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/

 

Skytrax

When choosing between airlines, I use the ratings and reviews on Skytrax to help determine which airline to use.

https://www.airlinequality.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!

 

I also use Google Maps when searching for lodging, as they tend to have a more comprehensive selection. Simply enter a city or town, select Nearby, select Hotels nearby. You can also type “bed and breakfast” after selecting Nearby.

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/