Carl Turnley Travel

Carl Turnley discusses his love of and experience with travel.

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Author: Carl Turnley (page 2 of 3)

Flying Solo: What’s the Best Way to Travel?

carl turnley travel


There’s something so viscerally enjoyable about stepping out of the world. Something that draws us to drop what we’re doing, take a week off of work and take a flight or a drive or a train to, just, wherever. The idea of “getting away” is instilled in us from birth seemingly. We want–no we need to get away from it all sometimes.

Sometimes, in the process of getting away, we want to not only avoid our work, our responsibilities and our cell phones, but other people. Human interaction is something we need in everyday life, but everything is best in moderation, right?

But the companionship that others can offer on trips is unparalleled. There are pros and cons to both traveling alone and traveling as a part of a group, I’ll outline some below.


Traveling Solo


The biggest advantages in traveling alone come in terms of what you’ll be doing. When you’re traveling alone, you don’t have to answer to anyone else. You can do whatever you want. You can see whatever you want. You can eat, drink, ride, fly and go anywhere you want. The trip is yours and yours alone, meaning you’re not getting dragged along to see things you’re not interested in, nor are you on the flip side, dragging someone else to see a sight they’ve already seen.

By traveling alone you’ll also have ample time to relax and focus on you. As I wrote above, sometimes it’s nice to just get away from other people for a bit. Going hiking, exploring or even out for a meal by yourself can be incredibly liberating, but you won’t know until you’ve tried.



The biggest disadvantage, which you may or may not agree with, is the potential for loneliness. There are things that are best done alone, but the reverse is also true–some things are best done with someone there with you. Loneliness can easily set in on an extended trip if you simply need someone to talk to.

Other disadvantages, such as slightly increased costs can also hurt your solo travels, but for some this is a nonissue.


Traveling With Others


Traveling as a part of a group ensures that you’ll never be lonely. Your companions will be there throughout the duration, meaning you’ll always have people to engage in activities with. Similarly, the people you’re traveling and exploring with will often be able to offer up suggestions of what to do and places to eat that you might not have thought of alone.


The biggest disadvantage would likely come in the form of a mishmash of conflicting ideas. Some people want to do one thing, some want to do another, and no one wants to do what you’re doing. Splitting off will solve this issue, but fighting and bickering can (and often does, on extended trips) persist in group travels.


No matter how you do wind up traveling, make sure that you are traveling.


What to Bring: Five Essentials for Travel


carl turnley travel

One mistake many first time travelers (and even seasoned travelers) make is overpacking.  There seems to be a way to justify packing your entire wardrobe, all of your gadgets, too many pairs of shoes, and nonessential items.  As traveling becomes more habitual, you learn that you can get by with less each trip.  Even with a lighter travel load, the following five items should make their way on every trip you make from now on.

A Small Bag for Day Trips

Traveling to an area for the first time usually consists of setting up in a hotel room and making day trips to various destinations throughout your stay.  While you are packing your suitcase, don’t forget to throw a small mesh bag into one of the compartments.  This bag will give you the ability to carry small items, toiletries, extra clothing, and travel documents with you without taking up any extra space in your luggage.  

A Compact LED Flashlight

One of the most dangerous aspects of traveling is being in an unfamiliar place after dark.  There’s a good chance you can get lost at night, or worse, get hurt from an uneven or slippery walkway.  By carrying a small LED flashlight, you can illuminate your path to ensure you will get to your destination safely and on time.


Whether you are traveling in the summer heat or in the dead of winter, super glue is a valuable asset to your trip.  Sandals are my go to on my summer trips, and there’s not many things that are more annoying than ripping the strap of a sandal during a day-long excursion.  A small bottle of Super Glue will help you easily fix that sandal and have you on your way in minutes.  

Swiss Army Knife

A Swiss Army Knife is one of the most versatile tools you can carry anywhere.  You can cut an arrant string from a shirt, file a hangnail, and open a bottle of wine for a nightcap all with the same tool.  There’s a reason they are standard issue for astronauts flying to space.

Rope Cord

A 20-foot piece of tightly-wound cord is going to save you a lot of headaches on any trip.  Tie one end to a bedpost, and then tie a knot to the doorknob to create a makeshift washiline.  Your clothing will dry overnight after you get caught in a thunderstorm.

Traveling is often a stressful time for many people.  Nobody has mastered the science of what to take on a trip, but as more people travel the world it becomes more evident of what is truly important to travelers.  If you can remember these five essential items, it will save you a lot of trouble in the long run.  

Travel Quick Guide: The Best 3 Times to Hire a Travel Agent

Today, it’s so easy to plan your entire trip online. You can book on Expedia; read reviews on Yelp. Rent a car; reserve a room. One can even virtually explore the area with Google Maps. What more could a traveler want?

To start, planning your own trip can end up being extremely stressful. You’re trying to wrap things up at work. You’re busy making arrangements at home. You barely have time to pack the things you need. The last thing you’ll want to do is arrive stressed out with no plans on the agenda.

Enter the revitalized, almost extinct role of the travel agent.

Believe it or not, the travel agent is returning in a big way.

While the industry has seen devastating cuts over the last two decades, signs show that the role may receive an encore. More than 30% of millennials say they’ll use a travel agent over the next year; a figure that’s doubled over recent years.

These stats aren’t surprising. For some trips, handling the travel logistics is easy to tackle on your own. But other times, managing the details of a large trip can send you in a tailspin. And it turns out that the one thing that online sites can’t provide–the humanness of the process– ranks high on the list of many travelers.

Take a look at the following three reasons when booking a travel agent is a great idea. Originally found on, this travel tip makes a whole lot of sense!

  1. You’re traveling with a large group

No matter how much you love your family members or friends, the last place you’ll want to find yourself is the person arranging the entire trip. To start, there are far too many details to iron out. Booking the right flights and hotel rooms alone will send you straight to an agent. Do yourself a favor and let the help of an experienced professional plan your trip. Best of all, you won’t be responsible for any hiccups along the way.

  1. You’re traveling internationally

Whether this is your first big trip abroad or the latest adventure in your never ending journey to see as much of the world as possible, international travel will always involve more logistics than domestic excursions.

Perhaps the best thing about working with an agent when planning for your trip is that you’ll be able to ask as many questions as possible. You’ll no doubt save time and energy. Working with an experienced professional will provide you with great insights.

  1. You have no idea what you want to do

Yes, the internet is full of guides and tourist to-do’s. But often times these resources leave people feeling more overwhelmed than when they started. Don’t let the vast stores of the internet overwhelm your trip details. Talk with your agent on what you enjoy doing. She’ll be able to provide options that you may not have even considered!

5 Breathtaking Castles To See In Europe

Castles aren’t just something you read about in fairytales. There are a number of ancient castles still standing all around the world. Some of the most stunning castles can be found in Europe. These castles create an enchanting sense of mystery, sometimes appearing eery and other times appearing romantic. If you’re traveling through Europe, you will definitely want to see some of these astounding castles.

1) Eilean Donan Castle, Scotland

The Eilean Donan Castle is one of the most iconic castles in Europe, and once you’re struck by its historical beauty, you’ll see why. If you’re a movie buff, you’ll recognize this castle from its numerous appearances in movies, such as the original Highlander. If you’re a history buff, you’re more likely to be interested in Eilean Donan’s fascinating past. This castle was the key site during the 1719 Jacobite Rising. Regardless of what it is that catches your eye about this castle, you are sure to be in awe. The castle is surrounded by a mountain range filled with greenery.

2) Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany

With more than 1.3 million people visiting annually in recent years, Neuschwanstein Castle is Europe’s most visited castle. If you’re on a day trip to nearby Munich, it is convenient to swing by this castle, and you certainly won’t regret it. The castle is absolutely breathtaking, as are the natural surroundings. Make sure that while you visit, you take time to take an off-site walk on the nearby trails in order to see some incredible views. For bike-riding travelers, there is also the option to take bike tours.

3) Chateau de Versailles, France

Brimming with beauty, history and greenery, the Chateau de Versailles is a must-see. From its beginnings as a hunting lodge to its peak as a royal court of France under Louis XIV, the Chateau de Versailles is truly awe-inspiring. This is one of the grandest royal residences in the world and cannot be overlooked. If you’re in Paris, you absolutely need to take a day trip to Versailles so that you can explore the lush gardens and gilded halls.

4) Edinburgh Castle, Scotland

Edinburgh Castle is an example of a fully restored medieval fortress. This beautiful castle sits atop an extinct volcano called Castle Rock, towering over Scotland’s capital city. The architecture of the building itself is just as spellbinding as the structure that it is sitting upon. Built in the 12th century, Edinburgh Castle has passed hands between the Scots and the English a number of times. Now, it is open to the public for tours and events throughout the entire year.

5) Hunyad Castle, Romania

The Hunyad Castle, also known as the Corvin Castle, is a Gothic-Renaissance building that was fully restored after decades of being neglected. This castle once imprisoned Vlad the Impaler, and this historical event would later be Bram Stoker’s inspiration for Dracula. While the castle may have a somewhat grim history, it has a vibrant appearance, with multi-colored roofs, towers, and stone carvings. Some argue that the building is not entirely authentic, since modern architects may have projected their own interpretation onto the reconstruction of the castle. However, the end result is a truly spectacular castle that is worth the visit.

Europe is filled with a rich and fascinating history. The proof is in the historical, awe-inspiring castles found throughout several European cities.

Juliana Buhring’s Cycling Saga

Juliana Buhring is a woman of the world. Her mother is German and her father is Welsh; and Juliana herself was born in Greece, raised in countries all over Africa, Europe, and Asia, and now lives in Italy. As the author of two books and an endurance cyclist, one would expect that she has been leading the strenuous life since she could walk, but that is not at all the case.

The subject of her latest book The Road I Ride, is the record-breaking journey she took four years ago, when she became the fastest woman to circumnavigate the globe on a bicycle. But her journey wasn’t born out of competitive spirit— it was a way to deal with pain and loss.

Two years before her two-wheeled travels, her boyfriend was killed by a crocodile in a kayaking accident. Grief can be overwhelming, and while some people seem to come to a standstill when dealing with emotional pain, Juliana had to literally get moving in order to get away from it all. So, she took up cycling. In an interview with the Telegraph she reveals that she wasn’t much of a cycler to begin with, but found that “The physical act of moving anywhere away from where I was, already felt better.” What started as a way to deal with her loss turned into a new passion, and before long the nascent endurance cyclist was determined to set the aforementioned record.

Most people thought her crazy for making the attempt, but she finished nonetheless. In the interview she speaks about her travels, noting the goodness that courses through so many people. When she was hungry, people would offer her food. When she was tired, someone would offer a bed. And even in the face of danger, there was someone willing to go out of their way and assure her safety.

Her favorite places to cycle were in Turkey (“there are some really beautiful views when you begin climbing up some of the hills”) and the Pacific Northwest (all of the mountainous US National Parks are wonderful for cycling).

It’s an inspiring story, so be sure to read her book!

Excellent Waterfalls

One of the benefits of hiking comes in the form of a mental health boost. Taking a long walk, in and of itself, can actually replicate some of the benefits of meditation. Put that long walk in a natural setting, and your brain is in for something wonderful. But a recent piece from Huffington Post ups the ante even further, citing a study that shows how waterfalls can give you a cognitive boost. Waterfalls release negative ions that increase blood flow to the brain, so making the time to relax by one of these natural wonders will benefit your overall health as well as your Instagram game.

The vast majority of the waterfalls are located in the vast expanses of the West. In California, you can take in the majesty of Yosemite Falls, some of the tallest in the world. Divided into three sections— the upper falls, the cascades, and the lower falls— Yosemite Falls can be viewed comfortably from Yosemite Valley. But adventurers can be rewarded with views from up close by completing a daunting eight hour hike.

The Golden State is also home to Vernal Fall, also in Yosemite; and Alamere Falls.

The latter is especially attractive. After a thirteen mile hike that for most will become a fun weekend excursion, explorers will see the full majesty of Alamere. It’s a tidefall, which means it empties right into the ocean.

The Pacific Northwest is also home to a number of breathtaking falls. Multnomah Falls in Oregon is considered to be one of the most beautiful vertical water formation in the country, and can easily be seen from the road. If hiking is more your thing, a 1.2 mile hike will take you to the top. Be warned— though the trail only clocks in at a mile, there are plenty of obstacles in the way.

While most of the falls are way out west, the article does show some love for falls east of the Mississippi. Of note are the underground Ruby Falls (Chattanooga, Tennessee), and Arethusa Falls (Hart’s Location, New Hampshire).

Explore Slovenia

Sometimes the best travel advice comes from informed word-of mouth sources. Sure, travel guides can be great, but there is a certain warmth that comes with getting a tip you may not find elsewhere.

Over at The Guardian, this what put into practice by compiling some of the best tips and hidden gems in the Central European country of Slovenia. The country, which is nestled between Italy and Croatia, has mountainous terrain and well-preserved medieval architecture. This combination makes it a must-see for nature-lovers and history buffs alike. Be sure to check out the article to see the beautiful images. In the meantime, here are some of the more notable entries.


The runaway tip from this list was President Tito’s Tearoom, located in the hills above Lake Bled. Once you get there, you may be so taken by the ambience that you forget to actually order any tea! The tearoom was a favorite of the first president of Yugoslavia, Josip Broz Tito, and has been fully restored to include the original furniture. It also offers sweeping views of the lake, where you can get a view of the Church of St. Martin, which is located on an island in its center! All of this makes your coffee or tea time that much more enjoyable.

If you are big on pastries and baked treats, one user suggests checking out the GP Trojane. Its most famous offering is the Trojane krof, a large jam-filled doughnut. The user also recommends getting soup with rezanci (a type of noodle)  and local sausages.

Explore Outdoors

User cand882 stumbled upon Logarska Dolina Landscape Park by accident, but it quickly became one of her favorite parts of the trip. The lush yet mountainous park is located close to the Austrian border, and will provide hours of exploration. It provides beautiful opportunities for biking, and there is even a waterfall to see.

Train travel is one of the most underrated modes of exploring the picturesque countryside. In Slovenia, don’t shy away from it, and hop on the Bohinj railway for a trip to Nova Gorica. You’ll see the beautiful Italian and chug along the pristine Sava River.


Slovenia has a rich history, and travelers love exploring the past there. What better place to start than the Predjama Castle. Located in Postojna, the castle is a 13th century fortress built into the mouth of one of the village’s many caves. It is also famous for the Erazem Passage. Legend has it that a night once used that passage to smuggle supplies into the castle during a siege, and was able to hold out for one year and a day.

You can also check out the town of Radovljica, which is the site of an old medieval square and several museums that explore the country’s rich history and traditions.

Oh the Places You’ll Go (In 2016)

Each year, the New York Times releases a listicle that seems to have the sole purpose of putting all others to shame. Their annual “52 Places to Go in [Year]” is at once gorgeous, well-written, and informative; yet a tease for any person infected with the travel bug. Their diverse entries are enough to make the most severe homebody want to at least explore their own neighborhood in detail like never before.

But these destinations aren’t randomly selected out of a basket— at least to my knowledge. They are carefully curated to include locales that are celebrating something, anything, in the upcoming year. For example, Milan made the list last year because it hosted the World Expo.

Mexico City leads the pack in 2016, not only because of it’s increasingly cosmopolitan nature that is drawing the brightest minds from Spain and Latin America, but because it will also be graced by the presence of the Pope.

The Maltese Island of Valletta is coming up on its 450th birthday celebration, and the Times encourages readers to check out the restored architecture of this Mediterranean archipelago.

Spain’s Barcelona also made the list. This year the city will be celebrating the life and work of Antonio Gaudí the famed Catalan architect who has had seven of his works declared as UNESCO world heritage sites. Architecture enthusiasts and aficionados will be flocking here to soak in the history surrounding some of the city’s most famed sites.

Barcelona panoramic view

Barcelona will be celebrating the work of Gaudí this year.

But maybe that’s not the point of this list. Maybe this list is meant to make you rethink how you approach travel, so that it’s not as random as closing your eyes, spinning the globe, and blindly pointing to a random country or region.

Instead, think about what you like to do; what you appreciate, what you crave to learn more of. Then take that understanding and simply apply it to your travel needs. Consider yourself a foodie? Make a point to explore the cuisine of another region. Like learning new languages? Immerse yourself in a culture to practice it.

Let your passions guide you, and imagine the places you’ll go.


5 Cities to Travel to this Autumn


What more can I say? The Boston Commons will burst into color during these autumn months. If you have a sweet tooth, grab a few friends and grab a cannoli at Mike’s Pastries before lounging on the sloping greens. Or depending on the time, you can go ice skating in Frog Pond! Also, be sure cross the river to check out the scenery in Cambridge, then grab a book from the Harvard Bookstore.

The Twin Cities

That’s Minneapolis and St. Paul for those who don’t know. Up there, winters are super harsh, so locals take advantage of Autumn like nowhere else. If you ever make it up to the North Star State, be sure to check out the September bike tour. They also host a marathon that is considered one of the most scenic athletic events.


If you’ve ever seen In Bruges with Colin Farrell and Ralph Fiennes, there is no doubt that the thought “there is no way a city can be so scenic and gorgeous.” But the travelers of the world understand that Bruges doesn’t disappoint. History is around every corner, and is waiting to be explored during your visit. Trips to Discover shares that it’s the colors that really bring the city to life in the fall. Beautiful foliage is reflected in the city’s canal’s, making your Autumnal excursion one to remember.

Bridge of Orchy

Situated in the Scottish highlands, this town is the definition of fall. Cozy, quaint; bursting with lively fall colors and inspiring a general sense of warmth and intimate vibes. It’s magical— down for a hike in the mountains? Fancy a whiskey tasting at an old distillery? Or maybe you want to explore medieval castles? Bridge of Orchy has it all, and then some.


Of all cities in the world, no city attracts more tourists than Paris. Added bonus? Flights are cheaper during the peak travel period of mid-summer. Once there, cozy up in a cafe on the Champs-Élysées or take a contemplative stroll through the gothic Père Lachaise cemetery.

Life in Color

Lots of people who travel like to center their excursions around a particular theme. For example, you can go on a literary excursion and revisit the paths traveled from the heroes of your favorite novels. Some sports fans opt to tailor their trips around their love of the game: here’s a cool post about a guy who traveled with a buddy and hit every single MLB ballpark. Turns out these are great ways to see the country and acquaint yourself with your countrymen and fellow fans/enthusiasts. And it doesn’t just have to be domestic either! You can even plan a mythology tour and see some of the sites that have been embedded in the human conscious since antiquity.

These are all awesome ideas for trips, but what about something more abstract? Always feel free to mix and match and do your own thing, but here’s a cool starting point: colors. The idea came from a cool post on Mashable that featured photos from what are literally some of the world’s most colorful cities. The title of the piece references the actual need for #nofilter, and for good reason. These locales are a testament to the beauty of human alteration and expression in our everyday lives. It’s a cool way to see humans make their homes truly their own. Featured are places like Burano, a small Venetian island that features vibrantly painted homes, said to serve as a beacon for returning fishermen.

Other colors have celestial meanings. The Moroccan town of Chefchaouen has a blue hue, said to symbolize heaven— although blue does act as a mosquito repellent (perhaps heaven is free of mosquitos, too!). Similarly, the magnificent cathedrals of Moscow are meant to evoke a heavenly scene.

brown grassy hills

The “Chocolate Hills” of the Philippines

A “color run” needn’t be exclusively urban. You can also visit the natural landscapes that have a bit of “pop”. For starters, there’s the Arizona’s Painted Desert, in which the visibly stratified layers of sedimentary rocks appear as the streaks of a painter’s brush. Or, if you’re looking to escape the US, explore the Philippines’ Chocolate hills, which is really green grass that has turned to a dusky brown.

Color is all around us, and we don’t need a filter to bring out the best of it.