5 Things to do in San Diego

IMG_2535.JPGThough I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, I am originally from San Diego and my heart is torn between Northern & Southern California. So, since I know quite a bit about the San Diego area, here are 5 things you could do on your next visit there!

+ Go to the beach
This is obvious and definitely my favorite thing to do! I particularly love the beaches in Encinitas and Coronado.

+ Visit the Carlsbad Flower Fields
Every spring time, the flower fields in Carlsbad bloom and they are a gorgeous sight. You can get up close and see them for yourself.IMG_9015.JPG+ Explore Old Town
This is a great place to explore if you want to learn more about the history of San Diego and its beginnings.

+ Go to Balboa Park
If you enjoy museums, this is definitely the place for you! Balboa Park is also just a very pretty, historic area to walk around.

+ Visit the Oceanside Pier
Walking along the pier on a nice day is one of my favorite things to do. There is also a diner at the end that you could reward yourself with a milkshake or burger at too.

+ Bonus: Go to the San Diego Zoo, Legoland, Seaworld, or the Safari Park (formerly the Wild Animal Park). These are obvious, touristy things, but worth mentioning in case you are interested in them 🙂

These are just a handful of things you can do in San Diego! There are definitely plenty more things and places to explore.


*all photos by Jess unless otherwise noted


Road Tripping with Dogs

img_4071You may or may not know this about me, but dogs are pretty much my favorite beings on this planet and I am lucky to have a furry friend of my own named Marly. Just like his mama, he loves adventure too and I try to take him with me wherever I can. I’ve taken him on a plane before, though most of our traveling together is done by car. Some dogs don’t do very well on long car rides, but my pup is a great on road trips!

Here are some tips for taking your pup along with you on a long car ride:
+ Keep a water bowl in the car and offer water to them when you stop for gas
+ Bring a bed or blanket for them and make them their own spot that they can feel comfortable in
+ Take them out for a potty break when you stop for gas
+ If your dog is nervous about car rides, putting them in a crate with their bed or letting them sit on your lap or by your feet (if they are small enough!) may make them feel more secure


*all photos by Jess unless otherwise noted

Packing Tips for the Notorious Over-Packer

Screen Shot 2016-10-18 at 11.02.18 AM.pngIf you’re anything like me, you probably have packed a little too much on your trips. Here are some tips to simplify your packing and make your next trip easier!

+ Pack outfits, not just items
I spent many years just riffling through my drawers and closet pulling out shirts or pants that I like, without actually thinking about what I would wear with what. So, when I was on my trip and looking for clothes in my suitcase, I had to guess what I should wear with what and make outfits then and there. That was frustrating and time consuming, and resulted in me packing things that I never ended up actually wearing. To avoid this, I recommend packing complete outfits and pairing things together. You could even take it a step further and take photos or make notes of the outfits in your phone to easily refer to later.

+ Roll your clothes to save space
This isn’t really a secret, but rolling your clothes instead of folding them saves space in your suitcase. This leaves you extra room to bring things home with you from your destination, or add other things that you may have forgotten. As an added plus, your clothes stay less wrinkly rolled rather than folded.

+ Mix and match items
To pack lighter, plan to re-wear pants and tops in different ways so you don’t have to pack separate things for every single occasion or day. Also, bring items that you can wear during the day and easily dress up in the evenings if you are going out. This can simply be done by adding jewelry or changing your shoes.

Hope these tips help you pack for your next adventure!


* all photos by Jess unless otherwise noted

Tips for Flying with your Dog

In 2013, I flew roundtrip from San Francisco to Houston with my dog, Marly. When at the airport with Marly (or even just talking to friends and family), I get a lot of questions about flying with a dog, like “You can do that?” or “How does that work?” Now that we are pros, I thought I would answer some of those questions here and even share some tips I have figured out for stress-free traveling with your pup.

Many airlines these days allow you to bring your dog onboard with you for an additional fee. I know for sure that Southwest (what we have flown) and Virgin America do. With Southwest, it is $75 each way, and with Virgin America it is $100 per segment (which leads me to believe that means that you have to pay $100 each time you get on and off the plane). Since our trip, however, I have heard that if you get your pet certified as an emotional support animal, you will be exempt from those fees and have less strict rules to follow, which would definitely make things a bit more stress free!

At any rate, in order to fly with a pet, they must fit in a carrier that will fit under the seat in front of you. Under seat measurements are available on airline websites. Also, your pet counts as a carry-on! Which, in my opinion, is ultra silly since you have to pay a fee to bring them on board.BWcopy-0067.jpg
Here are some tips and tricks I have discovered that are great to keep in mind to make flying with a dog easier:

Go to a pet store with your pup and try out many different carriers. It’s like buying a purse: you have to compare them and figure out what works best for you and your dog. It was kind of difficult to find one for Marly since he is the recommended weight for the carriers, but is longer than most breeds that the carrier is intended for. But we found a few that worked and that I liked! Also, if you are traveling alone, be mindful of how you will carry your pup in his carrier AND all of your luggage. They make rolling carriers that also have backpack straps, which would have been great except that Marly was too long for those. So, find what is manageable for you and most comfortable for your dog, since he will be the one in it for hours at a time. Then, go buy it online because they are much cheaper!

+ Buy a “guaranteed on board” pet carrier. Some even have a printable certificate to bring to the gate with you incase there is a problem. You can find the carrier I got for Marly HERE.

+ In the weeks and days leading up to your flight, put your dog in his carrier for small increments of time. You could take him for short car rides, carry him around the neighborhood, or even try going on a longer road trip before your big flight.

Whenever possible, take a direct flight. Though it may seem like a good idea to have a layover as a break for your pup, it just adds hours to your travel time, not to mention the affects of taking off and landing multiple times. Think about how your ears tend to pop or hurt during this time, and then think about ow your dog must feel since he doesn’t know what is happening or how to help it. He can’t chew gum like us! Plus, it is much easier to get settled just once instead of having to haul your pup, your carry-ons, and yourself from one gate to the next. Just sit back and relax!
Bring a lot of water! I always get so thirsty when flying, so only imagine how your dog feels in that carrier! Bring and empty water bottle and fill it up at a water fountain once past security, or buy a bottle of water at a kiosk. Be sure to also bring a small bowl to keep in your purse for easy access.

Bring a lot of treats! I don’t usually want to bribe Marly, but they were necessary for making sure that he would get into the carrier once we were in the airport. Your pup may be nervous, so don’t hesitate to give him a little incentive to get in his carrier.

Use the pet relief area before going through security. Also, be mindful that once you are past security, there will not be a relief area. Additionally, if you have a layover, you will most likely have to exit the airport to find a relief area, which you may not have time for. Because airports are evil places that want to make life difficult and want your dog to pee on their ticket counters. True story.

Be prepared for people to approach you. People are naturally curious, especially when you are toting a little dog in an airport. A lot of people will probably smile at you, or come up to you and ask questions about what it is like flying with a dog. Marly was really good with people coming up to us and petting him, and was actually pretty excited about the whole thing! But if your dog isn’t up for the attention, just politely excuse yourself by saying that your dog is nervous about flying, so it would be best to leave him alone right now. This is better than saying he is aggressive in any way, because you don’t want that to jeopardize your flight if someone reports it.

Tell the people sitting next to you that you have a dog with you. This way, they are aware and if it bothers them, they will be able to find another seat. Plus, this is a great conversation starter if you are the type of person who likes to make friends on planes!

I hope these tips help you when and if you fly with your dog! I really loved traveling with Marly and hope to be able to do it with him again some day 🙂


* all photos by Jess unless otherwise noted

Cool Travel Gadgets

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I rounded up some cool gadgets and accessories you could take along on your next trip!

  1. Digital luggage scale
    If you tend to be an over-packer like me, this would definitely be helpful to make sure you don’t go over the airline weight limit!
  2. J travel pillow
    This pillow is pretty cool because it supports both your neck and chin so you can find a comfortable position that won’t leave you sore after your nap.
  3. Wireless bluetooth smartphone camera remote
    When I am traveling, I really don’t enjoy asking strangers to take a photo of me and my boyfriend, so having a remote that we could take photos with by ourselves would be great!
  4. Smart phone tripod
    Instead of having to find somewhere to precariously put the phone while we attempt to take our own photo, a tripod would definitely be a better solution!
  5. Travel sweatshirt
    This sweatshirt is pretty awesome since it has an inconspicuous place for pretty much everything you could need during your travels!
  6. Smart phone water proof bag
    I love being able to take my phone places like the beach and pool, but there is always a risk of it coming into contact with water. That’s why having a pouch like this would be really helpful!
  7. Travel wallet & passport holder
    It is nice to be able to keep all of your money, credit cards, and passport in one place, so a wallet like this would be really useful to make life easier.

Have you ever used any of these things? Do you have any travel gadgets you would recommend?