6 Reasons Why you should Road Trip

6 Reasons Why you should Road Trip

Everything right now is about doing things faster, sometimes this includes travel. Everybody tries to find the fastest ways to get to a place and that can mean that you miss out on great experiences! Here is why you should talk the extra hours and drive to your destinations if it is at all possible:

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  1. Things to see and things to do! When you fly, you only see your destination. If you drive to your destination, you can stop in different places and see so many other sights. If you drive through the US, you can see multiple landmarks, instead of just the one you are heading towards. If you drive through different countries you can experiences many different cultures!IMG_5147 2
  2. Food! You have so many more opportunities to try different foods. If you drive through multiple countries on your road trip, you can try food that is native to this country. I found some of the best places when I just did a quick google search of what’s near me. Not to mention all the junk food you can enjoy, because everyone needs fun snacks! 
  3. Spending time with your friends. When you spend hours in the car you get much closer with your friends. You tend to look at your phone less and actually talk to each other. Not to mention all the adorable photos you can take together! Hopefully you won’t get into any fights, otherwise the journey will be really long.
  4. Music. When is the last time you truly listened to music without scrolling through your phone or reading the newest headlines? There is nothing like blasting music with your windows down while driving down an endless road. You can belt out the lyrics and no one will care what you sound like! So make sure to create a fire playlist before setting out on the journey!
  5. Bring more things with you! Whether this is a short trip or a long one, everyone hates weight limits when flying, when you drive there is no weight limit, just a space limit. If you are a good packer this means you can bring LOTS of stuff!
  6. Learn about more cultures. This is even true if you are road tripping through the same country. Each state in the USA has its own culture, you will definitely meet completely different people in California than in a cafe in Boston. If you are driving through different countries, then there is absolutely no doubt that you will come across many diverse cultures.IMG_3637.JPG

Hope this helps you slow down a little and enjoy your trip! There are many benefits to taking your time and driving around while you head to your destination.

 


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Brunch and dinner: California’s best

Grand Canyon: the place that makes you feel tiny

Brunch and dinner: California and more

Brunch and dinner: California and more

During our time in Los Angeles we looked for good places to eat, obviously. We eventually found our favorites and kept returning to these places. Soon they knew who we were, which just made it heartbreaking when we came for the last time. Here are our favorite places to eat in the different places we visited:

Los Angeles

  • IMG_4490.JPGWood and Vine – great for tapas and drinks right on Hollywood Boulevard
  • Mel’s Drive-In – 50’s style diner with amazing milkshakes and late night menu!
  • Karl Strauss Brewing Company – really good share plates (try the chicken wings, carnitas chilaquiles or the Brussels sprouts)
  • The Saddle Ranch – steakhouse, with huge meals so plan accordingly. The s’mores or the cotton candy tower are a must for dessert.
  • The Griddle Cafe – massive pancakes that are perfect to share with three other people (maybe more)! If you don’t want pancakes try some of their savory dishes (“Some Like it Hot” scramble is one of my favorites)
  • The Waffle – waffles all day long!
  • The Cheesecake Factory The Grove – who doesn’t like cheesecake factory?

San Diego

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Santa Barbara

  • The Shop Cafe – great brunch place with amazing eggs benedict (we drove 2 hours for this place…multiple times)

Flagstaff, AZ

  • The Toasted Owl – very good brunch place with very eclectic, cute decorations

These were our absolute favorites, there are other places that we tried out, but we kept coming back to these. Definitely check them out if you are ever in one of those cities!

 


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Grand Canyon

Disneyland

 

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

This weekend we decided to go to Arizona to see Grand Canyon! We were so excited to see it, since it was one of our top priorities on our bucket lists. We drove 9 hours from Los Angeles and it was definitely worth it!

We rented out camping equipment from lowergear.com, packed up the car and headed out on Friday afternoon. The drive was really long, but when it got dark, the stars illuminated the sky. It was gorgeous, especially before the moon, which was really low and huge, rose. The first night we planned on staying in a hotel, since we were going to get to Arizona pretty late. Highland Country Inn was a good choice, since it was cheap and all we really needed was beds for a couple of hours.  

In the morning we checked out and when for brunch. We picked The Toasted Owl Cafe, and it was amazing! I found out that Arizona has an incredible amount of gluten-free choices. We had to wait for food for some time, because the kitchen is tiny, but it was so worth it! So definitely check out this quirky little place in Flagstaff! We finally hit the road towards the Grand Canyon, which ended up being an 1.5 hour trip. When we got there we checked into our campsite and successfully built our tent.

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We finally hit the path towards the rim. The view was stunning! No pictures and not descriptions will ever measure up to what you feel like when you see it! Nothing makes you feel quite as small as standing on the edge and looking out over the canyon that goes on seemingly forever!

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We walked the western part of the rim trail that afternoon, making it all the way to the Hermit Point. We stopped about every five seconds to take many, many pictures (total adding up to about 500). We turned around at Hermit point and found the perfect spot to stop and watch the sunset over the canyon. We sat there for almost an hour and a half. A quick tip for the hike: bring snacks! Either in the form of granola bars or nuts or anything! Its nice to sit down and refuel before continuing the hike!  

After the sun set it got pretty chilly so we went to Yavapai lodge for dinner, yet again I was surprised at all the gluten-free choices. It was so nice to sit in the warmth and eat hot food. Definitely recommend sitting down in a restaurant for dinner before heading to the tent.

We headed back to the camp and set up a campfire, roasting s’mores until almost 11pm. Another tip: layer up for the night! The temperature dipped down to about 1 degree celsius (33.8 degrees fahrenheit).

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We got up at 5am to see the sunrise. For this we went to Mather Point and found a spot to sit down for about 45 minutes. We decided to go ahead and walk the east part of the rim trail and complete the whole rim trail. It was definitely a good choice to do so right away, because this way we finished the hike and packed up our tent by 8:30am. Also, we got super lucky and even saw a herd of elk on the path, since it was so empty and quiet in the morning. At this point we decided to walk west along the trail and hit the gift shop by El Tovar. This concluded our trip beautifully and we got to say goodbye to the canyon.

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We hit the road and decided to drive through Las Vegas, so we headed north-west. We even drove by and saw the Hoover Dam, but we decided not to stop and walk around, since we still had a long drive ahead of us. We only drove through Vegas, since we didn’t have too much time. It is definitely an interesting city with such an eclectic collection of buildings built in different styles.

We drove back to Los Angeles, finally getting back around 10pm. The experience of going to the Grand Canyon is something indescribable! Definitely go and see it on your own!

 


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Disneyland

San Diego Road Trip

 

Disneyland!

Disneyland!

Disneyland is a must when you go to Los Angeles! These past to weekends we went twice and it was so worth it! The first day we spent the whole day in Disneyland and the second weekend we park hopped. So my big tip of the day is: buy a park hopper! It is definitely worth it, both parks are great and offer a lot to do! I haven’t been to a Disney park since 2006, when I went to Disneyland Paris, so I was so excited to go in LA!

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Disneyland

Disneyland is magical, like you would expect. The castle is small though, much smaller than I expected, but it was still really pretty. So when we entered we stopped and took pictures with Walt Disney and the castle. Then we headed to Tomorrowland. TIP #2: get Fast Passes every time you can! It will save you lots of time throughout the day and help you plan out where you will be throughout your time at Disney. Some of the big rides I suggest you get Fast Passes for are: Hyperspace Mountain, Star Wars Tours, Splash Mountain and Indiana Jones. These rides usually get packed and have around an hour long way at the very least.

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We got the fast passes for Hyperspace Mountain first, because it’s one of the more popular rides and the wait would be insane later in the day. Hyperspace Mountain is now Star Wars themed, making the ride even more fun. As you fly through space, the enemy starts shooting at you! Which made us extremely excited throughout the ride.

We headed to Star Wars Tours in the morning, because the wait wasn’t long at the time and we knew it would get long. This was such an awesome ride! If you love Star Wars as much as we do, this will be so much fun for you, since you sit in a ship simulator and fly with C3P0! They have different simulations, so chances are if you go again, the ride will be different.

Astro Blasters was next, with quite a short wait, which was perfect! We hopped on and competed for who got more points. We ended up riding Astro Blasters two more times, so we could all compete with each other.

We headed to Adventureland, where Dole Whip makes for a great mid morning snack. We walked through Tarzan’s tree house, which is so adorable and we wanted to move in. Next up was Pirates of the Caribbean! My personal favorite! It’s such a fun ride, but warning there are some bigger splashes so if you sit on the edge, you might get a little wet. The scenes you go through look very very real and Jack Sparrow really does look like Johnny Depp, it was almost scary.

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Speaking of scary, we went to the Haunted Mansion next, again one of my favorites. I loved the movie when I was little and so it was always a ride I would go back to again and again last time I was in Disney. The mansion looks gorgeous from the outside, something that is different from the Paris Disneyland. One of the things that make this ride so great, are the details. Notice the gravestones as you are waiting in line and look at all the paintings inside. It’s truly amazing.

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For lunch we just grabbed quick service to save time, so we could fit in more rides! We got very lucky because Big Thunder Mountain was closed during lunch and we managed to catch it right as they opened, with just a 20 minute wait. Big Thunder Mountain is fun rollercoaster through the old west and mines.

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Fantasyland is an adorable area through the castle. A lot of the little kid rides are there, some of which are a must. Peter Pan is one of my favorite rides, because it is so magical. You have to catch this at a good time, because a lot of the times we walked by it was a 120 minute wait. We managed to catch it with a 30 minute day on our second weekend, making it a must. On the second weekend we ended up eating dinner in Fantasyland at the Red Rose Tavern that has all sorts of foods, anything from flatbreads to burgers. Most importantly you can get Grey Stuff (it’s delicious :P)! The atmosphere is great in the tavern so I definitely recommend if you like Beauty and the Beast!
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Splash Mountain is a great ride! Prepare to get really wet, especially if you are sitting in the first three seats. It was  my first time on Splash Mountain and though I was a little nervous about the 50 foot drop, I was super excited! Definitely a must and definitely get a fast pass if you can! Also I suggest you get there earlier in the day, so that you have time to dry off before the sun goes down. We decided to dry off on another ride.

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Indiana Jones was next on our fast pass list. None of us knew what this ride was going to be. As we got into the car, we were excited to see what will happen. The ride was inside, recreating some of the most popular scenes from the movies in a thrilling way. It was very reminiscent of The Mummy ride in Universal, with it’s ups and downs and quick stops.

On the first day we went for dinner  to River Belle Terrace. Such an adorable place with really good food! I definitely recommend if you get the chance. We ended that day with an hour long way for Hyperspace Mountain, Astro Blasters and a run across the park at 11:30 for Big Thunder Mountain. We closed the park, which is the best way to do Disney! Come back to read about California Adventure!


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San Diego Road Trip

Los Angeles -> San Francisco Road Trip

 

San Diego Zoo

San Diego Zoo

A couple of weekends ago we went back to San Diego, this time to spend the entire time at the zoo! The San Diego zoo is known for their pandas, so we were really excited to see those. So, we got into our car and drove two hours from Los Angeles to the iconic zoo.

The tickets are $52 for a day visit, which is a little overpriced, but the zoo is beautiful, so you can tell they use the money in a good way. First we saw the orangutans, one of our favorites. They are huge and look pretty friendly! We then made our way to the tigers, one of which looked very impatient and hungry, definitely waiting for his lunch to get there.

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We then made our way to the hippos and monkeys. We walked through the area where they keep the leopards, wondering what it would be like to cuddle with the white leopards. Finally we reached the Panda trek and walked along it, seeing various bears. Panda Canyon was under construction, so the pandas were relocated to a new enclosure. This didn’t much matter, because the two pandas were asleep when we got there, so, sadly, we couldn’t see them. We knew we wanted to see them better, so we decided to circle around later.

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Then we went to the Urban Jungle, where we saw giraffes, that absolutely loved us (at least we like to think so). They followed us wherever we went and posed for pictures! The rhinos seemed very cuddly, so when one of the caretakers came up to the fence, the rhinos came over, waiting for her to pet her. What we found interesting was the zebra and the donkey in one enclosure, with a sign saying they are best friends! What was even weirder, in another enclosure they had cheetahs and dogs, which are best friends. The dogs are called animal ambassadors, helping the zoo domesticate the cheetahs and make them friendlier towards humans. It’s such an odd concept and I’m not sure where it came from, but it seems to work.

Next we saw koalas, which are adorable! Most of them were sleeping and when they were sleeping, they were chewing or leaves. We moved on to meerkats (my personal favorites) and elephants. We paused at the Sabertooth Grill for lunch. I had the “incredible nachos” which were good and a refillable soda, which came in handy throughout our walk around the zoo. We then walked up to the lions, which were shockingly sleeping and then up to the arctic to see the polar bears. The polar bears were one of my favorite to see, because they were so active! They were splashing around in the water, cooling down from the warm weather!DSC_6337

We finally walked around to the gorillas, which we had been circling the entire day, but haven’t actually seen them. They were also very active and we ended up sitting there for a while, watching as the youngest one taunted the older males.

DSC_6403We decided to go around to the tigers and the pandas again before calling it a day. The tigers had obviously moved to a new spot to sleep, but continued to nap through the afternoon. The pandas were awake though, so we finally saw them at their most active time: meal time. They sat there, chewing on bamboo and leaves. We found out that when pandas are 18 months old, they have to be separated, because they start seeing each other as competition and start getting aggressive. A good time to see them is around 4:30pm, when they get fed, so plan around that!

DSC_6457Before leaving, we stopped by the giant turtles and the alligators. At the end of the day we had walked about 10km (6.5 miles) around the zoo, spending about 5-6 hours there. I definitely recommend this zoo, it is a beautiful zoo!


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San Diego Road Trip

Los Angeles -> San Francisco Road Trip