Enjoy guest posts from IGE readers describing their best vacations ever while I’m away on mine! Check out my Italy travel page which I’ll be updating with links to videos, pictures & posts throughout my trip!
Blog: Eating Abroad
Who, what, where, when and why: I studied abroad in Kenya in 2006 and wanted to do something special to celebrate my 21st birthday. I decided on a trip to the Tanzanian island of Zanzibar. I went with my boyfriend and two other friends. We rented a house along the beach and spent 5 days exploring the exotic island before returning to our lectures at the Kenyan university.
My favorite part of the vacation was: One day, we hired a local fisherman to take us out in the Indian Ocean on his small, wooden sail boat. He brought us to an uninhabited island and spent the day swimming, hiking, and appreciating the immense beauty of the place. We sailed back to the island of Zanzibar just as the sun began to set. Watching the island drift off into the distance surrounded by the most beautiful sunset, I was overwhelmed with feelings of joy and love. It was in Zanzibar that my boyfriend of now 4 years first told me he loves me. That island and culture will always have a special place in my heart.
My best travel tip for this location: Find an ex-patriot or NGO worker in the area who can direct you to honest locals who are willing to do a service for a fair cost. You will be able to help out their financial situation while having a truly authentic experience in the meantime.
Also, be sensitive to the culture and religion. Ladies, always cover your shoulders as bare shoulders are considered very disrespectful.
The thing you MUST do at this location: You must visit the Zanzibar fish market, known as Forodhani Gardens, in Stone Town. Here you can barter for fresh fish and seafood caught that day. What makes this market special is that the fisherman then cook the food right in front of you. The food is incredibly cheap yet more fresh and delicious than anything you’ve probably tasted. Even if you don’t eat fish, the atmosphere of friendly locals and open-fire grills is worth experiencing on its own.
Zanzibar is known as “The Spice Island,” so a spice tour, although more touristy, is also not to be missed!
The thing I want to do next time I return: I really want to go snorkeling the next time I return to Zanzibar. I’d also like to take a cooking class.
Blog: Giving Anything But Up
Who, What, Where, When and Why: Cayman Cookout, Grand Cayman (January 2010) to see chefs like Anthony Bourdain and Eric Rupert prepare food, mingle with those who are apart of Food and Wine magazine ect.
My favorite part of the vacation was: Tasting the food and meeting the CHEFS!!
My best travel tip for this location: Stay on the beach! and go to as many of the cookout large parties as you can to taste the most food and get a chance to talk to all the famous chefs more personally.
The thing you MUST do at this location: Go to stingray city!
The thing I want to do next time I return: Visit more local cuisine restaurants to taste the culture.
Name, Blog: Ellen R @ Undercover Runner Eats
Who, what, where, when and why: Myself, my mother, and dozens of other Harry Potter enthusiasts. A Harry Potter-themed (books and movies) 1.5 week tour of England and Scotland. Summer 2006. Because we love Harry Potter!
My favorite part of the vacation was: The final dinner at Edinburgh Castle. We got the entire castle to ourselves, there was a Druid priest who told stories, an amazing band, dancing, great food, and LOTS of robes and wands in tote. Or the hike we took to a waterfall featured in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Dragon task scene).
My best travel tip for this location: Bring good walking shoes!
The thing you MUST do at this location: Visit Platform 9 3/4 at King’s Cross Station. They actually built one off of the regular platforms because they received so many visitors looking for Platform 9 3/4 after the books and movies were released.
The thing I want to do next time I return: See more museums and castles! There were not nearly enough days to see all of the amazing historic sites (and we arrived 3 days early just so we could spend a bit more time in London!). Also, shopping. I barely got to go shopping because we were worried about being able to fit things in our huge suitcases to bring back to the States.