Hello, I’m Camille.
Thanks for stopping by!
2023- Group Travel Options
Yes, options. Meaning, more than one! Thanks to the responses from my friends and followers, and my own obsession with travel planning, I have decided to offer 2 group trips this year (I do have the whole summer off, after all!) . The choices are:
Spain and Portugal: Ten day group trip of the highlights of Spain and Portugal. This includes 2 nights in Barcelona, 2 nights in Granada, 1 night in Porto and 3 nights in Lisbon. The target dates are July 18-July 27, 2023. The target group size is 8-10. Price: $1300 + airfare and food. You can read all about it here. You can sign up for it here. Application deadline is March 14, 2023.
South Korea: Ten day group trip of the highlights of South Korea. This includes 1 night in Seoul, 2 nights in Busan, 1 night in Gyeongju, and ending back in Seoul for 4 nights. The target dates are August 3-12, 2023. The target group size is 8-10 people. Price: $1300 + airfare and food. You can read all about it here. You can sign up for it here. Application deadline is March 14, 2023.
Thank you, thank you, thank you, for even entertaining this idea. I am hopeful that together we can make a summer of incredible, unforgettable, memories.
Spain and Portugal- Group Trip 2023
What it is: This is a 10 day group trip of the highlights of Spain and Portugal. This includes 2 nights in Barcelona, 2 nights in Granada, 1 night in Porto and 3 nights in Lisbon. The target dates are July 18-July 27, 2023. The target group size is 8-10. Price: $1300 + airfare and food. Sign up by March 14th.
Goal: The primary goal of this trip is to explore the culture and history of the Iberian Peninsula. The secondary goal is to have fun doing it. I cannot promise you that I won’t make any mistakes as a newbie tour guide, but I can promise that I will be responsible to solve it. You can just relax and enjoy the ride! Along the way you can anticipate 1000+ years of history, late night dinners, tapas, hot summer sun, and gelato! There will be plenty of gelato.
Day 1: A Trip’s Beginning
Leave your home and head to the airport. Pack a pillow, it’s going to be a long flight!
Day 2: Arrive in Barcelona, Spain
We will use the first day to gather ourselves and explore. Barcelona is a city made popular by hosting the 1992 Olympics. This is when the world discovered the layers of history, color, and culture this city holds. It is now a city with more tourists than locals annually. It is located on the coast in Catalonia, a region of Spain with its own language (Catalan) and culture (and palm trees). As the home of historical creatives, including Pablo Picasso and Antoni Gaudi, the city is splashed with color and textures beyond your imagination.
Day 3: Dig In
We’ll start our day with a bike tour to orient ourselves with an overview of the city. Since Barcelona has so much to offer, you’ll have to make some decisions for your afternoon. Park Guell, Sagrada Familia, and the Barcelona History Museum are all worthy places to visit. Park Guell and the Sagrada Familia are both architectural works of Antoni Gaudi. The park (pictured above) offers views of the city with mosaic scenery for $11. The Sagrada Familia, the world’s longest, still active, construction site is a funky and detailed cathedral. We will see the exterior from our bike tour, but if you want to see the interior, tickets are $28. The History Museum houses underground Roman ruins for $6. If you are interested in all 3, we should be able to fit them all into the afternoon, if we keep it moving. Or, you may select the ones of interest and spend your free time resting or exploring.
Day 4: Fly to Granada
Due to the accessibility of budget airlines in Europe, a quick flight is our best option for reaching Southern Spain. Granada is located in Andalucía, a unique state of Spain that was ruled the longest by the Moors, the African Muslims that ruled Spain for 800 years. They were expelled from Spain in 1492 but have left their mark in the culture, architecture, and food in that region. We will spend the afternoon with free time to explore and the evening enjoying a flamenco show, a traditional dance from the region.
Day 5: Visit the Alhambra
Spend the afternoon in a guided tour of the Alhambra, a massive Moorish palace and last standing grounds of the Moors in Spain. Known for its beautiful architecture and gardens, the guided tour will give us the context we need to enjoy the views. We’ll end the day exploring the white walled Muslim quarter for shopping, hidden gardens, and scenic views of the city.
Day 6: Fly to Porto, Portugal
The city from which Portugal got its name is the second largest city in Portugal and a reported, must see, on everyone’s travel list. Since we only have 1 night here, we will use our time wisely with a walking tour to orient ourselves and free time to explore.
Day 7: Train to Lisbon, Portugal
Enjoy the scenic route to Portugal’s largest city, Lisbon, by train. Upon arrival we will explore the Carmo Convent and Pink and Green Streets.
Day 8: Day trip to Pena Palace, Sintra,
We’ll take the train to discover Sintra’s beauty and history, its romantic Pena Palace, Moorish Castle, and Quinta de Regaleira, on a full-day trip from Lisbon.
Day 9: Explore Lisbon
Another walking tour will start our day before we enjoy a ride on a scenic tram, eat egg tarts, and explore the city’s ancient, hilly streets. An optional guided day tour of Lisbon by walking, bike, tram, and boat is available for an additional $45, should you want more structure and explanation.
Day 10: Fly home, from Lisbon
It’s our last day! Breakfast and flights are what is in store for us.
What to Expect of Europe in August: August is peak travel season and we aren’t the only ones looking to experience the classics. You can expect it to be hot and warm and you can expect large crowds. You can also expect smaller serving sizes and family style dining. Spain is famous for its ‘tapas’ dinners made entirely of shared appetizers. They also tend to eat slow meals and late at night, so prepare yourself for that!
Also, you can expect to walk, a lot. As you may have noticed, much of our itinerary involves roaming. It is the best way to see a place that’s dominated by stairs, hills, and cobblestone streets. Plus, you have to work off all the carbs. Not to mention, we will be relying on public transportation. Europe is very walking and training friendly, but that also can make it tiring. You should be physically and emotionally prepared to walk 10,000 steps or more a day.
Note on the flight: You will be responsible to get yourself to Barcelona, Spain by July 19th and from Lisbon, Portugal on July 27th. If you find that it is cheaper to fly back to Barcelona in order to have a round trip route, you are free to do that.
What to expect from me: If you don’t know me well, you can read about me here. If you want to learn more about my travel style, I blogged about my favorite experiences here. By the time of this trip I will have been to 23 countries, the majority of which I have had a significant role in planning. I do enjoy figuring out the details, but I also love the travel itself. Sometimes things don’t go as planned but my favorite part is when they go better than planned. So I keep planning and going because I love the surprises that travel brings. I’m excited for the opportunity to share these surprises with you and want to thank you profusely for even thinking this is an idea worth reading about.
What I expect from you: I expect that you are adults. I am agreeing to coordinate but I’m not agreeing to be a chaperone or a maid. I ask that everyone is considerate and responsible, that you ask for help if you need it, chip in where you can, keep track of your own travel documents, and you don’t wander off without telling someone.
I always say that travel is a gift. It’s an incredible privilege and my hope is that we can all keep this in mind as we go. Gratitude and grace go a long way about half way through a trip when the sun is beating down and you don’t know where the nearest bathroom is and maybe your travel coordinator is scrambling to pull the group together. So, I am asking that you bring your gratitude and your flexibility because we’ll be growing together.
Luggage Policy: If you haven’t traveled much in Europe you are going to be surprised by my next statement, but everyone will be allotted one carry on suitcase and one hand bag/backpack. First, because we are being budget friendly and probably basic economy airfare. Second, because Europe= stairs and you do not want to be lugging a full sized suitcase over the notorious hills of Lisbon. Also, we will be traveling by train and public transportation. You will be very thankful for packing light, even if it means you have to decide what you will wear before you get there. In light of this, I will be booking accommodations with a washer and dryer at some point on our trip in case you need to do any laundry.
$1300 depending on final domestic flight costs, size of the group, and lodging needs. Should this change, you will be given adequate warning.
What Is Included
Trip Planning Fee: itinerary formation and managing tour and within trip transportation bookings
Transportation between cities: Flights from Barcelona to Granada and Granada to Porto. Also, train from Porto to Lisbon.
Accommodations: These are double occupancy accommodations, assuming that you will be willing to share a bed. If you would like to pay extra for your own bed, or your own room, this is available upon request and for a fee. Some locations may be hotels and some may be airbnbs. I prefer airbnbs as they get you into local neighborhoods, but I will be cross-referencing prices and booking hotels if they are better options.
A sim card for phone data and calling within Spain and Portugal. This will keep us from getting too lost in the city and from each other.
Tours: Tickets to the Barcelona bike tour, Alhambra tour, flamenco show, Porto walking tour, Lisbon walking tour, and Sintra day trip.
What Is Not Included:
Your international flights and public transportation. It is impossible for me to guess how much tickets will cost from each of your homes, or to calculate how many subway rides we will be taking, so I am not able to include that in the price. However, I am happy to help you with booking, if you have any questions, and will be helping you purchase public transit tickets upon arrival.
Meals and food: Breakfast, lunch, dinner, coffee shop stops, churros con chocolate, etc are not included in the price. This is to allow you maximum control over your food budget and preferences. The internet recommends budgeting an additional $35-$45 a day to cover this cost, although I would keep in mind the rising price of food. I am not opposed to getting groceries for breakfast some days, or packing lunches, if the group wants to cut some corners.
Extra tours or excursions. Currently the options include:
Park Guell entrance: $11
Barcelona History Museum: $6
Sagrada Familia entrance: $28
Lisbon walking, biking, traming, and boating guided tour: $45
You will have the opportunity to sign up for desired tours when you book the trip. If you opt out of the tours, you are welcome to use your free time as you wish.
Travel insurance (including health insurance). Given the events of 2020, I do recommend travel insurance. I have found World Nomad’s Travel Insurance to be reasonable in the past, although I haven’t needed to file any claims yet.
You can sign up by following this link SIGN UP and completing the trip application.
The Payment Plan
If you have read all the way to the bottom of this page, I’m assuming you are pretty interested in this trip. Hooray! If you are ‘in’ and ready to make it official here’s the plan:
- Follow the link to Sign up and confirm your spot.
- The sign up is open until March 7th. At this point, I will contact everyone who has signed up with the verdict on if the trip is officially happening. If it is, you will be notified on how to pay a $100 non refundable deposit that will go towards the total cost of your trip. If, for some reason, I need to cancel the trip, I will refund the money to you, no cost.
- On March 18, 2023 the final payment of $1200 + optional tours will be due.
- Pack your bags because…
- July 18th, we will head out on the adventure of a lifetime!
NOTE: Payments are accepted via zelle and venmo. I will share my accounts to receive payment when you sign up. This trip is non refundable and any travel insurances that you wish to purchase will be additional costs to you. Prices are subject to change, with adequate notification to participants.
There! That’s the whole thing! (I think)
If you have any questions, email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org or contact on my socials.
2023 Group Trips and How They Came to Be
Last fall I hosted 14 friends from Pennsylvania and took them to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Massive and well designed, the MET truly has something for everyone, including the option for New Yorkers to pay what they wish, and to bring their friends along on this discounted opportunity. Now, I realized that perhaps there was a limit to how many friends I could get this discount for, so I asked. I never got a real answer on the limit though because apparently it is inconceivable that someone in their 30s would have so many friends! We had quite the string of questioning to get to the bottom of our friendship. Surely we were part of a club. Or a church group. Or someone, somehow trying to take advantage of a discount when they should be paying the group rate. We did get it all ironed out eventually, but it reminded me again, of how fortunate I have been to have a group to adventure with, both domestically and internationally.
Then, a few weeks ago I was editing the pictures from my trip last summer. It was a whirlwind- around the world in 6 weeks kind of trip- and the pictures brought back memories of sweaty hikes, scenic surprises, and the refreshing taste of peach iced tea. Travel is not without its challenges, confusions, and disappointments- but I love it. So much! The world really is SUCH an interesting place to live!
They say that necessity is the mother of invention, and while I can’t say that I’ve invented anything, needing something to do has definitely birthed some interesting ideas. In fact, the start of this blog came from a winter boredom lull. And, if you may remember, back in 2020, I plotted, planned, and booked a ladies’ trip to Italy, during a similar winter lull.
Well, here we are in winter again and, while I’m not bored, I cannot help but wonder if I would have liked that ladies’ trip that got COVID canceled. I definitely still love to travel. And plan. And do things as a group.
And somewhere in my brain, connecting all these little thoughts about the gift it is to travel, with friends, and my love for organizing trips, and wondering what I, myself, am doing this summer- I had this nagging question. So I asked some of you- What if I planned a summer group trip? Would you be interested?
And really, the question is- Is there anyone out there who wishes they could travel more but they don’t like planning or they don’t have a group to go with? And, would those people like to go with me?
Well, bless your hearts because some of you said yes!
And so I began the exciting process of trip planning. Yay!
And now it’s ready. As ready as it will be. To share with the world and see – is there anyone who wishes they could travel more? Who would like someone else to plan it for them? Who would like to go with a group that isn’t totally random people from the internet? Who would like to go this summer?
Here’s what I have to offer. Thanks to the responses from my friends and followers, and my own obsession with travel planning, I have decided to offer 2 group trips this year (I do have the whole summer off, after all!) . The choices are:
Spain and Portugal: Ten day group trip of the highlights of Spain and Portugal. This includes 2 nights in Barcelona, 2 nights in Granada, 1 night in Porto and 3 nights in Lisbon. The target dates are July 18-July 27, 2023. The target group size is 8-10. Price: $1300 + airfare and food. You can read all about it here. You can sign up for it here. Registration deadline is March 7, 2023.
South Korea: Ten day group trip of the highlights of South Korea. This includes 1 night in Seoul, 2 nights in Busan, 1 night in Gyeongju, and ending back in Seoul for 4 nights. The target dates are August 3-12, 2023. The target group size is 8-10 people. Price: $1300 + airfare and food. You can read all about it here. You can sign up for it here. Registration deadline is March 14, 2023.
Thank you, thank you, thank you, for even entertaining this idea. I am hopeful that together we can make a summer of incredible, unforgettable, memories. If you have any questions or just want to talk about it, I’m always down for a conversation about travel.
Colorado or Bust!
I know most people go to Colorado for the nature. I like nature as much as your average city dweller might, but I went for the people. With the return of travel came the return of summer trips with my Lancaster Friends. This is my fourth trip with some of them so we have the routine down pretty well.
Have I mentioned how thankful I am to have friends to travel with? It’s everything.
We started our trip in Breckenridge, exploring the famous ski town and riding its lift in circles. We underestimated the affect of the elevation on us so we limited hiking our first few days. Word to the wise, if you are planning to go to Colorado, keep your higher peaks for later in your itinerary.
We closed out our second evening there with a ride through Boreas Pass for views.
We followed a dirt road to a little lake on our way out of town for some waterfall hiking and more tree time.
Our next stop was Colorado Springs for the Manitou Cliff Dwellings, Garden of the Gods, Pike’s Peak, and more hiking. Except that, surprise, surprise, I got tired of trees and requested a break. My friends (bless them) obliged me with a stop at a bookstore instead. Colorado Springs turned out to be a fun little town with decent restaurants, bookstores, and sometimes even folk music festivals in the park for you to enjoy while the rest of your group finishes their hike.
Our last stop of the trip was Rocky Mountain National Park. Tickets to national parks these days are a bit complicated, so make sure you do some research ahead of time. We were very thankful to snag some last minute tickets to round out the end of our trip. We spent the day stopping off for hikes between long, scenic drives. We found mountain lakes and elk and still had things to talk about after 5 days of traveling together. That’s always a good sign.
The trip ended with a short night at an airport hotel before we each departed to our respective destinations. The hotel had fun mirror running the entire length and height of the wall behind the beds, just to add a layer of oddity to a place we were already planning to leave at strange hours of the morning. I would not recommend.
- It’s domestic. In the era of COVID travel restrictions, domestic seems to be the way to go.
- It’s scenic. For someone who can get tired of trees, I still have to admit, Colorado is beautiful.
- It’s accessible. If you want to enjoy the scenery but aren’t very “outdoorsy”, Colorado is very drivable and beautiful spots are easy to access without exerting yourself too much. Take Pike’s Peak for example. You can take a train or drive if you don’t want to hike it.
City of Angels
Let’s hear it for the return of travel!
If I have learned anything from 2020, it is that I am not in control. In my perfect world, I’d be traveling the world. As would you, probably. But here we are, year two of a global pandemic. So, we take what we can get and we don’t get upset. For me, this meant keeping my travels mostly domestic this year. And really, after two years of no travel, it felt so good to be back, even if my passport didn’t get any stamps. Since cities are my favorite I’ll start with this one: Los Angeles.
This trip was a short, two night stay with the primary purpose of visiting my friend Kai. She’s a brilliant friend from grad school and I always enjoy our long talks on everything from speech therapy to diversity to city living to crypto currency. Between her and her husband, I always leave a conversation feeling smarter. They keep me on my toes!
I spent the first morning being shown around her neighborhood, catching up, and petting her cats. We stopped by Frank Lloyd Wright’s glass chapel in Abalone Cove and I awed at the succulent bushes.
While she worked in the afternoon I set out in my own to see Downtown. First stop, the Hollywood sign. I didn’t need to touch it, just see it. Turns out there are some decent views from the Griffith Observatory. The Observatory was closed and it was too hot to enjoy most of the trails, so I just did the touristy thing and took pictures.
From there I headed to Grand Central Market for ice cream, because what is city exploration without dessert?
Across the street I stumbled upon Angel’s Flight Railway, the world’s shortest railway. It looked too fun not to jump on for a lift to the top.
I found a few more skyscrapers and at least one iconic building before heading back to Kai’s for boba on the beach.
We closed out the evening with a sunset walk on the Manhattan Beach boardwalk– beautiful homes and beautiful views.
Day 2 was all about Joshua Tree National Park. I’ve been wanting to check it out for a while and God bless Kai for agreeing to face that 100* desert with me. But first stop, brunch. If you’re in the area, I do recommend Crossroads Cafe. Delicious!
Now, all I knew about Joshua Tree was the tree part. What I didn’t realize was it also has some famous rock formations.
And that was it. Oh, except that we also did some outlet mall shopping at Desert Hills Premium Outlets and got take out Korean food for dinner. This is why travel is best when you are visiting people, because it provides a variety that tourists cannot capture.
What I liked about this trip:
- Travel is back! I savored the feeling of take off, of stumbling across new things, of being anywhere other than my little routine. Oh the absolute gift it is to travel.
- This was my first city trip in two years. Now, this summer I did tell my friends that, “It’s not that I need concrete, it’s that I need real people connections.” I’ll leave the context for that quote for another post, but after 12 hours in LA I realized, maybe I do need concrete? I mean, mountains and lakes are beautiful, but cities give me a different kind of joy. Probably the same joy you get from mountains and lakes, that I don’t get. I’m not sure. But I think it has to do with 1. people, 2. my lack of nature survival skills, 3. my life experiences, 4. how God made me. All that to say, “Yay! A new city!”
- The East Coast/ West Coast comparison was interesting to me. I think you need to step a toe into each of the major cities and wade around through the Midwest for a bit to get an understanding of the diversity that is America. As a New Yorker, this is an especially interesting topic as there is always a little rivalry between us. So, it was interesting to see what LA is like. (Spoiler: I still think New York is better.)
- Kai time. As you know, when you’ve been friends with someone for almost a decade, it’s a special treat to see them in the place they grew up. So, while travel is coming back and you may be dreaming of all the places to go, I recommend prioritizing friendships. Visit someone. Take them with you. Of all the things we’ve lost in this pandemic, real connection is the one that is probably hurting us the most. It’s up to us to do something about it.
Hello! I’m Camille. Thanks for stopping by!
I am a full time speech therapist and a part time traveler, world pandemics aside. I currently live in Brooklyn, New York but I’m from the Midwest. My travel opportunities tend to come in cycles, but when I have the chance, I love to talk about them. I didn’t travel much growing up, unless you count summer trips to my great grandparents in Iowa. I would say that I grew into it, starting with trip planning my senior spring break trip to Sarasota, FL and growing from there. I managed to squeeze in some destinations during college but my passport really got a boost when I graduated, adding 20 countries and numerous stateside cities to the list since then. I tend to be a little type A in that I like lists and planning but city living and globe traipsing have taught me a lot about flexibility and resilience.
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