Thursday, March 26, 2015

Top Travel Destinations of 2015!

Every year TripAdvisor picks their top travel destinations.  What do you think of these Top 10? Been to any?  What are your "must-sees" to add to this list?

Morocco is known for its walled "Old cities" or "Medina"
1) Marrakech, Morocco
2) Siem Reap, Cambodia
3) Istanbul, Turkey
4) Hanoi, Vietnam
5) Prague, Czech Republic
6) London, England
7) Rome, Italy
8) Buenos Aires, Argentina
9) Paris, France
10) Cape Town, South Africa
Rome continues to impress, with art and history galore!

Paris is synonymous with the Eiffel Tower!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

A Whale of a Good Time

Whale watching isn't enough for some people anymore,
swimming with whales is becoming popular.
As more and more people travel to far flung places across the globe, the stories tourists bring back seem to get more and more extreme! Living in Northern California, I've been whale watching, which in itself is a common tourist attraction. And, a lot of fun I might add! But what I realized is people are no longer just satisfied searching for whales from above the water, rather an adventure people are now participating in is "swimming" up close to wild whales!

These types of extreme activities extend to rock climbing in National Parks, cage diving with great white sharks in South Africa and Bungee Jumping from the tallest buildings (and mountain tops) in New Zealand! What is the most adventurous thing you've done while traveling?

Adventure seekers flee to Queenstown, New Zealand,
where you can bungee jump from the original bridge where it all started!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

St. Patrick's Day in the USA

St. Patrick's Day is celebrated not only in Ireland, but all around the world.  Why is it such a big deal in the USA?  Likely because there are ~36 million Americans that claim that their primary ancestry is Irish.  Here are some famous celebrations that take place in the US!

Savannah dyes their fountains green in celebration of St. Patrick's Day!
(Photo from
Boston, Massachusetts - Considered the oldest of them all, the celebration in Boston dates back to 1737, when a group of Irish immigrants gathered to celebrate their homeland.

NYC, New York - Starting shortly after the Boston celebrations, the first observance of St. Patrick's day dates to 1762, with a parade starting in 1848 that is still one of the largest in the country.

Atlanta's Parade is one of the country's oldest!
(Photo from
Savannah, Georgia - St. Patrick's day is taken seriously in this town, with the parade taking place on March 17th itself, instead of the weekend before.  But, in addition to the parade, the city celebrates with a whole week of festivities leading up to the big day. Including dying all the city's fountains green.

Chicago River dyed green for St. Patrick's Day Celebrations!
(Photo from
Atlanta, Georgia - Dating back to 1858, the parade in this southern city is one of our country's oldest. Full of music and dancing, this parade has grown vastly from the initial few hundred Irishmen that participated!

Chicago, Illinois - This year marks the 60th anniversary of the city's parade and over 40 years that the city dyes the Chicago River green to match the green hues found on the Emerald Isle.

San Francisco, California - Irish people from all around the bay area congregate in the city to celebrate the holiday with a parade, wearing green and drinking a Guinness. Not to be outdone by the older cities on the east coast, San Francisco has hosted a celebration since 1852.
San Francisco's Parade includes their famous cable cars!
(Photo from

What are your St. Patrick's Day plans? Leave a comment below!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Traveling with pets

I should preface this post by saying I don't currently have a pet, but have traveled with one in the past (see the cute beagle in the picture)! Man's best friend can bring joy to your life, but agony to your trip if you don't plan appropriately. First, if you're flying, make sure to check with your vet and determine what type of medicine and what dose to give your animal before take off.  (Often, they recommend a "trial run" with the medicine to see how the animal reacts.) Airlines that allow pets onboard or under the plane have a list of important information on their websites (as well as fees).

If you're going to be taking a road trip (or even traveling abroad), one great website is called This site allowing you to search pet friendly accommodations worldwide. It also has information on pet friendly restaurants and emergency services. Places are being more pet friendly, so bring your four legged family members along on the next trip!
Have recommendations?  Leave them in the comments section below!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


Talking with friends about upcoming trips, I've noticed a common theme - People have time off of work and a budget, but often don't know where to go! Reaching out to others for ideas, based on their personal experiences, is great. But, another option is to use Kayak's "Explore" tool.  It allows you to enter in the airport you'll be departing from and the month you want to go, as well as other factors including: weather, activities, and total travel time. It then provides you a map of plane ticket prices for destinations all around the world!

Kayak's "Explore" Tool lets you find vacation ideas based on airfare cost!

I'll sometimes use this online tool as a starting point for ideas, and then input my exact dates to find airfare and hotel prices.  (Even if airfare is reasonable, lodging prices can still break the budget!) One great cost-saving alternative for lodging is Airbnb. Here's a referral link for $25 off your first trip!

Hope this tool can help you with travel destination ideas and save you some money along the way!