ve been eyeing for awhile during this crazy even for 21% off, plus recently getting a 300 euro gift card, how can I pass that up?! I basically got my laptop 48% off. I <3 saving money. So yeah, I get it today 🙂

A friend recommended the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing so I thought I’d check it out and got it downloaded onto my Kindle (I am not a fan of having a bunch of books around and it’s just SO easy to get books on Amazon). I’m about 60% through it and I like the idea of really analyzing your stuff to see what you really want to keep. Does it bring you joy? If you only have things that bring you joy, you will be so much happier. At least that’s what I’m getting from the book. Have you read it? What are your thoughts? If not, it’s recommended by a ton of people and you can get your copy by clicking here. Do you do any big cleaning/cleaning out throughout the year? I’d love to hear any helpful tactics you have!


First Trip Home as an Expat


Looking ahead

I’ll be spending time setting up my new computer. YAY! The laptop is the lifeline for a blogger, so I can’t wait to get it exactly how I want and start writing and editing more. My current laptop is 6 years old. WHAT?! Yes. It’s time for a new one.

This weekend is an expat blogger meetup that I’m excited to go to. Networking is key for almost everyone. As a blogger, it’s imperative. Good thing I like meeting people…most of the time. It’s more content that relates to me and my situation. People know people and we can all help each other. Are you part of any networking groups? If not, think about it. You never know what kind of doors could open up for you!

We are looking for somewhere to go to in the Netherlands in February. If you have suggestions, please let us know in the comments. If you’ve found awesome blog posts of those places, feel free to link them. This is our conversation here on our Monday Check-ins, so let’s chat!

While I share a lot here, there will be even more information in the newsletter, so don’t forget to sign up for that. (Sign up here!) We live a certain style of life with our work/life/travel balance which I’ll go into a bit more later, but we’ll soon have an announcement that will shake things up a bit soon. Don’t miss out!

Remember that surprise anniversary trip I mentioned in the last Monday Check-in, well, I can ALMOST tell you. I’ll spill the beans to you and Sean in the next check in 😉 It’s so exciting I just want to squeeeeeeee! Hopefully it lives up to my expectations. The only thing I can tell you is that it’s in Europe. But that shouldn’t be a big surprise since I blog about Europe!


In case you missed it

I fell in love with a tour in Italy that we can’t take because we already have plans, so instead I got to get a discount for you. You’re welcome 😉 Go and enjoy. Then send me a postcard!

All the details are here!A dream trip to Tuscany


Flying around Europe can be cheap, but you’ll want to make the best of those famous budget airlines…since they are famous for being bare bones!

The best of European budget airlines

Interesting reads

If you’re like me and are fascinated with places like Norway for their culture and super wintery winters, then Silvia’s post on is perfect to help you pack for such a trip!

Until we get to Ireland in October, we’ll keep getting inspired by others for now. Madisyn of has an awesome roadtrip around Ireland all mapped out!

Malta had us falling in love with it years ago and we still haven’t been. Hopefully it will be very soon! Joanna put together a post on about a great town in Malta called Mdina. Can’t wait to visit!


Catch me on Snapchat


Have a great week!

Monday Check-in (Jan 16th, ’17)

Monday Check-in (Jan 16th, ’17)

As January tends to make us feel like we need new challenges and new goals, I’ve decided to start a check-in of sorts every other week. This idea is not my own, as I was inspired by one of my favorite bloggers, Monica of The Travel Hack, who post Weekend Reads on Fridays.

For me, I like the idea of gathering my thoughts over the weekend and sharing them with you on Mondays. As a part-time blogger, this works well for me and hopefully will be nice for you to be able to get home after the first day of the work week and relax while catching up with me, A Wanderlust For Life, and other interesting blog articles from others.

Let’s see how this goes!


Lennon Wall


Looking back

The first two weeks of the year have gone super fast. We’re making big decisions and planning for changes throughout the year–personally and with this blog. Everything we are doing in life we hope to ramp up in 2017 in a few different ways. More on that to come!

Getting thoughts and ideas organized is oh-so-important, especially when taking on more to-dos and making changes. As someone who loves lists (who doesn’t?) and someone who gets crazy anxious when there’s too much to do and no system in place, I’m getting my stuff together.

Personally, I use Wunderlist which is on my phone and my computer. It has my blog ideas, video ideas, wish lists of places and things all with notes so when I go to write, I have a starting point. It also has my grocery list 🙂 I love it and use it all.the.time.

In addition, for the larger stuff with the website, brands, travel, social media, I’ve just started to use OneNote (the free app). I love how sections are divided, but am not certain how it will work long term.

As far as all the systems I use, maybe I’ll write a post on that later…but that’s just blogger stuff and I mainly write for those expats in Europe who want to travel around Europe (and those who want to :). Not just bloggers. But if you’re super curious, tell me and I’m happy to put something together for you!

This past weekend we went to the Vakantie Beurs which is like a mini-World Travel Market, but in Utrecht. This cute city is just outside Amsterdam and has a convention center that holds some really cool events. For this event, countries and regions from around the world were represented and showcased to the Dutch market.

Our feet and legs are tired, but we came away with great travel ideas and contacts of people who work with bloggers. We connect with these people so we can get the most out of our travels and show you awesome places and experiences around Europe.


Sunrise from the plane


Looking ahead

Planning ahead is what keeps us motivated. There’s ALWAYS something to look forward to. Last year we did 14 trips in 12 months because of the #take12trips challenge which we are crazy proud of. This year we want to do the same, but with a few uncertainties in the first couple months of the year, we haven’t done much planning.

We are going somewhere awesome in March. Can’t say where yet because it’s a surprise for Sean–who edits all my posts 😉 We have started a fun tradition where each year one of us plans a surprise anniversary trip for the other and we alternate years. This is my year and I’m so excited because I know he’ll love it!

I hate this…so much I WANT to tell you, but I just can’t yet. But you know what? Even though the next few months are going to be a bit crazy on our side, it sure beats a routine of boring. We fought so hard to leave boring behind and I think we’ve done a good job.


In case you missed it

Take 12 Trips Challenge...are you up for it?

Prague at Christma

Interesting reads

Loving this post by Sophie about how life in Paris when living there is different than the fantasy

These spots with incredible views found by Danielle of Lisbon, Portugal will have you thinking, “Stop being so perfect all the time, Lisbon!” Or not, and be super appreciate.

As a couple who is horrible at getting great pictures of ourselves (usually resorting to selfies), this is an insanely helpful post from Renee on getting great couple-y photos.


Catch me on Snapchat


Have a GREAT week!

Our Christmas in Prague

Our Christmas in Prague

One of the best things about being an expat in Europe this time of year is that there are so many Christmas markets right at our fingertips! We’ve done the German thing a couple times in Cologne and Hannover, which were amazing. People refer to “German Christmas Markets” most of the time for a reason, because they set the bar high. But there are so many places in Europe that simply rock at Christmas, so how do you choose which one to visit?


Prague at Christmas


For Christmas this year, I wanted to be somewhere dreamy. Honestly, I’m a romantic, so I wanted to feel like I was in an old timey Christmas movie in a big poofy dress. I wanted to be somewhere everyone loves who has traveled there. And I wanted to be somewhere that isn’t insanely expensive.  I figured if we found a place that met all those requirements, we couldn’t go wrong. 

That’s how we ended up in Prague in the Czech Republic. Oh the city of spires. It’s skyline is unlike anywhere else. And it has famous Christmas markets!


Prague at Christmas


The thing is…we didn’t just do Christmas markets in Prague, we spent Christmas in Prague! This is the first we have traveled for Christmas, and quite frankly I didn’t know how it would go. Wrapping a holiday into travel was unknown to us. I mean…is it a holiday or vacation?  Are you taking in all that you can? It shouldn’t be this hard!


What Christmas is like in Prague

Prague at Christmas


What do you do? Are things open? Is public transit running? Can I get dinner reservations?

Prague is a great place to spend Christmas! Both Christmas day and the season leading up to it there is a great vibe everywhere with beautiful decorations and twinkling lights and of course massive Christmas trees. They have their fair share of Christmas markets, as well. The main one is in the Old Town Square but we loved the one in the Prague Castle too! It’s in the shadow of the Saint Vitus Cathedral, which is definitely worth going into for its amazing stained glass.


Cathedral in Prague Castle


To answer the questions we had: most things are open until sometime on Christmas Eve, many regular stores shut down for Christmas Day and the day after Christmas (Second Christmas or Boxing Day depending on what you called it!). The Christmas markets are actually open on Christmas day, but they closed early on Christmas Eve.

Public transit does keep running, maybe a bit slower, but it’s there. However, Prague is a very walkable city. Stay on either side of the river and you can easily mosey around to the main attractions and sights. It’s worth the walk just to take it all in.

Dinner reservations are a MUST! Trust me on this one. We found a website that kept track of all the restaurants that were open Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, what the menu was, and even took reservations. We used this service to make reservations. Unfortunately, both places we went to did not have our reservation. That was super disappointing, but I showed my confirmation and they kindly made room for us. So, if you find such a website, use it for the information, but make your own reservations directly with the restaurant. Lesson learned!

For all other meals, we mostly it Yelped everything or snacked at the markets. There is plenty of food at the markets! My favorite is a round pastry rolled in cinnamon sugar. It’s seriously drool-worthy. But if you like a bit more substantial food, the Prague ham is super tasty too. Here are just a couple foods we saw.


Ham over a fire at the Wenceslas Square Christmas market

Ham over a fire at the Wenceslas Square Christmas market




Food Tour

Before we arrived, I booked a food tour for our first day. You know we love our food tours! We do them everywhere. From London, Amsterdam, Berlin, and Barcelona. It’s a must for us.

Duck with potato dumpling on Christmas food tour in Prague

Duck with potato dumpling

But this wasn’t any food tour. Nope. It was Christmas themed. Seemed like the right thing to do! We ate traditional Christmas dishes while learning about local culture around the holidays. It involved meaty dishes, tasty drinks (some alcoholic), and of course a sweet finish. I had never tried much of what we ate and drank which is one of the reasons I love these kinds of tours.

Christmas cookies in Prague

Traditional Czech Christmas cookies including one made with rum!

Czech beer

Our guide was Leona from Prague Food Tour, and as a Czech she was able to tell us the real story behind everything in Prague, the culture, and the food.  Our group was super small with only three of us plus Leona!

Old Town Hall and The Tower

Prague at Christmas

We were lucky enough to grab a spot on the Old Town Hall tour and go up in the tower. Sounds super boring, right? Why would you tour the Old Town Hall?

There are so many reasons…like history, cool spaces, and going underground. Best to show you, I think.


Old underground passages under the Old Town Hall in Prague

Weapons stored under the Old Town Hall


Going up in the Old City Hall Tower is a MUST. Don’t miss it or you’ll be upset with yourself. The view is incredible. Sadly we weren’t up there in the daylight which I’ve seen photos of and are amazing, but with the Christmas market right below, I wasn’t complaining.

Old Town Square Christmas Market

Concert in a Palace

We wanted Christmas 2016 to be the most Christmas-y Christmas ever. To that end, I booked us a concert in a palace. It was the Mozart Orchestra Prague and we got to listen to a string ensemble play heavenly Christmas music in the Clam-Gallas Palace. The acoustics were incredible. The room was breathtaking. And the music was perfect for the time of year. So glad I got that itch for a concert! It’s really made us want to attend more concerts and other performance art.


Christmas Eve & Christmas Day

Wenceslas Square on Christmas Day

Everything stops early on Christmas Eve so we missed out on one of the neighborhood Christmas market we wanted to visit in Namesti Miru. By the time we headed back to the main area of the city, the others were closing too. It’s like the world was conspiring to slow us down “Ok, force me to relax!”.

It had been days of long walks! Crazily enough, we had friends staying in the hotel across the street from us so we had planned to have Christmas Eve dinner together at Kolkovna Celnice Pub & Restaurant. It was delicious and the portions were quite generous. And get this…four entrees and multiple drinks and the bill was about 60 euros. Not per person, but TOTAL. Gotta love eating out in the Czech Republic!

Christmas day consisted of sleeping in and hanging out until we were hungry for lunch. We were excited the markets were back open so we pigged out on some ham and other snacks while sipping some hot mead (honey wine). Even though it’s not super traditional, we had a reservation at an Italian spot in town. Christmas or not, it was good Italian food. Definitely check out Corto Pizza & Pasta Restaurant if you’re in the mood for it in Prague.


Did it feel like Christmas?

Prague at Christmas


Prague was great. Exploring the city, the castle, the markets and more, was a nice experience. Yes, Prague was magical at Christmas and we can’t wait to get back when it’s warmer, but I’m just not sure if I want to travel over the Christmas holiday again.  Part of this is because we had a very specific Christmas routine in the U.S. with family.  This is our third Christmas abroad and I was a bit disappointed.  Our tiny tree with ornaments collected from our travels wasn’t with us, we didn’t have any Christmas movies to watch, and we weren’t home…where we are comfortable. A hotel room just didn’t do it for me. 

Do you travel this time of year? What makes it feel like Christmas for you? Do you love it? I really want to hear your stories!


Sean & Jessica in the Prague Castle on Christmas Eve


Pin for next Christmas!

Christmas in Prague can be magical. We take you through our experience of being in Prague at Christmas time.


Want lots more practical info on Prague? The Rick Steves Pocket Prague book is worth checking out for lots of local tips!

One year later…The #Take12Trips Challenge

One year later…The #Take12Trips Challenge

2015 was our first full year in Amsterdam.  We traveled a bit, but not nearly as much as we hoped considering travel was one of the main reasons we moved to Europe.  We were still getting used to living in Europe, and while we knew we wanted to travel more, we had to get our feed under us first.  I first saw the #take12trips challenge on The Travel Hack and was truly inspired, and I think she was inspired by the original author on Need Another Holiday back in 2013.  Wherever it came from, it seemed like a great idea if we wanted to keep exploring Europe.  

Then came 2016 and we made our resolution, our goal, our challenge: We would take 12 trips throughout the year. It was unclear exactly how we’d do it or where we’d go, but we made it our number 1 priority.   #take12trips – Challenge Accepted!


Did we make it?!

Sean and Jessica in Italy 2016


Luckily we are given 26 vacation days each year which definitely helped with planning longer trips, but we also decided we would need to take single-day and weekend trips as well. It was a great mix! On the shorter trips we learned whether or not we wanted to go back to that destination (or just needed a Parisian fix), then on the longer trips we tried to live like locals and explored a bit more. All in all, we took 23 flights, 12 train trips, and spent 76 days traveling…and we did it!  Even we were surprised at how many trips we actually took because it was more than just 12!

Because we did about one trip a month, we’ll review the year in the easy way…month-by-month!


January (5 days) | Berlin, Germany



For a while, it seemed Berlin was all I kept hearing about. People loved it. Some even moved there because they loved it so much. I’m not sure that going in January was the best way for me to get a feel for the city because I just didn’t see what everyone saw in it. But I’ll give it another shot…in a warmer month! We did make a video of our trip where we experience some really emotional places in Berlin.


February (1 day) | The Hague, the Netherlands

The Hague - De Passage


This was our first day trip of the year! We decided to visit The Hague, the political capital of the Netherlands. But we were determined to not do all the political stuff, instead we wanted to see the beach, some art, and even a great view! What surprised us most was some of the streets in the old town…they felt a bit like Paris! Our video shows a different side of The Hague away from the embassies and politics.


March (11 days) | Amalfi Coast, Italy

Amalfi Coast, Italy


We spent our anniversary on the Amalfi Coast in Italy! It was a surprise trip from Sean and I certainly wasn’t disappointed! We stayed in Sorrento for a few days and even hung out on the island of Ischia. It’s a little-known island in the Bay of Naples where Italians like to holiday. Of course we squeezed in a trip to Capri and went to visit Pompeii while we were in the area. I can’t wait to go back to Italy!


April (3 days + 2 days) | Paris, France & Giethoorn, the Netherlands

Paris Bridge


In April, we got a visit from Sean’s mom! Because it was cheaper for her to fly into Paris, we figured we would take the opportunity to meet her there and have a weekend away. I mean, it’s Paris. We’ll take any excuse to go! Who am I kidding? I don’t need an excuse! We got to show her some touristy places for her first time in Europe and we enjoyed seeing Paris a little differently than we did the last time around.


giethoorn house


At the end of the month we really wanted to see Giethoorn in the springtime. It’s a tiny town with an idyllic section of walking and bike paths along small canals. Postcard-perfect is the best way to describe it! The trees weren’t in bloom yet, so I’d recommend late May for a visit, but it was still a beautiful place to stroll and take a boat tour.


May (9 days) | Barcelona, Spain + Mediterranean Cruise

Cannes, France


Barcelona seems to be on everyone’s list! The promise of sunshine, great food and wine, and fun is enough to entice anyone. Unfortunately, while we were there it rained.  A lot. I mean days of rain. I went on a cruise for a couple of those days…a Backstreet Boys cruise. Yep! I was on a cruise ship with a couple thousand women, a few men, and the Backstreet Boys. My favorite cruise port-of-call was Cannes, France, and I can’t wait to go back!


June (3 days) | Basel, Switzerland

Basel, Switzerland


At first we weren’t really sure what to get into in June.  The weather is almost perfect in most of Europe but it can also be quite crowded and touristy. We decided on a quick 3-day weekend trip to Basel. It was mainly to visit a family friend and to relax so we didn’t get into too much. Next time I want to spend more time in the region and explore…there’s so much culture to experience there!


July (9 days + 1 day) | Stockholm, Sweden + Rotterdam, Netherlands

Love this city view of Stockholm


TBEX in Stockholm. Yes. OMG, yes. The Travel Bloggers Exchange conference is amazing for a few reasons. The hosting city is a sponsor so you are given the opportunity to explore with complimentary transit and tourist passes, and there are a few other opportunities as well. We went on a food tour and I hopped on a roof to see the city from above. I fell in love with Stockholm. July is the PERFECT time to visit, I just wish I could buy a house on one of the islands in the lagoon. Later in the month we visited Rotterdam to see a friend who lives there. She played tour guide for the day and we even made a video!


August (5 days) | Virginia, United States

Mountains of the Shenandoah Valley


Technically I did travel in August. I went to the United States for my best friend’s wedding. But it was a whirlwind 3-day trip (not including the two travel days) and I focused my attention only on her and my family while I was there.  August is a beautiful time to be in the Shenandoah Valley and on the Skyline Drive, and I made sure I did get to see some of the amazing views I’ve missed since moving to a flat country!


September (12 days) | United States

Until our next trip to the US


So…I was back in the States again. This time Sean joined me as it was a trip we planned way back in February to visit friends and family. We really did try to pack it all in. The downside was I was sick for most of the trip. I spent days in bed or on a couch. Not sure what was wrong with me, but thank goodness I was in the land of Dayquil and Nyquil. I still rested but didn’t have to feel like death the whole time.


October (3 days) | Paris, France

Solo trip to Paris


By now I was itching to travel in Europe again. My friend and fellow blogger Edna was back in Paris and I wanted to be back there too. Hopping on a train to Paris is super easy from Amsterdam. If you want a cheap ticket, you have to buy a month or more in advance, but actually getting on the train is super easy and my favorite way to travel in Europe! I spent the weekend going solo for a bit, then hanging out with Edna and getting a taste of how to shop like a Parisian on a food tour was such a relaxing time.


November (5 days + 1 day) | London, England & Delft, the Netherlands

Costa Rica at the World Travel Market


We doubled up again this month! Sean went to London for work the first week of the month, and I went for the World Travel Market the second week of the month. We also took a day trip to Delft at the end of the month. Busy times! London was great as usual. There were some WTM events and some meetups as well, where I got to see some old friends and also made some new ones!  I was able to stay with friends in the city, which was great!  


December (6 days) | Prague, Czech Republic

Prague Castle, Czech Republic


Prague at Christmas! This was so exciting for me. It was the first time we’ve traveled for Christmas and I wasn’t sure how it would go. The Christmas markets gave off heavenly scents of mulled wine and grilled meat along with having the twinkly lights and greenery that lets you know it’s Christmas time in Europe. Prague is simply beautiful and I hope to go back with everything is in bloom too!

There it is! We exceeded 12 trips and made 14 trips in 2016. This makes me wonder if we can do it again in 2017 and I say we can! We did all this while working full-time in Amsterdam. We are grateful for our vacation days and we TAKE THEM! Living in Europe gives an excellent opportunity to explore for pretty cheap. Can’t wait to see what 2017 holds!


Expat’s Survival Guide to Christmas Abroad

Expat’s Survival Guide to Christmas Abroad

Ho, ho, ho…Merry Christmas!

Whether it’s your first year or 10th year living abroad, the holidays can be the hardest season to be away from family. Not everyone is able to fly during the holiday season, which is notorious for being a very high-stress time.

So, how do we — the bunch who chose to move away but still miss this special time of year — deal?

I suggest making the most of the lack of responsibilites while still being in touch!

Christmas Cards


Request Christmas cards from friends and family back home and make a nice display throughout December. They are usually quite beautiful and a great reminder of all the people who love you. I absolutely love when people write messages in them too…a little personalization is super sweet! But don’t forget to send some out as well. Set a date in your calendar to write and address your cards. Be sure to get all the addresses and stamps needed before starting. Then just breeze through and you get to put a smile on someone else’s face. Don’t you just LOVE that?! Warm fuzzies all over!




If your family went all out with Christmas decorations and that’s what will make you feel better about being away at Christmas, then deck those halls! Personally, I don’t like a lot of stuff to hold onto all year, but I do love to have our little 2 foot fake tree on the table with both our ornaments given to us by family and those we’ve collected through our travels. It’s a reminder of how life used to be, and how we are living now. Decorate however makes you feel happy!


Find a Christmas market

Christmas Market

In Europe, Christmas markets like the one in Cologne, Germany pop up all over the place! Some are just for a weekend and some are open for the season and even feature ice skating rinks. These help me find my Christmas spirit and once you have a glass of glühwein or hot cider and walk around to admire the evergreens and twinkling lights, hopefully you’ll be in the spirit too. These are the perfect places to find little gifts to send back home so your friends and family get a taste of how you spent the holidays.




Grab the mixer, eggs, butter and sugar and get your place smelling like holiday Heaven. I am lucky enough to have a grandmother who loves to bake, so that is something that reminds me of the holidays. There were SO MANY cookies. I never complained though. It was fun…and I got to lick the beaters 😀 Baking at the holidays is perfect for lots of reasons: it’s fun, creates gifts for friends, makes your house smell delicious, and can be a reminder of what makes you happy!


Take a trip

Paris Ferris Wheel

Do something completely different! Take a holiday for the holidays. We’re traveling at Christmas for the first time this year so I’ll have to update you on that later! But it feels right to try and celebrate in a way that we would have never done in the U.S. Not to mention, it’s an exciting adventure to see how Christmas will feel in a place you’ve never been.  Go somewhere super Christmas-y, or go somewhere sunny and warm. Pick somewhere super relaxing or a city you’ve always wanted to discover. This is all about new experiences!


A friends’ holiday


Friends are the family you choose, right? Some you’d do anything for and love like brothers or sisters. If they are around for the holidays too, why not do something together? For two years we met up with a fellow American who was also in Amsterdam and had lunch at our favorite Chinese restaurant. Then we walked around the center with its pretty lights along the canals. It was a different kind of Christmas, but made us happy all the same.


Video chat

If possible, call or video chat those you love back home. Between Skype, WhatsApp, Facebook, Google Hangouts, even Snapchat, there are so many free (or super cheap) ways to get in touch. Set a time so everyone is on the same page and has the appropriate tech handy and then enjoy celebrating Christmas together, even if only for a bit




Not being home for the holidays can be sad, frustrating, and even confusing because we don’t know what to do during that time. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Hopefully this has given you a few ideas on how to make the most of the season and truly enjoy the experience.

Making the Best of European Budget Airlines

Making the Best of European Budget Airlines

If you want to fly, Budget or Discount airlines are definitely the best way to get around Europe. They allow so many people, like us, to travel more frequently and to more places than we’d be able to get to otherwise.

Because they are priced lower (sometimes MUCH lower) than traditional airlines, you can guess that you may not have all the comforts or services you expect from full-price airlines.  This post is all about managing your expectations on budget airlines in Europe to make the best of them!

Play their game and you can win!


eBags with Jess


Luggage really is the biggest elephant in the room. As a frequent traveler in Europe, I’m getting to know the budget airlines quite well. For example, I know that EasyJet gives you one bag to take as a carry-on…and they will stop you at the ticket check if you have more.  Transavia has the option for the tradition personal bag + one piece of carry-on luggage. BUT that luggage is not guaranteed to stay in the cabin! If there’s no more room, under the plane it goes! (This is one of the few planes I really want to be first in!)

Honestly, just reading through the airline’s website helps a lot but there’s also this super helpful post from Travel Made Simple with a carry-on size chart for over 150 airlines! Check the luggage restrictions and measure that bag. I’ve checked my rolling bag (eBags 21” Mother Lode Mini) in the smallest of carry-on brackets in the airport (when nobody was looking…just in case 😉 ) so I can confidently know it will fit. If there’s ever a doubt, I also have a 19” eBags convertible backpack that I’ll use.  If you’re looking for some good luggage, I’m happy to share why I love our bags.

Check-in online

If you’re flying carry-on only — which you totally should be doing if you’re flying within Europe — bypass that check-in counter and save yourself one less frustration. Just check-in ahead of time and put that boarding pass on your phone, or print it out for peace of mind (some airlines still require a printed boarding pass — check ahead!).


easyjet mobile boarding passes

Screenshot from the easyJet website (Dec 4, 2016)


So far, I’ve never had a problem with the service of European budget airlines, but I’m sure the day will come, and it’s good to be prepared. Follow all your regular airlines on Twitter now, and if you need them, reach out right away.

Once I went to the airport with my boarding pass which said  “Boarding time 08:45”. But when I got to the airport, the board said that was the departure time. Luckily, I was there well ahead of time, but the experience taught me not only to look at my ticket, but to also stay up-to-date using Google flights as well (which told me the gate number).

Actually, I had to ask someone for confirmation at the airport information desk because I just didn’t see my flight on the board…now that’s a scary thing.

Don’t ever hesitate to ask for help! Gates change, flights are delayed, connections are short, and sometimes things just get really messed up. If you need to get where you are going and you’re not sure, just ask someone what you need to know.


airplane window seat

Seat assignments

Some will care about this more than others. When traveling with someone you may want to sit together, so it might be worth the money to snatch up two seats wherever you want on the plane. Or maybe you’re a tall person and REALLY need the legroom. Or maybe you just have to “go” a lot and need an aisle seat. For whatever reason, grabbing your seat ahead of time can be a nice luxury …even on a 2 hour flight.


Really on any flight these are a must-have for frequent travelers. That plane sound…OMG. It can make me so angry! Add to that people who talk to loud, who are on the phone, or really any other audio annoyance and it’s nice to block it all out with some noise-cancelling headphones. You may not even use them to listen to anything except for the thoughts in your head.


mobile phone with headphones

Tablet or phone

Personally I love my tablet to watch videos or write when I’m on the plane. Put on headphones and some good music and it’s almost like you’re not squished in a tin can. Get your productivity on, or chill out with a movie. Your choice!

Battery pack

Do not expect outlets on a budget airline. I’ve been on a few flights that do have them…but never count on it! If it’s just your phone, then a lipstick charger is probably fine. But if you have rechargeable headphones, phone, tablet, etc, then get a good powerful one. I have an in-between one that’s solar-powered from Tespack and I love it. 


This is pretty self-explanatory I think. Bring snacks you know you’ll like that don’t cost an arm and a leg like they would on the plane. I usually go with granola bar type snacks, but grab those chips or gummies or whatever makes you happy. Because let’s be real…hangry is a real thing. Regardless if my computer is telling me that’s not a word.


You know to stay hydrated on the plane, right? Please do. Either bring a water bottle from home that you can fill after security or just buy a bottle of water when you’re near your gate. Besides, you’ll need it to wash down your snacks!



Jacket / Big scarf

To stay comfortable on a chilly plane, this is a must. I love to travel with my fleece jacket if it’s a warmer season, or I use my scarf if it’s cold outside and I don’t want to wear my winter jacket in the seat. But seriously, who doesn’t love a good, versatile scarf?

Is it going to feel like first class? Sadly, no. But at least you can be a bit more comfortable than if you didn’t plan ahead.

Get cheap flights. See amazing places. Make the most of life in Europe.

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Making the Best of European Budget Airlines


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