Japan Rail Pass Worth It?

You’re planning a trip to Japan and you are wondering about this JR Pass that I wrote about in the last post. If you don’t know what this JR Pass is, it is an unlimited ride pass that allows you to take Japan Rail trains throughout Japan, which includes the shinkansen (bullet trains) and local JR trains. My personal experience is that the pass is well worth it! Below is my math and my experience of using the JR Pass.

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Best Shave Ice in Oahu and Kauai

What is better than getting shave ice on your trip to Hawaii? To cool down from the warm 80 degree weather, maybe a little sweet ice is on your mind. On a recent trip to Hawaii for vacation, I sought out the best shave ice store, from super popular places to a bit more remote, I have deemed the following to be the best shave ice in Oahu and Kauai.

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How to Plan a Trip to Japan

So maybe you have been thinking of a trip of East Asia, but maybe are a little bit intimidated due to language or cultural barrier. Japan has a rich cultural history, great foodie scene, and majestic nature that can appeal to any traveler. Whether if you want to find that perfect bowl of ramen, climb Mt. Fuji, or visit the historical temples of Kyoto, there is something for everybody here! I want to share how to plan a trip to Japan as I am now finishing a plan to Japan.

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Northern California Adventure – Fourth of July

Sorry for the late post, which comes over a month late! Recently, I have been busy trying to plan out some other trips that happened spur of the moment. Right now, Australia is on the horizon at the end of the month for Labor Day weekend (in the United States, Labor Day is on the first Monday of September) and Japan for Thanksgiving (third week of November). There are other trips sprinkled in there and I hope to get you readers more content!

Hopefully you find this post about the far Northern California adventure to be inspiring to take a nature trip! Living in the San Francisco Bay Area, I live in what people consider as “Northern California”, but there is often a place that is often missed farther north like Redding, Eureka, Lake Shasta, and the likes. There are so many outdoor activities up here and with a few hours outside of the Bay Area, you truly feel like you are in a whole other world. This time, I was joined by five other wonderful old and new friends alike on this trip as we embarked on a Saturday through Monday trip jammed pack with boating, road tripping, camping, strolling, and eating.

CAMPING: I would highly recommend camping in Northern California to truly enjoy the summer outdoors. We were able to do some camping by Lake Trinity.

Tent. Beer. Coal. What else more can somebody else want?!
Tent. Beer. Coal. What else more can somebody else want?!

From car camping to backpacking, there are enough options for everybody to enjoy their Northern California adventure. By choosing to camp, you are able to see all the stars, even the Milky Way! Unfortunately, without a more powerful camera, I was not able to snap a good picture of the Milky Way.

ACTIVITIES:
Boating – Renting a boat around Lake Trinity proves to be something quintessential Fourth of July activity. We rented a pontoon boat, but take a look and enjoy the sunshine and take it easy like the Northern Californian way!

Overlooking the water to see the Northern Northern California mountain range surround me!
Overlooking the water to see the Northern Northern California mountain range surround me!

Nature Viewing – From Fern Canyon and Redwoods National Park, there is not a limit on the number of national parks and national forests you can visit. Although some of them may be far out, we were able to get to Fern Canyon and Redwoods National Park. I must admit, taking pictures of these redwoods for this Northern California adventure was difficult. The sheer size and height of these trees require a very wide lens.

Fern Canyon with all of these fallen logs to climb over to continue on with the stroll
Fern Canyon with all of these fallen logs to climb over to continue on with the stroll

OFF THE BEATEN PATH:
Willow Creek – Can you find Big Foot? Do you believe in Big Foot? This small town can maybe turn you into a skeptic, to a believer, to a searcher! What kind of Northern California adventure would not include the search for Big Foot? With so much footage on YouTube, it’s hard not to become a believer!

Spend a little time at the Bigfoot Museum in Willow Creek, which features casts of Big Foot and other educational sightings about Big Foot.

Entrance to Bigfoot Museum
Entrance to Bigfoot Museum

Trinidad – A quaint coastal town that offers breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean. Often, people will take pictures at Big Sur to capture the California coastline, but Trinidad also offers something a bit more out there.

The California Coastline
The California Coastline

To wrap up a long and eventful weekend, there is still so much left to explore in this part of California. Surely, I can find Big Foot and get in more hiking in there next time I venture up on another Northern California adventure. Let me know if there are other recommendations for this part of California in the comment below.

Until next time everybody, keep thirsty for your next sense of adventure!

July Travels

Pardon my disappearance for the month of July! These July travels has kept me real busy. I have some stuff drafted, but recently, life has been chaotic. To recap what happened in the month of July, the following happened.

  • Fourth of July Weekend – Northern Northern California
  • Relatives Visiting San Francisco
  • Denver Wedding

Luckily, July travels are behind, but August seems to be just as busy, if not busier. Here are some future travels to look forward to that I will write about. This month, I got a ticket on sale to Japan, so adding that to the list of the many trips for the year!

  • Seattle Weekend
  • Australian Vacation (G’Day Mate!)
  • Boulder Weekend
  • Japan Vacation

If you have any content that you want to read about or have any tips on, comment below.

Hope you all had a great July and many July travels!

Glenwood Springs Weekend Mountain Escape

Home sweet home, Colorado. The concept of home is odd as I feel more connected with California than I do with Colorado, but I still find myself in love with Colorado and the beautiful Rocky Mountains as my first home. As summer time approaches in Colorado, the snow melts leaving for great outdoor activities such as hiking to white water rafting. A Glenwood Springs weekend is one that any outdoor driven person can enjoy!

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How to Get Cheaper Southwest Flights

Southwest is one of those airlines in the United States that is trying to revolutionize the way we travel. Checked bags come with your ticket, no assigned seating, great airfare, Southwest has a refreshing change to how we travel in the United States (and now some international destinations). Southwest flights are changing how people are traveling and it is great to consider this airline and ultimately, how to save money.

One important thing to know is that with Southwest, you are able to cancel your ticket and get that amount refunded back as Southwest credit. With that being the case, you are able to change your existing reservation and change it. Now, is it not frustrating if an airline has a sale AFTER you buy your ticket and thinking, “dang, I could have saved dollar bills?!”. With Southwest, you can actually save dollar bills and importantly, the money goes back to YOU.

  1. Log In — use your Southwest Rapid Rewards profile to log in. If you do not have a profile, make one and sign up immediately.

    Front Page of Southwest Website
    Front Page of Southwest Website
  2. Change Your Flight — Under your Upcoming Flights, click the “Change” button on the Southwest flights you are looking to change. You can only do one flight at a time though.

    Click the "Change" Button on the existing reservation
    Click the “Change” Button on the existing reservation
  3. Select New Flight — Based on other criteria you may have, you can change your Southwest flights.
  4. Select Desired Flight — Now you will see the available flights.
  5. Finalize Your New Flight and Confirm — Once you finalize t he flight and confirm, you can see the difference at the bottom. Hopefully the price is lower and now you have the amount credited to your account (dollars are credited, points are refunded) that can be used for future Southwest flights!
    Final Page of the Process
    Final Page of the Process

    Unfortunately, this flight I am taking is not cheaper this time and it is more expensive than when I originally booked it. Tough luck, but better luck next time!

    Remember that Southwest does not automatically refund you the difference if there is a decrease in price. You have to check regularly, but it is well worth it if you find a price dip!

Philadelphia Getaway

While living on the East Coast, I knew that all the big cities were close to each other, so I took advantage of trying to get in the car and drive to another great location to explore. From where I was in New Jersey to Philadelphia, it was only an hour and some change!  With such new found freedom, it was great and off to Philadelphia I went on a cold winter day. I decided to make my Philadelphia getaway  a day trip due to lack of reserving an Airbnb and planning. But even in a day, this Philadelphia getaway was eventful and a great cultural experience in the United States’s birthplace!

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Penang Weekend

Malaysia, a beautiful country, is a culmination of three dominant cultures: Malay, Chinese, and Indian. With three such different and distinct cultures, you can only imagine how food, religion, and culture can come together and harmonize in a way that I have only seen in Malaysia. You probably are in Kuala Lumpur (KL as most pople call it), but you want to explore outside and perhaps Penang is on your list. A Penang weekend is actually very feasible and a great way to explore another part of Malaysia.

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Take a Peek into My Passport