LIST: Travel Favorites 2016

Let’s do favorites! Nowadays, a lot of people do ‘favorites’ videos or blogs mostly for beauty and fashion items so here I am doing a travel favorites one! This is to share all the favorite things and experiences I’ve had during my trips for the year.

Here are my top 10 favorites of #Travel2016:

PUNCHDRUNK PANDA PASSPORT WALLET

 I really love how practical and inspirational this wallet is! I have the ‘Brighter Days’ one and it is something I really like holding on to when I travel. It keeps everything organized – passport, boarding pass, credit cards, identification cards,  itinerary, etc. It just keeps everything in place and I can just conveniently get what I need at any point during my trip. When I am being checked in or paying travel tax, I busy myself by reading the different words and phrases on the cover. It keeps me positive and inspired.

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I even use this as my regular wallet sometimes when I go to malls or restaurants. This passport wallet is a very nice thing to have. I’ve had this for almost 3 months and sometimes with materials like this you would see the leather inside peeling off but as of today, it still looks brand new. It’s really of quality!

If you’re interested to purchase one, visit https://www.punchdrunkpanda.com/collections/passport-wallet-1

ROME2RIO

Whether it’s a solo or family trip, I am the designated trip researcher/planner/organizer/tour guide! And if you’re like me, you would know that making an itinerary is not an easy task! I discovered an app last year that makes my itinerary making so much easier. It’s Rome2Rio! In my opinion, this is the best navigation website or app ever! It helps me figure out the estimate cost and different options of transportation as well as convenient scheduling of tourist sites and attractions.

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Rome2Rio Logo (Photo taken from Google Images)

When I plan a DIY trip and have a list of tourist attractions, I usually categorize them by distance per day. So if I find out that 2 tourist attractions are close to each other, I’ll plan them on the same day. Rome2Rio helps me with that!

So how does Rome2Rio work? You just type in your starting point and then your destination. Then magic happens! HAHAHAHA!

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Rome2Rio sample. (Screenshot from Rome2Rio.com)

These are just some of the info provided:

  • Transportation options (flight, bus, train/subway, or walk)
  • Estimated time
  • Estimated price
  • Accommodation options
  • Things to do
  • Graphic map

When you click the specific transportation that you prefer, for example a subway ride, it shows you the specific details of that subway ride including the subway stations, what kind of subway you should take, etc.

Prior to discovering Rome2Rio, I used Google Maps. Google Maps is too slow and doesn’t provide as much information as Rome2Rio. Plus, Rome2Rio is super user friendly! I introduced this to my sister and she loved it! She uses it now to plan her travels as well as she is the travel organizer for her friends.

This app is really efficient! And I love using it when I plan my trips. So to all IGT readers who emailed me and praised my itineraries, thank Rome2Rio for that!

Need an amazing navigation app? Use ROME2RIO! Visit https://www.rome2rio.com or download the app today!

GO PRO HERO4 SILVER & SONY DSC-TX30

 My go-to cameras! I’ve had this for a few years but I really wanted to include it in my first favorites list! I don’t have a smart phone (8 years strong with my Nokia E63! HAHA!) so I only have these cameras to rely on. To be honest, I would really prefer to bring only one camera but each of these cameras have unique features that help me capture better media during my trips.

I really like the photos I capture with the Sony DSC-TX30. It has that HD quality effect that makes me feel that I’m a pro. How the photos turn out helps me remember the experience I had in the moment. It also has a lot of filters I can play around with while I take a photo. At the end of each travel day, I really like looking at the photos. It makes me feel like I’m still in that specific location which makes me more grateful knowing that I got to experience such an amazing place.

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These are just some of the best photos that I took using my Sony DSC-TX30 this year:

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Panda at Beijing Zoo (Miniature filter)

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Iris at Aiyanar Beach and Dive Resort (Miniature filter)

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Statue of Liberty at Tokyo Odaiba

Sadly, the Sony DCS-TX30 does not capture videos like my Go Pro does. We all know that the Go Pro has wider coverage when taking photos or videos. It’s really the perfect action camera! When I edit travel shorts, I prefer using the Go Pro shots as this emphasizes my travel experiences and locations more.

Please visit Inspiring Grateful Travels’ Facebook page for video clips using Go Pro. 

Hey! I’m not a pro photographer or video editor, alright? I learn day by day, trip by trip what photos look good and what looks not so good. In every trip, I learn to be a better photographer, a better travel planner, a more patient person, and many more. We reach our best potential by acknowledging that there’s always something to improve on a daily basis.

AVEENO MOISTURIZING BODY LOTION

Moisturizers are a must! Definitely a must when you travel to places with extreme weather conditions. Last January, my family & I went to Tokyo. It was extremely cold that I got burns on my face and dry areas around my body. I do not bring skin care when I travel. I was careless then and thought that they were unnecessary baggage but after that Tokyo trip, I was more conscious of the effects of my trips on my skin.

I bring travel sized amounts of the Aveeno Moisturizing Body Lotion. It works well with my skin and keeps me hydrated during my out of town beach trips and winter travels. When I’m in another country with extreme cold weather, I use this mostly on my feet, hands, elbows and knees. This works wonders as this keeps me hydrated the whole day! It doesn’t have that sticky feeling too just a kind of squeaky like one. HAHAHA! I can’t describe it!

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For my face, I usually use the Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel. But I don’t bring this when I travel. I just use a little bit of the Aveeno and pat it (not rub) on dry areas of my face specifically the sides, cheeks, and lip area. VOILA! I don’t get burns and dry areas anymore! What a relief!

NOTE: The Aveeno Moisturizing Body Lotion worked for me. This MAY or MAY NOT work for you. Please do test it out first before completely making this your go-to moisturizer when you travel.

You can purchase Aveeno products at Watsons or Mercury Drugstore outlets.

UNIQLO HEATTECH TOPS & ULTRA LIGHT DOWN JACKET

UGH! I just love the Uniqlo brand. Ever since it came to the Philippines, this has been our family’s go-to store. I can’t remember a time when we went to SM Megamall and not go inside Uniqlo. We don’t buy things all the time. It’s like when you leave a kid at National Bookstore or Toy Kingdom to kill some time but you really don’t purchase anything. You just marvel at the place? HAHAHA! That’s kind of the feeling we have for Uniqlo.

My mom and I usually always go to the section where older items are placed in plastic wraps and priced at its lowest. A dress we liked was worth P1,699 during its first launch but when we returned a few months after it became P799. Watch out for these kinds of discounts!

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Most of my trips this year were winter seasoned destinations and these Uniqlo items helped me get through the very cold weather! I have 2 go-to Uniqlo Heattech tops – a warm sleeveless one and another extra warm turtle neck one. I use the sleeveless one during my flight day from Manila to that winter destination. It keeps me comfortable while I’m still in the country and helps me get through the first experience of cold once I get to my destination. The turtle neck one was a definitely a miracle worker! When I was walking and there would be cold winds I would just pull up the neck sleeve to my face and TA-DA! I have a face mask! It just warms up half of my face! These tops are really good if you do not want to wear too many layers. I also like these because of their quality.

My favorite jacket of all time – the Uniqlo ultra light down jacket! During the winter season and Uniqlo brings out all those winter jackets, don’t you just love passing by these items and feeling the soft and smooth silky surface? Even though we don’t plan on buying one we still try it out, right? This jacket + rain coat is so comfortable! It definitely keeps me warm and dry! I feel like I’m wrapped in a silk comforter from a nice hotel! It’s definitely a very nice thing to have and a practical one when going to winter wonderlands like Niseko.

These are expensive but of quality. Make sure you buy them when they’re about to change stocks because of the season.

Heattech warm sleeveless top (P590)

Heattect extra warm turtle neck top (P990)

Disney Ultra Light Down Jacket (P1,990) – Bought during a sale

WANDERSKYE LUGGAGE COVER

Aww, I love my Wanderskye luggage covers! They’re super nice and cute things to have. If you want to protect your luggage from wear and tear and keep it stylish at the same, invest in a Wanderskye luggage cover.

A bonus is that the designs I have keep me inspired. The luggage sets that we own are actually placed in our corridor. I decided to keep the covers on and just display them there! It really looks good when I pass by them! The Quote Guru design is just so striking and inspiring! It’s perfect for the grateful traveler in me! I love them! This is really a travel favorite of mine for 2016!

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Since we plan on making more trips to winter destinations, the waterproof Wanderskye luggage cover that we have will definitely protect our luggage from different weather conditions.

 If you’re interested to purchase one, visit http://www.wanderskye.com/collections/holiday-2015-collection/products/quote-guru-luggage-cover

SISLEY BLACK ROSE CREAM & RADIANT GLOW MASKS

Oooohhhh these are my favorite masks this year! A friend recommended them and I’ve used them in most of my trips this year. Since I always travel on red eye flights and have what my sisters say the most ‘toxic’ itineraries (HAHA!), these masks really help in keeping my skin vibrant. In the past, people I meet on solo trips often ask me why I look so tired. This makes me feel dull and not approachable enough. So I tried these masks!

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Not only are these travel friendly meaning I can just bring small amounts of it in a counter, it works really efficiently too. Before I go to sleep I just put the black rose cream at night and when I wake up, my face feels plumped, bright, and hydrated! Before my red eye flights, I put the radiant glow masks, let them sit for 5-10 minutes, and remove the excess with wet wipes. When I’m at the immigration counter, I look at myself and think “oh wow, I look so pretty!”. There’s just that radiant ‘oomph’ to me! HAHAHA My cheeks are red and my forehead and contour areas looks lifted.

NOTE: These products worked for me. These Sisley masks MAY or MAY NOT work for you. I highly suggest that you visit a Sisley counter first and ask for a sample. They also have complimentary skin care consultations and makeovers. Try it out for a week or when a stressful day arises! A sample has a lot of product in it. I got 3 uses out of 1 sample.

You can find Sisley counters at Rustan’s Shang/Alabang/Makati.

KI NISEKO

When I entered my Ki Niseko room, I sat on the bed for 5 minutes and just stared. I was stunned. I asked myself over and over, “Dream ba to?” (Is this a dream?). In that moment, I had so many mixed feelings. I wanted to cry. I wanted to jump for joy. I wanted to call my mom. I wanted to take a photo. I wanted to capture a video. It was really an overwhelming 5 minutes. It really felt like I won the lottery with Ki Niseko. After 5 minutes, I took a deep breath and smiled. I thought, “I’m really here, WOW!”

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Ki Niseko was definitely the best accommodation I stayed at in 2016! It was the most luxurious hotel I’ve stayed at in my entire life so far. It’s not just about the amenities but the people are also part of the jackpot! They have the most proactive staff ever! Everything was just so amazing! Up until now, I still think about all the best moments I had. I sometimes feel like I’m still there! That’s how wonderful Ki Niseko is. It never leaves you. It just makes you want to come back and stay there forever! HAHAHA!

Queen of favorites this year! Definitely! Check out my full experience at Ki Niseko here.

Interested in staying at Ki Niseko, visit https://www.kiniseko.com/

DAIWA SUSHI AT TSUKIJI FISH MARKET & AN DINING AT KI NISEKO

I had about 6 items on my list of the best food I ate during my trips this year. It all boiled down to these two – My Daiwa Sushi experience with my family at Tsukiji Fish Market (Tokyo) and my breakfast buffet at Ki Niseko’s An Dining (Niseko). I wanted to pick one but in the end, I have to say both these food experiences are unique and equally amazing in their own ways.

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I still remember my mom pausing when she first tasted the tuna fat sushi at Daiwa Sushi. I asked her what was wrong and she just told me, “Nakakaiyak. Ang sarap.” (I want to cry. It’s so delicious). And when I ate my own plate, GAAAAAH, the word HEAVEN literally popped in my mind. It was the freshest sushi ever and that’s coming from us – a family who loves eating at Japanese restaurants. The 30 minute wait at 7AM in the morning to eat at this small sushi restaurant in the middle of a wet market was worth it. No words really! This is a must when you’re in Tokyo! We will definitely come back for this!

Check out our experience at Daiwa Sushi here.

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It was 7AM when I started the breakfast buffet at Ki Niseko’s An Dining. An hour later, I was pretty full but it was the first time that I wished I could eat for 3 more hours. That’s how good the breakfast was for me. The taste of the food and sitting in front of an amazing view of snowy Mt Yotei was just priceless. I really wanted to cry but didn’t want to scare off other guests at the restaurant. Super favorite – Hokkaido butter! It was creamy, milky, and cheesy all at the same! NAKAKAIYAK TALAGA! (I really want to cry!) That’s how I remember it! If my home was just 5 minutes away from that buffet, I would have taken all the butter I could have! HAHAHAHAHA!

Want to experience the best breakfast ever, check out An Dining today http://www.kiniseko.com/dining-ki-niseko

CHERRY BLOSSOM VIEWING AT YAMAZAKIGAWA RIVER

I definitely had a lot of grateful travel moments in 2016 but I boiled it down to 2 SUPER FAVORITES – my snowboarding lesson in Niseko and cherry blossom viewing with my mom at Yamazakigawa river in Nagoya. I chose the latter.

Close up Shots at Yamazakigawa River

It was my first time seeing Cherry Blossoms and I felt like a kid – seeing something new full of wonder and excitement. I was grateful as well because I got to share this first with my mom. My mom and I have a common thing that we like when we travel. We like to stare at beautiful views. We like to live in moments and that was what we did at that river. The river was flowing, the wind was breathing on us, the cold weather felt really nice, and the view of pink and white blossoms all around was just mesmerizing. I put my cameras away and my mom started drawing. I just stared at the river and looked at her a few times. It was good mother-daughter moment for us. This was definitely the king of travel favorites in 2016.

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I live for moments when we just stop and appreciate the place we’re in – just staring at experiences that take our breath away. It fills the heart with so much gratitude and contentment.

OH WAIT! THERE’S MORE…

Since this is my first travel favorites, I have a few special favorites!!!!

I had a lot of travel write-ups published this year on other social media platforms and I just wanted to share:

YOUR FAVORITE: A budget guide on my Batanes experience was published last FEBRUARY 2016 on Rappler – http://www.rappler.com/life-and-style/travel/ph-travel/123463-batanes-budget-guide-travel-tips

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I just want to thank YOU guys as this has 71,000+ SHARES! Thank you so much for supporting this article! Because of this, when you Google ‘BATANES’, this article is the 2nd link that comes up right after Batanes’ Wikipedia page! Most people planning to visit Batanes will know my grateful story! It was really a heart filled written article for me so thank YOU so much for reading it! I hope you were inspired by the lessons I learned and wish that YOU experience an amazing Batanes of your own!

MY FAVORITE: As much as I like writing budget and travel guides, I love writing these kinds of articles more – https://www.tripzilla.com/best-solo-travel-moments/40003

My ‘The Best Moments I Always Treasure When I Travel on My Own’ was published last JULY 2016 on TripZilla magazine. I am inspired when I write inspiring articles so I can inspire a lot of people. I am inspired to inspire! It was really fun writing this article as I made an inspiring theme into a game on a topic most of us are aware of – solo travelling.

My favorite line from this article is – Once the plane stops, I get my backpack, walk through a new airport, accomplish immigration requirements, and after all these…I start my metaphorical ramp walk. I feel like a model walking down the ramp into a void (world of experiences) that will either celebrate (excite) me or criticize (challenge) me. This is it. This is my moment. I have arrived. 

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I hope someone quotes me HAHAHAHA! Take time in reading this and hope that you gain some lessons from it! This is definitely my favorite write up of 2016!

YUP! THERE’S SO MUCH MORE….. LAST NA! HAHAHAHA!

Just wanted to share some lifestyle favorites for 2016! No long descriptions! PROMISE! HAHAHA! Next year hanggang travel favorites lang! HAHAHAHAHA!

FAVORITE BOOK – It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

FAVORITE LIPSTICK – Bobbi Brown Art Stick in Rich Nude

FAVORITE BLUSH – Nars Multiple in Orgasm

FAVORITE HIGHLIGHTER – Sleek Solstice

FAVORITE MOVIE – Me Before You & Fantastic Beasts

FAVORITE TV SERIES – How To Get Away With Murder

FAVORITE LINE FROM A SONG – ‘See the light where the sky meets the sea. It calls me!’ (Moana)

FAVORITE YOUTUBE CHANNEL – Nikkietutorials

FAVORITE VOLLEYBALL MOMENT – Mika Reyes’ sideway stare down! SWAG! 

FAVORITE BASKETBALL MOMENT – Ben Mbala’s highlight dunk from Thomas Torres’ alley-oop pass and Jeron Teng’s flex! HAHAHAHAHA!

FAVORITE QUOTE – ‘Always be grateful!’

FAVORITE MOMENTS WITH MY MOM – Aside from the Cherry Blossoms viewing at Yamazakigawa river, I really love it when I make my mom laugh so hard. She’s provided us with a lot through the years and it really makes me smile when I get to make her laugh really hard – when we travel, when we’re at home. She deserves the best happiness in this world and I’m glad I get to provide it with an act as simple as making her laugh.

WHAT ARE YOUR TRAVEL FAVORITES FOR 2016?

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