My #1 International Travel Essential – TEP Wireless Review

#1 Travel Essential - TEP Wireless Review , travel hotspot

Traveling has always been one of my favorite things to do. I love planning out itineraries of what to do each day and exploring all there is to see in each new place. I read the guide books and scour Pinterest and blogs for tips, tricks, and must see locations. I make a list of the food and drinks I need to try, the history behind each monument, and most importantly, I map out walking tours.

In October my husband took me to Paris and Rome for an early 25th birthday celebration. I had been to Paris before so I knew where to take Brett for his first visit. Rome was a different story. Rome had been #1 on my bucketlist for the last couple of years but I had no prior knowledge about how to get around the city.

I was doing my usual pre-trip research when I stumbled upon TEP Wireless, a portable “pocket” WiFi device. I was intrigued and dug into reviews and technical information to see what it was all about. My cell phone carrier can provide internet for international use. However, it’s incredibly expensive so I never buy the plan for trips. TEP Wireless seemed like the perfect solution!

You rent a “Teppy” device for the duration of your trip (days, weeks, or months) and you receive a unique password that you enter in when trying to join the network on your device. It’s super easy to use! The only downside if that you have to activate each day of internet access but it only takes a couple of clicks and the wifi is back up and running. The instructions explain everything!

The Teppy has 8+ hours of constant use on a single charge and works in over 100 countries. We rented the external charger which really came in handy on some of our longer days. Brett and I both used the wifi for our phones and never ran out of battery when we also had the external charger handy. The device is super small and easy to fit in a pocket or purse.

A couple of weeks before the trip I booked our Teppy device with a pre-paid return envelope. About two days before we left the Teppy arrived in a cute little package and was ready to go to Europe with us. When we knew our travel plans were changing from just Rome to Rome and Paris I hopped online to chat with one of the TEP Wireless customer service representatives. They were able to re-assure me that the device would work in Paris and Rome for no extra charge!

I was really glad to have TEP Wireless in both Paris and Rome. We never lost coverage and found it super easy to use! We look forward to renting with TEP Wireless for our next big trip!

By the way, I paid for my TEP Wireless rental with my own money. They do not know that I am doing this review but I thought it might be helpful for all of my fellow travel enthusiasts!

Have you heard of TEP Wireless before? Have you tried anything similar?

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Photo by Slava Bowman on Unsplash

 

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24 Hours in Paris: How to Spend One Perfect Day in the City

24 Hours in Paris

I mentioned before that my husband, Brett, works for a airline so we are able to fly standby at a low cost. The trade off is that we never really know where we are going to end up. The goal for our trip in October was to make it to Rome but flights to Rome were oversold and there was no way we would make it there in one day. Brett came up with a plan to spend a day in my second favorite city so that I could show him around.

24 Hours in Paris

If you’ve been following this blog for a while you would know how much I love Paris. I visited for the first time in 2011 and again in 2015. I attempted to plan trips in 2015 and 2017 with Brett but they never quite worked out. It was a dream come true to visit Paris with Brett! When times get tough I want to be able to remember this day in Paris with Brett. How happy we were, how beautiful the Eiffel Tower is in fall, and how much fun we had together even though I was dragging Brett around Paris on barely any sleep. 

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We started our day by changing our clothes in the airport bathrooms (#TeamNoSleep) and then booked an Uber to take us straight to the hotel to drop off our bags. We decided to splurge on a hotel which we never do and stay right by the Eiffel Tower since we were only staying for one night and wanted to make the most of our time in Paris. 

24 Hours in Paris

24 Hours in Paris

24 Hours in Paris

After dropping our bags off at the hotel we headed straight to the Eiffel Tower. There’s just something about Paris that’s magical to me and I was very excited to share the magic with Brett. There was construction around the tower so we were unable to go underneath it which was really sad. We also decided to not go to the top of the Eiffel Tower this trip. I had already been once and Brett didn’t want to spend all day in line. After taking in the views we went to a little cafe to grab breakfast. We were both exhausted and sitting for a few minutes to plan out our day was just what we needed. 

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In 2015 I walked along the Seine River to visit many of the places on my Paris Itinerary. This trip I decided it would be a great idea to re-trace my steps and do the same thing in order to show Brett all the highlights of Paris in a short amount of time. We would have to exclude a couple of things like Moulin Rouge and Montmartre (my favorite place in Paris) in order to make it a true walking tour. There are great bus tours of the city if you truly want to see everything in a day!

24 Hours in Paris

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In our 24 hours in Paris we explored the grounds of the Louvre but didn’t go inside, toured the Notre Dame,  ate ice cream by the Eiffel Tower, and watched the Eiffel Tower night show. In my Midnight in Paris post I talk about the magical moment I saw the Eiffel Tower at night for the first time. Pure magic. Brett and I also had a nice dinner complete with Brett trying escargot for the first time. He actually really liked it! 

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If we would have had more time I would love to have explored the Louvre again. I could spend hours walking around the Louvre. I would have also gone to Montmartre because that’s one of my absolute favorite spots in Paris. 

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We flew out around 11 the next morning so we took a walk around the Eiffel Tower and grabbed my favorite chocolate croissants from a cute cafe near our hotel. At the airport we bought macaroons and starting planning the next leg of our adventure in Rome. 

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Paris will always hold a special place in my heart and I’m so grateful that Brett and I finally got to visit together. In case you couldn’t tell, I really love Paris. 

Interested in visiting Paris? Check out my other Paris travel posts below!

Thanks for reading! 

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4 Years Later: A Reflection on Study Abroad

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January 24, 2015 was a day that changed my life forever.

In 2011 I visited London for the first time on a band trip. It was love at first sight and I immediately felt like I was at home in the city. We left London for Paris after just a couple of days but I told my friends that I would be back in a few years to Study Abroad.

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Studying abroad scared me to death even though it was something I knew that I had to do in my heart and soul. It was something I had wrestled over doing for years but knew that I would be regret it if I didn’t. So I packed my bags, gave notice to my job, and left.

When I said goodbye to my mom, dad, sister, and Brett at the airport I tried to stay strong. But the moment I got through security I completely lost it and sobbed all the way to my departure gate. Luckily enough, I was traveling with a girl from my home university who would end up being my roommate in London. She showed me true kindness that day and I’m really grateful that I had her there with me.

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I’ll never forget the moment I saw Regent’s University for the first time. I had studied pictures, maps, and brochures for months but nothing prepared me for what I saw when I arrived. The dorms were like something out of a Harry Potter movie. The university itself was small but beautiful.

Easter Break in Germany // Study Abroad London // Travel // www.lifeofhayley.com

I made friends life-long friends at orientation that week and found myself exploring the city with my classmates. It was freeing.

My family likes to joke that I was born old. I’m a homebody and I always tend to take care of others before myself. I started working at 17 and took that job very seriously. In college I worked long hours and went to class full time in order to graduate in 4 years. Studying abroad was my chance to be selfish. To worry only about my happiness and to finally take some time off of work and act my age.

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Easter Break in Germany // Study Abroad London // Travel // www.lifeofhayley.com

Easter Break in Germany // Study Abroad London // Travel // www.lifeofhayley.comEaster Break in Germany // Study Abroad London // Travel // www.lifeofhayley.com

I felt like a brand new person. I was the “fun” friend for once in my life. One of my friends even called me “irresponsible” which at first upset me but looking back I’m so happy that I got to not be the responsible one for the first time. I had a great group of girls to hang out with. We traveled on weekends and during Easter break. We had lunch together everyday and they really seemed to get me.

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Sometimes I wish I could go back. On our honeymoon in 2017 we went to London and visited Regent’s. I e-mailed a few weeks before to get visitors passes for campus so that I could officially show Brett around. We sat in the library, walked through the refectory, and went by every classroom that I had classes in. We walked through the park and admired the grounds in the summer. But something was missing.

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London will always be my favorite place to visit. It will always be the home of some of my happiest memories. It will always be the place where I met my best group of friends. And it will always be the place where Brett asked me to spend the rest of my life with him.

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Our honeymoon showed me that it’s okay to move on. London will always be waiting for me and my friends will always be just a WhatsApp message away. Things have changed but I’m still grateful that I got to be the “fun” friend for a few months. I really found myself when I was in London and discovered who I am as a person. But London is no longer my home. My home is now with Brett and it’s time to make new memories.

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4 years ago I took a giant leap of faith when I stepped aboard an airplane flying from Chicago to London. That terrifying decision was one of the best decisions that I have ever made. Everyday I am grateful that I had the experience to meet friends from all over the world. And I am SO glad that I had this blog to document all of the moments of my time in London. I love looking back on my study abroad posts.

Thanks so much for reading!

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Travel Playlist – A Week In Italy

Travel Playlist - Italy

Hello from Italy (hopefully)!

I am scheduling this post a week in advance but *fingers crossed* Brett and I are currently in Rome!

The most popular blog post that I have ever written was my Study Abroad Playlist in 2015. I am still blown away by the number of views that I receive each week on this post! Music is so important to me and I love having a playlist for each trip that I take. This trip to Rome has been one that I have been dreaming about since I was in Elementary school. I’m so grateful to get the chance to visit!

I should also mention during this trip I will be living out my Lizzie McGuire movie dreams so of course there will be songs from the movie soundtrack. 🙂 I hope you enjoy this little taste of Rome.

Volare – Vitamin C

Pompeii – Bastille

Walking On Sunshine – Katrina & The Waves

Daydream Believer – The Monkees

Learning to Fly – Tom Petty

Go Big Or Go Home – American Authors

Send Me On My Way – Rusted Root

New Soul – Yael Naim

What Dreams Are Made Of – Hilary Duff

Here I Go Again – Whitesnake

Where The Streets Have No Name – U2

The Nights – Avicci

Have Love Will Travel – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

I Love This Life – LOCASH

What are your favorite songs for traveling?

Thanks for reading!

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Hello From Somewhere!

travel blog

Hi friends!

It’s the beginning of a new week and I have no idea where I am. I’m writing this post ahead of time because Brett and I are traveling this week. The goal is to make it to Europe, preferably Rome, but we will take a what we can get!

My husband, Brett, works for an airline which means that we get flight benefits to fly standby. We aren’t guaranteed a seat on the flight and a lot of times we get stuck places. But I guess that’s part of the adventure!

This week we are trying to make it to Rome and hopefully by the time you are reading this we have made it. If you want to know where we ended up make sure to follow me on Instagram (@lifeofhayleyblog). I’ll be posting to my stories as often as I can.

I am so excited for this new adventure with Brett and can’t wait to share my travels with you when I return.

Thanks so much for reading!

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Falling In Love With Traverse City, MI

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Hey friends!

For those of you who don’t know, I live in the beautiful state of Michigan. Michigan is home of the Great Lakes, Detroit Tigers, Verner’s, Bell’s Brewery, and the most beautiful lakeside towns you can imagine. I love it here!

Last weekend we had the privilege to travel to Traverse City, Michigan for the wedding of one of Brett’s high school friends. I have been looking forward to this trip for months because I love weddings and I haven’t been to Traverse City since middle school. I have been dying to see this area of Michigan in the fall!

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We rented an airbnb on Lake Leelanau for the weekend with a group of friends and had a blast. The house was right on the lake so every morning we woke up to an amazing view. The weather wasn’t ideal but we still managed to have a great time!

We arrived on Friday at about 8 pm and headed straight downtown to meet up with friends at the Rare Bird. The wedding party came out to meet us after the rehearsal dinner which was a lot of fun. After a couple margaritas we headed to the airbnb for a night of rock band, tequila shots, and drinking games. I am the boring professional sober person of the group mostly because alcohol is a trigger for my migraines so I enjoyed watching the group.

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We had a late start Saturday morning and didn’t roll out of the house until after 11. I spent some time by the lake while the house was still waking up and got to see the rowing team practice. After everyone was up and around we headed to lunch at Martha’s in Suttons Bay.

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After our lunch we drove to Black Star Farms for a little wine tasting. It was $7 for 5 tastings and you got to keep your glass. I wasn’t planning on drinking but I’ve never gone wine tasting before so I didn’t want to miss out on the experience.

Our bartender was really knowledgeable and was able to share a lot about the wines that we were trying. As someone who doesn’t drink a lot I really appreciated her attention to detail! I tried 5 sweet wines and my favorite was the late harvest Riesling!

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Once we had finished our tastings we headed out to the farm to have a quick look around. There was a wedding being setup and I can imagine that it was a beautiful wedding just based on the venue! Driving into the winery is a whole hilltop was filled with grapes. There are horses and sheep in pastures on the property and beautiful barns and buildings. It was super picturesque.

I was in dire need of a nap after the wine tasting so we headed to the airbnb for a quick nap before the wedding. I fell asleep quickly and woke up about 30 minutes later to start getting ready for the wedding.  I found my dress last minute a Kohl’s but ended up really liking it! I’m still having a hard time dressing my body after gaining weight but it’s starting to get a tiny bit easier.

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The wedding took place at Timberlee Hills which is a tubing resort in Traverse City. The ceremony was outside and I almost froze to death in the 50 degree chill. Thankfully, the ceremony was short but oh so sweet. I have never seen the groom so happy and the bride was beautiful!

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The reception was a lot of fun. I was the designated driver so I had a good time watching the boys dance and spill their beers all over the floor.  It was a great wedding and I wish the bride and groom and lifetime of love and happiness.

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We had to be out of the airbnb by 11 on Sunday morning so we woke up, showered, and headed back to Traverse City for breakfast. It was hard to leave the amazing airbnb behind but we have already made plans to come back in the summer when one of our friends graduates.

After breakfast at the Blue Heron 2 Café & Bakery we started the 3 hour journey home. I had a great time in Traverse City and wish that we could have stayed longer! Hopefully we will be back soon!

Have you ever been to Traverse City?

Thanks for reading!

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P.S. Sorry for the crappy iPhone pictures! I’m hoping to get a new phone soon.

 

 

 

What to Pack for a Week in Italy

what to pack for a week in italy, rome italy packing list

Hi friends!

Brett and I are preparing for our trip to Rome in a couple of weeks. I have been working on creating my packing list and buying any pieces that I still needed before the trip. I thought it would be fun to share what I am bringing on our trip!

I hope this list can help you plan for your next adventure!

Bags:

  • 1 full size suitcase to share with Brett
  • 1 carryon suitcase
  • 1 small Vera Bradley weekender
  • 1 cross body purse
  • 1 travel wallet
  • 1 foldable reusable bag

Electronics:

  • 2 Converters
  • iPhone, charger
  • iPad, charger
  • cameras, memory cards, chargers, cases
  • Headphones

Miscellaneous Items:

  • Travel journal
  • Book
  • Copy of hotel reservation and any pre-booked tickets
  • Empty water bottle
  • Snacks
  • Umbrella
  • Passport, Driver’s License
  • Travel Credit Card/Debit Card
  • Small amount of currency

Shoes:

  • 1 Nikes
  • 1 Converse
  • 1 Sandals

Clothes:

  • 2 sweaters (black, grey)
  • 1 foldable rain jacket
  • 1 light jacket
  • 2 layering tank tops (white, black)
  • 2 jeans (black, dark wash)
  • 1 shorts (dark wash)
  • 3 t-shirts (black, white, grey)
  • 1 light weight scarf
  • 2 sleep shirts/comfortable t-shirts
  • 1 pajama pants
  • 1 athletic shorts
  • 1 dress
  • 3 blouses
  • 1 leggings
  • 1 swim suit
  • 1 belt
  • Socks, underwear, bras
  • Cheap jewelry

Toiletries:

  • Medication
  • Travel sized shampoo, conditioner, body wash, face wash, toothpaste
  • Toothbrush, floss
  • Face wipes, moisturizer, lotion
  • Sunscreen
  • Basic makeup (concealer, foundation, mascara)
  • Emergency feminine products
  • Deodorant
  • Hairbrush
  • Hair ties

My top tips for packing are to use packing cubes, pick a color scheme, check the weather before leaving, and to pack as light as possible. As you can see, I’m really not bringing a lot with me on this trip. I know that if I forget something I can buy it there. I am packing mostly staple items that I can mix and match to create different outfits.

I usually stay pretty close to my list when it actually comes time to pack but a few extra items still find their way into my suitcase. I also pack for Brett because he ends up bringing everything he owns. It’s hilarious to watch but not fun to drag his stuff through cities. Packing light is key!

This list can be edited for any trip that you are taking! Basic items are the most important because you can really build on your basics. I don’t bring anything expensive or irreplaceable with me either. Pickpockets are present pretty much anywhere you are going so it’s best to not have anything of great value with you.

I have a more in depth packing list that I posted a couple of years ago when I studied abroad in London. Check it out if you need a more detailed list for longer trips!

If you have been to Rome please let me know if there’s anything else you think I will need to bring! I’d love to hear any travel tips too.

Thanks for reading!

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Image via Unsplash