Wednesday, March 2, 2016

New Orleans: Part 2 - Back in the HugeParty Habit!

I didn't think my first time in New Orleans could be topped. My first HugeParty was epic!

Call it beginner's luck that we were so masterful on the first bachelor party to New Orleans. Or perhaps it was the extensive planning and reckless abandon. Either way, when my good friend Ryan told me his bachelor party was going to be in New Orleans, only 10 months later, I knew we were going to need to step our game up if we were going to come even close to the first time.

By the look of this picture, you'd think we did some sight-seeing.....

The one thing we had going for us was our group of guys on the trip. Dare I say, they were crazier than the first group of guys, a key ingredient to a HugeParty bachelor party.

The Bachelor, Such a Beauty

Instead of going over the same recommendations as last time, my goal in this post is to show you the new things we discovered. Combined with the original post, you have a game plan for a seriously epic New Orleans experience. 

6 Learnings from NOLA: Part Deux

1) Bourbon Street - Yes, we canvassed Bourbon St. on my maiden voyage to NOLA, and the same parties and haunts are still kicking strong. This time around, we stumbled into a new bar which I highly recommend. 

Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop is the oldest bar in America. It's dark, cozy, and has a different "no frills" aura which you won't find in the main area of Bourbon St. We found ourselves here for "just one drink", and ended up spending north of 3 hours there. Highly recommended.

Bourbon Street.... Still as Sleazy, Sweaty and Awesome as Ever!

2) Frenchman Street - On the first trip we had the best of intentions to make it to Frenchman, alas the demons of Bourbon St. kept us chained to the bars, and we never made it to Frenchman.

Live Music on Frenchman Street Alllll Night!

In "NOLA: Part Deux" I was insistent that we make our way over. Totally worth it. Amazing live music, plenty more locals, and bars spilling out onto the streets and balconies. Frenchman is where you go once you've exorcised your demons on Bourbon Street. But not before, in my opinion, because you can't appreciate the semi-cleanliness, friendly staff and awesome music as much.

3) Domilise's Po Boys - I didn't uncover this gem of the bayou on my own, I had plenty of help from Tv Shows and the Internet. Heralded as the "Best Po Boy" in New Orleans, I begged and pleaded to the group that we take a couple Taxis 6 Miles (!!!) away from the Bourbon Street Madness. I was able to convince half the group, and away we went.

Half Shrimp, Half Oyster. Fat Kid For Life!

The verdict? Worth the trip. Truly an authentic local experience, with one of the best sandwiches I've ever had, a half fried oyster/fried shrimp po boy!

Domilise's is a "dive restaurant", you're eating on paper plates, the place is attached to a house, and it has every bit of resemblance to your grandpa's basement. All of which make the joint a national treasure. Take a trip back in time and experience Domilise's Po Boys!

4) The Casino - Of course it was my bright idea to go to the casino at 2am. And of course I was able to get 10-12 guys to join along. The Harrah's New Orleans is just close enough to Bourbon Street to be dangerous. We spent less than 1.5 hours there, but the damage was done. My wallet hurt from the losses at the roulette table, but my spirit wasn't broken, as the bachelor ended up winning a couple hundred dollars, good for him.....

If I make it back to NOLA, I'll (hopefully) rethink any 2am casino dreams and either avoid altogether, or start our day out there if the weather was too humid. More on the weather a bit later.

5) The Second Line Parade HugeParty Miracle of 2015 - This story happened by chance, but it just goes to show you that if you put yourself out there, meet new people, and buy a couple rounds of beers, anything can happen.

In New Orleans there's something called a Second Line Parade. This isn't your regular celebratory parade with floats and candy. It's more like an organized walk, or a happy protest down the street. Read more about it here. All you need to know is that you better pray to the God of Awesome that you stumble upon one, or order yourself your own Second Line Parade Permit from City Hall. Anyways....

We were drinking in a bar just off of Bourbon St. when a large bachelor party (not ours) walked into the bar wearing a variety of costumes (French Maid, Construction Worker, Morph Suit, etc.). We made some small talk with one of the guys, which sounded like this:

Me: Why are you guys dressed up?

Guy: We organized a parade.

Me: Wait, what? Are you serious?

Guy: Yep, and we bought a 4-Piece band and police escort to take us down Bourbon Street. It was fairly easy paperwork to fill out at City Hall actually.

(Four guys in uniform with horns and drums walk up from a side street)

(A police vehicle approaches)

Me: Oh. You weren't kidding.

Guy: Nope. Wanna join?

Me: Hell. Yes.  (Orders 10 beers to go, passes them out to some of the guys)
Easiest. Answer. Ever. And best decision I've ever made on a bachelor party. Only two of us were around for this adventure, but this new bachelor party took us under their wings and away we went down Bourbon Street, waving, dancing, singing, drinking, and being awesome. Everyone watched, some people even joined in on the affair.

The Second Line Parade... Perhaps the Greatest New Orleans Tradition!

And just when you thought this story was boring... Midway through the journey we were approached by a sweet older lady who was with a group of people dressed in black. Her mother had recently passed away, today was the service, they were holding it in the house her mother grew up on on Bourbon Street. She asked us if we could stop the band in front of her mom's house and play "When the Saints Go Marching In". The leader of our group agreed, and we stopped at the funeral service for one of the most touching HugeParty experiences ever (I'm getting goosebumps just writing this). Everyone was so happy, tears were flowing, people were singing, it was truly a moment. Check out the video here, although it doesn't do it justice.

HugeParty Travel boasts a lot about crazy experiences, but this memory was a shining example of the power of celebration, which is what it's all about.

6) We went to NOLA in August - Dear Baby Jesus, that is the worst month to go to New Orleans, let this be your warning. The humidity is outrageous, the heat pierces your soul. You're sweating all day, but thankfully so is everyone else, so deal with it.

Luckily I came prepared with "Dry-Fit" shirts and plenty of clothes to change into. More wardrobe changes each day than an Oscar Host. That was a joke....

Final Quick Tips from the Trip

Taxi Sharing - If you're arriving alone and need a taxi, get in the queue and ask someone else to share a ride, you'll save about $15. Chances are extremely high someone you ask is going near Bourbon Street, and you really shouldn't be staying anywhere else.

Order take out from 24/7 a convenience store called Verti Marte - Wait, what? Yes, in the back of the tiny shop there is a deli/food counter churning out amazing meals. And let's be honest, you can only eat so many beignets.

Grilled Oysters at Mississippi River Bottom - Whoa. These were the best oysters I've ever had. Drizzled in garlic and butter. Splashed with hot sauce and char-grilled a couple feet away in the patio grill.... we had a dozen, for $18, then flipped a coin to see if we stayed for another dozen. We had another dozen.

Mississippi River Bottom's Char-Grilled Oysters!

There you have it. Combined with the first post I believe this is a serious portrayal of New Orleans and the HugeParty that can be found.

I'm sure there's plenty more to uncover (Mardi Gras, Jazzfest, Football at the Superdome, etc.), looks like we're going to have to go back!

Travel Quote

“New Orleans food is as delicious as the less criminal forms of sin.” 
~ Mark Twain

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Party... Because life's short

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Hong Kong - My First Asian HugeParty!

My first time ever in Asia, I learned that Hong Kong is a Modern, Magnificent & Vibrant HugeParty!

My first time in Asia. 5 Cities, 3 Countries, one giant HugeParty!

Michelle and I set forth on our AsiaTrip from December 17th to January 3rd. Minus the extremely taxing 25+ hour journeys to and from Chicago, the trip was absolutely amazing!

Our first stop... Hong Kong, the "Pearl of the Orient". We arrived in Hong Kong after a three-flight journey that started on a Thursday and ended on a Saturday. We certainly learned that sometimes paying a couple extra hundred dollars for a more direct route is worth it.

With that said, arriving Saturday afternoon meant there was no time to relax... we needed to push through the exhaustion and experience the highly touted Hong Kong Nightlife.

The Top of Victoria Peak, a "Must Do" in Hong Kong, but That's not why you're reading this blog...

Read more after the jump!!!

Monday, November 30, 2015

Obligatory Pre-Travel Post #3: AsiaTrip 2015!

Obligatory Pre-Travel Post #3: AsiaTrip!

I've already written pretty extensively about Eurotrips here and here. Hell, I've also already done a Pre-Travel Post. With all that has been written, you're still getting another Pre-Travel Post. 

Why? Simple. This is my first foray into Asia!!!!!!

Enjoy the latest and greatest HugeParty Plan:


Follow HugeParty: AsiaTrip, as we meander through 5 cities in 15 Days... Specifically:

  1. Hong Kong (December 19 - 21)
  2. Macau (December 22)
  3. Singapore (December 23 - 26)
  4. Phuket (December 27 - 29) 
  5. Bangkok (December 30 - 31)
  6. Hong Kong (January 1 - 2)

Read more after the jump!!!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

5 Travel Blogs I'm Reading (Part 1)

There is no shortage of travel bloggers out there. Literally thousands. Many many of them have great stories and interesting perspectives. Some of which I have found myself coming back to over an over again, taking their travel advice seriously.

Regardless of your travel style, the following post series is dedicated to the travel bloggers who I keep on my radar. Perhaps you'll find their perspectives as interesting and useful as I do.

5 Travel Blogs I'm Reading (Part 1)

1) Traveling Ted (

Why do I Follow? Traveling Ted got me into the Travel Blog world and he's a friend of mine. For that reason, I follow his blog more than anyone else, but Ted also travels nearly every weekend so he's always updating his blog with great content. Plus, I love the work he's doing with GoPro equipment, very savvy.

Why Should You Follow? There's a couple great reasons to follow Ted. For one, he's being doing this for quite some time. Which means he's gone to plenty of places across the world, so he knows a thing or two about the places you may dream of visiting.

Secondly, he's very responsive and has built a strong community of followers. Ted's website feels like a place where you can get real advice and engage with a veteran traveler.

Ted is a leading purveyor of outdoor adventure. Hiking, camping, kayaking, canoeing, cross-country skiing... Ted does it all. And the best part, he's enjoying copious amounts of cheap beer and rice whiskey along the way.

Check out this article: Gatineau Loppet winter frostbite adventure.

2) The Working Mom's Travels (

Why do I Follow? While I'm definitely not a working Mom, I connect with Francesca's blog because it has a "work hard, play hard" mentality, all while finding the time to raise a family. Very impressive. Plus, she does a great job at documenting Chicago in her "Hometown Travel" series, and speaks to the core of #HugePartyTravel with "The Saucy Mom's Travels", a series of posts dedicated to drinking and adulting while still being a responsible parent. Cheers!

Why Should You Follow? The Working Mom (aka Chicago Local and The Saucy Mom) writes about wide variety of travel experiences. From National Parks and family day trips to sightseeting, drinking, eating... she documents it all. Something for everyone.

Francesca's blog stands out because of her amazing ability to balance all of the different aspects of her life, which is easy to relate to for most travelers. Even though I don't have a child to feed, I know it's definitely easier to relate to her blog, than the 20-something Aussie backpacker that quit his part-time job to travel the world.

Check out this article: Our 5 Favorite Things to do in Prague.

3) A Brit and a Southerner (

Why do I Follow? Chris and Heather Boothman take on the world one weekend at a time. Weekend travel has been my preferred style of travel due to my limited vacation days.

Why Should You Follow? For one, you likely don't have that many vacation days either, and this website talks about packing as much as you can into a weekend adventure. If you like fast-paced trips, their site is a great resource.

Also, Chris and Heather's site is clean and easy to navigate. It doesn't feel overwhelming and I think that is a big reason you will enjoy cruising through their adventures.

The final reason is their long list of adventures they've had across the world. From nearly every state in the US, to the laundry list of countries in Europe, the Brit/Southerner duo has seen a lot of this world.

Check out this article: Where to Find the Best Tapas in Barcelona.

4) Eff it, I'm on Holiday (

Why do I Follow? I love the name of the website. It reminds me of the reason I started my blog, in that there is an unapologetic swagger that says "this is how I'm going to travel, like it or not." Kudos to Vlad from Romania.

Why Should You Follow? First, Vlad is an expert when it comes to Romania, and it's always good to find an inside source for a country that isn't well known if you dream of traveling there. Please Note: I'm still trying to confirm if he is the Vlad from Romania you know very well.

Secondly, Vlad's blog is quickly emerging. It's new, and it's always great to read about the adventures of a new blogger and his or her adventures. Vlad's honest opinion and excitement for traveling comes through in his posts.

Upon perusing the site, you'll note a bevy of great photographs from past travels. Often times, on other sites, I find myself sifting through terrible shot after terrible shot (I'm probably guilty of this too). It seems like Vlad has carefully chosen pictures to help tell the story.

Check out this article: A Short and Sweet Stay in Riga.

5) The Food Travelist (

Why do I Follow? I love to eat while I travel. Duh. And with that, this site nails it when it comes to #FoodTravelChat.

Why Should You Follow? Sue and Diana understand your travel motivations. See food, eat food. The food experience in different cultures is arguably the best and most authentic way of experiencing local life, and The Food Travelist documents experiences around the world!

Around the world is an understatement. Chances are these ladies have been to a city/country you're going to, and they've dominated and documented the food scene for you.

Plus, their blog isn't all about Travel, it also talks about good wine, healthy living, and my personal favorite... Bars.

Join these ladies as they proudly proclaim... "It's a tasty world. Let's dish it up!"

Check out this article: The Fine Art of Tea.

Cheers to these amazing Travel Bloggers! Part 2 coming soon!

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Party... Because life's short