Category Archives: Travel

Top 5 Negative Aspects of Visiting London

top-5-negative-aspects-of-visiting-london

Everyone wants to visit London because it has so many free attractions and a rich cultural background. Even if it’s day or night, there is something to do or some place to visit. But visiting London doesn’t have only bright sides, there are also negative aspects:

  1. It’s crowded

If you plan to visit London in a few days, you won’t have enough time to see as much as you’ve proposed. London is always crowded because it’s a modern capital with constantan activities, so it took me some time to walk around London. Needless to say that at rush hour, traveling by metro is really a challenge. It can be really uncomfortable for someone that is not familiar with the London metro system to use the tube while everybody is crowding. Moreover, we had to wait in a queue to make the Oyster Card,   to get the escalator, to go through the turnstile and finally we managed to exit. Besides, there are times when the subways are under constructions.

If you go out at rush hours, you may need to stand in line in order to enter in a pub or to a museum.

Also, the traffic is terrible. If you decide to get a taxi in order to arrive more rapidly somewhere, you need to know that in most of the cases you won’t get there faster. Taxis always get stuck in traffic and waiting in a car may ruin your day.

  1. It’s expensive

Travelling abroad can be expensive and if you plan a trip to London you need to manage well your budget. Although I’ve said that most of the attractions are free, you still need to find accommodation and to eat. Add to that the cost of transport and souvenirs, and you may spend a great amount of money on your trip. With that money you can visit maybe two cities, instead of one. But it’s your choice. If you really wish to visit London, then prepare yourself for the higher prices.

If you are on a budget, I recommend to stay in a hostel, but conditions aren’t the same as a hotel has. The prices for a hotel room are higher because London is on the list of most expensive places to live and work.

We’ve heard that a cinema ticket costs around 13 pounds and it’s not even for a 3D movie and beverages in a pub are around 5-6 pounds. If a cinema ticket and a beer costs this much, imagine how are the prices for other important things.

If you still want to visit London, I suggest that you search on the Internet for free attractions, low-cost accommodations and restaurant that serve food at affordable prices.

  1. The Londoners are impolite

And not friendly. If you like to socialize with strangers, don’t do it in London. If you are in the tube and want to start a conversation with an English person, they will consider this act a little bit strange.  Besides all of them are caught up in their phones or newspapers or are listening to music, so if you want to ask for directions, they will feel upset if you disturb them. Moreover, they don’t care about you and that’s really sad. If something happens to you on London’s streets like getting mugged or attacked, they will just pass by.

Also, the employees from the customer services don’t treat you with respect, as it should be. The waiters don’t great you or don’t smile when you enter in a restaurant. You may feel not welcomed when you see how people treat you here. And it’s not about just the waiters, it’s about all of the persons who provide public services. Speaking from my experience, if you want to attract new clients you should be able to at least smile. So, if you’re in London and someone treats you bad, don’t take it personally.

  1. Changeable weather

For me it’s annoying when the weather changes from one day to another. Besides, you have to pack sweaters and T-shirts for the same trip. You don’t know what to wear in order to feel comfortable. There were times, when in the morning was cold, but after a few hours it got sunny. Also, we weren’t pleased by the fact that we had to carry an umbrella with us all the time. It’s worst for a tourist to walk around London when it’s raining all the time.

  1. Scams

Unfortunately, a lot of street scams occur in London. We’ve heard about taxi drivers that sell drugs to young people. After you’ve bought from them, some people who pretend to be police will come to you and ask you to pay a great amount of money so they won’t have to arrest you.

If you see a magic show on the streets, don’t stay and watch. Probably, it’s a distraction. While someone is performing and you watch, another person will steal your valuables and you won’t even notice.

Also, on Marble Arch and Oxford Street are vendors that sell illegally fake brands perfumes, watches or clothes. You may be tempting by the lower prices, but don’t buy anything from them because the quality is poor. Even if you use their testers which are original, don’t be fooled because the product that you will get is fake.

Moreover, if someone offers to take a photo of you and your friend/partner don’t trust that person by giving him/her your camera or phone. In most of the cases, these “nice” persons will ask for money because they took pictures or they will run with your apparat.

Also, you should pay attention in all the crowded places because there most of the pickpockets find their targets. These thieves have developed techniques which they use in order to steal your belongingsand you will realize later on that something is missing.

London is definitely a spectacular city but it’s up to each person if they want to visit it or not. But, if you decide to do it, you can always book a London airport taxi in order to make your trip easier.

Beat Jet Lag Ideas

Jet lag can be a real downer, especially when you find yourself groggy and out-of-sync with the local culture. With a little preparation and self-discipline, you can ensure you arrive at your destination feeling refreshed and ready for your new adventure.

This post is written in partnership with REBBL, a company with variety of creamy and indulgent super herb elixirs, that are plant-powered, satiating and replenishing. We’ve shared our suggestions below on how REBBL drinks may help fight jet lag during your travels.

START WELL-RESTED

Lack of sleep in addition to time zone changes will almost always result in a lethargic first couple of days in your new travel destination. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you will sleep on the plane — it rarely ever happens! Skip any departure parties the night before so you can put your best foot forward right off the plane.

EAT & DRINK HEALTHY

Rule #1: Refrain from in-flight drinks. These may be tempting – especially if you’re trying to wind down and rest – but high altitudes can increase the effects of alcohol by 2-3 times. There’s no need to throw your body more off-balance than it already will be after you land.

Rule #2: Only drink caffeine on or before a flight if you are traveling west. Scientists have found that espresso before a flight traveling westward may actually combat jet lag, but will have the opposite effect when traveling east.

Maca Mocha is a great alternative to coffee during the days leading up to your trip as you run around picking up last minute items and prepare for your trip. It contains Maca root, which may help support healthy energy levels, stamina and endurance.

REBBL’s Reishi Chocolate might be a good option during your drive to the airport. Reishi is known to support and promote healthy immune function, liver detoxification and cardiovascular health. Knowing that the recirculated air in planes may facilitate the spread of viruses in an enclosed space, give your immune system a boost before your flight. Also, with longer flights resulting in more sedentary time in your seat, it may help support your body’s detoxification and circulation processes prior to take-off.

Rule #3: Do your best to eat healthy before and during your flight. You may not be offered the best selection of food on the plane, so pack a large meal to bring with you (just forgo any liquids or sauces!). Keep some homemade or healthy snacks on your carry-on as well – you don’t want to be tempted by airport fast food during layovers.

Rule #4: Make a small grocery store run once you arrive at your new destination to stock up on water and healthy snacks. Keeping healthy snacks and water on hand limits unhealthy food choices that inevitably occur when you’re body is starving. (To learn more about where to buy REBBL drinks during your travels

EXERCISE BEFORE & AFTER

Even if it’s just a quick walk in your new destination or a few yoga poses in your hotel room, a little stretching and exercise can go a long way. Getting a little workout in before your flight can relieve any stress or restlessness. Exercising afterwards is a great way to wear yourself out so you can get a good night’s rest.

While you should stretch your muscles and raise your heart rate before, during, and after your flight, there is an east-or-west rule of thumb that applies to exercise as well: morning workouts will be most beneficial to those flying east, while afternoon or evening workouts would be best for those traveling west.

ADJUST YOUR INTERNAL CLOCK

Adjusting your internal clock and sleep cycle is absolutely critical in minimizing jetlag. Melatonin is a natural alternative to prescription sleep aids that can help you fall asleep earlier in the night, so in the days before – and during – your trip use it to get your sleep schedule on par with your destination country’s.

It’s also recommended that you hold off eating during the latter half of your flight, and then enjoy a meal once arriving at the nearest mealtime. Remember, some countries may typically eat meals earlier or later than others, so try to adapt to the local meal schedule accordingly.

STAY HYDRATED

It’s well-known that recycled cabin air is very dehydrating and the WORST for your skin, so make sure to guzzle that water! Keeping lotion and moisturizing lip balm will help combat some of the dryness, but to feel your best you should be drinking about one 8 oz. glass of water every hour you’re awake during your flight. If you’re feeling daring, whip out an ultra-hydrating sheet mask and put it on before your in-flight nap; celebrities do it all the time, no one’s judging!

Lisbon’s riverside regeneration

Everyone in Lisbon says that, since Portugal’s great age of exploration, the city has looked far out to sea. It took a hand-written list of pratos de diaoutside a little restaurant on the Rua das Janelas Verdes – Street of Green Shutters – to add spice to that truism for me. Today’s specials? “Tandoori chicken €6.50, pork saag €6.50, chicken dansak €6.50, pork biryani €5.50”.

The pork dishes tell the story on a plate. In 1497, Vasco da Gama’s first expedition to the Malabar coast inaugurated Portugal’s brief heyday as a maritime superpower and began an affair with India (above all in Goa, Portuguese until 1961) that persists until now. António Costa, Portugal’s prime minister, comes from a part-Indian family that still has an ancestral house in the south Goan town of Margao.

Costa helped clear the path for the latest, and boldest, project to restore the links between the city’s hilly, labyrinthine old quarters and the waterfront that runs along the river Tagus to the sea. By the river at Belém, not far from the exuberant Jerónimos monastery built to celebrate Vasco da Gama’s return, the new Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology (MAAT) will open on 5 October with a 12-hour jamboree of exhibition launches, music and performance.

Visitors already besiege Belém (take the No 15 tram) to gasp at the show-off splendour of Jerónimos. Its outsize riot of late-Gothic decoration bears witness to the country’s short-lived burst of boundless confidence. Hordes also descend for a taste of the delicate pastel de nata (custard tart) served since 1837 at the prettily tiled Antiga Confeitaria de Belém. A takeaway queue always snakes outside this cult bakery, but after waiting in line you can find refuge nearby in the seldom-visited Jardim Botânico Tropical. Luxuriant and overgrown, this almost-secret garden, patrolled by lazily sauntering peacocks and wildfowl, gathers the trees and plants of Asia, Africa and the Americas.

If this riverside boasts an imperial heritage, it also has a gritty industrial past. The MAAT site lies next door to the Central Tejo, a hulking, handsome power plant-turned-exhibition space, already Lisbon’s answer to Tate Modern. Together, these twin centres will form a 38,000-square metre artistic “campus”. Central Tejo merits a visit in itself. In contrast to the Tate, its gargantuan turbines and pipes sit proudly intact within a red-brick cathedral of electricity.

Alongside, MAAT looks slinky and inviting on this lovely but long-neglected stretch of waterside. “It’s as though you just drift into the building,” says its British architect, Amanda Levete, chosen for the project after a string of high-profile commissions including the V&A expansion in London (due early next year) and the transformation of Galeries Lafayette in Paris. The museum’s 15,000 creamy, crackle-glazed ceramic tiles bounce sunlight off the river from its cantilevered frontage and down into the main galleries. The roof slopes up towards a broad terrace that rewards you with epic views both back towards the city, and out towards the ocean.

Container ships glide slowly under the 25 April Bridge – named the Salazer Bridge after the Portuguese dictator, until his overthrow on that date in 1974. For much of the 4km between the Cais do Sodré station and the flamboyant Belém Tower, hectic dual-carriageways, railways and tramlines conspire to sever city from river. MAAT will soon be connected to central Belém by a pedestrian bridge, providing a precious lifeline.

As with many European ports, Lisbon spent much of the late 20th century turning its back on the messy, and increasingly redundant, tangle of docks and wharves that had given it pomp and wealth. Now – as with Liverpool or Marseille, Bristol or Bilbao – culture and the leisure economy that partners it have driven the revival.

Back on the Rua das Janelas Verdes, the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga offers not only a rich miscellany of medieval and Renaissance masterworks – fromHieronymus Bosch and Albrecht Dürer to the unique St Vincent panels by Nuno Gonçalves – but a stylish garden café. Around here, in the neighbourhoods of Santos and Alcântara, briefly fashionable clubs and bars blazed a docklands trail for artists, designers and gallerists to come. Waterside chic still sprouts in patches. I wandered over waste lots behind the shells of half-demolished warehouses and came across a seedy bingo hall.

Yet the regeneration game gathers pace, and nowhere faster than at the LX Factory. In the shadow of the bridge, this barrack-like complex was built to house textile workshops in 1846. Now there’s a warren of new businesses, from design studios and courtyard cafés to the cavernous Ler Devagar (“Read Slowly”) bookshop. Housed in a former print works, with a bar inside, this temple to the arts shelves its eclectic stock high up into lofty rafters in a vast hall presided over by a flying-bicycle sculpture.

Compared to the studied cool of its post-industrial counterparts in Shoreditch, Barcelona or Berlin, the LX still has sacks of the offbeat, slightly reclusive, charm that old Lisbon made its trademark – and the renovated waterfront will surely retain. As the line from Leonard Cohen’s “Anthem”, emblazoned on a bar facade here, puts it: “There is a crack in everything… That’s how the light gets in.”

Plan a Vacation in Croatia Ideas

The concept of chartering a sailing yacht for spending a vacation on the sea is getting popular as more and more people are opting for this idea instead of traditional holiday travel. Chartering a yacht from a reputed and trustworthy company is important to ensure that you have a pleasant and comfortable sailing vacation in Croatia.

When you are planning a vacation with your complete family, you want to go somewhere where you will be able to relax and spend some quality time with your family without the distractions of your routine life. It is always better to visit a place which is away from the daily hustle bustle of routine life and where you will be able to enjoy the beauty of nature in its natural glory. Water always has a soothing and calming effect on our minds and therefore a trip where you will be able to able to be near the crystal blue ocean seems to be one of the best options for a family vacation.

If you are a fan of sailing then you can plan a vacation in Croatia bychartering a sailing yacht. This way you and your family will be able to enjoy your vacation where no one can disturb you with work related problems and you will be able to be connected if you wish to do so. This will give you an opportunity to bond with your family in a setting which is nothing but amazing. Chartering a yacht will offer you the flexibility of enjoying your vacation as per your wish.

Advantages of chartering a sailing yacht for your vacation:

  • The flexibility of enjoyment and stay for your vacation.
  • Complete privacy as only your family and the crew will be present on the yacht and no one else will be able to disturb you and your family.
  • As the yacht will be managed by experienced and trained crew, you will have nothing to do except enjoy and relax with crystal blue water around you.
  • As the yacht will be at your disposal for the prescribed period, you can plan your own route with the help of the skipper so that you will be able to visit places which are not covered in commercial routes.
  • You will be able to enjoy the comfort and luxury of your own home without having to do any of the chores as the crew members on the yacht will ensure that you stay is comfortable and enjoyable.
  • If you are anexpert in sailing then it is also possible for you to charter a yacht without the crew so that you will be able to enjoy sailing.

However, it is always suggested that you should opt for a skippered yacht so that you can just relax and enjoy the vacation in Croatia and your time with your loved ones.

Tips to Plan a European Vacation

Are you supposing how to plan a European vacation? Are you confounded and strained about how to go about it and where to start? At that point, the best alternative to plan your remarkable European vacations is to take the aid of a travel agent who will help you plan everything from your airplane booking to hotel booking to your touring plan. And all that you will have to do is relax and make the most of your vacation.

At the point when planning a European vacation, all the factors, for example, your European accommodation, transportation and nourishment ought to be considered. You can save some money by booking an all-comprehensive European vacation package. All comprehensive vacations incorporate the expense of meals, hotel, attractions, and transportation all in one cost.

Such an all-comprehensive European vacation helps your vacation to be all the more a pleasure and less inconvenience and at the same time it will also help you save some time and money. Consequently, just thinking how to plan a European vacation won’t assist rather contacting with a travel agent is a great idea and has several advantages. Pick locales that are on your must-see travel rundown, and plan your vacation around that.

The Different Destinations:

Verona, Milan and Venice look completely amazing in the season of early spring. All these three urban communities are situated in Northern Italy. In any case, before starting the journey read a few reviews with respect to when to visit Italy. The winter season of Italy is Balmy and fog in the month of December is regularly reported. Summers in Northern Europe are exceptionally humid. The Southern piece of Italy has not very many tourists in the month of September on account of its dry and hot weather. It is fitting not to visit Italy in July and august as the temperature ascends to forty degrees which turns out to be to a great degree uncomfortable for travelers. If you happen to visit the spot in summers then head towards the coastal regions. It will be an awesome getaway from burning heat.

Getting effective Results of planning:

You can appreciate skiing in the winters. In the Alps winters are similarly nippy and long than summers. The best time to visit italy is in harvest time season when the weather is tolerable. Amid August and July, you can savor the flavorful food of Rome on numerous shacks at the beach as the weather is exceptionally cool amid these months. You’ll likely as of now be acquainted with numerous pasta dishes, the considerable pizzas and the stunning ice creams. However, until you’ve tasted them in Italy, you don’t realize what you’ve been absent! This is a spot that really is fantastic. When you see it for the first occasion when, you’ll scarcely have the capacity to trust your eyes.

If you wish to spend your holidays in tuscany, then first thing to arrange is where to stay in tuscany. One of the factors you have to consider is the place where you will stay. This assumes a vital part as your picked place will deal with you after your entire trip on day time and on your possessions while you are out. Selecting where to stay in Tuscany comes in various perspectives yet every one of them will without a doubt give you advantages. Pick the best Tuscany settlement which is close to your objective site. Traveling must likewise be advantageous on your side. A Tuscany villa vacation has such a great amount to offer the tourist in the method for adaptability and adaptability and in addition independence with their vacation.

Tips to Keep Your Mobile Devices Secure While Traveling

Cybersecurity is more important now than ever before.  We all know the importance of purchasing travel insurance to protect our valuables and take care of medical expenses, but what our online security? As frequent travelers, keeping our online information safe while traveling is a huge concern for us.

Here’s how to keep your personal, family, and business files and information safe while you’re away from home. No need to worry about hackers breaching your electronics again!

USE A VIRTUAL PRIVATE NETWORK (VPN).

Using a VPN while traveling is our number one tip for keeping your information safe! Bitdefender BOX protects EVERY device connected to your home internet (computers, phones, TV’s, game consoles, home security systems), but it even protects you while you’re away from home. It is the first and only such device of its kind to be announced and available in the market and has been described by The Wall Street Journal as a “breakthrough idea” and by FOX News as “the best way to prevent future digital break-ins.”

Bitdefender BOX encrypts and secures all information coming and going from your personal devices at your home and while you’re on the go so you can safely go online anywhere. Many countries censor what is available online to the public and block certain websites, but a VPN will allow you to access such sites anonymously. Virtual privacy and protection plays an important role in keeping your devices safe, and is absolutely a must-have for travelers. (Note: Bitdefender BOX is available for purchase at $99 for a limited time — a value of $199.)

USE STRONG PASSWORDS.

This should go without saying, but don’t use the same password for all of your accounts. You should have a complicated password not only on your phone, computer, and tablets, but on any sensitive files or information on these devices as well. Rather than writing down usernames and passwords on a piece of paper (which can easily be lost or obtained by pickpockets), create a password-protected computer document organizing all of your sensitive account login information.

AVOID OPEN PUBLIC WIRELESS NETWORKS.

Public wifi spots like coffee shops and hotels may offer authentic wifi with passwords, but hackers will sometimes create a second wifi with nearly the exact same name with open availability – no password required. Don’t take the easy way out! Ask an employee of the wifi provider to verify the exact wifi name and password, or use your own private mobile hotspot on your phone.

Using your private mobile hotspot (a feature available on nearly all smartphones) protected by Bitdefender BOX, you’ll have virtually no connection to any outside sources or networks. This is without a doubt the safest way to surf the web with peace of mind.

URLS BEGINNING WITH ‘HTTPS:’ ARE SAFER THAN STANDARD ‘HTTP:’ WEBSITES.

If you end up needing to make online transactions or purchases while on your travels, only enter credit card information on sites including an ‘s’ (for ‘secure’). If the website allows, use a third party money transfer account for added security.

TURN OFF COOKIES AND AUTOFILL.

Autofill is any hacker’s heaven, with a wealth of personal information at their fingertips. Turn off autofill and cookies on all of your devices before setting off on your trip.

CHECK ON THE LEGALITY OF ENCRYPTION.

Some countries – like Russia, China and the Middle East – prohibit the use of encrypted devices to prevent terrorist activity, so know the rules before embarking on your trip. Because countries like these are especially vulnerable to online threats, it’s crucial that you use your own virtual private network like Bitdefender BOX to keep your electronics and information safe.

GIVEAWAY! WIN A BITDEFENDER BOX!

Enter for a chance to win 1 of 5 Bitdefender BOX devices! See below for complete details:

  • Limit of one (1) Entry per person daily.
  • Each winner will receive one (1) prize package consisting of a Bitdefender BOX device. Approximate Retail Value (“ARV”) of the prize package is $199.
  • All entries must be received by 11:59 p.m. ET on August 18, 2016.
  • Promotion is open to legal residents of the fifty (50) United States and the District of Columbia, 21 years of age or older, where such Promotions are allowed by the laws of this territory. By entering the Promotion, you accept sole responsibility for determining whether your participation is legal in any jurisdiction that applies to you.

Tips to San Francisco in a Weekend

San Francisco — the easiest city to love and the hardest to leave. Its vintage charm is enough to capture the hearts of travelers from all over the world, but this “City by the Bay” has so much more to offer than just cool weather and the Golden Gate! After just one visit, foodies, fashionistas, and culture enthusiasts alike will realize why San Francisco is arguably one of the greatest cities in the U.S.

TRANSPORTATION

UBER EVERYWHERE. Just kidding, that gets expensive.

SF is infamous for its cable cars so definitely ride one if you get the chance! Fare is $7 for a single ride, and stops at popular areas like Fisherman’s Wharf, Market Street, Union Square, Ghiradelli Square, and the Financial District. There are 3 cable cars that each take different routes through the city so make sure you’re getting on the right one – they’re color coded (see the routes and color codes here).

Although traffic can be frustrating, driving may be more practical and convenient so be smart about it. Search online to find a parking garage near your destination ahead of time, or download the app VoicePark to find street or garage parking anywhere in the city; most street parking is limited to 2 hours so this app will allow you to choose a longer time allowance and will find a parking spot accordingly.

Thankfully, parking garage rates are much cheaper on the weekends in comparison to weekday rates so you’re in luck! BART is also popular, and on Saturdays and Sundays you can park your car at the S. San Francisco station for free.

WHERE TO EAT

SF is a melting pot of good food, so here’s the best of a little bit of everything:

Ike’s Place: The most incredible vegan/vegetarian sandwich you’ll ever eat, not to mention the meat sandwiches are loaded with more toppings than you could imagine. Best $10 I’ve ever spent.

Pica Pica: Venezuelan cuisine, featured on Food Network!

Boudin: The classic SF sourdough bakery – opt for the clam chowder or tomato soup bread bowls.

Eats: A cute and cozy breakfast/lunch spot that’s easy on your wallet.

Brenda’s Meat and Three: A true San Francisco spin on homestyle southern food – their fried veggie po’ boy sandwich is to DIE for.

The Grove: Fresh and locally produced seasonal veggies for awesome soups, salads, and sandwiches.

Elite Audio Coffee Bar: Two words: Latte. Art. Go in between 12-4pm on Saturdays and get amazing latte art by the locally-famous Melanie Aquino!

Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market: On Saturday’s from 8am-2pm you can stroll the Farmer’s Market off Embarcadero and stop in one of the many cafés and eateries. Cowgirl Creamery Sidekick is on the top of my list because they load everything with cheese.

WHERE TO STAY

Hostels are always a go-to for young travelers trying to cut back on trip expenditures, but now that Airbnb is becoming more popular (you can even rent out one of the Painted Ladies!) there are plenty of budget-friendly options.

If you want some classic San Francisco charm on a budget, try the San Remo Hotel; it has authentic Victorian décor, a gorgeous view of Coit Tower, and is within walking distance of the Wharf – all for a cool $100.

Coming with friends? The funky Phoenix Hotel is worth a bit of splurge, and has the trendy rock-n-roll themed restaurant with poolside seating. This place has some killer potential for Instagram-worthy shots!

BARS AND CLUBS

Alcohol is top priority, and San Francisco’s got plenty of it. Whether you like low-key lounges or upbeat dance clubs, you’ll have a variety of places to choose from.

Upcider: Get a flight of ciders and try out different variations! Great place to get food as well. Polk St. is known for its bar hopping scene, so make this one of your stops earlier on in the night. Stop by the dive bar Vertigo next door for music and a good selection of beer.

The Alchemist: Lively lounge in SoMa – skip your “usual” drink and order one of their specialty drinks!

Monarch: Bar and lounge upstairs, live music or DJ downstairs.

Temple Nightclub: Sign up for the guest list online for free admission! Ruby Skye is another nightclub with a similar vibe.

Doc’s Lab: Intimate live music venue. Because it’s small, the place fills up quick! Come (1+ hour) early, get a drink upstairs, and then get in line to enter about 10 minutes before the show starts.

Infusion Lounge: Fun place to dance, moderately priced drinks. Sign up for their guest list online and get $10 off your cover charge!

Slate: Cool bar to meet people, grab a drink, and play a game of pool.

WHERE TO SHOP

Union Square is a shopaholic’s paradise, with a 7-story mall and every designer and department store you could think of. For me, though, nothing beats the Haight-Ashbury; the funky boutiques are surprisingly well-priced, and the numerous consignment stores offer up trendy clothes at a fraction of the cost. For those with mixed taste, hit up Polk St. – Nob Hill’s vintage, modern, and pre-owned high end buys are hard to beat, especially for those who are suckers for designer labels!

ATTRACTIONS

Although there are literally hundreds of awesome attractions scattered around the city, I’ve narrowed the list down to my personal favorites:

Golden Gate Bridge: Ahh, the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. For you photography buffs, I’ve found the best views are from Presidio Park, Fort Point, and Battery Spencer. Both ends of the bridge have great hiking spots!

Fisherman’s Wharf: A bit touristy, but a necessity nonetheless.

Ghiradelli Square: The Square itself is beautiful and has great views of the port, but the chocolate and ice cream treats at Ghiradelli are what you really should be paying attention to. Walk down to the park afterwards and enjoy the artists and street vendors!

Ocean Beach: Dog-friendly beach popular with the young crowd, with stunning sunset views. Picnic dinners with a bonfire are a MUST!

Alcatraz: Yes, it’s as creepy and fascinating as it sounds.

Muir Woods: The ‘wildly’ famous redwood park on the northern end of the Golden Gate Bridge. Admission is $10 and parking is EXTREMELY hard to come by, so get there right at 8am when it opens!

SFMOMA: The newly reopened Museum of Modern Art, with gorgeous architecture and the Living Wall – an outdoor exhibit made of nearly 20,000 plants.

Japantown: You’ve seen the Chinatowns of every major city out there, but have you ever come across a Japantown? Check out the indoor shopping malls, Japanese treats, and the Kinokuniya Bookstore for a taste of real Japanese culture.

Golden Gate Park: Larger than NYC’s Central Park, the Golden Gate Park is home to the de Young Museum, California Academy of Sciences, and – my personal favorite – the Japanese Tea Garden.

Twin Peaks: Drive to the top of Twin Peaks above the Castro District to get my favorite view of all of San Francisco! Go at sunset for the best clarity and photos, or at night to get an awesome shot of the city lights. Although people come and go, Twin Peaks is a quiet place to relax for a few minutes away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Don’t forget, there are festivals and events around the city EVERY single weekend so scan Facebook to see what’s going on! Whether it’s the infamous Pride Parade, the crazy Bay to Breakers 12K, or a spontaneous food truck mac n’ cheese competition, you can bet that there’s never a dull moment in SF.

PACKING ESSENTIALS FOR SAN FRANCISCO

Checklist-IconLayers: One thing is for certain, San Francisco weather is unpredictable. Always bring layers and a warm, windproof outer layer, even in the summer. This packable jacket is perfect.

Checklist-IconHat: A trucker hat works great for those windy days — especially at the top of Twin Peaks — and a beanie is a must in the colder months.

Checklist-IconComfortable Shoes: You’ll be doing a ton of walking. I usually bring a pair of Chucks or cute ballet flats with plenty of cushion.

Checklist-IconSunnies: Just in case the sun decides to come out! Plus, you’ll fit right in with a pair of aviators.

Checklist-IconDaypack: You’ll need something to carry all those layers, souveniers, and camera gear. Ladies, if you don’t want to carry around a small backpack, this oversized purse is comfortable and it fits everything I need for a day out in the city.

Things You Should Never Forget Before a Trip Ideas

Over-packing can be heavy and costly, but there’s no doubt that under-packing can sometimes leave us worried we’ve forgotten something. Leave the anxiety at home with our list of five important things to always remember before a trip!

 

CHECK VISA & VACCINATION REQUIREMENTS

Every country has different tourist visa and vaccination requirements, so make sure you abide by the guidelines and meet requirements well in advance. This user-friendly interactive guide is helpful in starting your research to ensure you are well prepared. Health updates regarding country-specific illnesses – like the current Zika virus outbreak – should also be monitored regularly.

GET TRAVEL INSURANCE

Travel insurance can cover the cost of lost or stolen personal items, trip cancellations, and even medical emergencies – this can prove to be beneficial in the event of an unplanned disruption of your trip. Just as you insure your home, car, and even your phone, make sure to insure your trip to avoid costly penalties! Different insurances cater to specific needs to travelers (low-cost, medical, international travel) so choose one than fits your travel style and budget.

MAKE COPIES OF IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS

Although nearly everything is sent via email or saved on a back-up drive now, it’s important to realize the value of hard copies. Should your travel documents be lost or stolen, it’s critical to have them saved elsewhere. Keep a folder of these documents on you at all times (in your purse or carry-on) while traveling, and email them to yourself before your trip for added precaution.

  • Passport (Identification page with photo.)
  • Visa
  • Travel Insurance
  • Driver’s License
  • Credit Cards (front and back.)
  • Travel Itinerary
  • Airline Tickets
  • Reservation Confirmations (hotel, rental car, cruise tickets, etc.)
  • Vaccination Certificates

BOOK ACCOMMODATION

It may be tempting to be spontaneous and book your hotel rooms or lodging on a whim, but it’s not usually something I recommend. Events like holidays and festivals can be a nightmare if you don’t already have accommodation booked.

Don’t be stuck with the leftover, low grade rooms and instead book at least a month in advance. Hotel staff insiders even admit that those who book through their website or over the phone usually get better rooms than those who book last minute or through other online booking sites. Be sure to read online reviews, and beware of additional charges like parking, cleaning, and pool/spa fees.

 

HAVE A WELL PACKED CARRY-ON

In addition to your travel documents (and copies), you’ll want to have some basic essentials within arm’s reach:

Headphones: Thin hotel walls and noisy plane passengers are inevitable, so come prepared and pack a pair of headphones that can easily plug into your phone or iPod.

Dramamine Non-Drowsy Naturals: Better than any generic ginger chews on the market, Dramamine Non-Drowsy Naturals contains the clinically-tested ginger dosage required for preventing and treating motion sickness common on planes, boats, and windy drives.

Scott and I both suffer from motion sickness on rocky boats and flights, but we’re hesitant to take something that is going to make us drowsy. I tried these Non-Drowsy Naturals on a recent trip to Kauai –during a zodiac tour of the notoriously choppy Na Pali coast as well as a bumpy helicopter ride — and I did not feel a hint of nausea! These are our new go-to motion sickness pills and it’s something I will not leave home without.

Hand Sanitizer: Don’t overestimate your immune system; the last thing you want on your vacation is to catch a cold. Hand sanitizer, or antibacterial hand wipes, should be compact and easy to stash in your carry-on.

Power Converter: One of the most important things travelers often forget to bring on international trips is a power converter. Check online to see which converter you’ll need for the country you are visiting. I always bring at least two because I have so many electronics to charge.

Reusable Water Bottle: Leave it empty as you pass through security in the airport, of course, but carrying a water bottle with a filter attached will save you money regardless of where you fly! No more shelling out money for bottled water or worrying about catching an illness internationally.

How to See Kauai’s Na Pali Coast

Have you dreamed of visiting the Garden Isle of Hawaii? Kauai is home to stunning natural wonders including Waimea Canyon, Hanalei Bay and Wai’ale’ale Crater, but no visit to Kauai is complete without visiting the majestic 17-mile stretch of the Na Pali Coast.

You have three options when visiting the Na Pali Coast — hiking, helicopter tour and boat ride. I’ll go over each of these options below, but if you only have time for one of these activities while visiting Kauai, book a helicopter flight!

HELICOPTER TOUR

By far, the best way to view the Na Pali Coast is by Helicopter because most of the areas are inaccessible by land or sea. I booked a flight with Blue Hawaiian Helicopters — the same company we used for a helicopter tour of Maui — and from start to finish, the service was top notch.

If you plan to take any photos, Blue Hawaiian’s pilots fly on the left of the aircraft which means there’s more seating for the best views of the Na Pali Coast. All of the helicopter tours fly from the south, up the coast, so you’ll want to be on the right side of the aircraft and most of Blue Hawaiian’s passenger seats are on this side. I also highly recommend requesting Shay as your pilot!

Blue Hawaiian also provides black shirts to every guest (as a courtesy) because black reduces glare on the windows. I’ve been on flights where the other passengers are wearing white or detailed print clothing — which means their clothing choices are affecting everyone’s photos.

BOAT TOUR

I’ve been on two boat tours of the Na Pali Coast. The first was on a large Catamaran with Blue Dolphin Charters. The weather did not cooperate on this particular trip in June, so many of the passengers got seasick. I have to say, the staff was amazing catering to everyone’s needs — running around, feeding everyone saltines and Ginger Ale, but if you do get seasick, take Dramamine!

My second boating experience along this coast was during the last week of August and the weather was absolutely perfect. I booked a zodiac tour with Holo Holo Charters. The zodiac tours provide a closer look at the caves along the cliffs, but I would not want to be in a zodiac on a choppy day.

Both of the above tours go to the same snorkeling spot along this coast. If you are looking for the best snorkeling on the island, this is not the trip to book. For snorkeling, I recommend Poipu Beach or Tunnels.

HIKING

You can hike in some areas of the Na Pali Coast — depending on the weather — but the hikes are not for the faint of heart. This side of Kauai is extremely wet, which results in muddy and slippery conditions along the edges of the towering cliffs. If you do hike the Na Pali Coast, please come prepared with walking sticks and plenty of food and water and check the weather beforehand!

We hiked a section of the Kalalau Trail (an 11-mile trail that leads from Ke’e Beach to Kalalau Beach) and were advised by a ranger to turn around after 2-miles due to flash flood warnings. The day before we arrived, hikers ignored these advisories and were forced to spend the night along the trail because the water level was too high to pass on their return trip.

HOW TO PACK FOR THE NA PALI COAST

Whether you’re hiking or taking a tour along this strip of coastline, there’s a few things you won’t want to forget.

Checklist-IconTrekking Poles: If you plan to do any hiking, bring foldable hiking sticks! Many of our fellow hikers wished they had walking sticks to keep them from falling in the mud and assisting with the river crossings.

Checklist-IconDramamine: Definitely bring this for any of the boat rides along the Na Pali Coast and you may even want to take one before your helicopter flight; it can get bumpy. Dramamine has a Non-Drowsy version that we bring on all of our trips.

Checklist-IconDark Clothing: Wear dark, solid clothing on the helicopter flight — preferably black.

Checklist-IconRain Gear: Let me just say, plan for rain on the Na Pali Coast. Bring a poncho or, even better, a light rain coat.

Checklist-IconHiking Shoes: I forgot my hiking shoes on my first trip to Kauai and my running shoes were completely ruined after hiking the Na Pali Coast. Hiking shoes with ankle support are even better.

Checklist-IconGo Pro: Your camera gear will likely get wet, whether you are hiking or taking a boat tour of the coast. I got soaked on both boat tours of the Na Pali Coast. If you take the zodiac tour with Holo Holo Charters, they will take you underneath waterfalls, so don’t plan on bringing any non-waterproof camera gear! We bring our Go Pro Hero 4 and a selfie stick on all of our adventures. (See our complete travel camera buying guide here.)

Checklist-IconDaypack: We were so happy to have our hiking daypack with attached rainfly. It rained for almost three hours straight during our hike and everything except my camera gear was thoroughly soaked.

Tips to Trip In Hawai

Hawaii is on nearly everyone’s travel bucket list, but every island has different, unique attractions. Not sure how to decide? Check out our favorite places throughout the islands and start planning your trip. Aloha!

BLACK ROCK ON KA’ANAPALI BEACH (MAUI)

If you’re a fan of anything fun, you need to go to Black Rock. Cliff diving, scuba, and snorkeling with tropical fish are just the beginning – sea turtles are usually spotted here and the stunning scenery is a photographers paradise. Every night the Sheraton Hotelhas a symbolic torch lighting/diving ceremony that symbolizes the site’s ancient legend that spirits jump off these rocks as a final passing. The torches at sunset are gorgeous, so make this a full day excursion.

WAIPIʻO VALLEY (HAWAII, THE BIG ISLAND)

Home of Hawaii’s tallest waterfall, the secluded Waipiʻo Valley is full of hidden gems not accessible to the public. Because it is private property you must book a tour to gain access to it all; although we recommend KapohoKine Adventures, there are tour companies who offer horseback riding or ATV tours as well.

SHIPWRECK BEACH (KAUAI)

Although the real shipwreck for which it’s named for has long disappeared, Shipwreck Beach has awesome views and is a favorite for local surfers.  Swimming is only recommended for strong swimmers due to rough waters, but experienced surfers and boogie boarders may be up for the challenge! Hiking the Maha’ulepu Heritage Trail is well worth it, and the golden sand beaches are perfect for sunbathing.

The Grand Hyatt Resort & Spa is a gorgeous property that sits right on Shipwreck Beach and comes highly recommended by other travelers looking for a luxurious getaway on Kauai.

ROAD TO HANA (MAUI)

Time to rent a Jeep, pack a bag, and hit the road! The drive to Hana takes about 2 to 3 hours (depending on where you’re departing from), but that’s with no stops – and trust us, you will want to stop. Plan for a few days to really take in all of the sights of Hana has to offer and book a hotel reservation in Hana Town! Dining, waterfalls, beaches, and trails are scattered along Hana Highway, so take your time and pick some places that seem to interest you most. This interactive map may help you plan your trip.

NA PALI COAST (KAUAI)

The magical 17-mile shoreline of the Na Pali Coast is so unique, in part due its remote location. The only way to access this area is by water, helicopter, or your own two feet. Take a swim in the Open Ceiling Sea Cave and check out the Waiahuakua stream, which ends tumbling off the mountain through the roof of a sea cave. Talk about amazing photo op!

If you are looking to spend some time on the north shore, (which I highly recommend!) the St. Regis Princeville is very close to the main trails on the Na Pali Coast and this resort is beyond stunning.

PAPOHAKU BEACH (MOLOKAI)

One of the largest white sand beaches in Hawaii is also one of the quietest, so if you’re looking to get away from the crowds for a while this is the place to go. You can soak in views of Oahu from the shore but getting in the waters is fairly dangerous and highly discouraged.

MANELE BAY (LANA’I)

Another quiet getaway! Swim at Hulopoe Beach, golf at the gorgeous Four Seasons Resort, or explore marine life at the tide pools. This family-friendly spot has picnic areas and gentle waters perfect for swimming; hula lessons and lei-making classes are offered by the Four Seasons for those looking for an authentic Hawaiian cultural experience.

KALAUPAPA (MOLOKAI)

Although the famous Molokai mule rides are currently unavailable, this sacred Molokai village has a distinctly unique settlement history that will likely be fascinating to curious visitors. The beautiful St. Philomena Church founded by a beloved Father Damien can be visited by booking a Damien tour, which also visit the final resting place of Father Damien himself. Research Kalaupapa’s history beforehand and prepare yourself for a spiritual, breathtaking journey.

POLOLU VALLEY (HAWAII, THE BIG ISLAND)

The black sand beaches and black lava rock make for a gorgeous landscape, and the short (but steep) hike is very rewarding – bring lots of water and shoes with good traction, as the trail can be slippery. Stop by the small town of Hawi on your way for lunch and homemade fudge!

Staying on the Kohala Coast is a must during your trip to the Big Island of Hawaii.Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel has one of the few swimming beaches on this side of the island and it even has a few resident turtles to keep you company while snorkeling. I stayed here for three nights and did not want to leave

HAWAII VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK (HAWAII, THE BIG ISLAND)

For those outdoorsy types, this national park will be a must-see. Deserts and lush rain forests make for an awesome hiking and biking experience, and that’s just during the day! Go at night to see the glow from molten lava, and take in the view from above by helicopter with Paradise Helicopters tours in Hilo. They even offer extreme no-door tours for you adrenaline junkies!

PACKING ESSENTIALS FOR HAWAII

Photo Equipment – I highly recommend bringing a GoPro for underwater photos (and a selfie stick!) and a nice camera for land activities. (See our complete travel camera buying guide here.)

Clothing – Sandals or flip flops (I love Rainbow sandals), a couple of swimsuits,sunglasses, and a sun hat are must-haves any time of year. I also highly recommend bringing water shoes.

Rash Guard – I always pack my long-sleeve rash guard on island trips. It protects you from the sun when snorkeling and provides a little warmth if the water is chilly.

Snorkel Equipment – You’ll save a ton of money by bringing your own and you won’t be stuck with old equipment. We brought this mask and these travel size fins.

Reusable Water Bottle – Refilling your water bottle not only saves money, but it’s so much better for the environment! We use this CamelBak water bottle at home, but if you want something more compact, this collapsible water bottle is perfect for travel days and hiking.