Category: Travel Guide

5 Things to Do in San Francisco

California is known for its numerous beautiful cities and one of them is San Francisco. It is located on the top of a peninsula surrounded by two big bodies of water – the San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. The city of San Francisco is also known for its year-round fog, hilly landscape and countless tourist attractions. The city is notable for its iconic Golden Gate Bridge and lines of colorful Victorian houses. The notorious Alcatraz Island that used to serve as a prison and housed some of the world’s deadliest criminals can also be found here. Here are 5 things to do in San Francisco:

1. Visit the Golden Gate Bridge

One of the most famous landmarks in San Francisco is the Golden Gate Bridge. It was first built in 1937. The world-renowned bridge is 1.7 miles long and links San Francisco to Sausalito. It is said that around 120,000 vehicles drive across the bridge daily. Pedestrians can cross the bridge on foot by walking on a pedestrian walkway. Bikers can also enjoy the view of the city on the Western side of the bridge.

The Golden Gate Bridge’s orange arches have become the city’s enduring and iconic symbol for several decades now. The Golden Gate name can be attributed to the Golden Gate Strait, the body of water that connects the San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. Most tourists say that the bridge is perhaps one of the most awe-inspiring sceneries in the city, making it one of the most photographed landmarks in the whole world.

2. Ride a cable carRide a cable car

Since the late 19th Century, cable cars have been one of the common modes of transportation in the city of San Francisco. The cable cars run on tracks and are moved by huge underground cables on three different routes. Even from several blocks away, the bells of the cable cars can be heard.

Riding the city’s iconic cable cars can be a thrilling experience as they move past up and down the hills of the city. You will be able to see breathtaking neighborhoods along your route. The cable car experience is perhaps one of the things a tourist wants to do while in San Francisco. However, there are only a few places to go, and the wait can sometimes be too long. If you are persistent, the wait is not of an issue as the experience is totally worth it.

3. Visit the world famous Alcatraz

What was once a notorious place has become one of the most visited landmarks of the city. It is an island that houses a prison of the same name. The Alcatraz Prison used to house some of the world’s notorious criminals. The prison was closed in the year 1960, and the stories about the prison have become some of the world’s legendary tales.

A visit to the Alcatraz can be a very exhilarating experience to any tourist. The mysticism behind the place’s beauty was further pumped up due to the several movies that depicted the lives of criminals who were once incarcerated inside Alcatraz.

4. Visit the old Chinatown

Dragon’s Gate is what they call the entrance of San Francisco’s world-renown Chinatown. The entrance is located at Grant Avenue and Bush Street. Inside Chinatown are 24 blocks of hustle and bustle, most of which take place in the oldest street in the city, Grant Avenue. The Chinatown is perhaps the best place in San Francisco to travel on foot as it is full of food markets, exotic shops, restaurants and museums. Visitors can enjoy shopping and dining. You can buy some acient potions and artifacts from some stores located in the area or you can also taste some of the fine dim sum and witness how fortune cookies are made from some food stalls in the area.

5. Dine at world-class restaurants

It is said that any travel experience is not complete without tasting the place’s local food and delicacies. San Francisco is considered one of America’s best restaurant cities as it houses some of the world’s most popular restaurants. San Francisco culinary chefs are known for their excellence and ingenuity when it comes to cooking. They combine fresh local ingredients while also incorporating international flavors. You can choose any cuisine of your liking- from Chinese, Italian, Spanish, French, Japanese, Indian, Mexican or even “fusion,” a combination of two or three different cuisines.
These are just 5 things to do in San Francisco. However, there are so much more to do in the city aside from the five mentioned. You may need to come up with a solid itinerary when visiting the city as you may get lost due to the many exciting things that this city has to offer.

Your Thrifty Guide around Napa Valley

Napa Valley, a vast, lush green, picturesque travel destination in the California region housing premiere and world-class wines are being flocked not only by wine lovers all over the world, but also of tourists from all walks of life. This is due to the place’s highly recommended restaurants offering delectable foods, hotels of immensely great accommodation, a variety of activities to experience, and the personal touch of nature, which is a breath of fresh air from the usual urban destinations.

Labeled as California’s Wine County, the acres of wine yards, bordered in between two magnificent mountain ranges, are surprisingly not the state’s largest wine-generating region. Napa Valley is known as such not so much because of quantity but more on the exceptional quality of their wine. With all these information, a tourist is naturally expected to cash out a lot of money for this trip to happen, but knowing these practical tips will make you enjoy the trip without the need to splurge too much.

Let’s start, of course, with the pride of Napa Valley – Wines.

Wine Tasting
1. Wine tasting done at wineries around the area is usually for $15 to $20 per winery.
2. For cheaper tastings, you may avail of a Napa Downtown Card for $30 to get the chance to taste different wines from 12 different tasting rooms instead of wineries. All these at your own pace – no need to hurry through all of them in just a day. Five rooms a day is ideal. The card can be purchased at the Napa Valley Visitor Center where you can also ask for current, additional discounts, promos, and specials, or you may just call: 707 257 0322 in advance.
3. For those interested in the process of wine making, they may avail free educational tours offered by particular wineries such as Frog’s Leap and Robert Mondavi Winery with a $20-$25 tasting fee.

Accommodation & LodgingNapa Valley
1. If you’re a solo traveler, one way to save money for lodging is to seek help from Couchsurfing.com, a website that basically connects the locals with the travelers who are in need of a place to stay and don’t mind becoming an honorary member of another family for a while. On the bright side, you get the chance to witness what it is like to live there as a local, personally experiencing their rich culture, and even bag handy, insider tips to keep in mind when roaming around Napa Valley if you have a tight budget.

Bear in mind though that reservations must be made in advance since they always receive a lot of requests and there are only limited hosts to cater the tourists.

2. You may also check out Airbnb.com which is another search engine specifically made for tourists looking for places to stay based on their location, within the range of their budget (starting from as low as $10), and the type of room (whether you plan to rent the entire place, a private, or shared room) they wish to avail.

3. There are also a number of motels and inns that have prices that range from as low as $79 to not more than $200 such as the El Bonita Motel, Flamingo Conference Resort & Spa, Calistoga Inn Restaurant & Brewery, and the Jack London Lodge.

Filling in your Hungry Stomach
1. If you’re really aiming for budget-friendly food purchases, stick with sandwich shops or markets like the Oxbow Public Market for quick meals where you can also buy products that you can bring home with you for your family and friends. For fresh breads, you may check out Model Bakery located just behind the Oxbow market. Food trucks like AdHoc and burger stand like Gott & Roadside also offer fried chicken meals and burgers for cheaper prices.

2. And what better way to save money on food than to bring your own and cook it where you’ll be staying.
Transportation
1. The cheapest mode of transportation around Napa Valley is with the use of the bike. Bike rentals cost around $45/day, and you can rent them in Calistoga Bikeshop and Napa Valley Bike Tour.

2. Other than bikes, you may also rely on Uber as it is known to operate around the world and charges $14 per 15 minutes of a 5-mile drive.

3. If you have your own car, it would be better to designate someone to do the driving for you. If not, you can settle for hired car services that cost from $35/hr. to as much as $115/hr.

The Essentials of a Traveler’s First Aid Kit

Whether you are an adventure savant or an amateur traveler, you should know the essential items that constitute a first aid kit. Be sure that you are ready to attend to any emergencies – from simple to serious ones – to avoid any disruptions in your itinerary. Listed below are the essentials for preparing a traveler’s kit.

Bandages

• Bandages, moleskin, and gauze pads
These are the necessities of a first aid kit. They can be used for treating small injuries, cuts, scrapes, blisters, and wounds. They won’t take up much space on your kit, so be sure to stock up on these items in various assortments.

• Surgical/Medical Tape
When you get a slightly deep or bigger wound, a surgical tape will help hold the gauze and dressing in place. Additionally, it can help strap sprains, strains, and other minor injuries.

• Tweezers
A pair of tweezers may come in handy in removing splinters and other stinging objects. Tweezers can be used in cutting bandages, gauze, and surgical tape.

• Thermometer
Be sure to pack a thermometer in your first aid kit. If you are backpacking and suddenly feel feverish, a thermometer will help in keeping track of your temperature.

• Rubbing alcohol and hand sanitizer
Hand sanitizer is a recommended item for every traveler. Make it a habit to keep your hands clean. Same goes with rubbing alcohol. It can help in cleaning cuts and wounds. Rubbing alcohol is also used to sterilize any equipment you will need. Rubbing alcohol and hand sanitizer will help keep you clean when water is not accessible.

• Electrolyte powder packets
These would absolutely save your day in case you get diarrhea or vomiting – cases common amongst travelers. If you are traveling on an exotic locale, the food and surroundings may overwhelm your stomach. Packing your electrolytes will surely help rehydrate and replenish you. Drinks rich in electrolytes, such as Gatorade, can also be used.

• Topical solutions
Topical solutions include any medication or product applied onto the skin. An antibiotic ointment will help in healing small cuts, wounds, and scrapes. Adding a hydrocortisone cream into your kit will help in getting rid of rashes, insect bite, and blisters. Lastly, sunscreen is a must-have for any traveler’s first aid kit. Pack a tube of your favorite sunscreen to block out harmful UV rays anywhere you go.

Allergy medications

• Allergy medications
When traveling, it is important to have access to a wide variety of allergy medications. Even if you don’t have allergic reactions that you are aware of, it is still a good idea to pack some allergy medications into your kit. You’ll never know what would trigger a reaction. Furthermore, there is a possibility that you would develop a type of sensitivity to some things that you haven’t encountered before.

To be safe, always be ready and take your Benadryl and antihistamines with you. It would be better if you have an EpiPen. Even if you don’t have known anaphylactic allergies, it won’t hurt to pack one. You may not even need to use it, but others might. Be sure to keep these items on hand.

• Over-the-Counter Drugs
For over-the-counter drugs, pack the commonly used for treating any ailments that may occur suddenly. Always include pain reducers for mild headaches and sore muscles. Add fever reducers, ibuprofen, Imodium, anti-hyperacidity tablets, and other vitamins.

• Personal medications
Be sure that you have your personal medications with you whenever you travel. Add your prescription drugs into your first aid kit. More importantly, do not forget to carry your prescription copies with you, just in case you run out of meds and need to buy more.

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