Top-Ten Tuesday: 10 Reasons to Travel with G Adventures

Today’s Top-Ten list is simple and short; it’s a review of my China trip with G Adventures. If you don’t know, G Adventures is a travel company that provides local guides on trips throughout the world.

Here are 10 reasons to travel with G Adventures

10. Insider Guides

Having a guide who spoke the native language, could explain the currency, and give detailed directions  was  extremely valuable. I actually got to enjoy the sites instead of searching for hours and then being too exhausted for more than a photo-op.

9. Use of Local Transportation

I actually prefer using public transportation. It easier, much cheaper, and you get to interact with the locals in an authentic setting.  On the tour, we used a plane and charted buses to bridge the long distances between cities. Once we were there, it was all subways,buses,and overnight trains. Chinese public transportation is an experience all of its own so it was a worthwhile experience.

8. Solo Traveler Friendly

Even the solo traveler craves a companion sometimes. It’s also helpful to belong to a group if you’re heading to a notoriously difficult or dangerous location.  A major plus for G Adventures is that solo travelers aren’t charged extra automatically. They share accommodation with others traveling alone or could choose to pay for their own room.  (In most cases-some Thailand trips seem to charge a single-supplement)

7.  A One-Stop Place

It was very easy for me to book and confirm my trip, email them the required documents,and buy the necessary travel insurance in one afternoon. After booking, I simply called their office and brought their travel insurance. If you need to, you can also arrange for airport transfers and extra nights while booking.

6.They Know the Hot-Spots

Because G Adventures guides are also natives, they know where to go for the best food,cheapest shopping, and cleanest bathrooms. (Trust me-this information is worth its weight in gold.) Our guide knew where to go for the best late-night dumplings and escorted us to the cheap yet safe shopping areas. China has a strict policy when it comes to antique and souvenirs so without his guidance, I could have  loaded up on gifts and trinkets that wouldn’t have made it past customs.

5. See the Best of the Best

The itinerary is made to fit in all of the major to-dos. In my 8 day trip I saw four different cities. It felt rushed at times, but there was always moment where I could stop ,reflect, and realize I was in either a very special or a very beautiful place.

4. Meet a Diverse Group of Travelers

On my trip, our small group consisted of 6 people: 2 Mexicans, 4 Americans from all over the US, and , of course, our Chinese guide. While traveling, I got to learn about all these different cultures and practice my Spanish as well. I like traveling with people from all over; you get to learn a bit and get ideas for future traveling.

3. Location,Location,Location

G Adventures offers trips to both the most common and most  exotic of places. That makes it easy to get to uncommon places or places where the language barrier can be unforgiving.

2. “If you’re confirmed, you’re going”

Group sizes are limited to 12-16 people. However, you’re not punished if no one else signs up for your departure date. As long as you pay, turn in the required documents ( copy of passport and flight information) and get a conformation email, you’re going.

1. Pick a Budget, Any Budget

The best thing is that there are trips to fit every budget. There are trips for the student’s budget,for the adventurer who wants to spend a bit more to party hard, comfort style for those who want Western comforts overseas, and family trips for those with small ones to accommodate.

I obviously loved G Adventures and plan on using them again in the future.However,for the sake of a well-rounded review, I’ll have to include some things I didn’t love.

Some Things I Didn’t Like…

No Heads Up About Tipping for Services 

Before leaving, you get a suggested budget that covers things like food,transportation, and emergency spending. I had planned for each of those categories plus a bit of souvenir shopping. Knowing that tipping wasn’t common in Asia, I didn’t think we would have to tip for drivers or extra tour guides during outings. I thought it was included in the fees. It was normally 20 yuan which isn’t big deal-especially when converted to US dollars- but it did force me to make a few unexpected ( and fee-ridden) trips to the ATM.

Optional Excursions

Most days, there are optional outings that you pay for separately. Most of these are cultural events and I did enjoy the majority. Some of them, however, fell a bit flat and were expensive. However, that’s probably more of an interest and personality thing.

Have you had an experience with G Adventures or another tour company? Leave a comment below ! I would love to know what other tour companies are like.

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Top-Ten Tuesdays: Favorite Korean Foods

10. Waffles

blog.korea.net

blog.korea.net

My students buy these in prepackaged bags and try to munch on them in class.

9. Teok Rice Cakes

Korean rice cake dessert

Korean rice cake dessert

I didn’t like these at first, but with my school handing them out nearly every week, they’re growing on me.

8.  Rice Stew

images

Leftover rice is allowed to boil until nearly burned. If seasoned with juices from leftover meat, this is delicious.

7.Soju

IMG_0271

The most popular alcohol choice in Korea by far.

6. Mandu Soup

koreataste.org

koreataste.org

Meat-filled dumplings in soup. Very simply and very delicious .

5. Instant Kapi

IMG_0273

Kapi is how “coffee” is pronounced in Korea.While Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts blot every corner, instant coffee seems to be popular, especially in office settings.  Everything-coffee,sugar,and cream-comes in one cute little package.

4.Japchae

yelp.com

yelp.com

Noodles and vegetables in a brown sauce. It  tastes amazing.

3. Tteokbokki

dukbokki and soup

dukbokki and soup

One my favorite Korean meals so far. Spicy, circular rice noodles in a spicy red pepper sauce.

2. Bulgogi

commons.wikimedia.org

commons.wikimedia.org

Flavorful beef cooked on a table-top grill. When it’s done, you wrap it in a lettuce leaf and make a scrumptious type of Korean taco.

1.Bibimbap

bibimbap

bibimbap

A mixture of ground beef,vegetables, and rice topped with a spicy red sauce. If you want to try the best of the best, head to Jeonju, the home of Bibimbap.

Have a favorite Korean dish or top-ten list of your own? Comment below!

Top-Ten Tuesday: Forgotten Travel Moments

In an attempt to become a more active blogger, I’ve started a new series . Every Tuesday, I’ll be posting a top-ten list about something related to the travel/expat world.

I was looking through old travel photos and they brought back many memories and untold stories . I’ve decided to share.

                                                                        1. Granada , Spain 

An interesting statue in the gardens of the Alhambra. ( Granada, Spain)

An interesting statue in the gardens of the Alhambra. ( Granada, Spain)

                                                                                2. Orlando, Florida 

Just after feeding the gators.( Orlando, FL)

Just after feeding the gators.( Orlando, FL)

                                                                3. London, England

Snapping street signs to find our way back once we realized we were getting  lost.

Snapping street signs to find our way back once we realized we were getting lost. ( London, England)

                                                            4. Seoul, South Korea

Performers relaxing before a flag ceremony. (Seoul, South Korea)

Performers relaxing before a flag ceremony.
(Seoul, South Korea)

                                                         5. Dover , DE

Stumbled upon this thing at the Firefly Music Festival. (Dover, DE)

Stumbled upon this thing at the Firefly Music Festival. (Dover, DE)

                                                                                       6. London, England

One of many failed selfies with my bff and travel buddy. (London, England)

One of many failed selfies with my bff and travel buddy. (London, England)

                  7. Toledo , Spain

This breathtaking view on a tour bus in Toledo , Spain

This breathtaking view on a tour bus in Toledo , Spain

                                                                                       8. Morocco, Africa

Watching a rug "show" in Morocco. Before taking this , the shopkeeper pointed to me said I looked like I knew Arabic. He tried several times to start a convo with me in Arabic and seemed very annoyed when I couldn't respond.  (Morocco, Africa)

Watching a rug “show” in Morocco. Before taking this , the shopkeeper pointed to me said I looked like I knew Arabic. He tried several times to start a convo with me in Arabic and seemed very annoyed when I couldn’t respond.
(Morocco, Africa)

                                                                                     9. Beijing, China

Found this fun little guy at the Beijing Zoo.

Found this fun little guy at the Beijing Zoo.

                                                                                      10. Beijing, China

A children's camp followed us around the Forbidden City before finally asking for a picture. You can just make me out in the back.

A children’s camp followed us around the Forbidden City before finally asking for a picture. You can just make me out in the back.

 

I would love for this an interactive type of tag so I tag EVERY READER to contribute their own travel moment photos or a top-ten list.

My Travel Playlist

Inspired by Travellersoul76 (Check out her amazing blog. She’s lived everywhere!) , I decided to make a list of my favorite traveling tunes. These are songs that have calmed me to sleep during flights, entertained me on long bus rides throughout Spain, and , recently, have been reminding of all the places I’ve been and where I want to go.

Click on the titles to hear the song.

1. “Good Life” by OneRepublic

Favorite Line: “Woke up in London yesterday/ found myself in the city near Picadilly.”

I found this song the summer before visiting London and now every time I hear it, I remember my favorite city. And the time that old guy attacked a car in Picadilly Circus

2.”I’ve Been Everywhere” by Johnny Cash

I listened to this over and over again while packing. I haven’t been to most of the places but it’s catchy as heck. And, yes, I was a bit annoyed when no one realized Rihanna sampled it in ‘Where Have You Been”

Favorite Line: “Of travel I had my share, man/I’ve been everywhere.”

3. “Me Gustas Tu” by Manu Chao

This song was used in a grammar course to refresh us on the use of me gusta.  Translate the lyrics if you need to and you’ll find it’s both funny and useful for learning the language.

Favorite Line :“Me gustan los aviones/ me gustas tu.’

4. “Mas” by Nelly Furtado

I listened to the whole Mi Plan album constantly but this song is a bit special. I had been in Spain for a few months and had this playing one day while I was walking home. I noticed that I actually understood the lyrics and wasn’t just enjoying the beat as usual. For me , it signified that I was actually learning Spanish and not wasting time there.

Favorite Line :“No quiero perder mas todo mi tiempo/al lado de alguien quien no quiere entenderlo.”

5. “I was Here” by Beyonce

At every new experience, I keep thinking that no one would ever be able to take my memories of it away from me. Traveling felt like a dream to me, which is why I am working so hard to continue. The video also features clips of her travels around the world.

Favorite Line: “ I did, I’ve done, everything that I wanted/And it was more than I thought it would be.”

6. “Sofa” by Ed Sheeran

One day I will love a man so much that not even the prospect of travel will make me want to leave our sofa.

Favorite Line: “Say the word and I’ll take ya/ But I’d rather stay on the sofa with you.”

7. “So Good” by B.OB

The video for this song is awesome and full of places I’ve been and want to go.

Favorite Line: “ Five hour layovers from Norway to Egypt/I’m to the point like the Pyramids of Giza/ Still leaning left like the tower out in pisa.” 

I would love to know what travel songs I should add to my playlist as well as what songs are on yours.