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4 Days Visiting Yellowstone & Jackson – What to Know!

My first visit to Yellowstone was circa 2012 and it was incredible. Having the opportunity to return to Yellowstone is a quick…..ABSOLUTELY! I had some airline miles on Alaska Airlines to use and the flight was completely free!

Left Thursday after work and flew from Columbus, Ohio to Seattle, Washington onward to Bozeman, Montana.

The arrival was scheduled for midnight in Montana, but based on plane troubles arrived around 3 AM. It made for a short night of sleep, but getting to the park is the highest priority. Yellowstone is a large park.

Friday morning around 9 AM left Bozeman, Montana for Yellowstone National Park. There are a couple of ways to enter the park, but drove into West Yellowstone taking the route north to circle the park ending at the Yellowstone Lodge.

As you enter Yellowstone from West Yellowstone, you have a few choices…..the option of going toward Mammoth Springs (North) was the path taken. There are a ton of pull offs to see waterfalls, paint pots, geysirs, and Mammoth Springs is an excellent spot to take a lunch break. During the stop, watched the Elk walk around the city area; these animals are beautiful but you really need to stay back as they are known to be quite aggressive.

The drive continued with stops at the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone and lookouts.

Several locations have animals that are close to the vehicles. It is important to know that these are wild animals and you need to keep your distance.

The bison walk next to the cars, but will become aggressive if you get too close. The same with bears, elk, deer, etc.

During this trip, I was amazed at the number of people trying to get the right picture of the animal; willing to risk their lives for a picture.

Since I have been home, there are have been two people attacked by bison and one guy ran across the Grand Prasmatic Pool – use your head and do not ruin these opportunities for everyone. If things like this continue, they will put up fencing and limit access.

Finished driving for the day and ended at the Yellowstone Lodge located on Yellowstone Lake. It is absolutely beautiful. Yellowstone is at a high altitude and even when it is summer….it can still be quite chilly. There is a lake and many people end up the hospital because of hypothermia from the lake…keep this in mind. Visiting the park in June, it can be 70 degrees one day…..and can change the next….

Woke up Saturday to snow on the ground! Based on the elevation and driving conditions several roads were closed so we drove from the Yellowstone Lodge north to the bypass and then visited the southern part of the park. Drove to Old Faithful and had lunch right after the eruption. The park service posts the time and the app (when you have cell service) will also let you know the approximate next time.


On Sunday, we drove down to Jackson, Wyoming meeting some friends and exploring the areas. This is where we saw the first bear on the trip! We drove to our hotel and checked in at the Jackson Lake Lodge. This is between Yellowstone National Park and Jackson, Wyoming.

The Jackson Lake Lodge was located pretty close to Jenny Lake (a hidden gem) and Colter Bay (another hidden gem) that are in the Tetons. The hotel was expensive but was at the base of the Tetons and had fantastic views. On Monday mid-day left the Tetons and drove back through Yellowstone on the way back to Bozeman….a few shots on the way back.

If given the opportunity to visit Yellowstone and/or Jackson, Wyoming – definitely take the opportunity. If the weather is decent, I would highly recommend white water rafting in Jackson Hole. This trip did not have time and the weather was a bit cold, but the last time…it was one of the major highlights!

–Heidi

Costs for Yellowstone:

Rental Car: Alamo: $560

Quality Inn Bozeman: $185 per night

Lake Yellowstone Lodge: $390 per night

Alaskan Airlines Flight: $450 (my flight was paid with points)

Jackson Lake Lodge: $400 per night

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72 Hours to Visit Hoover Dam, Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon, Bryce, and Zion National Parks–Can it be done?


72 Hours to see Hoover Dam, Grand Canyon, Antelope, Bryce, and Zion National Parks

Grand Canyon Visiting Las Vegas for a whirlwind out west in 3 days! I had limited time and companion airfare on Southwest that allowed me go on a quick adventure and I can never say no!

Las Vegas is such a fun place to visit. Back when I was doing my dissertation, I spent 3 weeks out in Las Vegas writing my paper and booked 3 weeks in Kauai to finish….yes, you read that correctly. I have always enjoyed Las Vegas and while living in Ohio, the phone constantly rang and friends wanted to go to lunch or do this and getting away was perfect for writing that paper. There was motivation to accomplish goals.

For the Las Vegas Trip, it was meant to be a quick trip….Leaving Ohio after work and flying to Las Vegas staying at the New York New York for the first night. After a long day of work and travels- arrived around 10 PM Vegas time or 1 AM Ohio Time. The first stop was In N Out Burger followed by a stop down in Old Vegas.

Saturday morning; got up super early to be at the Hoover Dam before the major traffic. It has been a couple of years since I was out there, but thankfully the new highway makes the visit much more enjoyable. If you have not been to the Hoover Dam; I highly recommend visiting.

From there, trudged on to the Grand Canyon…there are a lot of options, but purchased the Park Pass for a year (National Park Service for more details) there is a Desert View Drive that has a lot of pull offs and is perfect for a short stay at the Grand Canyon….

Mind you, we are still trucking because we have booked a 4:30 Antelope Canyon tour in Page, Arizona.

The goal was when finished to see Horseshoe Bend but this trip, parking was full and fines were high for parking along the highway.

The next morning we got up early and drove to Bryce Canyon to see the Hoodoos and then to Zion National Park. With it being the height of summer..definitely busy. In order to hike the Narrows. Get there early and plan on a 45-1 hour bus ride. After driving through the park, headed back to Vegas.

We arrived back in Vegas around 2 pm stopping at In N Out when coming back to the edge of Vegas. The rest of the evening was spent walking the strip and stopping at cafes. Our last night was spent at the Venetian. Definitely worth the splurge!   

This was a quick 72 hour trip and you definitely need more time to see each of these spots, but if time is limited; I would go for it. YOLO!

– Heidi

Costs:

Rental Car: $230

New York New York Hotel: $250

Best Western: $230

The Venetian: $350

Antelope Canyon Tour: $65 per person (morning is better than evening)

National Park Pass (year) $80 for the car – already purchased

Flight: $250 (free as I was using Southwest Companion Fare)

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15 Easy Instagram Spots in NYC (in less than 12 hours)


1. Washington and Water Street (DUMBO)

2. York Street Subway on the Way to Washington & Water Street (Murals)

3. Washington Square Park & 5th

4. Nomo Soho (9 Crosby Street)

5. Graffiti on a Wall (Outside Nomo Soho)

6. Staten Island Ferry Ride with The Statute of Liberty

7. NYC Food or Amazing View

Below from the Mandarin Oriental (Central Park-35th Floor) The View, the Dessert, and Chihuly Glass. (80 Columbus Circle)

8. Audrey Hepburn Mural (176 Mulberry)

9. Mickey Mouse Mural (E. Houston and Mott)

10. A Pic in the Subway

11. Rockefeller Center

12. Skyline of NYC (taken on Staten Island Ferry)

13. Central Park (Bow Bridge)

14. Times Square/ Theater District

15. Any random spot that matches a part of your outfit (World Trade Center Area)

Follow me on Insta @trendyheidi or trendywithapassport.com for more on travel or outfits.

Xoxo,

Heidi

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Why Mallorca is A Great Vacation Spot


Mallorca is an island off the coast of Barcelona. It is a two hour plane ride from the mainland of Spain and provides a variety of things to do and see. Mallorca is a great vacation spot If you are a beach lover or an adventure seeker; this island is for you! If you are visiting for a day on a cruise ship; this will also help you decide where to spend your day!

What You Should Know About Visiting Mallorca:

-Travel guides suggested that a bus was adequate for travel around this island, but ……not really!

-We discovered how big Mallorca was and opted to take a taxi to our hotel and then try to get a rental car. The airport to the Marriott……………30 euros

-Michael Douglas has a house between Cala Deia and Valldemossa

-We rented a car for 325 euros (approx)for a week

-Most cars are stick shift

-You must want to drive a lot when you come here…………everywhere is an hour

-Mountains, beaches, desert, and grasslands are on this island…………very unique

-Boat rides available to Menorca

-Snorkeling tours available (don’t need to do that, but you can snorkle anywhere there is water)

Marriott is located in Son Antem (middle of nowhere) but no good hotels have beachfront because they do not own the beach………..Hilton is the same way.

-If you are coming in for a day in Mallorca; talk with a taxi driver about driving you all day where you want to go and negotiate a set price!

-Marriott resort is quite large and you could spend the week here.

-I would not suggest renting bikes because there are no road names and if you got lost….you could die (overexaggeration, but you are in the middle of nowhere)

-Would highly recommend the Marriott Resort in Son Antem even without the beach for a few reasons: you stay in a villa, you have pool per villa, entertainment at the hotel nightly, the hotel grounds are beautiful.
 

What You Should Know About Port de Soller

When we went to Port de Soller, you head toward Palma from the Marriott and then toward the mountains. There are no “street signs”
-If in doubt, head to Palma
-In order to go through the tunnel, it is 5 euros each way. You can go through the mountains but it will take you an extra 40 minutes to get there.
-At Soller, also spelled Soiler they speak Cantonese, French, Spanish, German, and some English
-in the summer watch for jellyfish…they are plentiful on the beach.
-If you walk up the hill (opposite the lighthouse) around the bend, there is a beautiful spot to swim
-Lots of people rent paddle boats that have slides
-You can take a boat ride (2 hours to Sa Calobra) you can also drive which we did. Take a passport or you can not go.
-Anywhere you go, you should load up on snacks and drinks in case you break down.
-There is a train that can take you from right outside Palma to Port de Soller but there is not air conditioning on the train

What You Should Know About Visiting Sa Calobra

One of my favorite places in the world…Sa Calobra , minus the drive…………..it was the scariest drive I have ever been on…
-Along the way, the random donkeys…………we stopped and petted them.
-The road from Soller is about 20 km, but took about 3 hours because it is steep and back and forth.
-You have to pay to park and its per 30 minutes (no credit cards)
-You walk through 2 caves to get to this beach.
-2 places to get food, both only accept euros (NO CREDIT CARDS)
-Again, pack food and drinks for the ride
-Don’t get ice in your drinks (water is not safe to drink)
-Evian water from the grocery store is the best bet and its cheap.

What To Know About Formentor

Formentor is a long drive to get here..highest point on the island
-on the way, there is a beach
-most popular for British people
-you can park on the street but watch for stones (puncture tires)
-go early to Formentor (otherwise traffic will be a nightmare)
-take cash because no credit card machines at Lighthouse, beach, etc.
-really nice beach area
-running water to clean off when finished at the beach.

What You Should Know About Cuevas del Drach

These caves were amazing.
-Known all over the world.
-Martel lake, one of the world’s largest underground lakes.
-concerts in the caves (boats with an organ)
-beauty of the caves is exceptional because of the lighting and music.
-located in Porto Cristo

What You Should Know About Cala Mondrago

This is an unbelievable place! There are three coves you can swim in and out of.
-Bring a raft to float
-bring goggles/ snorkel
-About 7 feet deep in the deepest spot.
-One snack stand, cash only

What to Know About Platja d’es Trenc

Follow the signs to Platja d’es Trenc
-Best Sand Beach in Mallorca
-Go past the first parking lot all the way to the beach.
-It is 7 euros to park, but if you eat at the cafe; it will be 7 euros off your parking or 2 drinks for free, depending.
-The middle of the sand beach is a nudist area; pass by and you will have a piece of the beach to yourself
-2 restaurants on the beach (both cash only)
-take a raft to float

What You Should Know About Camp de Mar, Andratx

-If you had to stay on a beach, Grupotel Playa, Camp de Mar was the nicest we found.
-Pool/ beach and restaurant over the water (takes credit card)
-Nice drive about 40 minutes from Palma

What You Should Know About Valdemossa

Valdemossa, A different perspective of Mallorca
-this chatelet is where Prince Albert vacations (14 rooms)
-Mountain area
-the town is quite lovely
-15 minutes from the ocean
-Peaceful and tranquil.
-Smokey Mountain like drive

What You Should Know About Cala Deia

Cala Deia is a Long drive to the bottom, but make the drive
-Pay to park
-1 euro an hour

What You Should Know About Banyalbufar

When you arrive in Banyalbufar, follow the signs to the beach.
-There are parking spots along the way or you can park on the boulder.
-It is a long, steep walk either way.
-Take water (you will need it)
-Rock beach
-At the top of the hill, there is a cute cafe with reasonable prices and wonderful food.
-Croissants with powered sugar (a speciality)
-Spaghetti was amazing

What to Know About Palma

-You need about an hour in the city of Palma driving around to see everything.
-Cathedral is the best sight in the town.
-Give money to the guys posing!
-Hard Rock is near the harbor
-There is shopping and boutiques

Mallorca is an amazing place to visit! The most difficult challenge is deciding where you spend each day! If it is your first time visiting and you have 6-8 hours; you may want to get a driver and negotiate the price for the day. My recommendations would be: Platja En Trenc Beach for a few hours and have the driver go to Port Soller if time allows or Valdemossa Area where the boutiques and Pearl Shops are located. If the beach is not something you want to spend time at, the Cueva del Drach is spectacular and is a unique experience that is hard to beat!

Mallorca is known for pearls…if you are looking for a neat souvenir to bring home.

Questions, Just Ask!

 

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3 Essential Stops in Rome in 1 Day


Rome is an amazing city and even if you are blessed with just one day, here is a way to make the most of the day in the Eternal City!

  1. Stop 1: Vatican City

Buy Vatican Tickets 

If you are coming into the city from a cruise ship, be leery of booking time at the Vatican for the early morning; you may be better served to buy your tickets when you arrive; even across the street, there is a skip the line Vatican Tour (you will pay a little more, but will get in within 30 minutes) whereas buying tickets and finding you are two hours late into port will result in the same and you will have paid twice. With that being said, if you are in Rome (arrival the night before), then buy your ticket in advance and report 30 minutes early. If you are on a cruise and want to have everything in order before your trip, then book the tickets for 1:30 PM or 2 PM and do the Stops on this page in reverse order!

When inside the Vatican Museum, you can spend as much time or as little time you would like; the guides are all fantastic. If you are tight on time, move ahead and keep going; the guides will try to keep you with them, but if you only have a day and want to see everything….keep moving…and pass other groups (essentially “get lost”). Make sure when you get to the Sistine Chapel, you take a moment and look up without being in a hurry.

On the way out of the Sistine Chapel, move on to St. Peter’s Basilica; it is absolutely stunning! If you do the Vatican Museum and St. Peter’s Basilica with wait time getting in and starting (estimate 2 hours)

In order to move with this itinerary to see everything; catch a taxi to The Colosseum!

2. Stop 2: Colosseum

Buy Colosseum Tickets

Buy your tickets in advance here. There will be lines wrapped around the Colosseum; this is not your line! Make sure you keep walking around and there are lots of guides that will show you the line for those who prepurchased tickets! The Colosseum has a lot of history in the building and there are areas that explain all about the history. When you finish here, go out the back to the Roman Forum and see the ruins! Your ticket into the Colosseum will also get you into this area. It will be about a 45 minute walk through and it is totally worth the experience. (estimate 2 hours for The Colosseum and Roman Forum).

In order to move with this itinerary, catch a taxi to the Spanish Steps

 

3. Stop 3: Spanish Steps, Piazza di Spagna, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, Piazza Navona (estimate 2-4 hours here)

When you arrive at the taxi stop near the Spanish Steps, you will embark on a beautiful walking tour. There are signs that guide you to each spot. Just make sure you go into the Pantheon. Watch for pickpockets- keep essentials close to you and pay attention….your phone, wallet, and camera can be off of you in 2 seconds flat!

4. Stop 4: Late Lunch: In Piazza Navona: Ai Tre Tartufi (Piazza Navona 26-27)

On the way back to the train station back to the cruise ship, ask the taxi driver to take you by Castel Sant’Angelo.

A few additional pictures in Rome. A Modern City with Ancient History….there are so many things to do in Rome, but these are the top stops to visit in 1 Day

and yes, that is a pyramid in Rome!

Hope this helps with your planning!

Questions, please ask!

~ Heidi