Anda Galffy is an award winning travel writer and passionate photographer. She is the editor, writer, and photographer of Travel Notes & Beyond, a collection of travel stories, photographs, and itinerary ideas designed to inspire and encourage independent traveling at any age.
Anda was kind enough to spend time answering our questions below.
TA: How many years have you been traveling and what got you hooked?
Anda: I always had a passion for travel and photography and have been traveling together with my husband for over 40 years.
TA: Do you specialize in a particular type of travel?
Anda: I write about active travel for baby boomers. From the sunny beaches in Hawaii to luxury destinations in Europe, I take my readers all around the world trying to provide them with ideas and tips on exciting destinations. My stories focus primarily on the cultural aspect of a destination, while capturing the essence of the places I visit.
TA: What is the best vacation you've ever taken?
Anda: This is a tough question, because I can't pinpoint only one. Most our vacations are fun-filled with excitement and each one is different in its own way. However, if I were to choose the most challenging trip we every took, I would probably pick the one to Patagonia. Hiking in the Torres del Paine National Park (Chilean Patagonia) and to the base of the Fitz Roy Peaks (the Argentinian side of Patagonia) was a once in a lifetime experience!
TA: What's one place you've always wanted to visit?
Anda: There are many, but the one that is still very high up on my list is Jordan.
TA: What's one thing you ALWAYS pack when you travel?
Anda: My laptop and my camera. I can't leave home without these two items.
TA: If you could only give a traveler one piece of advice, what would it be?
Anda: Research your destination and prepare for it. If you know what to expect, you'll never be disappointed.
TA: What are some of your favorite travel blogs and communities?
Anda: Ah, the list is long! I am a member of the North American Travel Journalists Association as well as several other travel writers organizations, so I'm fortunate to have many friends who are travel writers. I get a lot of inspiration from reading their blogs. We chat and share ideas online or whenever we meet at different travel bloggers' meetings around the world.
TA: What would be your #1 recommendation for a place to travel in 2019?
Anda: Sicily. You may have heard a lot about this island at the toe of Italy's "boot." And maybe not all you've heard was good! Well, forget everything bad you've heard about Sicily. Despite its many problems, Sicily is still a fascinating place to visit.
TA: What are the top 3 websites you use for research/inspiration when planning a trip?
TA: Do you have any good airport or flight hacks for people traveling by plane?
Anda: We usually travel on weekdays, rather than on weekends. We also use a lot of small budget European airlines for travel within Europe.
TA: What is the best piece of travel advice you've ever been given?
Anda: Hahaha, I can't remember receiving any travel advice from anybody yet. But if I were to give myself some advice, it would be: slow down! We always put too much on our "travel plate" and never seem to have enough time to relax at a destination.
TA: Is there something you think most travelers worry too much about?
Anda: Not having enough money to travel.
TA: What's a travel scam travelers should be wary of?
Anda: There are a great deal of travel scams around. The one that we experienced ourselves was in Buenos Aires, when we tried to pay our cab driver. We handed him a 100 peso bill. He took it, looked inside his bag and then turned and gave it back to us saying he had no change for it. We searched our pockets and managed to come up with the right change. The next day, when we wanted to use that bill at a store, we discovered it was fake.
TA: Which country has surprisingly good food? (And what are some good things to eat there?)
Anda: Hungary. There is so much good Hungarian food that I won't know where to start: hortobágyi palacsinta (pancakes with meat and sour cream), goulash (meat stew), and borju paprikás (Veal with pepper).
TA: What was the most romantic place you ever visited with a partner?
Anda: Definitely Venice! There is no single spot in this city that is not romantic.
TA: What is the most beautiful and affordable city you've ever visited?
Anda: Budapest is not only affordable, but also very beautiful. There are plenty of attractions both in Buda (the historic part of town) and in Pesta (the more modern part of the city. Gellert Baths, Szechenyi Baths, the Buda Castle, the Fishermen's Bastion, Szent Istvan Basilica, Mathias Templom, etc.
TA: What's one way people can get the most out of their cruise experience?
Anda: I am not a big fan of cruising. I have only taken two cruises in 30 years and wasn't crazy about either one of them. I think cruising is good for people who don't want to bother planning their own vacations. I like independent travel.
TA: What are the best places to travel solo and why?
Anda: I don't usually travel by myself, unless I am on a press trip. I think Europe is pretty safe for solo traveling.
TA: What's something that other tourists do when traveling that drives you crazy and why?
Anda: I hate it when other travelers take over a good spot for photographing a landmark and never move over. Or when they step in front of you while you are taking a picture.
TA: Which underrated destination deserves to be more famous?
Anda: Romania is one of the most underrated places in Europe. It's beautiful, it's safe, and it's affordable. Transylvania, the northern part of the country is particularly interesting to visit as it is home to some of the oldest and most beautiful medieval towns in Europe.