Color: Black; Price: $105; Buy: Nordstrom, CALPAK; Collection: Kaya Collection
First things first, some history on why I got this backpack. I’m on a journey to find the best travel backpack that is fit for my body size and weight. Something easy to carry and not have to struggle with back problems. I have scoliosis, so I need to make sure that my back is protected along with the belongings I bring with me.
Note: I am 5 ft and weight about 105lbs.
The CALPAK Kaya Laptop Backpack initially attracted me because of how stylish it looked and the fact that it has a suitcase back strap. I like the idea that I can prop this backpack on the suitcase handle and not have to worry about it wobbling or falling. I absolutely hate the idea of having to stop my footing just to correct the backpack that was hanging on my suitcase because my back gave out on carrying it.
Continue reading “CALPAK Kaya Laptop Backpack Review”
Trip: 5 days; Month: May – Jun 2018; Weather: Spring (☁️,🌧, ☔️)
Things you should know before the actual itinerary
When should you buy tickets?:
In 2018, we bought our tickets in December for about $584 /pp. Next year in 2020 TheSibLims are traveling to Europe and we bought our tickets a couple of days after Thanksgiving for a really low price of $350/pp. That’s the lowest I’ve seen it! The best time to leave is usually on the weekday on Tuesday, but you might be able to find the same price for a Tuesday on a weekend prior to Tuesday.
Tickets to Harry Potter and Brigit’s Afternoon Tea:
Book the tickets before you head to London. Booking in London might be too late (especially if you want to go during October/Halloween for Harry Potter).
Pack a light jacket or umbrella:
Our trip was between May 26 to June 7. When we got to London it rained quite a handful of days. Just make sure to pack a light jacket or umbrella to make sure you’re protected from the rain.
Transportation took a bit to get used to, but we finally got it. You have to get Oyster cards to get anywhere in London. That’s their metro tap card (for LA folks). We also took buses too and they were pretty easy to navigate. They take Oyster cards as well.
What to wear?:
We packed very light. I packed a couple of skirts, crop tops, a long sleeve, nice blouse (if you wanna dress it up), and one pair of pant.
We stayed at a family friend’s house for the first two days and then experienced the rest of London at the tail end of our trip heading home. During this Europe trip we also traveled to Paris and Brussels (post about these coming soon).
Things to do in London, Europe
- Trafalgar Square
- Brigit’s Afternoon London Bus Tour
It was cute. We definitely enjoyed the tour and the food. It’s definitely something we recommend to try. You get to keep the cup; it was complimentary.
//Note// Brigit’s Afternoon London Bus Tour
No bathrooms on the bus, so go before or book a sit down tea place. The bus tour takes about 80 minutes.
- Kings Cross Inn Hotel
We stayed here on our last night in London. It’s very close to the train station to take us to the airport which was the reason why we chose the place.
- Borough Market
Think Farmer’s Market. Lots of deliciousness here! This is London’s oldest food market and is worth a trip to check out the food vendors and the scene. It’s also near London Bridge.
- Rock Climbed at Mile End Climbing Gym
If you enjoy rock climbing check this place out! I really liked the structure of the climbing gym. They sectioned everything like it had its own department. Training section, traversing section, and so forth; you get it.
- Megaro Eatery
We were looking for a place to eat breakfast on our last day in London and came across this restaurant which is actually located inside the Megaro Hotel near where we were staying. We all enjoyed our food and we would come back here again.
- WB Studio Harry Potter Tour
This tour was really fun. If you’re a Harry Potter fan this is a must-go-to. They show you the the behind the scenes of Harry Potter and how they did their magic. Make sure you check out their souvenirs. They have items you can’t buy in America.
- Gordan Ramsay Restaurant ($500)
D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S! Also reallyyyyyy E-X-P-E-N-S-I-V-E. Don’t get the apple tarte tatin dessert (unless you want to spend $60 or so on an apple tart the size of your palm). We got their fix course meal and everything was super amazing. If you want to experience a restaurant by Gordan Ramsay. This place was bomb. Make sure you bring nice shoes or they’ll give you one to wear.
High-end multi-level department store with restaurants where you can buy souvenirs from London. (Devonshire cream!)
- Tower of London: The Crown Jewels
Can have a long queue. It was neat seeing the Crown Jewels, but personally not worth the wait (2.5 hrs). Recommend going early to avoid the long queue.
We’ll be revisiting London in May 2020, so stay tuned for more posts about our next itinerary to London.
If you have any other recommendations for us that you think we should check us. Comment below!
Trip: 12 days; Month: May 2019; Weather: Spring (⛅️, 🌧); Itinerary: Download
Things you should know before the actual itinerary
When should you buy tickets?:
Continue reading “Traveling to Japan”
My siblings (TheSibLims) and I went to purchase Japan tickets during Thanksgiving week. The best time to buy is usually on a Tuesday. That’s when they have the best deals in my opinion. Sometimes you can get lucky though.
JR Pass for Japan:
TheSibLims and I went to purchase our JR Pass voucher for Japan on Japan Rail Pass website. The JR Pass has to be purchased prior to your visit to Japan. There are some stores that do sell the JR Pass in Japan, but I assume it’s only a few, which is why they suggest to purchase prior. JR Pass is basically a ticket to Japan’s railway system that helps you get around certain areas in Japan. There is an option to reserve seats, but can only reserve when you get to the station to activate it. When you purchase at home; just don’t forget it!
What should you wear?:
The month we went was kind of hot/cold (spring weather). I know, not a great way to tell you what you should pack. My suggestion is to pack loose clothes and if you’re a girl don’t pack shorts. I would recommend packing a skirt than shorts. I realized that there were not a lot of women who wore shorts when I was in Japan. It was either skirts that were a little higher than the knee or much lower than the knee and pants. I also packed pretty “light” but ended up having a small carry-on suitcase and a backpack…
Wifi? Do I need it?:
I mean it depends on your carrier and depends if that’s something you can live or can’t live without. Generally most places in Japan have free wifi, but when you’re walking around it is kind of hard to navigate without the inter-webs. I know traveling with TheSibLims, wifi was a must-have, but we didn’t get a plan. Our AirBnB came with a pocket wifi, but even then it wasn’t enough to sustain 12 days with. I would definitely check out this reddit post from /r/JapanTravel for more information on Pocket Wifi or SIM cards.
Traveling with Tattoos and you want to go to an Onsen:
To be honest, I wish I had prepped for this earlier because I have tattoos. I would suggest purchasing tattoo covers. Why? If you plan on going to an Onsen that is more traditional then they won’t allow tattoos because in Japanese culture tattoos were always associated with the Yakuza (Japanese Mafia). There are some Onsens that are more modern and allow tattoos. You’d just have to search for them. Yelp is your friend!
I’m a girl and I love the idea of having access to shoes. If you’re a girl you understand. Well, I’ve done a lot of traveling and came to realize that less is more (yes that saying is true). I recommend bringing one pair of sneakers and maybe a small heeled boot just to dress it up a little. But I think one pair of shoes is good enough and make sure you don’t bring shoes that you just bought. Break into them or bring shoes you know are gonna be comfortable. Expect a lot of walking!
Google Maps or Apple Maps is your friend!
TheSibLims did not get to visit the Ghibli museum because when we found out about it was too late. JTB USA sold individual tickets to the Ghibli Museum, but they discontinued it. Now they only sell these tickets as a combo/deal with the JR Pass. Make sure you plan out your dates! You should purchase these tickets prior to your arrival in Japan. The museum does not sell tickets. The tickets are available for advanced purchase on the tenth day of the month for the following month. You can buy here.