Category Archives: travel

5 Money Saving Tips when traveling in San Francisco

My boyfriend, Cameron, and I recently visited San Francisco and found some really cool cost effective things to do in the area. We both had one bucket item each that we wanted to cross off of our list and the rest I planned using my Lonely Planet San Francisco Pocket Guidebook, Yelp for restaurants, and Pinterest for cool local finds.

I believe that research is the most important step on getting the most bang for your buck. Finding the hidden gems that will make your trip unique and memorable especially on tight time constraints. Another thing I can’t forget to mention is to be sure and leave your trip open for change. If you walk by a cool book shop or restaurant and end up spending hours there – fantastic! These finds are yours and are part of exploring a city to it’s full degree.  So let’s start our money saving tips shall we?

  1. Guidebooks. I’m a big fan of paperback. Call me an old lady, but there is something about grabbing a book out of my purse and circling/crossing things off my lists. Let’s face it- your phone may die at one point because you’ve been taking all those amazing photos! Grab your map in your guidebook and voila- saved! Mark up your book, highlight the shit out of it. Make it yours. As you travel, make notes in it on items you loved and items you hated. I’m not a huge souvenir person, but this guidebook will serve as one for you. We found a list of museums and were able to hit up two art museums which offered dual entry for the price of one! This cost us $12.00 each for 4 hours of entertainent. Keep it on the bookshelf marked up with all the notes that make it yours. The more coffee stains on the pages the better. Collect them and reference them at dinner parties or simply as good reminders of places you have enjoyed visiting.
  2. Yelp. Yes, I am the girl who makes there friends wait before we pick a place to eat because I’m furiously researching who had the best eggs benedict in the area. I have found Yelp to save me time and time again while traveling. It may be a little extra work  (and patience from your friends), but you are going to get the ability to have that local choice without knowing a soul in the city. Check out the pictures- look at the online menu WITH prices. Does this fit in your budget?  Once you nail out your spot- call in advance for reservations. Because we called in advance at one location we found out there was a 45 minute wait that would cause us to miss our reservations for a show later that evening. I was able to hop on yelp while in the Uber, find a nearby place that was cool, had good reviews, and less of a wait time which allowed us to do all the things we had hoped to do on that epic night. In our case we only had one night so… research my friends – research!
  3. Transportation. The Bart/Muni/Uber are your friend. In a big city with shitty drivers that end up making you yourself a shitty driver, public transport is truly your best option. Don’t even get me started on the prices for parking – good laaawwd help us all! Depending on your time constraints, choosing which mode of transport to use in different scenarios will be your trickiest part. Map out your day, see which areas are nearby each other, than plan your day around those parts of town. For example on day 1 we did Museums – Golden Gate Park is massive and is a wonderful place to get lost in. Then we headed to Legion of Honor Museum which is a clear shot using the buses (Muni). We ended that side of the city by hitting up Lands End and the Sutro Baths to see the sunset over the ocean. By this time it was late, so we used an Uber to get back to our hotel which was located in between Union Square and JapanTown. Breaking down those costs for you – $2.00 each to ride the muni (show them your ticket when you re-board the bus) and then $6.00 to get from Lands End to our hotel (we use the ride share option on Uber – we are 100% cool splitting the costs with someone else!). That my friends is a total of $10.00 total for you and someone else to get across town when parking generally runs $20-30.00. Nighttime I generally always Uber or use the Bart – safest mode of transportation and the quickest, but during the day I can not stress the beauty of paying $2.00 to ride around the city. I’ve done this several times and it’s been so cool to just hop on and off while you see neat things you have never visited before. Of course the best mode of transportation is your feet. WALKING! Something about setting out and exploring with only a end destination in mind is super exciting. The second day we walked to Japan Town for breakfast, then headed to St. Mary’s Cathedral to see the epic architecture and modern art, walked to nearby City Hall and went to every level and stood in awe of the grandness of such a huge and beautiful building as well as watched the twenty or so couples getting married at the same time. A sight to behold! We then headed over to Union Square, checked out “minted” a find that I found on Pinterest for local best shops in the area – check it out! Walked to Chinatown and found ourselves pretty zonked from all the walking. Insert Uber here — Uber took us to Pier 39 ($5.85 ride) which lead us to bikes for rent which leads me to my next tip.
  4. Bucket List items: Bucket list items are not always jumping out of an airplane and spending half your months salary on doing so. If you do a little research you can find cool things to do in the area that might fit your budget better! If traveling with a partner or friend – each of you chose one item you MUST do. By doing this you both will leave your trip feeling accomplished regardless of what roadblocks (it can definintly happen!) you may face. For myself It was riding a bike across the Golden Gate Bridge. One of the cheapest things you can do are items that use your body for activity. For example, hiking, biking, kayaking, etc. Whenever I travel I research the area for local State or National Parks so I can get one nature day- try this out! We were both able to rent a bike for $8.00 an hour each and get across the bridge from Pier 39 in 2 hours total. That is $16.00 each for 2 hours of one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever done. Please please do this if in the area – see the city in a whole new perspective and even get to enjoy some time in Sausalito. Cameron’s bucket list item was having noodles from Chinatown in a “To Go” container. 🙂 Cam had never done this and he has always wanted to get that little To Go container like they show in the movies. Simple- but so fantastic when you are in a huge Chinatown in a bustling city! Cam’s bucket list was $4.99 and worth every penny. Big or small- think outside the box! What’s on your bucket list for your next trip?
  5. Hotel/AirBnB: We stayed at The Hotel Majestic which is the oldest hotel in San Francisco and loaded with history. I was shocked when I read that it would only cost us $100.00 to stay at a cool ass hotel with a fireplace and suite! One of the biggest items here that I need to mention is traveling during the off season. We traveled in February and this cut the cost by about $60-$90.00. We also decided to only go for one evening which by researching in advance we already knew the things we really wanted to do, kept us busy and efficiently allowed us to do a ton of items within just 48 hours. I personally use hotels.com for hotel points, but I also suggest expedia and Airbnb. Both are fantastic!

If you can’t get yourself to do Public transportation, I highly suggest researching cheap areas around your hotel to park. I did a little research and found out that our hotel actually had the cheapest parking and it included Valet – heeeyyyy! If you left your car in the garage and still did public transportation in the city you will be saving yourself a lot of extra parking garage fees that can add up quick. I did find that the State Parks had free parking and Golden Gate Park had free parking alongside the roads inside the park. It’s one of the most visited placed in the city though and weekends do get very busy and hard to find parking spots- so be aware to leave yourself plenty of time for finding a spot!

I hope that these suggestions help guide you in your next adventure to the Bay and help you cut some costs in your pocket book. The more you save the more adventures you can do in the future! Happy traveling my friends.

So that’s what an IronMan is…

Spontaneously planned. This past year I’ve learned to take risks and to jump more. It’s honestly been one of the best decisions of my life so far. When you jump… You grow. You adapt. You learn.

My friend, Tarah, “jumped” last weekend.

She competed in an IronMan triathlon in Sonoma County, CA. It was truly insanity at its finest. Any person who competes in this gets a “kick-ass” card because I’m still trying to wrap my head around how our bodies can physically handle it.

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She started with swimming in the Russian River at 7:30am… For two hours straight.

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Hop on your bike… Here goes 7.5 hours of bicycling.

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and because that’s too easy…let’s run a FULL 26.6 mile marathon to top it off. How is she smiling?! Insanity! Pure kick-ass insanity!

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A lady at at the grocery store was sporting this awesome shirt…the crew I went with all agreed that we were too in fact…exhausted.

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She finished 8th in her age group at 8:50pm. Pretty incredible and I couldn’t be more proud of her. I can now add it to my list of things I’ve watched and experienced. Not too mention…hanging out in Sonoma County wasn’t too bad either.;)

Best part of the trip? The driver taking the wrong turn which lead us right into San Francisco just In time for the sunset.

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Tea, scones and public transportation.

About a month ago I got the opportunity to go to Europe. A dream of mine since I was a very little girl. I flew from LA to London to meet one of my best friends who is currently living over there for school. The flight was a good 11.5 hours, the cool news was a made a friend on my plan ride over! A fellow dog lover and adventure seeker. London was truly magical. A place that all my childhood fantasies and stories took place in. The history packed into every single street is overwhelmingly breathtaking. I fell in love with the culture. With the cafes. The broadways. The pubs. Teas. Scones. Busses. Undergrounds. Overground’s. Museums. Art. Shopping. Buildings, Buildings, Buildings! Oh, London how my soul felt WHOLE when I was in you!

I was in London for 11 days and every day was a new adventure. Far different from my little suburban town I live in in America. I had four days in London on my own while my friend worked. Those days were precious. I got to get lost.Find my way. Explore. Talk to people so I could find my way. Stumble upon amazing places. Figure out a big city! These days of solitude were really big In my healing process. I kept thinking…I can do this on my own. I can take care of myself. I guess I started believing in myself.

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To the Girls Who Travel: Don’t Date a Guy Who Doesn’t

yes yes yes!

The Gypsea Chronicles

Yes, you are the girl with the unkempt room and poor time management. You have many things in your head, most of which are notes-to-self on what your future self should do or go to. You are a dreamer, and that means that if the guy you date isn’t like you, it’s unlikely to work out.

Don’t date a guy who doesn’t travel. He is the guy with the medicine cabinet filled with shaving cream, hair gel and toothbrushes he doesn’t use anymore. His skin is fair and soft like a baby’s, which means he doesn’t go out much or at all. He is intolerant to the sun, when in fact you love every minute you are under it, soaking each ray of sunshine into your now bronze skin. He combs and styles his hair in memorized strokes every morning (as he has been doing this for months, maybe years…

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pop-ups.

Patagonia, Kuai, D.C, New Zealand, Scotland, Italy, Switzerland…

These places have been rushing around my head like pop up windows. I just can’t seem to stop thinking about travel. About this world. How much is out there..how much I have yet to see.

My life seems so meaningless sometimes when I know some people just drop it all and and take the jump. Do the adventure. Seek the life and journey of a lifetime. I feel it in me like a volcano slowly getting ready to erupt. It starts with just some magma…the idea of it…and it starts to just rush out the  top of that mountain like no tomorrow. So what do I do with this? How do I cure my travel bug…as well as work full-time, take care of my home, and my dog?

A little back story…here I am in a suburban town that hopes to be something great someday. I live in one of the only historic neighborhoods that this town has to offer. We have large streets, old grown in trees, houses that are a hundred years old, and neighbors who watch people from their windows walk by while they paint a portrait of God knows what with God knows how many bloody cats surrounding them. I have an elderly couple to the right of me who are snowbirds and leave every other weekend to go on trips with their large white RV.  To the left of me is a little latina lady who attends church daily and has a very serious relationship with her cat who sadly sits outside of the front door more often than not.

Then there is me, nestled in between. A 26…no wait…27 year old girl who fell in love with this neighborhood 2 years ago and can’t believe that she now gets to live in what she likes to call a “cottage” of her very own. In the back of my mind where the cob webs are and I’m never very good at reaching towards or finding are my inner desires. This house was one of them. It is my safety. My abode. My home. I live with my yellow golden doodle, Lincoln who is the most beautiful creature I’ve ever seen. He takes care of me and I take care of him…it really is the best kind of relationship you can ask for.  I also live with my dear coworker and friend who has been such a blessing in my life these past 7 months. I  had no idea I would face the mountain i had to face this last year…it just doesn’t seem like any of it happened. Almost as If I viewed from afar…watching it all happen. Watching it unfold from someone else’s eyes.

January 2013: At the end of my rope. Faced reality. Realized my then marriage needed some serious help.

March 2013: He lead me on…didn’t get help…I had to kick him out for my own safety.

June 2013: No change…faced the hardest decision of my life…filed for that damn bloody divorce.

December 2013: F.I.N.A.L.

What a year right? 27 and already divorced. Fabulous! As I look back I can’t help but think how this was truly one of my hardest years, but also one of the very best years of my life. I finally took charge of my life. I owned the chaos. I said..NO…not anymore. This has to stop. He has to change or I am out! This just can’t continue like this or I will end up in a horrible place mentally.

2013 represented, freedom. Freedom from my personal fears of being alone in this world. I tackled 2013 and decided that I would never live my life like that again. I will live my life with passion and adventure. I am owning who I am. I am figuring this thing out. I am working on myself with a therapist. I am working on my faith. I am working on being a better family member and friend. I am owning that I have one life here on Earth…and dammit I’m going to make the best of it.

Self discovery. With pain and not being comfortable causes questioning and discovery. What do I want? Who am I? What is out there past my suburban neighborhood with the big trees and large streets? There is more. I know there is more…and I’m going to find out.