Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Beautiful Rothenburg Germany

Beautiful Rothenburg Germany

Out of all the places we visited on our Central European Driving Vacation this was our favorite place. I know kind of crazy that we would choose a small, very small, town over some of the beautiful big cities we encountered, but the slower pace won us over. Like many places on this trip, this was not our first time visiting this city. When we lived in Germany this was one of those places we would take friends when they came from the states because it’s that fabulous. One thing we had never done was [Read more…]

Cesky Krumlov

Things to do in Cesky Krumlov

Things To Do In Cesky Krumlov?

  • Stroll through the streets and enjoy plenty of shopping.
  • Visit the Cesky Krumlov Castle and even tour the tower
  • Look for the bears in the Bear moat surrounding the castle.
  • Eat Trdelnik
  • There are a few museums, but we did everything that was free and loved that you could pretty much wander where ever you wanted.
  • There is no shortage of places to eat, but we were not there for a meal, only Trdelnik.

I had two friends tell me we needed to stop here as we were planning our trip. Turns out we were driving right by on our Central Europe trip, so it was perfect. Plus it was a great way to break up our driving day from Linz, Austria up to Prague. Even after all they had told me, I still wasn’t prepared for what we saw. It’s like a fairy tale town.The buildings have their architecture painted on and the castle is complete with a bear moat. The streets were very small, the doorways are short and when we were there we had the place nearly to ourselves as the weather was not the best. We layered up and took it all in anyways.

[Read more…]

12 Things To Do In Astoria

Astoria, Oregon

Astoria, Oregon

We drove down from Long Beach, Washington and arrived in Astoria on a Sunday and their Farmers Market was going on. We wandered through and decided to just stop and grab a bite to eat while we waited for our room to open up. We started with lunch at Clemente’s, which was fabulous. [Read more…]

Hiking and Eating in Long Beach Washington

Stunning day at the coast

Stunning day at the coast

For our anniversary we decided to head to Astoria, Oregon since we hadn’t been there in a few years. It’s a great little town on the Northern Oregon Coastline with great food options. There was a hotel we went to a few years back, that we loved, and decided to stay again. Once our trip started to get closer, we decided we would like to take one extra day. The hotel was booked, as it was the weekend of 4th of July, so I began broadening our search. By doing that we started our trip in Long Beach, Washington.

We found the Adrift Hotel for a somewhat reasonable price and with very mixed reviews. We decided to lower our standards, expect less, and [Read more…]

Mirror Lake Hike

Mirror Lake with Mt. Hood in the background

Portland!  You not only have the city, but the beach and the mountains can be reached within just over an hour. This is a great hike for those in or around Portland or even those that are visiting Portland and want a great view of Mt. Hood.

You can hike up just to Mirror Lake and hang out. This is a pretty easy 1.5 mile hike (3 miles round trip), with almost a 1000 ft elevation climb. If you want to keep on going you can jump on the Tom, Dick and Harry trail. Doing this hike will take your elevation climb up to 2000 ft and right at 6.5 miles round trip. You will go right past Mirror Lake, so take time to enjoy the view and the peacefulness.

You can see from the picture above how the lake gets it’s name. [Read more…]

7 Ways to Score that Hotel Upgrade

how to get hotel upgrades

It seems like scoring that great upgrade used to be a little easier than it is nowadays, but don’t fear, it can be done with a few simple tricks.

There are many travelers that say it’s just the luck of the draw, but others say there really are ways to work that upgrade.  Next time you travel try a few of these ideas and see for yourself. [Read more…]

How to Road Trip Across Central Europe

 

Road Trip Across Central Europe3

We started in Germany and made our way through Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria and Czech and finally back into Germany. Here’s how we did it.

We started by planning all our hotels out in advance. It takes away some of your flexibility, but traveling with 10 people can be a bit over whelming to hotels. Not only that, it took us up to an hour to find a place we all wanted to eat, I can’t imagine having to waste time trying to find a place to sleep at the end of every day. Planning ahead was a good thing.

We drove through Switzerland. We heard it was crazy expensive, so staying there was out of the question. We did stop in Zurich. We really had no idea where we were going, but I had downloaded Pocket Earth on my iPhone. It gives me maps that I can use offline. I found Altstadt (old town) Zurich [Read more…]

9 Ways to Save Money While Vacationing

traveling-deals

This is a tough one.  We try really hard to have saved enough money that we don’t have to skimp while on vacation.  But, I would rather choose to skimp if it meant at least taking a vacation.

  • Plan your meals – Have it all worked out.  Know what meals you will buy and what meals you will take and what meals you will make.  Food is a big factor and fast food is cheap, but sometimes just not an option, so have a plan in place.  We usually try and pack snacks, eat light lunch then hit a nice local restaurant for dinner.
  • Plan your stay – Some places offer a free night if you stay for 3.  Check and see what deals are being offered and ask if you see nothing.  Stay in a place that is close to what you are doing.  Sometimes the places can be close enough you don’t even have to use a car.  Saving on car rentals or just gas. Also check and see if you can park your car for free.
  • Decide on souvenir purchases ahead of time – I have seen a couple of moms that bought cheap Mickey ears or t-shirts before going on their Disney trip and pulled them out of the suitcases when they got there.  Brilliant!!  If you decide to buy on your trip give your kids a budget.  Here’s a great example of how to set a budget.
  • Plan a destination that is not touristy – Want to keep from spending money aimlessly the whole time, go to beautiful Montana and take in the sights and enjoy the outdoors.  Hit beaches outside of big cities and just enjoy the sand beneath your feet.  You get the idea.
  • Don’t feel like you need movement every single minute – If you spend the day out and about, be ok with sitting in the hotel resting in the evening.  Don’t feel like you need to pay for the whole family to go to a movie.  It’s a vacation just relax.
  • Go to a Mexico all inclusive resort – I have a hard time spending money at these places because all your needs are met and paid for.  Sometimes we will leave for a meal, but what’s the point.
  • Don’t give up your money – I think cruise ships are the worst, but there are ways to stay frugal while on a cruise.
  • Going to Grandmas house on the farm is a vacation – especially if this is the opposite of the life you live in the big city.  Sometimes it just nice to get away for a few days.  I personally love leaving town and heading to the country where I grew up. In a town of 150 people you don’t tend to spend a lot.
  • Every city offers something free – Do your homework ahead of time and find free things to do.  Sometimes cities aren’t all about shopping and eating.  Sometimes just wandering the streets or the gardens they have is more enjoyable and that’s really getting to know the city.
  • Do your homework – Go into any trip with a plan.  Have your budget and stick to it.

What other ways do you stay frugal while on vacation?

 

GasBuddy App Great for Traveling

gas buddy app

It’s Summer and that means travel. For some it means getting on a plane for others it means getting in your car. If you fly, you don’t have choices, but if you drive you can try and cut some costs.

If you haven’t already done so,  you need to download GasBuddy on your iPhone, iPad or Android. This is a free download that tells you where the cheapest gas is in your current location.

This will be so nice when traveling, because sometimes gas stations can be as much at 5¢-10¢ a gallon different, and every little bit helps right?? No more straining your neck to see what the station across the way is selling their gas for.

Hood River Hotel

 

Breakfast from the Hood River Hotel

Breakfast from the Hood River Hotel

If you have followed along at all you know that we love to get away to Hood River for a relaxing night away with great food and good coffee shops. It’s such a romantic place to go, but it’s also very much an outdoorsy place to go.

This time we stayed at the Hood River Hotel right in downtown Hood River. It’s the best location since [Read more…]