Newbie Blogger Secret, Why Pinterest is My Bestie

In my first month as a blogger, I seeing traffic and even got accepted by Google AdSense. I take every small win I can and I want to share the keys to success that I’ve discovered!

 

My blog is barely a month old and yet I manage to get around 100 views a day and my traffic is steadily increasing.

But how am I getting this traffic to my blog?

Does it take hours of tedious work?

Nope.

 

If you look through many of my posts, I include a Pinterest image for others to re-pin. This makes it even easier for me to one-click my Tailwind icon later and schedule posts as well because my favorite, pinnable images are already embedded in the post.

 

Check out these screenshots from my recent traffic and notice where almost all of it comes from…Pinterest!

 

These numbers aren’t crazy by any means, but it’s only my second month blogging, so just to have any views at all is exciting!

 

 

This screenshot of The Luv Aviatrix's blog traffic shows that Pinterest drives the most traffic! Find out how to use this powerful tool!

61 views came from Pinterest versus only 9 from facebook and only 4 from Twitter

 

This screenshot of The Luv Aviatrix's blog traffic shows that Pinterest drives the most traffic! Find out how to use this powerful tool!

This day I had 114 views from Pinterest and only 5 from Facebook and 3 from Twitter!

 

So why is Pinterest working so well for me?

Pinterest is very passive compared to all the effort facebook takes. Pinterest continues to circulate your images like a visual search engine, even when you are not online. When others pin or like the image, Pinterest increases it’s circulation.

Did you notice that one of my posts, A flight Attendant’s Air Travel Tips, seems to be doing better than the rest?

A Flight Attendant gives her air travel tips for your best flight. What to bring to make your flight easier

My pin, found here, has 86 repins at the time of this post. Because of that, Pinterest is continuing to recirculate the image. People that search for related tags, like how to pack for air travel, or something similar, will find my image. They can either pin it for later, or they can also click through to my website.

Create a Tailwind account now and start to discover what Pinterest can do to increase your blog traffic!

 

What is Tailwind?

 

Tailwind is used to pre-schedule posts. It’s as easy as clicking a few buttons and throughout the day, Tailwind will post Pins on your behalf. Tailwind even knows when the best time to post a pin is! If that wasn’t enough, you can also see how well your boards are performing.

 

Do you need more about the basics of Pinterest? Check out my post on how to create a pinnable image that drives traffic directly to your website.

 

Happy Pinning!

XOXO

The Luv Aviatrix

 

Want to pin this for later? (See what I did there?) Pin this image and make Pinterest your bestie too!

Pinterest is my #1 traffic driver to my travel blog. Check out how to use Pinterest to drive traffic to your website now!

Palenque , Mexico

Surviving the Road to the Ruins of Palenque

A Flight Attendant's Guide to Palenque Ruins
Hola!
I’m super excited to tell you about my adventure in Palenque, some of the most amazing Maya ruins in Mexico, dating back to 200 AD. Those of you that know me are aware that I grew up wanting to be a flight attendant! I did want to get a degree first though (just in case my career airline ever went belly up) and I thought it’d be wise to have a back up plan. I wanted to study something I could use when I was traveling so I majored in Cultural Anthropology with an emphasis in Maya Civilization Archaeology. I’m going to do my best to give you a flight attendant’s guide instead of an archaeologist’s guide to Palenque. What I mean by that is, I’m going to give you the basics of why to add Palenque to your travel bucket list. If I get enough feedback though, I’d love to write a second, more in-depth post, diving into some of the amazing artefacts, temples and inscriptions that you can find at Palenque.

 

What/Where is Palenque?

(For all you non-Spanish speakers, this is pronounced pah-leyn-kay)

Palenque is an ancient Maya site located in the Chiapas (southern) region of Mexico.

 

Why is it special?

King Pakal, once ruler of Palenqeue, was the longest reigning ruler in Mayan history, 80 years! You can witness the majesty of what he reigned over, the temples still awe-inducing in their majesty. Even more incredible is that Palenque has so many inscriptions and stelae that archaeologists haven’t even been able to decipher them all yet. That is absolutely mind-blowing! Inscriptions not your thing? Palenque’s white, limestone temples peek through lush jungle and glitter in the sun, demanding their greatness shall not be forgotten, making the Palenque temples amongst the most iconic and magnificent in the realm of the Maya.

 

I have been to many Mesoamerican ruins, Toltec, Zapotec, Olmec, Maya, Aztec, and Palenque still holds a special place in my heart.

 

Why is it my favorite?

 

Palenque is much unreconstructed compared to other ruinsA Flight Attendant's Guide to Palenque like Chichen Itza, which is cool, but disappointing as ruins because you feel like you’re walking onto the set of a postcard. Other ruins like Teotihuacan are mostly reconstructed as well, but still grand enough to demand a visit, check out my post on climbing the pyramids there.

You arrive at the entrance of Palenque, walking past locals trying to sell thing to tourists, and you catch your first glimpse of the Temple of Inscriptions. You’re transported. I don’t care if there’s one hundred other tourists there, or you have the place to yourself, it’s impossible to step on to the park grounds and witness that first sight of Palenque’s white temples peeking through the jungle, haze hugging the city like a mystical barrier, and not feel as if you’ve been transported in time.

 

 

 

 

 

A Flight Attendant's Guide to Palenque

 

Get past your awe and explore the park on foot. I recommend not visiting with a group because there is so much to navigate, including jungle where you’ll find more temples and buildings that haven’t even begun to tell their stories, held captive by hundreds of years of jungle, winding their tentacles around the limestone. Hike to the top of the temples and sit. Sit for a moment and listen to the monkeys clamoring in the surrounding jungles and wonder if this is where someone got the idea of King Louie, guarding an ancient city. Or imagine ancient life if you can.

Or take a selfie (preferably after said introspective wondering).

 

A Flight Attendant's Guide to Palenque

We’ve established that this place is incredible, but how do you get there?

 

Not easily. Unless you fly, but that’s no fun…said the flight attendant. ; ) Part of what makes Palenque so cool is that it’s in the middle of nowhere, surrounded on all sides by jungle. Rather than fly, (this was a backpacking tip after all) I opted for a fifteen hour bus ride from Oaxaca. That’s right… fifteen hours! Experience the real Mexico, I thought. Experience, I did!

 

Let me begin by giving you a bit of my travel background so that you don’t think

Getting to Maya Ruins Palenque
Getting to Maya Ruins of Palenque

I recommend this to everyone. If you are an experienced or at least semi-experiences traveler, I do recommend traveling by road or bus because it allows you to see more of the country. If you’re anywhere that has warnings or advisories (and sometimes Mexico does), and you are a novice traveler, air travel might be safer and less stressful for you.

 

I have been traveling forever since I grew up with airline travel benefits and had already done much solo backpacking across the world as a woman. On top of that, I’m semi-fluent in Spanish, so I was comfortable getting information when things went wrong and how to find my way. Also, some of my family live in Mexico and my aunt (who does humanitarian work there) keeps me pretty appraised of struggles in different regions. For these reasons, I felt comfortable back packing through Mexico for a month.

 

 

When things do go wrong, it makes for the best stories!

And so with my tale of getting to Palenque…

 

If you’ve read my post on a Flight Attendant’s Tips to Air Travel, you’ll know that I always have alka seltzer in my purse in case of a rough flight, or let’s face it- a hangover. I bet you can already sense the ominous tone and where I’m going with this. But Jaye, did you use your own air travel tips for the bus ride? *Face palm* That would be a no. There were so many flight attendant fails during this bus ride that I can not begin to tell you. But I will.

 

From Oaxaca, Palenque by way of San Cristobal de las Casa (also a cool place) is about fifteen hours. At least six hours of that is through mountains for those of you that get car sick (like me). See where this is going? Those of you that have traveled around Mexico much will know that quite frequently, you’ll see traffic stops and trucks full of men armed with gigantic guns. I’m not a gun aficionado, but they’re basic automatic rifles that you see in movies like SWAT. There’s no need to freak out if you see these on the road, and sometimes they’ll even come aboard. You do however, when traveling anywhere, need to be aware of your belongings because tourists are always victims of petty theft.

On this trip, I was traveling my grandma, a gypsy at heart, who had inspired all of her children to be travel addicts. Since we were traveling during the rainy season, she had her favorite yellow rain coat. Our family is from Seattle, so we take rain coats pretty seriously. We both wore our coats on the bus, and placed our backpacks at our feet so that we had all of our belongings on us. Halfway through the mercilessly bumpy ride, we were both exhausted (there’s no sleeping on this overnight ride) and feeling quite green around the gills. Finally, sensing disaster impending, I made my way up the bouncy aisle to tell the driver that my grandma (and probably I) was about to be sick. He then told me (in unimpressed Spanish) when the next stop was. Grand…

 

Flight Attendant Travel Tip: Always travel with a sick sack 🙂

 

My grandma very discreetly removed her rain coat and got sick into the coat pocket in the most lady-like fashion that I’ve ever seen someone be ill. We then twisted up the coat so nothing could spill, and put it in the overhead bin. My grandma contested a bit, preferring to hold onto it rather than place it where someone could steal it. My reply was that it was only a rain coat and nothing was valuable in it so no one would take it. Feeling nauseous myself, I wasn’t super excited to have said coat on our person. Grandma looked at me with a calm expression that said something like, “I’ll probably never see this coat again.”  I on the other hand, assured myself that would not be the case, because the coat was right above us in the bin, and who would steal a bright yellow, vomit-soiled rain coat. By the next stop, my grandma’s favorite rain coat was gone. The next six hours of mountain-hugging roads were the most miserable of any road trip I’ve ever it couldn’t take away our excitement to arrive in Palenque.

 

But travel is magical…and wouldn’t you know it…the rain that trickled arrived at our destination, subsides not long after we stepped foot at Palenque. : )

 

As a matter of fact, you’ll see by my pictures that I was wearing shorts and a tank top and my cheeks look quite flushed. Being in the middle of the jungle at the ruins of Palenque is the sweatiest I have ever felt. The temperature probably wasn’t too high, but the humidity was nuts.

 

A Flight Attendant's Guide to Palenque

 

 

A Flight Attendants Guide to Palenque

 

 

Palenque Stelae
That’s my grandma 🙂

 

 

Flight Attendants Guide to PALENQUE


A Flight Attendant's Guide to Palenque, Mexicov

 

A Flight Attendant's Guide to Palenque, Mexico

 

 

A Flight Attendant's Guide to PalenqueBut it never once lessened the awe I felt at being there. Palenque is special because you can climb the stairs of the temples and walk through ancient tunnels and into dark, limestone corridors where locals, maybe even Kind Pakal walked. Temple is amazing. I’ll never forget doing that climb with my grandma and just resting on the limestone at the top, gazing over the ancient city.

 

Flight Attendant Travel Tip: Beware of Monkeys and Bats 🙂

 

A Flight Attendant's Guide to Palenque

 

 

 

 

 

Wander the grounds, get lost in the corridors, and jungle paths. You’ll find colorful stelae, hidden temples and even waterfalls back in the jungle outskirts of the main landing at Palenque.

 

 

 

 

A Flight Attendant's Guide to Palenque

 

 

Final Verdict:

 

The Maya ruins at Palenque need to be on your travel bucket list because:

  • History at it’s finest! More stelae and inscriptions than archaeologists even have time to decipher
  • Many real ruins on site, left as they were found and minimally maintained
  • Not too crowded (compared to sites like Tulum or Chichen Itza)
  • You can actually walk through most of the corridors and hike the temple stairs for a view
  • Experience the jungle, howlers moneys and all!
  • Palenque has many amazing waterfalls and sacred cenotes

Getting to Palenque is not for the faint of heart, but experiencing this ancient city will be one of the most vivid travel experiences you’ll ever have. Add the ancient Maya ruins of Palenque to your travel bucket list. You won’t be sorry.

 

So, have you ever had one of those travel experiences where everything goes wrong, but it makes a funny story to tell after?

 

Happy Traveling

XOXO

The Luv Aviatrix

 

Thinking of having a Palenque adventure of your own? Pin this for later 🙂

A Flight Attendant's Guide to the Ancient Mayan ruins at Palenque

A Flight Attendant’s Air Travel Tips

Flight Attendant Travel Tips to the Perfect Flight

Welcome aboard, it’s your favorite flight attendant! Your insider into the airline industry and it’s quirks.

Flight Attendants see a lot during their work day. It’s air travel…it’s crazy! Being in a pressurized aluminum tube for a certain quantity of time just brings out the most interesting aspects of personalities. Whether flight attendants work one twelve hour flight, or five short hops up and down the coast, you’d be amazed at what we witness passengers doing. But this post isn’t about passenger shaming, it’s about what I’ve discovered is the key to an enjoyable flight for passengers.

Some of these may seem like no-brainers, but honestly, I’ve had way too many passengers on  my flights not seem to understand these points so I’m going to put some of them out there even if they seem obvious to savvy travelers.

So here they are, the basics of air travel that every passenger forgets (but wants)! Remember these for a great flight!

This post contains affiliate links which mean the page administrator (moi) makes a small commission at no cost to you.

 

Tip 1. Never travel without headphones.

 

I think this is the most important key to a great flight. You NEVER know if you’re going to have a screaming baby next to you or behind you. Sometimes it happens and it’s no ones fault. Regular headphones will cancel out most of the noise, but if you have noise-cancelling, even better. Get lucky and there’s no crying baby? Headphones playing your favorite music can still set the tone for your flight, dictating whether you want to get pumped up to go once you land, or lull yourself into a restful sleep, blocking out the snoring passenger next to you. Want a sexy pair of Bose noise-cancelling headphones? Yes, so do I. Maybe when I get my next royalty check 😉

Tip 2. You didn’t buy a neck pillow because it looks ridiculous.

Flight Attendant travel tips
Don’t judge me!!!! I can’t help it if I think this animal hoodie/neck pillow is cute 😀

 

No, you look ridiculous when you fall sleep and end up drooling on your neighbors shoulder. That’s right, you fell asleep upright, but now you’re slumped over against the person next to you, mouth completely ajar. I’m not joking or trying to poke fun, this happens all the time! A neck pillow won’t completely prevent slumping over onto your neighbor , but it does help! I recommend this one with memory foam. Buy it BEFORE you get to the airport because at the airport, I kid you not, it will be double the price. In most airports you can’t get a  neck pillow for less than $30. That’s crazy! If you’re a backpacker, opt for a slightly less comfortable, inflatable one like this one instead to save room.

 

Tip 3. Have gum handy, it’s the two in one life saver on your flight.

 

Gum is great for two things, stinky breath of course, but also, it can help when you’re ears are popping. On long flights I make sure to have a tooth brush handy, and if you’re in first class, usually you’ll have an amenity kit with one inside, but sometimes, it’s hard to get to the bathroom for a good brush. Gum will tie you over because whether you had too many garlic rolls (speaking from personal experience obviously, thanks Delta One) or you haven’t eaten at all and have that icky stale mouth feeling, no one wants to feel gross. And don’t get your hopes up asking your flight attendant, we’re not allowed to chew gum so most of us just have mints.

Want to know what I have in my pocket at all times? It’s not gum (since we’re forbidden to chew) it’s…Listerine Strips. I honestly think that Listerine should recruit me as their spokesperson because not only does it keep me incredibly fresh (I’ll probably fail a Breathalyzer test some day because of it) but I’m always touting it’s benefits to everyone around me. My other half is a pilot and back when we first got together, I gave him an in-flight care package that included a supply of Listerine strips. After all, the cockpit is basically a tiny bubble and if someone farts or has bad breath…you’re in big trouble. This brings me to my next point…

 

Tip 4. When nature calls and you need to brave the airplane lavatory Flight Attendant Travel Tips

 

What does every flight attendant carry in their bag? I’ll give you a hint, it’s because passengers are filthy…

It’s called Poopuri. No, that’s not a typo, I didn’t mean potpourri, the grandma’s solution to a fragrant room. I’m talking about Poopuri. It’s a squirt bottle (travel size of course) that you spray prior to going number two and no one will be none the wiser of your ill-timed deed aboard the aircraft. Picture it, you’ve got a line of people waiting for the lavatory, you’re doing something in the bathroom that you really didn’t want to do, the last thing you want to do now is make the walk of shame. Let me say this, no one plans on going number two on the airplane. And yet it happens all the time. Whether it’s the pressurization, too much coffee, eating something bad, or being hung over, people BLOW UP the lavatory. Don’t let it be you. Poopuri smells subtle, but amazing and I can tell you it works on the worst. Sometimes flight attendants will even squirt it into the bowl after an offending passenger walks out. The normal coffee filter pinned to the door trick only works for minor offenders.

 

Tip 5. Tip for my glamorous travelers, keep that hair lookin’ foxy and those lips looking’ glossy.

 

For my ladies (especially my fellow backpackers), Dry Shampoo is everything.

I keep this in my bag at all times as a flight attendant. The air in the plane will make your hair greasy. I’m  not going to lie, I love to look foxy when I’m on the plane doing my thing, untitledbut if I get in late at night and I’m flying out in the morning at O’Dark Hundred, I’m probably not going to wash my hair and restyle for my passengers. Dry Shampoo to the rescue! Not only does it remove the grease from my hair, but it revives the soft curves I styled the day before. Winning! I’m also a female solo traveler when I’m not working and love to go backpacking. When I’m traveling light like this and staying in hostels, I’m going to be real honest, I shower as minimally as possible. Dry shampoo gets me through the in betweens. Sometimes you think you’re going to shower, and then you see that fateful gross shower at your Amsterdam hostel and you think…no way in hell. It’s dry shampoo time.

My favorites are  Morrocon Oil Dry Shampoo (usually purchased right after I get paid), it smells amazing & the cheaper Herbal Essences Dry Shampoo (for when I’ve spent all my money on travel). Don’t forget, unless you’re checking your bag, travel size to get through TSA is 3.4 ounces.

Lipsense sold by Jetsetter Glamour

Let’s face it, flying can leave you both dry AND greasy. No one is going to notice though if you’ve got a perfect set of lips. Take my advice and keep lips moisturized and looking perfect with LipSense. I became addicted after realizing I could work a 14 hour day of flying and my lips would still be perfect and un-retouched. We’re talking hundreds of smiles, coffee cup proof, burrito-indulging proof, and passenger butt-kissing proof, you name it, this color stays on. My signature shade is BluRed. Try it out yourself and head to the Jetsetter Glamour online store.

Jetsetter Glamour BluRed LipSense

 

Tip 6. Bring a pen

 

This is such a no-brainer, but I get at least one person a flight ask me for one. International flights, make that twenty-plus. The previous airline I flew for did not stock pens, even on international flights, so the flight attendants did not have any to give out. Most airlines will at least have a few for international flights, but not enough for an aircraft full of hundreds of passengers. The plane that I usually work carries 175 people and we may have ten pens in our international packets. You DO NOT  want to be that person filling out their customs/immigration info at the last minute while everyone gets in front of you in the already long lines. Also for my ladies, pens make a great emergency hair pin. If you’re a major traveler, having a pen and travel journal is a must! Keep track of cool people you meet, where you stay, or amazing walks you found that your guidebook didn’t know about!

 

Tip 7. Bring an external charger for your electronic devices

 

Most planes have charging ports for each seat, but not every airline and not every aircraft. Say you’re flying Delta Airlines, and you remember from your last flight that you had a charger at your seat in coach. But now you get to your seat, expecting a similar plane, but you find there’s no charging port! Halfway through your flight your devices are dead. No one wants to land and not have a cell phone, ect. I recommend traveling with an external charger, whether it’s for a flight or if your traveling as a backpacker. I know that I use my cell phone a lot for pictures, ect so I don’t want my battery going dead while I’m halfway across the faerie pools in the middle of nowhere, Scotland in the most amazingly beautiful place I’ve ever been. Disclaimer: DO NOT purchase a cheap or aftermarket external charger because these have been known to catch fire during flight. It’s getting so bad these days with batteries catching fire that even the Samsung 7 phone is required by the FAA for flight attendants to make a PA that the phone can not be powered on during air travel. Lithium Ion batteries are very dangerous to have on planes and never leave them in a checked bag.

 

Tip 8. If you get motion sick, here’s what you need to do

 

Travel with Alkaseltzer or Dramamine. I personally prefer Alkaseltzer and bonus, it’s also good for hangover. Not that flight crew get together and drink way too much on layovers, that doesn’t happen. 😉  If you don’t have either of those things with you, but find that you’re still feeling air sick, don’t hesitate to ring your call button and let you flight attendant know. Ask for a glass of ice chips because chewing on the cold ice will make you feel much better without putting too much in your stomach. Make sure to tell your flight attendant that you’re not feeling well and she might have extra suggestions or things on board to make you feel more comfortable. Also, if you know you’re a traveler that gets air sick, try to plan your seat in advance to seat over the wings. The back of the aircraft is the worst place to sit because it gets the most movement. Instead, sit over the wings where the wings are designed to flex and take the movement upon themselves to ensure a more stable ride.

Flight Attendant's Air Travel Tips to the Best Flight

 

But the tip that most people forget is… wait for it…

 

 

The most important tip is…

 

Tip 9. For a guaranteed great flight, remember that the flight attendant is your best friend!

 

Your flight attendant can console you if you’re sad, reassure you if you’re scared or nervous, feed you if you’re hungry, bring you a drink when your thirsty and give you a memorable flight. When passengers have shared a part of their life with me, I have done my part to become part of their story they tell when they land.

Are you flying to start your honeymoon? Tell the flight attendants when you first board so that we can order you champagne because we may or may not have it onboard.

Traveling to someplace for the first time and finally crossing a destination off your travel bucket list? I’ve made an announcement before in that situation and asked any locals or return visitors to jot down their must-dos for that travelers visit. I passed out cards and pens and told them to hand them to the flight attendant before the flight was done. By the time we landed, that passenger had a stack of unique ideas from his fellow fliers. He was so grateful and it’s an experience he said he won’t forget.

Not everyone travelers for happy things. If you’re on your way to a funeral and not in a good frame of mind, it might be helpful to let your flight attendant know. Whether you need a stiff drink to cope, or just a little extra patience during the flight, your flight attendant is there to help you through that flight.

 

Final Verdict

TheLuvAviatrix

Don’t forget that flying can be fun! Flying can be glamorous! And if you’re scared of flying, don’t forget, you’re flight attendant’s are there for you. If something does go wrong, your flight crew, the flight attendants and the pilots, are extremely well trained. Please always remember that flight attendants are not just on the airplane to serve peanuts. We are the last line of defense, but also we’re your friend, your nurse, whatever you need us to be to make your flight the  best it can be.

 

Have any questions about flying? Don’t be shy and leave them in the comments. I promise to get back to ya.

 

Happy Flying

XOXO

The Luv Aviatrix

 

 

Like these tips? Pin this image for the next time you fly.

A Flight Attendant gives her air travel tips for your best flight. What to bring to make your flight easier

 

The Eiffel Tower, Oaris - The Luv Aviatrix's Airbnb Review

The Coolest Airbnb in Paris

Bonjour! If you know me, than you know I love Paris. It’s my favorite city in the entire world, and I’ve done quite a bit of traveling. Perk of the job. There’s just something about all the history, all of the art, and the slow way in which the locals enjoy a coffee or a meal. As a writer, I love meandering the same cobblestone streets that Ernest Hemmingway, Oscar Wilde, and countless other writers have called home and been inspired by. Or if you prefer art, what artist did not live in and love Paris?

 

The Eiffel Tower, Oaris - The Luv Aviatrix's Airbnb Review

 

But I’ll not get too carried away discussing the hundreds of reasons I love Paris in this post, instead, I’m going to tell you where to stay. My goal today is to enlighten travelers about the unique option while in Paris, of staying at an “Airbnb” instead of a hotel. I like Airbnb, although I’ll be honest, I have had hit and miss occasions. This occasion in Paris was a hit, and I’d love nothing more than to tell fellow travelers about my unique experience.  But wait, you haven’t heard of Airbnb?

 

Airbnb for Dummies.

What is Airbnb?  In a nutshell, Airbnb is accommodation via personal homes and apartment rentals. Via the website, the user can choose to rent only a room, or an entire apartment or home. You can search for homes all over the world, some Airbnbs renting for as little as $7 USD and some as expensive as thousands of dollars per night. This is because Airbnb offers everything from a camp rental or room rental, to giant beach front vacation homes. Generally, I don’t rent anything over $200 a night.

 

My Favorite Airbnb in Paris

There were two key reasons why this apartment is amazing.

1. Location. In the heart of Le Marais, the historical heart of Paris with winding, cobblestone alleys and quaint bistros. The apartment is located right on St. Catherine’s Square and strolling distance to Place des Vosges. You can walk everywhere in Le Marais, but if you do choose to venture farther, a metro stop was less than two minutes walk from this Airbnb. Some of the best food I’ve had in Paris was less than a block away from our stay at this wonderful Airbnb. If you want quintessential Paris, then to be able to stay in Le Marais is a must accommodation-wise. Having a metro stop is even more significant, because the transit system is super easy to navigate and can get you everywhere in Paris.

2. Unique Parisian Feel. Let’s be honest, the only reason to avoid a chain hotel, is because you want a unique experience and homey feel. When you stay in Paris, you want to feel like a local. What better way than to rent a local Parsian’s home or apartment. Everything about this Airbnb screamed Paris, but also artist. From the winding staircase up to the apartment door, to the giant wall-size map of Paris in the living room, you’ll be transported. Don’t even get me started on the Absinthe shop beneath the apartment. So cool! The quirks continued inside the partment with lighting in the shape of…well scroll down and you’ll see 😉 My favorite touch beside the giant wall map of Paris would have to be the wood beam ceiling. Just magical and as you can see by my pictures, this Airbnb was full of Parisian charm.

 

This Paris Airbnb is full of charm - A Luv Aviatrix Review

 

This Paris Airbnb is full of charm - A Luv Aviatrix Review

 

This Paris Airbnb is full of Parisian Charm - a Luv Aviatrix Review

 

I never met the host (as in some Airbnb cases), but I was given the location of the key to let myself into the apartment. All of the normal amenities were available, such as shampoo, conditioner, ect. Another perk of an Airbnb, is having a full kitchen in the apartment. The kitchen was complete with everything we need and we made quick use of the wine opener to celebrate our arrival into our cozy Parisian nest.  Our bed was incredibly comfortable (or maybe it was the French wine) and we slept in late into the following afternoon. Nothing beats a lazy day in Paris!

 

Le Marais, Paris, Airbnb Review

Perks of Airbnb

I stay in hotels a lot as a flight attendant, and it can feel quite stale. Every hotel looks similar. You walk in and out like a tourist or business person. Airbnb lets you live like a local! Not only that, but there is the perfect Airbnb for every personality. I loved the very unique and Parisian feel of this Airbnb, but maybe you’re into a sleek, modern look-Airbnb has so many hosts that there is a home for every style. Are you a cook back home and you want a gourmet kitchen in the middle of Paris? Airbnb will help you find what you need. There’s just something more personal about staying in an Airbnb and no matter what city I’m in, the accommodation definitely makes my stay all the more memorable. Just like hotels, Airbnb accommodations get cleaned, and probably better than hotels because they rely heavily on reviews. Sometimes you will see this small cleaning fee either included, or on top of the apartment/home charges.

Airbnb not your thing? Start pricing hotels in Paris. After all, planning is half the fun!

 

 

The coolest Airbnb in Paris    Final Verdict

This Airbnb has got to be the coolest place to stay in Paris. And it cost less than $100 a night! It’s so unique both inside and outside the apartment and full, from floor to ceiling, or Parisian charm. You’ll feel like a local when you step outside onto the quaint cobblestone street, only minutes away from bistros and the metro. So go to Paris, stay like a local, and cram as much macaroons and cheese into your suitcase as you can 😉

 

New to Airbnb? Get $35 USD in credit when you sign up or stay using my reference code here. It’s free to sign up.  Get on the site, but prepare to get addicted! There are so many amazing places in the world to stay and so many incredible Airbnbs!

 

 

Happy Travels

xoxo

The Luv Aviatrix

 

This is an honest review done of my own will and opinion and was not paid for by Airbnb or it’s host although this post does contain affiliate links which I may make a commission from.

 

Start planning your next trip to Paris and pin this image for later 🙂

 

The Coolest Airbnb in Paris - Stay like a local!

 

P.S. Want the travel book in that photo I took at the café? It’s one of my favorite walking guides to Paris. There’s no better way to get to love Paris than to walk. I’m not sure if they still make that specific books anymore, but Frommers is always putting out new editions.

P.P.S. Prefer fiction? Check out my post A Flight Attendant’s Bookshelf for my favorite travel reads!

 

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The Flight Attendant's Guide to Japan, the Best Sushi in Tokyo

Tokyo is for lovers…Sushi lovers!

I’ll never forget the first time I visited Japan. I wasn’t a flight attendant yet, I think I was eighteen, and I joined a family member on her Narita layover. I had a little over twenty four hours in Japan and in that time, my culinary desires were to have gyoza and teriyaki. When I think back, I cringe at this because I know how much I was missing out on. Although, I definitely was onto something regarding the idea of consuming as much gyoza as possible while in Japan. But at the time, I claimed to hate sea food. I know, sacrilege coming from a Seattle, girl. Perhaps because I grew up watching men toss around fish at the Pike Place Market, the thought of eating it just never did anything for me.

My culinary experiences in Japan greatly changed during my second visit. That fateful trip to Tokyo changed my life…and my taste buds…forever. Let me tell you how it happened.

My trip to Tokyo by way of NRT (Narita), started off grandly. I was able to get a seat, which for us standby folks is always a good sign. Of course, my Delta crew treated me like a rock star, which on a ten hour flight is so appreciated. I enjoyed cocktails, amazing food and four in-flight movies! Needless to say, I was sleepy, but pumped to explore Tokyo once again.

 

Luv Aviatrix goes to Tokyo via NRT

 

Yay, I’m back in Japan!

 

For this trip, I said that I was going to eat anything and be completely adventurous. Since Japan is an island, they obviously have amazing fresh fish and the Tsukiji Fish Market is famous world wide. So of course, it was my first stop. According to my travel guides, it’s important to get to the Tsukiji Fish Market nice and early. I didn’t necessarily need to see the first catches being brought in, so I didn’t show up before the sun, but I did plan on having an early lunch there and carousing most of the stands before any tourists showed up.

 

I was amazed at all the goods offered at the market, including fresh catches of squid, octopus, and fish I’d never even heard of. I was definitely inspired to pop into one of the Tsukiji Fish Market sushi shops. After all, if anyone could convert me into a sushi person, perhaps it would be Japan. I stepped inside a tiny establishment within the market and felt good about the number of locals that had already come inside to enjoy sushi. A conveyer belt wrapped around the tiny room with plates of beautifully crafted sushi and sashimi concoctions.

 

Tsukiji Fish Martket, The Luv Aviatrix's Guide to the best Sushi in Tokyo, Japan

 

Although nothing was in English, I decided to try everything, even if I didn’t know what it was! I decided my method was simple, grab the pretty sushi plates as they passed by. Although my Japanese was iffy at best, it didn’t matter because the Sushi house was self serve and even included spigots of tea at every station. Just being in this environment was super fun because I’d never eaten at a place like this before!

 

The Flight Attendant's Guide to Japan, the Best Sushi in Tokyo

 

Every plate of Sushi was so beautiful, it was obvious that the Sushi chefs took their time in creating these culinary masterpieces. The beauty in these dishes definitely made me feel brave to try new things and I quickly grabbed my first plate from the sushi belt.

 

The Flight Attendant's Guide to the best sushi in Tokyo, Japan

 

 

Since I had always been anti-sea food, I have no idea what fish were on my sushi plate. I was eager to taste one of the mini art pieces though and quickly discovered something…it was amazing! That’s right, I didn’t know what it was, but it was probably the most amazing thing I’d ever tasted. The sushi melted in my mouth as if it had never been whole. That’s how fresh this fish was. Utterly amazing. I was convinced. Sushi, so far, was amazing and I’d definitely be having more than one plate!

Flight Attendant Tip: Although I was a sushi newbie, Japan taught me that traditionally, you’re supposed to eat the entire sushi in one bite. I found this hard believe and impossible at first (there was a very unflattering photo to prove it), but I soon got the hang of it. I definitely understand that by consuming the sushi in one bite, all the flavors are absorbed at the same time. And because good sushi melts in your mouth, the large bite is rendered palatable quite quickly.

 

The Flight Attendant's Guide to Japan, the Best Sushi in Tokyo

 

It took all of my travel courage to take the above plate off the sushi belt, mainly because it had a face. But it was so unique to Japan, almost symbolic as a dish, I just had to. This little guys sacrifice wasn’t in vain and I salivated for moments after finishing this amazing dish, contemplating all I had been missing during my seafood-free life.

 

The Flight Attendant's Guide to Japan, the Best Sushi in Tokyo

 

Above: I still don’t know what this is or what different things are in it…but it was amazing. A trend I noticed eating all this sushi is that every bite melted in my mouth. And despite all my preconceived notions, nothing tasted fishy. I was told later that fresh fish shouldn’t smell “fishy”.

 

The Flight Attendant's Guide to Japan, the Best Sushi in Tokyo

 

Above: This plate ended up being my absolute favorite. The slight sear on top was like the icing on the cake, but um, for sushi. Since I was so Sushi illiterate, I had no idea until later that it was Unagi, also known as Eel! Who knew that this anti-sea food gal from the Pacific Northwest would go to Japan and get hooked on Eel? Not me, but to this day, my go-to date night dinner is Unagi from our local sushi joint. I <3 Unagi!

 

The Flight Attendant's Guide to Japan, the Best Sushi in Tokyo

 

In all honesty, although Tokyo has converted me into a sushi lover, the above dish was the only one I didn’t love. I finished it, but the fish eggs were a bit salty for my taste. I definitely think if you’ve never tried them before, that you should. The texture is very interesting. They’re soft and squishy like Jell-O, but have a bit of a crunch as you bite into them.

 

The Flight Attendant's Guide to Japan, the Best Sushi in Tokyo

 

How Much Will it Cost?

You will be amazed when I tell you that even though this was the most amazing sushi I’ve ever had (and since my first visit I had sushi just about everywhere) the plates of sushi were about $1 US dollar each. Isn’t that amazing? How it works is that different colored plates equal different prices. At the time of my visit, plate started as low as .50 cents. That’s right, you can get one of those beautiful sushi plates pictured for less than a dollar! The most expensive plate I had was $2. That means that the Tsukiji Fish Market has sushi for every budget. Heck, I ate like a queen at this amazing place! Look at all those plates I went through and it was less than $10 USD!

 

For my fellow flight crew, it’s cheaper to fly to Tokyo (including zed fares) and eat at Tokyo’s fish market than to have sushi at some restaurants in the states. No joke, a similar plate to what I got in Tokyo would be $24 USD at Los Angeles Sushi house, Katsuya. For one person to eat there easily racks up to over $100 dollars, and you’ll leave hungry if you’re not rich and famous. On my budget, I can’t even afford to step in the door. For less than $100, flight crew can nonrev to Tokyo and take a train or bus to the Tsukiji fish market area of downtown Tokyo. Even if you need to purchase a zed fare, it’s usually not more than $6o round trip. So why not hop over to Tokyo for an amazing lunch as just fly back? I did 🙂

 

The Flight Attendant's Guide to Japan, the Best Sushi in Tokyo

 

 Final Verdict:The Luv Aviatrix, a flight attendant, enjoys the Tsukiji Fish Market

Absolutely, anyone that visits Japan needs to visit Tokyo’s Tsukiji Fish Market and have sushi while you’re there. Even if you’re like me and think you hate sea food, when I finally gave it a chance, the fresh fish blew my mind. Sushi really is an art form in Japan. Although Tokyo has many different areas to explore, do not leave without experiences the Tsukiji Fish Market. You’ll feel like you’re in a different world! And isn’t that what traveling is for?

So, are you are a sushi addict or are you ready to be converted?

Happy Traveling

XOXO

The Luv Aviatrix

 

 

A Flight Attendant's Guide to the best Sushi in Japan. The Tsukiji Fish Market, Tokyo

 

Ready to plan your trip to Tokyo? My bookshelves would be empty without all my great travel books to get me ready!

 

 

Flight Attendant's Guide to Teotihuacan view from Pyramid of the Moon

Climbing the Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacan

Not far from Mexico City, travelers can climb one of the tallest pyramids in the world. If you’re the adventurous sort, and I know I am, you’ll get out of the city and head to the ancient Mesoamerican city of Teotihuacan. Before you even arrive, you’ll see the giant Pyramid of the Sun in the distance. In my humble opinion, I think Mexico City is one of the most interesting cities in the world. Whenever I hear people say they are going to visit, I tell them that an excursion to Teotihuacan is a must. Whether you climb the pyramid or simply gaze at it, you’ll be transported to another era. An era of cacao, of gold, and of human sacrifice.

 

If you follow my blog you know I’m a flight attendant. I always wanted to be a flight attendant, but I still went to university to study subjects that I thought would be useful in my travels. This led me to major in cultural anthropology with an emphasis in archaeology. This is what gave birth to my obsession with ancient Olmec, Maya and Aztec civilization and I spent a summer backpacking around, adventuring to many of the ruins. I still have plenty of ancient cities on my list, but that summer I put a good dent in it. Teotihuacan, unlike some ruins, is very easily accessible.

 A Flight Attendants Guide to Teotihuacan Mexico

ng the Pyramids at Teotihuacan, Mexico

Teotihuacan, Getting There

By Bus, or By Bus Tour…That is the question. Some people argue that it’s better to take the bus on your own because it’s cheaper, with more time at the pyramids. This is certainly true, but I have to say, I did take a tour through a Mexico City hostel and it was incredibly memorable. Many of the bad reviews for the bus tour was the opposite of my experience and personally,  you get what you give in life. So let me tell you about my excursion.

 
Flight Attendant Tip: First of all, even if you’re not staying at a hostel, you can always get the same excursions, BUT CHEAPER, by purchasing from a hostel. Also, don’t be afraid to haggle…especially my ladies, I feel like the men actually enjoy it when we haggle with them. 🙂 My Spanish and smile have gotten me amazing discounts. In the states, I’m sure the same haggling would have gotten me throttled. My haggling is usually something like, “Oh bummer, my budget was (insert amount here). That’s too bad because I really wanted (insert object of affection here).” Haggling has never failed me and allowed me to remain budget doing excursions, buying jewelry, getting taxi rides, you name it. And don’t forget, you get more flies with honey, so always smile! I paid $15-20, which seems like a steal to me for transportation, a guide, a tequila workshop and snacks.

 

Pit stop: The tour I did stopped at a Tequila tasting shop and our group (of about 15) got to see how the ancient Mesoamericans used the Maguey plant and local flowers to make bright tapestries. They used the same plant to make drinking mescal. Tasting the mescal, and pulque was quite intense, made from the Maguey plant we were shown when we first arrived. I really liked the sweet Almedrado, an almond flavor tequila liquer. I’ve heard some people complain that it was a complete waste of time and that they hardly got any tequila. My group was there about fifteen minutes, so it definitely didn’t cost too much time at the pyramids. And let me say, they were verrrrrry generous with their pours. I didn’t want too get too tipsy before climbing one of the tallest pyramids in the world, so I was careful, but let me say that before we even left the Tequila place, some of the guys in our group were puking in the bushes. 😉 Caution: Tequila taste at your own risk.

 

Making textiles out of Maguey

The Ruins of Teotihuacan

The main event! Two giant pyramids, the Sun and the Moon tower above the Avenue of the Dead. Walk down the ancient road lined with rocky temples and you can’t help but feel like you’re in another world. Teotihuacan was once home to over 125,00 people and when you take a tour, you really gain incredible insight into the city, which even had technology such as ancient plumbing and aqueducts. This is absolutely incredible if you keep in mind that the Pyramid of the sun was believed to have built in the second century AD. I knew some from my collegiate studies, but really our guide was a wealth of information. That’s a great perk about tours, but also, I met memorable friends from Germany and Brazil that I still keep in touch with.

 

Climbing the Pyramid of the Sun:

 

If you’re afraid of heights, this is not for you. I’m not afraid of heights and still on occasion I was like “What the hell am I doing!?!?!” The steps get pretty steep and towards the top it gets very windy! Once you get to the top of the Pyramid of the Sun, you’ll be surrounded of course by fellow adventurers. If you check out my selfie below, you’ll notice the edge in ominously close and I can’t help but wonder if any tourists have fallen off the pyramid before. Eek!

 

Flight Attendant's Guide to Teotihuacan and climbing the Pyramid of the Sun

 

Flight Attendant Tip: If you want to feel a bit more like you’re the only one atop the mountain, head over to the Pyramid of the Moon and climb that one too! I did and was rewarded with a very peaceful rest at the top. Although the Pyramid of the Sun is more famous because it’s taller, the Pyramid of the Moon has an even better view because it rests at the very end of the Avenue of the Dead, offering a very dramatic view of Teotihuacan and the Pyramid of the Sun in the Distance. And if you’re sitting at the top and it feels like you’re just as high, it’s because you are. The Pyramid of the Moon sits on a higher landscape so although it’s not as tall, you still climb just as high.

 

Flight Attendant's Guide to Teotihuacan view from Pyramid of the Moon

Bottom Line:

Whether you’re a history lover, or just love a unique adventure, Teotihuacan is a must if you’re in the Mexico City area.

 

So, have you climbed a pyramid lately? If you did, were you deathly afraid or was it invigorating? For me, it was a little of both, but mostly amazing!

 

XOXO

The Luv Aviatrix

A Flight Attendant's Guide to Maui

Maui: A Flight Attendant’s Guide

A Flight Attendant's Guide to Maui, Mai Tai Service

 

A Flight Attendant's Guide to Maui

Aloha! I count my lucky stars that I’ve been able to explore Hawaii so much. As a flight attendant, travel is a major perk of the job, so it’s a crime not to get around. I love all of Hawaii, but Maui might possibly be my favorite island. Each island has their own vibe though, so really I suppose my favorite island just depends on what I’m in the mood for. But whenever people ask, my initial response is always Maui. Maui is amazing because it has the romantic, quiet beaches, it has epic hikes, snorkeling, whale watching, and an unforgettable highway that should be on everyone’s travel bucket list. But I’ll get to Maui’s Road to Hana in a little bit.

Maui, the Basics

 

Maui is known for whale watching, rainbows, gorgeous beaches and amazing fresh seafood. To get to Maui, you”ll have to fly into Maui’s Kahului airport, OGG. There are many airlines that service the airport. For those of you who know me, I started off my flight attendant career with the Alaska Airlines air group. This means I’m particularly biased when I recommend flying Alaska Airlines into Hawaii. One of the perks is the welcome to Hawaii complimentary Mai Tai service. Yep, a free Mai Tai to get you ready to arrive in Paradise. That being said, I’ve heard Hawaiian is great, and my friends at Virgin America and Delta have always treated me great well. XOXO

To get around the island (and to fully appreciate it) I whole-heartedly recommend renting a car, preferably a four wheel drive to better navigate the Road to Hana as some roads are not paved. Although it’ll be expensive, I recommend visiting during whale-watching season. Whether I was driving, dining or laying on a beach, I was always seeing whales breach and it was incredible. Check the weather because part of Maui’s magic is that the weather is always changing. One minute it’s raining, the next minute you’re getting sun-kissed and gazing at rainbows. Pack accordingly with a light rain jacket and bug spray never hurts in these climates.

 

Rainbows in Maui, a Flight Attendant's Guide to Maui

My Favorite Beach

 

Maui is always on every “Best Beaches” list, whether it’s Conde Nast, Frommers, you name it, Maui will have multiple beaches on that best beach list. Maui has white powder sand, black sand, every shade of stunning sand you can dream of. Some beaches lay in front of fancy resorts and some you can hike to. There’s so many unique beaches and that’s why when I announce my favorite beach, I’m sure I’ll get someone disagreeing with me. Kaanapali is super popular, and very beautiful, but Oneloa, also known as Big Beach, is definitely, hands down my favorite beach on Maui. I’ve been there a few times and it’s usually less busy, and sometimes it even feels like you have the place to yourself. Big Beach is beautiful to just relax, or if you’re feeling active, boogie board or snorkel. I snorkeled here and although sometimes the waves are a bit heavy, I still saw lots of beautiful fish. Most of all, I love the way the beach curves and you can get a great view of it by climbing up a hill to Little Beach. That’s right, climb over a hill and down on the other side is Little Beach, a clothing optional beach 🙂

 

Big Beach, Maui Hawaii

A Flight Attendant's Guide to Big Beach, Maui Hawaii

 

Visit this Big Beach, because I insist, but don’t forget some of the other famous beaches. Like I mentioned, Kaanapali is probably Maui’s most famous beach. Chances are, if you’re staying in a big hotel on Maui, you might be staying on Kaanapali. Personally, I prefer the Kihei area because there are a lot of things that are walkable and it feels less resort-like and like more of a town. If you’re on honeymoon, go with romantic resort areas on Maui like Kaanapali or Wailea.

 

A Flight Attendant's Guide to Maui, Kaanapali Beach

 

A Flight Attendant's Guide to Maui, Black Sand Beach

 

 

A note on snorkeling in Maui: There are many “trips” that you can pay for, but snorkeling is great just about everywhere and you can certainly just go on your own if you bring a snorkel or rent one. The bummer about paying for a snorkel tour is that you’re subject to weather influencing the visibility. Maui water is super clear, but bad weather is bad weather, unfortunately. I have done the Molokini Crater trip and I was very disappointed. The visibility was bad due to wind and on top of that, it was so crowded I didn’t get the feel of being in another world like I usually do when snorkeling. I highly recommend renting or bringing your own snorkel gear and going for a swim whenever the mood strikes you. I used my favorite Maui book, Maui Revealed for all the best snorkeling spots.

 

My Favorite Place for a Drink

   Hint: It’s everything you expect for a romantic, Hawaiian evening Lilikoi Martini

 

For my birthday, I wanted nothing more than a good view, good sushi, and an amazing cocktail.  I got all three at the 5 Palms in Kihei. The 5 Palms is at the Mana Kai resort in Kihei and it rests right on the beach, offering amazing views from both inside and outside the restaurant.

My to-die-for drink is the Lilikoi Martini. When I ordered it, I didn’t know what Lilikoi was exactly, but it sounded Hawaiian so I figured I couldn’t go wrong. I was so right. To this day, it’s my favorite cocktail I’ve had anywhere. It probably didn’t hurt that the sunset I was gazing out at, and the whales breaching in the distance, all made the drink taste even more magical.

The 5 Palms doesn’t disappoint, which makes it very popular and a reservation is absolutely necessary! Trying to walk in? Expect to be turned away or asked to wait for some time. Waiting can stil be fun though because you’ve got a great view. The second time I went to the 5 Palms, I waited about 30 minutes to get in, but was able to watch the whales breaches just off the beach. Amazing. This place isn’t cheap, but it’s not super expensive. Budget wise, I’d say it’s a once-per-trip visit kind of establishment. 😉

 

The Road To Hana Coconuts on Maui Hawaii

 

If you go to Maui for no reason other than to experience the Road To Hana, you must go. The Road to Hana is quite possibly one of my favorite world experiences and it should be on everyone’s travel bucket list. I recommend dedicating at least an entire day (we’re talking set you’re alarm to wake up early) to three days depending on what your travel goals are while on Maui. But what is the Road to Hana? Basically, it’s Hawaii’s answer to California’s Highway 1. Both famous drives cling to rocky cliffs, offering earth-shattering ocean views. What makes the Road to Hanna even more special is that every couple seconds, you’re passing waterfalls. I promise your neck will hurt from taking this drive because on one side you have beautiful ocean vistas, on the other side is jungle and waterfalls galore. The road to Hana is so spectacular, I dedicated a post to it here.

 

 

 

A Flight Attendant's Guide to Maui

 

 

In Summary, Don’t Leave Maui Without…

Whale WatchingTaking Snorkel Selfies in Maui, Check out this Flight Attendant's Guide to Maui

Chasing rainbows

Eating and drinking as much as you can:

fresh fish (ideally macademia encrusted), Hawaiian shaved ice, tropical drinks, repeat

Driving the road to Hana

Checking out each Maui beach, whether it’s black sand or white powder. Grab a snorkel!

Have you been to Maui? Tell me, what’s your favorite thing to do on the island?

Aloha and Happy Traveling

XOXO The Luv Aviatrix

 

P.S. Notice how I haven’t put any accommodation recommendations? Let me know if you have any! I’ve always stayed in AirBnBs there and while I’ve had luck everywhere else in the world, I haven’t had success in Maui. Every place I’ve stayed has been lackluster. I even had one host greet me by insulting my shoes. Yep. That happened.

P.P.S. Planning a trip to Maui? Below are my two fav Hawaii/Maui travel books. Please note that these are affiliate links, which mean I get a commission, but I promise, I wouldn’t steer you wrong. Pretty much anyone who’s been to Maui will recommend the book, Maui Revealed 🙂

 

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