Eagle Creek Compression packing cube

I manage to pack: 4 dresses, 2 skirts, 1 hiking pant, 1 short, 7 tank tops, 2 long sleeve shirts in a Eagle Creek packing cube. The packing cube measurements are: 14x10x1 and will expanded to 14x10x4. After watching this video I realized I have packed too much.



Why oh why do guidebooks need to be so heavy? I ordered 4 books for my upcoming trip online:

National Geographic – Croatia 2015

Lonely Planet – Southern Italy 2014

Lonely planet – Budapest pocket guide 2015

Rick Steve’s – Rome pocket guide 2014


I decided on which book by the date of publication.  I’m a backpacker mainly because I want both of my hands to be free. I have an elbow replacement (childhood injury) so I’m not supposed to lift, push or pull more than 5 lbs. with that arm.  Last year my backpack got way too heavy by the end of my trip. This year I want to go as light as possible.

The National Geographic is the heaviest at a whopping 1lbs 3.2 oz. There is no way the shipping weight is correct. I used the mail scale at work.

Publisher: Random House Inc
Publish Date: Apr 2015
ISBN-13: 9781426214691
ISBN-10: 1426214693
Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 318
Shipping Weight (in pounds): 1.2
 Product in Inches (L x W x H): 5.25 x 8.25 x 0.75


Why on earth would a travel book be so heavy? I decided to buy this one (unaware of the weight issue) because it was published in April 2015 and covered all of the towns I’m planning on going to. I like the “not to be missed” section.

croatia tips

I ordered Rick Steve’s Rome pocket guide because I did not want to carry around a huge book. At just over 200 pages it’s on the heavy side at 8.3 oz

Publisher: Pgw
Publish Date: Jun 2014
ISBN-13: 9781612385563
ISBN-10: 1612385567
Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 209
Shipping Weight (in pounds): 0.52
Product in Inches (L x W x H): 4.5 x 6.0 x 0.75

I like the size of the pocket guides; they can easily fit in my small “over the shoulder” bag (I’ll do a review later on this awesome bag). About half of the book consist of six self-guided tours of Rome’s top sights. It does include tips and information on Rome.


rome tour

Lonely Planet – Southern Italy 2014

Publisher: Lonely Planet
Publish Date: Apr 2014
ISBN-13: 9781742207513
ISBN-10: 1742207510
Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 295
Shipping Weight (in pounds): 0.7
Product in Inches (L x W x H): 5.25 x 7.75 x 0.75

At 11.2 oz it is a huge difference from the Croatia book. This is a full size book covering the towns I am interested in including Matera! Lonely planet is the lightest of the books. There are not color pictures like in the other books. However there are colored maps and loads of information.

s italy cover


Lonely Planet – Budapest pocket guide

Publisher: Lonely Planet
Publish Date: Jul 2015
ISBN-13: 9781743605134
ISBN-10: 1743605137
Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 160
Shipping Weight (in pounds): 0.35
Product in Inches (L x W x H): 4.25 x 7.0 x 0.5

Unfortunately I’m only making it to Budapest in Hungary before heading to Croatia. Lonely Planet just released a new book this month.


I love the size and that it only weights 5.6oz. It’s full color and includes a city map. The book is great. I like the sections on top sights and the Survival Guide.


budapest top

 I’ll have to do a review when I return to see if I used any or all of them while traveling.

Dubrovnik and Italy!

I end my time in Croatia in Dubrovnik. I have 3 days here. I hope to get in a day trip to Mostar. I just recieved all my guidebooks for my trip.


I need to start researching more although I don’t plan out my days. I just want to make notes of not to miss sites. I reserved a cabin for the overnight ferry from Dubrovnik to Bari Italy. This ferry does not run everyday so make sure to plan ahead!


I’m then making my way to Matera! I cannot wait to see this beautiful town. People have lived here for over 7,000 years.


I’m a little nervous on how I will get to my next town of Sant’Agnello. My B&B is 1 km from Sorrento and only 400 metres from the beach. I think this might be the hardest travel day. After 3 nights relaxing, pompeii and the island of Capri, I end my trip with 4 nights in Rome. I’m staying in a monastery with the nuns.

Skradin to Split

Okay midterms are finally over. I do have a test on Friday and one Monday but I need to talk travel. A lot of people don’t understand my desire to travel. Travel makes me happy. I can be who I want when I travel. No one knows me, hates me, or likes me. I get to decide every day who I am. Planning for my trips is very relaxing to me. It gives me hope. I get to forget about the hard day I had at work or school and daydream about upcoming trips. I think it’s crazy that some people don’t travel. Anyhow enough about that. Let’s get back to the fun stuff.

I am still trying to decide if I should stay 2 nights in Plitvicka Jazera and if I should skip Zadar. Right now I’m planning on going to Skradin after Zadar to see KrKa National Park. I only have one night booked at Guest House Ankora. Check out KrKa National Park

There are a lot of awesome videos on the park. There is a fee for the park. In September it is 110HRK. That’s only about $16 USD and including the following:
o one-time visit to all the terrestrial localities of Krka National Park
o expert presentation and demonstration of the Burnum archaeological collection, ethno presentation
o at the mills at Skradinski buk, Roški slap and Oziđana pećina cave
o access to the walking trails at Skradinski buk, trail from Visovac to Roški slap to Oziđana pećina
o cave, the Emperor Franz Joseph I trail over the Manojlovac slap falls
o boat transport on the route Skradin – Skradinski buk and return, except in the period from
o November to February
o for individual visitors entering at the Lozovac entrance, bus transport is available for the route
o Lozovac – Skradinski buk – Lozovac, except in the period from November to March

Again I wish I had more time here. After my stay here I’m headed to Split for 2 nights. I found what looks like a great hostel called Tchaikovsky Hostel.

1 night Skradin in a private room and breakfast included = 40 euros
2 nights Split in a dorm = 616 HRK (about $48)

Croatia itinerary help needed!

The hardest part about traveling is deciding where, when, and now long to stay! I’m second guessing my Croatia itinerary. My current plans are as follows:

Zagreb 2 nights

Plitvicka Jazera 1 night

Zadar 2 nights

Skradin/Krka Park 1 night

Split 2 nights

Dubrovnik 2 nights

Overnight ferry to Italy

The main reason I decided to go to Croatia was their beautiful national parks. I’m thinking of staying 2 nights at Plitvicka Jazera then either staying 1 night in Zadar or skipping Zadar and adding 1 night in Skradin.

Please help me decide!

Zadar Croatia

I can’t get over how beautiful Plitvicka Lake National Park looks. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site. There are multiple lakes, waterfalls and caves to explore. I’m not sure how I’m going to decide on which hike to do. I will probably find a more difficult hike in hope there’s not a lot of people. I guess the park gets very busy in the summer months. I hope I don’t regret only staying one night here. Here’s a great video of the park:

I’m going to try to get in a hike on both days I’m there. It’s about a 3 hour bus ride to my next stop Zadar so I can’t stay too late. I’m staying 2 nights in a dorm at the Boutique Hostel Forum. This hostel looks like it has a lot of character. Each bed in the dorm rooms are like mini rooms or pods. This hostel has great reviews and is located near the main square in the old town.


Zadar looks like a great place to relax. There are some great roman ruins there too. This is a great overview video of  Zadar:


2 nights in a mixed dorm =319.8 HRK  $47.90

Why Croatia?

After a brief stay in Budapest I head to Zagreb the capital of Croatia. I decided to stay 2 nights at the Chilout hostel is a dorm room. This is another town I don’t know a lot about however I think it’s important to see the capital of Croatia. Not just the beach towns. I need to book a city tour here. I’m planning on leaving early on my last day to get to Plitvicka Lakes National Park. When people ask me why I’m going to Croatia I show them this website: http://np-plitvicka-jezera.hr/en/


I decide to stay at Hotel Bellevue because it is within walking distance to the park but it is a little more expensive then a hostel so I’m only stay 1 night here.

Have any of you used this website: https://www.rome2rio.com/? It’s awesome. This website helps you figure out travel times.

Budapest to Zagreb is about 5.5 hours by train.

Zagreb to Plitvicka Jazera is 2.16 hours on a bus

From what I have read Croatia doesn’t have a great train system but buses are great here. I am trying to decide if I should rent a car while I’m in Croatia. Anyone rented a car?

Chilout Hostel in a mixed dorm room 204.9 HRK for 2 nights  $31.74

Hotel Bellevue in a private room includes breakfast 401.3 HRK for 1 night $60

What to see in Budapest!

I received a great comment from Journeyfiles with a list of places to see a Budapest. I have already started looking at these places. I am getting excited to see Budapest.

In case you don’t read the comments, here’s the list:

  • Buda castle
  • The castle hill funicular
  • The Matthias Church
  • The Fisherman’s Bastion
  • The Chain Bridge
  • Heroes’ Square
  • St. Stephen’s Basilica
  • Andrassy Avenue
  • Vorosmarty Square (have dessert there at Gerbeaud House)
  • Vaci Street
  • The Margaret Island
  • The Great Market Hall
  • Drink wine at DiVino near the Basilica
  • Have fun at Szimpla ruin pub
  • Do bar hopping at Gozsdu udvar.


For my next solo journey I wanted to explore Croatia. I decided to start in Budapest because I have heard great things about the city and its close in Croatia. I need to start researching Budapest. I have no idea what I should make sure to see. I did find a nice looking hostel.  I am staying at the Maverick City Lodge.


I like the looks of this hostel. Each bed has a privacy curtain in the dorm rooms. Plus it is located in the city center on the Pest side.

Please help me discover Budapest! I would love to hear from you.

I’m going to post about each hotel/hostel I’m planning on staying in plus the cost. It’s amazing how little my rooms cost. You do not to be rich to travel the world.


3 nights in a mixed dorm = €58.00

Next I’m going to Croatia!

Europe 2015

I’m not sure why I stopped writing about my beautiful amazing trip to Europe last year. Maybe I’m sad it’s over or maybe I’m just too busy right now. Being a full-time employee and a full-time student is hard. When I started school it didn’t seem this hard. Well at 39 I’m feeling it. I worked 5am-7pm yesterday with a 3 hour lunch break to go to class. It’s 5 am and I’m back at work. Thankfully I only have 6 classes to go!

In the mean time I am planning another solo trip for late this summer. I would love to hear what you all think of my plans.


Flying into Budapest 3 nights

Then I will be spending a lot of time in Croatia. I’m trying to decide if I should use public transportation or rent a car.

Zagreb 2 nights

Plitvicka Jazera 1 night

Zadar 2 night

Skradin 1 night

Split 2 nights

Dubrovnik 2 nights

From here I take an overnight ferry to Bari Italy then make my way to Matera

Matera 2 nights

Sant’Angelina 3 nights

Rome 4 nights

That’s a total of 23 nights.

I’m going to try to start posting pre-trip plans. I have found what looks like great hostels, B&Bs, hotels, and even a monastery I would love to tell you about.


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