National Park Service

Visiting our national parks is a priority for us. We enjoy the scenic beauty and abundant wildlife they provide. Nature revitalizes us.

https://www.nps.gov/

 

California Department of Parks & Recreation

Just as we love our national parks, our state parks are close and provide endless opportunities to escape the urban sprawl, take a deep breath, and relax.

https://www.parks.ca.gov/

 

James Kaiser travel guides

These are the best travel guide books I've ever read! I'm hoping he'll continue to write additional guides for our national parks and other countries.

https://jameskaiser.com/

 

Rick Steves' Europe

We consistently watch Rick Steves on PBS. His Europe travel guides are very informative, especially if you want to know about hidden gems away from the tourist crowds.

https://www.ricksteves.com/

 

Tripadvisor

Before I reserve any travel lodging, I check the photos and reviews on Tripadvisor to ensure it's up to our standards. Some bloggers don't like or recommend this site because reviews and rankings can be manipulated or "fake." I avoid reading reviews by locals, or reviewers with only a single review. Look for people who post many reviews in various locations, and who don't live in the immediate vicinity.

https://www.tripadvisor.com/

 

Kayak

There are many websites which will help you find good prices for airline tickets. Kayak has been my default site for years. I don't make reservations on Kayak though. Once I locate the best price, I go to the airline website because I've found it easier to deal with reservations and cancellations directly with them.

https://www.kayak.com/

 

AirBnB

This is the best site for lodging, especially if you want to save on hotel costs and live like a local. It's a great way to meet locals as well.

https://www.airbnb.com/

 

Uber

We use Uber instead of taxis or car rentals when we only need to get across town. We also use it when we get lost on public transit and need to get to our destination. Wherever you keep your travel notes, it's a good idea to keep destination addresses in there as well.

https://www.uber.com/

 

Google Translate

An invaluable tool to install on your smartphone. You can download an entire language dictionary to access offline, and can even take photos of written text to have it translated for you.

https://translate.google.com/

 

Unit Converter Pro

I use this smartphone application to determine current currency exchange rates.  It also comes in handy for measurement conversions, like kilometers to miles, meters to feet, kilograms to pounds, or liters to ounces.

http://www.unitconverterpro.com/

 

Google Maps

This is our primary smartphone application for getting around the country, whether by foot, public transportation, or driving. It even saved us once when the bus schedules from Venice changed mid-day!

https://www.google.com/maps/

 

Moovit

There are occasions when Google Maps doesn't work so well with public transportation. One instance was Rio de Janeiro. When that occurs, Moovit fills in nicely with up-to-date information.

https://www.moovitapp.com/

 

Travel shows

 

Probably our favorite travel show. So many destinations and activities of ours have been inspired by this series. They take the road less traveled, mix with the locals, and always dive in to local culture.

http://www.pilotguides.com/

 

Josh also digs deep in to each place he visits. He'll cook regional dishes with local chefs, construct hand-made crafts with local artisans, and partake in local activities.

http://www.nbc.com/the-more-you-know/exclusives/the-voyager-with-josh-garcia

 

This show gives a quick, broad overview of locations based on activities like hiking, boating, or racing.

http://www.bellument.com/the-coolest-places-on-earth

 

I think this was one of the first travel shows we ever watched. Airing on PBS, Rick finds some hidden gems off the beaten path throughout Europe. It was his show that inspired us to visit Varenna and Hallstat, and enjoy Musica a Palazzo in Venice.

https://www.ricksteves.com/watch-read-listen/video/tv-show

 

The BBC Travel Show usually covers approximately three locations in a single episode. It gives you a general idea of what's there, which can prompt you to explore a particular location in more detail.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/n13xtmtp

 

I've been watching Jeff ever since the Jeff Corwin Experience. He had Ocean Mysteries, and now Ocean Treks.

http://www.littonweekendadventure.com/ocean-treks/

 

We enjoy Laura's spunky, upbeat attitude. She makes travel and history fun. She is a shopper, so be prepared for at least a little on fashion shopping at each worldwide location she explores.

http://lauramckenzietv.com/

 

We used to enjoy the show Motion, which covered state and national parks. Motion no longer exists, so now we enjoy Rock the Park. They travel from one national park to the other, diving in to extreme activities and exploration.

http://www.littonweekendadventure.com/rock-the-park/

 

I love this show! It used to be on Litton Weekend Adventure on ABC. Now it's on PBS. Richard has a mellow, easy to get along with personality which makes meeting new people and cultures a pleasure.

http://www.borntoexplore.net/

 

Reality television does occasionally make it in to our living room. We watch this series not for the competition, but for the global destinations. It helped inspire us to travel to places like New Zealand and China.

http://www.cbs.com/shows/amazing_race/

 

We also enjoy nature shows, and watch as many of them as we do travel shows. As ecotourists, they show us the animals of the world so we can chart a course to see them!