Krista Vaicaitis is a passionate traveler, cook, writer and academic professional. Looking back on her previous work in the education field, Krista has come to learn that education is not only valuable inside of the classroom but outside of it as well. Throughout her own lifetime, she has embarked on numerous travels and experienced a wide variety of cultures outside of her own. In Krista’s eyes, culture is not only made up by a population’s foods, traditions and language but also by the community’s overall attitude and beliefs about certain subject matters.
Fueled by a passion to see the world and connect with various individuals, Krista seeks to continue pursuing meaningful travel experiences, whether on a solo journey or with a group. Her experiences have connected her with various individuals and grown international friendships that she maintains to this day. One of Krista’s favorite aspects of these friendships is the chance it gives her to find common ground with individuals who have grown up in completely contrasting circumstances. When it comes down to it, we are all more alike than we are different.
Krista Vaicaitis also has a large passion for cooking, which has only grown throughout her travels to various countries and her ever-expanding palate. On each trip, she aims to explore the local markets in search of unique ingredients and recipes to add to her repertoire. She can often be seen crafting new recipes and cooking for her circles of friends.
In the future, Krista dreams of combining her love for travel and cooking with her natural talents in writing and education. Travel has become Krista’s preferred method of education, as it has introduced her to various ways of living and grown her appreciation for the world around her. As she continues to visit more destinations, Krista hopes to approach each experience with a learning attitude, ready to put her previous notions aside and open herself up to new opportunities.
Krista Vaicaitis on Solo Travel
Solo travel has become a desire for many individuals. The older you get, it can be difficult to find travel partners or convince your friends to take time off work. This has led more individuals to consider solo traveling, and many have actually come to prefer it.
These trips can be large growing experiences, as they will stretch you in new ways and grow your confidence. In order to get the most meaningful solo travel experience, consider implementing some of the following tips.
Stay With Locals
You can definitely have a meaningful experience if you choose to stay in a hotel or rental property. However, you might grow more fond of a location or culture if you stay with a local. You might think it impossible to do so if you know nobody in the local area. However, there are various volunteer programs and CouchSurfing apps that connect you with locals and put you in contact with individuals who will host you in their homes. These experiences are often the most impactful because they teach you what it is truly like to live in another culture. Additionally, you’ll be creating relationships with your host and may even get escorted to some hidden places you wouldn’t have otherwise heard about.
Attend Community Events/Tours
Depending on where you are traveling and what time of year you are going, the destination may have some community events going on. These cultural events are a large part of what makes travel extra meaningful. Being able to attend and participate in these traditions can connect you with the culture and introduce you to locals. If there are no specific events going on, you might want to consider booking some group tours for yourself. This can introduce you to fellow travelers and help you learn more about a destination.
Try the Local Foods
Food is another huge part of what makes a culture unique. Whether dining alone or meeting up with a fellow traveler, trying the local foods on your solo trips will make the journey more meaningful to you, as you will again be exposed to a different way of living. Traveling halfway across the world only to buy a cheap meal from McDonald’s will not have the same effect on you as indulging in Indian chicken curry or Spanish paella. Trying the local food is an excellent way to connect with the local culture and have an overall more meaningful experience.
European Christmas Market Bucket List
As the Christmas season approaches once again, families are beginning to finalize their wishlists and fill their calendars with events. But the holiday season has a whole other meaning for travelers. Wanderlust-struck individuals often dream of visiting new destinations around the holidays, especially those that feel as if they could be the set of a Hallmark movie.
The European Christmas markets do an excellent job of spreading the Christmas magic around their cities, and they have been attracting tourists from all over the world for quite some time now. Continue reading to gain inspiration for your European Christmas market bucket list.
Prague, Czech Republic
Prague gets really into the Christmas spirit, specifically in its celebration of St. Nicholas. The medieval architecture makes for a magical backdrop to its various Christmas markets spread throughout the city. The Old Town Square is home to a decked-out Christmas tree, manger scene and small petting zoo. Take a stroll through the markets, and you’ll be met with wooden toys, Czech marionettes, honeyed gingerbread and various other local treats. The locals celebrate St. Nicholas Day to the fullest here, with kids being tallied as naughty and nice.
France has a plethora of holiday markets to choose from, but Strasbourg certainly takes the cake as one of the oldest and most beloved in the country. This French Christmas market draws tourists in with its caroling choirs, Nativity plays, mulled wine offerings, ice rinks and more. It would be impossible to imagine Strasbourg in the winter without the addition of its many wooden stalls selling classic Christmas decorations and delicacies.
Although France and the Czech Republic are known to have some of the best Christmas markets around, Germany certainly gives them a run for their money. Nuremberg, in particular, is home to one of the largest Christmas markets in the world, Christkindlesmarkt. This bustling market is located in the main square, which attracts millions of shoppers each year, both local and international. As you walk through this market, you’ll be greeted by scents of gingerbread and bratwurst, two foods the Germans could not live without during the holiday season.
These three European Christmas markets are not to be missed, but there remain many others to be explored in addition to them. From Austria to England to Sweden to Croatia, Europe takes the holiday season seriously and is an inviting atmosphere for travelers near and far. As you plan out your travels for the following year, you should highly consider taking a December vacation through these jolly markets.