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Saint Patrick’s Day is just about a month away and now is a great time to plan a little late winter-early spring getaway to celebrate with green beer, clover leaf kitsch, and and your “Kiss me, I’m Irish!” shirt. This year St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Friday, which provides the perfect excuse to throw a few things in your Outbreaker travel backpack and take a long weekend. Fly out Thursday after work, and be back Sunday night late.

St. Patrick, a priest and missionary to the Irish pagans, died March 17 461 CE. Hence, St. Patrick’s Day and the celebrations occurring on the day of his death. At first, March 17th was a religious holiday. According to rumor, Americans are the ones who turned this somber religious day into a drinking fest mashed with a parade.

The rest, they say, is history… and lots of green celebrations happening the world over.

In no particular order, here are 10 of the best destinations to visit to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day:

Dublin, Ireland

Ah, the motherland; let’s start here. It doesn’t get better than St. Patrick’s Day in green Dublin. This is the St. Patrick’s Day trip to make your other St. Paddy’s Day trips green with envy. (Green, get it? Ha.)

For more in-depth reading, Cailin, of Travel Yourself, has great tips for making your Dublin St. Patrick’s Day trip a success.

Why are you still reading this article? Just go and experience Dublin on St. Patrick’s Day already!

Best Irish Pub

Want the true old-fashioned Dublin pub life? Go to Grogan’s. Enjoy a Guinness at an outdoor table or inside at their bar where famous Irish writers once chased the muse in a pint glass.

Need something a little harder? Opt for The Palace Bar in Temple Bar. Upstairs, it’s a temple dedicated to Irish whiskey.

Must do:

  • Festival Treasure Hunt: Explore Dublin on an urban treasure hunt as you solve clues and see a new side of Dublin.
  • St. Patrick’s Day Parade: Starting at 12:01 p.m. on Friday, March 17, this St. Patrick’s Day parade is full of spectacular pageantry and imagination brought to life. Best advice: get there at least an hour early for a good spot.
  • Wander Dublin at Night: In celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, Dublin goes green. As in, many of the iconic buildings are lit up by green lights at night.
  • Guinness Storehouse: Tour the original location of the Guinness beer factory, but do it before or after the 17th. This tour is not to be missed.

Click to continue…

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Since I was thirteen years old, I’ve been 4’11’’. Whether this is the gift of scoliosis, gymnastics, genetics, or pure luck, I have no idea – but that’s my height. I’m happy being shy of 5 feet. As a public high school teacher I heard the best gossip in the halls because no one saw me coming. As a shopper, I benefit from being able to wear kids’ size clothing and shoes. And as a frequent traveler, I have plenty of room when placed in a middle seat on a flight. The trouble I come up against, however, is finding a grown up style backpack that fits little ol’ me.

Finding backpacks for small torsos isn’t easy. When researching options, you find many articles geared to petite and small women. Then upon opening them, there are comments about being 5’1’’ or 5’3’’ and although I know they’re helpful to many – for me, this is still a struggle.

In 1996, I backpacked Europe after university. At the time, there were few sturdy backpacks that even came close to fitting me and nothing in the realm of women specific sizing. Comparing that giant, heavy, duffel bag that was constantly strapped to my back, pulling on my shoulders and wreaking havoc on my already crooked hips to today’s options is like comparing elephants to apples.

Today’s versions have women specific sizing, sturdy straps, lightweight frames, pockets upon pockets, removable hip belts and can be adjusted by each wearer.

I remember that first backpacking journey well. It was my first venture to Europe, my first venture with a guidebook and no net, and my first true foray into traveling on my own terms. But when I think about the actual pack (if you can even call it that), I wind up wondering how different that schlepping might have been had I had the technology of today.

Two decades later, I’m in the market again.

After a few visits to REI, online research, and conversations with friends who have similar issues, here are a few tips in searching for backpacks for petite women with small torsos. Click to continue…

T-Mobile’s Simple Choice International phone plan is amazing. For $50 you get unlimited texting, unlimited data, and 20 cent/minute calls in 140+ countries. What’s even cooler is that you don’t have to sign up for anything or update your account—it just works.

When you land, your phone pings the local provider, authenticates your plan, and you hit the ground running. No buying confusing (expensive) preloaded SIM cards with unfamiliar country codes, restrictive plans, and a new number for each destination. No shocking triple digit overage charges. Just unlimited, if a little sluggish, data and texting.

But things at T-Mobile are changing. Gone is the Simple Choice International plan (unless you’re grandfathered into the plan). Instead, they’ve added a new, more expensive, option that covers everything. But does it really? T-Mobile is the digital nomad’s cell provider of choice, but it’s not always awesome, and it might not be the best in town for long.

Let’s take a look at what to expect from T-Mobile’s new three-tiered international roaming plan, and a few alternatives for when things go wrong, the data is too slow, your country isn’t covered, or you’re just looking for a better way.

Disclaimer: This is not a paid endorsement of T-Mobile, Sprint, or any cell phone company listed below. Any positive—or negative—review is my own opinion.

T-Mobile One Plan: The New International Roaming Plan

Single line plans under the new T-Mobile One plan start at $70—taxes included. Bundling all the fees, surcharges, and taxes into a flat price is pretty cool, but there is a noticeable price increase over the previous basic international plan.

If you’re traveling with the whole family, you get a discount on multiple lines, down to $40/line for four phone plans but, for the solo traveler, it’s still a price increase, so we’ll stick with the $70/month single plan for this review.

Here’s what you get with T-Mobile One ($70/month):

  • Unlimited international texting
  • Unlimited international data—up to 3G speeds (which is actually pretty danged fast)
  • 1 Free Hour of GoGo wifi on Domestic (American) flights + free texting
  • Unlimited video and audio streaming with from Netflix, YouTube, and Pandora with BingeOn and MusicFreedom
  • International calls from Europe (landlines and mobile) at 20 cents/minute
  • Full domestic coverage in Mexico, Canada, and the U.S.

Upgrades to the T-Mobile One Plan

Business travelers or digital nomads might want to consider upgrading to the T-Mobile One+ plan and the International One+ plan (there’s always a “+”).

Here’s what you get with T-Mobile One+ ($85/month):

  • All of the above plus…
  • Free GoGo unlimited inflight wifi (domestic flights)
  • Free unlimited HD day passes for top quality streaming service

Here’s what you get with T-Mobile One+ International ($95/month):

  • All of the above plus…
  • Unlimited cell phone wifi hotspot data
  • Unlimited free international calling to international landlines in 70+ countries and mobile numbers in 30+ countries

The Verdict:

T-Mobile is good but might not be the cheapest (or fastest) anymore.

T-mobile’s international plans aren’t quite as “simple” as they used to be, but they’re still one of the most reliable international cell phone plans around. The new price of $70/month is a significant jump up from the original $50/month Simple Choice International Plan that users have known (and loved!) for years, but it comes with increased service and speeds.

You won’t always have 3G data speeds but,  when you do, it’s almost like what you’re used to. Allow for extra time to do the little things you take for granted—10 seconds to load Instagram, 5 seconds to refresh a page—but you shouldn’t want to be checking all that stuff on your phone anyway. You’re traveling! Get back out there and do something cool in real life.

T-Mobile also provides “data kickback” that refunds you $10/month if you use less than 2GB of data, so that’s something. It’s kind of like rollover minutes (remember those?!), but let’s be honest—you’re never going to be under 2GB of data in a month. Still, it’s a nice thought.

T-Mobile is usually great, but what happens when it isn’t? Click to continue…