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We're kicking off the very first #HistoryofmyVacation staff interview here on the Travelex Hub with the wise words from our Global Social Media Manager, Sabrina Rodriguez.
Sabrina is based in our UK office and lives in London - although she's previously made a home for herself all over the world!
Read on to find out all about her vacation memories, top travel tips and insider currency knowledge.
What kind of vacationer are you? Beach break lover, culture vulture, foodie, backpacker or something else?
I think I’d probably tick quite a few of those boxes depending on the trip! 9 years ago, I went on a Gap Year in Central America, so I donned a big backpack and flew to Costa Rica, where I taught English in a town called Liberia for a few months. I also spent some of my time venturing around its beautiful beaches, volcanoes and forests - Costa Rica has over a dozen micro climates, making it one of the most biodiverse countries in the world.
I then traveled through Nicaragua and Panama, jumping on small buses that would weave between dirt tracks and nerve-wracking mountain passes. I remember being on a minibus on my way to Bocas del Toro (an archipelago of breathtaking islands off the Caribbean coast of Panama), when we stopped in the middle of forest-laden mountains, just for the driver to pick up an enormous bunch of freshly cut bananas, stick them on the roof, and we were off again! That year was quite an adventure, I'll never forget it!
The more I work, the more I find myself yearning for beach break holidays where I can simply chill out and recharge the batteries… I must be getting old!
What’s your earliest vacation memory?
Probably on a beach in southern Spain, crying my eyes out as my mother would try in vain to put my clothes back on - not only would the sand and seawater always rub against my skin, but I never wanted to leave!
What’s the furthest you’ve ever been from home?
I’d probably have to say São Paulo, Brazil. I spent 6 months working for a large Telco company there, so I got to live and breathe life as a Paulistano! Still suffering a major case of “saudades”... (a term to signify the feeling of longing and nostalgia for Brazil!)
What’s the longest you’ve ever been away from home?That’s a tough one, as until recently I’ve been up and about a fair bit! I’d probably have to say 9 months in total - I lived in Paris, France, for a year while I studied for my Degree in Languages.
What’s the best experience you’ve ever had on vacation?
That’s a seriously tough one… There are too many amazing moments! Certainly one of the most memorable moments was when I was camping in the Andes, coming out of the tent in the middle of the night to look above and see the entire milky way. That was a jaw-dropping moment.
How many countries have you visited? Do you have a favorite?
After a long hard browse on Google Maps, I can confirm... 27 so far. Many more to go!
How far in advance do you pick up your foreign currency?
Before, I used to simply use my card abroad and find an ATM, but since working at Travelex and being more exposed to the extortionate bank charges that would be imposed each time I use that card abroad, I order online to pick up at the airport.
Do you budget your spending money or are you a vacation splurger?
I generally set aside a chunk before I set out - but I often find myself having to stretch that budget just a little further towards the end… I’m a big foodie, so I’m a sucker for interesting looking restaurants!
Do you like to research before you go or discover it all after you arrive?
A bit of both - I think it’s good to have a general plan with some ideas of what to do, but I find there’s something quite liberating about just exploring somewhere map-free - I’ve found some of my favorite hidden gems that way.
Who’s your dream vacation companion?
Well friends and family aside, I rarely travel somewhere new without a Lonely Planet or Wallpaper City guide in my bag.
What's your top pick destination for 2016?
Slovenia - I’m heading there in May and unbelievably excited. From Lake Bled to Tolmin Gorge, this is not only a cheap vacation, but one that will undoubtedly blow your mind with its beauty. Head there before it becomes too trendy!
And finally, what's your top travel tip?
Always leave some emergency cash rolled up in a sock in your suitcase - you never know if you might need it.