Category — Travel Tips

{travelogue} Street Eats and Spicy Stuff; Crickets and Craft Beer: A Second Time Around in Shanghai

I recently went back to what I think might be my #1 favorite Chinese city: Shanghai. I have met so many Westerners who tell me they don’t like Shanghai, but I think the problem is that it’s like New York or London or any other huge metropolis: it is so big and there are so many things to do that it can be hard to crack past the touristy spots and get into the real Shanghai. But once you figure out what to do and where to go, it is a fantastic cosmopolitan destination that should be on everyone’s short list.

detail of stone carving

This trip, we made a point of discovering great street food, trying restaurants that represent cuisine from different parts of China, and exploring some hidden treasures. Here are my recommendations to help you figure out all of the very best things to do in Shanghai. And be sure to read my previous post for a complementary set of recommendations so you’ll be totally well-versed on all that’s great about this busy city!

January 29, 2014   No Comments

{10 second vacation} Hidden Beaches & Floating Villages of Ha Long Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay, Vietnam

If you travel to North Vietnam, chances are you will make an excursion to the UNESCO World Heritage site at Ha Long Bay. Its calm waters are dotted with unique karst formations, tiny beaches, and floating fishing villages. You can take an overnight boat cruise on a small junk, which is a great way to explore the bay’s wonders. The floating villages were a sight to see. Since we were traveling with a 2-year-old we were doubly impressed with how adeptly some of the young children could swim and steer boats all on their own! 

halong 1

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January 21, 2014   1 Comment

{10 second vacation} Winter Weekend in Monterey, California

Monterey is most famous for its fabulous aquarium, but the area boasts lots of other charms. If you can largely avoid the tacky, touristy Cannery Row area you are in for a real treat. A 10 minute drive down the peninsula will put you in the quaint town of Carmel, so it’s really like a two-for-one! Point Lobos State Reserve is one of the absolute gems of the California coastline – and rivals many a national park in beauty and sights. You can spot sea lions, tide pools, and hidden beaches at nearly every turn. 

There are lots of fancy spots to try, and I do enjoy a sunset drink with bagpipes with the upper crust at The Inn at Spanish Bay, but I find myself gravitating more to the down-home dives for meals… like an early morning stop on funky Fisherman’s Wharf to hit up Loulou’s for creme brulee-style oatmeal or enormous pancakes, or chicken shawerma lunch with fluffy pita and garlicky sauce at teeny-tiny Paprika Cafe. To warm up, try a big sourdough bread bowl of creamy clam chowder at Schooner’s right over the water. For more Monterey recommendations, check out this article with tons of great suggestions. 

gibson beach point lobos ca

Gibson Beach

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November 25, 2013   2 Comments

{ask me anything about anywhere} 3 Days in Big Sur and Hearst Castle?

People ask me for travel advice all the time, and sometimes I just don’t get around to blogging about it in advance. Here’s your chance to ask me anything about anywhere! If I have any good intel–I’ll gladly share it with you.

The question: My husband and I are taking a 3 night trip to celebrate my 40th birthday – and leaving our 3 kids at home with Grandma! We want to go somewhere driveable from the San Francisco Bay Area. Where should we go, and what should we do once we get there?

 

big sur

November 5, 2013   1 Comment

{travel tips} Zürich in Summer

I’m just back from a trip to Switzerland and Italy, and wanted to share all of my favorite things in Zürich before I forget them. Zürich in the summer is a wonderful place to visit, with so much to do!

zurich river

Things to do in Zürich

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September 9, 2013   2 Comments

{travelogue} Maui Update: More Favorite Eats and Activities Around the Island

I love Maui – it’s one of my favorite places in the whole world. I have written previously about some of my favorite places to eat and visit in Maui, but that post mostly covered the Western part of the island. Since then, I have made enough repeat visits to explore most other parts of the island as well. Here is a second round of suggestions for great things to eat and do on Maui!

aloha

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August 5, 2013   1 Comment

{travel tips} 21 Fabulous and Unique Things to Do and Eat in Paris

Today is Bastille Day, so I thought this seemed like an appropriate time to offer my top recommendations for Paris. Paris can be overwhelming, but after several visits I have distilled this list down to my all-time favorite things to do (and eat) in La Ville-Lumière. Since it’s me we’re talking about, they are mainly food-focused, but I’ve thrown a few cultural recommendations in to round it out!

eiffel-tower

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July 14, 2013   2 Comments

{10 second vacation} Nungwi Beach, Zanzibar

Nungwi is a stunning spot at the northern tip of Zanzibar. The waters of the Indian Ocean are impossibly blue and the people are incredibly welcoming. As the sun starts to set each evening, the temperature cools and the locals come down to the beach to play soccer. If you get a chance to visit Zanzibar, don’t miss Nungwi! I recommend the cool, laid-back, affordable Z Hotel

zanzibar1

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June 20, 2013   No Comments

{getaway} Heavenly Holbox: Long Weekend on Isla Holbox, off Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula

I just got back from a long weekend in Isla Holbox, a little island off Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. Holbox is a weird name for a Mexican island, right? It’s actually a Mayan word meaning “black hole” and is pronounced “Ohl-bosh.” Whatever you call it, it’s pretty great.

holbox1

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May 29, 2013   2 Comments

{bucket list} Tracking Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda

A few years ago I had one of the most incredible travel experiences I have had so far – two days of tracking the mountain gorillas in Rwanda. I am probably not skilled enough as a writer to describe how moving and unbelievable the experience was, but I will try.

gorillaz
I’m not sure why it has taken me so long to write about this, but it might have something to do with the fact that I have hundreds of gorilla photos to wade through, and when they are this cute – it’s hard to choose which ones to share.

baby gorilla

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May 9, 2013   7 Comments