5 Must See Places In Maui

Aloha! There are so many fun things to do and see on the island of Maui in Hawaii. Since you can travel anywhere on the island within a day it is easy to see and do a lot in only a few days. My husband and I traveled to Maui for the first week of our honeymoon. We fell in love with the picture perfect sunsets and island spirit. Maui doesn’t have big sky scrapers, but does have plenty to keep you occupied. Below is a list of 5 of our favorite things to see on the island.

The Nakalele Blowhole

The Nakalele Blowhole is found on the north end of the island at Nakalele Point. The blowhole is just past a road side hut for Julia’s Banana Bread. There is a small hut with refreshments by the entrance of the hiking trail to the blowhole. You will hike up a hill and then down into the basin towards the bay where the blowhole is active. For best views, make sure to head over when the ocean starts to kick up and be a little more rough. The blowhole is most active around that time.

Once you get down into the basin you will also find the heart shaped rock. Many honeymooners and couples stop here to take a photo with the heart or kissing next to the heart. The easy part is getting down to the blow hole. Take heed of the warning signs posted in the area and DO NOT jump into the blow hole or stand over it. When the blowhole goes off it can suck you down into the ocean and many people are killed here yearly.  Nevertheless, this is a stop you will for sure need to make on your next trip to Maui. The views are beautiful and you can’t take a bad picture at any angle.

Haleakala National Park

Haleakala is the volcano that formed part of the island of Maui. The summit of the volcano is now a national park and they offer many types of tours. You can always hike the park for the beautiful views of the ocean and waterfalls, but you can also watch sunrise or sunset at the summit over the crater.

There are so many beautiful hiking trails in this park, but one of the most amazing views you can get is the first glimpse of sunlight over Haleakala crater at sunrise. The summit can drop below 20 degrees Fahrenheit at certain points of the year, so you might need to pack a winter coat if you plan on visiting this location in the tropics. Cheer as the sun reaches over the clouds and watch the sunrise while natives sing welcoming the new day. You will need tickets for both sunrise and sunset to get into the park so check out their site. You can also book a sunrise downhill bike tour and get your pass into the park that way.

The Road to Hana

The Road to Hana is one of the most famous road trips to complete in Hawaii. The road itself has some of the most beautiful landscapes and dangerous twists and turns on the entire island. You will need to make sure you have a travel guide book with notes for gas stops along the way since you could run out of gas without stopping at the last station before Hana. Tons of tourists run out of gas on their way around the island.

Depending on the time of year, you may or may not want to continue to drive around the island completely. if you continue be sure there hasn’t been a lot of rain or once you get into the Haleakala national park the road may be completely covered with water in certain areas. So be prepare and aware of your surroundings and the dangers. The road gets much more narrow once you pass Hana and it goes on for miles as a grated dirt road. If you are not driving a four-wheel vehicle you might want to rethink your rental car.

The road to Hana has so much for all ages. There are stands every mile or two with tons of different types of food, from BBQ to juice stands, to shave ice, and so much more. Make sure you bring cash and enjoy the ride by stopping as much as you want along the way. If you love hiking there are over 20 hiking trails along the Road to Hana. Some are harder than others so make sure you have a good guide book to tell you where to pull over since some trails aren’t even marked with a sign.

Lahaina

Lahaina was the capital of the kingdom of Hawaii from 1820-1845 and there is so much history to the city. The old courthouse building and some of the original homes are still standing. You can read all about the history as you walk the avenue. There are a ton of shops, art galleries, and restaurants that line the streets. They have a park full of Banyon trees that provide a nice shady spot to rest in front of the old courthouse. Shave ice is a big thing in Hawaii and it’s basically “water ice” or “Italian ice”, but the ice is shaved instead of crushed. It’s really refreshing, especially in the Hawaiian sun.

You will enjoy every minute of your time in this quaint and beautiful town.

Black Sand Beaches

One of the coolest things to do and see in Maui are the black sand beaches. There are a few of them on the island and they are magnificent and beautiful. There is one black sand beach you can see on the way to Hana that many people stop at. The black sand beaches are not small course sand, but instead large pebbles. Be sure to wear water shoes and bring a beach chair if you plan on staying for a while since walking and sitting on the beaches can be pretty painful. These beaches are mostly flocked with tourists who are passing through. Not many people spend their entire day lounging here so be ready to see a lot of people hiking through in a steady line.

Either way, the beaches are a must see. They have a unique beauty that set them apart from beaches in other places on the island.

Maui includes so many fun and relaxing things to do for people of all ages. Make sure you check out my post about tricks to save money in Maui!

The Cone Heard Around the World

IT STARTED OUT AS INNOCENT FUN.

In the fall of 2013 my dad convinced my mom to join us on a cross country road trip from New Jersey to Los Angeles in a C3 camper. I was stoked to be able to explore so much of the country that I have never seen. We were going to go to all of the big state parks in the north west like Yellowstone, Yosemite, the Badlands, Mount Rushmore, the Redwood national forest, and more. I could not wait to get out and see everything I had read about in social studies classes all through elementary school.

My dreams were crushed when two days into our trip. I was staying with my sorority sister from Ohio State on my parent’s anniversary and I got a news alert that the government had shut down. I was devastated. Not only were we not allowed in the parks now, but what was the point of driving all this way for nothing? We had only made it to Ohio so far and we were at least a day or two out from South Dakota depending on where we would stop to sleep. My parents picked me up the next morning, I was hung over, wearing the same clothes as the night before, and I probably smelled.

I went into the camper bathroom and tried to puke but couldn’t so I put my head phones in, sat in the passenger seat next to my dad and giggled to myself as I listened to “Iowa Stubborn” from the Music Man while we drove across Iowa (Don’t worry you can click the link to see what song I am talking about so you can laugh too). As beautiful as fly over states are, there is a reason when you are trying to get from point A to point B you fly. Highways in flyover states are seriously a drag. Although the first hour and a half was pretty entertaining, that shit gets old quick and you can only make so many “corny” jokes.

THINGS STARTED TO GET WEIRD.

We stopped briefly at the Corn Palace just to say that we did it and then made our way to the Badlands National Park… even though it was closed. Here is where things got a bit interesting. My dad slowed down when we came up to the entrance and realized there was not a single person around. With the rangers all off work we decided to take our chances and my dad drove over the cones and into the park. We hadn’t come all this way for nothing.

We pulled off at a parking lot that was coned off and my dad and I started snapping a few pictures. I snapped a photo of myself giving a thumbs up next to the “this national park service is closed” sign and said it would be funny if my dad threw a cone and mom took a photograph. My dad started laughing and we took a few action shots of him throwing the cone until we got the perfect picture with the cone in the air above his head.

MY DAD THINKS HE IS A CELEBRITY.

My mom and I posted a photo on Facebook and I captioned it “‘This national park service is closed. Oh yeah? You and what government workers are going to stop me?'”. A family joke meant to be shared between us and friends would soon be plastered all over Facebook and we had no idea.

First, someone made a meme out of my caption and the photograph. Then, the meme was posted on twitter and Fox News was tagged in the photo. By the time we reached California someone from Fox News had tweeted it, put it on Facebook, and wrote a blog post about it. Over 100,000 likes and shares later, my mom’s phone had imploded from constant messages, likes, and shares. The entire time we were in Los Angeles my dad kept talking about ‘getting an agent’ and saying he was being ‘recognized’ everywhere to make my mom and I laugh.

I am not even joking with you when I say how serious it is that you pay attention to what you put on the internet because one embarrassing photograph could very well be EVERYWHERE within 24 hours. One thing most people don’t even consider when they think about people in the spot light, is that you receive a massive amount of hate mail. People who have never met you have serious personal opinions about you. If this should ever happen to you, the best thing to do is to not read any of it. The negativity seriously isn’t worth any of your time at all. Don’t waste your energy and give in to angry people sitting behind a computer.

If you think I was joking about any or all of this story I am not because here is a direct link to the twitchy site written by a Fox News journalist who shared everything on her Facebook page.

Halifax

Halifax, Escalators & Fog

 

Halifax

 

I’ve learned a lot of things while traveling with my parents. Conversely, I’ve also learned a lot of what NOT to do when traveling. One of my favorite stories regarding my parents is one starring my mother. My mother, Noelle, is a gorgeous dark haired woman who is ALWAYS put together. I don’t think she has ever left the house without a full face of makeup or a complete set of jewelry in her entire life. On the other hand, I frequently leave the house without even showering and still wearing the same clothes I wore to bed. I suspect the fact that my mom forced me to wear make up every day to school made me rebel as soon as I went to college.

Naturally, my mom packs three bags just for herself when we would go on long trips. I remember one instance particularly well. We were packing for a cruise to Canada  that would leave out of New York. Growing up in New Jersey, the drive up was not all that far and we had been to the city many, many times. Most of my trips with my parents consisted of going towards the equator, not away from it. My dad spent some time living in Florida as a teenager and I think the fact that he still considers that year, “the best year of his life” influenced every single one of our vacations to go south.

I was actually really surprised that we were going to Canada. I had never thought in a million years we would take a cruise into colder weather I didn’t even know those existed. We boarded the boat and like every other vacation we all argued. In hindsight, this was the worst vacation we ever took together, but there were still some highlights so I will showcase those first.

mist, fog, and more fog.

We arrived in the port in Halifax and were able to see what was a pretty close picture of what my grandfather would have seen 50 years prior stopping in the same port as he came to America from Italy. I imagined him peeking through a door for only a minute to look outside. It would be cold and snowing so he’d quickly shut the door and go back inside the ship.

I remember I stood on the deck and looked out at the large white building with hundreds of windows at the port. I tried to take in everything around me and I wondered if this was the same exact spot my grandfather stood and looked out at Halifax. There were tents set up with vendors and a museum with thousands of photos of ships that had pulled into the Canadian port.

My dad looked through mounted black and white photos looking for one that looked familiar. He stopped when he found a black and white photo of the exact ship in the Halifax port that my grandfather took to America. I was amazed that there was actually a photo of the ship, the M.S. Vulcania. It looked so incredibly old to me. I tried to picture my grandfather as a young boy with his sister trying to navigate the narrow halls. He was hopeful of the future and had no idea how successful he would be all because he made that step and left his home and everything he knew behind him.

It was really foggy for the remainder of our trip and of course it wouldn’t be a “Bruno family vacation” without a good old fashioned shake up. My sister spent 90% of the entire cruise crying in her bedroom over her boyfriend who she had just broken up with. My sister was hysterical for almost the entire trip. My mom was understanding and my dad was livid. Mainly because the amount of money that the cell phone bill was about to come out to with all the long distance phone calls was astronomical.

I can’t really blame him for being pissed off. So the majority of the time I spent wandering the ship in more or less darkness from all the fog. I remember texting and eating a lot because there was’t much to do. It was kind of cold so there was no way we could swim and I was only 17 years old so I couldn’t drink. That left very little to occupy my time.

that one time i disobeyed a security guard and almost got tazed.

My fondest memory from this trip came as a surprise to me. Like I said previously, my mom packs multiple suitcases when we go on vacation. One other thing you should know about her is that she also has a completely irrational fear of escalators. I’m not quite sure what it stems from because I never asked her, but for what ever reason it’s there. We were going down the escalator into customs my entire family in a single file line. First my dad with his bag, my sister with hers, me with mine, and in the back was my mom with 2 rolling suitcases and a bathroom bag. I didn’t realize until we got to the bottom of the escalator that my mom had not followed us.

I took a step back and saw her standing at the top rustling with her bags, crying, and panicking. She had no idea how to approach the escalator with all of the luggage. She was shuffling the bags around and then eventually I realized she needed help. There were two security guards, one that was at the top of the escalator and one that was at the bottom of a different escalator. You would assume that out of all the people standing in customs, SOMEONE would have helped her, but no. So, I looked at my dad and said “I’m going to help her.”

The security guard started yelling at me something about not being allowed to go back upstairs once you come down. Annoyed at the entire situation and the fact that they were yelling at me instead of just helping my mom so I didn’t have to help her myself pissed me off.

Anyone who knows me, knows I also have a short fuse. I assume it comes from my Italian family because I have zero patience when it comes to stupidity. If you are in a position to help someone, HELP THEM. So naturally 17 year old me yelled back at the female security guard who was yelling at me to “STOP OR I’LL TAZE YOU”.  I could feel the blood rush to my face and my ears started ringing.

“I AM GOING BACK UP THESE STAIRS TO HELP MY MOTHER. I WOULDN’T HAVE TO IF YOU WOULD HELP HER YOURSELF, BUT AS WE CAN SEE, YOU AREN’T DOING SHIT.” It just burst out and I couldn’t stop it.

I ran up the stairs and the security guard started to move towards me then, she looked over at my mom, then back at me, and stared in disbelief as I completely ignored her. Grabbing both of my mom’s rolling suitcases I ushered my mother onto the escalator behind me. She followed me down the escalator and we continued into customs. I don’t think she ever thanked me, but I also think she was too embarrassed to think straight at the moment so I understand. It was unspoken. I was pissed off for the rest of the trip home from New York, but I guess it could have been worse.

That security guard could have actually tazed me.

Tricks for Cheap Flights

If travel was that easy, everyone would do it. Right? One of the biggest barriers for those who want to travel is the outrageous price of plane tickets. Everyone who travels has had to deal with it at one time or another, and it sucks. I will let you in on the tricks for cheap flights you can use so you don’t have to break the bank. There are 5 important tricks that will change the way you shop for airline tickets.

Tricks for Cheap Flights

Always look in multiple places.

You should ALWAYS look on as many sites as you can. First, try typing “flights from ____ to ____” in your google search bar. Google usually does a pretty good job of searching all of the available sites and airlines. My second go to is Skyscanner. Skyscanner is a website that helps you search for flights at the best price out there and has an easy option to search for one-way flights which brings me to my next trick. It also has a super easy to use app that I love.

book your flights one-way.

One trick for cheap flights is to book your plane tickets one-way. This isn’t always successful, but when you book your trip one-way you can sometimes get deals. Plus, you can book one plane ticket and book the other one at a later date when prices come down a little.

do your research.

Look up the best and worst times of the year to visit where you are going. The closest you are to the tourist season, the higher the prices will be. In the summer time prices tend to skyrocket basically everywhere. Try to avoid holiday weekends, weekends in general, and tourist season.

Be flexible.

Try not to carve out the dates you want or even where you want to go. Chances are if  you travel a lot you have a very long list of places you want to see. Instead of putting all your eggs in one basket, pick a month you want to travel and compare prices. Once you compare the prices for all of the possible destinations within that time, then you can pick a date and place to go. If you pick the week before checking out prices, you will almost always be paying more than you want to.

tuesday, tuesday, tuesday.

The best day of the week to travel, and for the lowest possible prices you should depart on a Tuesday, and return on a Tuesday. For reasons unknown to me, choosing flights on Tuesdays are always more affordable. One of the worst days to travel is on a Friday or a Sunday, so try to avoid those days at all cost.

Of course, there are so many tips and tricks and places to read up on the tricks of the trade. One of my favorite blogs with cost saving  tips for airlines is Scott’s Cheap Flights and Nomadic Matt.

Need help packing your carry on? Click here.
Traveling with pets for the first time? See here.

5 Places that Serve Thanksgiving Dinner

Being on the road all the time and being away from home can be extremely hard during the holidays. My husband and I moved away from all of our family in New Jersey two years ago and Thanksgiving has become a weird day for us. One thing I wish I knew before now was where I can get a great thanksgiving meal on thanksgiving on the go. Here is a list of places that serve Thanksgiving dinner.

Places that serve thanksgiving dinner

bob evan’s

Bob Evan’s is well known as one of the best places that serve Thanksgiving dinner. This chain is found mainly in the north east, parts of Florida and parts of the midwest. However, they are highly rated and recommended for Thanksgiving dinner. Order the farmhouse feast and you will enjoy turkey, gravy, mash potatoes, green beans, cranberry, rolls, pie and more! You can either dine in or take out! They can cater large groups and pick it up hot or cold if you place your order ahead of time on their website.

Boston Market

Boston Market gives Bob Evans a run for their money with their Thanksgiving dinner option. Like Bob Evan’s you can pick up or dine in, but you can also have it delivered to your home at select locations. Their menu is very close to all other chain restaurant menus and I urge you to compare. Prices, quantity, and choices will vary depending upon location, but Boston Market gives a great selection with yummy quality.

Denny’s

Denny’s does not serve a completely traditional Thanksgiving dinner, but it’s not bad. Plus, there are plenty of Denny’s accessible all over the country. They have a featured seasonal menu that is updated here. Check it out, there are holiday breakfasts, dinners, and desserts to choose from including pecan or pumpkin pies.

Perkins

Of all the places that serve Thanksgiving Dinner, Perkins is probably the least advertised. This is mainly due to the fact that not all locations are open on Thanksgiving. Some however, are and their menu in past years isn’t all that terrible. Definitely check with the Perkins you plan on spending your Thanksgiving at what their hours and menu will be that day. Trip Advisor however has rated them pretty highly for their Thanksgiving dinner so it might just be worth it. Unfortunately, there is no menu available on their website to check out what they will be serving this year.

Cracker Barrel

Of all the places that serve Thanksgiving dinner this is one of our favorites. With Cracker Barrels all across the country and accessible to major highways this is one of the best. Cracker Barrel is already known for their “just like mom made” comfort foods. If you are looking for a good sit down Thanksgiving dinner than this is the place. They offer all the Thanksgiving favorites so you don’t feel like you missed out. Don’t worry, the plates are large so you won’t leave hungry, although you might be a little bit tired from all the tryptophan in the turkey! Like most other places offering Thanksgiving dinner,  you can also order to pick up hot or cold!

Is there a chain restaurant you enjoy for Thanksgiving, or have your tried any of these? Leave your recommendations below!
Want some road trip advice? Check out this article about essential items you’ll need

Suck It Up And Bike Your Volcano.

 step out of your comfort zone.

I could feel the adrenaline pulsing through my veins as I stood at the entrance to the Haleakala national park and tried not to think about the descent down the side of the volcano. The ascent was easy mainly because it was before the sunrise and I couldn’t see just how high we really were. Post sunrise, you could tell we were at least 8,000 feet above sea level. My knees buckled as they called my number and handed me my old rickety bike with worn out brakes. “I’m suppose to ride this all the way down!? You have got to be joking,” I thought to myself. 

Up until the last 3 years of my life I didn’t do anything outside of my comfort zone. I have severe and crippling anxiety at times and my whole life I played it “safe”. Something changed when I turned twenty four years old. I did everything my parents had told me to do my entire life. I never paved the way for myself and I didn’t really have to fight for anything on my own ever. On my 24th birthday I realized I felt kind of cheated out of that experience in life. How can you truly be successful if you didn’t fight for what you want? When my now husband asked me to move one thousand miles away I instantly knew I had to say yes. So I did.

Just give in.

“LET’S GO!” Our guide screamed.  I wanted to cry and scream and laugh all at the same time. I was all the way in the back, that meant I would have to keep up with everyone else. Part of me wanted to throw my hand up and jump in the van for the ride down. The other part of me was screaming to just let go and enjoy the ride. One by one the bikes started to move and I had to make a decision, give up or give in. So I thought of my spin instructor’s favorite tag line “Don’t give up, give in”. I strapped on my helmet, took my feet off the ground and gave in.

Deciding to move a thousand miles away from my family and friends was hard. I had already committed to going, but I was still silently looking for an out. Instead of letting myself be upset, I thought about my life. I was trying to figure out who I really was, and in order to do that you need to push yourself. I had Brandon as an amazing support system and my family would still be just a phone call away. This would be my chance to make it on my own. I had to let go of my fear and push my boundaries.

there is nothing more satisfying than facing your fears.

Once we got going, I realized all the anxiety and fear of biking Haleakala was in my head. The scariest part of the entire ride, was everything I was telling myself leading up to it. The ride itself was relaxing, beautiful, AMAZING, and awe-inspiring. We rode through a lavender farm, a pine forest, sugar cane fields, and towns. Ending the route with an awesome view of the beach and pacific ocean. In a total of 6 hours I had froze my butt off at over 10,000 feet, watched the sun rise from above a volcanic crater, biked down about 24 miles of volcano, and stood on the beach. If you want to talk about exhilarating, THAT is exhilarating. 

Moving to Wisconsin and away from everything I knew and loved was one of the best things I have ever done. I still am searching to find out who I truly am. I’m constantly growing as a person and I believe travel is one of the best ways to do that. There were 3 major turning points in my life that have made me who I am today. The first, was a cross country road trip with my parents in 2013. The second, was the day I met my husband (ultimately  leading to the day I chose to marry him and move 1,000 miles away). The third, was the day I chose to face my fears and bike down a volcano on a bike that was about 25 years old and falling apart.

do not let your fear hold you back.

If there is something you want, do not let the fear of anything hold you back. Fear is the opposite of love. Love makes your life better, fear will keep you from doing the things you love. Give yourself enough credit to know that you will come out on top, and fear is only an emotion. Face your fears. Fear cannot hurt you, so find your volcano and bike the hell out of it.

face your fearsface your fear

[The company we used for our tour we found through Viator, the price was fair and the service was fantastic. We had a great time with our guides and enjoyed every minute of our trip. We enjoyed coffee in a small ‘cowboy’ town about halfway down the volcano. Everyone was really nice and our instructors seemed to be having a great time too. We definitely recommend using Mountain Riders if you decide to book.If you have a little more experience riding, you can also solo ride the same route. Experienced biker? Try biking UP the volcano and do the Cycle to the Sun ride.]

My Ultimate Travel Bucketlist

Everyone should have a bucket list. One of the most important things to do daily is to set goals for yourself. Setting goals both longterm and short term is one of the most effective ways to achieve them. Write them down, put them on your fridge, and continually add to it. My list always gets longer, but I have narrowed my list down to a few big travel goals I want to share. Feel free to share your own travel goals in the comments section.

  • Visit all 50 states in the United States
  • Hike the grand canyon with Brandon
  • Skii in Colorado
  • See the northern lights
  • Hike Reykjavik in Iceland
  • See all 7 new wonders of the world
  • Hike to Machu Picchu
  • Drive the entire Pacific Coastal Highway
  • Visit the Mayan Ruins
  • Paraglide in Pokhara, Nepal
  • Visit Wat Mahathat Ayutthaya in Thailand (The tree buddha)
  • Backpack the Great Wall of China
  • Take an African Safari
  • Visit New Orleans for Mardi Gras
  • See my grandfather’s hometown of Cerva, Italy
  • See the Amafi Coast
  • Gondola Ride through Venice
  • Climb to the top of the eiffel tower.
  • Watch the sunset on the top of l’arc de triomphe 
  • See the Mona Lisa in the Louvre
  • enjoy macaroons from Laduree Bonaparte in Paris
  • Hike the Dom in Switzerland
  • Complete a First Cliff Walk over Grindelwald in Switzerland
  • Visit Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany
  • See the Cliffs of Moher
  • Travel to London, England
  • Hike Rotorua and Fiordland National Park in New Zealand
  • Spend New Years Eve in Sydney, Australia
  • Hike Lynn Peak, St Mark’s Summit, and Norman Falls in Vancouver, BC

The above list is a short more consolidated one of my original. Please feel free to add your travel bucket list items in the comments!

Our Non-Stop Honeymoon in Kauai

Excited for the second leg of our honeymoon and exhausted at the same time, Brandon and I stepped off the plane in Kauai. I had been so busy with wedding planning that I honestly didn’t even look up what to do hehoneymoon in kauaire. I knew I had booked excursions for various days of the trip, but I wasn’t sure where they were. Luckily, Brandon was a little less occupied with the wedding than I was and he looked into the best things to do for our honeymoon in Kauai.

One thing I will say about Kauai is that we learned the power goes out quite frequently. When we arrived, the entire island was in an outage. There was no way to purchase anything and everyone was on hold. In other words, if you are traveling here, make sure you have cash on you at all times. Neither Brandon or myself drink very much, so we tend to explore and stay active often.

beautiful sights to see

Honeymoon in KauaiThere was so much to see and do on this island even though it is the smallest Hawaiian island. We booked most of our excursions online through Viator which is a pretty cool and easy website to use. We saw multiple state parks, we hiked and even took a helicopter ride. If you do any excursions at all in Kauai, the best one to do is to take a helicopter. Kauai contains some of the wettest places on the entire earth, so by mid morning clouds tend to cover the top of the island. Make sure that if you book a helicopter tour it is one of the first ones to leave. You might be really tired, but the views are worth it. We used Island Helicopter tours and they were really great and accommodating.

The helicopter tours are breathtaking. You will definitely want to bring a good camera and brace yourself for one of the most thrilling views of your life. The tours are one of the only ways to see the Napali coast, other options include; sunset cruises, hiking, and fishing boats. There are no roads that go all the way around the island so you will need to hike from Hanalei.

great food to eat

One of our favorite places to eat was Little Fish in Poipu. We stayed at an amazingly beautiful resort; Kiahuna Plantation which happens to be across the street. At Little Fish, you can order ahead of time online and then pick it up if you have the app. The acai bowls and the coffee shakes were healthy, delicious and filling. We were in absolute heaven and enjoyed many a morning breakfast here.

honeymoon in kauai

Kona Coffee is another really awesome place we enjoyed on our trip to Kauai. Since we don’t drink a lot of alcohol we thoroughly enjoyed the coffee tasting on the deck. They have a store with really cool souvenirs and coffee to take home and you can order food, drinks, or ice-cream. The coffee brewery also offers tours of the plantation and the history of Kona Coffee. The last tour usually leaves around 4pm during the week so make sure you get there early.

 

what the heck happened here?

Like I said, my husband and I do not drink very often and so it does not take much to get us drunk. The first day we arrived in Kauai we decided to check out the resort restaurant which was rated very highly. The food and drinks were amazing. However, things started to go downhill when I decided “one drink won’t hurt right?”. Well, one drink turned into 3 strong drinks off the cocktail menu because our server completely forgot to put our food and appetizers in. We waited for over 2 hours for our food watching people come and go all around us. Instead of the manager comping a dessert or a drink or anything on our receipt he stood 5 feet from our table and stared at us. He never said a word, just stared. Needless to say we never went back. I worked many jobs in restaurants for over 8 years and never had I ever been treated that way. Regardless of how good the food was. We would recommend take out over that experience. The food was great, but completely overpriced and the service was terrible. No thank you.

exploring the hidden falls

Honeymoon in KauaiOn one of our last days in paradise, we had an excursion to Wailua River and secret falls. We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into, but Duke’s Kayak was a great guide. The hiking portion was beautiful and the falls were amazing to see. If you go with a tour guide, you will most likely be there with many other groups and it can get crowded. Check it out later in the day if  you are knowledgeable of the area and there are a lot less people around. Be careful though, because you can get lost easily while kayaking.

Our tour guide had a small dog who kayaked and hiked with us the entire day. He kept us entertained and made sure the group stayed together. There are really awesome views and cool historical information shared about Hurricane Iniki and the damage on the island. Like everywhere else on the island, there are roosters and chickens everywhere. Brandon and I enjoyed our lunch by the waterfall and then jumped in the water. One thing we should have been aware of was the amount of large unforeseen boulders under the water. Brandon and I both banged ourselves up pretty good. Luckily, no blood just large bruises, but they still hurt. We were so glad we invested in waterproof Keens for this hike.

waimea canyon

Honeymoon in Kauai

One of the most beautiful views on the entire island are of Waimea Canyon. Brandon and I took the long drive up to the top of the national park one early morning and were one of the first people there. Nicknamed the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, Waimea canyon is a popular attraction in Kauai. There is access to hiking trails along the way, but for the sake of time we chose to drive to a look out point and just take in the view. We bought fresh fruit and banana bread from the fruit stand nearby and tried to take in the view. Our photos do not do it any justice. The canyon is gorgeous and definitely comparable to the grand canyon. On a future trip we would definitely hike this awesome attraction, no matter how difficult it may be.

Polihale State Park

Honeymoon in KauaiBrandon decided on our second to last day of our honeymoon in Kauai that he wanted to take me to the Polihale State Park. I had no idea what it was and when we arrived I was even more skeptical. We drove down atleast a 5 mile dirt road to get into the state park and on the beach. The road was note graded and it was extremely rocky. We did this in a ford mustang convertible so it was a little risky for us, but it was totally worth it. The sand is extremely hot (like all other beach in the dead of summer) and the beach is large so you’ll have to run to the water. Although we didn’t do it, you can also camp here by the beach or under the trees further off shore.

There is a beautiful view of the start of the Napali Coast Park. We chose to sit on the beach for a few hours watching the Navy Battleship off the coast. A lot of people were sunbathing on the beach in their bathing suits. The park was not crowded at all and the beach was huge, this place is high on the recommendation list if you have a Jeep. Or if you don’t have a Jeep and you just wing it like us.

pizza in lihue

To our surprise we found a New York pizza counter in Lihue called Pietro’s. We were so overjoyed it was insane. Not only was the pizza actually affordable, but it was just like home for us. We can never find great pizza out in the midwest and deep dish is too greasy and messy. It’s always a pleasure to find good tasting regular crust pizza we can fold in half and enjoy. We stopped at the pizza place just before we head over to the airport in Lihue for our connecting flight to Arizona. We sat outside and in the shade enjoying our slices with a slight breeze. Pietro’s is definitely on our list of need to visit places if you want authentic New York pizza.

lihue airport

We didn’t quite get the memo that the first American Airlines flight out of Lihue was ours. When we arrived at the airport we returned our rental car and walked over to the ticket counter. It was completely empty and the lights were off. It was 4pm. We thought we would get there early, go through ticketing and security, eat and then catch our flight. Unfortunately, we were not able to go through security until 7:15pm. We sat out front of the airport counters for three hours before we could check our bags. Since we had to check out of our condo so early in the morning we had nowhere to go. The rental car was sent back to the rental place so we couldn’t leave and we were stranded. It was a rookie mistake. ALWAYS check your airline’s schedule before you head over to the airport. You might want to have dinner in the city.

Visiting Hawaii soon? Here are some tips we have for saving money.
Leave a comment below of your honeymoon or vacation experiences on Kauai!

5 Ways to Save Money for Travel

It can be really hard to save money when we all have so many things we need to pay for. Keeping  a fund going so that you can see and do everything you plan takes a whole lot of sacrifice. I have compiled a list of the best ways to save money for traveling that Brandon and I practice everyday. You will ideally need to prioritize your life and depending on your financial situation you may need to cut back on material things. Here are a few of my tips and advice to help you, so you can get out there and start exploring.

1. open up a separate bank account

Open up a new bank account to help you save money. Here are a few reasons why I recommend this. For one, you will have a card especially for your travel money so you can still save separately for your family or future. You can easily differentiate how much you have to spend on your next getaway. It is painful to watch your savings drop a couple thousand every few months from all your hard work. This can discourage you, but travel is an investment in your life and your wellbeing. You should not feel this way. Creating a separate account that you put a set amount of money in weekly or monthly helps ease that. As a piggy back to this recommendation, open up a credit card and hotel rewards card so you can receive miles and free rooms.

2. try 365 days of saving

Pick out a large jar to start saving with. Put the jar in a kitchen cabinet or in your closet or nightstand and in view so you know it is there. Starting on January 1st (or whatever start date you choose) put in one dollar. On week 2 put in 2 dollars. You can continue to increase this until you reach the last day of 52 weeks. If you can not afford to start at 1 dollar, try starting with just a penny and increase it from there (weekly). To add to this, you can have a weekly board game night where the loser has to put a dollar into the jar. If anyone in the house swears than you can also make them put a quarter or a dollar into the jar. You can have fun with this and come up with your own games.

3. eat out less

You can save loads of money by cooking at home. Brandon and I love to go out because we both don’t really want to cook, but when we need to save money that’s the first to go. We usually decide to go out once a week and the rest of the time we have to make something at home. We save over $300 dollars every other week by doing this. Believe it or not, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and canned soup go a really long way if you don’t want to really cook.

4. cut out unnecessary buys

Instead of buying a new dishwasher, try fixing whatever you already have. American no longer makes long term investments in what they buy. The quickest fix is to throw out what is broken and buy it new. Try to fix it yourself first, youtube is amazing and you’ll be surprised at what you can do yourself. If you can not fix whatever it is yourself, then try to hire someone. Usually whoever you are hiring is going to be cheaper than buying an entire new dishwasher, and if it isn’t? Buy the dishwasher, but shop around first.

5. make your money go a long way

When you decide on a destination and you have the money you want to spend ready, be smart. Shop around using different sites like cheap-O air, expedia, travelovity, hotels.com and more. Some of their prices will be relatively equal, but others will be quite different. Also, keep in mind when you are booking that if you book your hotel or airline between 3 days-24 hours of the flight, it is MUCH cheaper. If you can wing it, the best thing to do is just go to the airport and book your flight the day of. Check out what is leaving and go from there. If you are willing to stay in hostels they are pretty cheap, couch surfing or airbnb is also pretty affordable.

Do you have your own Money Saving tips? Comment yours below!
Want to check out my money saving tips for hawaii? see here.

Tricks to Help Pass the Time on Long Road Trips

I love taking long car rides to nowhere, but it can be really dull if you are doing a lot of your traveling without being able to stop anywhere along the way. Here are a couple tricks to help pass the time on long road trips. Check out some road trip essentials I can’t go without here.

play a game

My parents use to always play games with me in the car growing up and we frequently would play “I Spy” which is a fun one for the car as well. One game that my sister and I were particularly fond of was the alphabet game. If you don’t know what I’m talking about it is really simple. You start at the top of the alphabet and try to find signs, billboards, stores, etc. that start with that letter. Once you find a word beginning with ‘A’ everyone needs to move on to the next letter and you cannot go backwards. The game isn’t over until your car finds a word that starts with every single letter of the alphabet. Then you just start over!

If this game isn’t a good enough distraction, there are also travel size games like Guess Who you can bring with you on the trip if you check out Toys-R-Us or a book store.

sing-a-long

I like to make playlists in my car for long road trips (although my husband is not fond of my taste in music, sometimes he plays along). Try to make playlists with popular songs that everyone will know. An example of a popular song might be “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey or “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen. If you can come up with a really long playlist you can probably kill two or three hours just singing your favorite lyrics.

sleep

This is my husband’s favorite thing to do on long care rides (although it isn’t really safe). If I drive he is probably popping a Z-quil and sleeping for the majority of the ride. For some people this isn’t an option, personally I get really nauseous when I try to sleep in a car but if it works for you then it is a great option. You can literally skip a few hours and it’ll feel like you didn’t miss a thing.

read

Some people love to read in the car on long road trips and can read entire novels while on the road. I have some trouble doing this, but I know a lot of people that find it very relaxing. You are awake and alert incase there is something cool to see on the side of the road, like a quirky attraction but you can also tune a lot of things out.

brainstorm/think about your goals

If you are an artist or have a lot of ideas like me, I do a lot of thinking in the car. I can brainstorm post ideas for hours without feeling bored. I usually bring a journal or something with me to help me organize my thoughts and also to jot down any unique ideas I can come up with. I’ll also journal a lot of our trips to keep things fresh in my head incase I want to write about it down the road. This is also a great time while you have a journal out to think about your goals. Write down some short-term goals, long-term goals, and life-time goals. The best way to achieve your dream is to put it in writing.

 

Have any other good distractions? Comment some of your tricks for passing the time below.