travel-lovers-holiday-gift-guide

For those of us who have a travel lover in our lives (or they are that travel lover), you might be wondering what to give someone who’s practically seen and done it all. Sure, we’d love to give them a plane ticket to that next destination on their bucket list if we could. However, there are plenty of other great holiday gifts for travel lovers that don’t exactly have to break the bank, including many under $100 dollars. Here are a few gift ideas to inspire that wanderlust in your family member, friend, or partner that loves to travel. From noise canceling headphones to stylish suitcases, these gifts are great for making a traveler’s journey more comfortable or memorable.

  1. Stay connected no matter how far you are away from a power outlet with this 10ft long charging cable
  2. This world traveler calendar will have you dreaming of a new destination every month
  3. The perfect camera for capturing those little moments while on the go
  4. Noise canceling headphones to help keep you sane when flights get noisy – especially if you’re sitting next to a crying baby
  5. Travel in style with this chic luggage that makes traveling a breeze
  6. Travel guides from Monocle that make it easy to learn the in-and-outs of every city on your bucket list
  7. A vegan leather bag that’s perfect for those weekend getaways with friends
  8. Always stay charged while on the go with this Belkin portable charger
  9. Miracle face wipes that are ideal for those of us on the go & in need of refresh
  10. An amazon kindle is great for keeping yourself entertained during those long flights and layovers and is also very affordable
  11. Ditch the plastic waste and start using a waterbottle while traveling – this one even keeps your beverages hot or cold
  12. Say goodbye to tangled headphones and iphone cables thanks to these life-changing cord tacos
  13. Everything a frequent flyer needs all in one place with this stylish and sleek traveler wallet
  14. A travel sized assortment of all the Aesop essentials you need bundled up into a travel friendly case
  15. Packing cubes that make it easy to stay organized and save space (and also your sanity)
  16. Give dry skin a boost with this soothing face mist made from rosewater
  17. Eco-friendly pouches that are great for organizing small loose items like makeup, cords, and other accessories
  18. Look refreshed even after that 16 hour flight thanks to these eye-gel masks from Honest Hazel

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Sustainable Fashion From Athleta

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Sustainable Fashion From Athleta - Allie M. Taylor

*I wanted to give a big thanks to Athleta for sponsoring this post and letting me test out their new sustainable collection. As always, all opinions, thoughts, and experiences I share are completely honest and my own.

This year, I’ve been thinking a lot about my impact on the planet and ways that I can reduce it by living more sustainably. There are plenty of lifestyle changes and everyday choices we can make to practice sustainability including the clothes we buy and wear. Today, the common approach to shopping includes little thought for how our buying practices affect the world around us. In a study from Huffington Post, it was found that the average American throws out 81 pounds of clothing per year and 26 billion total pounds of clothing are sent to landfills! This was shocking to me and something I wasn’t even aware of. It made me realize that not only does a significant change in the fashion industry need to happen, but also a change in consumer mindsets to combat these destructive practices.

Thankfully, awareness surrounding the issue of sustainability and mindful consumption has continued to grow over the last decade, with even large brands starting to offer space for ethical products on their shelves. One of those brands that is working to do better is Athleta, who I was thrilled to partner with for National Take A Hike Day on November 17th to promote their new collection of sustainable outdoor wear. To celebrate, I headed outdoors to do some hiking in one of my favorite valleys in Switzerland wearing head to toe eco friendly Athleta items so that I could test them. To see the full details of my outfit, click here.

Sustainable Fashion From Athleta - Allie M. Taylor

I’ve always regarded Athleta as a high quality company and leader in the outdoor and fitness wear industry. However, after testing a few items from their sustainable collection and doing some further research about their sustainability initiatives including becoming a certified B-Corporation, they’ve earned an even greater amount of respect in my books.

As I was researching the values and mission of Athleta, a few important topics stood out to me that I also support.

  • Empowering women to achieve their limitless potential 

One of the core values of Athleta is to empower women to be the best version of themselves with the #PowerofShe movement. They celebrate women and their bodies by designing for all body types and situations. I’m personally inspired by the #PowerofShe movement because it recognizes the limitless potential of every woman including our strengths, talents, and our voice to inspire others.

  • Protecting and preserving the world we live in

Over the last two years Athleta has been hard at work to increase their use of sustainable materials by using organic cotton, switching to recycled fabrics, and implementing more efficient fabric dyeing and finishing techniques. As of today, 40% of Athleta’s fabrics are made with sustainable fibers and by 2020 their goal is to increase this to 80%. As a B-Corp brand, Athleta is using business as a force for good by putting people and the planet right up there with profit!

Sustainable Fashion From Athleta - Allie M. Taylor

Athleta’s initiatives are a great reminder to be aware and be conscious of what we buy and how our consumerist behavior can impact the planet. We, as consumers, have as much of a responsibility as big companies to inspire and make positive and progressive changes to do better and protect the world around us. I hope this blog post gives you a glimpse into why sustainability is such an important topic and also inspires you to take a better look at your impact on the environment and the changes, if even small, that you can make to reduce this impact. Now go ahead and get outdoors and explore this beautiful world we live in.

Do you have any favorite tips on living sustainably or being a more mindful consumer? Feel free to share them below in the comments.

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7 Must See Places in Slovenia

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Slovenia has been on my bucket list for a few years now, so I was beyond thrilled to finally be able to explore this beautiful country during Autumn, which in my opinion is the best time to visit. While the country itself is fairly tiny with a population of just over 2 million, don’t let its small size fool you. It packs a big punch, boasting an incredible amount of beautiful and diverse landscapes all squeezed into one tiny piece of land. From green forests, crystal blue lakes, to stunning mountain ranges and some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet – you’ll find everything you could possibly desire in Slovenia. While there are endless things to see just a short drive from the capital city of Ljubljana, I’ve put together a list of “7 Must See Places in Slovenia” to make sure you don’t miss the very best places while you’re here.

1. Lake Bled

7 Must See Places In Slovenia - Allie M. Taylor

I’ll start this list off with one of the most iconic places in Slovenia – Lake Bled. Located just an hours drive from Ljubljana, this lake is Slovenia’s biggest tourist attraction and for good reason. The emerald blue lake is surrounded by towering green mountains in the distance with a “fairy tale” like church nestled on a tiny island in the centre of it and a medieval castle set atop a cliff looming 100m above. From hiking and biking to swimming and horse riding, there are endless amounts of activities to do while staying near Lake Bled.

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Best Things To Do:

  1. See Lake Bled from above and visit the historical Bled Castle (11€)
  2. Take a boat ride to the church in the middle of the lake (14€)
  3. Go for a stroll around the lake’s perimeter (~6km)
  4. Hike to Ojstrica viewpoint for the best views of Lake Bled as the sun goes down, or hike to nearby Mala Osojnica for an even higher viewpoint
  5. Rent a boat and explore the lake on your own (10€/hr)
  6. Visit nearby Vintgar Gorge located just 3km outside of town

2. Lake Bohinj

7 Must See Places In Slovenia - Allie M. Taylor

A great place to visit after staying in Lake Bled is Lake Bohinj, which is located just a short 20 minute drive from Bled. I really enjoyed this lake because it was more calm and serene compared to the tourist packed town of Lake Bled. When we visited, we were blown away by the vibrant Fall colors that surrounded the shores of the lake and couldn’t help but stop and take some photos along the road that winds around it. We also enjoyed a short hike to a nearby viewpoint at Hill Peč to get a glimpse of the lake from above – and we’re greeted with an amazing sunset.

Best Things To Do:

  1. Explore the west side of the lake to witness the best views
  2. Hike or take the cable car to Mount Vogel to admire the lake from 1535m above sea level (11€ return)
  3. Visit the stone bridge and the 700 year old church of St. John the Baptist located next to it in Stara Fužina
  4. See all of the 1km long lake by renting a kayak or canoe
  5. Admire the beauty of Savica Slap (3€ entry fee)
  6. Hike to the viewpoint at Hill Peč to enjoy sweeping views over Lake Bohinj

Where to stay:

We stayed at Bohinj Eco Hotel which was close to all the places we wanted to see in the area and very modern. It’s a great place to stay if you’re interested in a variety of wellness activities or if you have a family since there is also an attached water park.

3. Logar Valley

7 Must See Places In Slovenia - Allie M. Taylor

7 Must See Places In Slovenia - Allie M. Taylor

Logar Valley is one of those places that will instantly make you fall in love with Slovenia. Boasting an incredible backdrop of the Kamnik-Savinja Alps and lush green meadows, it’s no surprise that it is regarded as one of the “most beautiful Alpine glacial valleys in Europe.” The valley itself is over 7km long and is protected due to its abundance of natural sights and beauty, therefore you must pay a 7€ entry fee, unless you enter by foot.

There are plenty of activities to do here, but hiking is the most popular since it is a great starting point for many trails. It is home to one of the tallest and most impressive waterfalls in Slovenia known as Rinka waterfall “hidden” at the back end of the valley, which can be reached by foot in 15 minutes. Besides the incredible views, the quality of the accommodation, the locally grown food, and the hospitality of the locals will surely leave you impressed.

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7 Must See Places In Slovenia - Allie M. Taylor

Best things to do:

  1. Explore Logar Valley by foot or by bike by taking the path that winds through it for 7km up until Rinka waterfall
  2. Admire the beauty Rinka waterfall by taking a quick walk from the end of the valley
  3. Visit the nearby picturesque valleys of Robanov Kot and Matkov Kot
  4. Drive the scenic Solčava Panoramic road to witness sweeping views of the Kamnik-Savinja Alps
  5. Go for a hike and visit either the mountain hut on Okrešelj or on Klemenča jama to enjoy wonderful views of the upper part of the valley and delicious local cuisine

Where to stay:

From the location and the wellness amenities, to the hospitality and the food, I cannot recommend Hotel Plesnik enough. It’s the perfect place to stay if you’re looking to relax and enjoy some peace and wellness.

4. Kranjska Gora

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7 Must See Places In Slovenia - Allie M. Taylor

Located on the border of Austria and Italy lies Kranjska Gora – a beautiful place to visit no matter what the season is. It is world renowned for its winter sports, but also for the abundance of natural beauty that exists here. With its picturesque landscapes, easy access to Triglav National Park, and plenty of year round activities – it is definitely a must see place while you’re in Slovenia. We spent quite a bit of time in this area exploring Lake Jasna, Zelenci Lakes Nature Reserve, Slap Peričnik, Vršič Pass, and plenty of other beautiful places.

Best things to do:

  1. Catch sunrise at Lake Jasna and admire the perfect reflection of the surrounding mountains
  2. Take a scenic drive through Vršič Pass which offers sweeping mountain views and over 50 curves
  3. Enjoy the pristine nature of Zelenci Lakes Nature Reserve including its crystal clear emerald blue waters
  4. Take a short hike to Slap Peričnik which stands at over 52m tall

Where to stay:

We stayed at the Best Western Kranjska Gora for two nights since it was centrally located to everything we wanted to see in the area.

5. Mangart Pass

7 Must See Places In Slovenia - Allie M. Taylor

Mangart Pass is the highest and one of the most beautiful alpine roads in Slovenia, which you can drive to reach Mangart, Slovenia’s 4th highest mountain standing at 2679m. The road itself is narrow, windy, and at times a bit dodgy since it was built before WWII by Italian soldiers. It is a haven for climbers, hikers and bikers, as well as cross country skiers in the winter. When we visited, there was hardly anyone on the pass and while hiking we were able to witness incredible views overlooking the valleys below filled with yellow larches.

6. Soča Valley

7 Must See Places In Slovenia - Allie M. Taylor

The Soča Valley was one of my favorite places we visited during our time in Slovenia and features one of the bluest rivers I’ve ever seen in Europe – the Soča River. Its turquoise waters weave through the landscape, stretching from North of Triglav National Park all they way down to Nova Gorica where it crosses the border into Italy. Whether you enjoy hiking, white water rafting, biking, canyoning, or zip lining – the opportunity for outdoor activities here is endless. While we didn’t have much time in the area we did hike to Slap Kozjak and Tolmin Gorge, as well as stop at Kanal ob Soci, Napolean Bridge and Sulkan Bridge. The drive through the region is beautiful and you’ll find yourself wanting to stop every 5 minutes to just admire the views so make sure to give yourself plenty of time here.

Best things to do:

  1. Hike to Slap Kozjak which takes about 1hr15min from the main parking lot. However, we found it shorter to park in the free parking lot near Kamp Lazar. Hiking from here only took us 30-45min.
  2. Walk across Napolean Bridge, a beautiful stone bridge built in 1750 where Napolean’s army crossed on the way to Predel Pass
  3. Stroll through Tolmin Gorge, the southern most point of Triglav National Park and admire the Soča River (6€ entry fee)
  4. Visit the colorful houses of Kanal ob Soci that line the Soča River
  5. Stop by Sulkan Bridge, the largest single arch stone bridge in the world

7. Planina Zajamniki

7 Must See Places In Slovenia - Allie M. Taylor

Nestled high up in the mountains of Triglav National Park is the alpine village of Planina Zajamniki, which is arguably one of the most peaceful and pristine places in Slovenia. The village is made up of wooden cottages and farms dotted amongst a small pasture surrounded by a dense green forest and an incredible backdrop of the Julier Alps in the distance. If there was one word to describe this place it would be idyllic. I would highly recommend spending the afternoon here, renting a bike or enjoying lunch as the sound of birds chirping and cowbells ring in the air. We found it quite confusing to get to the village so make sure to use these GPS coordinates and allow enough time to make it to your destination. I’ve also heard some owners of the wooden cottages rent their houses so it’s worth doing your research if you’re interested in staying here over night.

Other places worth visiting:

Velika Planina, Ljubljana, Postojna Cave, Predjama Castle, Piran, Otočec Castle, Istria, and Maribor.

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