The many buildings in the city of Dubrovnik, Croatia, at sunset

32 Actually Awesome Free Digital Tours

In this time of lockdown, we’re all looking for ways to scratch that wanderlust itch.  Nothing can quite compare to being there in person, but we have found that digital tours can be a temporary substitute.  And while virtual tours aren’t a new concept, some have gotten quite clever with how they’re implementing them.  These are some of our favorites – the closest things to being there, the most unique, and the ones with the best “wow” factors.

Sunset over a puka at the coast of the Big Island on Hawaii, just outside of Kona

Read on to find your perfect virtual vacation!

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A longhair tabby resting on rocks in front of the city skyline of Istanbul

The Top 6 Cat Hotspots in the World

Unlike dogs, cats don’t usually travel very well.  So when we cat lovers are on the road, we rely on the local cat populations to get our purr fix.  With nine months and over twenty countries under our belts, we found some of the best cat hotspots on the world.

If you love cats as much as I do, these locations are sure to put a whisker-induced smile on your face!

A tux and tabby kitten in Istanbul

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The Traveler Profile: What Type of Traveler Are You?

Over the years, we have experienced all sorts of travel types.  We’ve traveled alone and with friends, with family and with kids.  We’ve explored locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally.  We’ve taken almost every type of transportation and indulged in a wide variety of activities.  And we’ve been on the road for quick overnights, your standard two-week vacations, and months-long living abroad.  How do each of these compare, and which is right for you?

Let’s find out!

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

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Outlets with built-in switches

Our Favorite Gadgets and Ideas from Around the World

One of the things we love most about travel is discovering the many ways others think differently than us.  Witnessing new ideas challenges our way of thinking and adds to our own personal arsenal for tackling problems.  Besides, it’s exciting to experience something we hadn’t before considered!

During nine months abroad across at least 20 countries, we encountered some brilliant ideas that made us wonder: why isn’t this standard around the world?  From the bathroom to the kitchen, at home and on the road, these were some of our favorites.

Bikes stacked neatly in Rotterdam

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40 Photos That Will Make You Want to Visit Portugal

Wherever we travel, we’re always in search of the best pictures.  After all, we love all the pretty things!  We spent two weeks exploring Portugal, and while there’s so much more we wish to see, we experienced enough to safely declare that we love it!  We know you’ll fall in love with Portugal as well, especially with the help of these photos.

Large rocks in the ocean at the coast of Cabo da Roca in Portugal

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A Glimpse of Belem Tower

What are some of the most memorable landmarks you’ve visited in your travels?

No Lisbon catalog is complete without some photos of the iconic Belem Tower. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, it serves as the unofficial gatekeeper of Lisbon. It was built to fortify the harbor, but it was left incomplete for many years when the original king who ordered it died.

belem-tower-1

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A Glimpse of Seixal

Where have you been able to stay with some cool locals?

During our travels, we sometimes come across some truly phenomenal couchsurfers.  We had one such host in Dublin, and we had another in Santiago.  Lisbon, Portugal was no exception.

seixal-2

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A Glimpse of Lisbon

Where did you visit where you first had a language barrier?

After a long haul in the UK and Ireland, we had grown somewhat comfortable.  Sure, we encountered some thick accents, and some terminology differed, but locals there still spoke the same language.  It barely felt like we were still traveling.

But with a single flight, that all changed, and we were suddenly thrust into once again not knowing what others were saying.  It pushed us out of our comfort zone, and we were truly traveling again.  Welcome to Lisbon.

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Waves crashing on a sandy beach at Santa Cruz, Portugal

A Glimpse of Santa Cruz

What is the best place you’ve visited on someone else’s recommendation?

We’ve finished with South America, so we’re circling back to what we skipped before: the rest of Europe!

We had heard a lot about Portugal before our first visit, but most of the stories hailed from either Porto or Lisbon.  So when our Lisbon Servas hosts recommended a small beach town – Santa Cruz – we were excited to check it out.

santa-cruz-6

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A Glimpse of Martial Glacier

How often do you go off-trail with your hikes?

We found a reasonably dry day while staying in Ushuaia to check out the resident glacier: Martial Glacier. While we could have hiked directly from town, we didn’t see the need to add the extra miles, especially since they were all uphill. Instead, we took the relatively cheap taxi to the official trailhead.

Martial Glacier trailhead

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