2 Girls Who Travel’s Top 8 Must-Have Holiday Travel Gifts

Have you had a chance to do all of your holiday shopping? If not, no worries! For all of your traveler friends or friends who need a vacation, grab these cool gifts and send them packing! And if you have Amazon Prime even better, you’ll get these gifts before the holidays!! Thank us later!

1. SUPER CUTE PASSPORT HOLDER. It also holds your credit cards and keeps them safe with RFID blocking.

PASSPORT HOLDER CASE, ACDREAM PROTECTIVE PREMIUM LEATHER RFID BLOCKING WALLET CASE

*click pic to purchase

 

2. WORLDWIDE TRAVEL PLUG. We have this one and used it recently in Europe when we were in Paris, Rome and Athens.

CEPTICS INTERNATIONAL WORLDWIDE TRAVEL PLUG ADAPTER 5 PIECE SET, GREAT FOR CELL PHONES, BATTERY CHARGERS, LAPTOPS TO WORK IN MOST COUNTRIES

*Click pic to purchase

3. ELECTRONIC DIGITAL LUGGAGE HANGING SCALE. For the chronic over-packer (*Kim raises hand) this is a lifesaver! Small enough to travel with you to make sure all the souvenirs don’t make your luggage go over the weight limit.

DR.METER 110LB/50KG ELECTRONIC BALANCE DIGITAL POSTAL LUGGAGE HANGING SCALE WITH RUBBER PAINT HANDLE, TEMPERATURE SENSOR, SILVER/BLACK

*click pic to purchase

 

4. PACKING CUBES. These really do come in handy. You can separate your garments in different cubes and there is even a laundry bag for your dirty clothes on the way home from a trip. Very convenient!

PACKING CUBES HIRALIY 4 SET COMPRESSION TRAVEL PACKING ORGANIZERS WITH LAUNDRY BAG

*click pic to purchase

5. FUN LUGGAGE TAGS. These luggage tags are adorable! Plus they are another way to help recognize your luggage on the baggage claim belt!
COOLRUNNER 4PCS CANDYCOLOR LUGGAGE LABEL TRAVEL ACCESSORIES SUITCASE LUGGAGE TAGS ID ADDRESS HOLDER SILICONE IDENTIFIER LABEL

*click pic to purchase

6. TRAVEL PILLOW. Sometimes travel pillows can be quite stiff and uncomfortable. This pillows bends and adjusts. It’s actually quite comfortable (and another item that we have!).
BCOZZY CHIN SUPPORTING TRAVEL PILLOW – SUPPORTS THE HEAD, NECK AND CHIN IN MAXIMUM COMFORT IN ANY SITTING POSITION. A PATENTED PRODUCT. ADULT SIZE, GRAY

*click pic to purchase

7. BURT’S BEES. This hydrating travel set is ideal for travelers – the perfect carry-on size. Everything you need to hydrate and soften dry skin. (Fans of the foot cream!)
BURT’S BEES FABULOUS MINI’S TRAVEL SET, 6 TRAVEL SIZE PRODUCTS

*click pic to purchase

8. BACKPACK. We love a good backpack and Swissgear makes a very durable and reliable product.
SWISSGEAR TRAVEL GEAR 1900 SCANSMART TSA LAPTOP BACKPACK

*click pic to purchase

Remember that all of these items are available via Amazon Prime service, so you’ll have them in time for the holidays! Happy shopping!

**We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

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Essential Tips for Island-Hopping in Greece

We’ve already talked about how amazing Greece was, but we also wanted to offer a bit of insight in the form of traveler’s tips. I mean we are 2 Girls Who Travel, so don’t worry – WE GOT YOU!

What we decided to tackle in this blog is the fine art of island-hopping – essentially it’s how to travel from island-to-island in Greece. We researched beforehand by scouring travel sites, Facebook posts and forums on the topic, but you can never be too informed. A good tip or two can literally be the difference between a vacation in paradise and a vacation headache.

Read on to find our tips on the best way to island-hop in Greece!

Tip 1: Know your travel options

Essentially there are two ways to get from island to island in Greece – by air or by water. We took advantage of both to get the full experience. There are pros and cons with each. Air travel is obviously quicker, but can be a little pricier, depending on the airline. We flew Olympic Air, a subsidiary of the Greek Aegean Airlines, and we had no problems. Some of the island’s airports are tiny though – like the one in Mykonos (JMK). Don’t expect to do or eat much while you wait – and there may not be a seat for you! Water travel is done on the ferry. This takes substantially longer (several hours, depending on where you stop), but prices are far cheaper. We paid 36.50 euros (about $43) per person. While on the ferries, you can opt for a window seat and see the water. You can also go to the top level where it’s open and you get the best views of the beautiful Aegean Sea. We highly recommend doing this!

Views from the top of the ferry!

Tip 2: Low season = less departures

We visited Greece in late October, which is literally just the beginning of their tourist “low season.” While that worked out better for us with pricing and avoiding crowds, it also means there are less options for inter-island travel. This means you have less flexibility on which islands you can feasibly travel to and what times of day as well.

Tip 3: Expect operator changes

Again, we traveled during the beginning of low season, so our travel operators were subject to change. That’s what happened on our ferry ride from Athens (Piraeus port) to Mykonos. It’s not a huge deal. We got an email well before the trip to inform us of the operator change. The times on the itinerary did change as well, so be sure you coordinate this with your taxi, driver or whomever.

All aboard!

Tip 4: Crete can be hard to get to!

We were dying to go to Crete. Seriously, not visiting Crete was not an option – until we had no way of getting there. The ferries had no departures for us during our visit so that was out. As for flights, there were only two departures from Athens to Crete – yes only TWO flights per week! Even when trying to reverse our itinerary order, we couldn’t manage to travel to Crete and get back to where we needed to be, so alas, it just didn’t work. Again, this was mainly due to traveling in the low season, but if you have your heart set on seeing an ancient castle in Crete like we did, keep this in mind!

Tip 5: Map it out

Originally, on our 7-day trip we wanted to visit the islands of Mykonos, Santorini and Crete. So prior to our trip (still in the planning stages), we pulled out a piece of paper, pencil and Google maps and mapped out our desired route. Now keep in mind, what looks like it makes the most sense to you on paper may not be the best or easiest route when looking at available departures for flights and ferries. Be sure to cross reference your map with what’s available. For example, you may think it best to travel from Athens to Mykonos to Santorini to Crete because of where the islands are positioned, but you may only have the option of traveling from Athens to Crete. So keep an open mind and do what makes sense for you and your trip!

5 Things We Love About Greece!

Hey everybody. So we know it’s been a minute since we returned from our trip to Greece (33 days, but who’s counting)?

But this was a really enjoyable trip. So we thought we’d share with you a few of the things we most loved about our time in beautiful Greece. Keep reading …

1. The Views

THE quintessential Santorini shot … straight from the postcards.

Come on, if we’re talking views, Greece just isn’t playing fair. There’s a reason why tourists pile up every single day right before sunset to take a picture of the blue domes in Oia, Santorini. It’s literally the shot you see on every postcard, and we have to admit, it is as beautiful in person.

2. Cats

Okay, while Val’s not a fan of cats, Kim adores them. And in Greece, people love their cats and the cats love the people. Walking in Mykonos, for example, you can expect to see cats everywhere – from the homes to restaurants to the airport. And people openly caress, hold and feed them. They’re like part of the fam!

3. Gyros

Confession: Between the two of us, we lost count of how many gyros we had. This one pictured from God’s Restaurant in Athens was our second favorite.

Yes, we know we devoted an entire blog post to our food in Greece. But we’d like to hone in on one of our favorite Greek foods – gyros!! They were so good and we had our fair share while in Greece. It’s an affordable casual entree you can find just about anywhere in the country, so it was a plus for us!

4. The Beaches

Red Beach

Greece has so many beautiful beaches – we’re talking black sand, white sand, red sand, etc. But much of the appeal for us was the crystal clear water. With Galveston being the closest body of water to us, it was so refreshing to splash around in water where you can see straight to the bottom.

5. Friendly People

2 Girls Who Travel take a selfie with Stefano, manager of Katerina’s in Mykonos

Okay, we really never encounter any real a-holes when we travel, but it’s always nice to acknowledge the friendly people we do come across. Literally every person we ran in to in Greece – from George at the t-shirt shop in Athens, to Eleni, our Airbnb hostess in Mykonos to Simon, our tour guide in Santorini – was genuinely nice. And whether it was offering tips on how to get the best shot or simply arranging a taxi for us, 2 Girls Who Travel are so thankful for the hospitality.

Review: Natachee’s Supper ‘n Punch

Hey again! So this will be a short post, but we didn’t want to miss out on sharing with you guys a cute, affordable restaurant we had the pleasure of dining at in Houston recently.

After we left MATCH (Midtown Arts & Theater Center Houston) where we watched Akeelah and the Bee, a quick bite to eat and some drinks were right up our alley. Midtown is one of our favorite areas, so we decided to just walk around when we happened upon Natachee’s Supper ‘n Punch. It had been years since we’d had it, so we felt it deserved a fresh go-round.

Previously, we’d sat outside (which is something we highly recommend if the weather is pleasant), but this day we opted for indoors. Servers were very friendly and they got right to us to take our orders. Ya know, some places just have good vibes. Natachee’s is one of them. It’s down home cooking, no frills, all-day breakfast (if that’s your thing) and easy on the pocketbook.

Enough talk, here’s what we ordered.

The namesake! We had to have some punch. Pictured (l-r) are Maw-Maw’s Mellowrama Punch & Natachee’s Sucker Punch

What a spread! Pictured are fried pickles (sooooo good), fried wings, chili cheese fries and pulled pork nachos. We shared all these appetizers and had plenty to take home. And this all cost only $30!

Natachee’s Supper ‘n Punch is located at 3622 Main St., Houston, TX 77002.

Main Street Theater’s Production of Akeelah and the Bee Inspires and Empowers

 

Akeelah and the Bee

2 Girls Who Travel love the arts and when Main Street Theater (MST) recently presented a production of Akeelah and the Bee, we were there! You probably remember the 2006 big screen drama about a young girl who overcomes some major obstacles (dead father, busy working mom, and an in-with-the-wrong-crowd brother) to make it to the big national spelling bee. Keke Palmer (Akeelah) and Laurence Fishburne (Dr. Larabee) were very inspiring in the original. Well we were in awe of MST actors Ashley Shaunte (Akeelah) and Jason Wright (Dr. Larabee), as well as Carian Lynee Parker (Georgia) and Joey Castarena (Javier), who are Akeelah’s friends. Everyone did a phenomenal job.

Ashley Shaunte as Akeelah

MATCH (Midtown Arts & Theater Center Houston)

We loved this heartwarming adaptation held at the MATCH (Midtown Arts & Theater Center Houston).The character of Akeelah was played by and up-and-coming actress Ashley Shaunte. She shared with us what she hoped patrons learned from the play.

“If it is one thing you take away from Akeelah and the Bee, let it be that everyone kin to you is not skin to you; let it be that you grow through life no matter how painful it may be; let it be that family can be found in anyone; let it be that it is possible to overcome. Akeelah and the Bee is more than entertainment, it’s life changing, it’s challenging. I hope we can all take away the importance of broadening our horizon and being open to learn from anyone. Akeelah isn’t the only one being taught in this show, and I pray the lessons don’t end on  the stage.”

Val, Ashley Shaunte and Kim

MST Theater for Youth Producing Director Vivienne M. St. John said, “I love the fact that Akeelah and the Bee teaches young people not to let their socioeconomic background, race or gender dictate what is possible in their lives. I love that this play depicts a middle school girl overcoming her background and the obstacles that challenge her – and she doesn’t allow any of it to defeat her. Akeelah reminds us all that if you work hard at something, you can do anything.”

We totally agree! Congratulations on another successful production MST! For more information about MST and their upcoming productions, visit mainstreettheater.com

 

The Delicious Food We Ate in Greece

Not only did we enjoy ourselves immensely in Greece (wahhhh, can we go back?), but the cuisine was phenomenal. And we’re not just saying that. We had plenty of authentic Greek food and also just some all-around good global cuisine. Not everything tasted delicious, though, but that’s to be expected anywhere.

As 2 Girls Who Travel are avid food bloggers, we made every effort to capture everything we ate (and drank) in Greece, but alas, some stuff was either too good (and we gobbled it up before snapping it up) or it just wasn’t even worth mentioning (I believe what we’re thinking of here came from the airport in Athens so it’s highly unlikely you’d get it anyway!)

So without further ado…let’s get to it!

Food

We were so pleased with our food choices while in Greece. There are literally soooo many restaurants to choose from, especially along the water in Mykonos. Restaurant managers literally stand outside and offer passersby everything from free appetizers to free cocktails in order to entice them to dine at their establishments. Be sure to read the photo descriptions for our recommendations on food and restaurants!

Pictured is moussaka, a popular dish made with layers of meat, potatoes and cheese. Think of it like a Greek lasagna. But it’s an interesting twist on savory – there’s a hint of cinnamon mixed in with the spices which tastes surprisingly good here.

More authentic Greek food: Greek salad and some of the most garlicky garlic bread we’ve ever had. Seriously, they did not skimp on the garlic!

Shrimp and pasta

Lobster and pasta

Crepe was huge – great breakfast

Complimentary breakfast buffet at the villa in Santorini

Our appetizer staples while in Greece had to include tzatziki sauce and something to dip it in! Here it was lightly fried zucchini – so good!

Here with pita bread

Stuffed chicken from Melitini, a restaurant in Oia, Santorini with beautiful views. Definitely go here after taking all of your pictures in Oia. This chicken was so tender and juicy. It resembled more of a pork loin.

Fried potatoes with cheese, also from Melitini – great side dish!

Restaurant alert: Little Kook, located in Athens, is a super cute bakery and cafe with an unmatched decor. Their holiday decorations are so cool. We went around Halloween time.

Menu is too cute

Val went the savory route with this ham and cheese crepe and fries. It was delicious and enough for two servings. And the fresh squeezed lemonade was the perfect blend of tart and sweet.

Confession: Between the two of us, we lost count of how many gyros we had. This one pictured from God’s Restaurant in Athens was our second favorite.

Our first favorite came from this place right here – Lucky’s in Fira, Santorini. So we scarfed down our gyros (which were less than 4 euros each!) before we could take a pic, so we’ll just describe it. You can sit at the bar like we did and watch the meat cook. It’s so crisp and flavorful and they stuff it, the onion, tomato and tzatziki sauce in a pita with fries (in the pita). Superb. Lucky is usually there as well – he’s a character. That’s all we can say. But take our word for it. The best gyro we had in Greece!

Dessert

We were usually full after every meal, so our “desserts” usually came in the form of random stops for snacks as we explored each island. For some reason, we had a lot of gelato!

Not really a dessert, but it’s a must Kim has her morning coffee. And they decorate it so cute. This came from Mykonos.

Kim’s morning coffee

This ain’t your average chocolate cake. It was three layers of pure decadence from Little Kook in Athens. Kim went the sweet route and it took three sittings to finish this all.

Yum!

Kim and her gelato in a cone.

Val’s three scoops of gelato in a cup: nutella, cookies and mint and cinnamon. The cinnamon was superb!

Wine & Other Spirits

As you know, we can’t go on vacation and not drink and be merry. Most of our accommodations in Greece welcomed us with a bottle or two of bubbly 🙂

Welcome wine from AVA Boutique Hotel in Athens

Strawberry daiquiri

Can’t remember the name of this mixed drink but it had pomegranate and was quite tasty.

Cocktail and complimentary shots from Katerina’s Restaurant and Cocktail Bar in Mykonos.

Welcome bottle of wine in our Santorini villa

2 Girls Who Travel’s Whirlwind Week in Greece

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Greece? Is it the picturesque white homes on the cliffs of Santorini? The history of Greek gods and goddesses? Or glasses upon glasses of wine?

We were able to experience it all! And although we weren’t able to do everything (we only had a week to make the country our oyster), we did as much as we could. That meant two nights in Athens, two nights in Mykonos and two nights in Santorini!

The Basics

Our itinerary getting to and from Greece wasn’t ideal, but it worked for us. We had an early departure flight with a stop in Philadelphia. During our six-hour layover in Philly, we made pretty good use of our time. Check out this blog post for more. Then we had a nine-hour overnight flight to Athens. Rest wasn’t an option when we arrived. We went straight into the action!

Athens

While in Athens, we stayed at the AVA Boutique Hotel, a super cute hotel just minutes from the Acropolis Museum, which is where we headed first of course. We used our pre-purchased passes for a hop-on, hop-off bus to get us around the city. Check out some of the sights in the following pics!

Acropolis Museum

Views from the top of the Acropolis

Val teaching us some Greek

Kim being Black and Abroad

These are some interesting keychains 🙂

2 Girls take Athens

Mykonos

We knew that while we were in Greece, we wanted to take a ferry somewhere. Though it’s a longer trip than catching a flight, ferries give you views of the water. So we hopped on our ferry at 7:30am for a six-hour journey that would include three stops. But we must admit, being on top of the boat looking at the clear blue waters made this voyage more bearable! We booked a cute Airbnb in Mykonos, located just a few minutes walk away from dining, shopping and the water. The location was perfect. We enjoyed the much talked about Mykonos nightlife (even though it was the end of the season, there were still places open) and ventured out to Ornos Beach for a day in the sun.

On the ferry

Views of towns along the way…

Welcome to our Airbnb

The hues in Mykonos are so vibrant – white and blue everywhere!

Out here trying to live!

Rooftop views from the Airbnb

Our first stop of the night – great drinks and the manager was awesome. We love free shots!

Had to get a pic of this cute little church

Kim’s morning coffee

Beach day!

Have you ever seen water clearer than this?

Santorini

While we enjoyed pleasant weather for the majority of our stay in Greece, upon arrival to Santorini (by short flight), the weather began to get a bit cooler and windier and the waters a bit rougher. Unfortunately, this meant we would not be able to do our sunset catamaran tour we had planned, but that didn’t take away from the great time we had on this beautiful island.

We stayed at the Celestia Grand luxury villas in Fira, Santorini and were blessed with some of the best sunset views. We have to give a major shout-out to Niko, the villa’s manager and concierge because he took such great care of us from coordinating our airport transfers to helping us with booking our excursions and even telling us the best places to shop and eat. He was fantastic and if you ever plan on visiting Santorini, we highly recommend staying at Celestia Grand – if not just for Niko alone – it’s freaking beautiful. And it’s about to undergo renovations, so it will be even more beautiful. Santorini is often known as a honeymoon destination and couples getaway, and while we saw our fair share of couples, the island is great for just about anybody. We loved exploring the town, eating dinner with amazing views and even horseback riding in the village of Megalochori. Caution: Pictures may cause severe wanderlust!

The sunset views tho….

Master bath

Master bath

Guest bath

Kitchen

Welcome bottle of wine in our Santorini villa

Horseback riding through Megalochori Village

Our private tour guide rode us around in style…

First stop: the winery of course

Red Beach

Black sand beach

THE quintessential Santorini shot … straight from the postcards.

So as the pictures suggest, Greece was absolutely amazing! But you may be wondering where are all the food pictures … surely we ate in Greece, right? Well of course. This was such a huge trip that we couldn’t fit everything into one post. Be sure to check out our blog next week for all the details into what food and dessert we had while in Greece. Trust us, it’s worth the wait … talk soon!

Battle of the Cheesesteaks: 2 Girls Who Travel Weigh In During Recent Stop in Philly

If you’ve been following us on social media, you know that we’ve been living it up in Greece for the past few days. But what you may not know is that on our way to Greece we had a six-hour layover in Philadelphia. Plenty of time to explore the city and of course grab a bite to eat.

And since we were in Philly, we had cheesesteaks on the brain. This city is of course known for its cheesesteaks, hence the name Philly Cheesesteak. And never the ones to pass up a good food challenge, we decided to end the Great Debate – 2 Girls Who Travel style. We’re talking the battle of who makes the best cheesecake – Pat’s or Geno’s.

Pat’s

Geno’s

So we caught an Uber to south Philly and upon arrival and seeing the two famous signs, we just knew we were in for a treat.

Or so we thought. Hate to burst yall’s bubble, but 2 Girls Who Travel weren’t much fans of either cheesesteak. Here’s why:

  • Geno’s: We ate this one first – half each. We opted for provolone on each rather than the popular cheese wiz with onions. (ordered as “provolone wit”). Kim already was at a disadvantage because neither place offered mayonnaise. That’s her thing. The bread used in Geno’s cheesesteak was a bit too firm for our liking and with the provolone slices hugging the side of the bride, the sandwich felt a bit dry in the middle. And we’re certain there were no onions on the sandwich even though we specifically asked for “provolone wit” which is supposed to mean a cheesesteak with provolone and onions. The meat itself was shaved/sliced – which we can’t say really won us over either.

  • Pat’s: While the bread here was a bit softer and there were visibly onions on top, this cheesesteak didn’t impress us much either. It certainly wasn’t as dry as the one from Geno’s, but both needed salt and pepper. The steak was cut more in skirted strips, rather than sliced, which we liked.

Verdict: I mean, if we had to pick one, I guess Pat’s is the sandwich we disliked the least. But in all honesty, if we’re ever in Philly and craving a cheesesteak, we wouldn’t consider either place.

Readers, what’s your favorite place to get a cheesesteak in Philly? How do you order yours? Let us know in the comments!

2 Girls Who Travel Get an Exclusive Screening of the Marshall Movie

Prior to its Oct. 13 release, we were able to see an advanced screening of the new movie Marshall, which tells the story of a young Thurgood Marshall – before he was appointed the first African-American Supreme Court Justice.

Marshall depicts a young attorney for the NAACP who has been sent to Connecticut to defend a black man accused of raping an affluent white woman. But this was the 40s and racism was still alive and well. Throughout all the court proceedings, though Marshall is the brains behind the defense, he’s not allowed to speak. Instead, his co-counsel, a white man named Sam Friedman, whose character you just can’t help but to love, does the speaking for him.

Won’t be giving much away here, guys. No spoiler alerts because we want you to see the movie. It was executed exceptionally. Chadwick Boseman (he played Jackie Robinson in 42) did a great job as Thurgood Marshall and everything in the story moved quickly – but not too quick.

At the VIP advanced screening, we heard spoken word and several speakers including Krystopher Darkins, ex-football player for the Green Bay Packers. Head to our Facebook for an excerpt from his speech.

And go check out Marshall now; it’s playing in theaters everywhere!

Ex-Green Bay Packer Krystopher Darkins

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee’s office sent a representative to speak on her behalf and present Ciara Suesberry of Berry Dynamic Public Relations Agency with a special recognition.

2 Girls Who Travel Hit Up the International Bacon Fest

So the International Bacon Fest (aka Bacon iFest) was this weekend and like the name suggests, all things pork were on the menu. The event, held in downtown Houston, had stuff for the entire family including a watermelon-eating contest for the kids and adult beverages for the grown folks!

Live bands performed on the stage while patrons visited booths featuring bacon and pork dishes from around the world.

And the best part about Bacon iFest – it benefits Texas Lions Camp, a residential camping facility for children with physical disabilities, type 1 diabetes and cancer. Bacon for a cause? We can dig it.

Keep reading for highlights from the day!

We absolutely cannot pass up a mural, so when we saw this one on the way to the festival, we had to snap a few pics!

I’m sure you know, but Houston’s climate is hot and humid about 10 months out of the year – seriously. So while some people are experiencing crisp, fall weather, we were melting. This booth made a killing!

Cinnamon rolls from Bundtcake-a-holic

Yardie Dog

Yes, these are bacon-wrapped hot dog weenies!

Flashback to the 90s! We loved Mario and Luigi so imagine our excitement taking this pic!

And the best part – Mario and Luigi were passing out pork rinds! Don’t worry, these were the healthy kind … gluten-free and fried in sunflower oil 😉