1. What are your favorite and least favorite places you’ve visited this year?
Erinn: Favorites: Finland. It felt like a true “vacation”-- wood burning hot tub, lots of mulled wine, great conversations, sauna time, incredible food and even more incredible humans. And everyone was SO friendly oh my gosh. I felt like I knew everyone after just a week. Least fave: Bruges, Belgium. We had a cool Airbnb and I loved biking around the city, but it was just too, too absurdly touristy. There was nowhere to just sit and enjoy the city without a ton of people all around you. It was difficult to find non-touristy food spots as well.
Sarah: Favorites: Budapest and Amsterdam, least favorite was Vienna.
2. What are the five most important things you pack for a trip?
E: A travel journal/sketchbook where I write down restaurants and fun memories, my bluetooth Sudio Sweden headphones, my water bottle, my film camera and film, and my portable charger.
S: Mobile charger, granola bars (you never know when you’ll be hungry), some sort of folding bag to put purchases in, comfy shoes for all the walking, and a small backpack to wear during the day.
3. What’s your preferred method of transportation for travel?
E: Train, when it’s not absurdly expensive. I have a train pass right now that has unlimited train travel in France for 80 euros/month and it's been perfect, especially for last minute trips to Paris.
S: I prefer trains, but typically flights are cheaper so that's what I end up taking. And that's the great part about Lille-- you can fly out of Brussels or Paris.
4. When you travel, how do you spend your evenings?
E: A yummy dinner, followed by a relaxing drink and chat at the hotel or Airbnb.
S: Typically at a bar or hanging out at the hostel! I love to meet people!
5. What are your favorite and least favorite things about Lille?
E: Favorite: There are almost no tourists--everyone is just living their life. I really love that. A few extras: it’s such a perfectly walkable city, I love our neighborhood, and being right next to the Citadelle is perfect for going on walks and runs. Also it’s a beer city and that’s kinda fun--not typical for France. Least favorite part: Weather gets me down sometimes. Since November it’s been pretty dreary and dark. It’s slowly getting better though!
S: Favorite: Awesome location to travel, a smaller town that's easier to walk everywhere, all the french fries! Least favorite: raining all the time, maybe not as pretty as the rest of France, and everyone is obsessed with beer not wine.
6. What time do you usually wake up on a trip?
E: I try for 7-7:30. I like to make coffee, read, and do a few minutes of stretching before getting ready for the day.
S: Around 9am. I like to do some things in the morning and come back and nap in the afternoon before dinner/going out.
7. Who is your ideal travel buddy?
E: Anyone that is okay with scheduled down time to relax, and doesn't need to have everything 100% planned. But also...they have to be willing to put in some effort when it comes to choosing where to eat and what to do.
S: Someone who wants to meet and talk to people! Also someone who is obsessed with food and will go out of their way to go to a really great restaurant.
8. When researching a possible destination, what are the top two things you look for?
E: How expensive it is to get there, and what kind of outdoor spaces/scenery you can find there.
S: Price and food to eat. If they don't have good food why would I go there?
9. What spots are left on your list of places to see this year?
E: The south of France, and all of Spain. And Versailles! Would love to get to Avignon, but I think that will have to wait until next time.
S: Copenhagen, Croatia, and Morocco.
10. What are the three best places you’ve eaten in Europe?
E: The homemade pasta meal that Olivia and I made at our cooking class in Rome, the classic northern French restaurant Au Vieux de la Vieille in Lille, and the brunch at Peck 47 in Brussels. We also ate this truffle cheese from Barcelona all of Christmas week in Finland, and that was so so good.
S: Sevilla, Spain had amazing tapas; Lisbon, Portugal for the Latinish food: black beans and grilled meats; and Prague--yummy meat and cabbage.
11. Do you stay hydrated when you travel?
E: I always carry my water bottle, but sometimes I plan around when I’ll be able to find a bathroom. Definitely trickier than in the US.
S: Yes, I always carry around a water bottle in my backpack so that I don't have to pay for water.
12. What’s something you worry about when you travel?
E: I’m usually the only one with cell service, and my phone is pretty old, so it dies quickly. I always have to remember to bring my phone, make sure it’s charged, grab the portable charger, and make sure that’s charged too. It’s an annoying responsibility and I don’t want to be on my phone constantly.
S: I’m usually the one who organizes everything, so I’m always afraid of it not meeting their expectations, or losing my phone. It’s a toss up!
13. How much do you typically walk a day when you travel?
E: Around 20 thousand steps. I love walking!
S: Around 12-15 miles. I don’t like to pay for public transportation plus you get exercise.
14. What’s your best “travel hack”?
E: If you won’t have service or want to save battery, start your Google Maps directions while you’re still on Wifi. They keep working even when you no longer have service!
S: Always check the luggage restrictions, wear your heaviest clothes on the plane, hide as much in your pockets as you can, and don't be afraid!!!
15. What’s your typical accommodation when travelling?
E: An Airbnb. I want to make a shift to boutique hotels when I have the money.
S: Hostels! I love being able to meet people and make new friends! Plus they’re cheap.