How to Buy Westvleteren Beer and Take it Home With You

Westvleteren is a popular Trappist beer producer in Belgium for two particular reasons.

First, it is simply a damn good beer. Westvleteren 12, their Quad, is often ranked as one of the top beers in the world, sometimes called the best beer in the world even, and after tasting our way around popular Trappist Quads during our time in Belgium it was readily apparent that Westvleteren 12 was among the very best. The beer is perfect, and I hesitate to throw around that word with any beer.

Second, it is rare. The brewery is said only to make about 60,000 cases per year and, outside of a cafe next door to the abbey, does not distribute to stores. While you can find these brews sold at incredible markup in major cities, they're often done without the monks' consent. 

As such, to get your hands on Westvleteren beer via sanctioned methods, you must jump through some hoops to reserve a case in advance, take a road trip across Belgium, and pick them up directly from Brouwerij de Sint-Sixtusabdij.

And this is exactly what we did.

So in this one, we thought we'd take a look at the steps you need to take to buy Westvleteren beer directly from the abbey, and talk about how we packed up our beers to bring home to the USA. This process is typically fairly straightforward, insofar as your airline actually delivers your bags on schedule, at least.

Read more

What to Do if An Airline Loses Your Luggage

We always hold our breath for just a moment when we are in the baggage area of an airport. We know that missing and lost luggage when flying is a more common phenomenon than you would think. After almost 15 years of international travel, visiting well over 100 airports in 60+ countries, we have been fortunate enough never to have a bag go missing.

Until now.

We returned to the USA from Amsterdam (via London) on British Airways when they lost our luggage. Not just one bag. Not just two bags. But four missing bags. 

You can imagine our panic when we were at baggage claim, the conveyor belt came to a halt, and we (along with many others) were told that was it. Not only did our suitcases have all of our clothes in them (thankfully we were heading home and not just starting our trip), but also all of our toiletries, many souvenirs, Christmas gifts, and, perhaps most importantly, a lot of rare Belgian beer from our holiday.

We sprang into action to either be reunited with our bags promptly or, worst case, adequately compensate for all that lost value. So in this one, we wanted to walk through what you should do if you find yourself at an airport baggage claim and an airline has lost your luggage.

Note: This article will include the steps we took for our lost luggage on British Airways; however, most airlines have similar processes albeit possibly with slightly different timescales. When in doubt, always speak to a representative before leaving the airport, find out their recommended steps, and, if possible, get everything in writing and/or in an email with company letterhead for tracking as quickly as possible.

Read more

What You Need to Know Before Climbing Mount St. Helens

Located in the heart of southwestern Washington, most people have at least heard of this mountain's name; Mount Saint Helens.

This fantastic Pacific Northwest mountain is famous for its eruption back in 1980, but also for the magnificent opportunity that hikers have to climb Mount St. Helens.

It’s quite the thrill to climb up over the ridge and finally say that you’ve stood on the summit of one of the United State’s most well-known peaks.

Read more

5 of the Best Travel Gift Ideas for Your Favorite Explorer

Are you shopping for travel gifts for your favorite explorer?

While there is a seemingly neverending list of products that could be recommended in gift guides for travelers, in ours, we wanted to cut through the fluff and share a few items that we think are the absolute best.

Suffice it to say, if we were to receive any travel gift in this guide, we would be quite ecstatic!

Read more