The Best Hotels for a Chicagoland Staycation

Today we’re guests on the blog Queen of the Land of Twigs ‘N Berries. One of Amanda’s (a.k.a. the Queen’s) focuses is family travel and she asked us to chime in with staycation destinations for when you’re not with your kids. Take a look and let us know if you have any other suggestions!

The Best Hotels for a Chicagoland Staycation – Queen of the Land of Twigs ‘N Berries

Gold Fever: Haggling in Dubai’s Gold Souk


Need a solid gold belt? You can get one…in Dubai.

In honor of my upcoming trip to Dubai, I thought I’d share a blast from the past. I last visited Dubai in 2010 and at the time I kept a travel blog for whom the sole audience was my mother. I’ve come a long way since then (the expanded readership now includes my Mom and Ines’s Mom!), but I still love this story of an evening spent wandering the Gold Souk. It’s an experience that everyone should have in Dubai, and I can’t wait until I can visit it again.


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You’ve Got Mail!


Social media is so 2015. So how would you like to receive a piece of mail from the gals at XX, Will Travel? That’s right – an actual postcard from our journeys. Here’s what you have to do:

  1. Leave us a review on our iTunes page. By review, we mean a comment like “You’re so much cooler than Rick Steves!” and not just a star rating. Creativity will be rewarded! You can also subscribe to the podcast while you’re there.
  2. Send us your iTunes user name, your real name and your address via direct message on any of our social media platforms – Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram – or email at xxwilltravel[at]gmail[dot]com. We won’t distribute your info or use it for nefarious purposes. Feel free to follow us, too!
  3. We’ll send you a postcard from one of our trips. Some may be more exotic than others. But it will always be a surprise.

Be sure to tag us on social media to let us know you got your postcard.

Go forth and travel!

– Kathy & Ines



Episode 14: Homage to Airports

Most people view airports as a source of pain and frustration. Ines and Kathy beg to differ. Listen as the ladies discuss their favorite airports and the hidden amenity gems, tips for the security line, fun ways to pass the time while waiting for a flight and traumatic tales of flying solo as kids. (That’s right – their independent travel roots run deep!)

Click here to listen or click here to subscribe.

Love this episode? Subscribe to our podcast on Podbean or iTunes. If you’re feeling extra generous, leave us an iTunes review.  You can also follow us on Facebook,  Twitter and Instagram.

Meet Doris McTyre, DC Connoisseur

For this Wednesday’s episode on Washington, DC, we turned to Chicago funny lady, world traveler, and frequent DC visitor Doris McTyre. Doris is a financial planner during the week and a try-most-things once adventurer on nights and weekends. She loves running (slowly), being outside, and has dabbled in stand-up and storytelling. In her golden years she would like to have a pet goat. You can follow her on Instagram at @luchadoris.

1) Where have you traveled?

Domestically I’ve been to most of the states; international travel – Mexico, England, France, Germany, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Aruba, Venezuela, Argentina, Ecuador/Galapagos, China, and Japan.

2) What’s been your favorite trip so far?

I spent 9 days in Paris by myself when I was 20. I stayed in a hostel and ate in cafes or on park benches. Every night I would plan the next day’s activities from my guidebook and figure out which metro or bus routes to take. I had enough time to do pretty much all of the must-see attractions, plus some offbeat stuff like Les Puces des Clignancourt and The Catacombs. (These seemed offbeat to me at the time.) I found an English bookstore near the Louvre and bought a copy of “The Beautiful and Damned” by F. Scott Fitzgerald because I thought that was an appropriate thing to read while in Paris. It was my first time alone for an extended period of time and I loved it.

But the first trip I remember – at all, and also very fondly – was when my parents took me to the Yucatan Peninsula when I was 2. I bit through a thin water goblet at a fancy restaurant with a big mural, and in a separate incident, barfed up a Frescolita on my dad while on a ferry. We visited many Mayan ruins, of which I quickly tired, and my dad tried to keep it fun by saying “choc-mooooool” in a creepy voice over and over again. Sometimes he still does, but I appreciate it a bit more now than I did at the time.

3) What are 3 things you always take with you when you travel?

An extra pair of underwear and a toothbrush in my carry-on, Imodium and laxatives (you never know which one you might need!), and BodyGlide. So that’s 5 things; I cheated.

4) What’s your next destination?

This winter I’m going to Austin for a weekend to run a half-marathon, and about a month later I’m going to Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam for two weeks. There’s an elephant camp in Chiang Mai where you can be an elephant’s keeper for a day, so my life will basically be complete after that.

5) Give us 1 reason why you travel.

Carpe diem! I am healthy and able-bodied, I have the means (which has not always been the case), I don’t have kids, I have ample PTO, and my husband is a great travel buddy. I have always been curious about how the rest of the world lives/works/relaxes, and it also helps to keep things in perspective when I come home.

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I Tried Being Sporty in Guatemala. I Failed.

Me putting on a brave face before my hike to Pacaya.

I bought boots, guys. I bought some rad hiking boots because, after researching what to do in Guatemala, it seemed everyone just frolicked on volcanoes. Never mind that the reasons I chose to travel there had nothing to do with adventure sports. I was attracted to its indigenous culture and rich colonial history, its literary traditions and distinctive cuisine. But I seemed to be in the minority. Everyone else was happy living out their Indiana Jones fantasies.

Hence, why I decided that I too should tap into some undiscovered athletic aspect of my personality and buy myself some hiking boots.

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Learning to Travel From My Grandma


Disclaimer: Not my actual Grandma.

My Grandma is 93 years old and lives in a small town in Minnesota. She is relentlessly upbeat and passionate about the things she loves, which are mainly her family and the Minnesota Twins baseball team. She never finished her high school education, having had to drop out of school to help support her family, but she is a lifelong learner who reads the paper every day and is more in touch with current events than many younger people I know. She remains curious and engaged. She has also seen a big chunk of the world.

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