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  • Travel Memories: 12 Fun and Unique Ideas for Remembering Your Experiences

    Over the last few years, I have traveled to many fun and unique places. In the past, I collected all types of souvenirs to remember my trips. Most recently, I always purchase the same three items, a t-shirt, a Christmas ornament, and a coffee mug. My husband and I usually purchase the same exact T-shirt. It's a fun way for us to remember the trip we took together. I purchase a Christmas ornament because I love the Christmas season and every year when I hang the ornaments on the tree, I am reminded of happy memories from previous trips. Lastly, I purchase a coffee mug so that I can be reminded daily of my adventures and it brings me joy to be reminded of those adventures. Preserving travel memories allows you to relive your adventures and cherish the experiences you've had. Here are some fun and unique ideas to help you remember your travel moments: Keep a Travel Journal: Write down daily entries about your activities, thoughts, and emotions. Describe the places you visit, the people you meet, and the events that stand out. A journal captures the essence of your journey. Capture Photographs: Take photos of landscapes, landmarks, people, and details that resonate with you. Organize your photos into albums, and consider adding captions to provide context and memories for each image. This is one of my favorite ways to remember my trips. I hope to one day improve my photography skills! Create a Travel Blog or Vlog: If you enjoy writing or making videos, consider starting a travel blog or vlog. Share your experiences, insights, and tips while documenting your journey for yourself and others. Collect Souvenirs: Bring back items that remind you of your travels, such as postcards, local crafts, or small tokens. Displaying these souvenirs at home can spark memories and conversations. Record Videos: Capture short videos that showcase your surroundings, interactions, and experiences. Videos can transport you back to the sights and sounds of your journey. Create Digital Albums: Organize your digital photos into albums on your computer or cloud storage. Label and tag images to make them easily searchable and help you recall specific moments. Sketch or Paint: If you're artistically inclined, create sketches or paintings of scenes from your travels. Artistic expressions can capture emotions and details in a unique way. Compile a Playlist: Create a playlist of songs that you associate with your trip. Listening to these tunes can instantly transport you back to specific places and times. Write Postcards to Yourself: Send postcards to your home address, writing about your experiences as if you were sending them to a friend. When you return, these postcards can remind you of your journey. Frame a Map: Hang a map on your wall and mark the places you've visited with pins or markers. This visual representation can remind you of your travel accomplishments. Compile a Digital Scrapbook: Use online platforms to create digital scrapbooks by combining photos, captions, and design elements. Digital scrapbooks are easily shareable and can be preserved for years to come. Create a Memory Jar: Fill a jar with small notes describing memorable moments from your journey. Whenever you need a boost of positivity, read a note and relive the memory. Another idea could be to use a jar to collect money from all the different countries that you have visited. You can use one or a combination of these fun ideas to ensure that your travel memories are vivid and long-lasting, allowing you to revisit your adventures whenever you wish.

  • 9 Tips for Surviving Your First San Diego Comic-Con

    San Diego Comic-Con is one of the largest and most well-known comic conventions in the world. It is an annual event held in San Diego, typically in July. It starts on a Wednesday for a “preview night” and continues for an additional 4 days. Since moving to San Diego in 2019, I had the opportunity to attend this amazing event in July 2022. There were a few things that I wish I had known before purchasing tickets and attending Comic-Con. In this post, I'll share some helpful tips to ensure your first-time experience at Comic-Con goes smoothly. Before You Go 1. Create a Member ID The first step before purchasing a badge for Comic-Con is creating a Member ID. The member ID is an online account where you can purchase badges to attend the event. You will also receive notifications to the email associated with your Member ID regarding important updates and badge sale information. It's best to create the Member ID far in advance, I suggest creating your account sometime before August the year before you want to attend the event. 2. Purchasing Badges (aka tickets) Badge sales start in the Fall of the year before the event. For example, if Comic-Con is in July 2023, then sales will start in October 2022. The badge sales are in waves starting with returning attendees and then on a different day first-time attendees can purchase tickets. Before the online badge sales begin, you will receive an email notification announcing the badge sale dates. On the day of, you will receive instructions to access your Member ID account and then you are put in a virtual “waiting room”. The selection to purchase badges is random and once you are selected to register, there is no guarantee that badges will still be available for the days you want. I recommend not scheduling anything the morning of the registration and making sure you are somewhere with an excellent internet connection. It can take some time before you are selected from the waiting room. If you can, try to purchase for Friday, Saturday, or both if you can. Those days have the best movie premiers, trailer releases, movie/TV stars, and discussion panels. During the Event 1. How to Get There One of the easiest ways to get the the convention center is to take the trolley. The trolley is San Diego’s public train system. There are several stops near the convention center and depending on where you stay, the train can be very convenient. 2. Be Prepared to Wait in Line Around 200,000 people attend Comic-Con each year, so there will be long lines to get into popular panels or premiers. When I went, several people brought mini folding chairs with them and would sit in them while waiting in line. The lines usually move pretty fast though. 3. Wear Comfortable Shoes Comic-Con is held at the San Diego Convention Center and you will spend a lot of time walking. We walked about 6 miles each day. You will spend a lot of time walking through the exhibit halls, walking to panels and other areas. 4. What to Bring Snacks- There is food available for purchase inside the convention center but it’s expensive. You can save a few dollars by bringing food with you. We packed a few sandwiches and snacks to keep us fueled throughout the day. If you want to purchase food there many restaurants in Gaslamp, but if you want to avoid some of the crowds walk down to Seaport Village. Refillable water bottle- There are many water stations at the convention center where you can refill your bottle. Bringing your bottle will be convenient and will save you from having to purchase expensive drinks at the convention center. A bag- Comic-Con usually provides a souvenir bag, but just in case for some reason, you are not able to get a souvenir bag, having your bag will help carry any items you purchase. 5. Hall H If you haven't heard about Hall H, here is what you need to know. Hall H is where all the major movie trailers are revealed, and famous movie and TV stars show up. Hall H has a full schedule but the biggest day is Saturday. If you plan to go to Hall H on Saturday you will need to get in line on Friday. I’m not kidding. On Saturday morning we met someone who had been waiting in line since 3 p.m. on Friday. We weren't able to get into Hall H on Saturday, but we were able to go on Friday and had a chance to see The Lord of the Rings Amazon Prime premiere and hear from the cast. Things Not to Miss: 1. The Exhibit Hall The exhibit hall is filled with awesome art, comics, and other displays. 2. Outside the Convention Center During Comic-Con many of the surrounding buildings are wrapped in advertisements of popular shows and movies. This is the only time of the year this happens. It's illegal for buildings to be wrapped and the City of San Diego can charge businesses up to $10,000/ day in fines. Another cool thing is that there are several interactive exhibits that attendees and non-attendees can participate in. This is a great option if you are in town visiting or if you were not able to purchase badges to attend the event. If you plan to attend Comic-Con San Diego, I hope these tips are helpful and your first time visiting Comic-Con is unforgettable.

  • 5-Day Trip Ideas within 3 hrs. from San Diego

    Are you looking for a fun day trip from San Diego? San Diego offers an array of exciting destinations within a three-hour radius, perfect for a fun day trip. In this post, I will share 5 day trip ideas from San Diego! 1. Los Angeles Distance from San Diego: 120 miles/ 2 hrs. and 30 min It is the largest city in California and the second-largest city in the United States, after New York City. Los Angeles is in a coastal basin, bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the west and surrounded by mountains, including the Santa Monica Mountains and the San Gabriel Mountains. Los Angeles is known for iconic landmarks and attractions, including the Hollywood Sign, Walk of Fame, Griffith Observatory, Universal Studios Hollywood, Getty Center, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), and the Santa Monica Pier. 2. Joshua Tree National Park: Distance from San Diego: 164 miles/ 3 hrs. Joshua Tree is one of the many National Parks located in California. Just 3 hours away from San Diego makes this a great day trip adventure. I recommend this trip to people looking for a unique place to hike, and outdoor adventure or disconnect from the world. The Park offers breathtaking desert scenery, iconic Joshua trees, and excellent opportunities for stargazing. Check out my Joshua Tree Travel Guide! 3. Temecula Wine Country: Distance from San Diego: 67 miles/ 1 hr. Discover the vineyards and wineries of Temecula Valley, just north of San Diego, and enjoy wine tasting and scenic views. For more information on what to do in Temecula, view my Temecula City Guide! 4. Julian: Distance from San Diego: 60 miles/ 1 hr. 15 min Escape to the mountain town of Julian, known for its delicious apple pies, historic buildings, and beautiful hiking trails. For more ideas on what to do in Julian, view my post 7 Reasons Why You Should Visit Julian, California this Fall or my Fall Day Trip Guide to Julian 5. Big Bear Lake: Distance from San Diego: 145 miles/ 3 hrs. Situated in the San Bernardino Mountains, this is a top destination for residents of Southern California, offering a four-season escape from the busy life in the big city. Check out my Fall Day Trip Guide to Big Bear! There are many fun day trips you can take from San Diego! Stay tuned for a future post when I share more day trip ideas from San Diego!

  • The Ultimate San Diego City Guide: Discover Hidden Gems and Local Favorites

    San Diego is a beautiful coastal city located in Southern California. It is one of the top tourist destinations in the US, and every year thousands of people flock to San Diego to experience the beautiful beaches, visit amazing attractions, and enjoy near-perfect weather year-round. San Diego is a large city and home to over 1 million people and over 3 million people in San Diego County. With so many neighborhoods, attractions, and activities, you will always have things to do and this city will keep you coming back for more. In this post, I will provide a helpful city guide to help you plan your trip to San Diego! Helpful Tips: San Diego is located within San Diego County. SD county is huge and locals refer to the upper part of the county as "North County" and the lower part of the county as "South Bay". The city is also divided into different neighborhoods, the most popular with tourists are Mission Valley, La Jolla, North Park, Mission Beach, Coronado, Convoy, and Pacific Beach. When to Visit: End of June to October - I’ve lived in San Diego for a little over 4 years, and the end of June- to October is the best time to visit. Visitors can expect beautiful sunny days 7 days a week during the summer months. During the day temperatures can reach the high 80s but if you explore the city at night, bring a light jacket because the temperature may drop to the mid-high 60s. November to April- This is considered the rainy season and during November, cooler temperatures begin to arrive in San Diego. If you don’t mind a little rain, you will find that major attractions are less crowded and hotel prices are significantly lower. May to the beginning of June- San Diego is a city known for its perfect weather but every year the city experiences almost 2 months filled with cloudy days. This May (2023), San Diego did not have one sunny day. I know, strange, right? Well, this weather phenomenon is called a marine layer. You can check out an informational video from our local news which provides an excellent description. During this time visitors can expect the weather to be a little chilly so bring a light jacket. Local Tip: Around the 3rd week of July, Comic Con arrives in San Diego. If you don’t know what Comic Con is, it’s one of the largest comic book conventions in the world. It’s not uncommon to see celebrities from your favorite Marvel movies or actors from your favorite TV shows at the event. During this event, hotel prices are almost double, and nearby restaurants have a fixed menu with elevated prices. I would recommend choosing a different week to visit San Diego, but if you plan to come during this week, choose accommodations far from downtown to avoid the high rates. Getting here: The best way to get to San Diego is by plane. We are also a quick drive from Los Angeles about 2 hrs. and we are about 4 hrs. from Las Vegas. Transportation: Once you arrive, I highly recommend having a rental car if you plan to explore different city areas. San Diego does offer public transportation such as city buses and a Trolley. Over the years, the city has put a lot of funding into the Trolley and it can take you from downtown to the neighborhood of Little Italy, to Old Town and La Jolla. There are other stops along the trolley as well. It’s very easy to use and navigate, so if you are interested in riding the Trolley during your stay you can find out more information by visiting The San Diego Trolley website. Where to Stay: There are so many hotels to choose from and it depends on what you are looking for. For example, are you looking for a hotel near the water, in the city center or in a central location? Near the water: I recommend the neighborhood area of Mission Bay/ Mission Beach or Coronado. Mission Beach is a small beachside community located 15 min from downtown San Diego. This is one of my favorite beaches. Downtown San Diego: I recommend a hotel near the Embarcadero or the Hilton Bayfront. Central location: For visitors who plan to explore different areas in San Diego and maybe even venture out to cities further north or south, I recommend staying in the Mission Valley area. Mission Valley is as central as possible, with most of the city's top tourist destinations within 15 minutes. Local Tip: La Jolla is a beautiful city and is very popular among visitors. If you plan on spending most of your time in La Jolla or the Del Mar area, this is the perfect place to stay. However, if you plan on spending most of your time closer to downtown or surrounding neighborhoods, consider more central accommodations like those mentioned above. Things to do: There are so many things to do in San Diego and something for the entire family to enjoy. Here are some of the many things San Diego has to offer: Attractions: San Diego Zoo- One of the top-rated zoos in the U.S. Sea World Legoland Belmont Park- Beachside amusement park in Mission Beach Padres Games- San Diego’s professional baseball team. Outdoors: Hiking Biking Surfing Beaches Shopping: Westfield UTC- La Jolla Mission Valley- Fashion Valley Las Americas Premium Outlets Where to Eat: There are many restaurants in San Diego to choose from. Check out some of my food blog posts for ideas on where to go! Safety: Overall San Diego is a fairly safe city and tourism is one of the main industries. With that being said when exploring some areas in downtown San Diego, I would suggest being mindful of your surroundings Budget: San Diego is an expensive city. On average a meal at a restaurant will cost about $20 per person and drinks will cost around $12-$15 per person. Hotels typically run $250- $300 per night but can be higher depending on where you stay. Wrap up: San Diego is an amazing city with many attractions, delicious restaurants, and beautiful beaches. I hope this guide is useful as you plan you vacation to San Diego.

  • 6 Travel Tips for Traveling on a Budget

    Setting a budget for a trip can help you avoid overspending and ensure that you have enough money to cover all your expenses while you're away. Here are some steps you can follow to set a budget for your next trip: 1. Determine your total budget: Start by deciding how much money you can afford to spend on your trip. Consider your income, expenses, and any other financial commitments you may have, such as bills, rent, or debt repayments. Be realistic about what you can afford to spend, and factor in some extra money for unexpected expenses or emergencies. 2. Break down your expenses: Make a list of all the expenses you'll need to cover on your trip, such as airfare, accommodation, transportation, meals, activities, and souvenirs. Research prices and estimate how much each item will cost. 3. Prioritize your expenses: Decide which expenses are most important to you and prioritize them accordingly. For example, if you're traveling to a new city and want to see all the main attractions, you may need to allocate more money to activities and sightseeing. If you're on a tight budget, you may need to cut back on some expenses to stay within your means. 4. Look for ways to save: Once you have a rough estimate of your expenses, look for ways to save money. For example, you may be able to find cheaper airfare by booking in advance or choosing a less popular travel date. You could also consider staying in a hostel or vacation rental instead of a hotel or cooking your own meals instead of eating out. 6. Track your spending: Once you're on your trip, keep track of your spending and compare it to your budget. This will help you stay on track and avoid overspending. You could use a budgeting app or spreadsheet to keep track of your expenses, or simply write them down in a notebook. By following these steps, you can set a budget for your trip and enjoy your travels without worrying about overspending.

  • 7 Reasons Why You Should Visit Julian, California This Fall.

    It's the most wonderful time of the year! Happy fall y'all!! For the locals here in San Diego, fall means a trip to Julian, CA to enjoy a day of apple picking, foliage viewing, and crisp fall weather. Julian, CA is a small gold mining town founded in the late 1870s and is located in the Cuyamaca mountains. This quaint town is only 1 hr to 1hr 30 min from San Diego, making it a perfect weekend day trip! Before we get into the 7 reasons why you should visit Julian, let's review some helpful tips! Things to know before you go: Apple Harvest Season Don't wait until the end of October to go apple-picking! Harvest season begins at the end of August and lasts through the beginning of October. Many orchards start to sell out of apples by the beginning of October. 2. Visiting the Orchards Plan ahead! Many orchards require reservations and spots fill up quickly. Also, the number of apples each harvest can vary depending on the weather. It may be helpful to visit the websites of some of the Orchards to find out what is available. Okay, let's get into it! 1. Indulge in Apple Pie Julian is best known for their apple pie. I must say it is very delicious and is one of the top reasons I like to go to Julian! My favorite pie shop is the Julian Pie Company! When you go, you must try the Dutch Apple Crumb Pie! One slice of this pie will have your taste buds wanting more! If you decide to get a scoop of ice cream, I suggest asking for it on the side. I got my ice cream on top, and I felt like I couldn't savor the pie. Another place to visit is Mom's Pie House. I visited Mom's after I read some reviews about their Apple Dumplings. This tasty treat is a whole apple- peeled and cored, with nutmeg, brown sugar, and other spices baked inside a delicious buttery crust! It was so good and tastes even better warmed up! Yum! 2. Try Apple Picking Apple picking is one of the top reasons San Diego locals take a trip to Julian every fall! Many orchards offer "U-Pick", which means that they give you a basket and you pick your apples. Some orchards offer other activities such as axe throwing and hay rides. Here are a few Orchards to visit : 1. Calico Ranch Apples and Cider 2. Apple Starr Orchard 3. Julian Farm and Orchard 4. Crosscut Farm and Orchard If you have never been apple picking then I suggest you add it to your 2023 bucket list! 3. Sip on Apple Wine Have you ever tried apple wine? No? Well now is your chance to try some during your trip to Julian! Volcan Mountain Winery has three delicious wines produced entirely from estate-grown apples. They have a Pomme D'Amour which is a delicious sparkling wine, a Dolcezza Dulce a sweet wine, and a Pommier a dessert wine. I tried all three and the Dolcezza Dulce was my favorite! 4. Search for Gold Julian's gold mining history dates back to the late 1800s and although many of the mines are no longer in operation, you can still have the opportunity to tour a mine during your visit. Two popular mines to visit are the Eagle Mining Co. and the Julian Mining Co. 5. Explore Historic Julian This bustling town is only a few miles long but is full of local souvenir shops and restaurants. This is a very walkable area, so it is easy to park along one of the streets and explore the area. 6. Stay in a Historic Bed and Breakfast If you decide to make your day trip to Julian an overnight trip, consider staying in the Julian Gold Rush Bed and Breakfast. Founded by a former Missouri slave named Albert Robinson, it is the oldest continuously operating hotel in Southern California. 7. Take a Hike Julian is surrounded by beautiful hiking trails for all fitness levels! You can take a day trip to Julian and squeeze in a hike. I would suggest doing a morning hike and after the hike heading into town for apple pie! Yum! Check out some of these popular hikes on AllTrails! Phot Credit: Garnet Peak Trail , AllTrails Let me know in the comments how your trip to Julian went and if you found my suggestions helpful!

  • 9 Staycation Ideas to Add to Your 2023 Bucketlist

    1. Spend the Day Exploring a Neighborhood or a Community This is one of my favorite staycation ideas! You don't need to live in a large city to take advantage of this idea, even smaller cities have hidden gems. Staycation tip: research the best local restaurants and things to do in a specific neighborhood or community. 2. Go on a City Tour It's always fun to be a tourist in your city! A tour will give you a different view of your city and you may even learn some new things! 3. Book a Weekend Stay at a Beachside Hotel Nothing says a staycation like a weekend at the beach! Especially if you don't have to get on a flight or drive 5 hrs to do it. If you don't live near a beach, you can book a weekend at a fancy hotel in your city. 4. Visit a Local Shop or Restaurant Enjoy your day shopping or eating local. This is a great way to support local business owners. 5. Attend a Food Festival A food festival is an awesome opportunity to eat different and unique foods right in your community. 6. Attend a Cultural Festival If you live in a multi-cultural city as I do, then you probably have ample opportunities to attend a cultural festival. This is a unique opportunity to learn and experience another culture. 7. Visit Local Museums Visiting museums can be a fun experience! Here's a tip: Look for a unique museum to visit that you may not find in another city. 8. Cooking Class A cooking class is a fun activity! Enjoy learning a few cooking tips and techniques that you can reuse in your home kitchen! 9. Take a Day Trip to a Local City If you are interested in a getaway but you don't want to break the bank, a day trip is a perfect idea. Here's a tip: type your city in google maps and see what cities are nearby. Once you find a city you are interested in exploring, start looking up some fun things to do while you're there.

  • Temecula, CA City Guide: The Napa Valley of Southern California

    Temecula is a city located in southwestern Riverside County, California, approximately 85 miles southeast of Los Angeles and 60 miles north of San Diego. It is known for its beautiful vineyards and wineries, which produce a variety of wines, including Chardonnay, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. The city also hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including the Temecula Valley Balloon and Wine Festival, the Temecula Valley International Film and Music Festival, and the Temecula Rod Run. Best time to visit: September/October: If you want to experience warm weather and beautiful, lush vineyards this is the time to visit. These months are still considered peak tourist season, but if you visit later in October, you might be able to avoid some of the crowds. July/August: Not a bad time to go if you want to stroll through the vineyards, but keep in mind it gets very hot in Temecula. If you go during these months, be prepared to sweat! January/Feb/March: If you want to avoid the crowds, this is a great time to go. The only downside is that it is not harvest season so the vineyards will not be lush and green, but on the upside, you won’t have to deal with all the crowds. Getting there: The best way to travel to and around Temecula is by car. There are also many wine tours you can purchase that will drive you around to different wineries. Where to Stay: There are so many unique places to stay from luxury bed and breakfasts to budget friendly hotels. The Vine House Bed and Breakfast $$$$ This family owned and operated B&B is located on the De Portola Wine Trail. The Vine boasts elegant rooms with fireplaces and gourmet breakfast delivered right to your room. The property is also in walking distance to a few wineries. Ponte Vineyard Inn $$$ This elegant hotel is located on a vineyard and offers luxurious rooms, a spa, and a restaurant. It's rated as one of the top hotels in Temecula. Hampton Inn & Suites Temecula $$ Located in the heart of Temecula Valley Wine Country, this hotel offers comfortable and modern rooms and suites with amenities such as an outdoor pool, fitness center, and complimentary breakfast. Things to do: Wine Tasting - Temecula Valley Wine Country is home to over 40 wineries, making it a popular destination for wine tasting and tours. Many of the wineries are located near De Portola Rd and Rancho California Rd. This area is very easy to get around by car. Our favorite winery in Temecula is Wilson Creek Winery! This winery is known for their sparkling wines, almond (what they are known for) and peach bellini (my favorite)! They also have delicious red and white wines. During the summer they also have wine slushies available for purchase. Old Town Temecula - This historic district features charming shops, restaurants, and galleries, as well as a weekly farmers' market. This is a very walkable area and a great place to explore. Hot Air Balloon Rides - Take a hot air balloon ride over the vineyards and hills of Temecula for breathtaking views. Spa day at Glen Ivy Hot Springs- Located about 30 min from the city center of Temecula sits a full-service day spa. This spa offers relaxing body and facial treatments, mineral baths, and delicious food. Pechanga Resort & Casino - This large resort features a casino, spa, restaurants, and entertainment venues. Outdoor Activities - There are many outdoor activities to enjoy in Temecula, including hiking, biking, golfing, and horseback riding. Temecula Valley Museum - This museum features exhibits and artifacts that highlight the history and culture of Temecula. Where to Eat: Toast $$ Toast is a popular breakfast and lunch restaurant. It is known for its delicious food and cozy atmosphere and has become a favorite among locals and visitors. The menu at Toast features a variety of breakfast and lunch dishes, with a focus on fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Some popular items include the Eggs Benedict and the creme brulee French Toast. The Goat & Vine $$ This local spot offers a menu of wood-fired pizzas, sandwiches, and salads, as well as a selection of local wines and craft beers. The restaurant is known for its high-quality ingredients and flavorful dishes and has a relaxed and inviting atmosphere. This is a very popular restaurant, so I recommend visiting their website and joining the waitlist before you arrive. We love the Hatch Chili Honey Chicken Pizza and we’ve heard their Jacked Cappuccino Ice Cream Cake is delicious! Havana Kitchen $$ This restaurant offers a menu of traditional Cuban dishes, such as Ropa Vieja, Cuban Sandwiches, and Picadillo. They are known for its flavorful and authentic cuisine, as well as its lively atmosphere and live music on certain nights. Guests can also enjoy a selection of Cuban cocktails and other beverages. Our favorite sandwich on the menu is the Ropa-Q, made with Cuban pulled pork, grilled onions, and BBQ sauce! Safety: Overall Temecula is a very safe city and has a very low crime rate. We have always felt very safe during our visits. As with any city, it is always best practice to use wisdom when traveling and be aware of your surroundings. Budget: When setting a budget for your trip to Temecula there are many factors to keep in mind. Many of the hotels in this area average about $200 - $300 per night. The price of the hotels varies during weekends and high season. The high season is typically May to June and September to December. With so many wineries to choose from I recommend choosing no more than 3 wineries/day to visit. I recommend this because you will have more time to enjoy the wine tastings and explore the grounds at the winery. The cost of a wine tasting averages $20- $30 per/person and includes 5-6 tastings/person. If you are not a big wine drinker most wineries will let you share your tasting with your companion. The cost of food is high almost everywhere but in California, I would say it’s probably higher than the national average. Most meals will cost about $15.00 - $20.00 per/person. For the cost of transportation, a rideshare will cost an average of $8.00 - $17.00. Wrap up: I hope this Temecula guide is a helpful resource and inspires you to visit Temecula! If you want assistance planning your trip or have questions, don’t hesitate to leave a comment on this post!

  • Destination Dilemma? 7 Steps to Help You Choose Your Next Travel Destination

    Choosing a travel destination can be an exciting yet challenging task. With so many options around the globe, it's essential to find the perfect place that aligns with your interests, budget, and preferences. In this guide, we'll unravel the secrets to help you decide on your next travel destination. So, grab your notepad and let's get started! Step1: Define your travel preferences: First, ask yourself the following questions, what are my travel goals and interests? Do I want a weekend getaway or a week-long vacation? Do I want to travel somewhere that is within driving distance or do I want to catch a flight? Next, you want to consider your preferred travel style. A travel style defines your unique travel personality, and you may have a blend of different styles like I do. My travel style includes adventure, food and culture, relaxation, historical sites, and city exploration. It's important to know your preferred travel style because it will help you avoid choosing the wrong destination for your vacation. For example, If your style is relaxation, you probably would describe your perfect vacation as a weeklong getaway at an all-inclusive beach resort. If your style is city exploration, you would probably enjoy spending your vacation in New York City, NY. Lastly, you want to identify the climate and weather conditions you prefer. Do you prefer winter climates or cool temps? Maybe you prefer hot and sunny weather. If you prefer a certain climate when you vacation, remember to always check the climate at the destination during the time of year that you want to visit. Step 2: Assess your budget. First, set a realistic travel budget. This step can be kind of tricky, especially with the rising cost of everything. I would start by assessing your budget and determining how much you can set aside to travel. The great thing is that travel can be affordable for any budget. After you have decided on your budget, start researching destinations that align with your finances. If you only have $500 to spend on your trip, looking for a local destination within a few hours from where you live could be helpful. This way you can save money on flights, rental cars, and gas. If you have a larger budget, like 1,000-2,000 consider the cost of flights, hotels, activities, and food. A helpful tip to determine your food budget is to look up the per diem rates. Here is a helpful link from the U.S. General Services Administration where you can find the per diem rates for your trip. Next, explore cost-saving techniques such as traveling during the off-peak season or utilizing travel rewards. Don’t sleep on off-season travel! I have found some great deals on hotels and flights by traveling off-season. When I lived in Washington, D.C., I bought a round-trip flight to Chicago for two people and booked a 2-night stay at the Loews Hotel for under 500 dollars! Granted it was in December, which is off-season in Chicago, but we had a great trip and spent way less than we would have if we went during peak season. Another cost-saving trip is to book a cruise or a trip to an all-inclusive resort. These are great options for folks that have a fixed budget. All food and activities are included, so once you book the trip most of the time you don’t have to worry about surprise expenses unless you want souvenirs or if you want to go on an excursion. Step 3: Research potential destinations: Now it’s time to start researching potential destinations! I would recommend searching Google for phrases like “best cities to visit in California during the Spring”, “Best USA destinations for budget travel”, and “best beaches to visit in October”. The important thing is that you want to be specific as possible so Google will generate results more in line with what you are looking for. Other helpful resources include travel-related Facebook groups, Pinterest, YouTube, travel blogs, and social media. If you want to stay local, view your city’s tourism website or other tourism websites in cities near you. It may give you some ideas on what the city has to offer. Step 4: Consider practical factors: First, always check the safety and security of the destination. When traveling within the United States, search for the cities' crime rates or areas that tourists should avoid. When traveling internationally always check the travel advisory on the U.S. State Department Website in addition to crime rates and areas that tourists should avoid. When booking hotels or Airbnb’s read the reviews and check the ratings for any red flags. Another thing to consider is the transportation options and accessibility of the city. Is it a walkable city? Do I need to rent a car? Can I use Uber/Lift? Does the city have public transportation? Step 5: Narrow down your choices: Okay, this is the fun part! It’s time to start deciding on where you want to go! First make a short list of destinations based on all your research, and interests. Next order the destinations starting with your “I want to pack my bags now” to “I can wait on this one”. Then circle the destination that you feel is in line with your current budget, meets your preferences, will leave you feeling rejuvenated, and will give you an unforgettable experience. Step 6: Seek advice and insights: Seeking advice from others can be beneficial. For example, if you decided that you want to go to Las Vegas, and you know someone that just returned from Vegas, it might be helpful to ask them for advice for your upcoming trip. There is wisdom in seeking advice, but if you receive negative advice from someone don’t always take their word for it. Do your research too. In other words, fact check. There might be factors that you are not aware of that may have caused their trip to be bad, but that doesn’t mean that your trip will be bad. This brings us to the last and final step! Step 7: Trust your instincts and go with your heart: This is probably the most essential step! Choose the destination that is right for you, right for your budget, and aligns with your interests. You don’t have to follow the trends on social media, go somewhere that will give you the experience of a lifetime! Happy trip planning!

  • Anchorage Culinary Delights: A Foodie's Guide to Where to Eat

    During my recent trip to Alaska, we spent a few days exploring Anchorage and I had the opportunity to eat at a few delicious restaurants. Here are some of my favorites! Wild Scoops- A ice cream shop serving up delicious frozen treats made with local ingredients. It was so good that I went twice during my trip! I got the Rhubarb Crumble which is a cinnamon-nutmeg base with rhubarb jam and an oaty streusel on a waffle cone. To top it off I asked for “Alaskan Baked” which added a layer of toasted marshmallow topping on the ice cream! It was delicious. 49th State Brewing- A local restaurant and brewery with two locations, one in Anchorage and the other in Denali. This eatery serves award-winning beer and tasty meals. For an appetizer, we tried their Bavarian Handmade Pretzel which has won many foodie awards, and the halibut and chips. Snow City Cafe- Located in downtown Anchorage, this brunch spot is serving up mouthwatering dishes from benedicts to pancakes to sandwiches and more. I tried their walnut-berry cream cheese stuffed French toast with a side of reindeer sausage. These are a few of the many great restaurants in Anchorage!

  • Lessons Learned While Hiking in Chugach State Park, Alaska: A Journey of Self-Discovery

    I gripped my hiking sticks, took a deep breath, and began to climb up a steep rocky mountain. I glanced up to see the top of the mountain, “That’s where I need to get to”, I said to myself. My eyes traced down the mountain to land on a field of hundreds of sharp rocks with no clear path in sight. Those rocks were the only thing that stood between me and completing this hike. I turned back only to see more rocks and a steep slope. In an instant, I became paralyzed with fear and thought to myself, “ I won’t make it up this mountain, there is no clear path”. I thought “ I’m going to slip and fall down this mountain”. My husband Steven, and I were finally in Alaska, a place that we had talked about visiting for over 9 years and we finally made it! It was day 6 out of our 8-day trip and we decided to go on a hike in Chugach State Park. During the Summer months, Alaska experiences extremely long hours of daylight and even at 2 a.m. it will still be light outside. We took advantage of this opportunity and made our way to Chugach at 8:30 p.m. to hike a popular trail called Flattop Mountain. Flattop Mountain is a 2.8-mile difficult trail with about 1,325 ft of elevation gain. I should probably mention that I am not a beginner hiker, but not an advanced hiker either so a trail labeled as difficult didn’t scare me. We arrived at the parking lot, I laced up my hiking boots, grabbed my backpack, and placed my water bottle inside. Next, I grabbed my hiking sticks and we made our way to the trailhead. The trail started pretty flat, “Right, left, right, left”, I thought as I walked along the trail. I stopped at different moments to take in the breathtaking scenery of the mountains, ocean, and snow-covered peaks. After about 20 minutes, the elevation began to change and suddenly I understood why the trail was labeled as “difficult”. I took a wide step forward, using the wood steps that were built by the park rangers to assist hikers with the steep parts of the trail. I climbed and with each step gained more elevation each time. We got to a little flat section of the trail, “Whew, time for a quick break” I said to myself. Within less than a few minutes we were back at it and continued our climb. We made it to a clearing and we saw other hikers starting their journey back down the trail. I looked up at the mountain “ Yes! We are almost there, this has been a great hike”, I said to myself. I glanced at the steep mountain with those sharp rocks and scanned from left to right looking for the trail. I looked for wood steps like we saw earlier on the trail. Surely the park placed some here too, but they were nowhere in sight. I saw another hiker, “Hey!”, I said. “How do you get to the top of the mountain?”, I asked. The hiker responded, “You can follow the path that the other hikers have made. It’s kind of hard to see so just take your time climbing up”. “Wait, what?” I thought to myself. “You mean there is no clear path, to get to the top of the mountain?” Steven said, “Just follow me up, I’ll find the way”. I gripped my hiking sticks, attached them to my backpack, took a deep breath, and began to climb. I glanced up to see the top of the mountain, “That’s where I need to get to”, I said to myself. Very slowly, I took my first step, and then the second, and then the third. I was going to make it up this mountain one way or another, but then suddenly the makeshift trail started to disappear and the higher I climbed the more terrified I became. I couldn't see a path, “Where am I going”, I said. I looked back and became more terrified because I could see myself tumbling down this mountain. I stopped, and tears filled my eyes. I couldn't do it. I couldn't climb the rest of the way. I told Steven I had to stop and turn back. I made my way back down the mountain, crouched down and practically sliding down the rocks. A thought occurred to me, “ How will you ever conquer your fears and accomplish your dreams if you give up when you can’t see the path to get there”. “ Wow,” I said out loud. At that moment, I realized that many times in life I have a dream and a goal of what I want to accomplish but I quit, give up, and get scared because I don’t see a path to get there. Sometimes I see a path but it's filled with sharp rocks and steep mountains and I am too afraid to walk it. If I just keep going, keep climbing, face the adversity, and conquer my fears I will be able to reach my goals. It’s easier said than done, but one thing I learned on this mountain is that in life, even if you are scared sometimes you have to climb that mountain.

  • 5 Ways Traveling Can Help Create Space for Mindfulness

    Mindfulness is defined as living in the present moment and being aware of what you are sensing and feeling in the moment. Traveling can be a wonderful opportunity to foster mindfulness and create space for self-reflection. Here are five ways in which traveling can help you achieve mindfulness: 1. New Environments and Senses: Traveling exposes you to new environments, cultures, and sensations. Engaging your senses in unfamiliar sights, sounds, tastes, and smells encourages you to be present in the moment. Mindfulness involves fully immersing yourself in your surroundings, and traveling provides a perfect backdrop for this practice. 2. Breaking Routine: Stepping out of your daily routine while traveling disrupts the automatic patterns of thought and behavior that often lead to a lack of mindfulness. When you're in a new place, you're more likely to pay attention to your actions and surroundings, as they're not as predictable as your routine at home. 3. Embracing Uncertainty: Traveling often comes with unexpected challenges, such as language barriers, navigation issues, or changes in plans. Embracing these uncertainties can lead to personal growth and increased mindfulness. Navigating through unfamiliar situations encourages you to be adaptable, patient, and aware of your emotions and reactions. 4. Focused Exploration: Traveling encourages you to explore your destination with curiosity and an open mind. Engaging in activities like sightseeing, hiking, or trying local cuisine requires your full attention, helping you tune in to the present moment. Being attentive to the details of your surroundings can enhance your overall travel experience and mindfulness. 5. Digital Detox: Traveling can provide an opportunity to disconnect from digital devices and be present in the real world. Limiting screen time and focusing on face-to-face interactions, nature, and cultural experiences can help you disconnect from the constant distractions of technology, allowing you to connect more deeply with yourself and your surroundings. Remember that mindfulness is a practice that you can cultivate intentionally during your travels. Take moments to pause, breathe, and fully experience the present. Engage all your senses, observe your thoughts without judgment, and embrace the beauty and uniqueness of each moment you encounter

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