Two to Travel (And Tango)

Travel Tips and Inspiration From Millennials, For Millennials

Where We Are Traveling Next- Any Advice?

Six weeks. It’s been six weeks since I stepped foot outside our border. Crazy as it may sound, that’s something of a record for me in recent years and I must confess, it’s been somewhat nice. I forgot how much I really enjoy my own bed. I’d been so tired from travel that I often wasn’t invested in one of the things I love most: Exploring my own backyard. But not to worry, a couple days in Tijuana next weekend will break this streak. And then in November, things great really real. We’re traveling. A LOT. As in one trip to Rome, Budapest, Amsterdam, Tokyo, and maybe Kyoto then a month later a journey back to Hong Kong, a safari and more with Laura’s family in South Africa, a stop in Doha before a quick visit with my family in Chicago en route to El Salvador. This will be the most we’ve traveled since our epic jaunt through Asia in 2012. And here’s the thing: we need your help! 

Europe and Asia trip in November

We’ll be slurping ramen and exploring sushi in Japan for Thanksgiving. This, after a quick trek through parts of Europe. We had planned to have three nights in Budapest and four in Tokyo but a dramatic schedule change on our flights changed that. After hours back and forth with the airline, we managed to get an added overnight in New York changed to become an overnight in Rome. So Thanksgiving week will be a busy one, but hopefully a fun one. Here’s what our itinerary looks like right now (fingers crossed that we see no more itinerary changes):

Rome: 28 hours

coliseum panoramic photo

Budapest: 2 days

Budapest at night. Photo courtesy of

Amsterdam: a 6 hour layover that we intend to use to explore one of my favorite European cities

We'll have just enough time for a quick bike ride, lunch on the canal, and a beer or two at Brouwerij 't Brewery

We’ll have just enough time for a quick bike ride, lunch on the canal, and a beer or two at Brouwerij ‘t Brewery

Tokyo: Four days if we want it, or two days in Tokyo and two days in… Kyoto?

We’re staying at the Park Hyatt in Tokyo (you might recognize it from the film Lost in Translation) for free thanks to hotel points. Photo courtesy of

Here’s the thing. I’ve been to Rome but Laura has not. Neither of us have been to Budapest and are most excited for this visit. And we both loved Tokyo and have a better idea of what we’re craving again (Ichiran Ramen, an introverts dream come true!). But nonetheless, we’d love some advice: What’s our go-to dinner in Italy? What’s not to be missed in Budapest? And in Tokyo, any sushi advice? Should we go to Kyoto or concentrate on Tokyo?

December Holiday

Hong Kong: We’re going back, back, to Hong Kong, Hong Kong.

View from our hotel, the Intercontinental in Hong Kong. Once again, staying for free thanks to hotel points! Photo courtesy of

Alright, so it doesn’t flow as well as Cali Cali but you get the point. We loved Hong Kong. We loved eating in Hong Kong. So we’re excited to have a few days back in the majestic city.

South Africa: A visit to Johannesburg. Time spent with family, old friends, penguins, and wine in Cape Town. And our first ever safari in Pilanesburg National park!

Want to get close to The Big Five on our safari, but not too close! Photo Courtesy of

Doha: Scouting the World Cup?

We don’t know much about Doha, we just know that our ride there will be pretty comfortable. Photo courtesy of

Not much is known about Doha to us other than it was the one city that solved our routing puzzle to give us a cheap award ticket (125,000 miles and $200 for each of us for business class all the way). We’ve got two days there to check out the Museum of Islamic Art and…?

Then it’s off to Chicago to freeze a bit but enjoy time with family, before dropping Laura off in LA where I’ll rest for 48 hours before getting on a flight down to San Salvador for a week with faculty and staff members from my university.

Mural of Archbishop Romero of San Salvador.

Yes, I love my job.

So what food spots are not to be missed in Hong Kong? What great activities beyond our epic safari we should be thinking of in South Africa? And in Doha, once we finish with the Museum of Islamic Art, what else should we be thinking of checking out or exploring? As excited as we are about their business class terminal, I don’t think we can hang out there for 48 hours. Well, I would be happy to, but I think Laura would go crazy.

What Advice Can You Give?

We have loved some of the feedback we’ve gotten on this blog. Several posts have come about not because of any great idea we had but rather because what you, our awesome readers have suggested. So if you’ve got an idea, leave it in the comment section below. If you’re shy, that’s ok–you can shoot us a private message via our Facebook page. But we’d love suggestions based on personal experience in any of the places mentioned or a heads up about anything you’ve heard about but haven’t had a chance to check out yourself in these areas. Thanks!

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  1. depending on time do a Vatican tour but search out one online and spend the extra money as the line for regular tours is long! The Pope does Mass Sunday too which is cool.

    In Tokyo do the fish market (it’s a sight to see fish the size of a small child).

    And you mentioned my favorite brewery in Amsterdam!

    • Sara, thank you! This is awesome advice. I forgot about how long the line is for the Vatican tours! Any beer suggestions at the Amsterdam brewery? =)

  2. We saw a camel race in Doha. Hard to explain but cool. And for Rome we stayed at Yes Hotel! On a similar one day layover because it’s next to the train to the airport and affordable. Have fun!

    • Lizzy,

      This is great! We got your comment just as we were sitting down to do research on hotels for Rome. The price is right, the location ideal, we’re now booked at Yes Hotel!

  3. Hola amigo,

    If you are visiting Anne Frank museum buy tickets online in advance. As for Hong Kong I have been to that Intercontinental. It’s very nice.

    • Thanks Jose! Found the website for the Anne Frank museum and are looking into tickets now. And we’re happy to hear good news about the Intercontinental in HKG!

  4. Patrick, the best pizza I’ve had, so far in my lifetime, is at Pizzeria da Remo in the Testaccio neighborhood in Rome. It’s off the beaten path, but where the real Romans are. They don’t really speak English and you won’t really hear any from the customers but I think that’s a great judge of a restaurant abroad. I have some other great places I love in Rome, but it doesn’t sound like you’ll have much time there.

    • Brian,

      This is awesome! I have added it to our calendar. We weren’t planning on having the 24 hours. Originally, we were supposed to be in Budapest longer but then a schedule change nixed that and they were going to route us through the East Coast with a layover there. After I begged and pleaded they fixed it so at least we got the 28 hours in Rome.

      I wasn’t a huge fan of Rome the time I was there and thus I am excited for round two to hopefully turn it around! So any other ideas would be awesome to hear!

      • I wasn’t a big fan of Rome either my first time I was there. I fell in love with the city though after going back and discovering areas outside the centro storico. Also in the Testaccio neighborhood is Volpetti, a great, small food shop. Awesome buffalo mozzarella. There are a couple cool parks on Aventine hill that over look the city and the Vatican. Also on top of Aventine Hill is the keyhole. A sort of nondescript door, but if you look through the keyhole, St. Peter’s is perfectly framed by hedges in the garden behind the door. If you’re there on a Saturday or Sunday there is a cool market on the northwest corner of Circus Maximus. I had some great Porchetta there. There is also a large daily market in Testaccio but you have to get there fairly early. Best tip is just to walk around and let the city open up to you. Pick a neighborhood or two. The best places I found by accident. Rome is a big, busy city but it has so much to discover aside from the obvious tourist stuff. Oh, and look up Katie Parla. She has a solid food blog for Rome.

        • OK, I had never heard of the keyhole and that sound awesome! We will certainly try and get out of the centro storico. I can’t wait man. I’m really excited to have a few hours back in Amsterdam. I told Laura I could see us living there one day so this is my 6 hours to sell that case! =)

  5. Fear not – I am here to fill the Doha void 😛
    I will warn you that Doha is certainly not one my favorite Middle Eastern cities, but it has come a long way from the days when it was basically just empty space and rolling tumbleweeds. So, apart from the obviously amazing museum, I would recommend you focus on the three Ss of touring the Middle East:

    1. Sea – the Doha Corniche is a beautiful area for a stroll, the best time to go would be just as the sun is going down so that you can enjoy the views of the city and of the boats when the temperature isn’t ridiculous. Also, that’s really the time that most locals will come down for a relax and smoke some shisha so it’s also prime time for people-watching.

    2. Souq – the Souq Waqif is definitely a must see – it was refurbished in 2006 but the classical Islamic architecture will make you feel as if it hasn’t changed since it’s early 20th century beginnings. Apart from all the shops and restaurants, you have to go to the Falcon Souq which is a smaller market inside Souq Waqif. This is where you can buy (or just look at) all the equipment involved in falconry as well a the ACTUAL REAL LIVE FALCONS, most of which cost thousands of dollars.

    3. Shawarma – Oh shawarma, I could write an ode to this triumph of culinary art but suffice to say it just doesn’t taste the same anywhere else outside the Middle East. In Rome, I ate gelato everyday. When I go back to Dubai, I do the same with shawarma.

    4. Schmancy malls – my lasting memory of Doha though, is none of the above but actually the Villagio – a ridiculous upscale mall decorated to give you the impression your in Venice. Complete with fake sky, canals, and actual gondola rides, it may pale in comparison the shopping behemoths of Dubai but is still a fantastic example of the tendency towards excess and consumerism that is so typically Middle Eastern.

    • Zaneta,

      Your response could be a blog post in itself of what to do in Doha! Funny, to the point, and incredibly enjoyable to read! This is awesome. How often have you been to Doha? I must admit, we’re not wild about the idea, but the loophole for the award ticket I booked us (rest in peace One World Explorer Award) made flying out of South Africa on Qatar our best option. So I figure, when else will I be in Doha.

      Unrelated- World Cup thoughts, we have so much to talk about! Working on your El Salvador reading list now!

      • I’ve been to Doha about 2 or 3 times, never for more than a couple of days though and mostly on school trips. It’s definitely a random location but I’m sure you’ll make the best of it.

        And yes! So excited for this reading list and for World Cup chats – hopefully once I get back from Chicago, I’ll be able to stop by office hours. And if not, there’s always the All Star Suite dinner : )

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