Activities

8 Fun Things to Do in Chattanooga, Tennessee

Chattanooga, Tennessee is a city I’ve never considered visiting. Even heading out on my mid-South roadtrip through Tennessee, North Carolina, and Northern Georgia, Chattanooga wasn’t top of my mind. Based on the route, however, it made sense to stop through. And I’m glad I did, because there are so many fun things to do in Chattanooga!

The thing I love most about small, non-coastal cities in the U.S. is their unique charm. There are tons of cool things to do in Chattanooga, plus some incredible scenery. On top of that, you’ll find plenty of independent businesses, friendly locals, and a lack of overwhelming crowds.

Chattanooga is a popular hub for outdoor enthusiasts, especially climbers. With all of the rock climbing, biking, and hiking opportunities in the area, it’s really no surprise. However, there’s also plenty of culture to go around, with art galleries, museums, and a very large collection of public art throughout the city. Tie all of this together with a burgeoning coffee scene, and you’ll see why I loved it so much.

While I didn’t get to explore every aspect of this city as much as I’d like, I still want to leave you with this quick list of fun things to do in Chattanooga. It includes some major attractions and a few absolute must-do’s.

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Travel Tips Working Holiday

The Cost of Traveling New Zealand: How Much Do You Really Need?

The Cost of Travel in New Zealand

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, then you know that I spent most of 2016 living and working in New Zealand. If you’re new here, well, now you know. Since I spent so much time there, I wanted to give you a detailed look at the true cost of traveling New Zealand.

I had a series called “New Zealand by the Month” where I posted a budget breakdown every single month during my trip. I thought it would be helpful to combine those expense reports and get some detailed stats out of it. After compiling all of that information, I’ve been able to create a FULL expense report for my 10 months in New Zealand.

New Zealand is an expensive country all around, both for tourists and for residents. That doesn’t stop people from visiting, though, and it’s actually a really popular destination for backpackers. Saving up money and creating a budget is a big part of planning any trip. Before you go, you’re probably going to wonder: How much does it cost to travel New Zealand?

I left the U.S. in March of 2016 to start my working holiday in New Zealand. My working holiday visa allowed me to live, work, and travel in New Zealand for up to one year. I left the country in January of 2017, so I spent about 10 months there in total.

My specific circumstances definitely have an impact on my expenses, but I’m going to break things down so you can figure out how much money you need to travel in New Zealand, whether it’s for one month or one year.

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Travel Tips

Travel Anxiety Tips: How to Conquer Your Travel Anxiety

Anxiety stems from the unkown, so naturally, a lot of us experience travel anxiety while traveling. I've put together some travel anxiety tips to help you conquer travel anxiety.

Anxiety stems from the unknown. We worry when we don’t know exactly what’s going to happen. While traveling, we are constantly bombarded with unknown people, places, and scenarios. We are pushed out of our comfort zone. That’s one of the many great things about traveling, but it can also cause travel anxiety.

You can conquer travel anxiety, though. It doesn’t have to stop you from seeing the world! Sure, we’d be a lot more comfortable staying at home and sticking to our well-run routines, but the dream of exploring far-off places still calls to us.

Don’t let travel anxiety kill your dreams.

Having traveled quite a bit, mostly solo, and enduring a panic attack or two, I’ve come to learn what works for me. I’ve learned what I need while traveling to stay calm and anxiety-free. I know my limits, but I also know when to push them. All of this has taken time to figure out, but I feel pretty comfortable traveling now, even if I still get anxious sometimes.

That’s actually the secret to conquer travel anxiety: find a way to travel that works for you. You don’t have to travel a certain way or to a certain place. Listen to yourself and find out what you need while traveling.

Here are a some of my best travel anxiety tips to help you deal with the stress of travel.

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Places of Interest

See Rock City Gardens // Chattanooga, TN

Rock City is a classic American tourist attraction. It uses beautiful natural surroundings, and then mixes in some weird, kitsch-y stuff to create a very strange yet magical world.

Located in the American South, Rock City is on top of Lookout Mountain, straddling the line between Tennessee and Georgia. Most people visit while staying in Chattanooga, but it is technically in Georgia.

I have a hard time explaining what exactly this place is, because it’s a lot of things jumbled into one very interesting attraction. Basically, Rock City is a labyrinth of paths through themed areas, built into the side of a mountain. It’s a garden, it’s a scenic exploration of the natural elements, and it’s a fun wonderland type of experience.

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Accomodation

New Zealand Hostel Guide: The Best (& Worst) Hostels in New Zealand

New Zealand Hostel Guide: Manor House Backpackers

I lived, worked, and traveled around New Zealand for almost 11 months. I was on a working holiday, so I was definitely on a tight budget. As a backpacker, a lot of my nights were spent sleeping in hostels—108 nights, to be exact. I thought it would be helpful to take my experience and turn it into a New Zealand hostel guide.

There are hundreds of hostels in New Zealand. You’ll find plenty to choose from in every major city, town, and tourist destination. Some are really amazing, some are okay, and some are downright horrifying. It’s hard to know what kind of hostel you’re going to end up in until it’s too late.

If you choose your hostel in New Zealand based on price (i.e. what’s the cheapest), don’t be surprised if it’s not quite up to your standards. If you choose a place based on popularity, you might just end up in a noisy party hostel (which might be what you’re looking for). If you choose a hostel based on location, it could be totally hit or miss. So how do you know which hostel to choose?

Finding the right hostel might seem like an art form (or maybe more of a science), but I’m here to make finding a good hostel in New Zealand WAY easier for you. After staying in over 20 hostels around the country, I have found both the good and the bad. I’ve created this guide specifically to stop you from ending up in one of the bad ones.

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Places of Interest

The Biltmore Estate // Asheville, North Carolina

I took a week-long roadtrip earlier this year through Tennessee, North Carolina, and Georgia. While the original idea was to head to Nashville, it seemed like a good time to check a few others things off my USA travel wishlist. On that list was Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Biltmore Estate.

I first heard about The Biltmore Estate in Asheville well over a decade ago. I knew it was a big, beautiful mansion with impressive gardens, but not much else. However, the promise of cool architecture and pretty plants was enough to make it a priority.

On the day of our visit to the Biltmore Estate, my friend and I woke up bright and early. We knew we wanted to spend the entire day exploring the grounds, so we arrived at the gates at 8:30 am. That’s the earliest you can enter, and the house opens at 9:00 am.

The drive from the entrance to the parking lots near the house gave me a pretty good idea of just how much land was owned by the estate. The Biltmore is the largest (privately-owned) home in America, so it’s no surprise that the rest of the grounds are extensive.

We waited outside of the house for about 15 minutes (a good opportunity to get some classic shots of the Biltmore), and quickly made it inside once the doors opened. We had a game plan for the day, and it started with a tour of the house.

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