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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Scotland’s Culloden House, Loch Ness and Barb Taub’s Arran Island: Photo Essay

How Londoners Fight Terrorism

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!

Related Posts:

Reflections on a Perfect Night – Photo Essay_- A night in Paris

Timing and Coincidence or Fate? Serendipity strikes in Lyon, Paris, and London.

A Mystery Revealed! Highlights of Barcelona, the Cote d’Azur, Paris, and London.

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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Night Skiing at Keystone!

Boob Report – Anxiety and the Fantastic Five-Year Finish Line

When scheduling my six-month cancer checkup, I made the mistake of booking a flight to California right afterward. Talk about anxiety. Nothing like racing against the ticking clock before a blood pressure test. These appointments are stressful enough! I planned to talk to my oncologist about the exact date when I could stop taking the cancer drug, Anastrozole when I hit my five-year finish line. Six more months…

I can see the light fantastic at the end of a long five-year road.

End of the tunnel

As I dressed in a fun traveling outfit, I got the dog ready for the kennel with my fingers crossed. Little did I know how frantic the day would become.

A little backstory:

Since my double boobectomies in May of 2013, I’ve endured many checkups; nine in fact. Afterward, I would freak out when the phone rang, imagining bad results. The check-up itself is always more than pleasant. I’ve been fortunate to have an absolutely wonderful oncologist who gets my sense of humor. That’s hard to find.

Why no chemo or radiation?

Because my doctors caught my breast cancer when I was stage 1 and I got rid of both boobs, my “numbers” came in really low, which is good. It didn’t make sense to have chemo or radiation for an increased result of 3% less chance of recurrence.

A daily dose of Tamoxifen and then Anastrozole became my routine. I would take them for five years. They both dissolved estrogen, which is what my cancer ate. Everyone has estrogen in their bodies. Men have estrogen. Post-menopausal women have estrogen through their adrenal glands and fatty tissues. I don’t have any!

In some ways, these drugs have been worse than the double boobectomies. At least my boobs healed up and I could move on with my life. Because of the drug, I wake up every day with anxiety. Not the freakout kind, but that icky feeling that I’ve done something wrong even though I haven’t. It reminds me of PMS. Ugh.

They also have other “delightful” side effects:

Tamoxifen raises the risk of blood clots and uterine cancer. When I had knee surgery, I had to give myself blood thinner stomach shots. Without the ability to clot, my knee swelled up and didn’t heal. I am still working hard to build strength in my left leg after muscle atrophy. It’s getting a little stronger.

Anastrozole dissolves bone, another reason to hit the gym and lift weights. I’ve been lucky to not have the joint and muscle aches.

Both drugs drained my energy level and enthusiasm. Not cool for a Wild Rider.

When I was between drugs, I didn’t take anything for two weeks. I woke up feeling super happy and energized. I was my old self! I prayed Anastrozole wouldn’t sucker punch me. It did.

Why did I stay on the drugs?

I would do anything to increase my chances of being cancer-free after five years. I never want to go through it again.

As you can imagine, I’ve been counting down the months until August when I can stop taking Anastrozole. With only two appointments to go, I wanted to know the exact date I could throw out my pills.

I scheduled my appointment February 8th, on the dot of six months.

Then I piled on the anxiety with a super tight schedule!

The morning of my appointment, I finished packing for my vacation and then drove the dog to the kennel. I was running a little behind but figured I’d have plenty of time to make my flight after my appointment. I was super organized so I tried to stay calm. I could do this!

I arrived at the kennel with my Bichon, Roxy, with twenty minutes to spare before my checkup. It was a little tighter than I thought, but no one was in line. Easy peasy!

The cute receptionist with curly brown hair greeted me and I handed her my vet’s note about Roxy’s updated kennel cough shot vaccination.

Her smile faded as she handed it back. “We don’t accept handwritten notes.”

Frowning, I took a look at the vets stationary with their letterhead and logo. “How do you take them?”

“With a printout of the shots. Let me ask my manager.”

She left the pet intake room for a couple of minutes while I watched the clock. The minutes ticked away. Oh, God, I didn’t want to miss my cancer checkup. My palms broke out in a sweat as I clung to the strap of my purse.

She returned with a look of concern on her face. “Sorry, but we can’t accept this.”

I looked at the clock. 9:03. My appointment was at 9:15. If I was late, they’d have to work me in. Worse, I may have to reschedule. That might mean being on that horrible pill longer than the six months!

“Call my vet!”

She dialed and got the answering service, then hung up and shrugged.

For God’s sake woman!

“Ask the after-hours receptionist for his cell number!” He’s a country doctor who works from 6:00 until 9:00 AM. If I’d been there at 8:45 like I’d planned, he would still be in his office. I clenched my jaw.

She dialed again and walked into the other room.

My heart pounded and I soaked my cute outfit for California. What if I missed my flight?

A jumble of thoughts raced through my head.

My appointment was only a couple miles away. I could make it, but what if the kennel didn’t accept the note? I would have to cancel my doctor’s appointment. Then I would take Roxy home and still try to make my flight. First, I’d have to get a hold of my daughter to see if she could pick up Roxy after work to take care of her for the weekend.

The young woman came back into the room with a big smile on her face. “You’re all set!”

My body collapsed with relief. “Thank you so much!” I said and sprinted out the door.

I raced to my car and tried to drive the speed limit to my appointment. I didn’t want to get a ticket. As soon as I sat down in the waiting room, my name was called.

After giving a couple of quarts of blood, the nurse took my blood pressure.

“I bet it’s through the roof,” I said.

“It’s 129 over 86,” she said with a smile.

I laughed. “I’m usually under 100 over 76.”

The doctor came in and did his routine exam. While examining my left fake boob, he took a little more time.

My heart began to pound with alarm. “Is everything okay?” Dear, God. I didn’t want any bad news after four and a half years!

“Yes, I’m just being thorough.” He smiled and sat down at his computer to check some of my blood test results.

“How are my results?” I wondered when my heart would stop hammering in my chest.

“Very good. Well within the normal range.”

I let out a held breath. “How long do I have to stay on the Anastrozole. I hate that drug. It flatlines my personality.”

He peered at the computer and said, “Looks like I prescribed it on June 6th in 2013.”

I remembered the old bottle I found at home. It said I filled it in July. “I don’t think I started taking it then.”

“You can stop taking it in June. In fact, take your last pill on May 31st.”

My heart soared! The thought of not having to take it until August thrilled me. But what about my last six-month appointment?

“When should I come in again?”

“A year from now. You’re doing really well!”

I hopped off the table and gave him big hug not thinking about how the gown opens in the front. “Thank you,” I said as tears ran down my cheeks.

Knowing I’ll still have cancer checks once a year for another five was a huge relief. If anything goes south, he’ll catch it. Once I’m off Anastrozole, which annihilates estrogen, I’ll be even more anti-soy, (it raises estrogen levels) and will continue not to drink alcohol. These two lifestyle changes keep me from worrying about cancer recurrence.

Life is for living large not wasted on worrying!

After five years, Stage 1 breast cancer patients have almost a 100% survival rate. That’s a statistic I can get behind!!! I teared up just now while reviewing that research.

I made my flight to California and celebrated. Ninety more days!

Me, Leksy, my son, Kelly, and their roommate, Nick.

The Gang in California

If you’re on Tamoxifen or Anastrozole and you feel blue, meditation helps a ton! It really keeps the low-grade depression in check. Remembering that it’s caused by the drug helps too. It’s been proven to stop cancer recurrence so it was worth the side-effects. Some patients don’t get the “feels,’ the aches, or the pains .

For more of my breast cancer journey in Boob Reports, click here. 

Click here for more inspiration and misadventures on the Wild Ride!

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How Londoners Fight Terrorism

While Danny and I prepared for our trip to Europe, we heard about the terrorist attack in Manchester, England. Our whole vacation started with London at its heart. I would attend the Bloggers Bash on June 10th.

We didn’t change our plans.

Instead, we drove from Glasgow to Edinburgh, Scotland when I noticed London trending on Twitter. To be honest, a second terrorist attack so soon after Manchester gave me pause. Was it an outbreak?

We didn’t change our plans.

After a fabulous week in Scotland, we flew to Gatwick airport and took the train to London. I wondered if police presence would be everywhere. Would any of the tourist attractions be open? Would we have to stick around the neighborhood of the Wellington Hotel?

The fabulous Bloggers Bash was the next day. We planned to take London by storm on Sunday. I brought my most comfortable walking shoes. I wanted to see Buckingham Palace, check out my buddy, Chuck, I mean Charles Dickens’ haunts, and go to Covent Gardens.

As soon as we walked out of Victoria’s station, I was struck by the number of cute little children, dressed to impress.

How Londoners Fight Terrorism (1)

And just like that, I was over any doubt or fear.

Of course, we didn’t change our plans.

When I asked people in London how they felt about safety, they all said, “We have to live their lives.” One man said, “Americans are scaredy cats.” True that. I was, but not anymore.

My suggestion to Americans?

Travel to London or Paris or wherever you want. It’s the only way we win. Terrorists want to destroy our way of life. When we change our plans because we’re afraid, they win.

Have you changed your vacation plans because of recent events? Would you?

It’s Not too Late for a Weekend Getaway Like This One!

It's not too late for an end of summer getawayThink summer is slipping away? It is. Mental lists of activities planned for the summer will fade as days shorten and cooler air rolls in. It can be stressful to think about fall if you haven’t enjoyed your summer. You might think it’s too late for a weekend getaway.

I stressed out about two weeks ago. I had made a list of everything I wanted to do this summer and then conquered less than half of it. The list was written on a note. It must have gotten tossed out with the morning paper. Been there?

One activity stuck in my mind. I wondered if it could recapture summer. There was only one way to find out.

My son, Kelly, moved to Burbank, California and has been attending Icon Music Production School since July. He’s heading home between quarters, but I thought a beach trip might be just what I need to get my end of summer fix.

With less than two weeks before leaving, I wondered if the flights would be astronomical. I booked roundtrip flights to LAX for $140 through Southwest. Whoa! My daughter, Courtney, joined me.

I used VRBO (Vacation Rental By Owner) and booked a place in Venice Beach. I’ve rented many through the years, but poor location, lack of air-conditioning, hard beds and pillows can add up to a not-so-great experience. I’m usually pretty lucky.

This one was the bomb. Super modern and a few blocks from Abbot Kinney, I wanted to move in permanently. We were more than pleased.

We spent a lot of time on the beach. Being landlocked, I appreciate the rhythmic thrum of the waves breaking on shore, the sandy beaches and am always awed by the ocean.

I had seen The Easy Lay on The List and bought one on the beach two days later!

Plan a Weekend Getaway

It’s as comfortable as it looks.

We ate like Kings and Queens at Killer ShrimpWater Grill and brunch at The Tasting Kitchen. It was hard not to overeat.

Killer Shrimp

It’s a good thing we visited. I walked into Kelly’s apartment and it looked the same as when I left. He and his roommates hadn’t bought any furniture for the living room or kitchen. There was no place to eat or sit down.

A trip to IKEA was in order. For just under $500, we bought a sleeper couch, table and four chairs, a side chair and a coffee table. Thank you IKEA!

Two guys and a woman in front of IKEA with furniture boxes

I hope everything is out of boxes and put together by the time I need another summer fix around November. UPDATE: Three more chairs to go. Yes!

The best part of my end of summer getaway? Hanging out with my kids!

Collage of Lindau family on vacation in Santa Monica

Yes, I recaptured summer and just in time. It’s not too late for you. Check something off your list.

What’s on your end of summer list? Where would you go to getaway? Have you used VRBO or AirBnB?

Warning! Wanderlust Adventure Ahead

practicing yoga in tree pose near a pond for WanderlustWhen my daughter, Courtney, asked if I’d be interested in going to Wanderlust, I said, “Sure!” I’m always up for traveling, but had no idea what she was talking about. Last week, she sent me a video of a class we’ll be taking. I laughed until I cried.

I hope no one gets hurt…

Wanderlust – Whistler 2016, is a four-day yoga festival that includes everything from the obvious, (yoga) and meditation to paddle-boarding, hiking and rocking out to DJs at night. I signed up. After all this isn’t my first yoga rodeo.

In seventh grade, I took a class as an elective at Our Lady Queen of Peace. I was hooked. I loved the relaxed atmosphere and how it slowed my active mind. I continued my interest through college. For a few years after having kids, I took a class poolside at a beautifully landscaped Boulder home. When the sessions became more aerobic than meditative, I dropped out.

It has been a few years since I’ve really been into yoga. With wrist and knee issues, I recently attended a few classes in Boulder to test my body. With a pad under my knees, I could do everything, in restorative, gentle yoga, anyway.

I thought I was good to go.

Courtney instructed me to sign up for all of the classes on her schedule, so I blindly clicked away. Last week, she sent me an email and asked if I had read the class descriptions. Of course not. I rarely read instructions.

One of the classes we’re taking is Acrovinyasa. She sent this video and I laughed until I cried.

We’ll be partners. I assume I’ll be on the bottom. I just watched the video again and it still cracks me up. Think of me spinning around like a top next Thursday. Ha! Still laughing.

My husband, Danny, is coming with us. His yoga themed bad dad jokes have been hitting me in waves. He is running two 5Ks as part of the event and will go on a hike, but he also signed up for a couple of yoga classes. There is hope. I think I’ll buy him that guy’s bandana. Could be a good look for him since he’s planning on walking around town with a cross-body yoga mat and a water bottle. Ha!

I’m really looking forward to the classes, especially the ones involving positivity and opening up the mind to creativity. I truly believe writers, musicians, and artists get into a creative flow that seems to come out of nowhere. It’s why I write with a vague idea of my plot points and could never use an outline. Whenever I concretely think about what should happen next in my book, I go into “deer in the headlights.” Instead, I imagine the characters and setting, and the scene rolls in my head like a movie.

Wanderlust should be a mind bender. I hope my body bends too. I can’t afford any breakage.

Don’t worry, Courtney and Danny will take lots of pictures. Remember, I have no shame.

More Wild Rider adventures.

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Are you into yoga? Have you been to Whistler or Vancouver? Is Acroyoga for you?