En Route To…

en route to seattle 2

We’re headed up to Seattle for the weekend to explore the city and will be venturing to Leavenworth, to check out all the Christmas decorations in the small German town in Washington State.  Have a great weekend everyone!

5 Spots for an Exotic Winter Escape

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It’s getting to be those winter months where the cold is getting colder and as we approach that time of year where we’re in the tunnel of Winter for a few more months in most parts of the world, many people start dreaming of warmer locations to escape to.  The nice thing about many of the warmer spots around the world this time of year is that they also tend to be more exotic locations as well which makes them perfect destination spots to warm up and spend some time exploring.  So while the temperatures drop here at home, here’s 5 of my favorite spots to escape to for an exotic adventure and that also boast warmer temperatures as well!

CAMBODIA

If you’re looking for an adventure, to wander through temples and night markets, Cambodia is the escape for you.  Warm weather almost year round, lush jungles, ancient temples and bustling cities make Cambodia a perfectly exotic adventure.

HAWAII

If you’re searching for something a little closer to home and you live in the US, Hawaii is a quick 5 hours flight from the West Coast.  For warm temperatures and a beach, Hawaii is a pretty worthy escape.  Add in the local Asian and Hawaiian cultures, venture away from the tourist spots and you’ll experience the true Island experience.

INDIA

Most of India (excluding some of the Northern parts) has fairly good weather most of the year and for an exotic spot, you can’t really beat this lovely country.  You’ll get your fill of incredible food, a unique culture and color everywhere you look.  We visited in February and the weather was wonderful!

THAILAND

A country with warm weather most of the year, beaches and cities alike, incredible food and a gorgeous culture, Thailand is a great place to escape to in SE Asis to beat the cold weather at home.  Grab a tuk tuk to fly down the streets of Bangkok or grab street food and a Thai iced tea and wander on your own, either way, you won’t regret this escape!

MOROCCO

The Middle East and Africa have lots of amazing places to escape to year round since temperatures in that region of the world tend to stay higher year round but one of my favorites is Morocco.  Wander the spice markets, indulge in delicious chicken bastilla and sleep in the gorgeous guest houses called Riads.  Morocco is indeed an exotic escape year round.

Travel Tips : How To Make Travel Easier

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Travel can be exhausting and infuriating and full of obstacles, but it is also one of those things that is incredibly fulfilling and substantial.  Over the years I’ve figured out ways to lessen the obstacles of trips, to make the amazing moments prevail over the ones that might not be so easy to deal with or that are out of our control.  So when traveling, here are some ways to make those moments that seem completely draining while traveling a little bit better and to make your travels just a little bit easier so you can have that trip of a lifetime on every adventure you take!

Don’t skimp on the first night’s hotel.

This is something I have started doing more and more even if we are trying to save money in other places on the trip, don’t skimp on your first night somewhere.  You arrive tired, worn out and exhausted anyway, make sure you have some place good to stay the first night and save money elsewhere.  That first night is perhaps the most important so pick a good place!

Upgrade to premium economy.

If you have the chance, book your long haul flights in premium economy.  We don’t always do this, but when we do, it makes all the difference.  It’s usually not that much more money and the comfort it brings while traveling makes all the difference.  Plus, you’re more likely to get upgraded from Premium Economy if the flight is oversold so it’s a win-win.

Eat regularly and well.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t do well if I don’t eat.  Travel throws you off your schedule and our of your routine, so make sure to get on a travel schedule where you are eating and sleeping regularly early on on the trip.  It will make all the difference if you are eating regularly and eating well.

Don’t overbook yourself.

A lot of travelers try to fit in too much in a place and overwhelm themselves.  Make it easier on yourself so you enjoy it more by not overbooking yourself.  See what you want to see and don’t worry about seeing everything… you’ll feel so much better!

Savoring the Journey

Happy Tuesday everyone!  Before we get into today’s post just wanted to let everyone know that I’ve updated my Hotels Review page (Thanks Amanda!) and it’s better organized now to get all the information quickly for wherever your traveling.  So hop on over and take a look and I hope it’s much easier to utilize for information from now on!

 journey

All too often as travel bloggers we only show the same things over and over.  We talk about the amazing destinations, the amazing hotels, the incredible moments while traveling.  All too often we don’t share the negatives (though I do try to share those as well here too) and all too often we don’t share much about the journeys to and from our travels.  We skip over the hours in the sky on a plane or the hours in a car on the road.  We skip out on all that we experienced on the journey to or from a place, we skip over what ends up being a great amount of time for our trip and that’s a shame because the journey is often a huge part of our travels.

We spend hours in a plane looking out over the world below, stepping on that plane on one side of the world and stepping off in another and that’s an incredible experience in itself that we don’t touch on nearly enough.  I’ve had some life-changing moments while soaring above the world, I’ve seen some of the most beautiful wonders of the world like sunsets and sunrises and seeing city scapes from above.  I’ve watched the world go by beneath me and dreamed of wherever I was going or heading to.  So next time you’re headed out for your next adventure, remember that the journey there and back is a huge part of the memories you make and the experiences you have.  So today, these are just a few of my favorite memories from the past year or so while journey-ing to and from places all over the world.  Don’t forget that the journey is often the most important and it’s worth savoring.

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My Favorite Loyalty Programs

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As I travel more over the years, I’ve come to know pretty well which loyalty programs are best worth it for me and which aren’t great.  This of course if going to be different for everyone because people live in different places with different airlines that work best for them but for me, living in the Pacific NW and doing travel both in the US and throughout the world each year, these are the loyalty programs I’ve come to count on and why I think they are worth joining and using.

Alaska Airlines

With partners like Delta, Air France, Cathay Pacific, and Qantas, Alaska is my go-to mileage program for air miles.  Not only do I fly them often (they are my primary domestic airline of choice), they also have great customer service, an excellent and easy to use mileage program and a great website and phone support.  I’ve been MVP with them for a number of years and to fly to places like Hawaii, throughout Mainland USA and using their partners worldwide, their mileage program is pretty impressive and easy to use and build mileage.

British Airways

I’ve had the British Airways credit card for a number of years and because they have a non-stop flight from Seattle to Heathrow, we fly them often.  I’ve built up points with the BA Avios program for years between the credit card and actual miles flown and used their points for a number of things including flights, hotels and car rentals all over the world.  One thing I will say, it’s harder to use miles with BA to fly from the US to London because of bad availability and high taxes and fees, but intra-Europe flights, hotels and car rentals are super easy with BA avios and have saved us hundreds of dollars over the years by using points for those smaller trip items.

Iceland Air 

We’ve flown Iceland air a handful of times and will probably fly them a lot more in the future as they are starting a direct Portland-Reykjavik flight this Spring which will be really handy for us.  I like them for a number of reasons, but their points program is also pretty great.  You can use the points you rack up from flights on meal purchases on board or you can transfer points (especially if you only have a small amount) to websites like Points.com and trade in those small remainders of points for gift cards.  I recently did this with our left over Iceland Air points and it turned into $100 worth of gift cards we can use anywhere you choose.

Norwegian 

We actually haven’t had the pleasure of flying with Norwegian yet, though we were supposed to this past October for our trip to Europe that ended up being a problem with delays and such and we missed our flight and instead flew Iceland Air.  Though in March, we’ll fly Norwegian from Gatwick to LAX.  When we’ve booked both this flight and the one we never got to fly, you get cash points through Norwegian that you can use toward future bookings.  That’s a pretty nice perk, especially when you have to pay for food and to choose your seat when booking, using that Norwegian cash point to pay for that can be really handy!