Greek Luxury Hotels: Top 5 Hotels in Athens

31 May 2017

I love Athens, Greece! This year I enjoyed a three-week stay in this bustling metropolis. This was my first time visiting Athens as a travel writer. I enjoyed catching up with old friends and new, exploring the city, taking cooking classes along with eating some great Greek food! I was able to stay at a plethora of properties and I’ve compiled a list of my Top 5 Hotels in Athens. Enjoy!

5. Hilton Hotel Athens

Greek Luxury Hotels: Top 5 Hotels in Athens Athens Blog Europe Greece Hotels

At the end of the day, it’s pretty hard to go wrong with the big names in the hotel industry. The Hilton in Athens was solid, and offered a lovely rooftop bar and restaurant with an extraordinary view of the city. As you’d expect, there was also a huge gym with indoor and outdoor swimming pools. Be sure to read about the full experience in this article here.


4. Pallas Athena Grecotel Hotel

Greek Luxury Hotels: Top 5 Hotels in Athens Athens Blog Europe Greece Hotels

By far, the most creatively designed hotel of the lot would have to be the Pallas Athena Grecotel. This hotel has a sense of luxury accompanied with an artistic touch. I absolutely fell in love with my white and gold room! Incredibly unique, along with a fantastic location make this a great choice for your next Athens trip. Be sure to read the full article here.


3. Wyndham Grand Athens Hotel

Greek Luxury Hotels: Top 5 Hotels in Athens Athens Blog Europe Greece Hotels

This was my first stay with Wyndham hotels and I must say I was pleasantly surprised. This is definitely a step above a lot of the hotels in the same category. The hotel had everything! There was a lovely espresso machine in the room, a rooftop restaurant and pool as well as a full gym and spa. What really blew me away was the fantastic breakfast, which I got to enjoy for four days in a row! Everything I sunk my teeth into tasted incredible. They even offered some very traditional Greek food which I could truly appreciate. Be sure to read about the stay here.


2. King George a Luxury Collection Hotel

Greek Luxury Hotels: Top 5 Hotels in Athens Athens Blog Europe Greece Hotels

In the center of Athens, along the Syntagma square, is the lovely King George hotel which is part of the Luxury Collection by SPG. This hotel has a similar theme to its sister hotel, the Grande Bretagne, but a bit more modern. The King George hotel also boasts the fantastic Tudor Hall restaurant on its rooftop. Truly one of the best dining experiences I had while in Athens! Read more here.


1. Hotel Grande Bretagne

Greek Luxury Hotels: Top 5 Hotels in Athens Athens Blog Europe Greece Hotels

Finally, what you’ve all been waiting for! The Hotel Grande Bretagne was my favorite hotel in Athens, Greece! It is located on the Syntagma square, in the absolute center of Athens right next to the King George. This hotel is very luxurious indeed and like the King George is part of the Luxury Collection by SPG. It has a classic luxurious design which is impressive and offers some amazing features like huge spa area with several steam rooms and saunas. Definitely my favorite hotel in Athens! Read the full review here.


Summary

I must admit that I’m quite biased for Athens in general, my time was nothing less than incredible! I can appreciate many parts of the culture, especially the authenticity of the people. It’s nice to know that there are so many great hotels to rest your head at while in Athens. I can’t wait to explore more of this fantastic country, and I can highly recommend you to stay at any of the properties that I’ve listed! Happy travels!

Is Visiting More Countries Actually Better?

22 May 2017

I’ve noticed recently that there is a huge trend on social media for people to brag about the number of countries they’ve visited. At first, the number of countries one has visited may sound impressive, however, not all visits are created equal. Those that partake in this behavior tend to be more concerned with appearances than substance. The more countries one has visited does not necessarily equate to an increased level of knowledge or understanding of the world. This all comes back to a famous quote that I’ve learned to appreciate more and more over the years,

quality over quantity.

This is a beautiful yet simple quote that can be applied to many parts of life, but first, let’s focus on how it applies to travel. Throughout all of my experiences, I’ve met tons of people who have traveled to many countries, but when push came to shove, many had not truly experienced the places they had visited. Perhaps they lived in a country for several years, but didn’t learn the language and only spent time with other foreigners much like themselves. This type of experience only offers a glimpse of a culture.

I’ll illustrate this with another example of several flight attendants that I’ve met. In Asia, becoming a flight attendant is typically quite a glamorous career for young women. A majority of those that I’ve met like to advertise this on their social media and boast of their extensive world travels. In reality, things are quite different than what they portray online. It is true that they are able to visit many countries, but the key is that they’re unable to have a truly deep experience. They have enough time to visit famous places, grab a few photos and head back to the hotel to prepare for their next flight, but not enough time to meet local people and observe how things really work.

Is Visiting More Countries Actually Better? Blog Lifestyle

Today, it seems that everyone loves to travel, and that is truly a fantastic trend. If you weren’t aware, this is actually the goal of this website, to encourage people to travel the globe to realize the similarities in all of us. However, for travel to be most effective and rewarding, it has to be done in the correct manner. There is no point in visiting a foreign country if you’re not going to truly learning experience it. The main goal when traveling the globe should be to expand your thinking through authentic and local experiences. This will make us all better humans and also improve the rest of society while doing so.

It seems too often, that as a society we focus on quantity over quality. For example, society pushes us to accumulate physical possessions instead of enjoying what we already have. Any activity that is a numbers game, typically leads to a never-ending cycle of cat and mouse. Just as we attain a goal focused on quantity, such as amount of money or number of countries visited, we will then feel empty after we’ve reached the goal, and once again, find ourselves hunting for the next unfulfilling goal based on quantity.

The Solution

True fulfillment and happiness comes from inside and cannot come from outside influences. What actually leads to happiness, is focusing always on quality over quantity. Instead of visiting a place, for just a couple of days and glossing it over, I’d recommend that you take more time, allowing yourself to dive deeper into an authentic and life-changing experience. Truly developing and mastering your skills instead of just appearing to be, will benefit you and everyone around you!

I’d love to hear your thoughts! Feel free to leave a comment on my Instagram to let me know what you think!

Ultimate Guide: How I Finance My 24/7 World Travel

15 May 2017

As soon as people figure out that I travel for months on end, without stopping, they always ask how I’m able to pay for it. It’s an obvious question to ask and there are a few things I need to clear up. Firstly, no, there is nobody funding my lifestyle, except for me. Occasionally, people will ask if I’m a trust fund baby or if I have rich parents and the answer is simply no. I came from a fairly modest upbringing. Instead of just giving me everything, what my parents did was to educate me very well about life and specifically personal finance.

For my entire life and sometime before, my dad had his own businesses. While I was inspired by my dad to be my own boss, my mom inspired me to save money by finding great bargains. Between being inspired to have my own business by my dad and how to save money by my mom, I was equipped with a great financial education.

This knowledge led to having my own business at age 9. Since then, I’ve done everything under the sun but I won’t get into that right now! The point that I want to get across is summarized by the following quote:

a penny saved is a penny earned

Living anywhere in the world does not have to be expensive. The main reason that I can sustain a life of constant travel and freedom, relies heavily on being able to live economically. I don’t spend money exorbitantly, ever. I calculate everything, and am very careful not to spend when I don’t have to. I’ve learned that a majority of the things I enjoy most in life do not cost very much money. As you know from the article I wrote about selling all of my possessions, I actually feel more comfortable with owning less.

Being the saver and businessman that I am, I’ve been able to stock away a modest savings account. I feel that learning this skill from my parents has enabled me to become the international man of mystery I dreamed about becoming when I was younger. Once you have a decent cushion in your bank account, you will then have a lot more freedom and less pressure when it comes to earning income.

Lets now discuss the most important expenses that are required for this lifestyle of travel, and my actual budget.


Major Travel and Life Expenses

  • Accommodation
  • Transportation (airfare and intercity transit)
  • Food and Beverage
  • Miscellaneous (visa fees, phone data and other fees)

1. Accommodation

Ultimate Guide: How I Finance My 24/7 World Travel Blog Lifestyle

The most significant on the list is obviously accommodation cost. No matter who you are, whether you’re working a 9-to-5 job, an entrepreneur or an alien, most likely your largest expense will be your accommodation. Even before I started blogging, I found ways to live quite inexpensively and did so in a very high-end fashion. For example, while living in Thailand I was able to find an amazing apartment that had a swimming pool, gym, 24 hour security and an incredibly convenient location in Thonglor (one of the best areas of the city) all for a bargain! Throughout my life, I’ve never paid more than $500 USD a month for my accommodation including utilities. I know this may not be possible in all countries, but with some hunting you should be able to find a deal somewhere. It really comes down to networking and knowing where to look. The point is not to find a place for $500 a month in New York, the point is to do the extra work hunting and negotiating to get the best deal possible.


2. Transportation

Ultimate Guide: How I Finance My 24/7 World Travel Blog Lifestyle

The second largest cost on the list I’ve provided would be transportation. Typically, if you’re practicing a life on the move, this will be your airfare. I take two long-haul flights a year and the rest are all usually short and inexpensive. For the two long-haul flights, I’ll sign-up for two travel reward credit cards. These are credit cards which offer a sign-up bonus just for spending money as normal. These don’t exist in all countries, but if you are American, then there are tons to choose from.

This year, my first long-haul flight was from Miami to London and then will be from Asia to Chicago. Both are completely covered by simply signing up for 2 credit cards. By eliminating the most expensive flights, I have really reduced my overall budget. In case you’re wondering, those two flights totaled about $800 USD! All for working smart and not hard!

As I’ve said, the remaining flights are quite inexpensive. For example, once I arrived in Europe, my flights only ran me between $20 to $80 USD. Sometimes I’ll take a bus or a train, and this contributes to a very low travel cost.

The savings don’t stop there folks! I will often walk long distances just to save a few extra dollars which I can use for something else and is good for my health. If walking isn’t possible, I’ll go for public transportation.


3. Food and Beverage

Ultimate Guide: How I Finance My 24/7 World Travel Blog Lifestyle

The third most expensive item on the list is food and beverage. When I’m not staying at hotels, I cook 80% of my meals. This works out great because I love cooking. After cooking for yourself for a while, one can realize that buying raw ingredients can be very economical as well as tasty! Regardless of what country I’m in, whether it’s China or the US, I never pay more than a few dollars a meal. If I’m not cooking for myself, I’m writing about high-end restaurants or buying local tasty food.


4. Miscellaneous

Ultimate Guide: How I Finance My 24/7 World Travel Blog Lifestyle

The last item on the list is miscellaneous expense. For me, there tend to not be too many of these, but they include things like visa fees, phone services and utilities. I’ve estimated that these run me no more than $100 USD a month.


Conclusion

It’s quite a simple strategy if you ask me but this is how I’ve lived my life for the last 6 years. My monthly expenses typically run me approximately $1,000 USD and I have lived in 6 countries and traveled to over 41 countries. I wrote another article on how you can fund such a lifestyle which you can read about here.

The main take away from this should be that it’s possible to live this lifestyle simply by cutting expenses. Being a good saver and not splurging on unneeded things will allow you more freedom to live the lifestyle of your dreams, focusing on what’s truly important in life. If you see my income on paper, I might look broke as a joke, when in reality, I live like a millionaire! Hopefully this gives you a bit of insight on how I live my life and how you can do the same.

Cover photo by Iker Iglesias.