Travel Tips and Tricks for Your Next Trip!

15 Travel Tips and Tricks for Your Next Trip!

I discovered these travel tips and tricks while traveling a ton last year. Say that three times fast. I thought I’d share my favorites. Oh, man, now I’m rhyming. These tips save time, help with packing, and have made traveling so much more enjoyable. Travel season is almost upon us!

I hope to travel again soon if Danny can get out of jury duty. *crosses all body parts*

Travel accessories - purse, dinky wallet and carabiner

Carabiners and Pint-sized Wallets

You’ve seen carabiners hanging on backpacks, maybe even on purses. I hang one on mine. They are so important for keeping things together. I’ve spent hours looking for my car keys. What a waste!

  • Clip a carabiner to Airbnb apartment and rental car keys to keep them together. I can easily find them in the great abyss of my purse or backpack since my carabiner is gargantuan.
  • I pared down to a tiny wallet. My driver’s license can be seen through the plastic making it super easy to use. It also holds my credit cards, cash and important stuff including business cards for my Wild Ride. You never know who I might meet along the way.
  • Since my pint-sized wallet has a ring attached, I clip it to my keys to keep from freaking out while going through airport security. I can clip it to a belt loop too.
  • THE OBVIOUS – I snap my headphones, hat, and water/coffee bottle to my backpack.

A Carryon Pack

I’m done with carryon bags. I’ve used almost every kind out there, but they are unwieldy to navigate down the narrow airplane’s aisle. Once stashed away in the overhead compartment, I always think of something I forgot to take out. Since I can still stuff something under the seat, I tend to take too much along on the plane.

Now I use a backpack! It carries all my important stuff: The crown jewels and my crown, of course, headphones, laptop, phone, book, camera, cords, and chargers. If I’m not wearing a jacket or sweater, I throw one in. I carry a protein bar, just in case we sit on the tarmac for a few hours. It happens.

Phone charger for the rental car.

I’ve “donated” a few phone chargers to Hertz, but they come in so handy when needing a charge while on the road so I always bring one along.

The Best Tip and Trick? Social Media!

socialmediaiconcollage

Twitter

I’ve used Twitter several times to contact people in the area I’m visiting. One time, I tweeted that I was heading to #Scotland and a young woman tweeted that her cousin Adhamh O Broin ran tours. We didn’t connect in Scotland, but ironically met in Boulder a few months later!

A selfie with Adhamh O Broin

I also check to see what’s trending to stay on top of the news. I found out about the London Bridge stabbings right before traveling there a few days later. Then I found out in person how they deal with terrorism.

Instagram:

When deciding where to go or what to bring, I always check out the city’s hashtag on Instagram. It’s been amazing to find out what locals wear and what they do to have fun. Plus the most Instagramable locations will trend. It’s an insider’s view!

If everyone is dressed to the nines, I bring my evening gown. If jeans are de rigueur, I pack accordingly but still bring a nice outfit for going out at night.

Same with outerwear. I paid close attention to how locals dressed for outdoor activities when heading to Europe for a month last summer. I planned for rain when I discovered several soggy Instagrammers.

Blogs

Sometimes when Googling an area, I want a personal viewpoint. I’ll Google the village, town or city with the word blog afterward. It’s a great way to find a new perspective before traveling.

Pinterest

I’ve pinned loads of travel information to boards on Pinterest. I always check to make sure the pretty photograph is linked to an informative blog post. This is a great way to make a list of things to do while visiting a new location. I especially love the unusual ones. Sometimes getting off the beaten path is the road to amazing discovery!

Culloden House view from the gate

The standing stones of Scotland

Waze 

This driving app will get you from point A to B no matter if you’re in Boulder or on a winding road in Belgium.

Weather

This can be a nightmare and very unpredictable as you know. I don’t ever check until two days before since no one really knows beyond three days. I hope for the best and plan for the worst. The last thing I want to do is sit inside while waiting for sunshine. I throw on a hat and jacket and go!

When we were in Scotland, we were shocked by how many slogged through the downpours while visiting castles. I bring a ball cap to keep the rain off my face.

Sterling Castle on a rainy day

What not to wear!

Layering, layering, layering. Whenever I bring some super thick sweater, it always sits all lonely-like in my suitcase unless it’s snowing and we’re heading out for dinner. Coming from the most unpredictable weather in Colorado where nights can be cool during our most scorching summers, I’ve learned to prepare for everything. Except for rain. We’re always on the lookout for those little black rainclouds.

Athletic wear. Even if I don’t plan on going to the gym while on vacation, there are days when I want to protect a clean shirt or stay warm so I wear a lightweight poly T-shirt underneath.

Thick Socks. I bought the most wonderful pair of super soft plush socks. They are great slippers when on vacation.

Loungewear. Because lounging.

Bring a scarf. Wear it on the plane to keep from inhaling every sneeze. Not a scarf wearer? Wear a hoodie and hide inside it. You don’t want to come down with the sniffles.

I could go on and on but I have to start packing. I’m an Aries optimist!

Do you like to travel? Are you a last minute person or do you have to plan everything?

Click for more adventure on the Wild Ride!

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The Best of Paris on Foot, Boat, and Bike!

Each time I travel to Paris, I fall in love all over again. It’s an easy city to navigate by foot, but there are other ways too. My “best of” list always changes when I find new perspectives of this amazing city not only on foot but by boat and bike. Enjoy your photo journey through the Best of Paris!

A Paris Guide on Foot, Bike and Boat! The best of Paris!

On my first night in Paris in 2013, I heard a thumping sound and knew there was a party going on somewhere. As I drew closer, I could see flashing lights. It was an outdoor concert in front of the Hotel de Ville!

The French clapped their hands in time to the EDM music played by a DJ. A nice surprise and free!

DJ in Paris

Museums are located throughout the city. I love The Louvre for its amazing art collections and architecture.

Inside the Louvre

I had to fight the crowds to make eye contact with the Mona Lisa.

The Mona Lisa on a busy day

The Louvre’s outdoor architecture is very photogenic too!

The Louvre dramatic lighting

The Louvre lit up at night, Paris architecture

The Musee d’Orsay is a must-see. A shot from inside looking out through its famous clock.

Musee d'Orsay clock

Notre Dame is an imposing structure and attracts big crowds.

Notre Dame in Paris, France

An artist at work in Montmartre outside the Sacré Coeur.

portrait artist drawing boy

Tuileries Gardens is a great place to chill-out on a hot summer day.

park in Paris

Three words – The Luxembourg Gardens.

A fountain at the Luxembourg Gardens

And the extraordinary Versailles.

The formal gardens at Versailles

A panoramic of a room in Versailles

We took a Fat Tire Bike Tour in Paris and stopped to take pictures after sunset.

lock bridge

biking in paris fat tire

Last summer, a demon washing machine forced us out of the house for the month of June. When we landed in Paris, we took a boat ride on the Bateaux Mouches down the Seine. These photos were taken from the river.

Statue of Liberty and Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower from boat

A most enjoyable Wild Ride!

Inside the Bateaux Mouches, Paris, France

I’d go back to Paris again in a heartbeat!

 

Is Paris on your bucket list? Where would you like to travel next?

Click for more adventure on the Wild Ride!

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Skiing Heavenly is Pretty Much, Heavenly!

Where do Colorado skiers and boarders go on spring vacation? To ski and ride Heavenly Ski Resort at Lake Tahoe of course. We soon found out why it was aptly named, Heavenly. We found it most heavenly. Come along on my surreal photo journey.

Heavenly ride to the top

Situated in South Lake Tahoe on the Nevada and California border there were surprising differences. The Nevada side looked out over the mountain range and remained sheltered during snowstorms. The California side was, well, you’ll see!

The Nevada side of Heavenly Ski Resort

Heavenly snow totals piled up during the week!

Skiing, snowboarding, Heavenly, Lake Tahoe

Snow clung to trees like hoar frost, making the snowy heaven complete.

Top of Heavenly

With Lake Tahoe in the backdrop on the California side, we enjoyed the incredibly beautiful landscape.

Heavenly view of Lake Tahoe

With nary a liftline, we skied most of the mountain.

A heavenly view from the top

We skied hard and played harder!

heavenly moments

When we finally stopped for lunch, we spent time pondering deep thoughts while enjoying the outdoors.

Deep thoughts

We took breaks when needed….

taking a breather at heavenly

And then skied the catwalk back home.

Check out the video! The view of Lake Tahoe is surreal.

Heavenly Ski Resort is Heavenly Family Vacation in Lake Tahoe

 

Have you gone on a wintry vacation? Do you prefer the beach? What’s on your bucket list?

Click for more adventure on the Wild Ride.

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What to do in Reno when you have four hours to spare!

When some of our bags didn’t make the flight from Denver to Reno, Nevada, the six of us hit the road in a mega-vehicle to entertain ourselves for four hours.

First on the agenda? Lunch! We found Midtown Eats and enjoyed a filling meal complete with industrial surroundings and a lively atmosphere.

Enjoying lunch in Reno!

In a town known for its quickie divorces, we found a unique advertisement for another way to deal with regret – Tattoo removal.

Tattoo removal in Reno

From the residential area, we drove downtown and were greeted quite stupendously.

Downtown Reno sign

When we noticed “striking architecture” up ahead, we decided to take a closer look.

The International Bowling Museum

The International Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame was free and very quiet. In fact, we were the only people there. The only sound came from a loop explaining the history of bowling shoes.

Entrance to the International Bowling Museum.

Huge bowling ball and pin sculpture

As we drove down the street, I noticed a peculiar park where children played called Playa Art Park. It looked as if Tim Burton had been its creative consultant. A child climbed out of the eye socket before I snapped the picture.

Skull sculpture in a Reno Nevada park

Only in Nevada!

Nukes license plate

My son, Kelly, discovered a most unique way to travel in Reno. A TARDIS!

Reno Tardis

Since Nevada is home to lots of weird phenomena and alien sightings, it wasn’t that surprising to discover an INFINITY RAINBOW.

infinity rainbow

Weird phenomena

We collected our luggage and the six of us headed to Lake Tahoe.

More of my wild adventure to come!

Have you been to Reno? Do you have plans to take a vacation this spring? Have you ever seen an infinity rainbow around the sun?

Click for more adventure on the Wild Ride!

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Escape to the Stunning Chinese Garden in Vancouver!

It will be months before I work in my gardens in Colorado. Decimated by deck construction, tough winters, and dry summer months, mine are looking a little more than gnarly. While yearning to escape winter, I found my photos of the stunning Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. We flew to that amazing city on our way to Whistler’s Wanderlust Yoga Festival in 2016.

Sun Chinese Garden Entry

Struck by the integration of architecture and gardens, I was swept away by one zen space after another.

Escape Chinese Garden Vancouver

A bonsai pine tree over the pond.

Gorgeous pine over the Chinese Garden pond Vancouver.

A pagoda at the top of a hill overlooks the grounds. Dr. Sun built a place in the garden for meditation. Several of those unusual rocks graced the space.

Under the Pagoda Vancouver

This stunning Chinese gem is located in the middle of Vancouver.

The Sun Chinese Gardens surrounded by Vancouver.

My husband, Danny, and our daughter, Courtney, gazed at the pond before we left the peaceful oasis and entered the bustling city.

Vancouver Chinese Garden screen

The gardens inspired me to carve out a space of my own for contemplation and meditation.

I held that position just long enough for Courtney to snap the photo. Ha! 

Wanderlust adventure ahead

Are you into gardening? Have you been to Vancouver?

Click for more adventure on the Wild Ride.

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A Silhouetted Bonfire!

Last weekend, Frisco, Colorado hosted a roaring bonfire next to Lake Dillon. The Fire Department tended the blaze fueled by Christmas trees. That’s one way to get rid of them! Mesmerized by the crackling fire, I found magic in silhouettes of the onlookers.

Silhouette and bonfire

When the wind changed direction, sparks flew and the crowd moved to better locations out of the smokey haze.

Bonfire in Frisco

I had dressed in several layers to hang out in the long winter’s night. It seemed others were better prepared for the heat. A hoodie would have sufficed.

Bonfire at night

I took many videos, but the one that really struck me was a slow-motion recording of the fire. Click on the photo below to view and hear it consume the dry wood!

Have you ever been to a bonfire at night? Are you mesmerized by them? What do you do with your Christmas tree?

This post is a response to the Weekly Photo Challenge – Silhouette.

Click here for more adventure on the Wild Ride!

 

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Night Skiing at Keystone!

My great plan a few weeks ago:

I thought it would be fun to go out for brunch with the family, ski a couple of runs before Breckenridge closed for the day, and then relax at night. A complete shutdown at Breck and skiing Keystone didn’t come close to niggling my wild imagination.

The day started out sunny and warm with a light breeze. After waiting an hour for a table, we enjoyed a leisurely meal and then headed for the gondola. As we were about to board, it ground to a halt. We were forced into waiting mode again. What now?

The lift operators talked amongst themselves. Then one of them turned to face the growing crowd. “The mountain has closed due to high winds!”

I looked at her with raised eyebrows. Dang! It was too late to drive to another mountain. All kinds of woulda- coulda-shouldas came to mind.

Then I remembered Keystone is open until 8:00 PM for night skiing!

I hadn’t skied at night for a long time but recalled the excitement of it. While looming shadows swallowed the landscape, the crisp air and contrast of dark and light made an otherwise easy slope, a decent challenge.

It came as no surprise that so many lined up at the base. Some of them must have driven over in the afternoon when Breckenridge closed. I took this photo around 5:00 PM. It looks like the middle of the night!

Night skiing in Colorado

I’ve always enjoyed the lighting while night skiing. Sometimes it’s easier to see the shadows pop from the snow.

Chairlift at night

It’s important to see where you’re going!

That said, after an almost blind run while wearing goggles, I took them off. The lenses were too dark. Then the wind howled and my sight blurred.

Night snowboarding

It didn’t take long until my eyes adjusted, but my camera didn’t. Ha!

Night skiing at Keystone

Even in the chilly wind, we found time to relax with my son, Kelly, and his girlfriend, Leksy…

Kelly and Leksy

And to take the obligatory selfie!

Susie and Danny night skiing

We had a blast!

It’s always fun to try something different when plans change. It forces you to step out of your routine and experience something new. It became a very memorable day!

How do you handle change? Are you up for experiencing something new? Have you ever skied at night?

Click for more adventure on the Wild Ride!

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