Let's Connect!

Want more tips? My newsletter comes out 2x per month:

Monday, August 21, 2017

Taking An Amazing Italy Trip

Few travelers want to make brief jaunts through Italy when visiting this fascinating country. Instead, most want to see it all, and experience as much of the culture, cuisine, shopping, and art as they possibly can. Unfortunately, however, all vacations are limited in their duration and this means it won't be possible to fit absolutely everything in. Following are a few tips that will show you how to make the most of this life-changing excursion.

Schedule Your Itinerary According To Your Level Of Experience

Italy trips tend to fall into three distinct categories: regional trips, thematic visits, and trips to explore major cities. If you've never visited Italy before, you'll definitely want to check out all of the top destinations like Florence and Venice. This will provide the perfect overview of the most historically and culturally significant locations. You should pencil the Duomos of Milan, the Colloseum, and Saint Mark's Basilica into your itinerary. If you've never seen these things before, you'll be remiss to skip over them during your introductory stay by missing out on the top cities.

Take A Regional Trip To Experience Specific Locations Like A Local

After you've had the opportunity to experience all of the major cities and landmarks in Italy, think about scheduling a regional trip. This will give you the chance to fully immerse yourself in specific locations, much like a local would. Tuscany, Florence and Pisa are among some of the most popular, regional destinations. Tuscany is highly preferred among those who want to bask in the natural beauty of the landscape, discover a diverse mix of culture and history, and indulge in the best of local cuisine. Regional trips make it possible for travelers to lose themselves in the Italian culture, and without having to contend with crowded tourist areas and all of the related hassles. 

Plan A Thematic Excursion To Suit Your Tastes

Trips through major cities and regional visits are not the only way to experience Italy. A lot of travelers and travel groups are opting to plan thematic adventures instead. These give consumers the chance to experience and see things that are specific to their own tastes and interests. This is arguably the absolute best strategy for optimizing your time abroad in any location. Thematic excursions are also good for stumbling across towns that you might not have visited otherwise. With these trips, you can place your focus solely on finding the best wine and cuisine, or on viewing all of the best basilicas or artworks on show. 

Think About Flying Into One City And Departing From Another

Don't let logistics slow you down when it comes to maximizing the amount of things that you can do and explore. This is especially true in terms of planning your arrival and departure flights. Although you definitely can't see all of Italy during a single visit, you may be able to take in a whole lot more with some strategic planning. If your itinerary takes you far away from your city of arrival, don't waste time trying to navigate your way back to your starting point in order to depart from the exact same location. Instead, have your travel planner look for flights that are relatively near the last point on your itinerary. This will give you more time to relax in and enjoy your current surroundings, before getting on your departure flight.

Enhance Your Trip By Learning A Little Italian Before Heading Out

If this trip is important to you, do your best to pick up a bit of the language before arriving. There are countless travel guides and mobile phone apps that will quickly teach you the 50 to 100 words you'll need for engaging in basic conversation, dealing with merchants, and dealing with unexpected situations. Although you'll definitely run into quite a few people who speak English fluently, having this skill will likely prove helpful at some point in time. 

Just as there are countless things to see in do when visiting Italy, there are also countless tips for optimizing your Italy vacation. Choosing the right type of visit and planning accordingly will definitely help. You should also pick up a touch of the local language, and deal with flight logistics in a way that gives you a strategic advantage over the inevitable and incredibly rapid passage of time.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

How To Travel With Your Dog

If I could, I'd take my dog  everywhere. Unfortunately, she isn't welcome everywhere even though she's small and better behaved than most children.

When we travel, we usually leave her at home with my mom, but if we road trip it, chances are pretty good that she's going along for the ride. (See what I did there?) If your furry best friend likes to jump in the car and take a vacation (even a short one), here are some great tips to make it friendly and fun for them as well.

Look at this spoiled doggo

Keep cool - So, its pretty hot in the car and in the summer. Our car doesn't have that fancy dual a/c switch to control the front and the back separately (I have a Kia Rio, it's not THAT big), so to keep the dog cool while driving, we basically have on Max AC and point the vents all at the ceiling so the air gets to her and we freeze our faces off. Another great idea is a Kool Collar. We just bought a new one and it simulates evaporation sweat - because dogs can't do that and wear fur coats all the time - by using ice or their fancy ice packs. We use it at home, we use it at the beach, we use it at the park. No panting. My dog loves it.

Hydrate! - Just like you, dogs need to keep hydrated. If you don't have one of those non-spill bowls that are all the rage for travel times, stop for water breaks for everyone, but mostly for your pup, because they don't have thumbs for opening a water bottle.

Yes, my dog has a bag to ride in, because she's not a good hiker.

Make pit stops - Your dog also can't let you know they are dying for the potty. All that extra water has to go somewhere. Check out the rest areas along your way and plan to stop every few hours to let them do their business and stretch their legs. If you also have kids, you're probably doing this anyway. Then you won't be driving 19 hours straight and swear off road trips forever like that last time.

Rikka is nothing if she's not a great car snorer when she's been a passenger for most of a day.

Comfy up the car - Make sure your dog feels comfy and safe in the car, especially if they get nervous like mine. We bring her bed so we can also bring it inside wherever we stay for the night. She also has her own car seat that allows her to see out the window, be contained and also take a nap.

She likes the bed, but can't jump up or down, so we made her own little version on the floor when we left.

Make their crate awesome - I'm not a crate person, but only because my dog spent much of her life in one her first three years and I was sad for her, so I gave her the choice. She spent less and less time in there, so we put it in the garage. If your dog loves their crate, or it's the best way to travel with them not climbing all over everyone and getting in the way, make sure it's comfortable enough to spend hours at a time in. Get them a cushion or blanket so it's soft and inviting.

My dog likes to sightsee too...and duck under railings meant to keep people out.

Bring home with you - Just like I like to have a little bit of home with me, dogs feel comforted by something familiar. Bring along a gave blanket/pillow/bed and some toys and they'll be happier.

Jerky's the best...even when you're away from home.

Stay on schedule - If you feed and walk your pup on a schedule, try to keep as close to that timetable as possible (even if you're giving extra walks and treats -because exercise makes you hungry). It'll keep them from getting confused and feel more normal even in a different place.

Look at me...in a mining cart.

Do some research - Make sure you know where you can take your dog and where you can't. Find the number of a vet near where you'll be staying. Just in case. Look for dog parks and pet-friendly dining establishments. Many people bring their dogs to the Oregon beaches, so a lot of stores don't mind you shopping with a well-behaved pooch.

Plan ahead -- Make sure you're prepared for all the things you're going to do or. Might happen while you're away from home. Here's a list of what to plan for:
  • bring an extra collar/leash, because you never know when one will get broken or lost.
  • their fave food is obvs to some. Don't take this as an opportunity to have them sample new cuisines. It'll just make them sick.
  • Invest in Doggles. We have a pair of Doggles sunglasses for Rikka to enjoy sitting out in the sun. If your pup likes to stick their head out the window, a pair of dog goggles are good for protecting their eyes from flying debris and might save you a trip to an unknown vet.
  • Going hiking or somewhere hot? Get your pup some shoes. Their paws are pretty sensitive, so you gotta protect them, just like your own feet.
  • Pack a carrier. My little one gets tired fairly easily, so when she starts to lag behind we scoop her up and carry her in a doggie sling (see above pic). She can rest and still be part of things. It's also good for when we head into some shops.
  • Download some phone apps to find dog parks, rest stops & dog-friendly restaurants. I like iexit and dogfriendly.
  • Things happen. Look up your route along the way and find emergency vet addresses and numbers to have on hand just in case.
  • Don't forget meds/supplements if your dog normally takes them. You can always keep them in the cooler with your snacks and beverages.

How do you like to travel with your dog?

Pin It button on image hover