Travel Guide to Tbilisi in 48 hours

After all, a city that was founded in the 5th century is basically guaranteed to have quite the story with incredible sights to discover. Take in the colorful sights of Old Town and stroll down Rustaveli Street, which runs north through south through most of the city.

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Admire Sioni Cathedral and pop into the surrounding shops on Sioni Street. This is the oldest structure in Tbilisi, dating back to the 5-6th centuries, and it is also one of the most beautiful cathedrals in the city. People come into town to sell their goods off of carts along the street outside, and all the Tbilisi locals recommended buying the traditional Georgian candy churchkhela (shaped like a candle and typically made from grape must, nuts and flour) from one of these carts since they’re the best homemade ones you can get– they weren’t wrong. I also bought some delicious churchkhela from a vendor down the street from his open air shop to bring home to friends and family. There’s also a really nice rug shop with gorgeous traditional Georgian rugs of all shapes and sizes you can bring home, which the country is famous for.

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Grab a bite at the Bakery at Sioni. You can walk right by this hidden gem without even knowing what it is. The sign to the oldest bakery on Sioni Street is in faded Georgian, but is the last building right next to a swanky looking restaurant with a golden statue on its outside wall, then walk down the stairs. This bakery produces Georgian bread (puri) in cylindrical ovens. I’m so bummed that I didn’t discover this bakery until my last day in Tbilisi, but you can bet I bought all the pastries I thought I could fit in my bag to last me through my return flight the next day. My favorite was a sweet bread with white cheese inside.

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Walk through Rike Park and across the Peace Bridge. Rike Park is so charming and visited by tourists and families alike. Enjoy the Tbilisi sunshine on a bench and snap some great IG-worthy shots in front of the odd tubular structure, which is the unfinished Concert Hall & Exhibition Center.

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Walking across the bridge will give you really neat views of both the bridge’s unique architectural structure and the city. But beware of tourist traps and pickpockets, since the bridge is quite narrow and a funnel for this type of unwanted attention.

Soak in the Autotubani. Soak in the beneficial natural sulphur hot springs. Legend has it that Tbilisi was founded when the King of Georgia discovered the springs, which gave the city its name, meaning “warm place.” These dome-looking structures are actually the roofs of bathhouses down below! Choose from a variety of baths across varying price points. The public bathhouses are the least expensive, or splurge a bit for your own private room. I had a great experience at Chreli Abano, which is housed in the beautiful blue mosaic building at the end of Abano Street (you can see it to the left of my head poking over one of the brick domes). Most bathhouses will show you their available rooms for you to choose from, but I highly recommend you booking a room in advance because the most popular ones get booked up quickly.

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Hike up to Narikala Fortress & Kartlis Deda. Be prepared in somewhat study walking shoes – the hills and stairs up to the top are steep and on rough cobblestone. Climb the fortress walls and prepare for stunning panoramic views of Tbilisi. From the fortress, you can hike on a well-traveled path along a ridge with continued views of the city down below up to Kartlis Deda. The statue is dubbed the Mother of Georgia as she holds both a glass of wine and a sword, representing hospitality to those who come to Georgia as friends, and protector to those who wish to cause harm.

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Stroll the narrow cobblestone streets of Old Town. Take in the unique architecture in this neighborhood. The district is full of peculiar wooden houses with open, carved balconies that cling to the mountainside under Narikala Fortress.

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Enjoy brunch, coffee, or something stronger at the Stamba Hotel. The Stamba Hotel is one of the swankiest spots in all of Tbilisi, and its reputation is well-deserved. Housed in a former publishing house in Tbilisi, Stamba Hotel combines 1930s nostalgic references with a contemporary hotel concept and has enough charm to make you swoon. I got treated to a private tour – literally just upon request because I was interested in what the rest of the hotel looked like! – and this is hands down my favorite hotel I’ve never stayed in (not yet, anyways).

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Cafe Stamba is a multi-functional space divided into several sections, including a swanky restaurant, coffee and chocolate bar where they make their own chocolates, an Asian eatery with food prepped before your eyes, and I mean, LOOK at this bar and massive chandelier! We hear the cocktails are also especially impressive. While you’re here, visit the Rooms Hotel bar, which is a fun, more casual spot in the Stamba Hotel’s sister hotel right next door.

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Kick your feet up and enjoy the patio weather at Hotel Winery 1896 or Tbili Sio. I discovered this magical patio away from the bustle of Rustaveli Street by complete accident when I was wandering through a small flower market next to the Hard Rock Cafe. I noticed there was a cute-looking park that led to a cozy courtyard which several cafes opened onto around the backside of the building. The house red wine was fantastic, and really I don’t think this atmosphere could be beat. I was more than happy to sit back and listen to the cheerful banter in a language I can’t understand and just totally take in the magical evening.

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Hopefully you’ll have more than just 48 hours to explore Tbilisi, but we hope this list is a great place to start.

What other questions do you have about Tbilisi? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you.

Coming soon: Where to eat and drink in Tbilisi – according to locals!

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Undiscovered Paris: A Self-Guided Tour of Paris’ Hidden Gems

We truly believe that Paris is best explored by wandering. Or as the French call it, flâner. And while we could spent a lifetime strolling around Paris, we thought we would save you some time and compiled a list of the top hidden spots in Paris!

Le Palais Royal

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Despite its proximity to the Louvre, this spot gets passed up by many tourists. This garden oasis is a reprieve from the bustle just outside its walls in the heart of Paris. And its black and white columns make for a fun Instagram shot! People watch in the gardens or from atop a column and soak in some sunshine.

Courtyard of the National Archives

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While the National Archives are a tourist destination, the gardens are worth exploring in themselves. For the quietest time, visit on a Tuesday when the archives are closed, but the grounds are still open. Walk through the main gates and to the right for more gardens and impressive building exterior views.

Passages of Paris

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We came across several of these covered arcades, which are easy to walk right by without noticing. These arcades often have shops and restaurants housed on the interior. The Galerie Vero-Dodat is one of 25 remaining passageways built in the 19th century. The passage’s black and white diamond-shaped marble paving give it a beautiful effect, and the parts of the ceiling that are not glass are decorated with beautiful engravings. We found this arcade to be especially enchanting in the evening. And the Christian Louboutin store housed here is perfect for window shopping. After stopping by Galerie Vero-Dodat, catch happy hour in one of the small bars nearby.

Les Arènes de Lutèce

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Did you know that Paris has a Roman Colosseum of its very own? Long forgotten, this remnant from the Gallo-Roman era resurfaced in the 1800s during construction in the area. Situated in the Latin Quarter, this amphitheater could once seat 15,000 spectators for gladiator fights. The Arènes de Lutèce is a fun stop for history buffs, and a walk around the perimeter past beautiful gardens is enjoyable for all.

Neighborhood courtyard parks

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Paris has some incredible parks tucked into its neighborhoods that only locals know about. Square Georges Cain is a little park situated in the trendy Marais district, and provides an oasis of greenery to people who have been lucky enough to stumble upon it. This park is also popular among neighborhood regulars who would like to keep it a secret. Square Georges Cain has two pieces of artwork: ‘L’Aurore’, a bronze statue of a nude woman in the middle of a rose bed by the 17th-century sculptor Laurent Magnier, and ‘Le Rossignol Electrique’ by Eric Samakh (1990), a small electronic bird that starts singing whenever the wind blows.

 

Église St. Gervais & Rue des Barres

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Rue des Barres is a stone’s throw from Île de la Cité but will transport you to a quaint village setting. Chairs line the cobblestone street in the warmer months and are ideal for people watching. Tucked into this street is Église St. Gervais. This church is overshadowed by its more famous neighbor, Notre Dame de Paris, but is equally beautiful. The church was built between 1494 and 1657 and its facade was the first example of French baroque style in Paris.

 

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Everything You Need to Know: Planning a Trip to Paris

Must read when planning a trip to Paris!

Packing

In summary, think minimalism. Stick to one small bag and a personal carry on (like a backpack or purse) if at all possible. You will be much happier to not be lugging giant suitcases up and down the metro stairs (escalators are rare). Classic clothes in dark colors with a scarf are standard for Parisians, plus a comfortable yet stylish pair of walking shoes. Bring just the essential electronics (including converter) and travel sized toiletries, or buy toiletries upon your arrival.

Money

We highly recommend exchanging money to Euros before traveling to avoid getting ripped off at airport exchange booths. Bringing sufficient cash to have on hand is useful since many places in Paris may not accept card or have a minimum. However, we have noticed that more establishments accept major credit cards now. If you end up needing to withdraw cash abroad, there are many ATMs around the city and most storeowners will know where the closest ones are. Check with your bank to see if any withdrawal fees apply. 

IMPORTANT: Call your bank before traveling to inform them of your travel dates. This will prevent your bank from freezing your card due to potential fraudulent activity.

Accommodations

The earlier you book, the better the rates and availability. Paris accommodations fill up quickly, and prices fluctuate throughout the year, being the highest at peak summertime. Le Marais, Saint-Germain-des-Prés, and Latin Quarter are centrally located, making it easy to visit most tourist destinations. If you’re okay with a longer commute, Place de la République, Oberkampf, and Montmartre all offer travelers affordable and authentic Parisian housing options in buzzing areas. Paris is full of unique boutique hotels like Hôtel Providence and Hôtel la Belle Juliette. We had great experiences with our two Airbnb’s, which were more affordable than most centrally located hotels we looked at during our travel dates. 

Transportation

Metro is by far the best and most affordable way to get around. The metro’s expansive network will get you to practically anywhere you need to go. If you are in Paris for a full week, purchasing a Navigo card is well worth it. The Navigo pass permits transportation on the metro, RER, and bus systems and at a much better rate than the individual paper passes sold. Weekly pass covers travel Monday (start date) through Sunday (end date), no matter which day you happen to purchase the pass. So if you buy a pass on Wednesday, your “weekly pass” will still end on Sunday. Other Navigo pass options are also available for longer stays. 

IMPORTANT: it is not very clear and the SNCF staff will likely fail to mention that you MUST write your name and attach a photo to your Navigo card ASAP before using. Failure to do so will result in a fine of about 35 euros per person if stopped by police in the metro. You can take a passport style photo in booths set up in train stations where Navigo cards are available for purchase. Or save yourself some hassle and money and print out photos prior to your trip. 

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Best Indoor Activities to Do in Washington, D.C.

Don’t let a bit of rain ruin your fun in Washington, D.C.! These indoor, rainy day activities are the perfect way to spend a weekend in the Capital City.

 

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Museum exhibits

Some of our favorite Smithsonian museums include the Air and Space and American History Museums. If you have seen it all, or just want a break from the ever-popular Smithsonians, explore the Phillips Collection in DuPont. Opened in 1921, the Phillips Collection is the America’s first museum of modern art located in a converted Georgian Revival style home. Luncheon of the Boating Party by Renoir (pictured here) is among the museum’s personal collection.

 

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U.S. Botanic Garden

Rain or shine, winter or summer, the U.S. Botanic Garden is sure to be green and warm any time of year. This living plant museum was established by the U.S. Congress in 1820 and is one of the oldest botanic gardens in North America. Wander among blooming orchids, cacti of all shapes and sizes, dramatic air plants, and gigantic trees.

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Bookshop browsing

There is nothing better than snuggling up with a good book while the rain pours outside. Browse in these unique and quintessentially D.C. spots: Capitol Hill Books, Second Story Books, and Kramerbooks.

 

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Library of Congress

Speaking of books… Did you know there are more than 162 million items stored here, making the Library of Congress the largest library collection in the world? Notable exhibits include a re-created version of Jefferson’s library, the first document printed with the name “America” (also known as America’s “birth certificate”), and Lincoln’s pocket items at the time of his assassination.

 

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Coffee shops with a unique atmosphere

Heads up that many D.C. coffee shops have selective hours on Sundays. Our favorites are Baked & Wired in Georgetown (both the cupcakes and coffee are excellent), Emissary in DuPont (great brunch and happy hour every day 4-7pm too), and Sidamo Coffee & Tea on H Street (they roast their beans on-site and perform Ethiopian coffee ceremonies on weekends).

How to Book Cheap Flights Anywhere

Getting to a travel destination can be the most expensive part of planning a trip. But it doesn’t have to be. Here are some key tips that will save you time, frustration, and most importantly money!

 

1. Use flight search engines

Search engines aggregate flights to find the best deals for you. Many also offer price alerts when airfares drop to whatever destinations you’ve been eyeing. Our 5 favorite search engines are:

Scott’s Cheap Flights is a useful subscription service we frequently use. Subscribers receive cheap flight alerts going all over the world departing from the region(s) you choose. 

2. Keep searches private

Thanks to the cookies in your browser, flight prices increase when a particular destination is repeatedly searched. Search for flights incognito in private browsing mode to view the lowest prices.

3. Be flexible with dates

Avoid flying on weekends (Fridays through Sundays), which are typically the most days to travel. Offset costs by leaving on a Thursday and returning the following week if possible.

Also avoid busy travel times like holidays and school breaks, since flights will be more expensive during these high-demand periods. Additionally, planning a trip during your destination’s low season practically guarantees lower prices on flights AND accommodations, not to mention fewer crowds.

4. A longer flight itinerary means savings

If extremely price sensitive, look for flights with long connections or overnights. While it may be less convenient to add travel hours or even overnight in an airport, doing so could mean big savings on flights and more money to spend during your vacation.

Not recommended for those with limited vacation time.

5. Book as soon as possible

Flights typically become more expensive the closer you book to your travel dates. Your biggest savings come from booking far in advance when possible.

International flights are less expensive at least two months before travel dates, while domestic flights can range from a few months to weeks in advance. The beginning of the week is generally the best time to book flights, while Fridays are the most expensive.

 

We want to hear from YOU! Where are you planning your next trip? Comment below and subscribe so we can keep in touch.

 

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The West Texas Bucket List

Your guide to the top things to do and see in West Texas.

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Davis Mountains – Far west Texas isn’t just open desert like the movies would have you believe. Explore Davis Mountains State Park’s miles of trails, camping, and informational programming… More

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McDonald Observatory – The stars at night are extra big and bright at this West Texas mountaintop observatory. Hundreds of miles from bright city lights, the McDonald Observatory offers unbeatable star gazing… More

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The Gage Hotel – This historic desert oasis in Marathon, TX was voted among the top Texas hotels by Condé Nast. Talk about old country charm!… More

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Marfa – In this tiny West Texas town, there’s a Gram-worthy photo around practically every corner that is sure to elicit jealousy from friends… More

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Alpine – Explore the town of Alpine, located between Marfa and Marathon. Catch a semi-pro Cowboys baseball game at historic Kokernot Field… More

Let us know what you think in the comments below!

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Star Gazing at McDonald Observatory

The stars at night are extra big and bright at this West Texas mountaintop observatory. Hundreds of miles from bright city lights, the McDonald Observatory offers stargazers unbeatable views. Plan your visit around catching a Star Party where you’ll have access to outdoor telescopes at the observatory’s park and an interactive overview of the night sky. Star Parties are offered on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Dress warmly with layers because nighttime temps dip, even in the summer. Daytime activities are also offered if you’re not a night owl.

Weather conditions can quickly change near the observatory, so if the skies are overcast in the morning, things may clear up by evening. If it happens to be cloudy during your visit, you’ll be offered alternative programming indoors, or you may be able to reschedule.

Stay the night at accommodations close to the observatory. Options include Indian Lodge, or for the more adventurous, pitch a tent at Davis Mountains State Park.

Nearby things to do: 

Davis Mountains

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The Gage Hotel

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Marfa

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Alpine

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Alpine, Texas: “The Last Frontier”

Explore the town of Alpine, located between Marfa and Marathon. Get a sense of place at Stylle Read’s wall mural Big Brewster outside of the Kiowa Gallery. This mural portrays notable town figures including visionaries such as Everett Townsend who spearheaded the creation of Big Bend National Park, successful rancher Herbert Kokernot who established the Alpine Cowboys baseball club in 1946, and local celebs such as Dan Blocker who became better known as Hoss Cartwright on the“Bonanza” TV series also appear in the mural. Keep an eye out for more murals scattered throughout Alpine.

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Catch a semi-pro Alpine Cowboys baseball game at historic Kokernot Field during the season that runs from May through August. With inexpensive tickets, a boisterous local crowd, the Davis Mountains as the field’s backdrop and brews from nearby Big Bend Brewing Co., you’re guaranteed to have a good time. Fun fact: the 06 symbol found throughout the park tie in to the Kokernot family’s cattle branding from back in the day. Not in town during baseball season? You can still visit the field’s exterior intricate ironwork.

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The Museum of the Big Bend at Sul Ross University is worth a visit. The Big Bend Legacy exhibit gives visitors deep insight into the natural and human histories of the region. Other temporary rotating exhibits include Terry Cockerham’s “Big Bend and the Terlingua Project” and “Early Education and the Annual Summer Normal in Alpine.” Admission to all exhibits is free!

Nearby things to do:

McDonald Observatory

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The Gage Hotel

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Marfa

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Davis Mountains

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The Gage Hotel in West Texas

The Gage Hotel is located in the charming town of Marathon that still has a frontier feel to this day. On the U.S. National Registry of Historic Places, the Gage Hotel was built in 1926 by successful rancher Alfred Gage and later converted into a hotel.

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Guests can stay in the historic Western style hotel, pueblo style adobe brick rooms in Los Portales, or have complete privacy in casitas. Enjoy the hotel pool, gym, White Buffalo bar, and V6 health conscious foods for your coffee and smoothie needs.

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Watch people and trains passing by from the ivy covered porch in a wooden rocking chair, mediate in a courtyard, or cool off in the pool with a frozen drink from the White Buffalo bar. With so much old country charm, its no surprise that this historic desert oasis was voted among the top Texas hotels by Condé Nast Traveler.

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Located a short distance across the train tracks is the manicured Gage Gardens, covering a lush 27 acres. We recommend visiting early in the morning to enjoy cooler temps and beautiful lighting.

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Learn more about the Gage Hotel and make reservations.

Things to do nearby:

Davis Mountains

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McDonald Observatory

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Marfa

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Alpine

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ACL Fest Essentials

3 days, 8 stages, 100+ bands. Now in its 15th year, Austin City Limits Festival (ACL Fest) continues to draw big crowds and a good mix of big and up-and-coming names. Whether this is your first or fifth ACL Fest, here’s your guide to navigate the huge Austin festival with ease and grace.  Trust us, we’re locals!

Follow the Vacation Vagabonds blog for more from the festival and VIP access thanks to Tribeza.

 

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Look the part

Austinites are all about understated cool.

ACL Fest go-ers typically blend casual style with festival inspired looks, resulting in a lot of fringe, crochet, and suede. Need to pick up a last minute crop top, vest, or trendy sunglasses? Check out Feathers Boutique on South Congress, Prototype Vintage Design just next door, or Buffalo Exchange for some fresh vintage festival finds. Buffalo Exchange also has a lot of great looks for guys.

Make your hair a mane attraction.

Opting for a braided updo ensures you’ll feel and look cool ’til sundown, ladies. To take things up a level, book a hair appointment through Priv. They come to you and do some serious magic! And guys, ditch the office comb-over, and get ready to rock out!

Shimmer and shine.

Did you know that Flash Tattoos (aka Flash Tats) is a local Austin company?! Theses metallic jewelry-inspired tattoos have caught on and are trending with festival-goers who want to stand out and shine. I especially love the Henna and Child of Wild editions. Flash Tats are carried at lots of boutiques in Austin like Still & Sea and Maya Star.

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What to pack

~Sun protection ~

Reapply sunscreen throughout the day and bring a pair of shades to protect your eyes and skin from the bright Texas sun. For maximum sun protection, ladies can opt for a cute floppy hat with a wide brim, and guys can rock cowboy or baseball hats.

~ Reusable water bottle ~

Reduce waste and bring your own water bottle or camel back. All liquid containers must be empty upon entry, unless its already sealed. Free water refill stations and misting station are located inside the festival grounds.

~ Portable phone charger ~

Large crowds in a contained area means poor cell reception for the majority of us, and is a major drain on your cell battery. Be prepared for your phone battery to drain much faster than normal as its working hard to connect to your network, and bring a portal charger!

~ Mini first aid kit ~

Great to have just in case for mini scrapes and blisters. Medical tents are also located throughout the festival grounds if you need any assistance.

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Have a great time and enjoy the music!

At the end of the day, music festivals are all about the music and the community. So have FUN!!! Here’s a little Vagabond Tip: download the ACL Fest app on your phone and have a game plan ready for each day to make sure you catch all your favorite performers. Come early, to discover new talent, and stay late. Because ACL Fest only comes twice a year!

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10 Reasons Why You Should Visit Yellowstone

We’ve visited Yellowstone dozens of times and have spent enough time in this park to consider ourselves professional Yellowstone tourists. We’ve compiled a list of the top reasons why you should plan your trip to Yellowstone!

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Southern entrance to Yellowstone National Park

Only place in the world where can you see so many thermal features

Yellowstone contains half the world’s geothermal features and over 300 geysers. Grand Prismatic Spring pumps out over 4,000 gallons of water every minute, making it the  largest hot springs in North America. Old Faithful is the most famous of the Yellowstone geysers thanks to its “faithful” timing; this geyser erupts regularly every 60-110 minute. Three of my personal favorite thermal features are Black Pool, Morning Glory Pool, and Castle Geyser. Our favorite geyser basins are West Thumb Basin and the Old Faithful area.

Vagabond tip: Download the National Park Service’s geyser app for up to date eruption predictions to time your routes around geysers accordingly. This was invaluable during our last visit to the park!

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Morning Glory Pool at Old Faithful
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Grand Prismatic Spring

To see native animals in their natural habitats

Lots of open space which is also the perfect environment for other wildlife including elk, deer, moose, pronghorn, wolves, and more. The Yellowstone bison herd is the oldest and largest public bison herd in the U.S. Bison roam freely througout the park, and you may see at least a couple from the side of the road. Visitors seek out Lamar and Hayden Valley in particular for these areas’ large number of animal sightings. Wolves were only recently reintroduced to Yellowstone in 1995 after being absent from the park for seven decades and are a big attraction.

Vagabond tip: Always be alert driving through the park, as you never know what animals you may sight from your vehicle. And never approach wildlife, even if they look peaceful–they can be unpredictable and may charge without warning.

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Elk in front of Mammoth Hotel

Camp under the stars

Have you ever seen the Milky Way with your own naked eyes? Grab a sleeping bag, pitch a tent, and star gaze in Yellowstone. The park offers several campsites, or if you’re an adventurous sort, take your gear backpacking to get away from the crowds. We camped out along a scenic river in between tall pine trees, but it was the view of the stars at night that took our breath away.

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Camping in Yellowstone
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Milky Way (Unsplash)

Visit the only supervolcano on land in the world

There are only 30 active super volcanoes in the world, and the Yellowstone Caldera is the only one in North America, and is also the only one located on land. Did you know that the entire area of the park is located on top of this gigantic volcano that stretches about 34 by 45 miles (55 by 72 km)? So cool!

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Walking along the Old Faithful boardwalk trail

Experience a part of history

Signed into law by Congress in 1872, Yellowstone was the first national park in U.S. history. Yellowstone’s history begins much earlier than that though, with Native American tribes in the area for centuries who were followed by pioneers traveling west. Many iconic greats in American history have left a footprint on the park since it was established. President Roosevelt laid down the first cornerstone of the Roosevelt arch located at the northern entrance in Gardiner, which is inscribed with a quote from the legislation which created Yellowstone.

Vagabond tip: It’s fun to stroll some of the tourist shops along the Gardiner main street with an ice cream cone of some of the best we’ve ever had!

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At the Roosevelt Arch located in Gardiner, Montana. “For the benefit and enjoyment of the people.”

Take a hike

Explore the back country of some of America’s most beautiful land. We recommend breaking up full days of driving with at least one hike to stretch and go exploring off the park’s paved roads. Some interesting hikes are Uncle Tom’s Trail, which is short but steep and descends 500 feet toward the base of the Lower Falls, and Mystic Falls, which is a moderate 2.5 mile hike and gives you an overlook of Biscuit Basin.

Vagabond tip: Safety first! Always carry bear spray and make noise throughout hike. Park rangers also suggest that hikers travel in groups of three or more. (P.S. Check out our favorite NPS Rangers, Christina Warburg’s Instagram account @christinaadelephoto for some of the most beautiful photos of U.S. national parks and interesting anecdotes.

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Hiking (Unsplash)

Artistic inspiration

Inspiring landscape and wildlife sure to spark wonderment at all of the sheer natural beauty. Even the drives are stunning with roads skirting cliffs with canyons and rivers coursing below, waterfalls at bridge outlooks, and always scanning for a glimpse of wildlife. The park attracts artists from all over the world seeking inspiration. It’s no surprise, then, that one of the most iconic views of the yellow stone of the canyon is aptly named Artist Point.

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Artist Point

Old Faithful Inn

Experience one of the most interesting American architectural feats for yourself. Old Faithful is constructed of lodge pole pine and looks like a giant wooden cabin. It was built in a unique style in its conception and inspired an entirely new architecture genre, National Park Service rustic. No two windows are alike, with the architect intending the building to reflect the non-parallel symmetry of nature. Another interesting feature of the Inn is the Crows Nest. Grab a spot on the outdoor deck facing Old Faithful geyser for the geyser’s nearly hourly entertainment. In the evenings, grab a drink and settle in for live music in evenings.

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Old Faithful Inn by night

Soak in a natural hot tub

Ditch the spa for a dip in one of Mother Nature’s hot tubs. Most of the park’s thermal areas are way too hot to touch, but a few places are safe for a dip. We were thrilled to visit Boiling River just north of Mammoth Hot Springs, where hot springs enter Gardner River to create an enthralling experience. Imagine one side of your body icy cold from the mountain river, and the other half steeping in steaming water from hot springs. Winter visitors can also visit Boiling River, since the northern entrance from Gardiner into the park is open through the park’s colder months.

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Hot springs converging with Gardiner River at Boiling River
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Taking a dip in Boiling River

Great trout fishing

Trout Fishermen claim Yellowstone to have some of the best fishing in the U.S. Test your skills and fling a cast into Yellowstone Lake or Madison River for either fly or lure fishing. Yellowstone waters are home to sizable native cutthroat, brown trout, rainbow trout and brook trout.

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Yellowstone cutthroat trout (Waldemarpaetz, Wikicommons)

Make lasting memories

Reconnect with yourself, friends, and family in nature. Yellowstone is the perfect place to make lasting, timeless memories. Stephanie’s family has been visiting Yellowstone for decades, and we’re already planning our next trip to Yellowstone together!

*All pictures are our own unless stated otherwise.

Top 5 Spots for Foodies in Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Vacation Vagabonds loves food and wine just as much as we love hiking and adventure! We’ve uncovered the top five date night spots in Jackson Hole for the foodie inclined.

Most unique cuisine: Bin 22

We promise you won’t be disappointed at Bin 22, a wine bar and tapas restaurant located off the Town Square. The restaurant has a buzzing interior and charming patio with heaters–vital if you’re visiting from Texas, like us! What makes this spot really unique is that you can pick out a bottle from the specialty grocery store front with no corking fee. This tapas spot is perfect for late night dining and sharing plates to sample a variety of menu items. Our voted most interesting dish is the grilled Spanish octopus served with fingerling potatoes and fennel in a lemon-basil vinaigrette. Stephanie had to be talked into this one by our waiter, and regrets nothing! The cheese plate also blew us away, which is saying something. Brandon takes cheeses very seriously with family ties hailing from Wisconsin/Michigan.

Vagabond Tip: Make reservations or plan to arrive before/after the dinner rush during peak season. Bin 22 can get really busy!

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Drinks with a view: Amangani Resort

Go for brunch, a late afternoon aperitif or late night drinks and apps. The view from the Amangani Resort cannot be beat (talk about inspiring major vacation envy among all your friends)! Cozy up by the fireplace and watch the sun set over the Tetons and valley below. Vinos would be pleased with the options offered, and the cocktail menu is exceptional. Brandon’s 22 Boulevard cocktail (Wyoming Whiskey, boulard calvados, and honey sage tea) was unparalelled! We were also impressed by the Amangani Grill’s take on hush puppies with crab. Definitely worth the ten minute drive outside of town.

Vagabond Tip: Make a day of the Amangani Resort area! Trail rides are available through the adjacent ranch in the summers, and the resort offers a full service spa and other services. The reflective pool is also incredibly tempting!

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Intimate setting: Nanni’s Ristorante

Nanni’s Ristorante is Italian cooking done right. We couldn’t help but fall for this charming wooden cabin with a easygoing vibe, and their handmade pasta dishes speak for themselves. Dim lighting and homemade style cooking are sure to inspire great conversation and lasting memories. Stephanie raved about the mushroom and parsley gnocchi, and Brandon ordered the carbonara with pancetta and egg yolk. We always make a point of dining at Nanni’s and continue to return to year after year.

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Western home cooking: Cafe Genevieve

Cafe Genevieve offers a menu inspired by Southern-style cooking with Western flair. An intimate restaurant in a historic wooden cabin, Cafe Genevieve is popular with locals and tourists alike. Savory dishes are on the dinner menu here, with options like Idaho trout (pictured below, left), shrimp and grits, and seared buffalo tenderloin. Cafe Genevieve is also open for brunch and lunch, so you have lots of flexibility in your schedule to fit in a provincial meal here.

Vagabond Tip: Cafe Genevieve’s novelty menu item is “pig candy” or candied bacon (pictured below, right), and Brandon swears it tastes almost exactly like you would expect.

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What other spots should be on here? We want to hear about your favorites! Leave a comment or question for us.

Spending some time in Jackson Hole? Check out our top things to do in Jackson Hole!