Posts tagged travel
Top 5 Travel Apps For Budget Travel

I recently posted a video (watch below) covering 5 apps that have helped Sarah and I save money! Knowing some people would rather read while on the commute I wanted to list them fro you here. Happy Traveling!

Hopper

Pros: Easy to use interface, allows you to watch flights for specific dates and sends notifications on when to buy, can customize which airlines you want to see (Basic Fares: Spirit, Frontier, etc.), price predictions, can customize layover restrictions, has desktop website.

Cons: Southwest not included - this is not Hopper’s fault, it is the business model of Southwest to not work with any third party affiliates (still a bummer though), no longer able to choose flexible dates,

Who’s it for: Planners. If you are someone who plans trips months in advance you will save a lot of money utilizing Hopper. International travelers will also benefit from the time and effort saving options of Hopper.

Download Hopper at: www.hopper.com

HotelTonight

Pros: Amazing deals on last minute hotel rooms, membership program gives deeper discounts the more you book, beautiful interface and great room information, member reviews and photos uploaded to the app.

Cons: mobile only, daily drop is only available once per day including all locations (can be tough if road tripping),

Who’s it for: Last minute travelers, business travelers who have flexibility, solo travelers, couple travelers, digital nomads.

Download HotelTonight at: www.hoteltonight.com
Use my promo code SHOWARD227 and you'll get $25 off your first booking.

Google Maps Explore

Pros: Most commonly used navigation and review system on the planet, has everything including upcoming events, restaurants, cocktail spots, etc.

Cons: If you don’t like Google?

Who’s it for: Anyone and everyone

Download Google Maps at: Android | Apple iTunes

The Outbound Collective

Pros: Community driven, real people means real reviews, a great way to see where locals are spending time outdoors when traveling to a new city or region.

Cons: Being 100% community driven it may not show all available trails in the area.

Who’s it for: Outdoor lovers, travelers looking for day hikes, people looking for new camping spots in their region, outdoor photographers.

Join The Outbound Collective at: https://theoutbound.com/

Airbnb

Pros: In almost every location around the world, flexibility for budgets, size, amount of people, and location.

Cons: Airbnb’s will not come with the hotel amenities some travelers may be used to. That being said, the options to choose exactly what you location and budget is should take care of this if you do your research.

Who’s it for: Any travelers spending more than 2 nights at one location, travelers looking for a home away from home, travelers with dietary restrictions.

Join Airbnb at: www.airbnb.com
Use the link above and receive $40 off of your first trip!

I hope these apps make traveling as enjoyable for you as it has me. For more information on each app, check out my YouTube video below!

Any questions shoot me an email or comment on my YouTube video.

 
 
Multnomah Falls - A View Worth Fighting Tourists For
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When we were spending our weekend in Portland, one of our "must do's" was to visit the Columbia River Gorge area.  We grabbed a Zipcar for the afternoon and headed west on 84. 

Upon arriving at Multnomah Falls, we quickly realized we weren't the only ones with this idea. This is a vast tourist destination and the parking situation reminded us of that right away. After finding a spot to park, we headed past the lodge and boom.. there it is. It is the kind of view that stopped Sarah in her tracks to let out a "wow." 

Many people stop at this first viewing area to take photos and enjoy the views.  We headed further up on a trail to the iconic bridge. We recommend bringing a rain jacket if headed to the bridge or beyond.  The spray from the fall got us damp.  The bridge is a beautiful structure and gave us a really cool perspective of the falls. 

Small waterfall at the top of Multnomah Falls

Small waterfall at the top of Multnomah Falls

We chose to continue on the trail and head for the top of the falls. From here the quick adventure turns into about 1.3 miles of straight switchbacks overlooking the Columbia River Gorge.

The view from the top makes the switchbacks worth it. We were welcomed by a small waterfall that feeds into the large drop of Multnomah Falls. From the viewing area at the top we were able to see everything below as well as the Columbia River Gorge in the distance. 

This is a beautiful and easy stop and we can't wait to come back! If you're in the Portland area, make this an afternoon adventure!

Brighton Lakes, Moose, & Sunset Peak
Sunset Peak overlooking Brighton Lakes

Sunset Peak overlooking Brighton Lakes

Looking back on our trip, our favorite hike was the Brighton Lakes hike in Brighton, Utah. It was perfect weather, beautiful scenery, and we ran into very few people on the trail. 

Brighton is a beautiful 40 minute drive southeast of Salt Lake City.  Driving on Big Cottonwood Canyon Road in September may be one of the most breathtaking drives we've ever experienced. Arriving at the trailhead on a crisp morning, we strapped up the hiking boots and headed out.  

The beautiful thing about this hike is that you can make it as easy or difficult as you would like. It is an out and back trail allowing you to turn back at any of the three lakes or press on to the top of Sunset Peak.  We decided on the latter. After a quick and somewhat steep elevation gain we ended the first mile with Lake Mary. The water was down after a hot summer, but the granite formation surrounding Lake Mary were so calming. We sat here a little while to take it all in and then headed on. 

Sarah enjoying the view of Lake Mary

Sarah enjoying the view of Lake Mary

The second stop, Lake Martha brought us our first trail friend of the trip - a young moose, who lazily laid at the edge of the water until Cody got a little too close to take a picture. Bullwinkle (our name for him), then stood up to let Cody know who was boss. It was at that moment we decided it was best to say our goodbyes.

Bullwinkle at Lake Martha

Bullwinkle at Lake Martha

Lake Catherine is the final lake on this hike, sitting perfectly between the peaks of Brighton.  We grabbed a quick snack and decided to shoot for Sunset Peak. From here it was switchback after switchback until we reached the top and realized this was our first summit together! It was a great and windy feeling.  We snapped a few photos and headed back down. 

Cody decided to take the "trail less traveled," which we quickly realized was just a water runoff. After what seemed like an hour of scrambling and Sarah whining that our lives were endangered we made it back to Lake Catherine.  From here it was a smooth sailing back to the trailhead. 

 

 

 

Us after summiting Sunset Peak

Us after summiting Sunset Peak

Bells Canyon Waterfall Hike
Bells Canyon Waterfall

Bells Canyon Waterfall

It has been awhile since we have had a post on here, but in January 2016 we sold our car.  Doing so we have found that it has been significantly harder to get out and explore! 

Salt Lake City has been on our list of places to visit for quite some time. We booked our trip back in June leaving us plenty of time to plan out our trip.  At the top of our list of things to do was hike as much as we could.  Something that makes Salt Lake City unique is its proximity to so many beautiful outdoor destinations.  

One of the resources we used to plan our trip was a website and app called The Outbound.  The Outbound offers trail guides, tips, and advice on everything from packing lists to directions to the trail head.  We came upon the Bells Canyon hike using The Outbound.

The trail head is only about 30 minutes outside Salt Lake City.  We went on a Saturday so the parking lot was full, but the trail is long enough that we only saw people in passing.  The beginning of the trail takes you to the watershed lake, which was nearly dry at the time we were there.  From the lake, we continued on up to the waterfall.  We got caught in a passing rain storm which gave us time to have a snack and take a few sips of water. The hike quickly turned into a near scramble as we huffed and puffed our way to the top.  

Sarah enjoying the beautiful stream running off of the waterfall

Sarah enjoying the beautiful stream running off of the waterfall

Stepping out from the woods to see the waterfall made every step worth it.  Not only was the waterfall beautiful, but the views of the valley were unbelievable as well.  We took time to enjoy the view and explored around the top.  After snapping some pictures, we headed back toward the valley.

A view of the valley from the top of the hike

A view of the valley from the top of the hike

Angel Oak Tree and Beaufort, South Carolina
The Angel Oak Tree

The Angel Oak Tree

During our honeymoon, we took a few side trips to explore more of the area.  In between Charleston and Savannah, we stopped to check out a massive tree.  Located on Johns Island is a tremendously old oak tree called the Angel Oak Tree.  We were told to stop by to check out this insanely old tree.  We were definitely in awe as we walked up to the tree.  Standing beneath the tree, we fell silent as we looked up at the massive limbs twisting above us.

Wires and beams holding up the ancient limbs  

Wires and beams holding up the ancient limbs  

For a little background on the tree, it is over 1500 years with a height of 65 feet and a circumference of 25.5 feet. Many of the limbs are so massive that they are supported by wires and beams so that they do not completely collapse.  

 We snapped a few pictures, but pictures don't really do this old tree justice.   The only way to understand how breathtaking this tree is, is to experience it yourself.  A day trip to the Angel Oak Tree is a must if you find yourself near Charleston, or a good pit stop between Savannah and Charleston. 

While on Fripp Island, we decided to explore the town of Beaufort, a historic town in South Carolina's low country.  Beaufort is the second oldest town in South Carolina.  I had heard that a lot of filming for the movie, Forrest Gump, had taken place in and around Beaufort and wanted to go check out its picturesque views.  While driving to Beaufort, we enjoyed the beautiful scenery.  The drive was relaxing and picturesque.  Once we arrived in town, we noticed that there were people everywhere and that there was a big festival going on.  Although we did not attend the festival, we enjoyed walking around and looking at the view the town had of the surrounding water.  

Beaufort, South Carolina

Beaufort, South Carolina

On our way out of town, we noticed that the houses in Beaufort were incredible.  We drove around for about a half hour looking at the unique, old homes that all boast antebellum character and architecture.  We stumbled across some amazing properties that must be visited in person.  Anyone interested in old homes, beautiful scenery, and lots of history would love a trip to Beaufort, South Carolina. 

Charleston, South Carolina
Sarah outside the piazza at the Governer's House Inn

Sarah outside the piazza at the Governer's House Inn

The first couple days of our honeymoon were spent in Charleston, South Carolina, where we got to experience some excellent cuisine, southern hospitality, and humid weather.  After rolling into Charleston around 1:00 AM, we were grateful for a comfortable bed and cool room at the Governor's House Inn, a bed and breakfast located in the historic downtown area.  

The Governor's House Inn was one of my favorite parts of our honeymoon.  The historic home was built in 1760 and is a true testament to the grandeur of the era.  Each room was beautiful and stately.  The breakfast each morning was delicious and kept us full well into the afternoon, even after a day of walking among Charleston's unique alleys and seeing it's beautiful architecture.  

A beautiful home near Rainbow Row

A beautiful home near Rainbow Row

One of the highlights of our time in Charleston was the unique Rainbow Row, featuring homes painted in beautiful pastels.  As a souvenir from our trip, we picked out a painting from a local artist, capturing the beauty of this stretch of homes.  

We found that one of the best ways to see the city is on one of the many carriage rides.  This is a great way to get off your feet for a bit, learn about this city from a tour guide, and really travel about in the same way people would have if it were the 1700s.  Our tour was through the Palmetto Carriage Company and our tour guide did a wonderful job pointing out unique facts about the city as we slowly made our way through on the carriage. 

To wind down the first full day of the honeymoon, we indulged in a decadent dinner at the Charleston Grill.  After starting off the meal with the most delicious crab cake either of us had ever had, we enjoyed the live music before our meals of branzino and guinea hen.  We ended the meal with a complimentary taste of dessert wine with a sampling of their desserts.  

As a nightcap to our final evening in Charleston, we sought out The Gin Joint, a small bar with a plethora of drink options.  What set this bar apart from your average bar, was that we had the option to choose two adjectives and then the bartender creates a drink for you.  Cody chose "refreshing" and "unusual" and Sarah went with "sweet" and "fizzy."  Both drinks turned out to be top notch.  Even if we had not been satisfied with our drinks, we could have sent them back for another attempt, free of charge.    

We found ourselves back in Charleston for a few hours at the end of our trip for a final lunch before our flight home. We ate at Poogan's Porch, enjoying a yummy brunch of pulled pork eggs Benedict and cinnamon French toast topped with pecans and strawberries. The restaurant was in an old house that had been converted.  It was a filling last southern meal to send us back to Chicago. 

Cinnamon French Toast

Cinnamon French Toast

Pulled Pork Eggs Benedict

Pulled Pork Eggs Benedict

Overall, Charleston provided lots of history, relaxation, and hospitality.  If you find yourself in the south, definitely put this city on your list of stops!