ANCHORED: Europe’s Ultimate Week Long Festival Cruise

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My summer plans just got a whole lot better. With the rise in popularity of throwing music festivals at sea, Unique Cruises announced their brand new 7-day nautical adventure called ANCHORED, and it looks almost too good to be true. From June 11th – June 18th, over 2,500 people will embark on the European vacation of a lifetime.

The 7 Best Music Festival Cruises To Experience Before You Die

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Attending a music festival on a cruise ship is definitely something you must experience at least once in your life.  However, I should warn you, that after you spend a few days raving at sea, the idea of going back to camping festivals might not sound too great.  It’s honestly the most comfortable way to enjoy a festival, because it’s also an incredible vacation.  The destinations are always beautiful, the cruise amenities are top-notch, and the sunrises / sunsets you’ll witness while onboard the ship will leave you speechless.  If you’re looking for the best cruise music festivals, I strongly suggest you add these to your festival bucket list.


1 ) Groove Cruise

When:  October 7-9, 2017 (Los Angeles) — January Dates TBS (Miami)

Departing:  (January) Miami, and (October) Los Angeles

Destination:  Various locations.  Bahamas, Grand Turk, Mexico, etc…

Website:  https://www.groovecruise.com/

Groove Cruise is the OG festival at sea, and will definitely be one of the best experiences your life!  I’ve now attended two different Groove Cruises, and it’s simply unlike any other festival I’ve ever attended.  Check out my articles on why Groove Cruise is the Ultimate Festival Vacation & Groove Cruise Miami:  96 Hours of Atmospheric Bliss to get a better understanding why.  There are two separate editions every year, so start planning now and join the loving #GCFAM !


2 ) HOLY SHIP

When:  Every January (2 Weekends)

Departing:  Port Canaveral, Florida  

Destination:  Various locations:  Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas, etc.

Website:  http://www.holyship.com/

Having just successfully finished their 8th and 9th voyages, HOLY SHIP has made some major waves in the cruise festival scene.  Their line-ups are always stacked with an eclectic mix of bass / electro/ G-House artists, and the previous destinations they’ve sailed to are absolutely gorgeous.  The main reason I want to go on Holy Ship is to witness the legendary Destructo Sunrise Sermon Set!

Photo via Facebook

Party on the back of the boat! #SpiceH2O #HolyShip #ShipFam

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3 ) Shipsomnia

When:  June 14-18, 2017

Departing:  Barcelona, Spain

Destination:  Ibiza, Spain

Website:  http://www.shipsomnia.com/

Unoffficially nicknamed “Tomorrowland Of The Sea”, Shipsomnia is guaranteed to be a party you never forget.  It’s maiden voyage sailed from Singapore – Thailand, and was one of the best festivals in South-East Asia.  They are now preparing for it’s second edition leaving from Barcelona, and making it’s way to everyone’s favorite party island. This event is likely to sell-out rather quickly, so plan well in advance to ensure your spot on the “Tale of the Kraken”.


4 )  Inception At Sea

The world’s first ever floating spring break music festival!

When:  March 13-17, 2017  

Departing:  Miami, Florida

Destination:  CocoCay & Nassau, Bahamas

Website:  http://inceptioncruise.com/

“The second annual Inception at Sea Spring Break Cruise will be setting sail March 13-17, 2017 from Miami to multiple destinations in the Caribbean for a 4-night music festival experience, with 96+ straight hours of music and partying.”  I’m personally going on this festival in just a few weeks, and can’t wait to share my experience with everyone!

Photo via Website


5 ) Anchored By Unique Cruise

7 Days.  7 Events.  7 pool Parties.  2500 People!

When:  June 11-18, 2017  

Departing:  Rome, Italy   

Destination:  Santorini -> Mykonons -> Monte Carlo -> Cannes  

Website:  http://unique-cruise.com/

This week long voyage sounds almost too good to be true.  Sailing to four destinations, in three different countries, this will be a vacation of a lifetime  This is the first ever edition, so if you don’t have plans in mid-June, you should definitely check this out!  The line-up is looking amazing already, and I know this is going to be a full-week of nothing but groovy house and techno.

“A fresh and innovative cruise looking to combine some of the very best of the nightlife you would normally find in Ibiza along with all the glamour of yachting and cruising.  Our vision is to be an exclusive holiday choice for the influential and glamorous.”

Double tap if our line-up has got you buzzing to get #Anchored17 this year! Tag your shipmates!

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6 ) The Ark

When:  August 31 – September 3, 2017

Departing:  Barcelona, Spain

Destination:  Ibiza, Spain & Marseille, France

Website:  http://www.theark.cruises/en

ELROW ON A SHIP FOR FOUR DAYS!?  Is this real life…?  This cruise simply looks like it’s be the experience of a life.  Take a look browse through the website and check out all the incredible stages, trip packages, and information about the venue of “the Feedom Of the Seas“.  It honestly won’t take you much convincing to start planning your trip!

“Four days long the ship will cruise the Mediterranean Sea in a tropical setting making sure mankind would not only survive, but to be fruitful, joyful and most of all: for mankind to create. To create an atmosphere in which any animal would duplicate. To create an environment in which everybody is loved, accepted and musically connected. To create conversation where likeminded people share stories and discuss the strings of life.”


7 ) Mdrinity Cruise

The First 100% Underground Electronic Music Cruise

When: September 16-20, 2017

Departing:  Genova, Italy

Destination:  Barcelona -> Mallorca -> Ibiza  

Website:  http://www.mdrnty-cruise.com/

“Setting off from Genova, this wild 4-night Mediterranean voyage, with stopovers at Barcelona, Mallorca, and Ibiza, will soon be the exclusive settings for an unforgettable party experience!

Each of 5 stages, including the main dance floor which is located above deck, will have its own unique atmosphere and a befitting line-up to go with it, providing an insane 24h a day music offer!”

 


8)  It’s The Ship *BONUS*

When:  November (2017 Dates TBA)

Departing:  Singapore

Destination:  Langkawi, Malaysia

Website:  http://www.itstheship.com/

This is Asia’s largest festival at sea, and should absolutely be added to your travel / festival bucket list!  They’ve had two successful voyages in the past that both have had massive line-ups, and sailed to beautiful tropical destinations!  I spent almost two years traveling around South-East Asia, and one of my biggest regrets is not attending It’s The Ship!  While 2017 dates / information haven’t been released, you should definitely keep this in mind if you’re planning a trip out to South-East Asia!

Our Day 1 pictures from #ITSTHESHIP2016 are up on Facebook! Check it out shipmates! ⚓️ http://bit.ly/DAY1ITS

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Am I Missing Any Epic Cruise Festivals…?

LET ME KNOW!

THANKS FOR READING!!

FOLLOW MY ADVENTURES AROUND THE WORLD ON FACEBOOKINSTAGRAM, TWITTER & ADD ME ON SNAPCHAT: — JONESATW

Travels, Festivals, & Photography: 2016 In Review

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We’re now two weeks into 2017, and I’m just finally posting my annual round-up article.

Sorry for the delay, but the past couple months I’ve been traveling, festivaling, and photographing Australia — and I’ve barely had any time to slow down and catch up on work.

2016 was a huge year of growth for me — both personally and career wise.

From beginning the year living in Sydney, traveling through Sri Lanka & Europe, spending a couple months back home in California, and finally exploring Australia — this year has definitely been full of adventures.

Countries Visited:  13

Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, France, Belgium, Hungary, Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, Greece, U.S.A       


Festivals Attended: 13

Field Day, Electric Gardens, Yacht Social Club, Return to Rio, Groovin The Moo, Voodoo Village, Balaton Sound, Brussels Summer Festival, CRSSD Festival, Dirtybird Campout, Groove Cruise, Return To Rio, and Lost Paradise

If you haven’t already, take a read through my Highlights of 26 Months of Travel post.  This goes into much more detail about the earlier months of 2016.

And if you want to stalk me a bit further, feel free to read my 2014 Annual Review & my 2015 year in Review


January – May  (Living in Sydney)

I started out the year finishing off my Working Holiday Visa in Australia, and to be honest — I wasn’t quite ready to leave Sydney.  As I discuss in my blog post about long-term travel and saying goodbye, this city has become much more than another stop in my nomadic life — it’s my second home.

The only reason I left the country was because of this “backpacker tax” that the Australian government decided they would enforce, which I even got interviewed about in the Australian Financial Review.  You can read that article here.  That was a really cool opportunity for me, and it opened up some doors for future travels (long story).


Everything happens for a reason though, because leaving Sydney ended up being a very important deciding factor for the rest of the year.  I had made enough money working full-time to fund my summer travels, and I was ready to hit the road again.


June in Sri Lanka + TBC Asia

This was my second trip to Sri Lanka, and was definitely one of the highlights of the year.


The main reason for it being so influential was it gave me the motivation to continue on with Jones Around The World.  

The truth is that travel-blogging takes a lot of damn time, and I had lost some of the original spark I had for this site.  I had a full-time job while in Sydney, and whenever I got home from work I just didn’t have the energy to write new content.

So attending TBC Asia and having the opportunity to network and travel with like-minded bloggers was exactly what I needed.  I learned quite a lot about the business side of blogging, and found some much needed inspiration.

Read all about my Sri Lanka adventures:

Beach life is the best. Especially when there is warm water, soft sand, and beautiful blue skies. I'm gonna miss these Sri Lankan beaches.

A photo posted by Dave ✈️ Jones Around the World (@jonesaroundtheworld) on


Two Months Traveling Europe (July-August)

At the beginning of June, I hit the 2-year mark of being away from California (the longest I have ever spent away from home).  I actually was meant to fly back to Los Angeles, and spend the summer in the States…but when I was selected to be apart of TBC Asia, that included a free-flight to Europe, so I couldn’t say no to that.

Where did I go?

Paris -> Brussels -> Budapest -> Balaton Sound (Music Festival) -> Belgrade -> Bosnia & Herzegovina -> Montenegro -> Albania -> Greece -> Brussels

These were two of the most-action packed months of travel.  I’ve already written extensively about how much I enjoyed Balaton Sound, but the real highlight had to be the Balkan road trip.

If you’re thinking of the best places to go in 2017, then I would strongly recommend visiting The Balkans in Eastern Europe!

I think I'm gonna move to the mountains in Montenegro, build a house, and adopt 12 dogs. Yeah…that sounds like a good plan.

A photo posted by Dave ✈️ Jones Around the World (@jonesaroundtheworld) on

Shoutout to Dan Flying Solo & Lili’s Travel Plans for an epic road-trip!  


UBERing, FESTIVALing, and EXPLORing CALIFORNIA (September – October)

First stop:  In-N-Out

I was back home in California for about 2.5 months, and they honestly flew by so quick.  I had one main goal:  save up as much money as possible.  I didn’t have time to get a “normal job” because of interviews, training, and putting in “two weeks notice” before embarking on my next travels — so I signed up to be an Uber & Lyft Driver in California.

I actually loved my time being a driver!

C-A-L-F-O-R-N-I-A Oh, how I've missed you….

A photo posted by Dave ✈️ Jones Around the World (@jonesaroundtheworld) on

I would honestly say that 95% of the people who got into my car were really great, and it was also a really fun way to tell people about my travels, and make some new friends!  Yes, I made friends with my passengers!

With Lyft — there was a $2,000 Sign-Up Bonus if you complete 500 Rides in the first 60 days, and I was completely committed to reaching that goal.

It was a lot of hours on the road, but I saved up enough money to buy a new iPhone, Nikon D750, 2 FX Lenses, and a Drone.

Mmerica. #California #PCH #RoadTrip PC- @danflyingsolo

A photo posted by Dave ✈️ Jones Around the World (@jonesaroundtheworld) on


I also had the opportunity to attend 3 incredible music festivals!  You can read the reviews of each of these by clicking the links:

CRSSD Music Festival

Dirtybird Campout

The Groove Cruise

When it comes to The Groove Cruise, this was honestly one of the best experiences of my entire life.  Not only was it one epic party, but it was when I discovered my passion for festival / event photography.

Check out my Groove Cruise Album on Facebook.  I think I got some pretty epic photos, and love that I was able to capture some beautiful moments on board that ship.

 I’m slowly starting to book some more work as a photographer, and can’t wait to improve my skills!


Finally Traveling Australia (November – December)

G’day Mate!  How ya going…?

If you’ve been reading my blog and following along on social-media for awhile, you probably already know that I was working my ass off my entire time while living in Sydney.  I moved to the country with basically zero money, and heaps of credit card debt.  Over the first few months in Sydney, I was able to pay off my debt, and slowly begin to build up my travel fund.  The plan was to travel the country during my working holiday visa, but I never got the chance.

So I emailed YHA Australia and asked if they’d be interested in partnering up and sponsoring me for Australia trip.

This was the first big sponsored trip I’ve done as a professional travel-blogger, and it really taught me a lot!

My trip along the east coast of Australia was truly incredible, and I’m completely in love with this country.  There really is so much to explore, and I met some really awesome people.

Read all about it:


What’s Next in 2017…?

If you asked me this a few months ago, I would have responded that I’d be moving to New Zealand…

"I don't know where I'm going from here…but I promise it won't be boring" — David Bowie

A photo posted by Dave ✈️ Jones Around the World (@jonesaroundtheworld) on

But now…I don’t think that’s happening just quite yet.

Since I’ve discovered that becoming an official festival / event photographer is something I want to pursue (as well as being a full-time travel blogger)…New Zealand just isn’t a place that is known for it’s mega festivals or vibrant nightlife scene.  So I’ve decided to put this idea on hold.

I’m planning on spending February – May in California.  I’ve been a traveling nomad for so long, and I’m ready to spend some time back in America.  I am hoping to do a couple mini trips to Colombia, Arizona, and maybe a couple countries in Central America.

During June & July, I’m hoping to fly over to Europe to check out a couple more different music festivals.  But we’ll see if that ends up happening, and if the USD is still relatively strong after Trump takes office, haha.

In August, I’m coming back to California, and will be trying to attend Burning Man.  I had tickets to go in 2016, but had to sell them due to being financially responsible.  I’m happy about that though, because in the past few months I’ve met a ton of inpsiring people that I’m planning on going with this year.

SYDNEY. One of the best cities in the world, especially for photography! Have you ever been?

A photo posted by Dave ✈️ Jones Around the World (@jonesaroundtheworld) on

September & October I have no plans, but in November I’m going to Mexico to shoot my first wedding!  Then I’m hoping in December I can return to Australia for another Christmas / New Years Eve festival?

With all that being said — my plans are constantly changing, and I highly doubt these plans will stay in tact.  I’m always open to new adventures and seizing opportunities when they arise. 


THANKS FOR READING!


FOLLOW MY ADVENTURES AROUND THE WORLD ON FACEBOOKINSTAGRAM, TWITTER & ADD ME ON SNAPCHAT: — JONESATW

The Highlights of 26 Months Traveling & Living Around The World

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I’m currently 40,000 feet above earth flying from Brussels to Philadelphia.

I’m about three glasses of red wine deep, and it’s bringing out some serious emotions.

HOLY SHIT…I’M GOING HOME…

For those who haven’t been following along for that long, I haven’t been in America since June 2014.  That’s right — it’s been over 26 months since I’ve been stateside.  While that may not be too long for some travel blogging nomads I know – it’s a very long time for this guy.   

It’s pretty crazy for me to think about everything that has happened in the past couple years, and all the fantastic people I’ve had the pleasure to spend time with.  

Not to be too cliche — but the past two years of travel and living abroad have shaped me into the man I am today.  I’ve learned so much about the world, and what I want for my future.  

I’ve established goals, discovered new passions, and have realized that ambition is key to a successful life.  

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While my future plans are still somewhat up in the air –  I have a much more clear idea about the type of life I want to live.

As one of my favorite travel quote says:

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.   – Mark Twain


I’ve pursed my dreams of traveling the world while I’m young….

I may not have a fancy car, a wardrobe full of designer clothes, or own any property…

But I’m filthy rich in life experience.


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So I’m going to utilize this flight to write down some of my most memorable travel highlights and achievements from the past 26 months of traveling, studying, working, and living abroad. 

I’m writing this post not only as a fun recap, but as a personal memoir to to reflect on these life-changing experiences.


To give you a general idea of where I’ve been, here’s the basic timeline:

June – August 2014 – Summer in Barcelona/ European Travels

September 2014-2015 – Full year backpacking around Asia

September 2015 – May 2016 – Life in Sydney

June 2016 – Singapore & Sri Lanka

July + August 2016 – Back to Europe / Balkans / Flight Home


So without further ado…let’s take a quick look and reminisce at the past couple years of my life…

#JONESAROUNDTHEWORLD


 Summertime in Barcelona

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Since I decided to complete my Master’s Degree online, it meant that I could choose to study anywhere in the world.  Well, when my backpacking trip to South America got cancelled, I immediately knew where I wanted to go.

On June 5th, 2014 — I flew on a one-way ticket to my favorite city in the world: Barcelona, Spain. 

This was the beginning of this epic 26 month adventure.  I spent 2.5 months in Barcelona, and had some of the craziest and most unforgettable moments of my life.  

Barcelona is known for it’s exceptional nightlife, so I was a tad bit worried about balancing my studies and my love for quality techno — but I managed to get straight A’s in my classes, and had the time of my life with some really awesome people. 

I’ve lived in Barcelona for two different summer seasons now (2012 & 2014), and I can confidently say it is the one of the best places in the world during this time of the year.  The amazing food, vibrant culture, and insane nightlife will always keep me coming back for more.

NOS VEMOS, BARCA


Sonus Music Festival

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After a very hectic “goodbye week” in Spain, I made my way over to Croatia to hit up one of the better music festivals I’ve ever attended.

SONUS exceeded all of my expectations.  The music was simply incomparable to any other festival I had experienced, the location on Pag island was stunning, and I spent the week with two of my best Dutch friends from Eindhoven (De Gekste!).    

Dank u wel Joost & Stijn.  Looking forward to our next reunion!    

Besides a lost iPhone and damaged liver – it was the perfect ending to my summer in Europe.


Launching This Website in Arugam Bay, Sri Lanka

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First off — I actually didn’t even really care to visit Sri Lanka.

The only reason I flew there was because I was maximizing my United Airlines miles I obtained through savvy “travel-hacking”.  But I’m so glad I did, because Sri Lanka has now become one of my favorite countries to travel through.

During this first trip to Sri Lanka, I spent about 10 full days in Arugam Bay, and it was the first time I truly felt like a long-term solo traveler.  I stayed at this place called The Beach Hut (an absolute must for anyone traveling to A-Bay), and this is where I launched Jones Around The World

I had been preparing to do so for awhile, and finally got around to it.  This was almost two years ago now, and I can’t believe how far this blog has come. 

I had no idea what I was doing when I started blogging, but starting this website marked the beginning of a completely separate journey. 


One Month Exploring Bali & The Gili Islands

Bali life is the good life. #potatohead #beachclub #seminyak #Indonesia

A photo posted by Dave ✈️ Jones Around the World (@jonesaroundtheworld) on

I made it back to South-East Asia — and the first stop was Bali, Indonesia. 

This month was seriously awesome.  Not only did I get the chance to meet-up with some family, but I had such a blast exploring new parts of Bali and Gili Trawangan.  

It was also great that one of my friends that I met in Vietnam decided to fly all the way out from Hawaii to travel with me for a few weeks!  Shoutout to Elaine!   

From the moto explorations of Bali, the booze cruises and sunsets on Gili Trawangan, and the awesome fellow backpackers I had the pleasure of meeting — this month in Indonesia definitely had to be included in my travel highlights. 

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Becoming an Honorary Kuala Lumpur Expat

During my first trip to South-East Asia, I had the pleasure of meeting an extremely friendly Kiwi girl named Danielle, and older Aussie bloke named Hutchy.  I met them while backpacking in Langkawi, and I had no idea that meeting them would have such a drastic impact on my future. 

Because of these random travel friendships — I was able to see a completely different side of Kuala Lumpur, and I got the opportunity to become friends with a solid group of expats from all over the world. 

In the past two years, I’ve spent quite a bit of time in Kuala Lumpur, and while I may have never had a full-time job there, I do feel like I became an honorary expat. 

To my KL / Regalia crew — thanks for all the good times, the poker games, and the mojito nights.

Water & Lights show at KLCC

Water & Lights show at KLCC


Wonderfruit Music Festival

Yoga Bass during the sunset during Wonderfruit day 2. What an awesome experience. Namaste.

A photo posted by Dave ✈️ Jones Around the World (@jonesaroundtheworld) on

I haven’t attended many music festivals in Asia, but I would defintely say that Wonderfruit is hands down one of the best parties you can find in the region. 

The vibe, the venue, the food, the people — everything was just perfect. 

Shoutout to Jesse & Scott for being absolute legends.  I’ll be seeing you lads out in Bangkok soon enough I’m sure!  

You can read my full Wonderfruit Review to get a better idea of what I experienced.


Christmas on Koh Tao

The idea of spending Christmas on a tropical island may sound a bit strange, but it was such an incredible experience.

The backpacking culture is very alive and vibrant on Koh Tao, and it was awesome to meet and party with some awesome people from all over the world, as well as be with one of my best friends Cathy on Christmas day!  If you ever get the chance to spend the holidays in Thailand, I would highly recommend it!

If I close my eyes, I can picture myself back there watching the sunset, with a beer in my hand and a santa hat on. 


NYE Full Moon Party & Jungle Rave Shenanigans on Koh Phangan

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Ohh, Koh Phangan – where do I even begin…?

I actually attended two different Full Moon Parties during my first trip to South-East Asia, so I definitely knew what I was getting myself into this time around. 

New Years Eve on Koh Phangan was absolutely mental, and while I wouldn’t necessarily recommend doing the NYE Full Moon Party – I am glad I experienced it for myself. 

This was one week full of neon colors, buckets of Thai whiskey, and dancing until the sun comes up with a global mix of friendly strangers.

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Purchasing My First DSLR 

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If you ask me now…when I really started being a travel blogger — I would tell you it was when I bought my first DSLR camera. 

niI spent a couple days researching the “best DSLR for beginners”, and the top result always seemed to come back to the Nikon D3300 

So I treated myself to an early birthday present — and shelled out close to $500 to purchase this bad boy.

I’ll be honest — I had no idea how to use this camera at first, but I knew that photography was something I wanted to get into, and did my best to learn how to use my new camera.

Looking back on my photos from my first few months of having it, I’m horrified about how truly awful I was.

Travel photography has become a passion of mine, and I’m looking forward to purchasing some advanced camera gear and improving my skills.  

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Chinese New Year in Hong Kong

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I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again — Hong Kong is one of the most vibrant cities in the entire world.

I found a $42 flight from KL – HK, and couldn’t wait to visit a new city during their biggest holiday of the year.  

It might have been ridiculously expensive week, but I think it was worth every penny.  The firework show was quite impressive, the Hong Kong Pub Crawl was a blast, and crossing off Hong Kong Disneyland (being from Anaheim) needed to be done.

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Backpacking The Philippines.  The best month of my life…? 

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I spent one month in the Philippines, and I have nothing but the fondest memories of those 30 days.  I really do think it’s the most beautiful country in South-East Asia, and the entire trip just went so perfectly. 

My Philippines Itinerary article is one of my most read blog posts, and it’s been amazing to help people plan their travels throughout the country.  I regularly receive comments, emails, and messages from people who are about to embark on a trip there, and I’m so glad that information that I have written has made a difference in their travels.

From the amazing island hopping experiences in Palawan, swimming with whale sharks in Cebu, and partying it up in Boracay – this was a month that I will never forget.

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Master’s Degree = Completed

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Most people thought I was crazy to travel the world while simultaneously studying for my Master’s Degree — but I realized is that all you need is a little bit of time management and responsibility, and handling the workload was completely possible.

After about 1.5 years — I finally finished my Master’s Degree in Business Management & Leadership.

I can’t even begin to explain how good of a feeling that was.  I submitted my final assignment in El Nido, Palawan — and celebrated by partying on a private island in the middle of this gorgeous archipelago. 

Don’t know how many other people can say they’ve experienced something like that before…


Loving Life in L-A-O-S

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When I think back on all of my travels through South-East Asia — Laos was easily the most surprising country of them all.

I have no idea why it took me so long to travel through Laos, but the experiences I had in this country were some of the most memorable.  

From relaxing on the 4000 Islands, waterfall explorations through the Bolaven Plateau, and the tubing madness in Vang Vieng — backpacking Laos was almost too much fun.

I also had the pleasure of traveling the country with two really amazing English girls!  Shoutout to Meg & Eliza for an incredible time!  Can’t wait to see you guys again sometime…


One Month in Chiang Mai & Songkran Water Festival

In the travel-blogging / digital nomad community, renting an apartment in Chiang Mai is extremely popular — and I wanted to experience what everyone else was talking about. 

So I found myself a nice studio apartment on AirBNB for $280 U.S.D for the month, and decided to slow down my travels a bit.  I had been on-the-go for quite awhile at this point, and was in desperate need of some rest & relaxation.

It started off with one of my all-time favorite travel experiences: SONGKRAN water festival.  This was just 3-days of epic madness running through the streets of Chiang Mai armed with a water gun.  Check out my Songkran Video below, to get a better understanding. 


Moto Ride from Chiang Mai – Pai

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While most people opt to take the $5 bus through the winding mountains of Northern Thailand, I knew renting a moto was going to be the best way to get to Pai.

Thanks to the power of Facebook, I met an awesome Aussie bloke to make this journey with, and even picked up a fellow backpacker on the road.  Shoutout to Damo & Ilona!  🙂

Everyone loves to talk about how amazing Pai is, and I finally understood what all the hype was about.  There’s tons of incredible things to do in Pai, the food is delicious (and cheap), and the nightlife is surprisingly hectic! 

It’s one of those destinations where you plan on staying two days, and end up staying two months.  I could easily see myself moving to Pai sometime in the future. 


The Paradise Lifestyle on Gili Trawangan

My favorite island in the world…

After a quick return visit to Bali with a friend from California, I decided that living on Gili Trawangan was something I desperately wanted to experience.

So I managed to land a job at the main party hostel on the island called Gili Backpackers.  This place is actually now called Gili Castle, as the island government made the decision to ban all hostels.  

I fell in love with the paradise lifestyle on Gili T.  I was constantly surrounded by wonderful people from around the world, going on epic booze cruises, and showing people around the nightlife hotspots. 

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My days were filled with swimming alongside turtles in perfectly blue waters, and my nights were filled with pub crawls and Joss shots. 

I even got a job offer to stay and work as a bar promoter as well as sell tickets for the booze cruise, but the time had come for me to leave.  I definitely wasn’t ready to go, but my time living on Gili Trawangan was absolutely perfect.  

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Sailing Through Komodo National Park

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This four day trip sailing from Lombok to Flores was easily one of my favorite things I’ve done in South-East Asia. 

The trip was jam-packed with idyllic islands, unbelievable snorkeling, and gorgeous sunsets.  I was also very lucky to share this experience with a stellar group of people from a dozen different countries.

If you ever get a chance to visit Indonesia — exploring Komodo National Park should be a top priority!

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Malaysian Island Adventures

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After returning back to Kuala Lumpur from an epic 2 months in Indonesia — it was time for me to actually explore more of Malaysia.

I spent almost two full months exploring the Perhentian Islands, Pulau Kapas, Tioman Island, and Langkawi.

This was when I truly fell in love with Malaysia.  I was constantly left stunned by it’s natural beauty, the delicious food, friendly culture, and budget travel options.  

I really do think Malaysia is the most underrated country in the South-East Asia.  

During this time was also when I decided to buy my Working Holiday Visa for Australia – probably the most influential decision of my life…

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Paradise…


California Visits

When two of my friends from high-school messaged me on Facebook asking to join me out in South-East Asia, I was so stoked to travel with them for a bit.

I spent two weeks with Rashad in Bali and the Gili Islands, and spent about one week with Gina in Kuala Lumpur & Langkawi.  It had been a long time since I had seen both of these awesome individuals, and we have some pretty epic travel stories together now.

Thanks for the visit guys.  We’ll definitely have to make traveling together a bigger priority!  I know that neither of you guys like long-haul flights, but I promise i’ll make it worth it.

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Moving to Australia & Getting Settled in Sydney

Cheers!

Cheers mate!

To be honest — my life was kind of a mess when I initially moved to Sydney.

I had been traveling for so long at this point, finances were running extremely low, and I was just a bit of a wreck.  I didn’t have any decent clothes, was nervous about finding work, and made this huge life decision to move to another country.

I tried not to let it show, but I was dealing with quite a bit of stress.  It really took me awhile to get settled in Sydney, but I think that’s normal for anyone who just spent over a  year backpacking around Asia.

If it weren’t for the generosity of my mate Ed, and the Ferguson family, who let me stay at their house for the first 5 weeks I was in Sydney — I honestly don’t know what I would have done.

I started making decent money, found an affordable house to live in, and finally felt settled in Sydney.  I paid off my debt, was able to save money by utilizing websites like OZCodes, and started to feel like I was getting my life together…

I was no longer a backpacking nomad.  I found a home.  While my plans to move back to Sydney have been unexpectedly postponed, I know I’ll find myself living there again in the near future.

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There’s no place like home…


Halloween Forest Raving

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Being American — Halloween is a pretty big deal to me.  

Fortunately, the Sydney squad all rallied together, and we made the journey to a secret location for one epic party called The Afterlife.  

It was the first music event I attended in Australia, and was also the start of a beautiful festival squad.  We were missing a few key members, but we definitely made up for it at future events.  

Read my full Afterlife Event Review for a better idea of what this experience was like.    

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My First Press Trip as a Travel Blogger — INDONESIA

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I had been blogging for a little bit over a year and hadn’t really made too much money or gotten anything in return for all my hard work…

This website was started purely for hobby purposes, but it’s been really cool to see Jones Around The World grow into something much bigger. 

This was an all-expenses paid trip to Bali, Lombok, and Komodo National Park.  The trip was hectic to say the least, but it was such a solid experience with a wonderful group of fellow travel bloggers.  

If you guys are reading this — thanks for an epic trip everyone!  Was a pleasure traveling with you, and looking forward to our next press trip together! 

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New Years Eve Celebrations in Sydney

Since it was my first New Years Eve in Sydney, I knew that I had to check out the legendary firework display over Sydney Harbour.

So I joined my friends Ellie & Kenny (who were visiting from KL), and cruised out to the park at Mrs. Macquaries Chair.  It was a long day of eating, drinking, and taking photos.

We were all a bit surprised they packed in so many people into this small area to watch the fireworks, and didn’t really provide any entertainment.  But I will say that the firework display was the best I have ever seen.

Field Day

There’s no better way to start the year off right then to hit up an outdoor music festival in downtown Sydney.

We got the whole squad, looking good in our tye dye, and had one epic day dancing to Golden Features, Boys Noize, and Disclosure.

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The House of Shifting Sands

Rent prices in Sydney can get pretty ridiculous at times, so when I was offered a room in a house in Randwick for only 180 per week — I quickly accepted.  When I initially moved in, I was actually only supposed to stay for 3-4 weeks, but the tenant who was supposed to take the room no longer could.

Living in this house was one of the best aspects of my life in Sydney.  It was affordable, it was comfortable, and the house had such an amazing vibe.

But the only way to describe this house is — Organized Chaos

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Why?  Well, because we had a total of 9 people living in that one house.  We had 7 people sleeping in rooms, and 2 extras who used the house but slept in a tent outside, and a car in the driveway.  While it may have been slightly inconvenient, messy, and chaotic at times — it worked for us.

Everyone in the house got along really well, and had a few really epic family parties.  🙂

It was called the “House of Shifting Sands”, because there are always people coming and going, and moving out / moving in.  I’m sad to share that this house is no longer being leased by old my roommates, but I was so glad I got to share that house with them all.

Special shoutout to Tim, Kylie, Niels, Aidan, Rene, Daphne, Jarrod, Giorgia, Ben, Alistair, and Dennis!


The Yacht Social Club

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“Sydney Harbour Is Our Playground”

When it comes to last-minute decisions I made while in Sydney, this might have been the absolute best one.  The location, the music, and the atmosphere is unlike any other party in city.

But that should be expected, right?

Yacht Party in Sydney Harbour?  Yeah…count me in.

Read my full review of The Yacht Social Club, and I guarantee you’ll be adding it to your bucket list.


Buy Tickets for the 2016 / 2017 Season


Joining the GoPro Family

When you grab the attention of a company as big as GoPro, you know you’re doing something right.  I was so stoked to receive the invitation to join the GoPro family.  Having just recently attended their Launch event for the Hero5 and GoPro Karma, I’m excited to continue to use their amazing products are produce some stellar content.  #BeAHero

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Return to Rio

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Looking back on my time living in Sydney, I would have to say that my weekend of camping and dancing at Return to Rio was hands down my favorite weekend in Australia.

Not only did I hear some of the best music I’ve ever heard (DIXON crushed it), but I met some of the coolest people there.  The atmosphere at Return to Rio is hard to explain…I guess you just have to experience it for yourself.

The next Return to Rio is happening in November 11-13, and I’m seriously contemplating flying all the way back to Sydney just so I don’t miss it.  It was THAT much fun.  I’ll be rocking my Zebra Onesie when I get back…

Read my full Return to Rio review to get a better understanding.


#TuneSquad at Groovin The Moo

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This was the last music festival I attended while living in Sydney, and it was definitely good fun.

While there were a lot of aspects of Groovin The Moo I didn’t really enjoy – our squad totally crushed it with our festival gear.

Amazing day of dancing with good friends to quality tunes.  Safia, Golden Features, and Alison Wonderland played incredible sets.

TUNESQUAD–ASSMEBLE


Love & Loss in Sydney

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When it comes to dating – traveling had always kind of inhibited any type of long-term relationship.  But since I was living and working full-time in Sydney, I was able to start seeing someone.  While this relationship had turned into something quite serious, it has recently ended in a rather unexpected, immature, and shocking fashion.  These things happen though, and I’ve learned the hard way that people aren’t always what they seem to be.

As the saying goes…

“Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”

But sometimes I’m not too sure about that…


Sydney Going Away Party

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Was a bloody ripper mate…

I’ve always enjoyed throwing house parties, and my going away function in Sydney was one hell of a party.  It was great to get all my Sydney mates together in one place, and spend one final evening of debauchery with some of my favorite people in the world.

I hate goodbyes…but I’m already looking forward to my “welcome back” party.  🙂


Singapore in Style

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The first stop on my summer travels was the beautiful city / country of Singapore.

I had visited a couple times before, but this was the first Singapore visit with my DSLR — so I spent 3 whole days running around the city taking pictures of absolutely everything.

I gotta say– I think I got some pretty epic shots.

I was also hosted by the amazing Westin Singapore hotel during my stay, and lived it up in pure luxury.

Was the perfect beginning to my summer travels…

I also bought a new MacBook Pro at the Singapore Airport – which was desperately needed.

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June in Sri Lanka + #TBCAsia

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Sri Lanka was the first country I ever felt like a true “solo traveler”, and as previously mentioned, was where I launched Jones Around The World.

So when I got invited to be a hosted blogger for TBC Asia, I could not have been more stoked to return to where it all began.

I spent the entire month of June traveling around this stunning country, and I feel like I could have easily stayed another month or two.

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Read all about my Sri Lanka adventures:

Attending my first Travel Blogging Conference was definitely the highlight of this month though.  It was incredible to meet and travel with some awesome fellow bloggers!  I learned quite a bit, and left the country feeling inspired to achieve much more when it comes to this site.

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Photographing Paris

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Paris is a city I have visited on numerous occasions during my time working as a European travel guide, but I was excited to get back for a repeat visit to take photos of absolutely everything.

Paris is one of the most visited cities in the world, and there’s a reason for that.  It really is a gorgeous place, and I had a solid 3-day stay running around the city.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have the best weather when I was there, but I still managed to get some cool shots.

I stayed at an amazing hostel called Les Piaules, and enjoyed a nightly glass of wine on the rooftop terrace overlooking the city.

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Balaton Sound

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If you haven’t already, make sure you check out my article on why I think Balaton Sound is the best music festival I’ve ever attended.

I only went because I knew I needed to get out to Eastern Europe, and found a flight to Budapest for 40 euro the day the festival began.  So I applied for the press accreditation (after the deadline has passed), and received the amazing news that my application had been approved.  This last-minute trip was slowly coming together.

The issue then was that I had no friends to go party with, and no where to stay – but thanks to the power of Facebook, I got lucky and found an open spot with some truly incredible people.  They welcomed me into their little rave family with open arms, and we had such a solid time partying it up at the beautiful Lake Balaton.

Shoutout to Baywatch Crew!

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Exploring Budapest + Belgrade

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After an intense week of partying at Balaton Sound, I was looking forward to a bit of relaxation — but there is little down-time in the life of a travel blogger.  I spent the week re-discovering my love for Budapest, and then taking a night-bus down to Serbia.

Budapest – It definitely is one of my favorite cities in the world.  There’s so much to explore, delicious food (and beer), and it’s very cheap.

Belgrade

 I wasn’t too happy about my time spent in Belgrade.  I had awful weather the entire time I was there (mid-July), and the city just felt a little bleehhhh.  I did find some delicious food, and learned a bit about the city – but I do think I need to head back to the city again.  I had heard so many great things about this city, and I’m not quite sure what I missed.

Apparently Belgrade has some of the best nightlife in the Balkans, but I was still detoxing from the epic bender that was Balaton Sound.

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Three Week Balkan Road Trip

I honestly don’t even know where to begin…

The Balkans has been a region I’ve been dying to travel through for years now, and this road trip completely exceeded all my expectations.

I joined forces with two other travel bloggers, the devilishly handsome Dan Flying Solo and the ridiciously fun Lili’s Travel Plans, and we hit the road traveling through Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, and Greece.

Randomly enough, I had actually never even met them before this trip.  I think we all took a gamble to embark on this three-week road trip with strangers met through the internet, but it ended up working out perfectly, and I couldn’t have asked for better company.

The entire trip was jam-packed with beautiful sights, friendly people, and scenic drives.  I fell in love with the Balkans, and can’t wait to explore more of the area in the future.  🙂


BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA

Beautiful bridges, winding roads, and stunning landscape were three of the highlights of this amazing country.  Road tripping through Sarajevo, Konjic, various lakes and viewpoints, and Mostar.  This country was constantly surprising me.

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MONTENEGRO

This was definitely the country I was looking forward to the most.

Before visiting Montenegro, I had only really heard about the Bay of Kotor though, so everything else we saw was an added bonus.

Durmitor National Park was hands down my favorite aspect of traveling through Montenegro.

We got our car sorted all thanks to AutoEurope  and was left speechless while we drove through and marveled at the natural mountainous beauty.

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ALBANIA

I’ll be honest – the main reason I was looking forward to traveling through Albania was because I had heard it is one of the cheapest countries in Europe.

Albania completely blew me away.

We spent around 9-10 days going through Albania.  The highlights were Lake Komani, Berat, and driving along the entire coast of the Albanian Riviera.

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CORFU, GREECE

We all made our way down to Corfu because the flights were so much cheaper leaving from Greece.  I wasn’t even planning on exploring the island, because I had been to Corfu a couple times before…but WOW.

Corfu is absolutely gorgeous.  It’s a pretty massive island, and me and Lili spent two full days driving around the island checking out the best beaches and view points.

Oh…and the food.  I could easily live off of Greek food for the rest of my life.

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Flying Back Home

Over 2 Years and 2 Months.

Total:  805 Days…

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That’s me overlooking my hometown of Yorba Linda

The time had finally come to make my way back to Southern-California (where I’m currently writing the end of this blog post).  I’ll admit that it felt a bit strange at first, but now I’m thoroughly enjoying my time catching up with friends and family, eating In-N-Out, and saving up money for whatever adventures come next.

I’ve got some really exciting options for the next year or two, so I guess I’m just currently waiting to see how a few opportunities work out.


So to wrap up this massive 5000+ word blog post, I just want to give a massive shoutout to everyone I had the pleasure of spending time with these past couple years abroad.  You’ve all had an impact on my life in one way or another, and I’ll never forget all the incredible adventures we’ve shared.

Traveling is truly about the people you meet while on the road, and I’ve been fortunate to forge friendships with some fantastic people from all over the world.

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Love you guys!


THANKS FOR READING!


Follow my adventures Around The World on FacebookInstagram, Twitter 

& Add Me On Snapchat: — JonesATW

Balaton Sound 2016 — The Best Music Festival I’ve Ever Attended

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As Jay Lumen played his final song at the Heineken stage on Sunday morning at 5:55 A.M, and the festival would shortly come to an end — I couldn’t help but smile when I thought about the past 5 days of festival madness that I had experienced at Balaton Sound.

The non-stop incredible music, the gorgeous location, the friendly atmosphere, the massive stages, the affordable prices, etc…

Truly, a perfectly organized festival…

It was an experience that I’ll never forget, and will recommend to absolutely everyone..


To be honest, I actually had never really heard too much about Balaton Sound.  I remember I included it in my 30 Music Festivals To Experience Before You Die article, but that was just from diligent research.  

My decision to come to this Balaton Sound happened solely because I found a 38 euro flight to Budapest!  That’s literally the only reason I came.  

I’ve been to some incredible festivals around the world like:  Coachella, Tomorrowland, Amsterdam Dance Event, Electric Daisy Carnival, Sonar, Mysteryland, Sonus, Stereosonic, etc

And I can confidently say that this is the best music festival I’ve ever attended.

Let me try and explain why.


Location, Location, Location

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Lake Balaton is about a 1.5 hour drive from Budapest, and it’s simply a gorgeous destination.  I quickly realized is the perfect location for a festival of this magnitude.  There’s plenty of open space, nearby accommodations, and amazing summer weather.

For a travel blogger and photographer such as myself — I could not have been more pleased with the picturesque sunsets every evening, and the jaw dropping sunrises every morning. 

When you’re not at the festival, you’re spending your days relaxing by the lake, having a cheeky swim, and enjoying the natural beauty you’ll find in Lake Balaton. 


Amazing, Massive, and Plentiful Stages

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Music Festivals are adult playgrounds — and Balaton Sound had entertainment absolutely everywhere.  There were 10 incredible stages all varying in size, vibe, and spread throughout the festival grounds. 

The most visually impressive would definitely be the MainStage.  With it’s vibrant colors, massive LED screens, and booming bass no matter where you are standing — everyone found themselves watching at least one or two sets at the Mainstage. 

I mean look at this.  WOW.  Not too shabby?

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The Telekom Arena was the second largest stage —  and was one huge tented beast.  This stage had amazing sound, plenty of space for the bigger acts, and really impressive lighting.  At times you’d find it insanely crowded, and at other times you could find it nearly empty.  

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The Jager Arena had a huge dome shape, and brought some big names to it’s stages.  I actually didn’t spend too much here, but I did see Tomsize lay down some filthy trap beats for about 20 minutes, and Sub-Focus drop some wicked drum-and-bass.  If you walked in this stage, you instantly felt the party vibes.  It was LOUD and people were always going crazy.   

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The Heineken Stage — *My Favorite*

If you were my friend and were looking for me at this festival, your best bet would be to head straight to the Heineken stage.

This gigantic pyramid perfectly built over the lake made it ideal for some epic sunset & sunrise photography, and was the ultimate stage for deep / tech house and techno tunes. 

If underground electronic music isn’t your preferred style, I doubt you spent too much time here, but that’s your mistake.  This stage had the best atmosphere of all them, and was full of people who truly know and appreciate their quality dance music. 

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The Jana Stage was probably the most unique of them all, as it was covered in sand and provided a really great beach vibe.  The tunes were always groovy as hell, the sunset views were spectacular, and it was never really overcrowded.  I came here almost every night to watch the sunset and met some really great people that I ended up kicking it with a lot throughout the festival.    

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Music from 10 A.M – 6 A.M

Party until the sunrise every night…

This was one of the biggest factors which made this festival the best I’ve ever attended.  There’s basically music playing 24 / 7 — which there actually is if you go to the after-parties. 

Listening to incredible DJ’s on Lake Balaton while watching the sunrise was truly an amazing experience.  You just can’t beat it.   

I’ve attended too many festivals that end around midnight or 1 A.M — and it’s just now how a festival should be.      


Cashless Payment & Top-Up Points

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It’s becoming more and more common at festivals these days to have cashless payments, and I definitely think it’s the best way to do it. 

I love how they give you an actual CARD, and not tokens that are easily lost.  There were top-up points spread out all over the festival, and it never took more than a minute or two to re-load your card with more value. 

There was a small deposit for the card, as well as a 500 HUF deposit that you could get back if you filled up a small bag of trash — which I thought was a really cool idea, and very easy to accomplish.       

Food & Drink Options Absolutely Everywhere

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Now that you’ve got some cash on your card — let’s go spend it.

When it comes to food options — I was amazed at all the variety this festival offered.  No matter what type of food you were in the mood for — Balaton Sound had you covered.

I typically went for the classic Doner Kebab, because well — it’s scientifically proven it’s the best drunk meal in the world.  But I enjoyed an occasional slice of pizza, and a bowl of delicious fried rice. 

Food prices ranged, but you’re looking to spend around $5-$8 per meal. 


Affordable Drinks

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630 HUF = 2 EUROS! 

I’m a beer drinker, and I was very pleased when I found out the price of beer was only 630 HUF.  

I’ve never been to a music festival with 2 euro beers.  Normally at festivals I’m worried about bankrupting myself just because of drink prices — but because this festival is in the wonderfully affordable country of Hungary — this was not the case.

For mixed-drinks you’re looking at spending around 1400 HUF (4.50 Euro) though, and a red bull would cost you about 1000 HUF (3.15 Euro). 

I am fully aware that these prices ARE EXPENSIVE for typical drink costs in Hungary, but I’ve been to festivals that charge 5-8 euro per beer, so I was definitely pleased with the Balaton Sound menu. 

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The Crowd

Incredibly friendly people from around the world who came to party, dance, and make new friends.

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Without a doubt, the best aspect of any music festival is the atmosphere — and Balaton Sound’s vibe could not have been any better.

There was a wide mix of people from all over the world.

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We need to discuss Belgium

If you asked some one at the festival where they were from — there was basically a 50% chance they were from Belgium.

I have never been to a festival in another country which had such an overwhelmingly amount of people from a different country. 

Don’t get me wrong — I love Belgians!!  I actually flew from Brussels – Budapest, and met some awesome Belgians on the plane — it was just a definitely a surprise to see how many attend Balaton Sound.  

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Yo Belgium — why is this such a popular festival for you guys?   

I also met heaps of awesome Hungarians, English, Irish, Austrians, Dutch, French, Spanish, Australians, Germans, etc. 

I even met a few other Americans (we were a rare breed at Balaton, but we were around)

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My Top 10 Sets

Sven Vath

Pappa Sven did what he does best and played a stellar techno set.  It was my first time properly seeing him, but it won’t be my last.   

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Martin Garrixx 

The Dutch superstar played a crowd-pleasing set that was a highlight of Friday night.  He really knows how to work the crowd, and keep the energy flowing throughout.      

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Lost Frequencies

I hadn’t heard too much about this guy was before Balaton Sound, but I’m really glad I made my way over to the Heineken Stage for his set.  If there’s one word to describe it’s set it’s simply FUN.  This dude was throwing out all types of genres, and keeping the dance vibes the entire time.  He dropped the instant hit “House Every Weekend” and I’ll never forget the crowd go crazy.  

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Dixon  

Hands down one of the best DJ’s I’ve ever seen.  When I saw him headline this small boutique camping festival in Australia called Return To Rio, he played a ridiculous 4-hour set, and I couldn’t wait to see him ever since.  Not to my surprise, he absolutely killed it again at Balaton Sound.  If Dixon is ever playing at a festival I attend, I will definitely be seeing him spin.

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W&W

Having seen W&W once before, I know that these guys don’t come to mess around.  They dropped banger after banger.  Hard-hitting stuff, and definitely crushed the Mainstage.  I watched and listened from afar, and was jamming the entire time. 

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Armin Van Buuren

I’ve honestly seen AVB play at least 6 or 7 times now, and every time he plays an amazing set.  He’s an absolute legend, and his skills behind the decks are truly impressive.  There’s a reason he was the #1 DJ in the world for 4 years.   

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Adam Beyer

Techno beast.  I had never seen Adam Beyer before, and he crushed the Telekom Arena.  Real proper techno set filled with heavy tracks.   

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The Chainsmokers

This favorite American duo seem to be dominating the festival scene this past year.  With hits like “Roses” and “Don’t Let Me Down”, Alex & Drew definitely know how to produce a good track.  I had never seen them DJ though, so I was stoked to finally see them play.  Needless to say, they played one of the best sets of the entire weekend.  A solid mix of beautiful progressive house, filthy electro drops, heavy trap beats, and even some throwback tunes.   

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Jay Lumen

Closing out the festival in style, Jay Lumen played a 2-hour set that was filled with nothing but the best techno tracks.  Watching the sunrise while recording him play backstage is a moment that I’ll never forget.    

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Worst Sets

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I honestly can’t believe I listened to a DVBBS set.  They are just the biggest douche bags in the festival scene.  They barely even DJ.  One of the guys pretends he’s doing so much complicated stuff behind the decks, but if you’re actually listening — they never even mix two tracks together.

He just cuts off the music while the other guy shouts some stupid shit on the mic, and then brings in the next song.  It was also pretty funny when the microphone guy would touch something on the mixer (as if he’s making any difference).  Straight up posers. 

Oh, and then when the one DJ stands up on stage and lights a spliff.  Such a douche…

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The music they played was alright.  Just heavy hitting trap / EDM stuff.  But god, they are just awful. 

They’ve also been all over the news recently because two unconscious girls were found in their dressing room at the festival.  Fortunately, they’ve already been dropped from the Sziget line-up.  Let’s hope more festivals stop booking these lame, fake, douche bags.  

Okay. Rant Over.  


Don Diablo

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I had never seen Don Diablo before, but had actually heard decent things about his sets.  I used to have a couple of his tracks in my iTunes library, and was excited to see him because his set-time perfectly fit the gap of the two main people I wanted to see.

But his set was simply terrible.  It would have been the same to play the radio.  There was just nothing special about it, and the song selection could not have been more vanilla. 

Go home, Don Diablo — you’re boring. 


Favorite New Artist

Nora Matisse

This local Hungarian female DJ smashed the Heineken stage after Lost Frequencies played.  I had never heard of her before, but her music was right up my alley.  I’m glad I discovered her, and I look forward to seeing her spin again. 

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Check out her 2016 Festival Promo Mix


The Boat Parties

Can’t believe I didn’t go on one…

The Boat parties were something I was very interested in when I came down to Balaton Sound, but unfortunately all the tickets sold-out well in-advance.  From what I’ve heard, they were a blast.  How could they not be?  Drinks, dancing, and music on Lake Balaton?  Sounds pretty great to me.  I’ll definitely be planning a bit better whenever I make it back to this amazing festival.


Shoutout To The Baywatch Crew
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You know how I told you that coming to this festival was a last minute decision?  Well, that also meant that I had no one to go to Balaton Sound with.

Well, thanks to the power of Facebook — I searched on the Balaton Sound group for the word “apartment” hoping to find people with a spare room to rent.

I instantly found what I was looking for, was added into a group chat, and was introduced to this amazing group of English and Irish ravers. 

I wasn’t sure how it was going to go — but I’m very happy to share that I had such an amazing time getting to know everyone in this group.  Such an awesome rave family they’ve built over the years, and I’m honored to have been welcomed into the crew. 

Thanks for everything guys.  Looking forward to meeting up at another festival or country around the world.  🙂 

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CONCLUSION

Out of all the festivals I’ve been to around the world (which is quite a lot), I definitely found Balaton Sound to be the absolute best.  It might not be the biggest or most popular festival in Europe, but it’s a unique experience that should not be missed.

  • 5 Long Epic Festival Days
  • The Line-up was stacked
  • Music Until 6 A.M
  • Perfect Location on Lake Balaton
  • Excellent Cashless Payment & Top-Up system
  • Food & Drink Everywhere
  • Plenty of Camping & Accommodation options
  • Helpful smartphone APP with map & schedule
  • + an amazing Festival atmosphere

CHECK OUT ALL MY PHOTOS HERE:   BALATON SOUND FACEBOOK ALBUM

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THANK YOU BALATON SOUND!   CAN’T WAIT FOR NEXT YEAR!

Have you ever been to Balaton Sound?  What did you think?  Leave a comment and let me know!


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Making the Most of a Long Weekend in the Eternal City- Rome

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Rome, the eternal city, is also known as the city of love, meaning that it is not only the perfect place to visit with friends, but also with your loved ones. From its (world famous) gastronomic delights and ancient wonders of art and architecture, to romantic strolls along the Ponte Sisto and the many other bridges of the Tiber, Rome is a cosmopolitan centre yet still infused with the magic ancient civilizations. The only problem once you’re there is figuring out what to see in the short time you’re there. As the city is so full of treasures is absolutely impossible to visit (or even discover) everything, the numerous churches hidden in every alley, the designer shops in Via Veneto or Via del Corso, the restaurants, or the myriad of historic piazzas with their monuments, museums, art exhibits, and cultural events… and the list goes on. Here are my tips on how to make the most out of your short holiday in Rome.


1 )  Book tickets in Advance!- This way you can avoid waiting in long queues as Rome is always bustling with crowds of tourists daily. Buy your flight tickets early and possibly even weeks prior because prices tend to shoot up approaching the holiday seasons. This includes not only hotels or B&Bs but also entry tickets for museums, shows at cultural events, and of course for kids’ activities! Visiting the Colosseum will be a lot of fun for both couples and families, kids can take pictures with Roman Gladiators and even dress up like one (make sure you visit the local shops for toy swords and helmets!). The Vatican is another must, and you can snap up your Vatican Museum tickets long before your holiday to avoid wasting precious time and energy at the back of a long queue under the hot Italian sun! My advice to avoid crowds is to visit the Vatican in the afternoon, particularly on a Thursday or Friday if possible.


2 )Getting around in Rome can be a hassle for locals but if you’re a visitor then you may well enjoy the characteristic and authentic view of Roman life with a nice bus ride or on the metro. The metro is always your best option to get from A to B quickly and easily, but once you are in the historic center (like Trastevere) it is easy to walk to all the major sights; Campo de Fiori, the Pantheon, the Vatican, the Colosseum and the Roman Forum are all within easy reach.


3 )  If you like to relax and submerge yourself in local city life you might want to visit a piazza, like Piazza Navona with the fantastic mythological statues and fountains of Bernini and the Monuments of Borromini, Piazza Barberini, or the Pantheon Piazza. You can marvel at these ancient wonders while sitting at a cafè and sipping a glass of wine or enjoying an appetizer or an amazing gelato (for kids and adults alike!)


4 )  For the best panoramic experience, climb the Spanish Steps, or even better, the marble staircase of  the Vittorio Emanuele Monument to get the best view of the historical sights. At the top terrace bar you can take in the whole view stretching over the ancient Forum filled with arches and columns from the 6th Century B.C.


5 )  If you are not a first-time visitor and you’d like to see and experience something different, then check out hidden spots like the Romeow Cafe, a Vegan Cat Cafè where you can hang out with all your feline friends that roam around the area while you enjoy a healthy vegan cake! There are also the more mystical elements to Rome and one includes the Egyptian motifs that appear throughout the city (including the Vatican); the Egyptian influence on Roman culture dates to the time of Julius Caesar and a visit to the 2000 year old Pyramid of Cestius will be an unforgettable experience (and you don’t have to go to Egypt to see it!)


Ultimately, you may not get to see everything you had planned for so meticulously, but the important thing is that you have the opportunity to relax. Don’t spend your tome in Rome hurrying from monument to monument forgetting to take a second and just marvel in your surroundings, remember- you can always come back another time to see the things you missed!      

THANKS FOR READING!!    

8 Reasons Why Barcelona Is The Best European City During Summer

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I’ve lived in Barcelona for two different summer periods now; in 2012 and 2014.  Honestly, no matter what time of the year it is, Barcelona is hands down my favorite city in Europe.  However, I’m going to focus on my top 8 reasons no other city can compare to Barcelona during the summer months.

1.  Piknic Elektronic

The Piknic

Sunday Funday right?  I don’t know how anyone could talk about Barcelona over the summer and not bring up the magic that is the Piknic.  Every Sunday locals, tourists, students, expats, and families all flock to Montjuic to get their weekly dose of electronic tunes.  I ended up going to at least 4 or 5 times this summer, each time getting better and better.  It’s unfortunate it can be kinda pricey, or else I probably would have been more.  There is an amazing atmosphere with tons of different people and styles of music, and pretty delicious Sangria.

2.  Barcelonetta Beach

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How many cities can you think of in Europe that have amazing nightlife right along the beach, excellent public transportation to get you home, and great weather throughout the night?  Not many.  I absolutely love the beach in Barcelona, both during the day and the night.  I love how you can sit and relax on the beach all day, and if you don’t want to move, you don’t have to.  Buy all different types of drinks, massages, souvenirs, and much more.  There’s also great beach volleyball nets if you’re trying to be active, and you can pay for beach chairs / umbrella rentals.  It can get a little crowded on the weekends, but it’s definitely one of the best aspects of a summer in Barcelona.  Some of the best hotels in Barcelona are located right along the beach, and I’m sure you’ll understand why.

3.  L’Atlandida on Thursday Nights

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The mega sized Ibiza style club is hands down the best venue that Barcelona has to offer — and that’s saying ALOT.  In a city which is widely known for it’s amazing nightlife, it can be hard to pick a favorite.  Not for me.  L’Atlandida will always trump that category.  The sound is incredible, it’s a wild atmosphere where everyone is down to straight rage, and then there’s the pool.  Swimming in L’Atlandida is always a blast, and I never go anymore without my pair of swim trunks on.  There’s no dress code, and drinks aren’t TOO highly priced.  You can grab a beer for 6 euros.  Not bad comparing it to other venues.  HYTE nights at L’Atlandida, simply the best.

4.  SONAR Music Festival

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Loco Dice at SONAR

Easily one of Europe’s best music festivals in my opinion.  The only problem is choosing where to go each night.  You can pay for a festival pass and have entry to all the day/night events, or you can choose from a multitude of OFF Sonar events.  Just by checking Resident Advisor during the festival, you’ll be rewarded by seeing at least 10+ events practically every night.  The line-ups are incredible, and definitely one of the craziest weeks of the summer.

5.  Balearic Island Weekend Trips

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The White Isle

Whether you’re jetting off to Ibiza for a week of quality partying, or planning a trip to Majorca — you’ll find the best deals flying out of Barcelona.  You could also look into taking the ferries over to these jaw-droppingly beautiful islands.  There’s countless beaches to explore, attractive locals to meet, and delicious food to eat!  I myself have only been to Ibiza, but next time I’m in Spain I’m defintiely heading over to Majorca or Menorca to see what all the fuss is about.

6.  Expats / Tourism

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Friends

The nightlife in Barcelona is amazing year-round, and there’s pretty much always tourists coming and going.  However, Barcelona is one of the top cities for Europeans to come visit during the summer, and the bar / club scene is awesome.  Just hit up a local bar, and you are guaranteed to meet some amazing expats, tourists, and study abroad students.  Over this past summer I was fortunate enough to meet some of the best Spanish, Italian, French, Dutch, English, Irish, American, Belgian, and German people.  Everyone comes to Barcelona looking for a good time, and it’s such a great city to go out and interact with people from different cultures.

7.  La Terrazza

Where the locals party

If it weren’t for discovering L’Atlandida this summer, I would have definitely said that La Terrazza is my favorite club in Barcelona.  This open-air club has one of the best and most fun atmospheres I’ve ever experienced in a club setting.  The club has a decent sized platform right in the middle, with everyone else dancing around.  The resident DJ’s are always spinning some of the best tech-house I’ve ever heard, and the party seems to never stop.  The club says it closes at 6 A.M, but I’ve easily been there past 7 A.M grooving to quality music while the sun slowly rises.  If you go to La Terrazza, you have to stay until closing!  The last two hours the club is open is when it truly makes a lasting impression.

8.  The Sunlight

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The sun stays up for so long in Barcelona over the summer.  Yes, I know it’s like this for even longer in different parts of Europe, but it just makes the days seem so much longer.  My favorite time to head to the beach is around 6 P.M, and chilling there during the sunset.  The weather is nice, there’s an incredible breeze, and it’s beautiful.  It also helps when you don’t head out to the bars until midnight, and you can sneak in a quick nap before heading out.

9.  Costa Brava Getaway

Time to relax

This is the first time I was able to get out to Costa Brava, thanks to my close friend Tex & Julia!  We got to escape the chaotic madness of Barcelona for a couple short days, but it was absolutely perfect.  There’s lots to do, beaches to explore, and just a short car/ bus ride away from the city.  If you’re in Barcelona for a decent amount of time, get out of the city for a bit and head for a quick Costa Brava getaway!

10 Amazing Things To Do in The French Riviera

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The French Riviera is one of the classiest, elegant, and beautiful destinations to travel to in all of Europe.  Walking the streets of Monaco, it’ll be fun to pretend you are a billionaire who just had to find a place to park your yacht.  A visit here will definitely be a highlight of your time in Europe.  So without further ado, check out my 10 amazing things to do in The French Riviera.

1.  Explore Nice

Nice is the best place to call your “homebase” during your stay in the French Riviera.  It’s one of the biggest cities in the area, and has a ton to offer.  As well, it’s perfectly located in the middle of Monaco and Cannes for perfect day-trips.  As well, I would say that Nice has the best nightlife in the French Riviera, as well as the most affordable.  There’s a lively bar scene, and some really fun clubs.  For a fancy club experience, check out HIGH club which is just a 15 minute walk from Old Town along the beach.

2.  Promenade des Anglais

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Nice has one of the nicest stretches of water and a great stroll along the Promenade.  There’s a ton of great restaurants and cafes along the Promenade, and the beach is a great place to spend a day.  It’s not a “sandy” beach whatsoever, but it’s still a great spot to kick it.  A trip to the French Riviera would not be complete without strolling along the Promenade des Anglais.

3.  S-E-A-F-O-O-D

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The French Riviera is known for having some of the best seafood in Europe.  There’s tons of restaurants to choose from.  If you enjoy seafood, then definitely take advantage of being in this area, and indulge in a great meal.  This area is pretty expensive, so you might want to shop around and look for a restaurant that fits your budget.  Definitely try some oysters, mussels, and fresh fish.

4.  Wayne’s Bar & King’s Pub (Old Town Bars)

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In downtown Nice there is an area called Old Town, and it has a really vibrant bar scene.  There’s tons of small bars and clubs to choose from, places that stay open late to eat, and a few large squares to hang out as well.  Wayne’s Bar & King’s Pub are two of the best, and they are conveniently located on the same street.  Head to one of these, then bounce over to the other.  There’s live music and a great atmosphere, and is definitely one of my favorite things to do in Nice.  Don’t miss out on these two bars.  *One other bar just a short 5 minute walk away is called THOR, and is also worth seeing.

5.  Explore Monaco

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Yachts.  Expensive Cars.  World Famous Casinos.  Monaco is is the second smallest country in the world, and definitely the fanciest place I have ever visited.  This is just a short 20-minute train ride from Nice, and only cost around 8-9 euros round-trip.  Make sure you head up to the hill to check out both sides of Monaco.  Take a look at all the massive yachts.  Food and drink prices can get expensive here, so I always recommend going to the grocery store near the train station, and getting drinks and snacks and put them in my backpack.

6.  Gamble at the Monte Carlo

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What would a trip to Monaco be without doing some gambling at the Monte Carlo?  There can sometimes be a strict dress code, so it’s best to wear a nicer outfit when going inside.  As well, sometimes the require you to bring your passport, but I have gotten in once or twice without it.  One last note is sometimes they do ask for an entrance fee.  For those who might not be as well dressed, forgot their passport, or don’t want to pay; there is a a free casino called Cafe Paris in the same plaza.  This entire area is also amazing to explore, with amazing streets, ritzy shopping, and beautiful gardens.

7.  Oceanographic Museum of Monaco

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This is an amazing combination of an aquarium and a museum that is definitely worth a visit while in Monaco.  It’s beautifully located right against the sea, and is a stunning building.  There’s tons to see, amazing fish, and you can learn a lot.  If you want to see a lot of fish that will remind you of “Finding Nemo”, definitely stop here.  Also, if you have a student ID- bring it.  It will save you about 50% off here.

8.  Cannes Beach Day

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Going to the place of the famous Cannes Film Festival is a must during your time in the French Riviera.  There’s a great sandy beach that’s perfect for swimming, tanning, and relaxing.  Bring some booze, music, and you’re ready for a nice day.  I’d also walk along the entire promenade in Cannes as well.  There’s tons of amazing hotels, beautiful people, casinos, and beachside restaurants.

9.  St. Tropez

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Now, I only really recommend checking this place during the touristy season, because it’s not really worth it to go during the colder months.  The famous hotspot for celebrity spotting, bottles of champagne, and luxury living.  It can get rather expensive to get to, but it’s definitely one of the highlights of the French Riviera.  Nice – St. Tropez directions can be found here.

10.  Villefranche-Sur-Mer // Antibes

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If you stay in Nice, you’ll be taking the trains to both Cannes and Monaco.  I always recommend getting off at one stop along the way, and checking out other cities.  Both of these are smaller and less touristy, but amazing to spend a few hours at.  Antibes has some incredibly massive yachts and some great restaraunts for lunch.  Villefranche-sur-mer has an incredible beach and nice areas to explore.  Definitely make the most of your time in the French Riviera, and see as much as possible.  [divider]

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7 Reasons Why I Loved Living in the Netherlands

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Over the past few weeks, I’ve really been trying to figure out what my next move is.  I’ve literally gone back and forth between options like teaching English in Vietnam, starting a working holiday visa in Australia or New Zealand, or moving to Prague to work for the Clock Tower Pub Crawl.  It’s exciting to know I have a few different options, but it really dawned on me recently that I just want to move back to the Netherlands.  I started my Master’s Degree in Leiden, and loved living there.  I was supposed to finish my degree there, but I realized I’d rather spend my money traveling Asia than living in an expensive place like Holland.  But the time has come for me to move somewhere for a bit, and it would be great if it were back to my favorite country in the world.

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When I was living in Leiden, and I told people I was from California, people would always ask why I moved to The Netherlands.  The responses were always something along the lines of, “Why would you move here?  The weather is so shit”.  Well yeah, Dutch weather isn’t ideal.  But when you grow in sunny California, perfect weather year round isn’t really a high priority to me.  It’s actually nice to have seasons.  So I decided to write down some of the main reasons why I loved living in the Netherlands…

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Dutch People are Awesome

Of course, just like any place in the world that I’ve found particularly amazing; the people are one of the biggest factors.  I love hanging out with Dutch people.  Yeah, I’ve met a few along my travels that aren’t the coolest or most interesting, but the majority of people from the Netherlands I’ve met are just really down to earth.  I got some really great Dutch friends spread throughout the country, from Maastricht to Groningen, Eindhoven to Amsterdam — it’d be great to move back and kick it with the homies again.  Oh, and just so it’s said at least once in the post…Eindhoven De Gekste! 

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Getting From Point A to Point B

Maybe it’s because I’m from Orange County, California, and never really used public transportation until my first trip to Europe, but I feel like the Dutch have gotten it down.  Getting ANYWHERE in the entire country is so simple.  I’ve actually heard that Dutch people don’t like the public transporation system, which I think is ridiculous, but it works so well.  One of the best parts is using the website 9292.nl.  This website will literally give you all the options of getting to any station or location in the country.  It’s so handy, easy to use, and works really well.  The trains are clean, some of them have free wi-fi, and they aren’t TOO expensive.  I just loved that about the country; every city is so well connected by trains, busses, trams, etc.

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The English Factor

Everyone speaks (pretty much) fluent English.  As much as I’d like to think my Dutch is “okay”, it’s not.  In fact, it’s horrible.  It’s pretty great that everywhere you go you know you won’t have a problem dealing with a language barrier.  Not just that, Dutch people are proud of their English skills, and are more than happy to speak to me in my language.  It’s pretty great.  It makes things easy for me to when I’m hanging out with my Dutch friends, because I know they’re talking to me.  All of them speak great English, (except Stijn when he’s too drunk, haha).  I honestly shouldn’t even try to learn Dutch, as it’s rather hard, but I love the country so much that I do want to learn more.  I’ve always made the joke that one of these times I’m gonna fly back to Holland and speak perfect Dutch, and shock everyone out there.  That’s right, one day I’ll understand everything!

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The Music Festivals

Fact:  Dutch festivals are the best music festivals in the entire world.  I know I haven’t been to festivals in every country, but I can say with confidence that none are better organized and entertaining than in Holland.  My first event I ever went to was Sensation White in Amsterdam back in 2009.  (This was before it got lame and had them all over the world, this was the OG Sensation).  Since then I’ve been to Amsterdam Dance Event, Mysteryland, Valhalla, and Time Warp just to name a few.  The Dutch organizers know what’s up, but it make sense since they’ve been doing it for a long time.  It should be obvious, considering that the world’s best DJ’s are pretty much all Dutch.  Have you read my blog post 30 Music Festivals To Experience Before you Die ?  The most popular country is definitely The Netherlands…

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Life is Better Abroad

Well, this just a personal preference.  I know lots of people who couldn’t fathom the idea of living anywhere else but the states — obviously not me.  I thrive abroad.  I thrived in the Netherlands.  I was only there for a brief time, and now it seems stupid to me that I left so quickly.  But I’m glad I did what I did, because living and traveling around Asia for the past year has been incredibly life-changing.  I am hoping I could move back though.

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The Easiness of Nightlife

Want to grab a beer?  Of course.  And there are bars, pubs, and clubs everywhere.  Especially when I was living in Leiden, and the whole city was walking distance to just about everything.  Everyone is down to go out pretty every night of the week, which I actually turned out quite more often than you would think.  But it’s so lively, accessible, and entertaining.  I guess for me it’s hard to explain, but going out in Holland is just simple and fun.  Designated Driver?  L-O-L.  

Ah. I used to so damn chubby.

Ah. I used to so damn chubby.

Showing Friends Around Amsterdam

I’m a tour guide.  It’s in my blood.  Living close to Amsterdam was really great, and there were several times where friends of mine were coming to visit, and I got to show them around one of my favorite cities in the world.  It’s always nice when you can show someone around in a city you know well, and show them the parts that make that city special.

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I could actually write a whole lot more about why I want to move back, but I think I covered the basics.  I did just discover a cool website called Undutchables which specializes in finding jobs for people who don’t speak Dutch…so who knows.  Maybe I’ll land myself a job there.

**If any of you good looking Dutch people out there could help a struggling Graduate Student with finding a job anywhere in The Netherlands…Let me know**

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30 MUSIC FESTIVALS in EUROPE TO EXPERIENCE BEFORE YOU DIE

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Looking for a list of the best music festivals in Europe?  Look no further.  Europe is home to some of the biggest and craziest festivals in the world, and it will definitely take you some time (and money) to cross off all of these from your festival bucket list.

1.  Tomorrowland

  • When:  End of July
  • Where:  Boom, Belgium
  • Website:  http://www.tomorrowland.com/global-splash/
  • Why:  If you need a reason why you should experience Tomorrowland at least once before you die, you should probably stop reading this list.  Arguably one of the biggest and best festivals world-wide, Tomorrowland is a theme park for electronic music enthusiasts.  Everywhere you go you hear quality music, beautiful stages, and meet incredible people.  Put that together with an amazing Dreamville camping experience, and the biggest names in Electronic music; Tomorrowland lives up to it’s hype.

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2.  Glastonbury Music Festival  

  • When:  End of June
  • Where:  Glastonbury, England
  • Website:  http://www.glastonburyfestivals.co.uk/
  • Why:  Another festival that needs no introduction, Glastonbury provides one of the largest and biggest line-ups throughout Europe.  Tickets are hard to come by, but if you manage to get your hands on one, you’re in for a treat.

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3.  MELT Festival 

  • When:  Mid – July
  • Where:  Ferropolis, Germany
  • Website:  http://www.meltfestival.de/en/
  • Why:  One of Germany’s newer festivals, MELT is a 3-day camping experience that will have a little bit of something for everyone musically.  Each year they’ve had nothing but stellar line-ups and top-notch production.  It’s during the peak of festival season, but if you can make the trip to Germany, it’ll be well worth your time.

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4.  I Love Techno

  • When:  Beginning of November
  • Where:  Ghent, Belgium
  • Website:  http://www.ilovetechno.be/
  • Why:  One of the longest and most well-known festivals in Europe, I Love Techno is a must for electronic music fans.  Held just a bit outside the beautiful city of Ghent, it’s the perfect place to make a weekend trip to for this insane music festival.  Bringing in a wide variety of music, spread across 6 stages during one epic night, you’ll definitely love I Love Techno.

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5.  Mysteryland

  • When:  End of August
  • Where:  Haarlemmermer, The Netherlands
  • Website:  http://www.mysteryland.com/
  • Why:  Tomorrowland’s “sister” festival can not be overlooked when it comes to the best festivals in Europe.  The location is beautiful, there’s plenty of stages, and a wide selection of music to choose from.  Keep in commercial at the mainstage, or go hard at the Q-Dance stage for nothing but the best hardstyle.

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6.  Sziget Festival

  • When:  Mid August
  • Where:  Budapest, Hungary
  • Website:  http://www.szigetfestival.com/
  • Why:  8 Days of camping and listening to amazing music in Budapest; yeah that sounds perfect.  Not only is Budapest an amazing city to visit, Sziget is one of the largest and longest festivals in Europe.  You definitely need to tick this one off your festival bucket list.

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7.  Awakenings Festival

  • When:  End of June
  • Where:  Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • Website:  http://www.awakeningsfestival.nl/
  • Why:  If you haven’t been to an Awakenings party, then that’s a damn shame.  They provide nothing but the best of underground music, and this 2-day festival will leave your feet aching in pain from non-stop dancing.

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8.  SONAR Festival

  • When:  Mid June
  • Where:  Barcelona, Spain
  • Website:  http://sonar.es/en/
  • Why:  Barcelona is easily one of the best cities in the world when it comes to electronic music, and SONAR is definitely the perfect evidence of this.  A combination of day and night events, mixed with a bunch of  “OFF SONAR” parties spread throughout the many clubs Barcelona has to offer, there is no better time to make a trip to Barcelona than during SONAR week.

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9.  Time Warp 

  • When:  Beginning of April
  • Where:  Mannheim, Germany
  • Website:  http://www.time-warp.de/
  • Why:  The “Mecca” of Techno.  If you want to hear nothing but the filthiest, heaviest, and most insane techno; head over to Mannheim for TimeWarp.  They have events in The Netherlands as well as Italy, but you got to make it to Germany to experience the real thing.  Germans love their techno, and this is guaranteed to be one of the craziest parties you’ve ever attended.

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10.  Sensation White

  • When:  Various Dates
  • Where:  Various Locations
  • Website:  http://www.sensation.com/world/en/
  • Why:  Sensation has become a world-wide phenomenon, with having events everywhere from Amsterdam, Bangkok, and South Africa.  A night where you dress in all white, and dance to groovy house music.  You’ll definitely get the chills when the lights go out, and you hear the words… “Welcome.  To.  Sensation!”

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11.  SONUS Festival

  • When:  Mid / End of August
  • Where:  Pag Island, Croatia
  • Website:  http://www.sonus-festival.com/
  • Why:  Sonus has only been around for a few years now, but it has easily made it mark as one of the best festivals in Europe.  The ticket earns you access to the 3 main clubs on Zrce Beach, with all the big names playing all day and all night.  These 5 days are very intense, but you’ll be rewarded with amazing music in a beautiful place.

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12.  EXIT Festival

  • When:  Mid July
  • Where:  Belgrade, Serbia
  • Websitehttp://www.exitfest.org/sr
  • Why:  With a line-up that has a little bit of something for everyone, EXIT festival is absolutely crazy.  With prices low in Serbia, an amazing line-up, you gotta make it out to Belgrade to experience EXIT for yourself.

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13.  Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE)

  • When:  Mid October
  • Where:  Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • Website:  http://www.amsterdam-dance-event.nl/
  • Why:  This is more of an electronic music conference, but all the big names flock to Amsterdam.  The whole city gets painted up with yellow signs that say ADE, and every night there are endless options of which club to go to, and which DJ’s to see.  One recommendation, get yourself to an Awakenings event at Gashouder!

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14.  Dekmantel Festival

  • When:  End of July / Beginning of August
  • Where:  Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • Website:  http://www.dekmantelfestival.com/
  • Why:  A 3 Day camping festival in the beautiful city of Amsterdam.  This festival can not, and should not be missed!

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15.  Monegros Festival

  • When:  Mid July
  • Where:  The Desert (2 Hours from Barcelona)
  • Website:  https://www.grooveparade.es/
  • Why:  This is a non-stop 20 hour rave in the middle of the Desert.  “When I came to Spain, and I saw people partying, I talked to myself, What the F%&^?”  This will definitely cross your mind, because people go HARD at Monegros.  A very large festival, with many stages and impressive line-up, you’ll definitely have a blast at this marathon desert rave.

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16.  Transmission Festival

  • When:  End of November
  • Where:  Prague, Czech Republic
  • Website:  http://transmission.cz/en/
  • Why:  Two words come to mind:  Trance + Lasers.  Transmission easily has one of the best laser shows in the entire world.  Mix that with thousands of trance music lovers, an amazing arena with perfect sound, and the biggest trance names– that’s the Transmission experience.  Oh, and it’s in Prague!  One of the most beautiful cities in Europe!

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17.  Bennacassim Festival

  • When:  Mid July
  • Where:  Costa Azahar, Spain
  • Website:  http://www.fiberfib.com/
  • Why:  Benaccasim is another festival with a diverse line-up, awesome camping experience, and amazing atmosphere.  Definitely plan a trip to Spain one summer and check it out for yourself.

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18.  Extrema Outdoor

  • When:  Mid / End of May
  • Where:  Kelchterhoefstraat, Belgium
  • Website:  http://xofestival.be/en/home
  • Why:  Located in the beautiful countryside of Belgium, this camping festival is 3 epic days of amazing music!  Every year they bring tons of amazing DJ’s and a terrific crowd.

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19.  Valhalla Music Festival

  • When: Mid December (Before Christmas)
  • Where:  Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • Website:  http://www.valhallafestival.nl/en/
  • Why:  Half-Circus / Half Rave.  This one-day party is unique, beautifully decorated, and brings amazing talent!

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20.  Creamfields

  • When:  End of August
  • Where:  Cheshire, England
  • Website: http://www.creamfields.com/
  • Why:  One of England’s biggest and well-known music festivals, you definitely need to find yourself in Cheshire at least once to experience this 3 day camping festival.  Boasting massive stages, with an even more massive line-up, you’re in for a damn good time.

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21.  Defqon 1 Festival

  • When:  Mid June
  • Where:  Biddinghuizen, The Netherlands
  • Website:  http://www.defqon1.nl/
  • Why:  One of the world’s biggest Hardstyle festivals.  Warning:  do not attend if you do not like extremely fast BPM’s, or have a pre-existent heart condition.

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22.  Primavera Sound

  • When:  End of May
  • Where:  Barcelona, Spain
  • Website:  http://www.primaverasound.com/
  • Why:  Just at the beginning of festival season is this amazing 4 day festival in the great city of Barcelona, Spain.  Bringing in amazing live acts and DJ’s, you’ll love this experience.  There’s also one in June in Portugal if you can’t make it to Spain.

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23.  Secret Solstice Festival

  • When:  Mid June
  • Where:  Reykjavik, Iceland
  • Website:  http://secretsolstice.is/
  • Why:  Iceland is without a doubt one of the most beautiful and diverse countries in the entire world, and Secret Solstice provides the perfect reason for music festival addicts to plan a trip!  Known as the “midnight sun festival”, Secret Solstice always bring a top-notch line-up, fantastic production, and incredible atmosphere.  While it used to be one of the more difficult countries to visit, budget airlines like WOW Air have made this trek much more possible!  Do yourself a favor, and make sure you attend Secret Solstice at least once in your life!  Book tickets now!

24.  Hideout Festival

  • When:  End of June / Beginning of July
  • Where:  Pag Island, Croatia
  • Website:  http://www.hideoutfestival.com/
  • Why:  Another festival hosted at the beautiful located of Zrce Beach on Pag Island, Croatia.  Bringing in some of the biggest names at amazing venues, a trip to Croatia over the summer is a must.

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25.  Roskilde Festival

  • When:  End of June / Beginning of July
  • Where:  Roskilde, Denmark
  • Website:  http://www.roskilde-festival.dk/music/2015
  • Why:  8 days. 130,000 visitors. About 170 acts. Spectacular art + events. International audience. Delicious food. Non-profit since 1972 – all profits donated to charity.

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26.  Balaton Sound

  • When:  Mid July
  • Where:  Zamardi, Hungary
  • Website:  http://www.balatonsound.hu/
  • Why:  5 Days partying to a wide variety of commercial house and techno in Hungary.  Beautiful venue, amazing food, and one incredible atmosphere that is guaranteed to be a festival you’ll never forget.

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27.  ULTRA Europe

  • When:  Mid July
  • Where:  Split, Croatia
  • Websitehttp://www.ultraeurope.com/
  • Why:  It was only a few years ago when ULTRA announced they would start a European edition in Split, Croatia.  This massive 3-day festival brings in the best mainstream trance & house artists at the mainstage, and thumping underground house and techno music at the Carl Cox + Friends tent!

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28.  Dance Valley

  • When:  Beginning of August
  • Where:  Velsen Valley, The Netherlands
  • Website:  http://dancevalley.com/
  • Why:  If there’s one place that knows how to throw a proper music festival; it’s the Netherlands.  So many Dutch festivals have been listed already, but Dance Valley is a 1-day party that could not be left out.

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29.  Lollapalooza Berlin

  • When:  Mid September
  • Where:  Berlin, Germany
  • Website:  http://www.lollapaloozade.com/en/
  • Why:  Lollapalooza has already expanded with two different festivals in South America, and their next mission is brining it to Berlin.  With a festival as big as Lollapalooza, you’d be an idiot not to check out their European edition at least once!

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30.  T In The Park

  • When:  Mid July
  • Where:  Strathallan Castle, Perthshire, Scotland
  • Website:  http://www.tinthepark.com/
  • Why:  Amazing music festival in a beautiful country, T In The Park is held over 3 days and brings in some of the world’s biggest names in a wide variety of genres.  If you find yourself in Scotland over summer, it’s a party you’ll never forget.

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*BONUS* Earth Garden Festival

  • When:  June 1-4, 2017
  • Where:  Ta’ Qali, MALTA
  • Website:  http://www.earthgarden.com.mt/
  • Why:  “Earth Garden offers 4 music areas with over 35 live acts, 35 DJs, 2 camping zones with all amenities, Jamming area, Healing Fields, Ethnic Market, Fun Park and a Food Court. This is the festival that kicks off your summer which guarantees loads of fun, unbeatable prices with the best weather conditions in one of Europe’s top destinations.”  READ MORE ABOUT EARTH GARDEN.

You also won’t find a cheaper festival to attend, as 4-day passes are only 25 Euro per person!!


So there ya have it!  A list of the top 30 music festivals, parties, and raves Europe has to offer!  How many have you been to already?  Do you think I’m missing any important ones I need to add to this list?  Let me know in the comments section!  Also, if you haven’t already, check out my post on 25 Music Festivals in America To Experience Before You Die.


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MUSIC @@


Photo Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 89, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30


5 Must-Try Places to Eat In Florence, Italy

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I was fortunate enough to live in Florence for over a year and a half, and it is hands down one of my favorite cities for food.  I’m admittedly a very gluttonous person, and must have gained at least 20 pounds while living in Italy.  For anyone making their way to one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, make sure to cross off these 5 best places to eat in Florence.

1.  Salumeria Verdi – Pino’s Sandwiches 

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Who makes the best panino in Florence?  Well, this is a widely debated topic, but to me is this is a no-brainer; the answer is Pino.  Not only is he one of the friendliest Italian men I met during my time in Florence, but makes one of the most mouthwatering sandwiches you’ll ever try.  He cuts all the meat right in front of you, and all the ingredients are incredibly fresh.  Located just a few minutes down the road from Santa Croce, you definitely need to stop by this place to try it for yourself.

2.  Gusta Pizza / Gusta Panino

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Located across the river around Piazza Santo Spirito are two amazing places to get either a pizza or a panino.  These establishments are favorites among the locals and the study abroad crowd, and are guaranteed to love every single bite.  They are also budget friendly, and won’t cost you much to enjoy an authentic Italian pizza or panino.

3.  I Due Fratellini

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When walking around the city center exploring the many beautiful piazza’s, monuments and museums that Florence has to offer, it’s likely that you’ll walk right past this place without knowing you did.  This is a “hole-in-the-wall” place run by two brothers (which is what the name means).  They have a wide selection of panino’s which are small, affordable, and delicious.  Located just minutes away from Piazza dell Signoria, it’s a perfect mid-day snack to keep your energy levels to up while you explore Florence.

4.  Ristorante La Spada

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I lived right down from the road from this restaraunt, and it remains, to this day, one of my favorite places to eat (and drink) in the entire world.  When you come here, you can order from the wide variety of Italian specialties from the menu, but the secret to going to La Spada is ordering the “Bruno Special”.  This is basically a family style feast that comes with hefty servings of three different types of pasta, and then a massive plate with a mix of delicious meats, and perfectly seasoned potatoes.  The best part about ordering the Bruno Special — bottomless wine.  It’s a great way to get a big meal in, and also a great way to start the night out before hitting the town.  Located on Via Della Spada just minutes away from Piazza della Repubblica; you simply have to try this place.

5.  Perseus

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Located right near Piazza della Liberta, you absolutely have to head here to try the famous “bistecca alla fiorentina”.  One user on TripAdvisor even went as far to say that it was the only reason she came to Florence.  Your taste buds will definitely agree with her as you enjoy this truly authentic dining experience. [divider]

Well, there ya have it.  When it comes to Florence, there’s so many options when it comes to places to get a delicious meal, but these would be the top 5 I would suggest to friends.  Just make sure after you finish your meal, you enjoy a nice scoop of delicious Italian gelato.  Delicioso!

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Eat, Move, Learn: 3 Videos That Will Cause Serious Wanderlust

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STA Travel is one of my favorite airline companies for finding cheap flights for students and people under the age of 26.  In the past couple years, I’ve found a few other resources that I like a little bit more now, but it’s still an amazing company.  I remember seeing these youtube videos awhile ago, and thought I would share them for those who haven’t seen them.  Each of them is only a minute long, and will make you want to pack your bags and MOVE, EAT, and LEARN = WANDERLUST

Move

[divider] EAT

[divider]LEARN

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