Katka’s Travel Gift Picks – Gifts for the Trashy Traveler

Gifts for the trashy traveler
Gifts for the trashy traveler by katkatravels

Happy holidays everyone! If you’re like me, you’ve left your holiday shopping until the last minute. For the rest of this week, I’ll showcase my top gift picks for travelers of all types. Happy shopping!

-Moleskine Passions Travel Journal: Make sure you record all of your precious shenanigans in this nifty travel journal, customized for your own trip.  There’s even fun stickers so you can categorize your trashy travels!  Write down the best places to get drunk, your favorite drug den, the best Frenchman you ever slept with…the possibilities are endless.

-Rum Runners: Cruise-goers swear by these compact flasks to sneak on alcohol to ships with outrageous bar prices.  Apparently, they are undetectable by the X-ray scanners but they can even be used to sneak in alcohol to concerts, clubs…basically anywhere you don’t want to pay for alcohol but still want to get smashed.  They roll up small when you’ve finished your drink and can be stuffed into a pocket, or refilled so the fun can continue.

-F1 Flyin’ Drunk Tag:  This is self-explanatory.  If you aren’t flying drunk, you’re not REALLY flying at all.

-TWELVEWAYS Multifunctional Dress:  I love this product even when I’m sober, but let’s face it ladies – wearing the same outfit on your walk of shame home from that crazy one-night-stand is uncomfortable and seedy.  With a Twelveways dress however, you can make the same material look and feel totally different.  You’ve transformed from a Euro-slut to a stylish and travel-savvy gal who’s impressive wardrobe warrants another romp in the hay, complete with a new outfit the next time.

-Tieks foldable ballet flats:  A night of disco dancing and bar hopping in stiletto heels takes a toll on the trashy traveler’s tootsies.  Behold, the stylish and compact Tieks ballet flat system, which are super comfortable and come in a plethora of colors and styles to make any inebriated adventure a customizable one.

-Condoms:  Duh!  Play it safe, especially while abroad, and always stash a couple of rubbers in your bag or pocket, “just in case.”  New York City has an awesome campaign where at select venues you can get condoms for free, advocating for safe sex in the city.


Holiday Gifts for the Go, Go, Go Traveller!

go t
go t by katkatravels on Polyvore

Happy holidays everyone! If you’re like me, you’ve left your holiday shopping until the last minute. For the rest of this week, I’ll showcase my top gift picks for travelers of all types. Happy shopping!

  1. Collapsible Lunch Box:  I love re-usable containers but I hate the bulkiness of Gladware and Tupperware.  This soft, easy-to-wash container folds up nice and compactly for when you are done, plus it comes with a spork-knife and a little top container for dips, dressings, etc.  I used it while road-tripping through Iceland, where food is sometimes hard to find for miles…
  2. Redfoot Foldable rain boots:  Let’s face it – no matter how much we want to think it, wellies are NOT fashionable.  Not only that but who wants bulky-ass rubber rain boots sitting in the corner of your cubicle after you’ve changed into your work shoes?  Presenting the foldable rain boot: wear them out in the rain, then roll them up and store them in your purse.  LOVE THESE THINGS!
  3. Grid-It: If you’re anything like me, your bag is a mess of unorganized junk.  If you’re anything like me also, you’ll buy a Grid-It.  Now when I need something, I pull out this thin, light organizer whose elastic grid keeps everything in place and easily accessible.  Great gift for the gadgeteer too.
  4. North Face Venture Rain Jacket:  You know how I feel about North Face products.  Well, here’s another one!  This rain jacket is powerful enough to keep you dry, and also using special textile technology that allows your skin to breathe (aka no sweaty, stinky heat-retaining interior).  Plus it flattens up superbly, meaning you can keep it at the bottom of your bag for emergencies and it will take up next to no space.
  5. REI Flip-Top Vacuum Bottle:  Coffee for the Go-Go?  It’s an essential.  This thermos is awesome because you can put scalding hot coffee inside and the outside will not burn your fingers off.  The vacuum top also helps seal the liquid in, so spills are a non-issue.  Keeps liquids warm or cold for hours.
  6. REI Quantum Shoulder Bag: When you’re as busy as I am, you need a versatile bag.  Pick it up from the top handle, throw it over your shoulder like a shoulder bag, make it into a messenger bag…however you need to get away, this bag can do it for you.  Plus this inside hosts a fantastic amount of organizational pockets, including room for your precious laptop.

Katka’s Travel Gift Picks – Gentlemen Ramblers

Katka's Travel Gift Picks - Gentlemen Ramblers
Katka’s Travel Gift Picks – Gentlemen Ramblers by katkatravels

Happy holidays everyone!  If you’re like me, you’ve left your holiday shopping until the last minute.  For the rest of this week, I’ll showcase my top gift picks for travelers of all types.  Happy shopping!

  1. ScottEVest blazer: This is the coolest company when it comes to stealthily storing your most valued travel possessions.  Leave the “man purse” at home and ensure expensive gadgets like your smartphone or tablet are safe and secure next to your (hopefully) smokin’ bod.  Can’t you see James Bond pulling off a sweet blazer such as this?
  2. F1 Spacepak Mini Toiletry kit:  A pet peeve of mine is men who keep their toiletries in ziploc bags, or worse, don’t organize them at all.  And then they wonder why their shaving cream exploded all over their cashmere sweater.  Spacesaver packing cubes are perfect for storing your shaving and bath items, easily accessible and generally leakproof.
  3. Venturesafe™ 400 Anti Theft Messenger Bag:  I’ve long been a fan of PacSafe products, which offer security for your belongings while still looking stylish on the outside.  This laptop messenger bag holds all of your essentials and then some, with fantastic security features to ensure your $1400 Macbook remains out of reach from tampering hands.
  4. Coach passport holder: the classy male traveler keeps his passport in a classy holder.  Love the compass design on this genuine leather case.
  5. UNIQLO Heattech long johns:  If you haven’t discovered UNIQLO’s Heattech clothing line, START NOW!  No more bulky clothing as these special, stylish layers keep you toasty warm when you need it the most.  Products range from coats, to socks, to these fun Long-Johns great for chilly winter sleepovers.

Katka’s Passports With Purpose Donation Wishlist

The amount of love and giving I’ve received from friends, family and perfect strangers due to my own personal Hurricane Sandy experience has been overwhelming. I wake up every day, thankful to have such wonderful people in my life. So it’s time to give back! I’ve been especially generous this holiday season because so many have been generous to me. And I’ve gone a little overboard with my donations to Passports with Purpose, a non-profit group that links travel bloggers, fundraising and fun every year in pursuit of helping those in need.

When my apartment flooded during Hurricane Sandy, many of our amenities were shut off. We had no heat, electricity or clean water for days. Eventually, these everyday items were returned to us but it was difficult to fathom life without them. Now take developing nations, such as Haiti, with citizens who still struggle to rebuild their lives after a devastating earthquake in 2009. If you’ve ever lived a day without clean water, you know how harrowing it can be. Try living an entire lifetime.

Not only am I in the running for some super cool prizes donated by famous travel bloggers, but every $10 I donate goes directly towards building clean water wells in Haitian communities. You can be a part of this too! Check out the sweet prizes I bid for:

A Glorious Week in Provence (theprovencepost.blogspot.com)
A week in a villa in St. Remy de Provence, with meals in top restaurants, private guided tours, massages and much more. This is like, the ultimate romantic getaway and if I win this, I think I’d pee my pants out of joy.

$100 Amazon.com e-gift card (onmyfeetorinmymind.com)
$100 Amazon.com e-gift card. Most of my things are corroded with salt water from Hurricane Sandy’s tidal surges. An Amazon gift card could help me replace some desperately needed items.

B&H Photo Gift Certificate (escapenewyork.blogspot.com)
$100 gift certificate to B&H Photo which can be redeemed online or in store. B&H is local to me and I just bought a super cute DSLR. Would love to pick up a pancake lens to make it ultimately portable!

Exclusive Atlanta Experience at Omni CNN Center (includes a swim with Whale Sharks!) (www.fieldtripswithsue.com)
An exclusive Atlanta experience at the four-diamond Omni Hotel at CNN Center in the Coca-Cola Suite plus attraction tickets and a swim w/whale sharks! I don’t have a lot of vacation time so I’m looking for some nice long-weekends or stay-cations. I’ve never been to Atlanta before but this would be a wonderful little break packed with super fun activities!

Three-night stay at Jicaro Island Ecolodge in Nicaragua (www.everthenomad.com)
A three-night stay at Jicaro Island Ecolodge, with lodging, non-alcoholic beverages and three daily meals, for two people. This property looks GORGEOUS and would make for a wonderful long weekend with a special someone. It’s inclusive enough and would be so great to spend three days relaxing in the pool or on the lake.

$200 voucher toward flights on Skyscanner (www.gobackpacking.com)
$200 voucher to use toward booking a flight or flights(s) found on Skyscanner.net. Any dollar bills off the cost of my flight is worth trying for!

HTC Titan (www.idelish.com)
Two Windows Phone 7 (upgradable to Windows Phone 7.5) – HTC Titan and HTC Titan II (MSRP: $550 each). Winner will receive both phones. This one I hope to win for my folks, who are in desperate need of an upgrade from the flip phone of the 20th century haha.

3 Day Big Sky, MT and Yellowstone Family Adventure (blog.trekaroo.com)
Lodging at BucksT4, a luxury tour of Yellowstone, adventures at Big Sky Resort, & a day out for mom and dad at Moonlight Basin (babysitting included). Again, this seems like a great package for a long-weekend getaway to an adventurous place. I loved seeing the geologic wonders in Iceland, Yellowstone would be a great comparison!

$1,000 vacation rental anywhere from HomeAway (www.alloverthemap.net)
$1,000 to use in any of HomeAway’s 350,000 vacation rentals worldwide! My family goes to the Jersey Shore every year and rents homes at crazy-expensive prices. Would love to use this voucher towards a week at the beach, or perhaps an exotic location somewhere else!

Please consider making a donation to this great cause. You can read more about the donation process here. It’s not too late to donate but December 11 is the last day, so hurry up! Hand out those Hamiltons for a chance to go somewhere cool!

Would love to win some long-weekend vacays for my man and I!

Why I Almost Bought a $420 Ticket to Russia…But Didn’t


@Jonk: got $420 tkt to st. petersburg, russia. 24h to fig out how to make it work since leaves from DC. :P /thx @theflightdeal pic.twitter.com/pqzo7vJr

SAY WHAT?!?!?!  I scoured the internets in search of this impossible fare.  Flights to Russia don’t normally get lower than $1,000.  This had to be a mistake, or something weird, like the plane was old and there would be a bomb on it or something.

But no – low and behold, the fare is exactly that:

$420.00 to fly from Washington DC to St. Petersburg, Russia, Saturday to Saturday in April.  And not one, fluke day mind you – practically the whole month stood at that rate.

Rapid calculations proceeded in my head.  I could get a bus ticket from NYC to DC for about $30 round trip (probably less).  A hostel, at $25 per night, would bring me up to – OH MY GOD, $600 TO VISIT RUSSIA FOR 6 NIGHTS?!?!?!?!  Jesus Christ, this had to be done.

Oh wait, there’s just a few problems:

  • I have ZERO vacation time for the year 2013.  It’s bad enough I receive a measly 11 days off, but ALL OF THEM will be used for my 2-week observation period for my Masters degree.
  • Everyone is afraid to commit.  People want to travel, but no one ever “has the money.”
  • I am supposed to be saving money for rent.  With a new apartment looming in sight that will be slightly more money than what I pay now, should I really be spending money on travel?

It sucks, because:

  • am saving money by not paying rent.  And I don’t know when I’ll begin paying it again, so the longer this situation continues, the more I save.
  • I have something called a credit card!  Which I pay off in full every month!  And if I can’t, the APR is so low I can pay for my ticket PLUS someone else’s in installments!  But even if I couldn’t do that, I have a shit ton of money in my bank account right now!  Like, more than the average 25-year old!  So I can REALLY afford things!
  • I don’t mind traveling alone, but it would be more fun with friends.
  • The price of the ticket makes it almost worth it to take an unpaid week off.  But April starts out busy season, and I’m not sure I should leave in the middle of it…
  • If I don’t do it, I’ll regret it.  I’m a sucker for a good friggin’ deal.  One time, I saw a RT ticket from NYC to Madrid for $250.  I hesitated and lost the deal, and regret it to this day.  Will Russia be the same way if I don’t jump on this now?

I refrained from purchasing, because:

  • Next year is going to be crazy for me.  Not only am I going to be spending my vacation time in a classroom, but come September, I’ll be fully out of the job while I student teach for three months.  $420 may not seem like a lot, but that’s $420 I can be putting towards rent while I’m unemployed.
  • My boyfriend and I talked about the trip.  He wanted to go, which is surprising, and we almost bought the tickets. But we both reasoned that because of our housing situation, it’d be better to focus on saving money instead of spending it on travel.  Plus, he reminded me that:
  • When I become a teacher, I’ll have so much time off and so much money to spend, I won’t know what to do with myself.  Two full months off of school, plus three one-week vacations, throw in some long weekends and another 6 sick days INCLUDING  salary of at least $55,000 = it feels good to be gangster.  Russia will always be there.  I just have to decide when!

The thought of traveling to Eastern Europe for less than $600 is certainly an excitable opportunity.  Taking a deep breath and walking away from the computer for a moment brought me down to earth though.  Some say there will always be an excuse and that it is the fear that holds you back from doing things you love.  I agree with that, although I think my reasoning is valid – I simply don’t have the time right now.

If I wasn’t student teaching I’d say “fuck it,” but Tom was right – “taking an unpaid week off would be like doubling the cost of the trip.”  A $600 trip turns into a $1200 trip, which is the average cost of a vacation anyway.  So why go through the stress of squeezing in travel at a hectic time, when I could save and plan for a break during a later, more convenient date?

I know I’ll be alright with my decision.  Part of travel’s allure is it’s unpredictability, and who knows where I’ll end up next?  So I don’t go to Russia in April – perhaps I’ll go back to Iceland, in August (flights at $550 RT guys!)…