Travel Tales and Travel Tips from our Travel Adventures

After our trips, we enjoy sharing entertaining tales we didn’t record, and helpful travel tips based on things we learned. And hopefully they help you prepare for your future trips.

Air Travel Tales & Tips – 4 Continents in 4 Weeks (Episode 108 – Part 14)

Over the course of 4 weeks, we traveled from Cuenca, Ecuador in South America, to Miami in North America, to Amsterdam in Europe, and finally to India in Asia. Then back again. We were in 10 different airports in 5 different countries on 4 different continents a total of 21 different times. I’m done with flying for a while!

We recorded 13 travel videos on our India Trip, but we had a lot of stories that didn’t make it into any of them and we wanted to share those with you. We also learned a few lessons that you might find useful on your future travels.

Air Travel Tips

  1. Pre-Order Airplane Meals – if you have any special food requirements, such as being vegan, vegetarian or gluten-free, or you have food allergies or you’re lactose intolerant, pre-order your meals for long flights through the airline website. Then protect them with your life! If you fall asleep, there’s a good chance someone will remove your food whether you’ve eaten it or not and if you’ve ordered a special meal, they likely won’t have a replacement.
  2. Eye Masks – these are very useful when you’re flying at night, but the sun is out. Yeah, I know it sounds strange, but when you fly for 10 hours, your body thinks it’s night even though you’ve flown into the daytime. An eye mask blocks out the sun and any overhead lights your plane neighbors forget to turn off.
  3. Travel Blanket – we didn’t talk about this one in the video, but we appropriated a couple blankets from the friendly skies that we used throughout our trip as lumbar support, neck support, packing materials and as actual blankets when the air conditioning was cranked up and we were cold. Apparently, you’re not supposed to take the blankets so we can’t endorse this antisocial behavior, but you can always take a small blanket with you that you acquire through less illicit means.
  4. Noise Canceling Headphones – Amelia bought a pair of these in the Apple Store in South Beach and she says they work great. I wished I had a set on the Air India party plane!
  5. Power Strip with Universal Adapter – Americans are spoiled with copious amounts of power outlets, but other countries aren’t so generous with them. Ecuador uses the American style 3-prong plug, but the houses don’t have very many outlets. Our AirBnB only had European outlets so we needed our adapter. The India hotels had either European outlets, or outlets that accepted both European as well as American style 3-prong plugs.The universal adapter was crucial, but so was the powerstrip. I have two chargers for my camera batteries, plus two phone chargers, an iPad charger, a fitbit charger and the power cord for our Mac. We needed to be able to charge most of those at the same time. And in most hotels in India, we could only charge while we were in the room. In order to leave the room, you have to take the key or card out of a slot, which shuts off all the power in the room. Nice for the environment and electricity conservation; bad for charging your devices.
  6. Extra Chargers – if you have a camera or other device with special chargers, take a spare charger with you. Our friend Patrick broke his camera charger and luckily had the same brand of camera that I have so I was able to loan him one of my spares. Same goes for your phone chargers. It’s easy to forget those in a hotel room so it’s a good idea to take an extra with you.
  7. India Travel Tips – Delhi Belly is a real thing. It’s the Indian version of Montezuma’s Revenge. I had it for 2 of our final days in India when we arrived at the Niraamaya Resort. I think I got it from eating some raw cashews we bought in Munnar. Thankfully, we purchased some supplies in Miami that minimized the effects:
    • Charcoal Pills – these are supposed to help with upset stomachs. Eating so much foreign food took its toll on my gut so I used these several times, and they seemed to work.
    • Electrolytes – I was thankful to have this after I got overheated on our final day in India. Amelia had been drinking it for several days and she did much better in the extreme heat and humidity.
    • Probiotics – we took these for 2 weeks leading up to our arrival in India, as well as during our entire stay there. We took the last pills on our last day in India. There’s no way to know for sure if they worked, but we managed to stay in India for two weeks with only a minor case of Delhi Belly.
    • Hand Sanitizer – Amelia is even more of a germaphobe than I am, so she bought WAY too much hand sanitizer in Miami. I wanted her to get one bottle. Instead, she bought four and we only used half of one. She used it more than I did, mainly on her hands, but she also used it to wipe down silverware and glasses.
    • Dramamine – if you have any issues with motion sickness, take Dramamine with you because the car rides, buses, boats and trains are all stomach churning experiences. We were very thankful we had some on the ride from Munnar to Kochi.
  8. AirBnB – there has been quite a bit of bad press about AirBnB over the past few months. Hotels spend a lot of money advertising in mainstream media, so news outlets like to run stories to make more affordable, unconventional, innovative options less attractive to consumers. But we were VERY happy with our AirBnB experience.We were ready to book a hotel in the City Center, but it was so expensive I suggested we cut our stay in Amsterdam short, or look at AirBnb. It was our first time using them and we’re glad we did! It saved us over $1,500! Plus, we stayed in a beautiful apartment with a full kitchen in the highly desirable Jordaan neighborhood that was close to everything.If you try AirBnB, we suggest selecting a place with lots of good reviews, and contact the owners before you book to see how responsive they are. We will certainly be using AirBnB again.

San José de Puembo Hotel in Quito Ecuador

We mentioned the San José de Puembo Hotel near the end of our video and we highly recommend it. We’ve stayed there several times now and have thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s about 20 minutes from the airport and they offer a free shuttle service. The beds are very comfortable and the grounds are beautiful. The food is good, too. It’s a little more expensive than the Quito Airport Suites hotel we stayed in last fall, but the rooms and restaurant are MUCH nicer.

That’s it for our travel tales and tips. I’m sure we’ll have more of these as we travel around Ecuador and other countries in South America.

Hopefully you enjoyed our video, and if you did, please LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE it, and SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel. ¡Muchas Gracias y Hasta Luego!

Bringing Pets to Ecuador: Daisy and Alicia’s Excellent Adventure (Episode 85)

We’ve had LOTS of questions about Bringing Pets to Ecuador and about how pet-friendly Cuenca Ecuador is, so we thought we’d record a quick video talking about our experience bring Daisy and Alicia here. It was quite the adventure!

For our fellow vegans, we’re using the term “pets” in this post and in the video for SEO value. More people search for pet travel and pet services than they search for companion animals or fur babies so we don’t want to miss out on that search traffic.

If you’re planning a move to Ecuador, you may find our Ecuador Expat Info page helpful.

USDA APHIS – Bringing Pets to Ecuador from the USA

If you’re bringing pets to Ecuador, the first thing you need to do is read through all the guidelines and certificate paperwork on the USDA APHIS website: APHIS stands for “Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.”

Here’s the page with the Health Certificates for Dogs and Cats, specifically for Ecuador. You need to have this paperwork with you at all times while travelling internationally with your pets.

The very next step is to find a USDA Accredited Veterinarian. They will help you fill out all the paperwork and plan your vaccine schedule. They’ll also work with the USDA to make sure everything on the paperwork and the vaccine schedule is correct. We used Town & Country Veterinary Clinic in Marietta, GA. They were very helpful and we highly recommend them if you live in the Atlanta area.

You’ll also need to find the nearest USDA APHIS office to get all the certificates endorsed. You need to make an appointment with them, and it could take a couple weeks to get on their calendar so plan accordingly.

The vaccine schedule is complicated, especially if you have multiple dogs at varying stages of their vaccine schedule. Daisy and Alicia both had some vaccines that had not expired yet. That meant we had to get boosters for some vaccines while making sure others were given during a specific window of time.

Even working with an accredited vet, we still messed up on one of the vaccines, which caused us to delay our trip by two weeks. Thankfully for us, but not for millions of other people, Hurricane Irma passed through Atlanta on the day we were supposed to leave and closed the airport so we were able to change our flights without paying any fees.

Pet Friendly Air Suites Hotel in Guayaquil Ecuador

The hotel we mentioned in the video is the Air Suites Hotel in Guayaquil. It’s only a few blocks from the airport, it’s very affordable and they accept pets. We’ve stayed their several times and it typically costs about $35/night. The rooms are small, but they’re very clean.

They don’t have much for vegan breakfast; mainly coffee, toast and fruit. We usually bring a PB&J with us when we stay there. You can walk to Mall del Sol, which is about 10 blocks away. That mall has a delicious sushi restaurant with several vegan options.

Bringing Pets to Ecuador: Air Suites Hotel Guayaquil

Renting a Home that Accepts Pets in Cuenca Ecuador

We talked about finding a rental house in Cuenca that would accept pets in our Cost of Living in Cuenca Ecuador + Rental House Tour. Not all landlords will accept pets, and some will only accept small dogs like Alicia. Daisy is considered a large dog here, and she’s only 30 pounds.

Pet Services in Cuenca

We’re going to record a full video on pet services in Cuenca, but for now, here’s who we use:

If you have any other questions, please let us know in the comments and we’ll try to answer them in our next Pet Care video.

Hopefully you enjoyed our video, and if you did, please LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE it, and SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel. ¡Muchas Gracias y Hasta Luego!

South Beach Miami Art Deco + Noe Sushi Quito Airport (Episode 42)

Walking around South Beach Miami, it almost feels like you’re in a comic book world. The South Beach Miami Art Deco style looks a lot like Gotham City. It was even more beautiful at night, but we weren’t there long enough to get any good night footage. Our brief video montage really doesn’t do justice to the beautiful architecture.

South Beach Miami Art Deco

We’ve been to South Beach Miami several times on our travels between the USA and Cuenca Ecuador, but we never get tired of seeing the 1920’s era Art Deco designs. Unfortunately, I didn’t get as much footage as I intended due to a malfunction with my camera.

South Beach Miami Art Deco Tour Senor Frogs South Beach Miami Art Deco Tour Tudor Hotel South Beach Miami Art Deco Tour Leslie

Miami Airport Vegan Food

The Miami Airport vegan food options are abysmal. We walked from one end of the D Terminal to the other and found only a couple of truly vegan options, none of them healthy.

Shula’s has a veggie burger, but it isn’t even close to vegan. The manager was kind enough to get the package for us and it has cheese and milk. There is a Mexican restaurant with the obligatory “Rice & Beans” vegan plate, but we opted for the Impossible Burger at the Corona Beach House restaurant again. That was before we finished walking to the other end of the terminal where we found a TGI Friday’s that had a Beyond Burger.

NOE Sushi Bar in the Quito Airport

The Quito Airport is actually more vegan friendly than Miami and Guayaquil because they have a NOE Sushi Bar with several vegan options. We got miso soup, a veggie roll and a Japanese veggie pasta dish with mushrooms.

Noe Sushi Quito Airport Miso Soup

Noe Sushi Quito Airport Roll

Noe Sushi Quito Airport Noodles

Be sure to tell them you’re vegan and list the things you don’t eat in Spanish:

  • somos veganos – we’re vegan
  • soy vegano – I’m vegan
  • no queso – no cheese
  • no crema – no cream
  • no huevos – no eggs
  • no carne – no meat
  • no pollo – no chicken
  • no pescado – no fish
  • no salsa de pescado – no fish sauce

Sometimes we say “sin” (without) instead of “no” but that often seems to confuse people so we find it’s easier to say “no carne” to minimize confusion.

Quito Airport Suites Hotel

Quito Airport Suites Hotel

Since our flight from Miami arrived very late and our flight to Cuenca wasn’t until the next morning, we stayed in the Quito Airport Suites Hotel overnight. Our large room cost $35 and it came with breakfast, although as you’ll see in the next video, it wasn’t very vegan friendly. You’ll also see how beautiful the grounds are in the next video.

See More: Return to Cuenca Ecuador + Tour of Quito Airport Suites Hotel + Quito & Cuenca Airports (Episode 43)Atlanta Georgia 2018

Hopefully you enjoyed our video, and if you did, please LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE it, and SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel. ¡Muchas Gracias!