The Squad’s Top 3 Favorite Destinations

In this week’s mini episode we each share our #1 favorite destination. It’s hard to pick just one, but we managed to pick 3 hot spots around the country we love!

Kim’s favorite destination: Greece

  • Why she loved it:
    • Quintessential European vacation vibes
    • Amazing food
    • Prices were reasonable
    • Water is warm and clear
  • What you can expect:
    • Athens
      • Lively modern culture surrounded by ancient ruins still standing throughout the city with the giant Acropolis above
      • City still very much embraces its ancient culture
      • Lively nightlife, so many amazing rooftop bars with that quintessential house music vibes
    • Mykonos
      • Amazing beaches and beach clubs 
      • Water is warm and clear
      • Amazing place to lay out on a beach bed, drink, eat, swim, and tan
      • Mykons town is the city center where everyone goes to dine, party, walk the gorgeous alleyways. Yes crowded, but still so fun.
      • Younger crowds
    • Santorini
      • My favorite island
      • Bigger than Myknos
      • Soooo much fun stuff to do, about an hour driving from one side of te island to another
      • Oia – Pretty, touristy, older crowds, finer dining, Amoudi Bay down below for sunset
      • Fira – Center of the island, tons of dining and partying. More affordable to stay here.
      • Wineries throughout the island, some on clfftops with beautiful views of the ocean below
      • Kamari and Perissa black beaches – Sooo fun to rent or get a free each bed, have drinks and food brought out to you
      • Yacht day! 
  • What I would do on the next visit:
    • Delphi – Ruins day trip from Athens
    • Crete
      • Knossos Palace is the biggest Bronze Age site – oldest city in Europe
      • Samaria Gorge National Park
      • Gorgeous beaches
    • Naxos
      • Views like Oia without the crowds
      • Stone walkways, more ruin remains 
    • Paros
      • Gorgeous stone walkways, blues, and pinks like Mykoos but less crowds
      • Boat day, gorgeous turquoise waters 
    • Milos
      • Cliff jumping into the gorgeous blue waters

Brittanie’s favorite destination: Uganda

  • Why she loved it:
    • It’s one of only 3 countries where you can see mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. 
    • It was a luxury experience (food, stays)  combined with rugged beauty & animals 
    • One stop shop for a great safari experience and it gave me a new appreciation of birds 
  • What you can expect:
    • Traditional Game Drives aka Land safari’s: elephant’s, giraffe, cape buffalo, leopards, lions
      • Murchison Falls National Park 
      • Queen Elizabeth National Park 
    • River safari’s: hippos, crocs + larger land animals
      • Murchison Falls National Park 
      • Queen Elizabeth National Park
        • Elephant swimming in the river 
    • Jungle treks: chimpanzees & mountain gorillas
      • Kabile National Park 
      • Bwindi Impenetrable Forest 
    • Luxury stays right in the heart of the action:
      • Murchison Falls NP- stayed in a luxury glamping tent on the Nile Riverbed where hippos would roam around or tents at night 
      • Kabale NP- couldn’t leave windows or doors open because of the monkeys 
      • Queen Elizabeth NP- hotel/cottages overlooked a lake and we could see an elephant with our binoculars 
  • What I would do on the next visit:
    • Mount Elgon National Park
      • The rock-ribbed, jungle-topped highlands of the Mount Elgon 
      • Cascading down from the extinct caldera of one of Africa’s oldest volcanos, there are waterfalls, cave systems, and rugged canyons, hot springs, jungle. 
    • Kidepo Valley National Park
      • Located in northeastern Uganda & the country’s most remote NP. It is renowned for its scenic beauty and abundant wildlife. The park is celebrated for its vast savannah plains, rugged mountain landscapes, and the iconic river valleys
      • Diverse wildlife population, including large herds of buffalo, elephant, giraffe, zebra, and numerous antelope species such as eland and oribi. Predators like lions, leopards, and cheetahs also roam the park
      • Renowned for its birdlife, with over 470 bird species recorded, including ostriches

Jamal’s favorite destination: Japan

  • Why he loved it:
    • Amazing food
    • Unique mix of classic imperial architecture in urban metropolis 
    • CULTURE and cleanliness! 
  • What you can expect:
    • Amazing public transportation to get around, locally, regionally and across the country
    • Temple and Shrines throughout the cities to give you a bit of history and culture 
    • Society functions orderly and there are norms
      • Queuing for train and metros
      • Walking on certain side of path depending on which way you are walking (in or out) of something
    • Cash based society 
    • Amazing bathroom experience with the bidet and cleanliness.
  • What I would do on the next visit:
    • Go during Cherry Blossom Season
    • Eat more sushi this time. Last time we went in winter and ate more ramen. Also try more bento box style meals
    • Go back to Disneyland again
    • Enjoy my time just roaming leisurely since I have seen it before to appreciate the culture and everyday life aspect more

3 Best Countries – Episode Transcript


Hey, squaddies.

We’re introducing a brand new Friday mini episode series called Just the Tip, where we give you quick travel stories, hacks and recommendations to set you off into the weekend.



Today we’re sharing our favorite countries in the world.

You know, it’s really hard to pick just one out of all of the amazing places in the world.

But we each managed to pick one, and we’re going to share with you why we love it, what you can expect when you visit, and what we would do if we visited it again.

And we’re going to dive right in.


That’s why we’re calling these mini episode series.

Just the tip, going right in for you guys here.

Kim, why don’t you get us started?

Yes, I want to go first because I’m so hyped on this country and that is Greece.

If you listened to our episode back on Greece, episode 228, you know how much I loved this country.


Why didn’t I love it?

It just had a quintessential European vacation vibe.

Laying on the beach chairs, looking out at the cliffs, seeing everyone else out there.

It just felt so good.

The food was absolutely amazing.


EUR and fresh chicken and rice and those Santorini tomatoes.

Oh my God, everything was amazing.

I thought that the prices were very reasonable for the caliber of vacation that this was, was also really fun and lively, with nightlife in almost every place that we went.


And more than that, I’m a beach girl, so I absolutely loved the water here.

It’s clear, it’s warm, it’s blue, it’s beautiful.

And a lot of the things that I did when I went in September were all centered around the ocean and the beach.

Some things that you can expect from Greece that I absolutely loved.


You start in Athens, right?

Everyone flies into the city of Athens.

It’s a central hub, and you want to see Athens because that’s where the Acropolis is, the ancient Greek ruins, and you’re going to love it.

It’s amazing.

But more than that, it’s got this lively modern culture where people are still living today.


There’s a super lively nightlife.

So many good rooftop bars, and you know how much I love a good rooftop bar?

It’s got that quintessential European house music vibe, but then you look up and you see the Acropolis in the top of the hill, towering over you, all lit up.


It’s so beautiful.

I could have literally dropped a tear out of my eye.

I remember when we recorded this, Kim, and you said exactly the same thing.

One, you love ancient ruins.

You’re seeing it right here and in the episode you equated it to when we were in South Africa and it was my rhino moment on safari and I saw the rhino for the first time.


First animal on safari and I got just a little teardrop.

I know exactly what you are talking about when you just get so excited and travel.

It’s seriously amazing.

It’s everything that I love all at once.

Athens is great.

The other two places that you hear about very often when people talk about Greece are Mykonos and Santorini.


I heard a lot of bad things about Mykonos and a lot of people said don’t go to Mykonos, it’s overrun with Taurus and blah blah blah.

I didn’t think that I absolutely loved Mykonos.

I’d love the beaches there.

The beach clubs were super fun, the water was beautiful and warm and swimming out there for hours with goggles on and the underwater cameras so cool.


Those memories will live with me forever.

It’s such a great place to just rent a beach bed, drink, eat, swim tan and then when you’re ready for to ramp it up a little bit, take the bus into Mykonos town, the city center, where, yes, there’s tons of crowds, but it is so much fun with the nightlife, the people watching such a good time if you’re in your 20s, thirties or even 40s.


And then lastly, Santorini.

I think this was my favorite place in Greece, which is hard to believe because I’ve just said how much I love the other two places.

But Santorini is a little bit bigger of an island than Mykonos, so there’s a lot of fun stuff to do.

You want to spend quite a few days there if you can because the island is big.


It takes like an hour to get from one place to another.

EIA is at the very north side of it, very pretty, very touristy.

I thought during the day there were a lot of older crowds.

At night it quiets down quite a bit.

There’s finer dining there.

It’s absolutely gorgeous.

You see the white buildings with the blue domes.


You can go down to a Moody Bay which is iconic for the sunset and the seafood In the waterfront restaurants. 10 out of 10 you have Fiera which is in the center of the island.

Lots of dining, lots of partying, more affordable to stay there, more convenient to get around the island from there.


Santorini also has a ton of wineries which I love.

Especially wineries on top of the Cliff with a beautiful view of the ocean below you and they give you like a huge bowl of cheese with your wine and that’s really just the tomato on top.


And then lastly, I’ll say about Santorini.

They also have beaches, of course, Kamari beach, Parisa Beach.

These are black sand or black Pebble beaches.

Super, super fun to just rent that bed or even get one for free, have drinks, have food brought out to you, maybe do what I did and do a little champagne bottle service at your beach bed and then hit up the yacht.


You got to have a yacht day when you’re out here all around an amazing time.

Truly one of the best vacations I’ve ever had.

Highly recommend you go.

I’m dying to go back to Greece.

There’s several places I would want to go.

Delphi has ruins.

A quick day trip from Athens, Crete.


I’ve heard so many good things about the beaches.

There’s a National Park there.

They also have different types of ruins there.

The Nossa’s Palace, which is the biggest Bronze Age site, oldest city in Europe.

There’s so much history in Greece.

We were just talking about Rome being like 7080.


These sites in Greece are 500 BC or even 5000 BC in some of them.

So much history here.

Naxos, Peros, Milos.

A lot of these islands are just as gorgeous as Mykonos and Santorini, but are known to have fewer crowds and just amazing waters to swim in.


I cannot wait to go back with you all.

Great description of Greece, Kim Makes me want to go ’cause I was out there on that trip with you.

But my favorite country in the world is Uganda.

We went in September of 2022.

It was amazing.


I loved it because it’s one of the only three countries where you can actually go and see mountain gorillas in their natural habitat, meaning you are hiking through the jungle to see mountain gorillas.

That is the highlight of the Uganda trip.

It was also a luxury experience.


Both the food and the stays were both very luxury.

We stayed in really nice cottages that were high end food was 10 out of 10 every day.

But combining that with like the rugged beauty of Uganda and all of the animals was fantastic.


Uganda is also a one stop shop for a great safari experience and it also gave me a new appreciation for birds.

I’ve never thought like I liked birds before really.

But birds are amazing creatures and they’re so unique.

There’s so many different species of birds as well.

But when you go to Uganda, what you can expect, So you can expect traditional game drives, meaning you’re doing land safaris, you’re in the jeeps, you see the elephants, giraffe keep, Buffalo, leopards, lions.


We actually went off roading to see some leopards and lions.

It was one of the highlights of the trip.

Other than the gorillas, you go to a lot of national parks.

We went to Murchison Falls National Parks.

That waterfall dumps into the Nile River.

Super powerful, beautiful, and there’s a ton of wildlife there.


We also went into Queen Elizabeth National Park, great spots for where we saw the leopard and the lions.

But Uganda also has a river safari.

It’s meaning you go on a little cruise boat and you get to see Crocs and hippos and then you can also see some of the larger land animals go to the edge of the river and drink water and just kind of like roam around, which is really cool.


It’s a different perspective, but as I mentioned, the jungle tracks.

So we got to see primates.

Not only did we get to see chimpanzees in their natural habitat, we got to trek with them through the forest.

We got to hike into Bwindi Impenetrable National Forest and we hiked down to see the mountain gorillas and spent an hour observing the 9 gorillas in this troop.


We got to see a silverback that was 23 years old, his partner in some of their offspring there.

There was even a baby gorilla there too.

So cool.

And then I mentioned the luxury stays that were right in the heart of the action.


I know this doesn’t sound like a luxury stay, but it was a very upscale, glamping experience.

It was right on the Nile River where hippos would come out at night and roam around our platform, where our tents were pitched on.

When we were in Kabali National Park, we were in a cottage where we couldn’t leave windows or doors open because there was monkeys.


But we had this big, beautiful, gorgeous Hut that was amazing and African style.

And then in Queen Elizabeth National Park we had a cottage that overlooked a lake and we could see an elephant with the binoculars in the water.

So, so much wildlife mixed with that luxury.


But if I were to go back, and I would totally 100% go back to Uganda, I would go to Mount Elegant National Park.

It combines the jungle along with these beautiful rock ribbed Highlands with the mountains.


And there are some of Africa’s oldest volcanoes.

There’s waterfalls, cave systems, rugged canyons, Hot Springs, Kim and even jungle.

So it combines everything together that I love, like all that nature aspect, I would love to go back and see that explore there.


And then I would also want to go to Kedepo Valley.

This was on my list already, but our guide said that that’s one of the best places to visit in Uganda.

It’s in the northeastern part of Uganda.

It’s pretty remote, but ton of scenic beauty, abundant wildlife.

There’s huge Savannah plains, rugged mountain landscapes, river valleys.


They have large herds of Buffalo, elephant, giraffe, zebras, antelopes, and there’s even all of like the big predators to the lions, leopards and cheetahs, which we have not seen the cheetah in the wild, so I’d love to go back to see there.

It’s also renowned for its bird life has over 470 species of birds recorded there, including ostriches, which I’ve never seen an ostrich on a African safari, so I think that would be really cool.


But if you guys want to check out more of Uganda, we have recorded it in an episode 162.

So go back and listen to it, because it’s literally been my favorite trip that we’ve ever taken.

You know, I really love Uganda just as well.

It was really hard to pick something that actually topped that.


But we had gone to Japan before we went to Uganda, and Japan just still resonates with me.

And because of that, I’m gonna pick it as my favorite country that I’ve ever visited.

Why I loved it.

I’m a big foodie and that’s half the fun about traveling is trying the new food.


And we had amazing food when we were in Japan.

On top of that you get a great mix of modern metropolis in Tokyo, Osaka, also mixed with the classic imperial architecture, temples and shrines.


But my favorite thing about Japan and why I loved it absolutely so so much was the culture and the cleanliness.

And what I say about the culture, yes, the history, but I’m talking about the people.

They really respect the space they are in.


They respect their environment.

They respect the people around them.

We could learn a thing or two, and I really appreciated that so much.

They’re so orderly and just amazing on top of that.

But when you go to Japan, what can you expect?


You can expect amazing public transportation to get around, whether it be locally, regionally or even across the entire country.

They have an amazing bullet trade system, regional metros, etcetera.

You can also see those temples and shrines throughout the city.


And again, they’re a classic building scattered in there with that modern flair that Japan is known to have.

And then you could also pretty much expect the that society functions in an orderly fashion, as I had mentioned.


What do I even mean by that?

There is queuing to get on the trains and the metros don’t think you’re just going to stand huddled up by the platform.

You’re going to get ridiculed, looked at.

Actually, I don’t even know if that would happen because the Japanese are so polite, but you’re going to look like the a hole in that moment.


Everybody is in an orderly line waiting to get in.

Nobody even attempts to go in the train or the metro until everybody who needs to get out has gotten out.

When you’re walking on the street, there’s a side of the street to walk if you’re going in One Direction or the next.


Same thing When you’re going in the metro or out of the metro, you’re walking on the right side or the left side.

It’s it makes a very crowded place like Japan.

I mean Tokyo’s you know millions of people in there feel a lot less crowded because everybody does everything so orderly.


It’s really unique for us as Americans.

But cash based society over there of course you can use credit cards but cash based so do expect that and I I really kind of like that aspect of things to keeping it cash wise.

But one of my favorite things, and we all know about this, is the amazing bathroom experience that you are going to have in Japan.


It’s one-of-a-kind anywhere in the world, the bathroom experience.

And there’s a learning curve, By the way, you know, you need to go back and listen to our episodes all about Japan talking about it.

But these bidets are not separate bidets like most people are used to.


They’re built into the toilets or the toilet seat.

You can choose the pressure of spray that you want.

You can aim it if you know right at the puss from the tush.

I’m just gonna leave it at that, right?

It just knows what side do you want to clean by the push of a button?

Do you want warm water?


There’s a button for you to play medley music.

What I would do on my next visit.

We’ve talked about going back to Japan many times.

I want to go during the spring to see cherry blossom season.

It’s famous for that.

I want to go see that.


I have to go.

When we do.

I didn’t go the first time.

I want to go and I want to see cherry blossom too.

And then we’re going to go and you’re going to fall in love with Japan.


Exactly like I’ve fallen in love with Japan.

We did this when we went there.

I want to go back to Disneyland again.

I loved it out there.


It was amazing.

I want to eat more sushi this time.

You know, we went in the winter, not that we didn’t have sushi, but we were more ramen oriented.

But I want to get more sushi, eat Bento box style meals more often, try more of their cuisine, and now just roam around more leisurely.


Now that we’ve really seen it all done at all, at least in the major cities of Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka.

Just really relax and enjoy the time.

And again, like I said, if you want to hear more all about Japan, go back and listen to our two-part episode, 42 and 43, to hear all about it.


Thank you squadies for tuning in to just the tip.

Make sure to subscribe, leave a review and follow us on social at Travel Squad Podcast.

Have fun traveling this weekend.

Bye squadies!

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