Teaching Traveling: Looking for vacation ideas? When learning-lovers such as teachers travel, taking a road trip can work particularly well for getting into global education like a local in a new place!
Let us welcome Jacqueline Neves, a travel writer with fabulous road-tripping inspiration!
Jacqueline, tell us a bit about your background.
J: My name is Jacqueline and I am a travel writer and photographer from Boston — home of the beautiful Emerald Necklace Parks System. I caught the travel bug in college, when I was fortunate enough to study abroad in France and Italy. And now I travel any chance that I get!
I started my travel blog a few years ago as a creative outlet for all my photos that were just filling up the hard drive on my computer. Now, I get to fill my blog, JQLouise, and my Instagram account, @jqlouise, with all those lovely pictures.
TT: Nice! Why do you love road-tripping?
J: I love road trips because they are an easy way to really explore like a local and go off the beaten path. I don’t mean you should drive around town all day, I just mean that while flying into a major hub makes the most economic sense, if you have a car, you don’t have to stay there the whole time, or take the train to the next major city.
My philosophy is, fly into a major airport, spend a few days in that city, and then take the next few days either exploring the countryside or exploring nearby smaller towns and cities.
It’s so easy to rent a car internationally these days, since most towns will have places like Hertz. Remember: you should always book online ahead of time for the best rate.
TT: Good advice! Do tell us about your most recent trip.
J: I just got back from a fabulous trip to Germany’s Frankfurt-Rhine-Main region. And you guessed it, this is the area surrounding Frankfurt, along the Rhine and the Main rivers.
Surprisingly, this region is a bit of a hidden gem, even though it is home to one of the largest European flight hubs, Frankfurt. If you take the time to explore, you will discover that not only is Frankfurt a cultural gem all in and of itself, but also that there are some amazing castles, churches and other lovely scenery all within a short drive.
Here was my itinerary:
Day 1: Fly into Frankfurt, picked up the Hertz rental at the airport, drove into town and parked at the hotel. Stayed at a funky boutique hotel called Hotel Moxy and once we got settled, took a private bike tour around town.
Day 2: Woke up bright and early and headed over to the Saturday farmer’s market in downtown Frankfurt, enjoyed all the tasty German specialties, i.e. apple strudel and sausage sandwich.
After this it was time to hit the road to our next stop, Wiesbaden, an ancient spa town under an hour away. When we got to Wiesbaden, we parked the car at our hotel, Hotel Klemm (see details at that affiliate link), and took the whole day to explore the town.
The town is home to a fabulous chocolatier, a beautiful winery named, Henkell, one of the largest producers of German sparkling wine, called “Sekt”, some amazing architecture and friendly people.
Day 3: On the third day we were off to our 3rd location, the Rheingau. The Rheingau is home to dozens of wineries, all located in picture perfect settings along the Rhine… and not to mention, there are dozens of medieval and baroque castles to match! The castles you can’t miss are the Beibrich Schloss and the Burg Rheinstein.
Day 4: More winery hopping, we visited: Schloss Vollrads and a few in Rudesheim. And on the way back to Hotel Nassauer Hof we toured the amazing Kirche Kiedrich (cathedral), which has some of the best examples of 13th, 14th and 15th century art in Germany as it was spared during WWII.
TT: What a wonderful-sounding trip! Tell us one moment from your travels that was particularly powerful.
J: I love touring historic churches and cathedrals, especially with a local guide. And when we visited Kirche Kiedrich, we were fortunate enough to have Wilma Scholl and her son, some lovely locals who have been attending this church all their lives.
Only locals are able to tell you all about the hidden gems in places like this; they showed us their favorite medieval wood carvings in the pews, explained that only a few years ago the entire church was thoroughly restored, removing centuries of soot from the walls and ceiling, revealing the amazing colors that were underneath all along.
When you get to experience something that is so important to a town, through the eyes of those people, it’s just a special feeling that you only get from travel. And it’s that feeling that keeps me traveling!
TT: Beautiful. What is a tip you would give to someone looking to fit more travel into their life?
J: Flight alerts and travel apps are your best friend! If there is somewhere you are dying to go, go on a site like Skyscanner and set a flight alert so you will know when the price goes up or down for specific dates.
If you are a little more open minded, use a flight search tool to find the cheapest flights on the dates you are looking to travel. Usually big hubs are going to have the best deals, places like London, Paris, Frankfurt, etc. all have the most flights headed to them every day so as long as you can be flexible on your specific dates, you should be able to find a deal sooner or later!
TT: Thanks so much, Jacqueline! Readers, what questions or comments do you have?
The author, Lillie Marshall, is National Board Certified Teacher from Boston who has been a full-time public school educator since 2003. She launched Teaching Traveling in 2010 to share expert global education resources, and additionally runs Around the World “L” Travel and Life Blog, and DrawingsOf.com for educational cartoons. Do stay in touch via subscribing to her monthly newsletter, and following on social media with the links below!