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S A F A R I

Cue the Lion King Theme Song

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Let me start by saying this was the best trip I have ever taken.

Safari was something I had always thought about but, never prioritized.DSC_0331

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So when I found direct flights (from JFK) my credit card points could cover, I booked it.  We did have to take another two puddle jumpers once we got to Johannesburg, but being as far out as possible is worth it!

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The most beautiful airport lounge pictured above…

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DSC_0724I choose Kruger Park since it was a nice launching pad into the Safari world where you can see the ‘Big 5’.  I was a little anxious since so many people had opinions on other areas they loved more, however I quickly realized- any type of safari would be incredible. With the help of Personal Africa we came up with a plan.

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What you need to know and no one tells you:

  • You don’t need any dinner outfits, you wear your safari outfits to dinner.
  • You can get all the fancy outfits you want, or you can wear joggers and sneakers like I did.
  • What you wear each day depends on where you are and the time of year- but dress in layers and neutrals.
  • The temperature drops significantly at night. Bring warm clothes unless you are going in the peak of their summer.
  • Suitecases, some of the small airlines to fly to the lodges do not allow hard shelled suitecases. Double check.
  • Talk to your doctor about medication for the location you are visiting.
  • Your life will be changed forever.

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Where we stayed: SINGITA We stayed at two lodges here, Lebombo and Sweni, each incredible and very different.

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DSC_0717To be honest, we hit the jackpot. It rained a TON the week before we arrived so the grass and vegetation grew much more than normal.  Making for a very green landscape. As seen in the photos.

Singita takes great pride in taking care of the land, people and animals.  The photo below is of the back tour I did of their property.

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 “Singita is a conservation company. We’ve been preserving African wilderness for the past two decades. Through an exceptional safari experience with 12 award-winning lodges and camps across South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe, Singita is able to partially fund the protection and preservation of pristine land and existing wildlife populations, not to mention help create economic independence within local communities surrounding the reserves.”

I spent one of my days doing a back office tour of the property to see how this sustainable lodge runs. They have partnered with companies like Tesla to enable their lodge to be as sustainable as possible.  They also have a  process around waste management which gives back to the community. They cut back on large spreads of food and have changed to small portions in glass jars to reduce waste.  It’s these small, well-thought out considerations which have increased their sustainability and exhibits their care for the world and environment.  Want more info, check it out here. LINK

  • Lebombo Lodge is built high up like an eagles nest, with beautiful modern cool tones giving it a chic look. The upbeat lodge has a social scene with the most beautiful bar area where you can watch the sunrise and enjoy an afternoon cocktail. Specifically, a beautiful variety of mastered G&Ts made by their skillful and jovial bartender, Daniel.

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  • Sweni is meant to embody a birds feathers- with stunning pops of color. It is quite tranquil and private escape with a stunning pool overlooking the river where hippos and elephants roam. We were lucky enough to stay in the pool villa which was an incredible experience.

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Pictured above,  Mark and Quentin having a moment during our walking safari to watch the Hippos at sunset.

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IMG_5891At the end of every ride you enjoy a nice drink and appetizer while watching the sunset. IMG_6054A surprise dinner under the stars was prepared for us upon return… the food is outstanding! IMG_5680Facetune_03-04-2018-14-33-39.jpg

Sweni Lodge you can see the colors below and how different and beautiful this lodge is. IMG_5954Our private pool villa featured below. And yes a lion, elephant, giraffe etc could walk on by… IMG_5957IMG_5958IMG_5941The DETAILS. IMG_5952The bathroom is open, beautiful and colorfulIMG_5953The lobby entrance to the Sweni LodgeDSC_0770DSC_0772There are Hippos in that river! DSC_0788IMG_5940Living our best lives. IMG_5688Below is a picture of the pride of 15 lions we hung out with. If you look hard enough you will see there are 5 lions in this picture. IMG_5742The Range Rovers Singita use are heavy duty, you can drive through just about anything. IMG_5306Our balcony in our bedroom at the Lebombo lodge overlooking the river.IMG_5885DSC_0616DSC_0620Sunrise at Lebombo IMG_5207IMG_5248To sunset DSC_0546Do you see those Cheetahs! DSC_0579

Going to Singita, you get the opportunity to meet people who have a passion for travel and life. We luckily got teamed up with these two amazing South Africans who we spent time with on safari, wine tasting and dinner. These two have, dated, broken up, remained best friends and traveled the world together.  They are currently planning a 40th birthday to Palawan…gotta step up my birthday plans. DSC_0600The lobby at Lebombo IMG_5154This lobby sunrise will forever be my happy place. IMG_5531

Fun Fact: My Husband, Mark, didn’t want to go on Safari. Now he says it was the best experience of his life. DSC_0482Our beautiful room in Lebombo IMG_5124IMG_5150IMG_5113IMG_5910

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What do you do on Safari? 

5:00 AM Wake up call to do your morning drive. Meet your guide and spotter at the lobby bar to watch the sunrise over a delicious iced cappuccino. We lucked out with one of the top guides, Quentin, who was basically our own David Attenborough (the narrator from Planet Earth) I never realized the level or training, education, and experience is involved in becoming a certified guide until I had the opportunity to experience it first hand with Quentin –  Ladies he’s single!IMG_6152Below (this is clearly 5am )IMG_5542This was the first morning of our safari and I cried. IMG_7200

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10:30AM- 4:00PM is yours for the day where you can do simply anything your heart desires; eat, spa, gym, wine tasting, local community visits, etc.

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How basic am I in this photo?

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4:00PM Night drive, start your drive with a G&T and then head out for the night. The animals you see are outstanding.

I have had a hard time wrapping my mind around why I felt so touched leaving Singita (I cried a lot) and the more I think about it the more I realize it was the people. The people were down to earth, warm, welcoming and felt more like friends than staff. I hope one day I can top this trip. Until then, I will have the memories.

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Planning a safari can be complicated, let us help.

XO,

PS
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I did not take a pill in Ibiza

IMG_4383.jpgMost people’s perception of Ibiza: it’s only for raves, clubs and partying. Which couldn’t be further from the truth. Ibiza is one of the most incredible islands I have been to and it’s the perfect destination for any person, couple or family.

Where to stay:

This really depends on what you are going for, the island has many areas that all offer different types of accommodations and vibes. I will give you how we did it. Keep in mind I traveled with a group of 8 couples, looking for great food, beaches, nightlife, one night of clubbing and culture.

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We broke up our trip and stayed in two parts of the island. First stop was, ME Ibiza, which is beautiful beach chic hotel. I loved this hotel, the service and ambiance were perfect for our group.

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We also stayed in Old Town, which was great addition to the trip. Staying at the beautiful boutique La Torre Del Canonigo, which was full of character, in the best location and had a great pool overlooking the city.

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Where to Eat:

Keep in mind lunch is at 1-3 and dinner usually starts at 10pm

LIO: Lio is over the top, but super fun.  It has the most incredible back drop to Old Town and the Yachts. The show is incredible, be prepared to spend $.

Aiyanna: This is a must, plan to stay the day here after having lunch and hang out on the stunning beach.

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Blue Marlin: This is more of a beach club/party vibe. At night around my 6pm this turns clubby with a DJ. I loved this place. Warning it’s a bit challenging to go swimming so if it’s really hot take that into consideration.

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Juan Y Andrea: When in Formentera, always go here.

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What to do:

Formentera: Rent a boat for the day and swim in all of the coves. The yachts are out of this world. Check out the one below which is 450 million Euros.

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Old Town: Ibiza’s climate is very dry, there are cactus everywhere and most of the buildings are white. Old town is spectacular, with winding streets, cafes, restaurants and cobble stone streets

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Clubs: All of the clubs are a blast. My suggestion: follow the DJ’s you want to see not the club. I suggest getting table service to avoid feeling claustrophobic. We saw Kygo at Ushuaia, and it was absolutely incredible.

Yoga: Lots of places offer Yoga and Yoga retreats

Ibiza has so much to offer, need help planning your next adventure? Let us help

XO,

PS

 

Weekend in Bar Harbor, Maine

Summertime in New England is my favorite. After suffering through the seemingly never-ending winter months, we are rewarded with amazing summers. I try to do as little air-travel as possible in July and August to take advantage of the amazing coastal towns of New England. So last weekend, we chose Bar Harbor, Maine. Yes, it was a HIKE (~5 hours drive from Boston) but read on to see why the long trip is so worth it!

Downtown Bar Harbor

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Spend your afternoon and evenings wandering around downtown Bar Harbor, an adorable oceanfront village with an endless amount of restaurants, bars, shops, and ice cream parlors. Each restaurant serves the best tasting lobster you’ll find in the country, and the atmosphere of most places is top notch. We ate dinner at McKays Public House, listening to an older gentleman strum on his guitar and ivy and fairy lights dangling around us. It was so beautiful (and the lobster was all that my tastebuds imagined/hoped it would be)Screen Shot 2017-08-10 at 10.17.11 AM

 

We also ate dinner one night at the Ivy Manor’s Inn‘s (an ADORABLE B&B) restaurant. The Italian seafood was to die for, and we sat on a back porch giving us a lovely B&B feel with tremendous service.

Bar Harbor Sunsets

We ate dinner early enough each night to ensure we would catch the sunsets at 8pm. I’m a sucker for sunsets anywhere but in Bar Harbor they are especially gorgeous. The first night, we sat on Adirondack chairs outside Bar Harbor Inn, a gorgeous hotel right on the edge of the water. We watched boats of all kinds come and go on the harbor, including small dingys, cruise lines, and even a pirate ship! The view was absolutely stunning, as shown below.

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The second night, we left downtown after dinner to drive up Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park. The drive is only ~20 minutes to the top of the mountain. TIP: go early if you want to park at the very top. We stopped about 3/4 of the way up on the side of the road for spectacular views with a smaller crowd because the parking lot was full. Bring a blanket and sit back and enjoy the sun setting over the National Park, with amazing colors over the acres of trees, ocean, and winding road.

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Acadia National Park

We spent our mornings and early afternoons in Acadia National Park, which is absolutely breathtaking. We wandered around Jordan Pond, which touts the clearest water in New England, and waited in a long-line of people for the Jordan Pond Road House restaurant to open at 11am. This restaurant draws a crowd for its traditional popover and tea breakfast – and the popovers were AMAZING! We almost went back the second day we were there for more 🙂

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We chose Cadillac Mountain North Trail to hike, due to it’s moderate difficulty and stunning open views. This 4.4 mile hike goes to the highest point (which is accessible by car if you’re not a hiking enthusiast). I would recommend the hike for more private/exclusive views without the large crowds who drove to the top.

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The next morning, we visited Thunder Hole which is a rock outlet famous for the “thunderous” noises it makes when the waves crash into it during high tide. The best time to experience this is 2 hours before high tide, so visit this website to find the best time to go. Unfortunately on our visit, the ocean was far too calm for us to get the thunder effect. Regardless, it was a beautiful area to walk around with the cliffside rocks and Sandy Beach close by for a break. For a guide on other hikes to do in Acadia, click here.

After a hike, I wanted nothing more than to jump in a pool and RELAX before heading back to downtown. We stayed at the Bar Harbor Regency which is about 5 minutes outside downtown Bar Harbor. The oceanfront pool was perfect for unwinding for an hour or two, with good lunch options and a one-man band for some quiet entertainment.

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Although there is plenty to do in Bar Harbor, I found three days to be perfect. If you’d like help planning your trip there, let us know!

Xo,

PS

 

Venice: All You Imagine and More

Venice has completely stolen my heart, and I’m not sure I’ll ever travel anywhere with more charm. This small city epitomizes the word “romance” with its narrow canals and gondolas, cobblestone streets, and authentically untouched architecture.

             WHO to go with: Spouse/boyfriend/partner. I’m all about the girls trips but this                    place is designed for love.

             WHEN to go: Avoid ridiculous heats and crowds in the summer and book your                    trip for end of Winter/Early Spring, or late Autumn.

             HOW long to stay: 3 days

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Venice is built on canals, so you will take a boat from the airport to your destination. There’s no pre-booking required, so simply follow the crowds to the dock area to catch the next ride into paradise!

We pulled into Venice in the evening and our entire boat was silent in awe besides the occasional stunned gasp. The canals reflect lights from buildings and the city seems to be lit like a candle. It is absolutely gorgeous!

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The entire city of Venice is small enough to walk several times during your short stay. This is fortunate since there are no cars there to get you around! Venice is made up of several open squares, with tiny cobbled streets acting as a maze from one square to another. It was great to spend time in Piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s Square) which is famous for St. Mark’s cathedral. We walked inside the cathedral and took in the history of Venice and its role within Italy before it became the tourist destination it is today. After checking out the cathedral, sit at any coffee shop in the square to people-watch. The cappuccinos there are basically liquid heaven – I couldn’t get enough!

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Head towards Rialto bridge, but take your time on the side streets (they were my favorite part of the city). Each house/business along the canal has a window/garage for boats to pull into. We enjoyed lunch on one of these small streets and the table was so close to the canal we could high five the gondola drivers going past! Everything is small, and everything is idyllic.

As you approach Rialto Bridge, you’ll notice you’ve reached the highway of canals. The Grand Canal hosts larger boats for shipping, tourism, even boat ambulances and police boats. While you’re in this area of Venice, check out the Rialto market for fresh Italian vegetables, meat and fish. It’s a great culture to see with small souvenir options too (I bought an adorable apron they embroidered on the spot for me!)

We had dinner one night along the Grand canal, and our second night on a small side street. While I normally prefer being next to the water, I would recommend venturing away from the area near Rialto Bridge. The food was okay, however because of it’s popular location, it was constantly full of tourists without needing to make much effort. Again, raving about the smaller side streets, you’ll find authentic Italian kitchens that aim to please. Wine, pasta, more carbs, fresh salads and vegetables, will send your taste buds flying.

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One thing that is necessary in Venice is having a Bellini. It is the signature cocktail, and there’s no place better to go than Harry’s. Get your wallet out, and ensure you are dressed to impress! Bellini’s are so popular you can get them anywhere including carts on the street, so we enjoyed a bottle while getting ready for dinner!

Lastly, a must-see from Venice is the Isla de Burona. This ~40 minute ferry from St. Mark’s Square is just 6 euros and it was an amazing place to see! We did a 4 island tour that took just 5 hours round trip. While each island we stopped at was interesting, I would have preferred going straight to Burona and staying a bit longer. Each house on this island is brightly painted a different color, and you get more of a neighborhood feel here as young, local children play “futbol” in the streets.

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Another huge benefit of visiting the outskirt islands is the unique view you get coming back to Venice. This boat brings you to the opposite side of where the airport shuttle did, and every view is breathtaking in its own way.

Need a little bit of romance? Contact us to book your trip for the Fall season!

XO,

PS

7 Essentials You Must Have for a Flight

Whether you love or hate airplanes, they are an important part of vacation. Start off your trip right by enjoying your flight with these 6 essentials:

Cabeau Evolution Pillow

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The Cabeau is the game-changer of neck pillows. I used to forget my neck pillow at home for each trip and decide at the airport if I should quickly buy a $10 pillow to make my flight more comfortable. One day, I decided to splurge on this neck pillow and guess what….it has NEVER been forgotten when packing for a trip again. It’s thick memory foam will keep you amazingly supported and comfortable throughout your flight. This is absolutely worth the $40 price tag!

Nike Juvenate Sneakers
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These Nike sneakers are my favorite for traveling because of how stylish and lightweight they are. These slip-ons are super quick to take on/off for the security line, and you’ll feel like you’re wearing comfortable slippers the whole time you’re traveling!

Bose Noise-Cancelling Headphones

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These headphones may seem like they have a hefty price tag @ $229, however they last forever and have so many benefits when flying. The noise-cancelling technology will help to mute out that crying 2-year-old a few rows in front of you, meaning you won’t have to turn up the volume of the movie you’re watching to its maximum just to hear what’s going on. Apart from the high-quality sound, these are very comfortable to wear with the padded earpieces, and there’s no wire to accidentally yank when you move around. I travelled for years with my iPhone headphones and found my ears to actually be in pain if I fell asleep or twisted the wrong way. If you’re a big traveler, put these on your birthday/christmas/anniversary/treat-yourself list!

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Amazon Prime continues to be the best $100 I spend per year. I mainly use this to buy basically everything I need and have it delivered within 2 days for free (I hate running errands). However, I’ve recently found it extremely helpful for flying purposes as well. Prime has hundreds of TV shows and movies that you can download to your phone or iPad/tablet for free. On those long flights when you’re not a huge fan of the movie selection the airline has, this is a lifesaver! Just don’t forget your Bose headphones so you can hear everything 🙂

Tabloids

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It’s not a crime to love tabloids/gossip, and there’s really no way to pass an hour more quickly. I refuse to get on a plane without at least two of the latest issues of celebrity juice (I will always hold out hope that Brad and Jen really are getting back together). My favorites to read are US weekly, and Life&Style.

Dramamine

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When all else fails on a flight – SLEEP! I get motion sickness easily so I began taking Dramamine to keep the queasy feeling away. The packaging mentions a side effect of drowsiness and boy it is not kidding. In fact, this side-effect is so strong that I can’t take dramamine unless I want to sleep for a few hours, so it is perfect for red-eyes or long flights with a jam-packed itinerary waiting. I always expect to be peacefully dreaming (on my CABEAU pillow of course) within 30-45 minutes of taking Dramamine. As long as you have a few hours (AKA I don’t recommend for flights under 4 hours long), you won’t feel any groggy side effects when you wake up and deplane! (Note: I recently became pregnant (Jennie) and cannot take Dramamine. Great alternative to help fall asleep is Benedryl!)

Loungin’

If you don’t have status on an airline, don’t sweat it. Many credit cards offer lounge experience with their perks! Amex being the best, where they offer you the top lounges to pick from!

I have a Chase Reserve card, which lets me into certain lounges at the airport. It is a LIFESAVER. Some of the lounges have showers! All of them have great food and drinks, unlimited!  Chase Reserve also gives you points for travel which INCLUDES things like taxi’s and ubers!!! Thinking of getting a new credit card, check the rewards tab! (I feel like I should get paid by Amex/Chase for this?)

 

XO,

PS

Croatia: The Next Hot Spot

Okay guys, you need to get to Croatia – QUICK! You may not be familiar with Dubrovnik, so it’s likely not on the top of your list. It certainly wasn’t on mine until my husband convinced me to go – and now I still consider it one of my favorite places. If you like a fairy tale Old Town, gorgeous sunsets on the sea, and inexpensive price tags, read on!screen-shot-2017-07-11-at-9-46-03-pm.png

Despite Wikipedia saying Dubrovnik is “one of the most prominent tourist destinations in the Mediterranean Sea”, I think the city is extremely underrated which is why prices are still low and crowds are manageable. My own personal prediction is this place will soon be as popular a place as Italy or Greece are to Americans, and prices/crowds will surge.

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Dubrovnik’s Old Town is an immaculately kept city surrounded by stunning walls built in the 7th century. The walls now serve as a beautiful/somewhat challenging walkway with views into the entirely limestone inner city, the outer red-roofed houses, and of course the surrounding sea with jagged-rock coastlines.  Although walking these walls is the most touristy thing you can do – it’s a must. I recommend getting there early (8am) to avoid the heat and crowds, giving you time to take in the best views.

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Inside the city walls are just magical, with white marble streets giving you the feeling of being inside a grand hotel. Upon our arrival to Dubrovnik, we walked through a huge wrought-iron gate, and down a wide natural ramp into the “Old Town”, also referred to as City Center. That beauty you immediately see is mind-blowing, and you feel as though you’ve taken a step back in time. Every building in the Old Town is built with limestone, and every shutter of every building is green. Even the ground, made of marble, seemed like it was sparkling tiles. As you can see below, the city was so clean. Although the main street is gorgeous, my favorite was exploring the side streets. Locals hang their laundry from building to building, church doors are open with music resonating, and there are adorable cats everywhere ready to get some food from tourists! Although it is hilly, venture up the steps to explore because the views down are worth it.

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I love to be near water and was impressed with the marina and all the expensive yachts residing there. However, the marina isn’t the place to be. With a little exploration and need for alcohol, we found ourselves climbing through a hole in the city wall following a sign that said “Cold Drinks”. Although I was skeptical where this was leading, as soon as we came out to the other side, I realized there was no reason to doubt. There was a small, cliffside bar called Café Buza with just a few tables, but availability was not an issue. We sat down under a big white umbrella with the ocean stretched in front of us, and stunning rock faces to both sides. Locals in their speedos were urging each other to jump into the sea, causing more and more people to participate. As the sun was just starting to come down, my husband and I jumped into the warm, clean water and watched the colors around us turn to pinks and oranges as the sun set. It was an experience of a lifetime (so go there with a bathing suit!)

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We were only in Dubrovnik for a few days, but one activity I loved was kayaking into different bays and a nearby island. The guides were great, with a good sense of humor while providing interesting history on the city. We kayaked around the Old Town, turning into caves and stopping at a nearby island for lunch, drinks, and snorkeling. It was a great experience to see the outside of the city walls and all the detail within them.

 

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The rest of Croatia has so much to offer as well. Since Dubrovnik is tiny and you can cover most of it in a couple of days, consider renting a car to travel up the coast to Split. The drive itself was an amazing aspect of the trip, and Split was a beautiful, more modern version of Dubrovnik. You could also island hop by boat to get more of a beach/relaxed vibe, and summertime offers some amazing parties on each island (most famously the island of Hvar)!

 

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Looking to plan your next trip to Croatia? Let us know!!

Xo,

PS

Top 5 Weekend U.S. City-Breaks

Why don’t we travel more often? Usually the excuses boil down to two main concerns, getting the money and the time to do it. So we’ve put together our top 5 favorite U.S. cities (in no particular order) that are perfect for spending just 2-3 days in. Best part? There are frequent flights to each of these locations, meaning the cost of these flights is lower and you can accomplish what you want over just a weekend! Concerns are solved, now get to booking!

Nashville


No, you don’t have to LOVE country music, but it does help if you do!

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Nashville is a very clean city and everyone is overly friendly. Spend your Saturday walking down Broadway St, which is fully lined with bars & restaurants buzzing with live music and tons of people no matter what time of day it is. The Stage and Tootsies are great honky-tonk bars where you can see the next big country star before his/her fame kicks in. Keep going to the end of the street and check out ACME bar’s roof deck to enjoy views of the river and sunshine.

The Gulch is another great area of Nashville (~20 minute walk from Broadway or short cab ride), with less of a touristy feel. This area is close to Vanderbilt University, and you’ll get more of the college student, trendy-vibe here. Check out Kung Fu Saloon in this area which is an indoor/outdoor bar featuring an indoor arcade and outdoor games like cornhole and giant-sized Jenga.

If you’re a big country music fan, check out the Country Hall of Fame. And if you happen to go during hockey season, you must see a Predators game! Nashville has made news throughout the country for their rowdy crowds, catfish throwing escapades, and random celebrity performance surprises in-between periods!

Bachelor or bachelorette? Put this place on the top of your list for your bash! Although you will see several grooms/brides-to-be while you’re there, it’s an ideal location due to the warmer temperatures, very safe reputation, and low prices.

San Francisco


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Famous for its steep hills, cable cars, and beautiful Pacific oceanfront with views of Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge, this city doesn’t disappoint. Enjoy some Philz coffee, which is the Bay area’s new Starbucks while walking around Alamo Park. This high altitude park gives you views of the Painted Ladies (colorful homes next to each other) with a skyline view of the city and bay. Next, head to Lombard Street, which is famously filmed for the extremely windy, downhill road. Continue making your way to the water and stop at Pier 39. Grab some lunch and see the sea lions wrestle each other, enjoy street entertainment, and hop on the two-storied merry go-round!

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After lunch, it is essential you walk the 15 minutes to Ghiradelli Square for their famous ice cream you can smell from a mile away. The line will look long, but they are efficient there and it’s worth the short wait.

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Drive/bike over the Golden Gate Bridge, and when you see the majority of tourists pulling off at “Vista Point” for pictures, keep going. Take your next exit on Alexander Ave, and loop around for a higher-up, stunning, and less crowded view of the bridge and city. Continue out of the city to Sausalito for dinner. If you’re driving, it’s worth the toll back into the city, and if you’re biking, it’s worth the extra mile or two (but definitely take the ferry back!). This adorable town is full of quaint shops, oceanfront restaurants, million dollar houses in the hills, and million dollar boats in the bay. Grab some dinner at Salito’s on the deck for a gorgeous sunset and delicious Alaskan King Crab legs!

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If you feel happy with what you covered in the city in a day, there are amazing destinations within an hour’s drive such as Napa Valley, Sonoma Valley, or Muir Woods. These wine valleys and national monument will make you feel a million miles from a city and may be the perfect way to unwind before your trip home.

Chicago


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Chi-Town, or the Windy City, is one of my favorite places to visit due to the constant changes and things to see. The sky-scraping architecture is stunning, and despite being in the midwest, you get a coastal feel due to the unending sights of Lake Michigan.

Spend your morning walking along the riverfront, stopping for breakfast to watch boats pass you by in the narrow river. You can people watch as Chicago-natives jog past, tourists meander through, and musicians choose a spot to entertain passersby.

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Check out “The Bean”, the centerpiece in Millennium Park. This huge, reflective bean gives a mirrored view of the skyscrapers behind you, plus a distorted version of you! For a spectacular view looking down on the Bean and entire downtown, grab a drink at Cindy’s rooftop.

To get an even higher view, head over to the John Hancock building and take the elevator up to the 96th floor Signature Room for 360 degree views of the city from the highest point you can get (without the need for a helicopter). Ladies: the best view is actually from the women’s restroom – so whether you have to go or not, get yourself in there!

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If you like to shop, head to Michigan Ave for non-stop storefronts. Beware – there is a clothing tax of 10.25% in Chicago! So make sure you love it before you buy it. If it’s nice out and you’d prefer to soak up the sun, head to North Avenue beach where you can rent kayaks, jet skis, or just sit back and watch some volleyball games.

In the evening, head to Roof on the Wit for more great skyline views and a modern, classy atmosphere. For more of a casual atmosphere, get yourself to Wrigley Field for a game and experience one of the oldest ballparks in America.

 

New Orleans


new orleans balconies 3

New Orleans is a city you must visit for three reasons: the food, the music, and the architecture (fine and maybe to give out/receive some beads if you really want). Expect to hear jazz music resounding from each street corner. Be ready to eat any type of food fried, my favorite was crocodile legs. Enjoy the buildings that are unlike any others in America, full of color and cast-iron balconies for a signature New Orleans look.

Head to the French Quarter in the morning and you’ll suddenly feel like you’re in Europe. This is the oldest area of the city, and the gorgeous architecture shows it. Buildings boast their original Spanish & French designs, and you have the opportunity to tour these homes or simply enjoy the many boutiques that line the streets. Line up at Cafe Du Monde for a signature New Orleans beignet (pronounced Bin-Yay), which is basically an even more delicious take on fried dough.

new orleans french quarter

Walk down the famous Bourbon Street which has endless amounts of bars, restaurants, and musicians on the street. You may see people holding a crawfish boil right on the sidewalk and selling this traditional New Orleans dish to people walking by.  This street is extremely famous for the Mardi Gras parade which is held two weeks before Ash Wednesday each year. If you like to party, you want to be here!

Frenchman Street is the not-so-touristy Bourbon Street. Take out the neon lights, add in more locals, and there you have it. Live music will be playing each night of the week, bars will be slightly less expensive, and the atmosphere is much more enjoyable.

Boston


boston skyline

Famous for its history as one of the oldest American cities, Boston has a gorgeous design with old-English charm on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean and built around the Charles River. Due to early settlers, the city was built by roads created from horse and carriage, meaning you won’t find the standard city grid-like set up here!

Get yourself to Dunkin Donuts, New England’s signature coffee franchise which can literally be found on every block. With your caffeine kick, stroll down Newbury Street which is famous for its luxury retail stores. If you’re not into spending hundreds of dollars on a tank top, focus on the stores on the far end of the street, and expect more high-end options as you get each block closer to Boston Common. Spend some time wandering around Boston Common, a gorgeous garden surrounding the State House with its signature golden roof.

boston common

Continue from Boston Common to Faneuil Hall, which has a strong British influence and is lined with cobblestone streets and pathways. It’s a very quaint area with a food/gift market in which you can find almost anything! Restaurants and bars come alive at night, and street performers are always entertaining.

From Faneuil Hall, get yourself to the North End which is Boston’s Italian area. This small picturesque neighborhood is full of Italian restaurants, and the food is top notch. You’ll notice a line of people for blocks, and they are all waiting to get into Mike’s Pastry for amazing dessert. The line moves amazingly fast – so don’t miss out!

Boston is a city famous for it’s sports teams so depending on the season you are there, get yourself to Fenway Park or the Boston Garden!

fenway

An easy way to see all of the city is to follow the “Freedom Trial” which is 2.5 miles along downtown Boston highlighting historic sites from the battle with the British, this will take you to almost all of the major destinations in Boston!

 

Are you doing a weekend city-break this summer and want advice on where to stay and what to do? Reach out at any point!

XO,

PS