Keep Your Mobile Devices on Trip

images-47Cybersecurity is more important now than ever before.  We all know the importance of purchasing travel insurance to protect our valuables and take care of medical expenses, but what our online security? As frequent travelers, keeping our online information safe while traveling is a huge concern for us.

Here’s how to keep your personal, family, and business files and information safe while you’re away from home. No need to worry about hackers breaching your electronics again!

HOW TO KEEP YOUR MOBILE DEVICES SECURE WHILE TRAVELING

USE A VIRTUAL PRIVATE NETWORK (VPN).

Using a VPN while traveling is our number one tip for keeping your information safe! Bitdefender BOX protects EVERY device connected to your home internet (computers, phones, TV’s, game consoles, home security systems), but it even protects you while you’re away from home. It is the first and only such device of its kind to be announced and available in the market and has been described by The Wall Street Journal as a “breakthrough idea” and by FOX News as “the best way to prevent future digital break-ins.”

Bitdefender BOX encrypts and secures all information coming and going from your personal devices at your home and while you’re on the go so you can safely go online anywhere. Many countries censor what is available online to the public and block certain websites, but a VPN will allow you to access such sites anonymously. Virtual privacy and protection plays an important role in keeping your devices safe, and is absolutely a must-have for travelers. (Note: Bitdefender BOX is available for purchase at $99 for a limited time — a value of $199.)

USE STRONG PASSWORDS.

This should go without saying, but don’t use the same password for all of your accounts. You should have a complicated password not only on your phone, computer, and tablets, but on any sensitive files or information on these devices as well. Rather than writing down usernames and passwords on a piece of paper (which can easily be lost or obtained by pickpockets), create a password-protected computer document organizing all of your sensitive account login information.

AVOID OPEN PUBLIC WIRELESS NETWORKS.

Public wifi spots like coffee shops and hotels may offer authentic wifi with passwords, but hackers will sometimes create a second wifi with nearly the exact same name with open availability – no password required. Don’t take the easy way out! Ask an employee of the wifi provider to verify the exact wifi name and password, or use your own private mobile hotspot on your phone.

Using your private mobile hotspot (a feature available on nearly all smartphones) protected by Bitdefender BOX, you’ll have virtually no connection to any outside sources or networks. This is without a doubt the safest way to surf the web with peace of mind.

Things To Do in Oregon

unduhan-71Oregon’s Mt. Hood Territory, located just southeast of Portland, is home to Mt. Hood, Willamette Falls – and enough activities to overwhelm even the most ambitious adventurers. For an excitement-filled trip to the Pacific Northwest, Oregon’s Mt. Hood Territory is the place to go!

THINGS TO DO IN OREGON’S MT. HOOD TERRITORY

  1. Hot air balloon ride with Portland Rose Hot Air Balloons

Has taking a ride in a hot air balloon been on your bucket list? Well, now is the time to check it off! Portland Rose Hot Air Balloons operates 7 days a week, giving you plenty of opportunities to take advantage of this awe-inspiring experience. And, with careful planning, you may even be able to take off from a 40-acre field of tulips! Taking in the sights of the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival during the month of April is just a perk though, because aerial views of Oregon’s landscape are stunning year-round.

  1. Rent a Canoe at Trillium Lake

For the most scenic view of Mt. Hood, rent a canoe and spend some time on Trillium Lake. With dense conifer forest and crystal clear reflections of Mt. Hood on the lake’s surface, this is a nature photographer’s paradise. And, with no motorized boating, Trillium is the perfect place to take in the natural tranquil beauty of Mt. Hood National Forest.

  1. Visit Swan Island Dahlia Farm

If you aren’t able to make it to Oregon in time for the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival in spring, don’t be disappointed – Swan Island Dahlia Farm is open in the fall! This gorgeous 35-acre field of colorful dahlias is available for strolling during the entire months of August and September, dusk ’til dawn, so if you happen to visiting during the dahlia season be sure to stop by.

  1. Kayak Willamette Falls

For novice and expert kayakers alike, this is one for the books. Willamette Falls is the largest waterfall by volume in the Northwest and has previously been restricted from the public, so take advantage of the falls’s newly-granted  access for sightseers and water sport enthusiasts. eNGR Kayaking is the leading kayaking tour for the falls – and it’s even family-friendly – so book your tour and witness the astounding Willamette Falls up close and personal.

  1. Hike Tom, Dick, & Harry Mountain

You can’t visit Oregon without going on a good hike or two, so we suggest making Tom, Dick and Harry Mountain (yes, you read that right) your hiking destination. Not only will it give you the opportunity to burn off some of that craft beer you’ve been sipping on, but you’ll get yet ANOTHER killer view of Mt. Hood. Be warned – this trail is popular and often crowded with Mirror Lake visitors as well, so plan ahead and get there early.

  1. Stay in a Tiny House Village

If you keep up on the latest HGTV shows you know that tiny houses are super trendy – and now you’ll get to see what all the hype is about first-hand.  An upgrade from camping and a more unique experience than traditional hotels, the Mt. Hood Tiny House Village really incorporates Oregon’s quaint charm and nature themes into your stay.

Dogs are welcome in the homes so feel free to bring your pets along to explore the surrounding area. The Dragonfly Cafe down the road is great for coffee and breakfast before venturing off on your daily adventures.

Top Haunted Hotels In US

unduhan-73With Halloween approaching it’s hard to not believe in the paranormal, so we went out in search of the most legendary haunted hotels in the state of California. Whether you believe ghost tales are fact or fiction, these hotels with eerie backstories are sure to test your wits!

HOLLYWOOD ROOSEVELT HOTEL, LOS ANGELES

The classic Hollywood Roosevelt is reported to be haunted by celebrities who had previously lived there, specifically Marilyn Monroe and Montgomery Clift. During the 1950’s Marilyn temporarily resided in Suite 1200, which led up to the peak of her modeling  career. Although her room is not said to be a hotspot of activity, Marilyn’s reflection has been seen numerous times in a mirror hanging in the hotel’s lobby – a mirror taken from Suite 1200.

Montgomery Clift, another actor and celebrity icon of the 50’s, is said to haunt his old room 928 and rehearse lines out loud.

In addition to the celebrity “sightings,” many other inexplicable ghost occurrences are known to happen regularly. Perhaps the most famous legend is of a small girl named Caroline, who supposedly drowned  in the hotel’s pool with her brother after their father left to run an errand. She makes phone calls from the lobby’s main phone, and haunts the Blossom Ballroom. Attempts at contacting these spirits with ouija boards made for very frightening experiences, so do not mess with these ghosts!

NAPA RIVER INN, NAPA

Tucked away in the heart of wine country is Napa River Inn, home to ghosts of owners past. The first reports of ghosts date back to the early 1900’s; although the first ghost was said to be recognized as Captain Albert Hatt Jr., the son of original owner, there seems to be an ever-present woman in white who is the “resident ghost” and seems to be more prominent throughout the inn.

Unusually cold rooms are reported during warm weather, elevators go up and down without being prompted, doors open and close, and one guest has even reported having a personal encounter with the ghost of Robert Keig, the second owner of the once working mill. Rooms 207 and 208, which happen to be the two rooms directly above the spot Capt. Albert Hatt died, are reported to be the most haunted. The presence of these ghosts is hard to deny – even the inn’s staff fully acknowledge them!

MADRONA MANOR, HEALDSBURG

Peaceful ghosts walk the halls of this gorgeous Sonoma County manor, including a woman – Hannah Paxton – who was the wife of the original builder and owner John Paxton. She has been witnessed by a paranormal expert who explored the house, as well as numerous guests. Room 101 seems to have the most mysterious history of guests’ personal items disappearing, only to turn up in unusual places. Most of these strange occurrences happen in Room 101 or the dining room.

GLEN TAVERN INN, SANTA PAULA

Former brothel and gambling house, the Glen Tavern Inn has had a bit of a wild history. A little girl — possibly multiple children — have been heard running up and down the halls, laughing, on the second floor. In room 307, a ghost named Calvin is accompanied by a prostitute of the Prohibition era who was found decapitated in the room’s closet by a maid. The stories of cold spots, shadows, and strange voices have proven to be valid enough to be investigated by the Travel Channel and multiple paranormal specialists, so if you’re looking for a real scare this hotel will give you an unforgettable experience!

UNION HOTEL, BENICIA

Man and woman apparitions are often seen here the Union Hotel, and legend is the young woman supposedly hung herself in one of the rooms. She has been reported to cry or talk to herself, and will sometimes stare out the windows of empty hotel rooms looking down on the street below.

Every year in the month of October, paranormal experts lead a “Ghost Walk” around Benicia and tour the town’s most haunted locations; the Union Hotel is, of course, the main attraction.

ZABELLA HOUSE, HALF MOON BAY

The Zabella House is known to be the oldest standing house in Half Moon Bay, and Room 6 is said to be haunted. Alarms sound, keys jingle, and windows rattle at any hour of the night. Although ghosts are denied by the owner and staff, there was – up until recently – a guest book for guests to log their “ghost” experiences.

Planning a Trip to San Diego

San Diego: It’s a vacationer’s paradise with near-perfect temperatures and a laid back vibe that will leave you wanting more. When most people visit San Diego for the first time, they tend to stick to the downtown area, but you haven’t seen the real San Diego until you get out and explore the coast!

This San Diego travel guide is perfect for any short or long stay in San Diego, complete with insider tips on where to stay, where to eat, and more.

INSIDER’S GUIDE TO PLANNING A TRIP TO SAN DIEGO

WHERE TO EAT IN SAN DIEGO

George’s at the Cove in La Jolla

George’s is great for either lunch or dinner and has one of the best beach views in all of La Jolla. If you come on a weekend, you must make reservations! George’s Famous Soup — a hearty, cream-based soup with smoked chicken, broccoli and black beans — is one of my favorite items on the menu.

Beach Break Cafe in Oceanside

Beach Break is great for breakfast if you are staying on the coast in north county. It’s diner-style food with friendly service. Make sure to try their famous coffee cake!

Public House in La Jolla

Public House has an extensive beer menu, which includes some of my favorite Belgian beers and almost any other type of beer you could imagine. This place is just off the main strip, so it has more of a local vibe to it.

Uptown Tavern in Hillcrest

The thing that appealed to us initially about Uptown Tavern in Hillcrest was the Chicken and Waffles on the menu, but we had no idea we would love this place so much. Their brunch menu offers menu items like meatloaf and eggs, chicken fried steak benedict, and five different types of unique waffle dishes — including their famous chicken and waffles.

Gaslamp Strip Club

No, it’s not that type of strip club. This place is a personal favorite mostly because it’s so unique. Not everyone will love it here because you actually have to cook your own steak — but we think that is part of the charm. Come during happy hour for half off appetizers and, of course, specials on alcoholic drinks. This is a fun place to come with friends.

Bull Taco in Cardiff

If you ask any San Diegan about their favorite hole-in-the-wall Mexican food restaurant, you will probably get a different answer from each person. My favorite places tend to be near where I live, so this is another personal favorite. BUT… you really can’t go wrong with many of the Taquerias in San Diego. Bull Taco is known for their delicious lobster tacos and the amazing open-air seating overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

THINGS TO DO IN SAN DIEGO

Sailing Adventure from Harbor Island

There are multiple options for sailing adventures in San Diego. For about $70 per person, you can take a two-hour sail around San Diego Bay. Companies like San Diego Sailing Tours include a round of local craft beer or a glass of wine and a platter of snacks. The best part is that you don’t have to rent the whole boat, so even if you are traveling solo, you can experience San Diego on the water.

Catch a Sunset at Windansea in La Jolla

After my aerial tour of San Diego, I’ve fallen in love with Windansea Beach. It’s located at 6800 Neptune Place in La Jolla. Just make sure to give yourself enough time to find parking.

Guide to San Francisco in a Weekend

San Francisco — the easiest city to love and the hardest to leave. Its vintage charm is enough to capture the hearts of travelers from all over the world, but this “City by the Bay” has so much more to offer than just cool weather and the Golden Gate! After just one visit, foodies, fashionistas, and culture enthusiasts alike will realize why San Francisco is arguably one of the greatest cities in the U.S.

INSIDER TIPS: PLANNING A WEEKEND TRIP TO SAN FRANCISCO

TRANSPORTATION

UBER EVERYWHERE. Just kidding, that gets expensive.

SF is infamous for its cable cars so definitely ride one if you get the chance! Fare is $7 for a single ride, and stops at popular areas like Fisherman’s Wharf, Market Street, Union Square, Ghiradelli Square, and the Financial District. There are 3 cable cars that each take different routes through the city so make sure you’re getting on the right one – they’re color coded (see the routes and color codes here).

Although traffic can be frustrating, driving may be more practical and convenient so be smart about it. Search online to find a parking garage near your destination ahead of time, or download the app VoicePark to find street or garage parking anywhere in the city; most street parking is limited to 2 hours so this app will allow you to choose a longer time allowance and will find a parking spot accordingly.

Thankfully, parking garage rates are much cheaper on the weekends in comparison to weekday rates so you’re in luck! BART is also popular, and on Saturdays and Sundays you can park your car at the S. San Francisco station for free.

WHERE TO EAT

SF is a melting pot of good food, so here’s the best of a little bit of everything:

Ike’s Place: The most incredible vegan/vegetarian sandwich you’ll ever eat, not to mention the meat sandwiches are loaded with more toppings than you could imagine. Best $10 I’ve ever spent.

Pica Pica: Venezuelan cuisine, featured on Food Network!

Boudin: The classic SF sourdough bakery – opt for the clam chowder or tomato soup bread bowls.

Eats: A cute and cozy breakfast/lunch spot that’s easy on your wallet.

Brenda’s Meat and Three: A true San Francisco spin on homestyle southern food – their fried veggie po’ boy sandwich is to DIE for.

The Grove: Fresh and locally produced seasonal veggies for awesome soups, salads, and sandwiches.

Elite Audio Coffee Bar: Two words: Latte. Art. Go in between 12-4pm on Saturdays and get amazing latte art by the locally-famous Melanie Aquino!

Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market: On Saturday’s from 8am-2pm you can stroll the Farmer’s Market off Embarcadero and stop in one of the many cafés and eateries. Cowgirl Creamery Sidekick is on the top of my list because they load everything with cheese.

WHERE TO STAY

Hostels are always a go-to for young travelers trying to cut back on trip expenditures, but now that Airbnb is becoming more popular (you can even rent out one of the Painted Ladies!) there are plenty of budget-friendly options.

If you want some classic San Francisco charm on a budget, try the San Remo Hotel; it has authentic Victorian décor, a gorgeous view of Coit Tower, and is within walking distance of the Wharf – all for a cool $100.

Coming with friends? The funky Phoenix Hotel is worth a bit of splurge, and has the trendy rock-n-roll themed restaurant with poolside seating. This place has some killer potential for Instagram-worthy shots!

Lets Should Never Forget Before a Trip

Over-packing can be heavy and costly, but there’s no doubt that under-packing can sometimes leave us worried we’ve forgotten something. Leave the anxiety at home with our list of five important things to always remember before a trip!

CHECK VISA & VACCINATION REQUIREMENTS

Every country has different tourist visa and vaccination requirements, so make sure you abide by the guidelines and meet requirements well in advance. This user-friendly interactive guide is helpful in starting your research to ensure you are well prepared. Health updates regarding country-specific illnesses – like the current Zika virus outbreak – should also be monitored regularly.

GET TRAVEL INSURANCE

Travel insurance can cover the cost of lost or stolen personal items, trip cancellations, and even medical emergencies – this can prove to be beneficial in the event of an unplanned disruption of your trip. Just as you insure your home, car, and even your phone, make sure to insure your trip to avoid costly penalties! Different insurances cater to specific needs to travelers (low-cost, medical, international travel) so choose one than fits your travel style and budget.

MAKE COPIES OF IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS

Although nearly everything is sent via email or saved on a back-up drive now, it’s important to realize the value of hard copies. Should your travel documents be lost or stolen, it’s critical to have them saved elsewhere. Keep a folder of these documents on you at all times (in your purse or carry-on) while traveling, and email them to yourself before your trip for added precaution.

  • Passport (Identification page with photo.)
  • Visa
  • Travel Insurance
  • Driver’s License
  • Credit Cards (front and back.)
  • Travel Itinerary
  • Airline Tickets
  • Reservation Confirmations (hotel, rental car, cruise tickets, etc.)
  • Vaccination Certificates

BOOK ACCOMMODATION

It may be tempting to be spontaneous and book your hotel rooms or lodging on a whim, but it’s not usually something I recommend. Events like holidays and festivals can be a nightmare if you don’t already have accommodation booked.

Don’t be stuck with the leftover, low grade rooms and instead book at least a month in advance. Hotel staff insiders even admit that those who book through their website or over the phone usually get better rooms than those who book last minute or through other online booking sites. Be sure to read online reviews, and beware of additional charges like parking, cleaning, and pool/spa fees.

HAVE A WELL PACKED CARRY-ON

In addition to your travel documents (and copies), you’ll want to have some basic essentials within arm’s reach:

Headphones: Thin hotel walls and noisy plane passengers are inevitable, so come prepared and pack a pair of headphones that can easily plug into your phone or iPod.

Dramamine Non-Drowsy Naturals: Better than any generic ginger chews on the market, Dramamine Non-Drowsy Naturals contains the clinically-tested ginger dosage required for preventing and treating motion sickness common on planes, boats, and windy drives.

Scott and I both suffer from motion sickness on rocky boats and flights, but we’re hesitant to take something that is going to make us drowsy. I tried these Non-Drowsy Naturals on a recent trip to Kauai –during a zodiac tour of the notoriously choppy Na Pali coast as well as a bumpy helicopter ride — and I did not feel a hint of nausea! These are our new go-to motion sickness pills and it’s something I will not leave home without.

Hand Sanitizer: Don’t overestimate your immune system; the last thing you want on your vacation is to catch a cold. Hand sanitizer, or antibacterial hand wipes, should be compact and easy to stash in your carry-on.

Travelling in Beat Jet Lag

Jet lag can be a real downer, especially when you find yourself groggy and out-of-sync with the local culture. With a little preparation and self-discipline, you can ensure you arrive at your destination feeling refreshed and ready for your new adventure.

This post is written in partnership with REBBL, a company with variety of creamy and indulgent super herb elixirs, that are plant-powered, satiating and replenishing. We’ve shared our suggestions below on how REBBL drinks may help fight jet lag during your travels.

START WELL-RESTED

Lack of sleep in addition to time zone changes will almost always result in a lethargic first couple of days in your new travel destination. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you will sleep on the plane — it rarely ever happens! Skip any departure parties the night before so you can put your best foot forward right off the plane.

EAT & DRINK HEALTHY

Rule #1: Refrain from in-flight drinks. These may be tempting – especially if you’re trying to wind down and rest – but high altitudes can increase the effects of alcohol by 2-3 times. There’s no need to throw your body more off-balance than it already will be after you land.

Rule #2: Only drink caffeine on or before a flight if you are traveling west. Scientists have found that espresso before a flight traveling westward may actually combat jet lag, but will have the opposite effect when traveling east.

Maca Mocha is a great alternative to coffee during the days leading up to your trip as you run around picking up last minute items and prepare for your trip. It contains Maca root, which may help support healthy energy levels, stamina and endurance.

REBBL’s Reishi Chocolate might be a good option during your drive to the airport. Reishi is known to support and promote healthy immune function, liver detoxification and cardiovascular health. Knowing that the recirculated air in planes may facilitate the spread of viruses in an enclosed space, give your immune system a boost before your flight. Also, with longer flights resulting in more sedentary time in your seat, it may help support your body’s detoxification and circulation processes prior to take-off.

Rule #3: Do your best to eat healthy before and during your flight. You may not be offered the best selection of food on the plane, so pack a large meal to bring with you (just forgo any liquids or sauces!). Keep some homemade or healthy snacks on your carry-on as well – you don’t want to be tempted by airport fast food during layovers.

Rule #4: Make a small grocery store run once you arrive at your new destination to stock up on water and healthy snacks. Keeping healthy snacks and water on hand limits unhealthy food choices that inevitably occur when you’re body is starving.

See Kauai Na Pali on Trip

Have you dreamed of visiting the Garden Isle of Hawaii? Kauai is home to stunning natural wonders including Waimea Canyon, Hanalei Bay and Wai’ale’ale Crater, but no visit to Kauai is complete without visiting the majestic 17-mile stretch of the Na Pali Coast.

You have three options when visiting the Na Pali Coast — hiking, helicopter tour and boat ride. I’ll go over each of these options below, but if you only have time for one of these activities while visiting Kauai, book a helicopter flight!

THE BEST WAY TO SEE THE NA PALI COAST IN KAUAI

HELICOPTER TOUR

By far, the best way to view the Na Pali Coast is by Helicopter because most of the areas are inaccessible by land or sea. I booked a flight with Blue Hawaiian Helicopters — the same company we used for a helicopter tour of Maui — and from start to finish, the service was top notch.

If you plan to take any photos, Blue Hawaiian’s pilots fly on the left of the aircraft which means there’s more seating for the best views of the Na Pali Coast. All of the helicopter tours fly from the south, up the coast, so you’ll want to be on the right side of the aircraft and most of Blue Hawaiian’s passenger seats are on this side. I also highly recommend requesting Shay as your pilot!

Blue Hawaiian also provides black shirts to every guest (as a courtesy) because black reduces glare on the windows. I’ve been on flights where the other passengers are wearing white or detailed print clothing — which means their clothing choices are affecting everyone’s photos.

BOAT TOUR

I’ve been on two boat tours of the Na Pali Coast. The first was on a large Catamaran with Blue Dolphin Charters. The weather did not cooperate on this particular trip in June, so many of the passengers got seasick. I have to say, the staff was amazing catering to everyone’s needs — running around, feeding everyone saltines and Ginger Ale, but if you do get seasick, take Dramamine!

My second boating experience along this coast was during the last week of August and the weather was absolutely perfect. I booked a zodiac tour with Holo Holo Charters. The zodiac tours provide a closer look at the caves along the cliffs, but I would not want to be in a zodiac on a choppy day.

Both of the above tours go to the same snorkeling spot along this coast. If you are looking for the best snorkeling on the island, this is not the trip to book. For snorkeling, I recommend Poipu Beach or Tunnels.

Guide to Portland in a Weekend

Portland is the nation’s declared “hipster capital,” and for good reason: it’s wide selection of coffee and craft beer, outdoorsy appeal, foodie scene, and overall creativity is incomparable. Pack your bags and get ready to explore one of the most unique cities in America!

INSIDER TIPS: PLANNING A WEEKEND TRIP TO PORTLAND

WHERE TO STAY IN PORTLAND

For those of you looking for a central place to stay with easy access to downtown and close to proximity to outdoor excursions, like the numerous waterfalls along the Oregon/Washington state border and Columbia River Gorge, I highly recommend staying in the southeast Portland district. Bluebird Guesthouse and Evermore Guesthouse are both in an ideal location, they are extremely affordable (which is hard to come by in Portland!) and they get outstanding reviews from other travelers.

Downtown Portland – near the University – is another cool area, although parking can be a bit harder to come by and will cost you overnight. Hotel recommendations? River’s Edge Hotel and Spa gives off that Portland-esque charm, while The Benson has a vintage luxury feel to it; both hover around $200/night.

Airbnb is a popular option for accommodation throughout the entire city with which we’ve also had great experiences with (and when you sign up through our link, you’ll receive a free credit towards your stay!).

WHERE TO EAT IN PORTLAND

Coffee and Doughnuts: If you’re dying for a taste of the infamous VooDoo Doughnuts, the best place to get them is right from the source. This place encompasses everything that is Portland — from the eclectic décor to the vegan pastries. Oh, and you can also get legally married there.

If you’re looking to venture out from VooDoo, Blue Star and 180 donuts are next best. As for coffee, nothing comes close to Stumptown Coffee Roasters. Stumptown coffee is representative of the iconic Pacific Northwest coffee scene, so stop by for a latte, take a tour of the roastery, or head over to HQ for free coffee tastings at 3pm daily. For a simple, no-frills cup of coffee try Coava or Heart Coffee Roasters, or Sterling Coffee Roasters for a latte with style!

Food Carts: Dining at a chain restaurant in Portland is a sin. Portland Mercado is a must for Mexican food lovers, while Central Eastside Food Carts has a variety of international cuisines to choose from. However, its food cart villages like Cartlandia that Portland is famous for – with 32 carts, the Blue Room Bar, and live events almost daily, this is the place to go.

As for you foodies with a more “refined” taste, check out our budget-ascending list of great restaurants below. For a sweet treat, hit up Fifty Licks or Salt & Straw – you won’t want to miss chocolate porter floats or farmer’s market-inspired ice cream flavors!

Budget-ascending list of recommended restaurants in Portland:

$: Nong’s Khao Man Gai, Rontoms, The Sudra (go at happy hour), Life of Pie Pizza, Portland Penny Diner

$$: Doug Fir (doubles as a bar and music venue!), Clyde Common, Harlow, Bollywood Theater, MÅURICE, Imperial, Deschutes (with all 26 beer varieties on tap)

$$$: St. Jack, Paley’s Place, Andina, Le Pigeon, Roe

Best Luggage for Your Next Trip

I should note that brands are not everything, and nobody should pay the price for designer luggage unless they are proven durable and have a warranty. For those of you that don’t want to spend a fortune, don’t be afraid to buy those 3-piece luggage sets you see on Amazon (we’ve been using this set for 3 years and love it!).

Wear and tear – like cracks and worn wheels – can be expected with these, but they’ll likely last you several years. If you have the money and warranty is important to you, this 3 Samsonite 3-piece set is an amazing deal!

With that said, there a few brands out there that are favorites among experienced travelers, and even come with lifetime warranties. Keep your receipts!

Samsonite: Although Samsonite luggage only comes with a warranty limited to manufacturer defects, their typical hard-side luggage is known for its durability. It’s a great option if you’re traveling with breakables, a camera, or plan on bringing back a bottle of wine from your trip. Plus, this hard-sided case has an expandable zipper which is unusual for hard suitcases, but perfect for adding a little extra space and flexibility in packing.

North Face: For you outdoorsy types, check out North Face’s rolling duffels. They double as a backpack with straps, which is convenient for traveling in areas that don’t offer smooth walkways everywhere.

L.L.Bean: A great brand for space efficient travel backpacks, as well as personal organizers that can be used as your in-flight personal item – again, with a lifetime warranty!

Osprey: Another popular brand for backpacks, especially for women; Osprey has travel backpacks designed to fit women’s bodies, and come in feminine colors like teal and purple – easy to spot on the baggage carousel! Their convertible luggage is also convenient for easy luggage-to-backpack transitions in difficult terrain.

HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST LUGGAGE FOR YOUR TRIP

HARD VS. SOFT.

It’s important to choose the right type of luggage for your needs. Are you the adventurer type, or do you generally travel for business? Photography buff, or fashion enthusiast? A hard-sided carry-on is ideal for those traveling to areas with temperamental weather or toting cameras, as it offers ultimate protection.  Soft luggage is easy to stuff into overhead compartments, and has expandability – perfect for “over packers” or people who want to bring home souvenirs from their travels. Soft-sided bags are also great for added organization!

SIZE

Don’t buy a carry-on larger than what you can lift overhead! Get one that meets both international and domestic requirements. Some European airlines have smaller size restrictions for carry-ons, so limit yourself to approximately 21 x 13 x 9 and 15-20lb. in weight to clear nearly all international airline restrictions.

Also consider getting two smaller suitcases versus one large, heavy one. You may have to pay to get the extra one checked, but stuffing everything into a larger one can incur oversize and overweight fees – ultimately costing you more money in the long run.

ADDITIONAL TIPS:

  • Pack your bags only 2/3 full. Since you’ll likely be bringing home items from your trip, you want to make sure you don’t over pack your bags to the point of breaking zippers. Roll your clothes (rather than folding) to create more space.

  • Consider a TSA-approved lock (this Samsonite comes with one) or cable ties on zippers for added security.

  • Don’t buy black. Avoid the endless search of your bag in sea of black luggage by buying a brightly-colored or printed suitcase. Checked bags should be easily recognizable to save time and avoid theft or mix-ups, because, unfortunately, leaving the airport with someone else’s bag unknowingly happens all too often. If you do end up buying a black bag, (sometimes options are limited!) place a few large stickers, buy a colorful luggage tag, or tie a brightly-colored ribbon or scarf around the handle.

Best Getaways to Take This Fall

Just because temperatures are cooling off, doesn’t mean your traveling has to! Whether you have a long weekend coming up or want to take off for the holidays, you can be sure these top fall destinations will not disappoint.

1. PORTLAND, OREGON

Portland is a gorgeous outdoor paradise in all seasons, but this river-side city is magical when the leaves change color. Its many coffee shops make Portland the perfect place to cozy up inside with coffee and a good book, but for a real treat check out all of the arts that start up in September and October; Portland Opera and the Oregon Symphonyare unique opportunities to see some musical pieces, while Portland Fashion Week is a chic event for the fashion critic in everyone.

Fall is also the best time to try out Portland’s best ciders, so branch out from your typical breweries and hit up cideries like Bushwhacker Cider and Portland Cider House while you’re in town.

Stay: Jupiter Hotel, Hotel Monaco, McMenamins Kennedy School

2. SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA

U.S. News deems September through November the best time to visit San Francisco, and for good reason. With festivals, street fairs, and wine country in full bloom, there’s no better time to take in one of California’s most beloved cities. With clear skies and surprisingly warm temperatures averaging around 70 degrees, autumn months make for great photo ops and the best views of the Golden Gate!

The internationally-acclaimed Mill Valley Film Festivals takes place in October, as does the Castro Street Fair and Treasure Island Music Festival. Stroll Clarion Alley for some awesome street murals, and stop by The Sycamore down the street for the comfort food, board games, and jukebox tunes.

The best way to visit Sonoma’s wineries is by being chauffeured, so purchase ticket for the Muir Woods/Wine Country Tour and get to witness the coast’s astounding redwoods before spending the day wine tasting in the valley.

3. ALBERTA, CANADA

If you’re headed to Alberta this fall, you’re most likely going for the turquoise lakes and gorgeous views. Banff National Park and Jasper National Park are two of the most stunning parks in North America, and thankfully there’s plenty of ways to explore them! Book a ticket for the Jasper Skytram for a mountaintop view of the Rockies, stargaze at the Jasper Dark Sky Festival, or take a helicopter tour over the Icefields with Rockies Heli Canada.

Best hiking? Valley of Ten Peaks and Lake Agnes Teahouse in Banff, and Bald Hills in Jasper.

Stay: Fairmont Banff Springs, Overlander Mountain Lodge, Whistlers Inn

4. SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA

Skip the summer crowds and visit sunny San Diego when the weather’s still warm but the masses of tourists are gone. Satisfy your beach craving at the popular Mission Beach or dog-friendly Ocean Beach, and grab dinner or drinks in the historic downtown Gaslamp District. If you’re up for a thrill, hit the Haunted Hotel; it’s rated one of the best haunted houses in the U.S., so be prepared for a good scare.

And, there are no shortage of outdoor festivals either; with Spirits of Mexico, Beer Week, and San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival all taking place in the month of November, you can be sure you won’t go thirsty!