Category: Travel (Page 1 of 2)

How to plan a road trip

Now that school is out for the summer and gas is cheaper (relatively), enjoy a break and go on a road trip. Here’s how to plan an exciting adventure:

Step 1: Pick your end destination.

This is the most important because it will determine the length of time you’ll be driving. For example, if you only want to be on vacation for a week, traveling across country may not be the best idea, since you may be too time crunched.

Step 2: Pick the places that you may want to see on the way to your final destination.

Consider visiting not only the big well known sites (like the Grand Canyon), but also unique sites (like seeing the biggest rubber band ball). Both can make interesting experiences.

Step 3. Plan your route.

Remember to use both the forward trip and return trip to see the sites. Also consider traffic times and rush hour so your not wasting time on the road.  Also research traffic laws where you are traveling through. For example, lane splitting is not allowed in some states.

Step 4. Eat and rest.

Don’t ever drive tired! While you plan your route, remember to pick rest stops and where you will spend the night. Also research eateries in the areas in order to enjoy the local fare.

Step 5. Car maintenance.

Don’t forget to get your car checked before you embark on a long road trip. Prevention is better than breaking down in the middle of nowhere and no cell phone reception. If you don’t have one, consider signing up for some sort of roadside assistance.

Of course don’t forget your camera, phone, and all your personal necessities. Drive safely and enjoy your trip!

 

Relax in Bodega Bay

One of my favorite local get-a-way locations is Bodega Bay. It makes a great place for a relaxing day trip. Take a Friday off of work and drive there in the morning. Enjoy the view and make a stop at the beach! Have lunch at the Boat House restaurant. http://www.sonomacounty.com/restaurants/boat-house The BBQ oysters, clam chowder, fish and chips are the best!
After that, head to the UC Davis Bodega Bay Marine laboratory. http://bml.ucdavis.edu/ They have tours on most Fridays from 2:00pm to 4:00pm. It is a wonderful experience for the whole family!

Weekend adventure in Monterey, CA

Monterey is a historic and scenic coastal city in California that is about a 2 hour drive from San Francisco, and a 5 hour drive from Los Angeles.
Start your morning off right with a wonderful breakfast at First Awakenings. The restaurant is located in an indoor shopping center in Pacific Grove, California. The lines can be long, so either get there early, or pack your patience. Your sacrifice will be rewarded with a fantastic breakfast. Their pancakes are huge. I had only one and it filled me up! http://www.firstawakenings.net/restaurant.html After breakfast, visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium, which is just walking distance away.

When visiting Monterey, the Monterey Bay Aquarium is a must see attraction! The aquarium provides a thrilling experience for the young and old alike. https://www.montereybayaquarium.org/

For an early dinner, avoid the tourist trap restaurants on Cannery Row and eat where the locals eat. Head two blocks up to Foam Street and find Sea Harvest, a fish market that doubles as a restaurant. The BBQ oysters and clam chowder are fantastic. http://www.seaharvestfish.com/

Take a walk around the city. By being adventurous and exploring any city you’re in, you’ll make long lasting memories and have unique experiences!

Top 3 places to buy souvenirs in San Francisco

#3 Fisherman’s Wharf
If you are looking for the quintessential souvenir, Fisherman’s Wharf is the place to go. From post cards to sweat shirts to shot glasses, this place has it all. While you are there, try the clam chowder in a San Francisco Sourdough bowl.

#2 Chinatown
San Francisco’s Chinatown is the largest and oldest Chinatown in the U.S. It is an excellent place to not only buy souvenirs, but also experience the culture and attractions. While you’re there, don’t forget to sample the dim sum.

#1 SF Art Market
The SF Art Market, just outside of the Ferry Building, is a great place to buy unique souvenirs from local artisans. These handcrafted, unique gifts are sure to bring a smile to anyone’s face. While you are there try some of the restaurants inside the ferry building.
Check out the SF Art Market’s website for more information http://sfartmarket.com/

SF Art Market

SF Art Market

3 Beauty Global Rituals that Work for Every Ethnicity

Beauty has always been one of the feminine priorities. Since the beginning of humanity, women have sought to follow the canons of what is considered attractive at the time. For example, women in prehistory sought to have large hips and breasts to attract men, which meant they were more fertile and therefore better candidates to form a family.
And yes, although technology has allowed people to have increasingly sophisticated beauty products, women of the 21st century are returning to the roots, the basics. And what are the basics? It is all the millenary secrets that women from different parts of the world have applied throughout their history to beautify themselves inside and out. These women know that nature is wise, so they take advantage of the ingredients of the place where they were and used them to their advantage.

India

One of the best secrets of India is the use of coconut oil as a conditioner. They leave it on all day long, which would be our equivalent of the comb cream. This oil is great for the scalp, strengthens the hair and makes it shine. With that secret and Ayurveda medicine, Indian women are up for the wins! The holistic approach to medicine and beauty of the Asian country are the secret to beautiful skin!

Australia

Australians use papaya ointment to soothe the skin after sunning, to reduce swelling in a wound and as a balm to moisturize the lips. They call it “pawpaw” and it has an endless amount of uses. It is among the most popular beauty products in the land of kangaroos, and it is the secret of Australian women and their beautiful and tight skin overall.

Mexico

Many Mexicans use bevel color for their cheeks and lips. With ancient Mayan and Aztec rituals, women found the coloring power of beetroot, carrots, and strawberries. They can also be used for coloring the cheeks and the color lasts all day. Sometime a little consideration is required, because especially with beetroot it is a very strong color and it may look excessive and even over-the-top. Also, wear it as a lipstick, it looks amazing!

Mignon Dunbar

7 Items You Should Pack When Going on a Family Cruise

It’s that time of year again when many of us begin to plan our next big summer vacation! Whether you’re taking a trip close to home, or venturing out into open waters, there are a few things that you should pack that will make your trip more enjoyable.

For those of you who are planning on going on your first (or second) cruise this summer with family and friends, this list of 7 items to pack is for especially you!

  1. Travel Documents

Bringing your travel documents seems like a no brainer right? Well, you’d be surprised how many times the simplest documents like your driver’s license or even your passport gets lost in the packing process. Along with your passport, other travel documents that you should bring along before embarkment include:

  • Cruise confirmation info
  • Airline tickets
  • Rental car confirmation
  • Hotel reservation details
  1. Medical Cards/Medication

Many of us forget to pack important medical insurance cards or even common cold medicines. Remember that even though you’re going on a nice vacation, illness can hit you at any time and it’s always best to be safe than sorry.

  1. Casual/Formal Clothing

The amount of clothing that you bring when going on a cruise will depend on the length of your trip. For starters traveling light will always be your best bet. Packing clothes that are both appropriate for family dinners and outings is always best. If you’re traveling with children, packing their clothing along with yours will eliminate any access bags or carry-ons on board.

  1. Comfortable Shoes

If you’re into high heels and fancy shoes you might want to rethink your shoe selection when packing for a cruise. You want to keep in mind that you’ll be onshore doing many activities that involve walking. Many places that you visit when going on a cruise will not have an Uber service to get you from place to place, even on vacation.

  1. Sunscreen

Getting sunburn is not a good way to remember your summer getaway, therefore, you might not want to forget this essential item!

  1. Cabin Organizer

If you’re sharing a cabin with 3+ people then bringing along a cabin organizer will be to your benefit. This can be used to store shoes, cameras, sunglasses and much more to free up space and clutter.

  1. Camera

What would a vacation be without the ability to capture every special moment? Many of us forget to bring a camera because we think our mobile phones will do the trick. On your next cruise, invest in a sturdy camera that is preferably waterproof so that you can take pictures even in watery conditions.

 

For more related articles on travel visit my personal blog here.

 

5 Things You Need to Know Before Your Next Big Trip

Whether you’re traveling to Spain for the summer with friends, or taking a road trip with your family around neighboring states, there are some things that all travelers need to know before their next excursion.

Here is a list of five things that I wish I would have known before I took my first trip. Enjoy

1. Dress like the locals (blend-in)

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Dressing like everyone else once you visit a new location is something that I definitely wish I would have known before I took my first trip. Nothing is worse than sticking out like a sore thumb in outdated fashion trends. Take it from me, when traveling it’s best to blend in, especially for safety purposes.

2. Eat where the locals eat

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If you’re going to travel to a new destination, why not try new foods while you’re at it! For starters this is a great way to test out your palate and to see what the locals like to eat, as well as getting a chance to see the town for yourself from a different point of view.

My blog on “The 5 Best Food Cities in America” is a great place to start when planning on where to eat next during your next vacation.

3. Take lots of pictures (No selfies allowed)

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I’m guilty of going to new places and only taking pictures of myself or background scenery. Instead of doing this, try taking pictures of actual monuments or stable pieces.

This will come in handy when creating a photo album of all your past adventures and beyond. You’ll thank me for it later.

4 Pack lightly, and bring extra cash

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This is a two part rule that I should have followed the first time I traveled. For starters I packed way too many things and I brought too many things back with me as well.

Talk about double trouble! When traveling for the first time, you want to only bring items that you actually need and will use. There’s no use of carrying around a heavy suitcase if you don’t have too.

5. Learn to Relax (Do not Disturb)

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Need I say more? When you’re on vacation enjoy it! Don’t dwell on those reports that need to be submitted when you get back. Turn your phone off and enjoy the scenic area with family and friends.

If you’re interested in more blogs similar to this one, read my blog on “What You Need To See In San Francisco”.

 

The 5 Best Food Cities In America

The food scene in America is incredibly diverse, a true reflection of the people that inhabit this country.While there are so many cities that put a unique spin on food and have their own distinct taste, there are a few cities that stand above the rest. I bring you the five best food cities in America.

San Francisco, California

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San Francisco has a diverse food scene, complete with both established and up-and-coming restaurants. There is no other city in the United States that obsesses more about food, whether it involves buying it, cooking it, eating it, or talking about it. Some of the common trends of the restaurants here include open kitchens and communal tables. For those who enjoy cooking for themselves, San Francisco offers easy access to fresh-grown everything. If you make it to the Bay Area, you need to make the effort to check out Berkeley’s Chez Panisse.

Portland, Oregon

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Mix fresh, local ingredients with a colorful community of inventive chefs, and you will find the dynamic restaurant scene of Portland. The recipes and dishes in this one-of-a-kind city, cannot be recreated anywhere else. There are a lot of quirks to this city, in terms of both its community and food selection, making it truly an unforgettable place. From the stellar breakfasts, that draw long lines even during the week, to the first-class markets, you will not be disappointed by anywhere you go.

Los Angeles, California

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The food scene in Los Angeles is about as diverse as they come. If there is a part of the world that you would like to taste, you will definitely find it in Los Angeles. People who appreciate the food of their heritage will be pleased to find that restaurants do not have to simplify their cooking for anyone. But at the same time, restaurant goers must all be open to mash-ups of different styles, which put a unique twist on some classic favorites. Similar to Portland, fine dining here is more on the relaxed side.

New Orleans, Louisiana

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While walking throughout New Orleans, there are two things that you will not be able to avoid: Joie de vivre and tradition. The people here love their city, and those who visit can’t help but fall in love as well. The city has its own unique cuisine that is always ready to adopt fresh ideas. But the signature dish, red beans, and rice. You will also not find another city that enjoys their liquids as much as New Orleans.

Charleston, South Carolina

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This is the smallest city on the list, but it definitely packs a punch. You will find a great mix of the city’s rich past and some of the latest food fashions. Charleston is home to ace chef Sean Brock, head of the fan-favorite, Husk, who has been an advocate of the farm-to-table style for years. Although it lacks the diversity of culinary representation that is common in some larger cities, Charleston offers a unique charm, unparalleled service, and mouth-watering food.

What You Need To See In San Francisco

San Francisco may be pretty small city geographically, but its attractions and amenities are some of the biggest and best in the world. Packed into these 49 square mile area, you will find architectural wonders, a great history, amazing food, and even better people. Here is a list of the 8 best things San Francisco has to offer visitors.

1) Walk Over The Golden Gate Bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge is the most famous bridge in the world. Spanning 1.7 miles, this bridge will leave you absolutely speechless. Once you witness this architectural marvel for yourself, you will understand why it is one of the most photographed things on earth. There are approximately 120,000 automobiles that drive across this bridge every day. You can also travel across the bridge by foot and bikes as well.

2) Ride A Cable Car

The cable cars in San Francisco have been transporting people around the city since the late 19th century. The cars run on tracks are are moved on underground cables on three different routes that are in operation. Their familiar bells can be heard ringing from blocks away, warning pedestrians of their presence. At the turnarounds at the end of the route, you can purchase a ticket to ride the cars. A trip on the cable car offers spectacular views of the cities celebrated hills.

3) Visit Alcatraz

The notorious former prison, Alcatraz, is located on an island right in the middle of San Francisco Bay. Some of the United States’ worst criminals were incarcerated in this prison. The prison was closed in the 1960s and it is now open to the public for tours. The stories about Alcatraz are legendary; it is definitely worth taking a tour of the cell-house to learn all about the history of this prison.

4) See the Sea Lions

Fisherman’s Wharf, a lively waterfront marketplace is home to some of the city’s most popular attractions: San Francisco Dungeon, Madame Tussauds, and the famous crab vendors. But there is also some cool wildlife as well. While taking a walk along the PIER 39 Marina, you will be sure to find groups of sea lions relaxing and having fun.

5) Explore North Beach

North Beach is the city’s Italian quarter; it is not actually a beach at all. The neighborhood is lined with romantic European-style sidewalk cafes, restaurants and shops. You will also find the spectacular Church of Saints Peter and Paul. Coit Tower atop Telegraph Hill is a great vantage point for photos of the bridges and the Bay as well.

6) Walk Through The Oldest Chinatown

The entrance to Chinatown at Grant Avenue and Bush Street is known as “Dragon’s Gate.” Inside you will find 24 blocks of non-stop action taking place, most of what takes place on Grant Avenue, the oldest street in the city. You will find exotic shops, delicious restaurants, food markets, temples, and small museums throughout the neighborhood.

7) Dine At World-Class Restaurants

Dining in San Francisco will probably be the best attraction for many of the cities visitors. San Francisco is known as one of America’s best restaurant cities. The chefs do an amazing job of combining the freshest local ingredients with authentic international flavors. You will find basically every cuisine imaginable: Chinese, Japanese, French, Italian, Spanish, Moroccan, Indian, Malaysian, Mexican, Greek, Russian or “fusion.”

8) Soak In The Culture

San Francisco is home to internationally recognized symphony, opera and ballet companies. It is very common for playwrights to introduce their works in San Francisco. You will also find a number of great museums, include The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (closed until early 2016), the Asian Art Museum, the de Young Museum, the Legion of Honor, as well as other museums and galleries that are devoted to the finest of classical and contemporary arts. Furthermore, the city is home to the California Academy of Sciences – the only place on the planet with an aquarium, a planetarium, a natural history museum, and a four-story rainforest all under one roof.

Information courtesy of: San Francisco Travel

Top 10 Places To Bring In The New Year

New Year’s is an event celebrated by everyone around the world. But where are the best places to be when the clock strikes midnight? The cities below offer up a variety of New Year’s activities, from epic fireworks displays to all-night parties to one-of-a-kind cultural traditions. If you are looking to bring in the New Year in the most exciting way possible, consider heading to one of these ten cities.

1) New York City

New Year’s Eve in New York City has an atmosphere unlike that of any other city in the world. The most well-known event, is the annual gathering of a million people in Times Square to see famous musicians and the ball drop, in which a 12-foot-wide crystal ball weighing nearly 12,000 pounds descends atop One Times Square. For those looking to avoid the crowds, consider checking out one of the bars or restaurants overlooking Times Square. THe nighttime boat ride on New York Harbor is also an amazing time , offering the best views of the midnight fireworks display on Liberty Island.

2) Rio De Janeiro

The ironic Copacabana Beach hosts the world’s largest (and arguably wildest) New Year’s Eve party. You will find more than two million people crammed onto the two-and-a-half-mile stretch of sand. Known as Réveillon, this uniquely Brazilian celebration that blends religious, traditional, and superstitious beliefs. The locals dress head to toe in white, as it is believed to bring good luck, and toss handfuls of flowers into the ocean as a gift to Yemanjá, goddess of the seas. The celebration also features a large oceanfront stage for live musical and dance performances as well as a colorful fireworks display at midnight.

3) Sydney

Sydney puts on one of the best New Year’s Eve celebrations in the world. Due to its location, Sydney is the first major city to see its block strike midnight. The city also puts on one of the largest fireworks displays in the world, with one taking place at 9pm and another at midnight. The iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House make for a truly spectacular atmosphere.

4) Edinburgh

The celebrations in Edinburgh kick off well before the clock strikes midnight. The annual festivities actually last three days, beginning on December 30 with a torchlight procession through the city that culminates in a fireworks finale. New Year’s Eve is all about the massive street parties and outdoor concerts. At midnight, 4.5 tons of fireworks explode over Edinburgh Castle while the streets ring out with revelers singing “Auld Lang Syne.”

5) London

Londoners ring in the New Year surrounding the chiming of Big Ben at midnight. More than 250,000 people crowd the banks of the THames and its numerous bridges to see the spectacular ten-minute lightshow and fireworks display. There are many after-parties to finish the night, and on New Year’s Day the streets of central London see a parade that features colorful floats, marching bands, costumed dancers, and a procession of the Queen’s horses.

6) Hong Kong

Hong Kong boasts one of the most dramatic skylines in the world, which lights up every year with a display of fireworks that grows more impressive year after year. The dazzling finale concludes with a pyrotechnic dragon that dances across the sky. The events kick off in Hong Kong’s TIme Square shopping mall, where a ball drop takes place in homage to New York City’s famous festivities. You will see many savvy locals partying on boats, rooftop terraces or at the Avenue of Stars in Tsim Tsa Shui for the best views of the dazzling light show.

7) Berlin

With the reputation of a year-round party city, you can only imagine what the New Year’s celebrations are like in Berlin. The centerpiece of the celebration is “Party Mile,” a two-kilometer stretch of bars, international food stalls, laser shows, video screens, party tents, and music stages. Once the fireworks display ends at midnight, the crowds all head to the city’s main dance floors, where they stay out till dawn or later.

8) Las Vegas

The Party Capital takes on a different atmosphere to bring in the New Year. The Strip becomes car-free and transforms into a giant street party with live bands, pyrotechnic displays, and laser shows. There is no shortage of entertainment in Vegas, with a variety of concerts, shows, clubs, and casinos to keep you going all night long.

9) New Orleans

Although it may not be Mardi Gras, New Year’s in New Orleans is an equally fun option. The main event is an exciting 15-minute fireworks show on the Mississippi River, along with the Fleur de Lis drop, where you will see “Baby New Year’ dropped from the roof of the Jax Brewery in Jackson Square. But the night does not end here, after all, you are in New Orleans. Visitors and locals then flock to Bourbon Street and the Latin Quarter, where the music booms from bars and nightclubs.

10) Paris

The City of Light is just that and then some on New Year’s Eve, when the Eiffel Tower becomes the site of a spectacular lightshow and fireworks display. Located only a short distance away, you will find people in the Nouvelle Année on the Champs-Élysées, which hosts a massive street party. You will be sure to find people popping bottles of Champagne and exchanging papillotes (chocolates wrapped sparkly paper that crackles like a firecracker when opened).

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