13 Things to do in Bansko, Bulgaria in Winter (That Aren’t Snow Sports)

13 things to do in Bansko, Bulgaria in winter that aren't snow sports!I don’t really ski. Or snowboard. I did when I was a kid, and remember it being kinda fun. But even then I never remember loving it so much that I was willing to make 3.5+ hours long trek each way with my dad from Fremont to Lake Tahoe. That’s what ya gotta do if you wanna find snow in California, anyway.

And staying in Tahoe is expensive so we often did day trips, which meant super early mornings and a looooot of time in the car.

Then we had to rent everything, and wait in line at the chair lift (and don’t try and tell me that getting on and off is not the most nerve racking thing ever), and because we didn’t go often there was always a learning curve during which I’d fall a lot and stare down a giant hill and wonder how EXACTLY I was supposed to get down that thing in one piece on 2 toothpicks of plastic strapped to my wobbly feet.

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My 9 Favorite European Destinations of 2019 (& To Consider for 2020)

My favorite destinations of 2019 and some places to travel in 2020.

I traveled quite a bit in 2019 – I quit my job to become a digital nomad right at the beginning of the year, and thus was able to see a lot more than I did in 2018. Hence why I don’t really have a “favorite destinations of 2018” because I didn’t travel nearly as much!

If you’re curious about 2017, though, I gotchu – here’s a list of my favorite destinations from 2017.

And so, here are my favorite destinations from 2019 and ones you might want to think about for 2020!

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Packing List for 3 Months in Europe in Winter (Carry On Only!!)

Female packing list for 3 months in Europe in winter with only a carry on suitcase!

My friend Stephanie and I traveled through Europe from January to April. We went to Scotland, Switzerland, Amsterdam, Prague, Norway, and Germany. I am the WORST packer so I read post after post and watched a million videos about what to pack for winter.

What to pack in Europe for a 3 month trip in winter & spring with only a carry on suitcase
[Here’s a photo of everything I took with me! However, my friend took a checked bag and kindly brought my razor blades and full-size contact solution with her]
I’m also from California where it really doesn’t get THAT cold, so I wasn’t 100% sure what I’d be needing on a daily basis. I’m actually pretty damn proud of how I packed to be honest – only a few items that I regret bringing, and I managed to fit everything into a carry on suitcase and small backpack because I am insane! MAJOR WIN for me, the girl who used to bring a suitcase to a sleepover.

I was even able to squeeze most of it into my carry on for a couple of the Easy Jet flights we took (they don’t allow a personal item). The trick is having a giant coat with lots of pockets and a giant scarf to hide your DSLR camera with. 😉

Note: I try really hard to only buy used things; if I can’t then I’ll buy new. Poshmark is my best friend when looking for things online, and I’ve had good luck with Crossroads in person. Therefore, I’ve only linked things I think would be difficult to buy used. You can also see if the products I’ve recommended on Amazon are sold as refurbished/used!

Here’s what I took (dragged) with me:

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Why Visiting Stockholm in Winter ISN’T Crazy

You Should Visit Stockholm in Winter because wandering through Gamla Stan is beautiful!
[Stockholm was dope. And really not that cold, even in winter. And so pretty!]
Ahhhh Stockholm. To be honest, it wasn’t really on my radar of “dying-to-see” destinations like Abisko and Copenhagen were. And Stockholm in winter? What was I thinking???

And I kind of only went because we found cheap tickets (you can find the cheapest flights on Skyscanner! You can often find prices as low as $300 round trip from many major US airports in winter – ours were about $440 but we paid extra to choose our seats and bought flights only about a month in advance).

But I came away loving Stockholm! I’ll be honest, I liked Copenhagen a bit better, but I also feel like we didn’t get to see as much of Stockholm as we did Copenhagen.

Stockholm was at the beginning and end of our trip, so at first we were too jetlagged to do much (we were there for a day and a half before heading to Abisko), and then at the end we were pretty tired from a week and a half of non-stop (cold) travel. But, I did enjoy it, and would love to see it in the summer (especially to explore the Archipelago!!!).

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Copenhagen – But is it Still Lit in January??

Copenhagen - is it still lit in January?
[Typical perfectly perfect street in Copenhagen]
UPDATED JANUARY 2020

Read on for my suggestions of places to go in Copenhagen in winter, what you can expect for the weather, what to pack, information on getting around, as well as about money and the Copenhagen Card.

Being from California, I was pretty nervous to plan a trip to a notably colder destination like Copenhagen. And in JANUARY nonetheless! And then to call it a VACATION?!

Like what was I thinking???

Bikes at TORVEHALLERNE MARKET in Copenhagen in January
[Bikes are literally EVERYWHERE in Copenhagen! Everyone was riding them, even in winter]
But, I lived to tell the tale.

And to my somewhat surprise I ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT.

Psssst…Are you from California like me and clueless what to pack for winter travel? Check out my packing list for Europe in winter!

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Abisko, Sweden in the Middle of Winter

Red buildings from the window at Hostel Haverskog in Abisko, Sweden in JanuaryOkay, so – WHY exactly would I want to go to Sweden in the dead of winter (with minimal daylight) and call it a “vacation”?

Well, the main reason: stupid stupid cheap tickets. Like $440 round trip cheap from San Francisco to Stockholm. Not too bad, eh?

So, we went in January, and I was real worried that the lack of light would leave us bored to tears (when I looked online, it said it would only be light out from like 10AM-1PM), but I thought it was fine! It actually ended up being light from more like 9-2ish, and I had blog stuff to work on, so it wasn’t a huge deal. Plus we just had so much fun hanging out in our hostel, and met so many cool people!

It’s also not that bad walking around in the dark though, as long as you have a head lamp. However, if you still want to see the northern lights but want longer days, go during February!

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Visiting Yosemite in Winter – Yes, It’s Awesome

Yosemite Falls in Yosemite National Park are still just as beautiful (and make great hikes) in winter!
[Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls are absolute beauts – and you can still hike them in winter, too! We were weenies and only did Lower Yosemite Falls]
Yosemite Valley is just one of the those places you HAVE. TO. SEE. And It is chock full of fun winter activities!

IMO it is just awe inspiring, and so so so beautiful. And there’s so much to do, even during the winter! However, make sure you check the weather first, because snow storms are a thing. And you want to go when it’s pretty and perfect and not when a storm is raging.

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Victoria, Canada: I’m Obsessed With You

Lynn Canyon Park in Vancouver, Canada has turquoise water and lots of trees
[Prettiest water color in Lynn Canyon Park, aka go here for the free suspension bridge if you don’t want to pay for Capilano]
I’m currently still in Sweden (only 3 more days! So sad). But all this cold weather reminded me of my trip to Canada in fall 2016.

Actually that’s bullshit, it didn’t really remind me of it at all, I just wanted to post about it…LOL. But without further ado…

Foggy view from a ferry ride from Victoria to Vancouver, Canada
[Foggy view on the ferry from Victoria to Vancouver]
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Seattle for New Years’

View of the Space Needle and downtown from Kerry Park in Seattle
[Kerry Park in Seattle]
Okay, so – Seattle for New Years’ might not be like, revolutionary or anything, but it was such a good choice!

We had such a great time, and the fireworks at the Space Needle were AMAZING. Like super elegant. And classy AF. Not like those tacky ass firework shows you normally see. The colors were so on point and it was just so PRETTY. See a video here.

We stayed at The Mediterranean, and were supposed to watch fireworks from the roof, but it was too crowded so we just wandered onto the street instead and (IMO) got an even better view!

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