Carl Turnley Travel

Carl Turnley discusses his love of and experience with travel.

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Travel Hacks to Save You Money

carl turnley travel hacks

Two of the biggest reasons given for a lack of traveling in one’s life are a lack of time and a lack of money.


Time is tough to tackle–you can plan trips in advance and take off work, but sometimes big things come up and complicate things. Coordinating schedules with significant others, children, friends, family, etc. adds another burden.


Money, however, is no excuse. You don’t have to make six figures to travel the world and explore–in fact, with the use of some handy travel hacks, you can save a good bit of money in the coming year.


With 2017 in full swing and this year’s travel trends already covered in a previous entry, it’s time to look towards not just what you can expect when you’re traveling in 2017, but how you can save money doing it.


Freeze a Bottle or Two to Save on In Flight Purchases

The 3-1-1 rule implemented by the TSA has made bringing drinks onto planes trickier in recent years. Sometimes a few ounces of water or Gatorade or an energy drink isn’t going to cut it.


A solution that seems to evade many people is simply freezing your bottles. As per TSA rules, a bottle of liquid may be brought onto the plane so long as it’s frozen solid by the time you reach your checkpoint. That’s not always a given, as wait times are often long in these lines, but freezing your drinks ahead of time will keep you hydrated (or energized) and save you money.


Check Prices Before You Buy

This one more than likely seems like an obvious way to save cash, but it’s often ignored in lieu of efficiency. Check other websites and airlines for cheaper flights, even if it means a slightly longer layover or an earlier departure time.

You also may want to consider using a site like Hipmunk, which compares prices, departure times, layovers, flight time, and combines them into an aggregate score called “Agony.” As you may suspect, lower agony flights are usually those with less in between time and more regular flights schedules.


Stopovers Can Double Your Vacation

You’ve obviously heard of layovers–they’re a flyer’s worst nightmare. You’re stuck in some random location for a few hours with nothing to do but sit around in the airport and maybe grab a bite to eat before you’ve got to return and prepare to reboard. They are a necessary evil during which you can accomplish little other than catching up on that show you’ve been binging on Netflix or knocking out a bit of work.

But stopovers are a different ballgame. If your layover extends beyond what one normally would consider to be a layover (usually 24 hours), you’ve entered the realm of stopovers. You’ve also effectively doubled your vacation.

Many airlines offer free or cheap stopovers–IcelandAir actually features free 7 day stopovers, even going so far as to provide you with a free Stopover Buddy who accompanies you for the day, showing you around the area and answering questions you may have.


Search For Free Activities In The Area

The most expensive part of a vacation isn’t always the flight or the hotel accommodations–depending on where you’re going, you may well end up spending more on food and entertainment than you do getting to your destination! To save money in this department, check your destination’s community calendar or local newspaper websites to see what free events are being offered during your stay. Often, you’ll find free live music or cultural events that catch your eye. Sites like and Eventful feature long lists of events both free and paid in any area you specify.

When you’re dining out, there’s no need to find the most expensive eateries in the area. Great, local food is often some of the cheaper food available–if you’re in Philadelphia, you don’t need to spend $25 to get an authentic Philly cheesesteak, nor do you need to empty your wallet to get gumbo in Lousianna.

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.


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!

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.


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.

Travel Times: the Food Edition

Let’s be honest: part of the thrill of traveling is all the delicious food you get to eat. But a lot of people, whether exploring unfamiliar locales at home or abroad, will be quick to flock to the familiars of big name fast food. These are the people that will go to New York and walk past a Deli or Pizza joint and stroll into a Subway or Sbarro’s. Or the ones who win a trip to Tokyo and indulge their appetite for McDonald’s.

We know that locals don’t necessarily always eat there. Each culture has its own foods– whether delicacies or common fare– that can cause tourists to raise a few eyebrows and reach for something that reminds them of the conveniences of home. While trying new foods can take a lot of mental preparation, kick back with the locals of whatever town or city or country you may be visiting, and give these “strange” foods a taste.

North America

Escamoles (Mexico)– This nutty tasting dish is made up of the edile ant larvae! The ants themselves are found near tequila agave and maguey.

Rocky Mountain Oysters (US)– These bad boys definitely aren’t oysters. Instead, they’re the prepared teticles of bulls and, less commonly, sheep or pigs. A stable of “cowboy fare”, you’re most likely to find these delicacies in the American West.

Jerk Chicken (Jamaica)– Delicious! Tangy and spicy, Jerk Chicken is the pinnacle of Caribbean flavor. What gives the chicken its unique flavor? It’s all in the rub– a combination of allspice and Scotch bonnet pepper.


Haggis (Scotland)– Offal has a place in cuisines all across the world. Scotland is represented by Haggis, a kind of pudding containing a mix of a sheep’s heart, liver and lungs (called “pluck”). Traditionally, it is served in the stomach of the sheep, but now you may find it in an artificial casing.

Steak Tartare (France)– When you order steak tartare, you’d better be ready to have a steak that’s rarer than rare. This dish contains raw ground beef served with onions and capers. It is usually served with a raw egg on top.

Svið (Iceland)– This delicacy is a remnant of the times when no part of the animal could go unused. Svið is a sheep’s head cloven in two and boiled. And yes, if you were wondering, the brain is removed. Many superstitions surround consumption of the dish: Don’t eat the ears, lest you be accused of theft; if you don’t break the bone under the tongue, a child who has never spoken a word will remain silent forever.


Khash (Middle East)– This Caucasian delicacy is also found in Iraq and Mongolia. It consists of a cow’s head (and sometimes feed), boiled into a stew. It is most commonly eaten at social settings near breakfast. Variants exist throughout the Caucasus region. For example, one Azerbaijani and Iranian derivative is known as Kale Pache, which uses sheeps head and hooves. Iraqi and Albanian spins also exist.

Kare Kare (Philippines)– This stew mainly consists of oxtail, but sometimes contains ham hocks and offal. Consumption of this comfort food stretches back to pre-colonial times, and was a favorite dish of the Elite classes.

Century Eggs (China)– These fermented quail, duck, and chicken eggs are a delicacy in china. They are preserved in an earthy mixture for up to several months, and eaten on special occasions. As you can imagine, they have a very strong smell, but a nation of at least 1 billion people find them super tasty!


Kangaroo (Australia)– Yup, Kangaroo meat is a thing. It was the traditional source of protein for many indigenous tribes. Today, you can find it in supermarkets and use it wherever you might use beef or other ground meats.

Marmite (Australia and New Zealand)– This is a spread that is made from the dregs of beer brewing. Sounds odd, but it is a savory addition that spreads on toast and crackers. It is also eaten in the UK.


Black Pudding (South Africa)– This is a kind of blood sausage made from congealed pork blood and oatmeal. Many people find it delicious, and it is widely consumed throughout Europe as well.

Jollof Rice (Nigeria, throughout West Africa)– This is an awesome and versatile rice dish. The rice is combined with onions and tomato paste, and can be served with nearly any type of meat or vegetable. It’s most likely an ancestor of Jambalaya.

Baklawa (Egypt)– This dessert pastry has its origins in Ottoman times. It consists of many layers filo dough and molasses, topped with nuts.

Classic London Attractions

The city of London, England, has been established now for roughly two millenia and, as the capital of England, is one of the World’s leading global cities.  Having prowess and prominence in the arts, commerce, education, entertainment, fashion, finance, healthcare, media, professional services, research and development, tourism, and transport, it is no wonder that London is recognized as a Global powerhouse and entity of success.

Should you ever have the opportunity to travel to this glorious city, there a few must-sees of the city. These sights, albeit tourist-y, would be a travesty to overlook on your travels. After all, they’re tourist destinations for a good reason- these locales are iconic and unique to this beautiful city, playing a part in what makes it such an unforgettable and classic destination.

Big Ben:

Even if you’ve never seen it, odds are high you’ve heard about it. Big Ben is the nickname for the stunning clock tower which is also a part of the palace of Westminster.  This neo-Gothic style tower is stunning in photos and even more breathtaking to behold in person.  Not to mention, in adding Big Ben to your sight-seeing list, you’ll be able to check off having seen Westminster Palace and the Parliament building as well, all of which embody historical feats of architecture.

Tower Bridge:

Also known as the, “London Bridge,” the Tower Bridge was completed and opened in 1894. Originally, the drawbridge was steam-powered, although today it is electrically operated, allowing large ships to pass through when they need to make their way upstream.  Just this past year (2014) the high level walkways of the bridge were upgraded with glass floors, allowing pedestrians to look down to the street, roughly 138 feet below.

Buckingham Palace:

If you’re in London, you simply cannot miss the home of the Royal Family. As I’m sure you can imagine, the home of the Queen is not typically open for visitors.  That said, if you happen to visit during the summer months, the interior is open for a short time during this season.  On this visit inside, one can viethe State Rooms, still used to entertain dignitaries and guests of state, and part of the gardens. The outdoor visitor route includes a short stroll along the west side of the palace garden, in which you can see views of the garden, palace and nineteenth-century lake.

The Queen’s Gallery is open year-round, allowing guests to view her personal collection of treasures, including paintings by Rubens and Rembrandt.  Definitely worth checking out!

These locales are just 3 of the endless things to do in London, England. Hopefully this will pique your interest and get you excited about all of the possibilities within London!

First Blog Post

Hi there, and welcome to my travel blog.  Be sure to stay tuned, there’s plenty to come!