Traveling with an Infant Means Less International Travel for Now

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Baby Selfish is now 5 months old and is starting to transition out of the “will-sleep-anywhere” phase to the “wants-to-look-grab-and-yell-at-everything” phase.

New Here

Don’t believe the hype. She’s actually been around for several months.

While I am a huge fan of cheap third world countries, Baby Selfish seems to be thriving under a steady routine, and I’m not sure what third world countries she could visit at this point. Probably none.

So instead, we decided to explore more of good ol’ North America. Check out our 2015 – 2016 travel schedule.

2015 - 2016 travels

USA! USA! USA! Also… Canada.

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Where to Spot Geishas in Kyoto

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During our Selfish Year, we spent 43 days in Japan, in places like Fukouka, Kanazawa, Kyoto, and Tokyo. During our time in that fair city we finally made it to Harajuku’s legendary Cosplayer meet up.

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Basically you show up at the Northern Exit of Harajuku station on Sunday between 1pm – 2:30pm. If you’re in the area and love taking pictures, I highly recommend it.

While I thought cosplayers in Tokyo were fairly rare, spotting a geisha in Kyoto proved to be an even rarer event. We spent a mind-boggling 23 days in Kyoto near the Gion district (the part of Kyoto where one is supposed to see geishas), and never saw one.

NOT ONE.

This time, however, we got lucky. Spotting not one, not two, but TWELVE geishas in the span of 5 nights. Totally crazy and I’ll share with you how and where we spotted them today.

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Keeping it Short and Suite at the Park Hyatt Tokyo

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Mrs. Selfish and I stayed at the Park Hyatt Tokyo twice before – once during the Selfish Year trip, and a second time during our trip to the Maldives. It’s one of our favorite hotels in the world, and one I was looking forward to sharing it with Baby Selfish.

During our first two stays, we had temporary diamond status (back when Hyatt was overly generous with their diamond trial), which meant we had free room service breakfast, access to the sauna, and free admission to the NYC bar during the diamond happy hour. Amazing benefits, to be sure, and ones which we were not going to get this time around as lowly Platinum members.

Upgrading to the Suite & Guest of Honor status

Since I still had a diamond suite certificate to burn, I booked the three of us into a king suite for two nights on a severely reduced paid stay using a combination of the Best Rate Guaranteed 20% discount and buying Hyatt gift certificates at 15% off.

In the end, we ended up paying something like 55% of the rack rate for the room and were upgraded to a suite. Pretty great.

Since we wanted to spend a total of 4 nights at the PHT so Mrs. Selfish’s parents could recover from jetlag, I booked the remaining two nights in a standard king, transferring points over to Cousin Selfish’s account so we could try out the Guest of Honor status.

If you’ve never tried Guest of Honor status you basically get to partake in a diamond member’s benefits if they book the room for you with points. Hyatt’s transfer policy is fairly generous, though a member can only receive points from another member once every 30 days, so make sure to transfer all your points at once!

I was secretly hoping that the Park Hyatt Tokyo would give us the best of both worlds and keep us in the suite for 4 nights while giving us diamond status, but didn’t have high hopes since this IS Japan after all. As expected, they followed the rules down to the letter.

Baby Selfish enjoying the view.

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2.5 Nights at the Fabulous Conrad Tokyo

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Let me start this review by saying that I am torn. Mrs. Selfish and I are, by nature, Hyatt loyalists. There are numerous reasons: better perks, more consistent quality, low cost awards, etc. etc.

Yet every now and then, we stay at a Hilton property or, (dare I say) Intercontinental that is not only good, but is excellent.

The Conrad Hilton is definitely one of these properties and if you’re looking to burn some Hilton free nights, I would consider this an excellent use of points.

This was our fourth Conrad property, and while the Conrad Koh Samui and the Conrad Rangali wowed, the Conrad Singapore was a bit meh. Whereas that hotel fell flat on its face (other than the excellent breakfast), the Conrad Tokyo more than rose to the challenge.

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15 Selfish Tips for Infant Traveling Success

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Hello! It’s been a riiiiidiculous amount of time since our last new post proper, which I can only attribute to being a) grounded, and b) severely sleep deprived. We’ve been spending most of our time un-selfishly, which is a big change of pace for us.

Yes, Baby Selfish is cute, but man is she a handful.

So I was very excited to leave the country once more (it had been 7 months at that point), and pleased to take Baby Selfish on her first international trip: Japan.

 

Ah, Japan. Home to efficient service, clean water, and bottomless ramen bowls.

Having spent over 2 months in Japan, Mrs. Selfish and I were pretty confident this would be a safe and enjoyable travel for a 3-month old – and it was!

That being said, we definitely learned a few lessons on the way, which will hopefully lead to others’ future baby traveling success.

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The Selfish Game of Thrones Update

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Season 5 of Game of Thrones was quite epic. Not only did a whole bunch of characters die (spoilers!), but Mr. Selfish and I were able to see the sights that we stumbled upon during our own GoT tour come alive as Dorne and Braavos.

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Introducing Baby Selfish and the New Selfish Guides

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You may have noticed that Mr. Selfish and I haven’t been blogging lately. If you follow our blog, you may have surmised that we had Baby Selfish, and you would be correct. Baby Selfish arrived in early February, and we’ve been absolutely consumed with her since.

Map Map 105

We are enjoying being new parents, but Mr. Selfish is already quite anxious for our trip to Japan in May.  As you can see from the above photo, we are already starting the process of indoctrinating her with all things Totoro so that we can someday take her to the Studio Ghibli Museum outside of Tokyo.

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A Brief Stop in Bosnia

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This is last post of fourteen on our trip to Northern Ireland and Croatia, minus our mini Game of Thrones tour. Those posts can be found here.

During our trip in Croatia, Mr. Selfish, Cousin Selfish, and I had the opportunity to visit Bosnia. After we spent the day at Plitvice Lakes National Park, we stopped by Bihać to walk around and have dinner. Then, during our drive from Split to Dubrovnik, we had to pass through Bosnia, so we stopped by Agrotourism Matusko for a farm-to-table lunch near Neum, Bosnia.

Bosnia

Bosnia definitely had an entirely distinct feel from Croatia. Whereas Croatia was expensive and overly touristy, Bosnia felt like a place where people actually lived and worked. Everything was certainly cheaper in Bosnia, including food and gas. I wish that we had spent more time in Bosnia but that will have to wait for another trip.

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Walking the Wall in Dubrovnik

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This is post thirteen of fourteen on our trip to Northern Ireland and Croatia, minus our mini Game of Thrones tour. Those posts can be found here.

As Mrs. Selfish mentioned yesterday, Dubrovnik has an unreal, Disney-esq feeling to it – so much so that I half expected them to pipe in music at any moment.

While this is partially due to the influx of shops and tourist traps within the wall, it is mostly due to the fact that the city walls are so well preserved. I mean, look at this thing.

Dubrovnik Wall 001

While Dubrovnik has been around since the 7th century, the walls were constructed over the course of five centuries and were largely finished by the 17th century. They turned out to be a beautiful necessity, as Dubrovnik made many enemies on its rise to prominence as a maritime republic. At its peak in the 15th and 16th century it even rivaled the power of Venice.

The walls were used for defensive purposes as recently as the early 1990’s when Dubrovnik was under siege by the Yugoslavian army, but these days they’re more of a tourist attraction than anything else.

At 20 feet thick and 80 feet high in some places, walking the wall is a great way to get a stellar view of Dubrovnik’s old town.

Dubrovnik Wall 002

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The Jewel of the Adriatic: Dubrovnik

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This is post twelve of fourteen on our trip to Northern Ireland and Croatia, minus our mini Game of Thrones tour. Those posts can be found here.

Mr. Selfish and I have been to our fair share of medieval cities, but we have never been in awe of how beautiful a city is until Dubrovnik.

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I mean, it is ridiculous how amazingly well-maintained Dubrovnik is. It felt practically Disney-esque in its perfection. I half expected to turn a corner and find Mickey Mouse signing autographs. Fortunately, there were no mascots to be found.

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Let’s Never Split

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This is post eleven of fourteen on our trip to Northern Ireland and Croatia, minus our mini Game of Thrones tour. Those posts can be found here.

After spending a few nights in Zadar and Plitvice Lakes National Park, Mr. Selfish, Cousin Selfish, and I headed to Split. We arrived during nighttime and had a stressful time dropping off the rental car (parking on a hill in a manual car is never fun). Nevertheless, once we entered the city proper, our worries melted away. The city itself was beautiful.

Monkey Cam 0568Nighttime

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Falling for Picturesque Plitvice

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This is post ten of fourteen on our trip to Northern Ireland and Croatia, minus our mini Game of Thrones tour. Those posts can be found here.

From Zadar Mrs. Selfish, Cousin Selfish and I rented a car and drove 3 hours north to the Plitvice Lakes National Park. The park is one of the most famous sites in Croatia, and is a UNESCO world heritage site.

Plitvice 001

It’s pretty easy to see why.

The Plitivice Lakes National Park is located toward the center of Croatia, near the Western border with Bosnia and Herzegovina. It’s one of Croatia’s larger tourist attractions, so be prepared for crowds.

Plitvice 021

Mrs. Selfish, Cousin Selfish, and I arrived at the park at 7am – just before sunrise. At that hour the park was practically empty except for a group of Japanese tourists.

We parked our rental car and paid the admission fee of 180 kuna (~$28 USD) per person then rushed ahead to the large falls. At that time in the morning the falls were serene, and for a short time we didn’t see anyone else as we walked around.

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Azure Waters Await at Kornati National Park

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This is post nine of fourteen on our trip to Northern Ireland and Croatia, minus our mini Game of Thrones tour. Those posts can be found here.

When Mrs. Selfish and I originally planned our trip to Croatia we had looked into taking a ferry from Split to Dubrovnik in order to visit some of Croatia’s lovely island cities. This quickly nixed that plan, since we were already visiting 8 cities during this trip, which was already more fast travel than I would have liked.

The Adriatic Sea is known for its beautiful islands and azure waters, however, so we started looking into daytrips when we stumbled upon the Kornati National Park.

Kornati 007

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Heating Up in Zadar

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This is post eight of fourteen on our trip to Northern Ireland and Croatia, minus our mini Game of Thrones tour. Those posts can be found here.

After spending many cold days in Northern Ireland, Mr. Selfish and I met up with Cousin Selfish in Croatia where it was consistently sunny and hot. After wearing so many layers of clothes, it felt a little odd breaking out the shorts and tank tops, but they were definitely needed in the blazing heat of Croatia.

Our first stop in Croatia was Zadar, which is the fifth largest city in Croatia. The city is right on the Adriatic Sea coastline.

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Singing the Blus in Dublin & Letterkenny

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This is post seven of fourteen on our trip to Northern Ireland and Croatia, minus our mini Game of Thrones tour. Those posts can be found here.

Mrs. Selfish and I have a pretty clear hierarchy when it comes to hotel preferences: Hyatt, Hilton/Starwood/Marriott, IHG, other.  There are admittedly a ton of great hotels out there, but I’m pretty cheap when it comes down to it. I mean, why pay for a good (or even a great) hotel when you can get it for free?

Unfortunately, Northern Ireland wasn’t exactly swimming in hotel options, so I decided to try a new program: Club Carlson.

Mrs. Selfish and I each got the Club Carlson business cards back in the summer of 2013 because the sign-up bonus was decent: Gold status (which meant free internet & breakfast) 80,000 Club Carlson points and 40,000 on each anniversary. The real kicker, however, was the card’s #1 feature: redeem one award night, and get a second one free!

Since we were doing a lot of fast travel in Ireland, I decided to give Club Carlson a whirl, so I booked us for two nights in the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel Dublin and two nights in the Radisson Blu Letterkenny.

The Radisson Blu Royal Hotel Dublin

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