No excuse not to travel

There should be no excuse not to travel, but we hear them all the time. Travel or stay home? Everyone has a reason not to go traveling and usually they're things we tell ourselves to put off stretching our comfort zone and exploring the world. Most people find the time to go on vacation - trips to the beach or relaxing in a resort - but travel is a much different beast.

Should I go traveling? When I say travel, I mean immersing in another culture including the food, language and history. Travel isn't always easy or glamorous, and sometimes it can be a sensory overload like walking the streets of Delhi, India or navigating through the Souk Bazaar in Marrakech.

Next week we are off to explore a section of Europe we have yet to travel, the Northeastern Baltic. Our Baltic travel itinerary includes the cities of Helsinki, Finland - Tallinn, Estonia and Saint Petersburg, Russia. We can't wait to explore the beauty, culture and unique character of these cities. Even with a late Easter holiday, the temperatures will be cooler but we are ready. The shoulder season should mean smaller crowds and the cities may be a bit quieter, even for a holiday week. Like I posted about earlier this week, it's a good time for us to travel as expats because most of our friends will be visiting family for the Easter holiday. Here are some of our plans for the week:

Kiev is an amazing European capital. It's full of life and vibrant culture that you just have to experience for yourself. The youthful spirit of Ukraine, and the history, architecture, cuisine and low prices, make Kiev a perfect city break. Here's our guide on what to do in Kiev. We cover Kiev hotels, restaurants, tours, nightlife, sightseeing and tours. Use this guide to plan a trip and explore the emerging brilliance of Kiev (Kyiv).

We left Agra early and cold the day after visiting the Taj Mahal and Red Fort of Agra. The city was crowded, but by this point, we have started to get used to chaotic traffic and the constant blowing of car horns. We left the hotel around 6 am and were dropped off at the bus station to take the local bus to Jaipur, India. Jaipur is known as the Paris of India.

A six-hour ride on the local bus was a hip, no-frills way to travel. Riding through the small towns and villages was something we would have missed out on by train or plane. Dotted with small produce stands, crowds of people and animals moving in every direction - rural Indian towns were exciting to witness up close. Eventually we arrived to our destination to begin our Jaipur itinerary.

Getting to Agra

The day started early as we met in the lobby of our hotel at 4:50 am. Here, we prepared to leave New Dehli for Agra, India. We were off to visit the home of the Taj Mahal and Red Fort. Needless to say, we were all a bit groggy in the morning. Still, the excitement of our first full day was more than enough to overcome the pre-dawn start time. We made our way to the train station and boarded Indian Railways for the two-hour ride to Agra.

How to Visit Istanbul

This Easter, Mike and I decided to spend the holiday visiting Istanbul, Turkey. We didn't know precisely what to expect in Istanbul. Still, the adventure was one of the most memorable trips we've ever had together. Istanbul packs a lot, which makes sense because it's the economic, cultural and historical center of Turkey. The city also connects Europe to Asia both physically and culturally. We experienced it all, from dazzling sights and delicious tastes to a stunningly unique culture. Visiting Istanbul is tremendous! Read our Istanbul tips and learn about the surprises we encountered along the way. Here is a breakdown of our must-see Istanbul attractions and an idea of what to expect along the way.

|Read more about why we do a trip every Easter: Expat Advice: Avoid the Travel Trap