3 of the Best Places to Visit in California

The state of California is a place that many people want to tick off their list, and it is easy to see why. There is some great weather, stunning beaches, good shopping, tasty food, and many world-famous sites to see for yourself. But with it being such a big state, and with a mix of coastline, cities, mountains, and National Parks, it can be tricky to know where to visit first. 

Golden Gate Bridge, Night, Full Moon, Sky, Scenic

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Long Trip Ahead? Make Travel Less Tedious!

Travel is exciting and fulfilling- there’s nothing quite like going to a completely different place in the world and experiencing entirely new surroundings. From breathtaking scenery to interesting new foods, meeting people who are completely different to you and learning more about yourself- it’s always a good use of time and money. The only trouble is, the actual travel part can be pretty tedious. Getting from A to B, whether it’s by plane, rail, coach or car can take a lot of time and be tiring and boring. To help combat this, it can be useful to have things you know you can do that will keep you occupied and allow the time to pass more quickly. Here are some ideas!

White Airliner Wing on Top of Sea Clouds

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Catch up on some work

It might not be the most fun way to spend your time, however, it can be a great way to tie up any loose ends before your vacation or even earn a bit of extra money. If you’re sitting on a train or plane, for example, you could easily get on with a bit of report writing even without access to the internet. If you have an internet connection on the transport you’re on, you could catch up on emails or do other jobs here and there. Better than sitting around twiddling your thumbs!

Create content

If you’re a content creator then this could actually be a great time to make something new- being in different surroundings can be really inspiring. You could work on your novel or write a poem, you could write an entry for your blog or vlog parts of your journey. If you have music software on your laptop you could create some new tracks, as long as you’ve got your headphones in you won’t bother anyone. If you’re a content creator and travel often then this really is the time that you can utilize. Invest in a good quality laptop, Macs are powerful although you might need to relearn some of the basics as they can be a bit different. Look at how to screen capture on Mac and how to left-click on Mac as examples. 

Consume content

Finally, a few hours sat in your seat is the perfect time to consume content. You could read a book, watch a movie or catch up on a series you’ve been meaning to watch. You could play games, listen to music- whatever it is you like to do. In most cases, you can do all of this right from your smartphone. Be sure to download content to your device in case your internet connection isn’t always the best. 

Traveling from A to B can be boring, but keep yourself occupied and the tedious part will pass quickly. You’ll be at your destination having fun before you know it!

 

Winter Blues? Here Are Some Things You Can Do To Beat Them

We all get excited for Fall and Winter – the lure of the infamous pumpkin spice latte and the thought of curling up in front of a roaring log fire all sounds very romantic, but in reality, we are often faced with soggy grey days that feel anything but, and long nights that seem to go on forever. There is little wonder that many of us end up with the ‘winter blues’, and can’t wait for Spring to appear so we can get back to doing the things we love. If you feel a bit ‘meh’ when the nights draw in and the temperatures plummet, here are some things you can do to keep your spirits up.

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Plan your dream vacation

Ok, so in an ideal world, you would be actually on your dream vacation, but that doesn’t often happen. Instead, while away the days planning your dream holiday. Mooch on Pinterest or even make a wanderlust scrapbook, filled with pictures of things you want to see and do. You never know – next Winter you may have the chance to experience it for real!

Attend a concert or a show

Music and theatre can do wonders for the soul. They can make you laugh, cry, and feel all the emotions in between. Shows can be expensive, but if you plan ahead and check out what is on Broadway Shows NYC, you may find some great deals to help put a smile on your face and a spring in your step.

Sign up for a class

Use the dark, cold days wisely and allow your mind to bloom. There are plenty of classes for all sorts of interests and skill levels. Whether it is to improve your existing cooking skills or learn a whole new language for that dream vacation that you have planned, make sure you sign up for something. You may also make some new friends with similar interests, which can be great for getting you through Winter.

Check out local museums and galleries

It has probably been a long time since you last visited your local museum or art gallery, and the chances are, a lot has changed! Go online to see if there are any new exhibitions or collections that catch your eye and go and see them. If nothing else, most museums and galleries have superb cafes and restaurants to grab a bit to eat at.

Visit a new restaurant

Talking of places to eat, a dark winters evening is the perfect chance to get dressed up the nines and visit that restaurant you have always wanted to go to. Make a proper weekend of it – maybe go and see a show first, and head to a swanky hotel for the night! It is amazing what good food and being waited on for a night can do for your spirits.

What are your favorite things to do to beat the winter blues?

San Francisco Revisited: Five Spots You Never Knew Existed

Written in cooperation with Hotel Planner.

The city of San Francisco is by no means undiscovered territory. One of the most loved and visited cities in the nation, the City by the Bay is a perennial favorite. Everyone is aware of major attractions like Alcatraz Island, Embarcadero Wharf, San Francisco’s sourdough, and Lombard Street’s famous curves, but here are five of my favorite little-known sites that you shouldn’t miss on your next visit.

Visit the South Pacific

Image via Flickr by Doug Letterman

Recreate the exoticism of the South Pacific with a visit to the Tonga Room. Fans of Jimmy Buffett will recognize the name, but others may have missed this explosion of bamboo, seashells, and tiki figurines. During World War II, tiki bars opened all across the country, with San Francisco jumping on the trend relatively early. While it’s now considered a bit kitschy, the Tonga Lounge, which opened in the luxurious Fairmont hotel in 1945, was once the place to be seen. Even today, the pool in the center of the restaurant, where the band plays, is a unique feature.

Sleep Like Royalty

When you visit the Tonga Room in the Fairmont Hotel, ask to take a peek at the hotel’s luxurious penthouse suite. Spanning a staggering 6,000 square feet and costing a whopping $18,000 per night, this suite has housed the likes of Prince Charles, Mick Jagger, and Alfred Hitchcock. It features a two-story library, a cornucopia of design styles, and a dining table that seats 60. One of its main claims to fame is the secret passageway that John F. Kennedy supposedly used to allow Marilyn Monroe to enter.

Step into the Sunset District

Image via Flickr by Ed Bierman

Located in the quiet and relatively undiscovered Sunset District, the 163 mosaic-tiled steps are worth the effort to climb. Completed over the course of two years, the gorgeous steps lead to beautiful views of the city. They also pave the way to the neighboring Green Hairstreak corridor, along with the beautiful succulents and native habitat designed to sustain the local butterfly population.

Slide in the Park

Image via Flickr by jdeeringdavis

The Seward Street Slides are a perfect example of community activism and protecting green spaces. In the 1960s, this area was slated for development, prompting local residents got together to protest with an epic bulldozer-defying sit-in. After nearly a decade of protests, the community won their lot back and turned it into a city park, which opened in the early 1970s. A local teenager designed the Seward Street Slides to encourage enjoyment of the park by young and old. Bring your own cardboard along for this unique experience.

Remember the Dearly Departed

In San Francisco, the most interesting cemetery revolves around furry family members. When military families resided at the Presidio, this cemetery was created as a final resting place for their beloved pets. Tombstones show that the array of species includes dogs, cats, goldfish, birds, and even lizards. Local development nearly caused the demise of the pet cemetery in 2009, but community activists managed to save it from complete destruction. It’s a fitting tribute to beloved pets.

San Francisco will always draw visitors to explore its most popular tourist attractions. Next time you visit, take a minute to head to these lesser-known gems.