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How to Take Travel from Good to Fabulous

What are your travel indulgences? Champagne at night? Hot tea every morning? Perhaps a pedicure or a truffle from a nearby chocolaterie?

When my dear friend Margo from The Travel Belles invited me to join her blog carnival on travel indulgences, I was happy but also momentarily stymied.

I confess I’m not much of a posh traveler. By the time I get somewhere I’ve usually spent most of my money on a plane ticket, hotel, and rental car, and have every other penny budgeted for food and whatnot.

But as I thought about it more I realized that indulgences don’t have to cost a lot of money.

They can be very simple, small, FREEΒ  things that delight your heart, please your eye, and charm your stomach.

When I first started traveling, I would always bring a piece of home with me – usually in the form of a tablecloth that I would immediately drape over those ubiquitous small round tables you find in most hotel rooms. It instantly made the place cozier and “mine”. I’d also get up early while most folks were still tucked up in bed and go for long walks to see what I could find. And I love to take naps on hot afternoons when lines are long and streets crammed with folks rushing hither and thither.

Here are a few other indulgences I like to make part of every trip:

Boat rides.

I’m a sucker for boat rides. Whether it’s hiring a creaky old fishing boat for a jaunt around Alcatraz or catching a high speed ferry to Capri, I’m in!! I love being out on the water, the wind tossing my hair, sun browning my shoulders. All the stresses of travel melt away as I bob along. If you split the cost with an obliging friend or three, the trips are downright cheap. I’ve paid about $5 to be rowed across a turquoise lake in Slovenia, $2 for an ocean trek in Greece and about $7 to board a fishing vessel for an island tour in Croatia.

Good food

I rarely spend money on expensive souvenirs, but I’ll happily plunk down money for a memorable meal with lovely folks. My brother Ryan taught me long ago not to rely on guidebooks or hotel pamphlets for restaurant choices, but instead to turn to locals for recommendations. I ask them where they’d go for a special dinner or date night and I’ve never been steered wrong. If I can’t find someone to ask, or I don’t speak the language, I start my search around lunch time. I look for places that are filled with locals – a sure sign of good eating – and make sure to arrive early enough that night to get a table for dinner.



I adore scarves. The brighter the better. I don’t have a house full of cuckoo clocks from Germany or statues from Rome, but I have $2-$10 scarves from Ireland to Bosnia and they make me happy. They’re cheap, small and easy to pack, and gorgeous yet practical. I wear them year round and drape them over lamps or spread them along tabletops, and each time I see one I smile inside and remember the people, the country, the food and memories of that trip.


And how about you? What indulgences do you have that make your travels extra special?

For more ideas and inspiration visit The Travel Belles.

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bellini - I’d have to say that food memories are what make or break a travel destination for me. So asking the locals where they would eat is a great suggestion.

World First Weekly Wander: 13th June 2011 | World First Travel Insurance Blog - […] How to Take Travel from Good to Fabulous Rambling Tart […]

Jamie - I definitely indulge in the food… But truthfully, I do that at home too.

Krista - Aren’t they wonderful, Cailin? Such a cheering thing to do on a sunny day. πŸ™‚

Krista - What a splendid idea, Ozoz! My brother brings back spices and things too. I will have to start doing that. πŸ™‚

Krista - Why am I not even remotely surprised that we’re kindred spirits in travel too, Anna. πŸ™‚ Love that!

Krista - Maybe one day we’ll get to meet up on our travels, Faith! And shop for scarves to our hearts content. πŸ™‚

Krista - What GORGEOUS photos, fisherlady!! I love them! πŸ™‚

Krista - Isn’t good food just heavenly, Barbara? πŸ™‚

Krista - I love exploring markets too, Andrea!! Such a fun way to see people AND food. πŸ™‚

Krista - Ohh, you’re the best, Joanne! πŸ™‚ I’d travel with you ANY time! πŸ™‚

Krista - Ohhh, I would’ve loved to do kayaking in Dubrovnik, Kathy! What a great idea. πŸ™‚ The rowboat picture was taken at Lake Bled in Slovenia. πŸ™‚

Krista - Thank you, Katy! Scarves DO carry travel memories so beautifully. πŸ™‚

Anonymous - Agreed!Β  Boat rides are so much fun!!!

Kitchen Butterfly - I love scarves but never buy them. The one treasure from me on a journey is to go to a supermarket and/or market. I always bring back some food gift, be it jam from the UK, wafers from Prague and pasta from Italy!!!!!!1

Faith - You are truly a girl after my own heart, Krista!Β  I always gravitate toward scarves for some reason!Β  And you’re so right about good food…I think there’s no better way to experience a new place than by trying its food!Β  πŸ™‚

Anna Johnston - I have to be honest Krista luv., but my travel indulgences are very similar to yours. Β Awesome pics – those scarves are to die for., I’d be wanting to bring each & everyone of ’em home with me. Β 

thefisherlady - http://theillustratedword.blogspot.com/2011/06/thirsty-soul.html
thought you might also enjoy this encouragement…
blessings dear Rambling Tart

Barbara - Food is always #1. Shopping is right up there too…I love all the scarves in your photo.Β 

Andrea and John - Love these ideas! I’ll have to go with great food being an indulgence…especially little foodie treats like gourmet chocolates or local delicacies. But even trying different street food or exploring a market can be an indulgence for me =) Β ~Andrea.

Joanne - In the little traveling I’ve done, I’ve definitely learned that sometimes the simple things are the best!Β  Don’t need to go all expensive to have fun!Β  And if there’s anyone I trust to give me travel advice, it’s YOU. Love this!

Food Lover Kathy - Krista – Love these indulgences! I am definitely there with you on the good food thing, and the scarves.Β  Great tip on the boat rides.Β  Besides being a wonderfully relaxing way of enjoying a place they aren’t expensive.Β  A friend and I did a really fun kayaking excursion in Dubrovnik and besides being a great price, it was aΒ great workout.Β  Stunning photos, as usual.Β  Where was the photo of the row boat taken?Β  I especially love that one!

Katy Stewart - This is lovely, the photos are gorgeous! Scarves carry so many travel memories becuase you can use them for just about anything – the best accessory ever!

Krista - Thanks, Jerusha! πŸ™‚ It’s such a small thing but it sure makes a difference. πŸ™‚

Jerusha Lofland - This is an awesome post. Never would have thought of the tablecloth–what a great idea!!

Krista - Thank you, Joyti! πŸ™‚ My brother is a clever fellow when it comes to finding great places to eat in foreign spots. πŸ™‚

Joyti - Such great tips. I think asking locals for food recommendations is a great idea. And scarves – very nice also!

Krista - Oh, what a perfectly splendid idea, Marie! πŸ™‚ You’ve got my creative wheels turning. πŸ™‚

Krista - Thank you, Tuula! I KNEW you were a kindred spirit. πŸ™‚

Krista - You are so welcome, Rosa! πŸ™‚ I love those boats too. πŸ™‚ Just seeing them makes me want to run away for a bit and escape to the open water. πŸ™‚

Krista - Oh yes, Nicole! Outdoor markets are one of my favorite spots to explore too. πŸ™‚

Krista - Thank you, dear fisher lady! πŸ™‚ I’m getting stronger each day and my joy and peace are returning. That makes me happy. πŸ™‚ So glad you like the boat photos. Don’t they make you want to go adventuring?

Krista - 300 scarves?!! That’s amazing! πŸ™‚ Well, I’ve seen people use them as actual decorating by hanging loops along the wall and draping the scarves through them. The colors and threads of gold and silver look SO gorgeous. πŸ™‚ I stuff mine in a big Rubbermaid container at the moment but I’d love to get a nice old wooden chest to tuck them in. πŸ™‚

Krista - Ohhhh, yes, Ashley! Pastries are another delight of mine. πŸ™‚ Mmm, now I’m hungry!

Krista - I don’t mind your linking to your scarves post at all, Karen!! πŸ™‚ Any friend of scarves is a friend of mine. πŸ˜‰

Krista - Love that, Margo! “Live large and fully in the moment” – that IS the best way to travel. πŸ™‚ So glad you like the post. πŸ™‚

Krista - Thank you, Kate! Makes me want to travel right now just so I can indulge again. πŸ™‚

Krista - Me too, Brenna! It’s such a great way to get a feel for a country – eating what the locals eat. πŸ™‚

Krista - Thank you, Mallory! So glad you like them too. πŸ™‚

Krista - Aren’t scarves the best? πŸ™‚ They never fail to cheer me. πŸ™‚

Marie - Fantastic post, Krista! Β I love the boat idea-I never would have thought of that. Β What a lovely fun unique idea for a travel memory. Β Now I want you to do a whole post on boating adventures in different countries-you’ve got me all curious!

Tuula - Great tips Krista, it’s totally the simple things for me too – would give up shopping in the finest boutiques for an amazing dinner πŸ™‚

Rosa May - What a gorgeous place! Croatia is really beautiful.

Thanks for the virtual visit. I really love the pictures of the boats.



Nicole - Great ideas Krista! I love the inexpensive rides in local boats too. And shopping for food at outdoor food markets. πŸ™‚

thefisherlady - scarves are the same for me… comfort, memories… a bit of joy to bring along… How fun!
Your boat photos are stunning!
Hope you are feeling stronger and the return of health is evident…
Prayers for you my Rambling friend

Aharmon62 - Love scarves myself!Β  So does my Mother-in-law.Β  She has somewhere around 300 and I’m at a loss to give advise on organizing them.Β  Any suggestions?

Ashleyecooley - I love finding special pastries. I have a thing for scarves too, they’re a great reminder of a fabulous vacation.

Karen Regn - Hi Krista! Β Great thoughts and photo collages! Β I agree with Margo… from “stymied” to lovely post in no time! Β I’m completely there with you on all accounts: boats, great food, and especially scarves. Β My practical side usually wins out as I find them essential when I’m on a trip. Β If you don’t mind a bit of shameless self-promotion, I wrote a post on my blog about the many uses of scarves while traveling,Β http://karenregn.com/2011/02/never-travel-without-a-scarf/

I’m having such a great time reading about everyone’s travel indulgences! Β 

Margo Millure - love it that at first you were “stymied” and then pulled this lovely post seemingly out of nowhere with ALL THIS GREAT ADVICE. And I agree with you that the best indulgences don’t have to be expensive at all… I think that often while on vacation or traveling we are just reminded to live large and fully in the moment. πŸ™‚

Kate Turner - Love your indulgences, Krista! That’s so true, they really don’t have to be expensive or flashy – sometimes simple is more memorable and enjoyable.

Fabuleuxdestinbrenna - I love spending money on food. Luckily, while traveling it’s easy to eat well discovering new street food! But when I’m feeling baller I’ll go to a local rest πŸ™‚ Great post!

Mallory Opel - scarves. I love it!

thepickyeater - i love scarves too …this is a great post ! that’s a good tip on asking locals for restaurant suggestions !

thepickyeater - i love scarves too …this is a great post ! that’s a good tip on asking locals for restaurant suggestions !

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