The Best Countries to Spend Christmas

There’s no place like home for the holidays. But if you can’t make it there this year, these are the best countries to spend Christmas in instead!

Sometimes, going home for Christmas and New Years just isn’t possible because of distance, cost, or lack of vacation time. When I taught in the UAE for two years, I couldn’t afford to fly back to Ohio for my three week break, and instead spent Christmas traveling elsewhere.

The Best Countries to Spend Christmas list was created from a combination of factors. Cost of living, Christmas spirit, weather, and overall vibe are some of the most important that I weighed. If you can’t (or don’t want to) make it home for the holidays, consider planning a trip using my list of the best countries to spend Christmas in!

 

1. Germany

Weather: December average of low 30s in Berlin
Cost of Living: Consumer prices are 2% lower and restaurant prices are 2% lower than in the United States
Why it’s one of the best countries to spend Christmas: Christmas Markets

 

 

Germany is well known as the country where a lot of our beloved Christmas traditions originated. I’m listing it as one of the best countries to spend Christmas because I spent one here in 2015, and it was magical. The absolute best part of Christmas in Germany is the Christmas markets!

These large markets set up in parks and squares across the cities and sell Christmas crafts, mulled wine, pretzels, sausages, meat, candy and snacks, roasted nuts, chocolate… everything festive and delicious is here in one place. They usually have large Christmas trees and sometimes even skating rinks inside. I visited five or six markets in Berlin alone and never got tired of them. They are also throughout the country, with the city of Cologne being widely recognized as hosting the best.

I spent eight days in Berlin over Christmas and had an amazing time. Berlin is one of the cheaper cities to visit in Europe, and is also full of history. Just make sure you get an apartment with a kitchen and cross off your to-do list before Christmas, because almost the entire city of Berlin shut down for Christmas Eve and Christmas day. If you want a snowy and cozy traditional Christmas that won’t break the bank, though, this is the country for you.

 

2. Thailand

Weather: December average of 78 degrees Bangkok
Cost of living: Consumer prices 52% lower and restaurant prices 199% lower than in the United States
Why it’s one of the best countries to spend Christmas: Festive atmosphere, beautiful beaches, new experiences.

 

 

I spent the holidays in Thailand in 2014, and it was clear why this is one of the best countries to spend Christmas. First of all, the weather absolutely can’t be beat. It was warm and sunny (but not too hot) every day of my three week vacation except for one. Just make sure you are traveling on the inner islands and not the outer coast, though, which experiences the rainy season at this time.

While in Thailand, we experienced something totally new. Gorgeous ornate temples, lush rain forests, exotic animals, amazing foods, and long, bustling, crazy markets. The markets were my favorite part of the country, and the best were in Chiang Mai. Here, Daniel and I got drunk and wandered the winding streets and stalls to buy Christmas gifts for each other. The souvenir game is next level and you definitely won’t be leaving Thailand without some Chang shirts, patterned elephant pants, or at least a knock-off watch.

We also spent New Year’s Eve on the island of Koh Tao. This is the most popular time of year to visit Thailand, so the atmosphere is fun and full of people (but not too over crowded which I was afraid of.)The beach was full of partiers, restaurants and cafes were spilling onto the sand, and fire performers, Thai lanterns, and fireworks lit up the skies. The hundreds of paper lanterns set off over the ocean was a magical sight I’ll never forget. Then, the next day we woke up to start the new year with a scuba dive. It really doesn’t get better than that.

Spend your Christmas in Thailand if you want PERFECT beach weather, super cheap travels, and a totally unique experience.

 

3. USA

Weather: Depends! Snow and cold in the North and West, warm and sunny in Florida and parts of the South.
Cost of Living: Most expensive on this list
Why it’s one of the best countries to spend Christmas: One of the most festive & decorated countries in the world

 

 

Maybe I’m biased (I am) but no other countries do Christmas like the US. It’s just a fact. When the songs and cards say it’s the most wonderful time of the year, they’re not exaggerating. Christmas spirit and decor infuses pretty much every aspect of life in America during December.

School, work, home… all of it is filled with lights, gifts, holiday foods and parties. This is by far one of the most festive countries to spend Christmas. Start with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, and watch a Christmas scene unfurl before your eyes over the next few weeks. Christmas specials on TV, Santa in every mall, and an overwhelming feeling of magic in the air define this time of year.

Everyone is nicer, everything is more beautiful, and the world is just a better place during Christmas in the United States. If you want to experience a Christmas that you only ever see in the movies, America is the place to be.

 

4. Brazil

Weather: December average of 77 degrees in Rio
Cost of Living: Consumer prices 48% lower and restaurant prices 77% lower than in the United States
Why it’s one of the best countries to spend Christmas: Biggest New Year’s Eve party in the world

 

 

South America is a great place to spend Christmas because almost the entire continent is Roman Catholic, so they take the birth of Jesus pretty seriously. The cities are decorated with lights and trees, and families go to mass, exchange gifts, and cook delicious dinners to celebrate. However, there’s another reason why I added Brazil to the list (despite being the only country of the four where I haven’t personally spent a Christmas)… Rio de Janiero boasts the biggest New Year’s Eve party in the world!

Soak up the sun and gorgeous beaches of Brazil in the days between Christmas and New Years, then head to Rio for New Years Eve. Travel Channel reports that over 2 million people celebrate the stroke of midnight on the Copacabana beaches for a New Year’s Eve fiesta. If you’re a party animal or beach lover then Brazil with their sunny weather, low cost of living, and party atmosphere is definitely the place for you.

 

This list of best countries to spend Christmas contains some of my favorite places that I’ve celebrated the holiday. Each country is different but great in its own way. If you want fun and sun, Thailand or Brazil are the best plans for you. If you prefer traditions and a cozy, festive atmosphere, head to the US or Germany for Christmas. No matter what you decide, I hope you have a very merry Christmas and magical New Year 🙂

All my love,
Di

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9 Ways to Manage Homesickness During Long Term Travel

Have you ever been homesick? It’s a brutal mix of sadness and wistfulness that I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

In the past few years I spent three ten-month stints outside of the USA, so unfortunately I know the feeling all too well. As a full-time traveler, I often go long stretches without seeing my parents, siblings, friends, and pets. I usually start to feel homesick in the middle of a trip, when I’ve been away for five or six months and still have quite a few left before I’m home again.

Luckily, I have years of practice with full-time travel, and I’ve learned how to manage homesickness pretty well. If you need to manage homesickness, give these tips and practices a try!

 

1. Cook your favorite foods

Sometimes, a big part of missing home is missing the food… at least for a foodie like me it’s definitely true. When that’s the case, I make an evening of it. If you’re in a hostel, find the best rated restaurant serving your native cuisine, or hit up a pub owned by a local from your home country. Ask around the expat circles, and you’ll definitely be able to find something that feels like home, even if it’s just for an hour or two.

When I travel long term, I always stay in apartments with furnished kitchens so I go one step farther to manage homesickness. I scour the grocery stores and cook my closest version of a Chipotle burrito, a crunch wrap supreme from Taco Bell, or whatever random restaurant or food I’m craving that day. Taste is actually a super important sense when it comes to memory and comfort, so not only does this option distract me and pass the time, it’s also always delicious and helps manage homesickness pretty well.

 

2. Invest in an international phone plan

I’m not gonna insult you by saying you should Skype or FaceTime your family and friends to help manage homesickness, cause it’s a pretty obvious solution. However, did you know that you can also get an international phone plan? They’re pretty cheap if you look in the right places. The first two years I lived abroad, my phone number was always changing and my friends and family found it difficult to contact me because it was always just a hassle.

This year, I invested in an international phone plan and I’m so glad I did. With Sprint, it’s only $35 a month! I got to keep my US number, get unlimited calls and texts to anywhere in the world, 1gb of international data a month, and 2gb in the US. This has made keeping in touch sooo much easier. Now, I can just pick up the phone and call my mom whenever I feel like it, and text my friends just like normal. I love it, and it has helped me feel way more connected and manage homesickness much better this past year.

 

3. Buy gifts for your family and friends

This has always helped me manage homesickness. If I’m feeling down, I’ll try to find little cheap gifts to bring home to my friends and family. Usually it involves something like a strange local snack or small pair of earrings. It helps distract from feeling homesick, and it’s always fun. Plus, when it IS time to head home, I already have lots of little stuff to bring with me and gift, and I don’t have to scramble last minute when I’m busy trying to pack and move. Win-win.

 

4. Think about it like this…

You’re not missing out on that much. An easy trap to fall into is to feel homesick and start thinking of family get togethers or parties with your friends, and how you’re missing out. In reality, those are usually for special occasions, and it’s more likely that even if you were home, you wouldn’t be spending time with friends and family anyway. Plus, for me at least, all my siblings live out of state. That means they’re all missing our parents and doggo just as much as I am.

Of course, putting it into perspective and remembering that most of my family and friends are also spread around the country and world too only helps most of the time. If you’re spending Christmas or Thanksgiving away from home (like I did two years in a row) It’ll be impossible to manage homesickness and you’ll just have to enjoy the holidays the best you can and power through!

 

5. Stream Sports

This one is weirdly specific, but also highly effective in curing homesickness. There are plenty of places to find your favorite team online and watch them live. Once I get the stream up on my laptop, I like to connect it to my TV as well. Something about the announcers speaking English and the sounds of the game in the background on a Sunday afternoon is comforting. Feels just like being home to me, and always helps manage homesickness when I feel it coming on.

 

6. Pet Some Pups

Dogs are scientifically proven to make everyone happy, all the time (source: my own brain and many experiences.) Find some! If you’re in a developed country, that means heading to a local dog shelter and giving the good boys some pats.

If you’re in a third world country, just step out the door and there will be plenty of strays! Bring something for them to snack on and enjoy watching them play. I promise, doing a good deed to take care of the street dogs in a small way will make you feel way better as well. Sometimes I also look at the local shelter websites from home to see which dog I’d adopt if I had the chance, but honestly this might make the homesickness even worse…

 

7. Talk it Out

A big part of homesickness comes from experiencing a daily language barrier and culture shock. Head to the hostels, tourist attractions, and bars or pubs to find a friend from your home country (or that at least speaks your same language.) I found whenever we ran into Americans on our long-term travels we always loved reminiscing about what we were missing at home. Just hearing that good ‘ol American accent always makes me feel better!

 

8. Send Home a Surprise

I used to do this when Daniel and I were in a long distance relationship for three years. When I really missed him and wanted to feel close to him, I would send him a surprise. Sometimes that meant making a homemade card and putting it in the mail, but sometimes it meant a little bit more. I liked to get pizza or his favorite Indian food ordered to his house when I knew he was home. He was always surprised and super happy, and it brings a smile to my face just thinking about it 🙂 Try it out!

 

9. Get Out of the House

You’re homesick for a reason… because you’re far away, traveling through a new country. Well, get out and explore it. I find I usually feel the most anxious, worried, sad, or homesick when I’m cooped up in the house in front of a computer screen.

If it’s a weekday and you have to work, treat yourself to a coffee or iced tea at the local cafe while you do so. Or, go for a walk, out to eat, hit up a new bar, sign up for a fun tour, go for a hike, the list goes on. If you’re feeling really bad, just say screw it and take the day off from your responsibilities completely. Head out into the great outdoors and r e l a x, take a moment to enjoy where you are and why you’re there. Clear your head a little, and I’m sure you’ll manage the encroaching homesickness just fine.

 

Feeling homesick is just a reality of traveling full time. However, in my past three years I’ve found plenty of small ways to help me manage it. Give these nine tips a try next time you feel homesick, and let me know if they help!

All my love,
Di

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Have you ever been homesick? It’s something I really wouldn’t wish on anyone.

In the past few years I spent three ten-month stints outside of the USA, so unfortunately I know the feeling all too well. As a full-time traveler, I often go long stretches without seeing my parents, siblings, friends, and pets. I usually start to feel homesick in the middle of a trip, when I’ve been away for five or six months and still have quite a few left before I’m home again.

Luckily, I have years of practice with full-time travel, and I’ve learned how to manage homesickness it pretty well. If you need to manage homesickness, give these tips and practices a try!

 

1. Cook your favorite foods

Sometimes, a big part of missing home is missing the food… at least for a foodie like me it’s definitely true. When that’s the case, I make an evening of it. If you’re in a hostel, find the best rated restaurant serving your native cuisine, or hit up a pub owned by a local from your home country. Ask around the expat circles, and you’ll definitely be able to find something that feels like home, even if it’s just for an hour or two.

I always stay in apartments with furnished kitchens, so I take it one step farther to manage homesickness. I scour the grocery stores and cook my closest version of a Chipotle burrito, or crunch wrap supreme from Taco Bell, or buffalo chicken dip and grilled ribs, the list goes on. Taste is actually a super important sense when it comes to memory and comfort, so not only does this option distract me and pass the time, it’s also always delicious and helps manage homesickness pretty well.

 

2. Invest in a international phone plan

I’m not gonna insult you by saying you should Skype or FaceTime your family and friends to help manage homesickness, cause it’s a pretty obvious solution. However, did you know that you can also get an international phone plan? They’re pretty cheap if you look in the right places. The first two years I lived abroad, my phone number was always changing and my friends and family found it difficult to contact me because it meant prescheduling skype calls and was just a hassle.

This year I invested in an international phone plan and I’m so glad I did. With Sprint, it’s only $35 a month! I got to keep my US number, get unlimited calls and text to anywhere in the world, a 1gb of international data a month (and 2gb in the US). This has made keeping in touch sooo much easier. Now, I can just pick up the phone and call my mom whenever I feel like it, and text my friends just like normal. I love it, and it has helped me feel way more connected and manage homesickness much better this past year.

 

3. Buy gifts for your family and friends

This has always helped me manage homesickness. If I’m feeling down, I’ll try to find little cheap gifts to bring home to my friends and family. Usually it involves something like a strange local snack or small pair of earrings. It helps distract from feeling homesick, and it’s always fun. Plus, when it IS time to head home, I already have lots of little stuff to bring with me and gift, and I don’t have to scramble last minute when I’m busy trying to pack and move. Win-win.

 

4. Think about it like this…

You’re not missing out on that much. An easy trap to fall into is to feel homesick and start thinking of family get togethers or parties with your friends, and how you’re missing out. In reality, those are usually for special occasions, and it’s more likely that even if you we’re home, you wouldn’t be spending time with friends and family anyway. Plus, for me at least, all my siblings live out of state. That means they’re all missing our parents and doggo just as much as I am. Think about it for a minute. Are you just missing an idealized version of your home and childhood, and not really homesick at all?

Of course, putting it into perspective and remembering that most of my family and friends are also spread around the country and world too only helps most of the time. If you’re spending Christmas or Thanksgiving away from home (like I did two years in a row) It’ll be impossible to manage homesickness and you’ll just have to enjoy the holidays the best you can and power through!

 

5. Stream Sports

This one is weirdly specific, but also highly effective in curing homesickness. There are plenty of places to find your favorite team online and watch them live. I like to connect it to my TV as well. Something about the announcer speaking english and the sounds of the game in the background on a Sunday afternoon is so comforting. Feels just like being home to me, and always helps manage homesickness when I feel it coming on.

 

6. Pet Some Pups

Dogs are scientifically proven to make everyone happy, all the time (source, my own brain and many experiences.) Find some! If you’re in a developed country, that means heading to a local dog shelter and giving the good boys some pats. If you’re in a third world country, just step out the door and there will be plenty of strays! Bring something for them to snack on and enjoy watching them play. I promise, doing a good deed to take care of the street dogs in a small way will make you feel way better as well. Sometimes I also look at the local shelter websites from home to see which dog I’d adopt if I had the chance, but honestly this might make you want one too bade and make the homesickness even worse…

 

7. Talk it Out

A bi part of homesickness comes from experiencing a daily language barrier and culture shock. Head to the hostels, tourist attractions, and bars or pubs to find a friend from your home country (or that at least speaks your same language) I found whenever we ran into Americans on our long-term travels we always loved reminiscing about what we were missing at home. Just hearing that good ‘ol American accent always made me feel better!

 

8. Send Home a Surprise

I used to do this when my husband Daniel and I were in a long distance relationship for three years. When I really missed him and wanted to feel close to him, I would send him a surprise. Sometimes that meant making a homemade card and putting it in the mail, but sometimes it meant a little bit more. I liked to get pizza or his favorite Indian food ordered to his house when I knew he was home. He was always surprised (and super happy of course) and it brings a smile to my face just thinking about it 🙂 Try it out!

 

9. Get Out of the House

You’re homesick for a reason… because you’re far away, traveling through a new country. Well, get out and explore it. I find I usually feel the most anxious, worried, sad, and homesick when I’m cooped up in the house in front of a computer screen. If you have to work treat yourself to a coffee or iced tea at the local cafe while you do so. Or, go for a walk, out to eat, hit up a new bar, or sign up for a fun tour or hike. If it’s really bad, just screw it and take the day off from your responsibilities. Head out into the great outdoors and r e l a x, take a moment to enjoy where you are and why you’re there. Clear your head a little, and I’m sure you’ll manage the encroaching homesickness just fine.

 

Feeling homesick is just a reality of traveling full time. However, in my past three years I’ve found plenty of small ways to help me manage it. Give these nine tips a try next time you feel homesick, and let me know if they help!

All my love,
Di

8 Reasons Why Working Remote is Better than Backpacking

I originally wanted to save money, quit my job, and backpack through South America for six months, and now I’m SO glad Daniel convinced me otherwise. Because we decided to work remote, we were able to spend ten months exploring Colombia and Peru instead of only six, and still have the money and steady income to travel through Mexico and Europe in 2018.

During my time in South America, I met plenty of other young people. They were traveling long-term as well, but with one big difference. They usually saved money, quit their jobs, and traveled for three, six, or twelve months at a time. Once they’re finished, it’s back to the old 9 to 5 in their home countries. They have one awesome adventure under their belts for sure, but for me, that’s not enough. It doesn’t have to be for you either! Here are my top eight reasons why working remote is better than backpacking.

 

1. Travel Longer

Like I stated above, we were originally planning to only travel for 6 months in South America, then settle down and get a job in the States. WOW what a mistake that would have been! Working remote is better than backpacking because your trip never has to end. Endless travel is not a dream, it’s my daily reality (and it’s so damn easy to make it yours as well.)

Because I have a steady income from freelance writing, I can move anywhere in the world, whenever I want. I spent ten months in South America in 2017, and have plans to spend two months in Mexico and six in Europe in the new year. I don’t think I ever could have saved up enough money to see so much, especially in an entry level job after graduation. Instead, remote work while traveling makes it possible.

 

2. No Money Worries

If I blow my budget on a late night out or super cool weekend away, I don’t have to rearrange finances for the rest of my trip, or sacrifice visiting one destination, city, or country for another. Instead, I just slow down my spending until next month’s payday. I’m not moving fast, so if I don’t have the funds for a big tour or trip, all I have to do is wait. No rush and no timeline means I can keep my travel plans flexible and do everything I want to in each destination.

 

3. Unexpected Issues Won’t End Your Trip

This one is semi-related to number two. Because I have a regular income from working remote, unexpected issues aren’t quite so problematic. A broken laptop or missed flight just means the next weekend might be a little more boring than most. Even if it’s more severe (like our landlord keeping our $700 deposit, ugh.) long term saving and budgeting can make up for it. However, when my friends had their passports and computers stolen in Peru towards the end of their backpacking trip, the unexpected costs and passport issues caused them to have to skip visiting Ecuador completely and head straight to Colombia instead. Super disappointing!

 

4. Save Money

Working remote is better than backpacking because it’s cheaper. We travel long-term (like, years at a time) so we don’t have any phone bills, storage bills, mortgages, rent, car payments and insurance, or anything else that we have to pay at home while on our trip. On the other hand, most backpackers still have to budget to keep up with these costs at home along with their trip expenses.

A second major money saving advantage is that working remote allows us to travel slooooow. We always rent Airbnb’s for one month at a time (at least) to get major discounts. Also, if you’re jumping form hostel to hostel on a backpacking trip, you’re going to eat out every meal. Working remote, traveling slow, and staying in furnished apartments gives us access to kitchens to buy groceries and cook in, which is a huge money saver every month.

 

5. No Post Travel Blues

I seriously can’t tell you how many backpackers I met who were in the last few weeks of their trip. They always lamented how sad they were to be heading home soon. Who wouldn’t be? They’ve often saved, sacrificed, and planned for years to take the trip, and know when it’s over its back to their boring 9 to 5, with years before they’ll ever be able to take time off again. Honestly, I can’t relate. Because I work remote, my traveling only ends when I decide it does, and I headed home for the holidays full of excitement because for me it’s only a pit stop between countries.

 

6. No Resume Gap

America is a nation of workaholics. If you’re reading this in the UK or Australia, it won’t apply to you as much, because gap years and long term traveling are much more common there. However, in America it’s totally outside of the norm.

From a career standpoint, working remote is better than backpacking because companies don’t look kindly on six month resume gaps, even if they changed, enriched, and taught you more than you ever would have in the workplace. Explaining a six month or year long gap to a future employers isn’t a risk I have to take because I chose to work remote instead of take time off to backpack. Additionally, when I do decide to move back to the US and search for a full time job, I know I can live off my freelance income until I do so… pretty stress free transition if you ask me!

 

7. Keep a Routine

This one is one of the biggest health advantages to working remote instead of taking a backpacking trip. When you go months without working, there is no routine. That means tons of drinking, late nights, eating out… basically every vice is so much easier to fall into without a routine! That’s all fine for a one or two week vacay, but it’s not gonna end well if you keep it up for a six month trip.

Because I still have a job and am not on vacation, I set an alarm each morning, cook my own meals every day, and have a much easier time limiting my drinking and nights out to the weekends. Working remote and traveling slow also means we have a comfy Airbnb to chill in, watch TV, and read or relax in at night. If you’re backpacking and stuck in a hostel, you’ll be much more tempted to get out, hit the bars, and spend money every night of the trip.

 

8. See More

My last, and one of my favorite aspects of working remote instead of backpacking, is that I get to see so much more than an average backpacker does. I don’t have to limit all my traveling to just a few months. I spent four months just in Peru, instead of trying to visit the entire continent of South America in the same time frame. Because of this, I get to see and do a lot of stuff that’s off the beaten track. Some articles I write are among the first of their subject on the web because spending a day at Llaullifest or hiking at Kinsa Cocha are so off the beaten track for most backpackers. I like traveling slower, and seeing more of each country that I visit.

 

Do I have you convinced? One short-term backpacking trip may be exactly what you want, but if you’re here I think you’re looking for something more. Definitely consider these eight reasons why working remote is better than backpacking. Next, check out my Working Abroad page to learn all about how I paid off my student loans and visited eight new countries while teaching in Abu Dhabi, and how I now make money working remote as a digital marketer and freelance writer. As always, if you have any questions comment below or shoot me an email and I’ll definitely get back to you!

All my love,
Di

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The Complete Dayton Brewery Guide

It’s about time for a complete Dayton brewery guide. I’m home from the holidays, and have made it my mission to visit, review, and let you know about not just the best breweries in Dayton, but ALL the breweries in Dayton. That meant visiting five in one day (for research of course) and creating and cataloguing a list of the rest that are outside of downtown. If you’re ready to drink local, this Dayton brewery guide has everything you need to know.

 

Location: Downtown Dayton

There are six breweries in downtown Dayton, and five of them are within walking distance of each other. Uber downtown to hit the first one and create your own local Dayton brew crawl by walking to the rest. If you want to visit all six, I recommend hitting ’em in this order…

 

Carillon Brewing Company

Ok, let’s start with the outlier. This is the only one not within walking distance of the others on my Dayton brewery guide, so it should be either first or last on your list.

Where: 1000 Carillon Boulevard, Dayton, OH 45409
I recommend: Checking this out if you’re a history buff, because they make beer with the same equipment and recipes as they did in historical Dayton.
Learn more here

Why you should visit: The Carillon Brewing Company is located in the beautiful Carillon Historical Park, which makes it a perfect day trip all on its own. Walk around the grounds and museum, and then visit the Carillon Brewing Company for lunch or dinner and a couple pints. Just be warned, though, the only house brews here are sour beer… it’s worth trying, but definitely is an acquired taste!

Next: Drive to Fifth Street Brewpub to start your walking tour of Dayton’s breweries

 

Fifth Street Brewpub

Where: 1600 E 5th St, Dayton, OH 45403
I recommend: Start your walking brewery tour of Dayton here! Also, try the mint cookie stout.
Learn more here

Why you should visit: This pub is unique because it’s in a restored house, and because it is a nonprofit organization. The pub is run as a co-op, so you can buy ownership with a one time fee of $125 and receive discounts for the rest of your life. The Fifth Street Brewpub regularly holds charity events and donates to local organizations, and any leftover profits at the end of the year are invested back into the bar. It’s great because not only do they do good, but they also brew good. We tried eight of their nine home brews on tap, and they were all delicious. My favorite was definitely the mint cookie stout! Sooooo tasty, and perfect for the holidays.

Next: walk 13 minutes to Toxic Brew Company

 

Toxic Brew Company

Where: 431 E 5th St, Dayton, OH 45402 (the Oregon District)
I recommend: Visiting this if you’re only going to one, because of its awesome location in the historic Oregon District
Learn more here

Why you should visit: This brewery is in the heart of the Oregon district, so it’s super convenient to visit, and usually has a pretty chill ambiance. I like it because their house brewed beers are good, and they also serve some other local beers as well as meads, wine, and mixed drinks. So, it definitely has something for everyone. There’s also free popcorn and boardgames to play, which is always great. If you’re visiting the historic Oregon district, definitely don’t miss Toxic Brew!

Next: Walk 7 minutes to Warped Wing Brewing Company

 

Warped Wing Brewing Company

Where: 26 Wyandot St, Dayton, OH 45402
I recommend: Ermal’s Vanilla & Cranberry Cream Ale was my favorite, but I also enjoyed the Piroque Black with Coffee, 10 Ton Tiramisu Stout, and trying their Esther’s Lil Secret Winter Ale made with Esther Price chocolates!
Learn more here

Why you should visit: Warped Wing is located in a giant industrial building and has a cool ambiance. It was named after Dayton locals Orville and Wilber Wright’s invention of a flexible “warped wing” for their airplanes, the missing link that allowed them to be the first in flight (and no, North Carolina can’t claim them no matter how badly they want to.) The super high ceilings and large windows in Warped Wing make it the perfect place to day drink. You can also see back into the brewery itself, and even take tours for $10 on Sunday afternoons. Warped Wing Brewery is great because their branding has a super old school cool retro Dayton look, and they had 20 of their own beers on tap. It was interesting to try some very unique brews!

Next: Walk four minutes to the Dayton Beer Co.

 

Dayton Beer Company

Where: 41 Madison St, Dayton, OH 45402
I recommend: Visiting in the summer to enjoy the outdoor beer garden, and also bringing your pup along to their dog-friendly outdoor patio
Learn more here

Why you should visit: The Dayton Beer Co. is encouraging the city to “Think Dayton, Drink Dayton” which I absolutely love. They pride themselves on being Dayton’s first local brewery in 50 years. The Dayton Beer Co has a huge selection of beers, from their own home brews (I think there were about 13 on tap when we visited) and from around the state and country. Their coffee beer was one of the best I had tried all day. If you want a large selection and outdoor seating, this is the brewery for you.

Next: Walk 4 minutes to Lock 27 Brewing

 

Lock 27 Brewing

Where: Dayton Dragons Plaza, 329 E. First St. Dayton, Ohio, 45402
I recommend: The ghost pepper beer! It’s super spicy but has a great chocolatey flavor. Also, try the food. The wings, pretzels, and salmon we ate were all amazing.
Learn more here

Why you should visit: This is the second location for Lock 27 Brewing, but they still have the equipment and make their beers in house. They had seven or eight of their own beers on tap, and we tried six of them. The ghost pepper beer was probably the most unique flavor I have ever tasted, and the spice lingered in my mouth for a good couple minutes after each sip. The IPA was also good and not too bitter, which I like. My favorite part of this brewery was the food though. The soft pretzels and dry rubbed wings were both delicious, and the salmon was really flavorful too. If you need to eat, I think this brewery is the one for you.

Next: This is the end of the Dayton brewery tour! You can still check out some other awesome local bars within walking distance, though, listed below…

 

ProtoBuild Bar This is only 3 minutes walking distance from Lock 27 Brewing. My dad really wants me to include this one, because apparently it’s a 3D printing lab and bar all rolled into one? I’m honestly not too sure how it works, but it sounds interesting. Read more about it here, and if you visit comment below to let me know how it is!

Crafted and Cured This bar is near the Oregon District, only a few minutes from Toxic Brew Pub. The bar has 60 beers and ciders on tap, and an old fashioned vintage ambiance. They also have a meat and cheese bar, where they serve delicious charcuterie platters. Finally, you can grab some beers or a bottle of wine to go from their retail selection as well. The food isn’t cheap, but it’s unique, delicious, and presented well. You can learn more about it here… it’s definitely worth checking out in my opinion.

 

 

Ok, these are the six companies that make up my Dayton brewery guide. However, I’m not gonna leave it at just that! I also took the time to track down the names and locations of every brewery within reasonable driving distance, for those of you that are ready to branch out for more. I haven’t been to these yet, but am hoping to check a few more off my list while I’m home for the holidays. Eight more local breweries as listed below, sorted by location.

 

Miamisburg

Star City Brewery Company  319 S 2nd St, Miamisburg, OH 45342  Website

Lucky Star Brewery  219 S 2nd St, Miamisburg, OH 45342  Website

 

Centerville

Heavier Than Air Brewing Co.  497 Miamisburg Centerville Road, Centerville, OH 45459  Website

Lock 27 Brewing (original Location)  1035 South Main Street Centerville, Ohio 45458  Website

 

Springboro

The Crooked Handle Brewing Co.  760 N Main St, Springboro, OH 45066  Website

 

Vandalia

The Hairless Hare Brewery  738 W National Rd, Vandalia, OH 45377  Website

 

Kettering

Eudora Brewing Company  4716 Wilmington Pike, Dayton, OH 45440  Website

 

Yellow Springs

Yellow Spring Brewery  305 Walnut St, Yellow Springs, OH 45387  Website

 

Beavercreek

The Wandering Griffin  3725 Presidential Dr, Beavercreek, OH 45324  Website

 

Well, there you have it. The complete Dayton brewery guide, not just of the best breweries, but all the breweries. Cause if you’re a beer lover like me, I know you’re gonna want to try them all! Do a walking tour of the five breweries downtown, or take a short trip to hit up the rest. As always, comment below to let me know what you think!

All my love,
Di

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The Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide for Travelers

I live out of my backpack for the majority of the year, and travel full time. So, I made the perfect holiday gift guide for travelers on your list. I know they’re hard to buy for because you don’t want your gift thrown in storage, and of course you want to give them something they’ll actually use! So, I made this up as a combination of things I’m asking for this year, things I can’t live without, and things I found myself wishing I had as I traveled. I promise, if you have an avid traveler on your list, this holiday gift guide for travelers will have something for everyone (and every budget!)

 

Travel Gifts Under $10

 

Waterproof Cell Phone Case $6.99
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Love it because: I am always super careful and concerned with my phone on dive trips, boat tours, and at the beach.
These waterproof cell phone cases protect the phone from water completely, while still keeping it available for
photos through the transparent case. So perfect.

 

 

Spotify Premium Subscription $9.99/month
Shop Here
Love it because: I can’t live without music. However, both the free versions of Pandora and Spotify limit international listening. With Spotify premium, you can listen as much as you want to their extensive music collection ad free, and best of all, download music for offline play on long bus or plane rides. As an avid traveler who gets motion sickness from reading, music is everything on those trips. Plus, right now you can get the first three months of premium for only 99 cents! Nice.

 

Vintage Travel Wall Posters $8.99
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Love it because: This classic look never goes out of style. Buy one as a thoughtful gift to commemorate
a meaningful city or trip abroad

 

 

The Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the World $9.75
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Love it because: You can’t go wrong with a good, inspirational book. Any travel lover (and book worm) will enjoy this.

 

 

 

Travel Gifts from $10 to $25

 

 

Universal 3 in 1 Camera Lense Kit for Smartphones $12.49
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Love it because: It’s an easy and small kit for a beginner photographer to experiment with, and take a few cool photos without lugging around a giant camera bag.

 

 

Jackbox PartyPack $24.99
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Love it because: These games are just fun as hell. They also load directly on a computer and are played with
smartphones, so they require zero additional packing for a heavy traveler.

 

 

World Scratch Off Travel Map $24.99
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Love it because: It’s beautiful, and a super fun way to scratch countries off the bucket list… literally

Anker Portable Charger $14.99
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Love it because: No more worries about a dying phone on that long layover or bus ride. Now I can listen to music and stream movies to my heart’s content, and charge on every trip to make sure I always have power for more photos

 

 

Eye Love Polarized Wood Sunglasses $24.97
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Love it because: Travelers are always on the move, and that means small things like sunglasses get broken or left behind a lot. I’m always replacing mine, so getting an extra pair as a stocking suffer would be amazing!

 

 

Sterling Silver Mini State Pendant Necklace $19.00
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Love it because: It’s small, it’s delicate, and its a great way for a traveler to bring a little piece of home with
them wherever they go. Just click the drop down to see any US state.

 

 

Wise Owl Outfitters Portable Hammock $25.95
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Love it because: It’s the perfect gift for any outdoor lover or camper on your travel gift list. They’re lightweight, and great to put up and relax in anywhere, making the view even more enjoyable on every hike.

 

 

VIBRANT ALL IN ONE Travel Mug $24.95
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Love it because: It’s a tea infuser, hot coffee thermos, and so much more. A great water bottle becomes a beloved family
member to any traveler who spends months on the road. I think this one can stand up to the challenge!

 

 

 

Travel Gifts from $25 to $100

 

AKASO EK7000 4K WIFI Sports Action Camera $74.99
Shop Here 
Love it because: I’ve been blogging for almost a year, and have been dying for an action cam to add better videos to my site. Unfortunately a Go Pro was out of my price range, but after extensive research Daniel found this well reviewed (and waterproof!) camera… for only $74.99. I’m super excited to unwrap it on Christmas and try it out in Mexico!

 

 

Trtl Pillow – Scientifically Proven Super Soft Neck Support Travel Pillow $29.99
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Love it because: I suck at sleeping on long bus and plane rides, and I’ll try anything new that may help. This compact travel pillow is small and super supportive… definitely looking forward to giving it a try!

 

 

Kindle E-Reader $79.99
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Love it because: When I’m abroad, my choices are to either lug around heavy books in my small backpack, or search in vain to find bookstores with overpriced books in English. A super light kindle e-reader makes reading on a long-term trip so much easier.

 

 

 

AirBnb Gift Card $25 and up!
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Love it because: Everyone knows experiences are better than things. Give the gift of a stress free holiday or weekend away

 

 

 

Travel Gifts over $100

 

Osprey Farpoint 55 Travel Backpack $180
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Love it because: I. LOVE. THIS. BAG. Seriously, any traveler or backpacker in your life would swoon to unwrap this on Christmas day. The bag is super high quality, opens easy, and has a smaller day pack attached as well. I’ll never go back to a rolling suitcase, and no one else should have to either. If you have the budget… this is the best gift for any traveler on your list.

 

 

Kate Spade Going Places Metro Watch $195.00
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Love it because: It’s just cute!!

 

 

No more wondering and searching for the perfect gift this Christmas. Everything on my ultimate holiday gift guide for travelers is tailor made to be small, useful, and perfect for any traveler on your Christmas list. Happy holidays!!

All my love,
Di

 

PS This post contains some affiliate marketing links, but I truly recommend everything on this list… promise!

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