Before we moved to Denver, Colorado I really wanted to take a road trip out West and it’s one of the things we said we’d do once we were out here. The landscape in the South is quite different from that in the West and I’d never experienced it before. We wanted to check out iconic places like the Grand Canyon, see the sandstone buttes of Utah, and canyons in Arizona. So, we did!
Here is my ultimate guide to Cabo!
- Currency: Mexican Pesos
- Language: Spanish and English
- Getting around: Taxis and shuttles. When you arrive at the SJU airport and before exiting the building, you’ll be asked if you have a ride. We got a shuttle from there (you can trust it) and they drop off at local resorts and hotels. When leaving your hotel, just ask the concierge and they can arrange for a taxi/shuttle.
- When to Visit: November-April (December-March is peak whale watching season!)
Stay AT HILTON LOS CABOS BEACH & GOLF RESORT
Hilton Los Cabos Beach & Golf Resort was absolutely stunning! Our room was fantastic with a gorgeous balcony view and everything about this place was pristine along with kind, helpful staff. There are 2 pools, one of which is an infinity pool overlooking the ocean (!!!), swim-up pool bars where you can also order lunch, cabanas all over the place, a clean and private beach which was perfect for relaxing, and an amazing beach bar with swings as seats. We spent some good quality time relaxing by the pool and beach and had more plates of nachos delivered to our poolside chairs than we may want to count.
EXPLORE DOWNTOWN CABO
This is a tourist city made obvious by seeing the same type of shops along the streets selling similar things (hats, Mexican blankets, ponchos, etc), and even though I say that, it’s still super fun to walk around and pop in some of them to look around. My mom got a hat that I now envy and wish I had bought.
Walk around the marina – There are tons of bars and restaurants along the marina walk. There’s a sailboat docked here that looks like an old pirate ship called ‘Bucaneer Queen’ which is kind of cool to see if you’re into that (like Jeff is).
Medano Beach – This is the main public beach. Several bars and restaurants also line this shoreline. To be honest, I didn’t love this beach because it was pretty crowded with people but great to walk along to get to some of the restaurants (some options are mentioned below!).
SAIL TO THE ARCH OF CABO
This was probably my favorite memory of this trip. We booked a luxury sailing excursion through Cabo Adventures where we went sailing around Land’s End at sunset. It was magical! They served cocktails and served some delicious appetizers too. Along the trip, you get to see major sights like Lover’s Beach, Divorce Beach, The Arch of Cabo, and if you’re lucky, some sea lions and maybe even whales depending on the season.
GET YOUR PARTY ON AT CABO WABO
ATV ACROSS A WOODEN SUSPENSION BRIDGE
EAT ALL THE MEXICAN FOOD
CABO GOOGLE MAP
Where to Stay
Winter Park Resort has a variety of great lodging options (condos, hotels, townhomes) at the base of the village.
Airbnb is a great resource around this area and one we took advantage of. You can find a house with a gorgeous view that’s just down the road from the base village at the resort. This is a great option if you’d like the freedom to cook some of your own meals. Tip: look at places located in Fraser too which is a neighboring town.
If you don’t find something you like on Airbnb and want to go something more along that route, check out this page for a list of lodging resources.
Winter Park Resort has seven territories to ski/board so you’ll have plenty of options! If you can go on a weekday rather than a Saturday or Sunday, you’ll save some time in the lift lines. The runs are well groomed and overall just an excellent place to ski for newbies or the expert. My favorite territory to ski is Mary Jane.
If you’re up for it, you can even try ski biking!
Snowmobile to the Continental Divide
Grand Adventures offers a 2-hour adventure snowmobile tour to the Continental Divide. If you’ve never been snowmobiling, it’s definitely something you need to try! They do guided and unguided tours and you can ride on your own snowmobile or go tandem. Dress warm and in layers!
Snowshoeing is hiking but with a pair of snowshoes strapped over your boots to make it easier so you don’t sink into the snow with every step. There are plenty of trails around the area too. If you don’t have your own snowshoes, you can rent them at the Nordic center and most ski shops. Find hiking trails on alltrails.com and take your snowshoes with you or stop by the information center in downtown Winter Park to pick up your own trail map. You can find more info here too.
Go Fat Tire Biking
Fat tire biking is a mountain bike with fat tires that have tread made for riding on snow. There are literally hundreds of miles of trails and roads to ride on around Winter Park! You can find out where to rent bikes and where to ride them here.
Where to Eat
Idlewild: Grab dinner and drinks here after a long day of winter activities. It’s a cozy, comfortable place that’s on the smaller side so go early or late and definitely try the Brussels sprouts! I’m also a sucker for their cool logo.
Goodys Mountain Creperie: Located in the Winter Park village, stop by here after skiing and get a delicious crepe and warm cocktail.
We had a great time in Winter Park and will definitely be back in the summer to check out the alpine slide and all of the summer activities. There’s so much to do here no matter the season! If you have any questions, let me know.
That month of trekking through 10 cities in 6 countries with just my backpack is what made me fall in love with traveling. The different cultures, foods, architecture, transportation, people… I loved it all and it all blew my mind.
That’s a lot of places to go in just one month! It was my first time in Europe so I wanted to see as much as I possibly could while I was there. I was really a tourist on that trip and it’s not the way I travel now nor would I recommend anyone try to fit that many stops into that time frame. I now travel like an explorer getting to know a location, talking to locals, and definitely prefer quality over quantity.
Here is what that trip looked like. Now, this was 7 years ago and I wasn’t a travel planner then, so grace my friends, because I don’t remember all the details.
Side note – most of the lodging were hostels, which get a bad rap, but you can get different types of rooms (private, shared, mixed) and there are some really great ones out there. Just make sure you do your research and read reviews. This is my trusted hostel source.
Day 1-4: LONDON, England
Stayed here: Lse Rosebery Hall
Explored: Covent Garden, Piccadilly Circus, Buckingham Palace, St. James Park, London Eye, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, Tower Bridge, Tower of London
Took the Chunnel to Paris.
Day 8-9: AMSTERDAM, Netherlands
Stayed here: Intersail (this hostel was on a boat!)
Explored: Canal tour, walked around a lot, the red light district, Heineken brewery tour, Ann Frank house
Something to know about Amsterdam… they bike everywhere!
Took the night train to Munich.
Day 10-12: MUNICH, Germany
Stayed here: Hostel Central
Explored: Marienplatz, Residenz Palace, Englischer Garten, Hofbräuhaus, Neuschwanstein Castle, Hohenschwangau Castle
The beer in Germany is WAY better than here in the states and I promise you’ll come back a beer snob (at least I did).
Took the train to Venice.
Day 13-15: VENICE, Italy
Stayed here: B&B in Venice, Flat Ca’Corte
Explored: Rialto Bridge, Piazza San Marco, Doge’s Palace, Basilica of the Salute, walked around a bunch and went to markets, the Bridge of Sighs, Basilica San Marco
Venice isn’t built on a grid like most cities and is like a really beautiful maze that’s easy to get lost in.
Day 16-20: ROME, Italy
Stayed here: Trastevere neighborhood with friends
Explored: Trastevere neighborhood, Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, National Monument of Victor Emmanuel II, Colosseum, Arch of Constantine, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, Piazza Venezia, Castle Sant’Angelo, St. Peter’s Basilica (and went inside the dome), Piazza Navona, Vatican
There is SO MUCH to do and see in Rome! It blew my mind that you could just be casually walking around the city and stumble upon so many ruins. The place is full of history and wine in Italy is truly cheaper than water.
Day 21-23: FLORENCE, Italy
Stayed here: Soggiorno Pitti
Explored: Duomo di Firenze, Michelangelo’s David, Palazzo Pitti, Boboli Gardens
Try the trofie pasta, aperol spritz, and of course indulge in all the gelato and tiramisu while you’re in Italy!
Day 25-27: BARCELONA, Spain
Stayed here: Safestay Barcelona Sea
Explored: The beach, Park Guell, La Sagrada Familia, Casa Batlló, La Rambla, Gothic Quarter, Casa Mila
I love Barcelona. After visiting, I realized I have a favorite architect… Antoni Gaudí who has so much of his gorgeous work around Barcelona.
Day 28-29: MADRID, Spain
Stayed here: Pop Hostel
Explored: Saw a flamenco show, Plaza Mayor, Plaza de Toros, Mercado de San Miguel
Day 30: Depart Europe and back to the states
Have you been to any of these places? If so, what were some of your favorite spots or other things you did/saw there?
Jeff’s parents live in Austin, Texas which is pretty far from where we used to live in Nashville, TN. We decided to take a road trip and surprise his mom with a visit! His dad knew about it and we had such a blast spending time with them as always.
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WHERE WE STAYED
A few of my other favorite things about this place: they had shuttles that took skiers to the base of the mountain to hit the slopes, Cadillac Escalade courtesy vehicles that would give you rides to pretty much anywhere you wanted to go (restaurants, into town, shops), amazing buffet breakfast (included), and the kindest people ever working there.
Pro Tip: Deer Valley is a skiers-only mountain (sorry boarders!)
- J&G Grill – An upscale restaurant in the St. Regis hotel. If you go here, you have to get the black truffle pizza! Even if you don’t go for dinner, take the funicular up to the hotel and enjoy the beautiful view from the top. There’s a restaurant and bar with a spectacular view over Deer Valley.
- Prime Steakhouse – Delicious steakhouse and fun piano bar on Main Street in Park City
- Buona Vita – Italian restaurant on Main Street in Park City. This was probably my favorite meal of all! Everyone at the table absolutely loved their food. Jeff got the Lucattelli pizza and I had the Gnocchi Al Pesto and neither of us could rave about it more.
We stayed at The Nautilus Hotel in South Beach which was truly excellent and were greeted in our room with a couple birthday macaroons! It was in the perfect location, beach access with 2 free beach chairs, a swanky pool with cabanas, a really neat “backyard area”, and an entire bar-lounge which was luxurious. A couple of my favorite little things (I love it when a brand/company pays attention to the details) was that the lobby always smelled incredible and the bamboo arch walkway with string lights was adorable. I don’t know what scent they were pumping into the air, but every time I walked into that lobby, it was something I noticed. We had a great time staying at this hotel and I’d highly recommend it.
After we first arrived and checked into our hotel, we went to grab a bite to eat somewhere nearby and stumbled upon Sweet Liberty. We both fell in love with this place and I can’t talk it up enough. First, we had excellent cocktails – Jeff got a “Banana O’Hara” and I had a fresh margarita. We’re seriously going to try our best to recreate that “Banana O’Hara” drink at home! Then, the burger happened. Our waitress told us it was amazing so we had to try it – and boy was she right! We both said it was one of the best burgers we’ve ever had and it could easily feed 2 people. Also, the atmosphere of this restaurant was just cool. If you’re in Miami Beach, you have to go here.
Day 1 – Exploring
Day 2 – Relaxing
If you have any questions, feel free to comment below!
There are certain products out there that make travel easier, or just simply interest, those who enjoy traveling. If you’re looking for a gift for a travel guru, besides just giving airline vouchers (which I’m sure are just as appreciated), here are some options. Everything on this list is either something I own and use, would personally gift a travel-lover, or is on my own list!
- A good pair of headphones when using any kind of public transportation (plane, train, bus). Get a pair that is noise-cancelling and wireless for sure! THESE are the ones I have.
2. Lo and Sons Airplane Tote
Having a good airplane tote is probably one of the most important things when traveling. Lo and Sons has excellent ones for both men and women that have plenty of pockets and are great quality. They carry both backpacks and totes for whichever you like best. I carry THIS one with me literally everywhere… when I travel, to the gym, and even for work.
- This is for the ladies out there. You can’t pack all your jewelry when you travel, so you’ll need to be strategic about packing pieces that can go with a lot of different outfits. These earrings from N&S are light-weight and have so many different colors and styles! These are on my wish list.
- You can use these Tiles for so many things which is why I love them. When you travel, it can act as a luggage tracker… I always like to know where my bags are or be able to “inform” TSA where it is if it gets lost! When you’re at home, use it to find your keys, laptop, or anything else you may misplace from time to time.
5. Packable Lightweight Travel Tote/Backpack
- My Patagonia daypack is one of my absolute favorite things I travel with. It folds up super small so I can toss it in any bag. And while I’m exploring a new place, I carry it with me as a tote or easily transform into a little backpack with straps for more adventurous excursions.
6. Shampoo Bar
- I recently started using THIS shampoo bar when I travel instead of the normal liquid kind (I was a little apprehensive at first), and I have to say it’s been pretty great. It lasts for SO long that way I never have to worry if it has enough shampoo for my trip. It’s also one less thing to worry about spilling everywhere. I got THIS case for my bar and just pack a little bottle of conditioner (I don’t use a lot and unfortunately haven’t seen a conditioner bar out there on the market just yet).
- A subscription to this magazine is about $10 for a year and it’s my absolute favorite place to get travel inspiration! Yes, I could just look on their website (or a million other sites), but their print version is so much better and I love just sitting down to flip through it, reading each page while brainstorming where we’ll go next.
8. A good down-packable jacket
- I feel like this is self-explanatory, but having a warm jacket that’s also able to be rolled small and packed well is so important. The down feather ones are my favorite because they insulate very well yet can be packed easily and aren’t bulky.
- I recently got myself a pair of these runners and absolutely love them for traveling (and just daily life too)! I wanted a pair of shoes that were comfortable to wear walking around airports or exploring a city, looked good with a lot of outfits, were light-weight, and didn’t look like I was wearing an athletic shoe. Plus, I wanted the option to be able to do a quick workout in them. These All Birds fit all my criteria. The other pair I was considering were THESE Toms.
- I personally love physically reading books but they take up a lot of space in a bag. Audible allows you to listen to audiobooks on the go and a subscription to the service is such a great gift for the traveler! It would really come in handy when you’re using public transportation too.
11. Rollerball perfume or cologne
- Rather than packing a nice bottle of perfume or cologne and risking it breaking (because not everyone cares for your luggage like you do), a lot of brands offer a rollerball version too which is travel-friendly.
12. Smart Luggage
- There’s a lot of “smart” luggage out there these days and THIS is one of my favorites. It allows you to track it, weigh it and, lock it all from an app on your phone. I’m a little apprehensive about getting such a nice bag because it gets beaten up a bit in airports, but I also really like them and think they’re cool. Another brand that has something similar is Away which has a built-in battery for charging your devices in the carry-ons.
- If you know someone who is more of the adventure traveler, they’ll really appreciate this gift. Not every hotel or hostel has fresh towels waiting for you in your room (just trust me). But if you carry your own, you’ll always have one. Make sure to get one like THIS that folds small for packing and is also fast-drying.
14. Solar Power Bank
- Power banks are perfect for long flights and far off destinations where electrical outlets may be inaccessible. I have one that has to be charged using an electrical outlet and am looking to get one like this for more adventurous occasions that I can strap to my backpack.
- Nice cameras are pretty expensive and, if you’re traveling, can be a burden to carry around. But at the same time, you’ll want to take great quality photos of your travels. My solution is using the Moment Lens attachment for your phone. You’ll likely always have your phone with you and these are for real the best! They’re small but excellent quality and it’s what I use for our travel photos.
Purchasing flights is usually the most expensive part of a trip. And being a travel planner, I often get asked many questions from family and friends about booking flights. To save myself some time from answering the same questions, and to share the knowledge, here’s everything I know and use myself when it comes to booking flights.
- The biggest thing that will save you money on flights is to be flexible on your dates and times
- If you’re going to fly when everyone else is trying to as well, you’re going to pay more. Back to economics class with good ‘ole supply and demand. So, summer time (June-August), around big holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years are all going to be more expensive. If you still need to fly during those times, try to arrive and depart a few days before and after.
- Airlines know when there’s a large festival, holiday, school breaks, or major sports event at in-demand locations. They’re smart so they raise prices according to demand. Your only way around this, if you want to go to that thing and pay less on flights than what’s offered, is to travel a few days before and after.
- You don’t always have to fly directly to your location. Instead, fly to a nearby airport and rent a car, take the train, or bus to your primary location. Get creative! The website Rome 2 Rio can help with this and give you options how to get from where you are to where you want to be. It just depends which is a higher priority for you – convenience or saving money.
- Fly with a budget airline
- You get fewer perks but if you know ahead of time you can plan by bringing your own snacks, drinks, only bringing a carry-on, etc.
- Make sure you watch out for fees because on budget airlines there’s one for everything. Be sure to add up the ticket price and fees to make sure it’s cheaper than a bigger airline.
- Always sign up for the airline rewards programs
- No matter how often you fly, you should be signed up for the reward program. You get points for any flights you take with that airline so you might as well have them accumulate and add up over time.
When should I book my flight?
- If you’re in the U.S., book your flight approximately 54 days before your departure for domestic flights
- For international flights, the number of days in advance you should book varies by location so use the image below as a guide.
- I know this sounds obvious but book a flight when it’s on sale
- If a big airline announces a sale, their competitors usually match it (at least where they compete directly) within 24 hours. So take some time to shop around before you book.
- To know when it’s on sale, create a fare alert on Momondo
- Search what you’re looking for and hit the Fare Alert button on the results page. You’ll then get an email notification when there is a notable change in price.
- Scott’s Cheap Flights is another resource I use to get flights that are on sale
- Sign up to get email notifications. He sends all the sale fares he finds directly to your inbox (you can customize what you receive as well). I’m a big fan of SCF.
What day is the cheapest to fly?
- It’s cheapest to fly on a Tuesday or Wednesday. Most people travel on the weekends and airlines hike their prices then. So, try to avoid Saturdays – they’re the most expensive day to fly.
What time of day is the best to fly?
- The cheapest time of day to travel is in the early morning or late night. Why? Because fewer people want to travel during those times. Again, flying when no one else is will save you lots of money.
Where can I fly for cheap?
- If you want to travel but not sure where to and are trying to be budget-conscious, use the Google Flights explore feature.
- Click on the map, put in your home airport and dates, and check out your options.
How I search and book flights:
- I start all my flight searches with Google Flights to get a general idea of cost. I love the features of Google Flights and how user-friendly it is.
- If we have a little more time on a trip, I’ll look at prices to nearby airports on Google Flights too (since it may be cheaper to fly elsewhere then take a rental car, train, or another flight to final destination)
- I then do the same search on Momondo to find the best price
- Momondo searches all major AND budget airlines so this is where you’ll find the best price.
- The only time I don’t do the above is if Scott’s Cheap Flights or Momondo sends an email notification for a cheap flight deal that I’d like and I just go ahead and book it that way.