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Tuesday, June 28, 2022

5 Tips to Prepare for Your Next Vacation: Get Ready to Explore the World

Are you ready to explore the world and take your next vacation? Vacation time is meant for exploring new places and finding inspiration from the world around us. Whether you’re a city-dweller planning your next vacation or an outdoor enthusiast who loves hiking and camping, there is something for everyone. The key to unlocking the door to your next adventure is preparation.

Are you ready to explore the world on your next vacation? The keep to unlocking awesome adventure is planning.

Preparing for your upcoming trip can feel like a lot of work, but it doesn’t have to be that way. The right tools and information will help prepare your mind, body, and soul for a relaxing getaway. Read on to learn 5 tips on how you can prepare for your next trip – wherever that may be:

Research your destination.

Whether traveling somewhere new or returning to a familiar place, research is critical. Understanding your destination and what it offers will help you plan your trip better. Depending on where you’re traveling, you may want to look at the best times to travel, what the weather is like, and how to get around if you’re unfamiliar with the area. When traveling to a new place, it’s easy to want to see and do everything. But it can be easy to get overwhelmed and miss out on critical aspects of your trip. By researching your destination, you’ll better understand what you want to see and do.

Create an itinerary.

An itinerary for your trip is a great way to help you organize your vacation and see what you want to explore. It can also help you stay on track when you don’t want to overdo it. That being said, you don’t have to create a strict itinerary that you really can’t deviate from. When planning your trip, think about what you want to see and do. You don’t have to fill every minute of your vacation with activities – give yourself some downtime too! Create an itinerary that is flexible but still has an outline of what you would like to see and do.

Pack the right gear.

Your next adventure is a great time to try something new or return to a tried-and-true favorite. For example, you can use your next vacation as an opportunity to try a recent outdoor activity, like kayaking down a river or going rock climbing - check out tips from enthusiasts such as Jerome Clavel to get the most from the experience. Or, if you’re a frequent traveler, you can use your next vacation as an opportunity to learn new languages and cultures. You can do many things before you head out on your trip to ensure you bring the right gear. If you’re visiting a new place, you may want to look at packing for different climates and what the weather is like during different times of the year.

Don’t forget the essentials.

Everyone has their must-have items when traveling, but it’s easy to forget something important. A checklist is a great way to ensure you don’t forget anything. Make a list of the things you need on your trip – from food and beverages to medications and toiletries. You should also consider packing and arranging your bags in a way that makes sense. This can help you stay organized while also ensuring you don’t forget anything important. You can also use travel apps and services to help you prepare and stay organized throughout your trip.

Learn from your mistakes.

You may have made a mistake when planning your trip or forgotten something important on your journey. Hopefully, you won’t make the same mistakes twice, but we all make them sometimes. While you should learn from your mistakes and not make them again, it can also be helpful to talk about them and share what you’ve learned with others. Whatever mistake you made, you can use it as an opportunity to learn from your experience and better prepare yourself for your next trip. 

Saturday, June 25, 2022

My 2022 Las Vegas Wish List

Covid has changed a lot of things, and travel is no different. Many places have closed and other places are thriving. The NBA Summer League is back for the summer in Las Vegas, which means we'll be traveling there to watch games and do some sightseeing...and eating. It's going to be pretty hot out, so we'll probably limit our time outside to the evening. 

While you know we've been to Vegas a lot, each trip is unique, because things change so frequently. Here's my list of things I want to do while there this time.

While you know we've been to Vegas a lot, each trip is unique, because things change so frequently. Here's my list of things I want to do while there this time.


I love a great pastry shop and we've been frequenting our new local New Orleans-style doughnut shop at home and I'd really love to check out this shop that specializes in beignets and other pastries. It all looks gorgeous and delicious.

The Writer's Block

I love to wander around Downtown for the street art and cool shops. A few years ago, we visited a used and vintage toy shop down on Fremont and I've just been made aware of this book shop that claims to be a book shop, a coffee shop, and a faux bird sanctuary. I love all of these words. 

Golden Fog Coffee

You know I love coffee. Each visit, I try a new shop (or three). Usually, I hit up one of the Bad Owl Coffee Roasters locations, and then whatever coffee shop my cousin either works at or recommends (he's at The Coffee Class right now, which I will check out as well). I've had Golden Fog on my list for a few years, and I hope I'll get to on this visit.

Aloha Kitchen 

I love food and this visit I've made a new list of places to eat. Most of them are breakfast places, for some reason, but that doesn't mean it's all that's on my list. I follow a few LV foodie vloggers on Instagram and when I saw these pancakes from Aloha Kitchen, I knew I was going to eat them. Banana pancakes with vanilla pudding sauce. Yessssssssssssssssssssssss!


I'll be checking out Resorts World, finally, on this trip and one of the draws is Wally's. It looks expensive, but there is also some awesome looking appetizers, like a plate of brie-stuffed bread with sliced truffles on top. I swooned when I saw it.

CRAFT Kitchen

Yes, here's another breakfast place. This one is out in Henderson and since our family lives out there, we are going to treat them to a huge, filling morning meal. I'm specifically going for the stuffed French toast.


Okay, let's talk about some actual activities. For Eric's birthday, I bought him experiences for vacation. On our last trip, we hit up OmegaMart at Area15. We wanted to go back to explore the building more, so I bought tickets for Illuminarium, an art space that projects different destinations, so you actually feel like you've been transported elsewhere. 

FlyOver Las Vegas

If you've been to Disney and done any iteration of Soarin', then you are already well-acquainted with the concept of FlyOver. This 30-minute ride takes you to different destination on a mini vacay. While it may be sweltering outside, I'm hoping this will be a nice respite from the weather.

Tom Devlin's Monster Museum

I love a good horror story, and even a lot of bad ones. Practical effects are always fascinating to me and Tom Devlin is one of the best special effects artists out there. He has rounded up all his work and put it in a museum a little bit outside Las Vegas in Boulder City. I wanted to take a guided tour, but I think this trip we'll just do a self-guided tour.

GPS My City - Boulder City

Since we'll already be in Boulder City, I thought we might take a little tour of the town through the GPS My City app. Locals and other travelers create walking tours for other travelers to get a cool view of a new destination.


I may or may not get to this, but I'm hoping to splurge on a dinner at the NoMad Library at Park MGM. The room is jaw-droppingly gorgeous, and I was lucky enough to ask to see it when it was under renovations and got this shot of it without anyone in it. 

Las Vegas Mob & Haunts Tour

An evening walking tour that tells the story of the mob and ghosts of downtown Las Vegas sounds particularly interesting. We've done several haunted tours before in other cities, and I think this might be just as cool.

There will be places we hit up ever time we go to Vegas, like the Bellagio Conservatory, the Flamingo Habitat, see the mermaids in the Silverton Aquarium, and Fremont Street, but these are new things we are looking at. If you want to see my trip in real time (I'll definitely be writing about it here, too), then come follow me on Instagram.

What are your favorite things to do in and around Las Vegas?

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

How To Have a Great Summer Staycation

Sometimes you just need to get away. Unfortunately, it's not always in the budget, especially when airfare and gas prices are abnormally high and that can really impede going on an affordable trip. We spent 1/3 more than usual on our plane tickets to Las Vegas this year and that means that there will be things we won't be able to do, or places we can't eat, because of that money spent elsewhere.

Sometimes you just need to get away. Unfortunately, it's not always in the budget, so here are my top tips for a staycation that rocks.

Staycations are great, because you can make one fit into any budget you have. Yes, it's not always the same as going away, but it can be just as fun. Here are my tops tips for a staycation that rocks.

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Throw a themed party

Just because you can't go to Greece or Paris or Tokyo, doesn't mean you have to miss out. Find some themed tableware (I suggest Shindigz, but they are taking a break right now, so Amazon, and sometimes Oriental Trading has what you need and it's more affordable) and a great backdrop, or pictures you print out from the internet, and invite some friends to bring a dish that goes with the theme, that way you aren't footing the bill for the whole thing. Stream some appropriate music, find some interesting facts about your "destination" and enjoy a couple hours in another city.

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Pitch a tent

We all know that packing up the car and doing all that stuff that comes with camping is stressful. Instead of that, get your tent out, pitch it in the backyard, make it comfier than usual with your favorite blankets, pillows and cushions and add details to make it awesome: battery-powered fairy lights, a short table (I have a similar one) or trunk to use for eating and playing games and pull your fire pit close by for s'mores, ghost stories and weenie roasts. (Here's a good one, but we have this one.) Make life easier on yourself by ordering out, then it'll really be relaxing. Still do those s'mores though!

Go to a theme park

You may not be able to afford a trip to Disney, but you can do a Disney staycation! In fact, I gave one to a friend for her birthday (that's her and her grandma above. If, like me, you have a lot of different country backgrounds, you can have a mini EPCOT party, which we plan to do at some point...perhaps for Eric's birthday next year.

Take a drive

We used to do this all the time. We packed a cooler with fun foods, threw a change of clothes in a bag (just in case) and just took a drive without a real destination. We picked a direction and just randomly turned and wandered. Usually, we'd end up somewhere cool that we never saw before, made lunch from our cooler, explored the area and then went home. Don't forget your camera, because you never know what you'll find.

Head to a new city

This probably sounds expensive, but you don't have to go far. Get in the car, head to a suburb that's easy to get to and you aren't super familiar with, park and enjoy it. Being on the outskirts of Portland, we are close to a lot of towns, many we don't really ever go to. In 30 minutes, I can be in a bunch of different places. Look for the downtown area, which usually has a charm of its own, and check it out. 

Find an itinerary for your town

I know you haven't done everything in your city. Go online, check out a two- or three-day suggested itinerary from another local or traveler or find a walking tour through GPS My City. Do the stuff they suggest that you haven't done and see your city with a new eye. Take a camera, pretend to be a tourist and really enjoy yourself. Buy a city card if you can and do all those touristy things you haven't done in a while, or at all.

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Have a picnic

Either put together a lunch from stuff you have at home, pick up ready-made stuff from the local grocery store or hit up the farmers' market for yummy stuff. Head to a great park in your town and spread out your blanket (you can throw it over a picnic table if you don't want to sit on the ground). Enjoy your surroundings, do the cool stuff they have, like hiking or volleyball or frisbee golf and make a day of it. Don't forget your sunscreen.

Stay in a vacation rental

Maybe you're home enough and you just need a little bit of a change of scenery. I get it. Look on Airbnb and find an affordable rental nearby, but not too nearby. Maybe in a neighborhood you don't often go to. Pretend you're somewhere else and enjoy someone else's house for a few days. Bring your own food if that's the extent of your staycation budget.

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Make outdoor movie night a thing

A few years ago, for Eric's birthday, I bought a Roku projector and screen. We use it to have outdoor movies, where we bundle up (because usually it's a bit chilly), find a Netflix movie and make snacks and popcorn. It's fun and it allows us to use our yard in another way. We've invited others over to partake as well. You don't have to invest in a big projection screen. Instead, grab a white sheet, hang it on a wall outside and you're set! We sit at our lawn furniture, but you can also throw blankets and pillows on the ground and pretend you're at the drive in or do it in the front yard in your driveway, sit in your car and pretend even better!

Dine al fresco

Much like packing a picnic lunch, but this doesn't require you to go anywhere. Sit out on your deck or in the backyard and grill, cook inside or get takeout and enjoy your backyard and lovely weather while you can. Eating outside feels a lot different than eating inside at the table or in front of the TV. For some reason, it feel more like vacation to me.

Learn a new language

Get ready for your next big vacation by learning a new language. I love Babbel and Pimsleur, but you could also take a class or invite your friends over to help learn with you. You can have your own mini class, have some themed nibbles and get in some fun socializing time.

A few reasons why staycations are awesome:
  • You don't need anyone to take you to the airport.
  • No packing/unpacking a suitcase.
  • You save money for a traditional vacation.
  • Jet lag doesn't exist.
  • Do as much or as little as you want
Here are a few musts to get ready for a staycation, because if you're going to stay at home, you don't want to be pissed that you're there.
  • Clean up the yard.
  • Clean the house.
  • Pull out everything you want to use beforehand.
  • Put new bedding on the beds.
  • Stock the fridge.
Do you include staycations in your life? If so, how do you make them awesome?

Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links and I may be monetarily compensated if you make a purchase through them. This is how I keep bringing you travel content, so thank you in advance.
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