City Girl Travels to Italy

I’ll be traveling to the Veneto and Emilia-Romagna for 40 days this fall! I will be blogging and vlogging about it, so if you want insider tips on European travel, click the follow button on the right. Also, follow my Instagram @countryboy_citygirl

italy map of regions.png

I thought I might use this post to share my travel experience with you, so you know I didn’t fall off a cabbage truck yesterday. I have a lot of experiences and tips to share. Really, what good is all this knowledge if it’s not shared?

Traveling for me began early as it was a vital part of my schooling and job. In both undergrad and graduate school I interned for the USDA and traveled to conferences all over the US and Territories for recruitment and research presentations. Once I started working (in the middle of nowhere) full time after grad school, I traveled monthly for training, meetings, or shopping. I’ve been to almost every state in the Union and to several of our Territories. I have visited both Canada and Mexico for extended periods of time. I’ve also traveled extensively in the Caribbean, Central America, and Europe. I’m a complete Italophile, so since about 2006 I try to get to Italy every other year.

CityGirlTravels.png

Traveling monthly for work (for the past 17 years, especially the years I traveled for two weeks of every month) I got really good at carry-on packing and perfected my travel routine. I recommend that anyone looking to travel develop their routine. Mine, for example, consisted of my using preferred airline/ hotel/ car rental agencies rewards programs for ease and perks. Using TSA pre-check was an integral part of my routine because it got me through security super fast. Have your travel outfit planned for both comfort and style in case there is a delay.

Travel Routine

  • Travel Apps: I use the TripCase app to save all reservations and itineraries. You just forward the reservation emails to them and they do all the work. Use your airline app as they notify you immediately if there is a change. Same with car rental and hotel. I also use the Uber app.
  • Earn $$: Pay for your travel and related items with a credit card offering cashback or miles. I’ve used (Capital One) Quicksilver and Venture, and I prefer Quicksilver.
  • First class treatment: Enroll in TSA pre-check to get ahead of the line. If you travel often in the US it’s worth it. Make sure to enroll with your airline as well or you might get snubbed.
  • Choose wisely: Choose a hotel chain and car rental agency with locations EVERYWHERE (I use Hertz and prefer Marriott over Hilton but have rewards cards with both). Another thing to remember when choosing is how important a free breakfast will be. It can really help your budget to choose a hotel like Hilton’s Hampton Inn. They have eggs and bacon 🙂
  • Skip the lines: Booking ahead and using your hotel and car chain apps make it a breeze to check in remotely. With Hertz, I have my car with keys in it waiting for me when I arrive, as they text me the stall number. I just get in and go. With Marriott I check in from my phone and use a Mobile Key to go straight to my room, skipping the check in line entirely. I use UBER as much as possible (some airports don’t allow it) so I don’t have to wait for a taxi in the line at their airport.
  • Dress for success: Proper outfit + crossbody bag + tote bag + carry-on luggage = success. I usually wear flats & sock liners, leggings, and a tunic. I take a huge scarf that doubles as a jacket and blanket. I wear a crossbody bag that fits in my tote so I only have two items when I walk past the ticket counter. I carry-on to avoid delays waiting for my bag. In my tote I carry rosewater spray, sleep mask, empty water bottle, tablet, charger, and snacks (yes you can bring food through security). No matter what happens, I’m ready.

See you in Italy. xo

I’ll be using #CBCGblog and #CityGirlTravels to tag my posts on traveling well in the future. Search for them on Google, Instagram, or Facebook.

see you in italy.png 

Advertisements

Glacier National Park: Three Perfect Days

From Tacoma, WA we took I-90 through Coeur d’Alene, ID to St Regis where we transitioned onto a northbound route to Hot Springs, MT. From there we went directly to Glacier National Park. 

Watermarked9(2017-08-13-1725)

Coeur d’Alene RV Resort in Post Falls, ID was a great stopping point. Level pads, wifi, and a pool.

Image result for Coeur d'Alene RV Resort

In Hot Springs, MT do not stay at Symes Hot Springs! We stayed there and it’s not worth putting yourself through. It’s old, not well kept, dusty, and creepy. The germophobe in me cried all night. The blankets were dirty, the pillows inside the cases had nasty stains on them, the carpet hadn’t been cleaned in years. For the same money stay around the corner at Alameda Hot Springs Resort and if you must visit Symes do so on a day pass. If you stop in during the summer at Symes say hi to Mabel the Great and try to imagine Symes as it was in its heyday and not in its current state.

 

Flathead Lake is gorgeous. We will stay there next time we go through.

Watermarked17(2017-08-13-1728)

Kalispell has all the things: Cabelas, Popeyes, Krispy Kreme, Target, Costco, and Starbucks (but no mugs).

Sundance RV, right outside West Glacier,  is where we stayed for one night for hook ups so we could prepare to dry camp in Glacier.

Glacier NP has so much to offer. I promise you if you go you will want to return. The Going to the sun road over Logan Pass is a MUST DRIVE (or ride).

Watermarked14(2017-08-13-1727)

 

Look into Road Scholar Tours if you want the Cadillac version of touring this park. If you are doing it yourself, visit the NPS webpage on guided tours in case you want to learn from an expert while in the park. That site has the best boat, bus, hike, raft, and horseback tours available.

Watermarked5(2017-08-13-1724)

West Glacier Restaurant was decent, better than the food in the Park. Plus they serve elk.

Jammer Tour or Going to the Sun Road Shuttle? The jammer red bus tour is a bit pricey but you get to stop at each site along the way and take photos and hear about what you’re seeing. If you do that your first day you can make note of the trails and scenic views you want to go back and see on the shuttle.

Watermarked7(2017-08-13-1724)

Apgar Campground was where we camped in Glacier. It was quiet and walking distance to Lake McDonald, Apgar Village, and the Visitor’s Center.

Watermarked15(2017-08-13-1727)

Make sure you use the bear lockers if you are tent camping!

Watermarked10(2017-08-13-1725)

Avalanche Lake trail is a nice, moderate trail that I would recommend. It is connected to Trail of the Cedars, which is also nice and wheelchair friendly.

Watermarked13(2017-08-13-1727).jpg

Lake McDonald is gorgeous and you have to go swimming or kayaing in it.

Watermarked11(2017-08-13-1726)

Up the road is McDonald Creek, which has a nice, accessible waterfall (near Johns lake trail bridge).

Watermarked4(2017-08-13-1723)

Bowman Lake is a drive short, very secluded, and breathtaking.

Stop at Home Ranch Bottom on the way to or from Bowman Lake for limoncello, Apple wine, huckleberry wine, and taco Tuesday. I hope these two are there and you get the full “cowboy who makes limoncello” speech.

Watermarked18(2017-08-13-1728)

For more information on things to see and do in Glacier National Park, see these articles:

A Whole Day in Glacier for a Sightseer

“If you have one day to take in the highlights of Glacier National Park, drive Going-to-the-Sun Road (GTSR) in its entirety. GTSR is a 50-mile long, two-way road that cuts through the center of the park between the West Entrance and the St. Mary Entrance. Your journey can begin at either location. To return, either retrace your path back over GTSR, or take U.S. Hwy 2 along the south border of the park to create a loop. Along U.S. Hwy 2, you will find scenic views, some restaurants and lodging.” (click link for full article)

Take a Half-Day Hike in Glacier

“Glacier boasts 734 miles of trail. It is safe to say there is something for every ability level. Day hikes abound in every section of the park, from a short lakeside stroll to a hike up a mountain. Bring plenty of food and water on your hike, wear sturdy footwear, and remember the weather can change at any time. Be prepared with both rain gear and sunscreen. Below are some popular trails for a half-day (3-5 hour) excursion. These hikes may take longer depending on your hiking speed and ability. Mileages listed are ONE-WAY.” (click link for full article)

 

Airport Travel Tips

 

 

Image result for airport

Early morning airport travel tips:

  • Only take what you can easily carry yourself.
  • Never sit near a trash can in the airport.
  • Always wear shoes with socks.
  • Have one place where you keep your phone, wallet, and boarding passes and always put them there. Ideally, strap your wallet to your purse so it’s never left behind.
  • Count the outerwear pieces you are wearing/carrying at every checkpoint and in getting on/off the plane and always reach the same number (for instance: 1) Jacket, 2) scarf, 3) bag, 4) purse.
  • Carry your own water bottle rather than buy bottled water.
  • Be nicer than necessary or expected.
  • Look for ways to help fellow travelers; for instance, if the woman walking out of the restroom in front of you has inadvertently tucked the back of her dress into her pantyhose, let her know. Hypothetically, of course.
  • Sit near an electrical outlet in the gate area with a small multiple outlet surge protector and offer slots to fellow travelers if you see them hunting for a place to plug in.
  • Say thank you to airport employees who started work at 3am to provide you with coffee and chewing gum.

Thus ends this edition. I’m paying it forward for Patti Digh.

airport travel tips early morning.png