Tips for Surviving a Long Flight

Long flights are inevitable when you have a passion for traveling, but they do not have to be uncomfortable and boring. Since we have been on many flights for various lengths of time, we have found a few things that help make the long journey a bit more enjoyable. We have compiled a list of things you can do to make the time fly by and keep your body and mind occupied during your long flight.

Walk Around 

Sitting for long periods of time is not good for our bodies in general and it is especially not good to sit for an extended length of time on an airplane. Making it a point to walk the aisles of the airplane during your long flight can help pass the time and avoid stiffness.

Exercise Before the Flight

Exercising before a flight can make a world of difference when traveling. When flying long distances, stiffness can set in which can be frustrating and lead to a lot of other health issues. Mrs. Traveling Honeymooner likes to do a high intensity workout before leaving for a new city because she has a difficult time sitting still for long periods of time.

Bring a Pilates Band

A pilates band is small, flexible and a great tool to do a simple workout on the plane! If you are going to sit on a plane for an excruciatingly long time, you might as well get an arm workout in, right?!

Bring Snacks

Traveling any length of time as someone with Celiac Disease can be tricky. Airlines typically serve snacks that are loaded with gluten! Pretzels, crackers… no thank you! We like to plan ahead and pack snacks that are easy to open, that are not messy and are gluten free. Just in case we get stuck somewhere, like that time we got stuck on the runway for twelve hours straight on the way home from Arizona..more on that later…Bottom line: it is always better to be prepared.

Bring DVD Copies of your Favorite Show or Movies

If you have a computer with a DVD drive (I know this is so last year now that the cool thing for Apple to do is make computers without these crazy things) then bring DVD’s of a TV series! We have found that it is impossible to stream Netflix or any other show we like to watch on an airplane so we like to kick it oldschool and watch DVD’s while traveling. During our flight to Asia, we watched almost the entire season of Gilmore Girls in preparation for the new release of “A Year in a Life”.

Sleep

Is there a better way to pass the time than sleeping? I think not. If you want a more in depth article on when to sleep on a plane and how to beat jet lag, then click here. The point is, pack your pajamas and eye mask so you can feel comfortable enough to sleep.

Pack the Essentials in your Carryon Bag

We have not checked a bag in over four years and have traveled around the world in a carry on bag each. Yes, you read that correctly, one carry on bag each. And we normally travel for extended periods of time. So we always have our essentials with us on board but if you like packing in large suitcases, make sure to out the things you need in your carry on.

Read or Listen to a Book

We have an app called Audible, and before each flight we download a book or two so we can listen to that during the flight.

We hope these tips and tricks help you prepare for your next flight!

XOXO,

The Traveling Honeymooners

Amarante, Portugal

Mr. Traveling Honeymooner was unable to join us on this leg of the trip, unfortunately, because he had to return home to go back to work. Boring eh?! We forgive him though because by the time we made it to Portugal, we had already been traveling Europe for about three weeks, with my family. Anyhow, I stayed behind with a few family members and we toured part of the Douro Valley and Amarante during our stay. Everywhere we visited was absolutely gorgeous and boy did we have a blast! I think we ate and drank more in the last four days of our trip than the rest of the trip combined! By the way, eating paleo ad gluten free in Portugal is as easy as can be, so I got to eat my little heart out.  If you are interested in our time in Porto and the Douro Valley, stay tuned…more post to come!

We had the pleasure of visiting this little town on our way back to Porto from the Douro Valley and loved every minute of it. Amarante is a small village with a population of about 12,000 people and is located in the northern Portuguese district of Porto, right on the Tamega River. It is a quint town that has a cozy and creative feel to it. When we arrived, we immediately felt a sense of calmness. We had to stop for a few minutes and just take in the views. There were not many people wandering the streets but we felt welcome and at ease. Even though the town center is small, they had a city center with restaurants, shops and a market. My favorite shop was an art supply store that was located along the main road. The store was small but had everything one would need to paint a beautiful piece of art or draw a pretty picture. The thought that kept running through my head as I walked the street was, ” I want to stay here for a week and just paint what I am experiencing.”

 

We visited the Sao Goncalo convent and church that is right across from the center of town. The first thing we noticed was that the doors of the empty church were open and it was free to enter. This was a bit shocking to us because we had been in Europe for about three weeks at that point and have never been able to enter a national monument for free. Once we walked in, we immediately noticed the gold leaf that lined the walls, which was stunning. We learned that Napoleon tried to demolish Amarate during his time and was successful in destroying almost half of the city, including one of the bridges that was located in the center of town.  The original pictures still hung on the walls but had large pieces of frame missing because Napoleon’s army removed parts of the gold leaf coated frames to see if more gold was hiding inside.

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A luxury hotel sits in the heart of Amarante called Casa da Calcada, where the Michelin Star restaurant Largo do Paco can be found. We did not get the chance to eat here because we were full from our fantastic lunch in the Douro Valley, but we have made a note to come back one day.

IMG_1103This small town has so much history that you can feel, just by looking around. Above is a picture of the floods they have had over the years. To give you perspective, the lowest waterline that was recorded was almost six inches over my head and I am 5’6”.

This little town has so much to offer. The people are kind, the sites are exquisite and the history dates back to the 4th century. My wish is to return here some day soon with Mr. Traveling Honeymooners and stay a night or two in Casa da Calcada.

Thank you for stopping by!

XOXO

Mrs. Traveling Honeymooner

Phuket, Thailand

Phuket is an island of Thailand and is known its beautiful beaches and exciting party scene.  We knew if we ever had the chance to visit Thailand, then Phuket was a place we wanted to see and experience.

We flew from Chiang Mai to Phuket and immediately felt the shift in energy. While Chiang Mai was quiet and peaceful, Phuket was energetic and filled with people ready to party and have some fun. It was a nice shift to feel after having spent four nights relaxing and rejuvenating in Chiang Mai.

Phuket’s streets are lined with markets, restaurants, bars and is home to Bangla Road, where you can find a very active nightlife scene. Bangla road is located right in the middle of Patong Beach, which is a beach resort town on the west coast of the island. If you go to Phuket, Bangla Road is definitely a site to see!

Kata Beach

After spending a few days soaking up the sun on Patong Beach we were looking for a change of pace so we decided to visit Kata Beach. Our hotel offered free shuttle ride to and from Kata so we decided to take advantage of it and explore a different part of the island. The ride from our hotel to Kata Beach was about fifteen to twenty minutes. Kata was much quieter then Patong beach and the sand seemed to be much cleaner. There was also a man renting out umbrellas and sand mats so we rented both for about $2. The water was also much clearer in Kata than it was in Patong Beach. We spent the day swimming in the ocean and relaxing. There were also many resorts near Kata beach, all of which looked very nice.

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Accommodations:

We were originally going to stay on the northern part of Phuket because it is known to be a bit more relaxing but after doing some research we decided to stay on the southern part of the island because we wanted a bit more activity and we wanted to be closer to the night life that Phuket is known for. We chose to stay in Patong Beach at the Amari Resort which is located right on the water and about a five minute walk from Bangla Road. The resort is a big and is located close enough to all of the nightlife but just far enough away from the commotion to still feel like a retreat. The pools were beautiful and overlooked the ocean. The breakfast buffet was huge, and filled with every type of food you could imagine, including many gluten free options.

Our Eats:

La Gritta

The resort has three different restaurants. We chose to eat at the Italian restaurant located on the property one evening and had a wonderful time. The food was excellent and they had plenty of gluten free options. The chef visited with us at our table and made sure to accommodate Mrs. Traveling Honeymooners gluten free needs. The best part was the views! The restaurant sits right on the edge of the bay which gives you views of the gorgeous sunset, Phuket is known for.

No. 9 on 2nd Street

Our last night in Phuket, we really wanted some yummy thai food in a casual setting.  We took a tuk tuk from our hotel to No. 9 which took about ten minutes and arrived at the small restaurant. Since the restaurant only has about fifteen tables, we had to wait a little while before we could be seated.  No. 9 had been recommended to us multiple times by fellow travelers and friends so we knew we couldn’t go wrong by trying it. Mrs. Traveling Honeymooner had no issue ordering her favorite thai dish, chicken with steamed vegetables while Mr. Traveling Honeymooner loved his pad thai. If you are looking for traditional Thai food, this is the place to go!

Rustic Eatery & Bar

After eating Thai food three weeks straight, Mr. Traveling Honeymooner was craving some good Italian food. We had walked by Rustic multiple times during our stay and it looked warm and inviting so we decided to try it. I wish I had taken more pictures of the inside of the restaurant to show how cozy it was. We were seated in the back wine room where we were greeted by the chef himself. The chef walked us through the specials and offered us wine paring options for our meal. The meal was fantastic! It was the perfect Italian meal!

During our stay we also stopped by the street markets to get Mrs. Traveling Honeymooner her favorite drink, fresh coconut water. In Thailand, they serve the coconut whole, and cut it open when you purchase it and it is delicious!!!

Overall, we had a blast in Phuket. We just wish we had more time to spend exploring all of the small islands off the coast of Thailand!

Thanks for stopping by!

XOXO,

The Traveling Honeymooners

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival

We LOVE everything about New Orleans! The food, the music, the vibes, the people…we love it all! Mrs. Traveling Honeymooner also loves music festivals and has wanted to experience Jazz Fest for a very long time. Plus, we were both really feeling the line up this year.

Our group decided to drive to NOLA from Houston this time. The drive is a straight shot on I-10 and is suppose to take about 5 1/2 hours but it took us about 7 hours because of traffic. Taking the 45 minute flight from Houston to New Orleans would have been preferable but we drove because we didn’t really want to splurge on flights. Next time, I think we will choose to fly because the traffic was kind of miserable and we would have liked to spend more time in New Orleans. Anyhow, we left Houston around 2:30 and arrived around 9:30pm.

Our original plan was to go to a late night show but by the time we were done with dinner we were all exhausted from working all day and traveling. We found our options for late night shows on http://www.jazzfestgrids.com/. Next time, we will fly and go to a late night show for sure!

Since our only full day in NOLA was Saturday, we choose to go to the festival that day. The weather was PERFECT!!! We saw Big Freedia, Irma Thomas, Stevie Wonder, Snoop Dogg, Meghan Trainor and a few other artists. It was packed so it was a bit difficult to change stages so we tried to not move around too much.

I think it is safe to say that Jazz Fest is the easiest music festival we have ever been to. There is every genre of music so there is something for everyone. Even though it was packed, it was easy to move around and the grounds were easy to get to. We were so glad we brought camel backs and snacks because the lines were long to get bottled water and drinks and they did not have many gluten free options. We were also glad we brought chairs, even though it can be annoying to carry them around it was worth it. Next time I will bring a tarp or blanket to sit on but it wasn’t that big of a deal that we didn’t have it.

 

Accommodations

We chose to stay at the Marriott On Canal Street and loved it! The location was great and the hotel was nice. We wanted to be close to the French Quarter and within walking distance to Harrods because Mr. Traveling Honeymooner likes to gamble, so the location was perfect for us. The Marriott also offered a shuttle to and from the festival grounds which was $30 per person and very convenient. We will definitely stay here again when we return to NOLA.

Address: 555 Canal St, New Orleans, LA 70130

Our Eats

When we arrived in NOLA we were starving and needed food fast. We wanted seafood and a casual vibe so our concierge recommended that we try Red Fish Grill on Bourbon Street which is one of Ralph Brennan’s restaurants. The margaritas were delicious! They did not have a separate gluten free menu but they had a fair amount of gluten free/paleo options.

Address: 115 Bourbon St, New Orleans, LA 70130

For brunch we tried Gallier’s Restaurant and Oyster Bar. The menu was not extensive but had good options. They did not have a gluten free menu but were very accommodating. They also had bottomless mimosas!

Address:129 Carondelet Street, Carondelet St & Canal St, New Orleans, LA 70130

Our last night in NOLA we ate at Tableau which is located right in Jackson’s Square. This was probably our favorite meal of the trip. The vibe was very New Orleans and the food was delicous. They had no issue making gluten free/paleo options for Mrs. Traveling Honeymooner.
Address: 616 St Peter St, New Orleans, LA 70116
Before heading back to Houston we had brunch at one of my favorite places, The Court of Two Sisters. They have a fabulous brunch buffet and a beautiful patio with live music. They also have tons of gluten free options…all you have to do is ask the chef to show you the gluten free specials they have that day. The Court of Two Sisters has been around for a long time and have perfected the French Creole brunch. If you are in New Orleans, you have to try this place out! Make sure to make reservations well in advance though because they usually book up on the weekends.
Address:  613 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70130
Our trip was so much fun and we can’t wait to go back!
Thanks for stopping by!
Traveling Honeymooners

Fredericksburg, Texas

Fredericksburg, Texas is a quaint little town located about an hour and a half west of Austin in the Texas Hill Country. Fredericksburg is known for their wineries and beautiful scenery….what better place to go for a girls trip?!

We knew we all wanted to be together and stay in and cook one night so we decided to rent an Air B&B right outside of town. It was the cutest little house! There were cows and sheep on the property which was the coolest thing to see. The views were spectacular and the weather was cool and breezy which was a perfect break from the Houston heat and busy city life. We choose to book our house through a company called Absolute Charm and were very pleased!

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We left Houston around 5pm on a Friday and got into Fredericksburg around 9:30pm so we ate in the first night. One of the girls was really smart and bought all of the food for the trip in Houston, before we left. I would recommend doing this if you are getting in late and have a kitchen! While we were there, we did not see a major grocery store. I am sure there is one, we just didn’t come across it. There are plenty of wonderful restaurants in the center of town too!

Saturday was wine tasting day! We toured three wineries and that was plenty. Since our house was a bit outside of town, we rented a party bus to pick us up from our house and take us to the 290 Wine Tasting Tour Shuttle. The 290 shuttle is a hop on-hop off shuttle that runs from 10:30am to about 4pm and costs about $15 per person. It is sooo worth it! If you buy wine at any winery, they tag it and hold it for you until the end of your tour. For all you city folk, Fredericksburg doesn’t have Uber so you have to find other means of transportation.

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Our first stop was Grape Creek Winery. This was everyone’s favorite winery! They had beautiful patio seating and really good food and wine. We ordered a gluten free pizza and a cheese plate to share and it was delicious! The tasting included 6 wines for $25. I marked the wines I tried. My favorites were the Cuvee Blanc and the Bellissimo. There were multiple areas where you could taste wine which was nice because it was very busy!

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The only downside to Grape Creek was that they only allow groups of 6 or less…so we had to split into two groups to get in the doors. Also, you have to be a wine club member to by a bottle and sit on the patio and drink….ANNOYING! My advice: buy three bottles of wine when you enter so you can get a free tasting and become a wine club member for the month.

Our next stop was Becker Winery. Becker had live music and a huge patio that overlooked the vineyards. The tasting room was small and PACKED! We were not in the mood to wait in line so we purchased three bottles of wine and had our own tasting on the back patio. It was perfect.

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Our last stop was Fat Ranch Winery. Fat Ranch had a more laid back Texas feel to it. There was a live band, picnic tables and outdoor games to play. Fat Ranch was packed! We decided not to do a tasting because we didn’t want to wait in line so we bought three more bottles of wine to try. Fat Ranch is known for their peach wine. The peach wine was good but it was extremely sweet. It tasted like a dessert wine to me but everyone seemed to love it.

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Fat Ranch was our last stop because before we knew it, the last bus was arriving to take us back into town!I think it is safe to say that everyone was ready to go home and sleep off all of the wine we had consumed.

Our original plan was to have Sunday brunch at The Herb Farm but the weather took a turn for the worse so we decided to hit the road earlier than we had planned.

By Sunday everyone was ready to head back to Houston. It was sad to say goodbye to such a beautiful place bit I can guarantee we will be back again soon!

Thanks for stopping by!

Mrs. Traveling Honeymooner

 

 

Our California Wine Tasting Adventure

We LOVE California! I mean what is there not to love about it?!  So when some friends of ours invited us to join them in Sonoma and Napa for the weekend, we said “Hell, yea!” and immediately booked our flights. Since we only had the weekend to get away, we decided to leave on the first flight out on Friday morning and spend the day with our friends, in San Francisco before we left for wine country.

DISCLAIMER: We are not wines connoisseurs, we just really like wine. 

San Francisco

Mrs. Traveling Honeymooner had never been to San Francisco and Mr. Traveling Honeymooner had not been there in over ten years so of course, our first stop was to visit the famous Golden Gate Bridge! It had been raining heavily for days in Houston and San Francisco so we kept our fingers crossed that the weather would clear up when we arrived. It didn’t clear up right away, but, the sun did come out just in time for us to take a picture in front of the bridge. From our lookout point, we could also see Alcatraz.

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After visiting the Golden Gate Bridge, our friends took us to visit Chrissy Field and the Palace of Fine Arts. Both places were absolutely beautiful. See Mr. Traveling Honeymooner trying to make friends with the birds at the Palace of Fine Arts below.

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For lunch, our original plan was to eat at Plow, which is supposedly one of the best lunch places in San Francisco, but our plans shifted to due some delays and we ended up eating at Blackwood. Blackwood is an American Thai Fusion restaurant located on 2150 Chestnut St, San Francisco, CA 94123. We love Thai food so we were more than happy to try Blackwood out! Our lunch was delicious and gluten free! They had so many gluten free options, it was difficult to choose just one so we shared two different dishes.

A trip to San Francisco would not be complete without visiting the Sea Lions! The sea lions have made Fisherman’s Wharf their home since 1990. We had fun watching them play and soak up some sun. To learn more about the Pier 39 Sea Lions and Fisherman’s Wharf area, click here.

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Sonoma

Since we were traveling with two other couples, we decided to rent an Air B & B so we could maximize our time together. We love to rent Air B & B’s when we travel because they are usually cheaper than hotels, have kitchens and give us more space than a hotel would. The Air B & B we rented had three bedrooms, a nice size kitchen and living room and had a big Jacuzzi in the back yard.  It was perfect!

Once we settled in, we decided that we wanted to check out downtown Sonoma and start wine tasting. Downtown Sonoma is quaint and has lots of wine tasting rooms and restaurants. Our first stop was Kamen Wines Tasting Room. The wine connoisseur who served us was probably our favorite server from the entire trip. He was funny, engaging and extremely knowledgeable about Kamen Wines, the winery and the history of Sonoma.  I think the entire group agreed that Kamen Wines was one of our favorite tasting rooms that we visited in Sonoma. The tasting was $25 per person and each tasting included a personal wine connoisseur, three different wines and bottled water. The owner of Kamen Wines is a famous Screen Writer who has written many of our favorite movies, including the Karate Kid.

Address: 111B East Napa Street, Sonoma, California 95476

Website: Kamen Wines

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Our next stop was going to be Walt Wine Tasting Room but they ended up closing right as we arrived. Bummer! I guess we will just have to go back to Sonoma another time!

It was getting late so we decided to eat at a place called The Girl and the Fig. We had several people recommend The Girl and the Fig to us before our trip so we knew we had to try it out! We were seated outside on the back patio which was covered due to the excessive amounts of rainfall. The setting was fun but romantic and we all enjoyed our meals.

Napa

Since we were staying in Sonoma we decided to rent a Limo to drive us to Napa and to each winery that we wanted to visit. The ride from our Air B & B to our first winery was about a 40 minute ride.

Our first stop was Trefethen Wines. We were seated in the back room that overlooked the beautiful hills and vineyards which made the experience even better. Since the weather was gloomy and rainy, we were not able to take a tour of the vineyard, but we still had a great time. We chose to share the classic wine tasting menu which consisted of five wines of our choice.

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To learn more about Trefethen Wines or to book a reservation with them, visit www.trefethen.com. We recommend making a reservation at least a day in advance, especially during busy season.

Our next stop was Chandon! Chandon is known for their sparkling wines so we were excited to switch it up a bit and have some bubbly! The tasting room at Chandon was set up a little bit differently than the other places we visited. Chandon has a tasting room upstairs that overlooks the vineyards and has a nice patio so you can sit outside on nice days. There is not much seating at Chandon and they do not offer private tastings. Instead, they have stations set up where you can walk up to and ask for your next tasting.  Chandon was by far the busiest winery we visited. There is no need to make a reservation at Chandon, just show up and start tasting!

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To learn more about Chandon Wines, visit www.chandon.com.

Our last stop of the day was Hall Winery. Since we were not able to do a tasting at Walt Tasting Room in Sonoma, we were especially excited to go to Hall. Hall and Walt are sister wineries. Hall was by far the most modern tasting room that had 180 degree views of beautiful vineyards. We choose to do the classic tasting here which mainly consisted of red wines. If you are in Napa, Hall would be a great place to go on a sunny day because they have plenty of outdoor seating that overlooks the vineyards.

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To learn more about Hall wines, visit www.hallwines.com

We had so much fun on our short trip to wine country, we were sad to leave. We could have spent at least one more day wine tasting but unfortunately we had to get back to work! Until next time…

Thanks for stopping by!

XOXO

The Traveling Honeymooners

Our Tour of the Phi Phi Islands in Thailand

Visiting the Phi Phi Islands has been on our bucket list for years! Naturally, we were drawn to the crystal clear water and the white sand. We had seen so many pictures of the Phi Phi Islands over the years and we were excited to finally experience this beautiful place for ourselves.

Since this was our first time to Thailand and to Phi Phi Islands, we decided to stay on the mainland and take a day trip to Phi Phi. In hindsight, we are a bit sad that we did not stay on the islands for a few nights. We met a few people that were staying on Phi Phi and they told us that there is a party every night on the beach that lasts all night long! We are sad to have missed out on that experience so I guess that means we will just have to go back right?! Also, if you stay on Phi Phi, you get access to the other part of the island that is less touristy.

Anyway, for our trip we stayed in Pantong Beach which is about and hour ride from the harbor. We had arranged a ride to the harbor through the agency that chartered out join-in day trip and we were picked up at our hotel around 8:30am. Once we were on the boat, it was about and hour ride from the harbor to the islands. During our tour we visited a few different beaches on Koh Phi Phi Ley and Koh Phi Phi Don.

Once we arrived at Phi Phi Islands, we were overwhelmed with the white sand and the clear blue water. We had time to snorkel for a bit and explore each beach. The only downside is that we never wanted to leave!

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Maya Bay Koh Phi Phi Ley

 

 

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Yong Kasem Bay Monkey Beach

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This area of Koh Phi Phi Don is a protected area for monkeys to live, breed and do money things. There were monkeys EVERYWHERE! It was so much fun to see all of them. They all were very friendly toward us and did not seem to mind that we were there.

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Viking Cave on Koh Phi Phi Ley

 

Half way through our tour we were taken to Phi Phi Island Natural Resort to eat lunch. They prepared a large spread of traditional Thai foods like steamed rice, chicken, curry, fruits, etc. Mrs. Traveling Honeymooner stuck with the rice and fruit just to make sure her food was gluten free but Mr. Traveling Honeymooner tried everything and enjoyed it all!

The tour was about seven hours long from Bay to Bay but it still didn’t feel long enough! Next time I think we will take a private tour or a smaller tour (our boat had about 30 people on it) and maybe spend a few nights on one of the islands.

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Thailand- We miss you, your people, your culture, your food, your sites, so much already. We can not wait to visit you again soon!

Thank you for stopping by!

XOXO

The Traveling Honeymooners