Entries Tagged as 'Adventures'

air travel with pets: tips and tricks

Posted on: Friday, November 17, 2017

Today, we’re heading to LA and Ohio for a total of three weeks! Jack will be joining, so this will be his 8th, 9th and 10th flights of the year. 🐶 ✈️’ Ive had a few people ask me about tips for traveling with a pet, so thought I would share some tips and tricks for airline pet travel!

I’m definitely no expert on this topic, and only know what I know through personal experience and recommendations from friends. I do want to preface this post with two things – every airline has their own policies and procedures for pet travel so make sure you research beforehand. Here’s a great resource linking to different airline sites and their pet policies. Second, this post just covers traveling with a small pet in the airline cabin, since that’s what my experience entails. I don’t have any experience with traveling with pets as cargo, and have heard some horror stories, so won’t be going into that aspect of pet travel for larger animals.

Most airlines only allow small dogs (under 20-25 pounds) and cats to fly in the cabin. Jack is about 13 pounds, so there’s no issue size-wise for him when traveling. If your dog is on the cusp size-wise, I would do extra research on your airline carrier to make sure you don’t run into any last-minute issues when you arrive at the airport.

BEFORE YOU TRAVEL:

Most importantly, if you’re planning to travel with a small pet, you need to secure their spot on the plane. After booking a flight, call your airline immediately and let them know you’re carrying on a pet with you. If you’re traveling with a pet, I would recommend booking your flight as soon as possible, since airlines have a max amount of animals they will allow to travel on each flight. For example, Southwest only allows six pets at a time, outside of emotional support and service animals. You could also call the airline in advance of buying your own (human) ticket to make sure they have room for a dog as a carry-on. You’ll have to pay a Pet Fee ($95 on Southwest, $125 on Delta, United and American). If you are traveling with an emotional support animal or service animal, you still need to call the airline in advance and let them know you’re bringing a pet. The only difference is that you don’t pay the Pet Fee and the pet isn’t required to stay in a carrier during the flight (although, it’s way easier to still keep them in there, in my opinion).

WHAT TO PACK/BRING FOR PLANE:

An airline-approved pet carrier – we have the Sleepypod Air Carrier, which definitely isn’t the cheapest option out there, but has worked really well for Jack. There’s a thick, padded shoulder strap for easy carrying, but my favorite feature is that we can slide Jack’s carrier over the top of our suitcase and securely/easily get from Point A to Point B in the airport. The carrier also expands, so once you’re in the air, you can open the side pockets of the carrier so your pet has the maximum amount of space while traveling. And, you can also use this pet carrier as an on-the-go pet bed or car seat for your cat or dog. The carrier is also plush inside so it’s like a little luxurious palace for your pet while traveling. 👑

Leash – (this is an obvious one?)

A high-value treat or toy – we always “surprise” Jack with a special treat or toy to chew on for a flight. This is positive reinforcement that being in the pet carrier and traveling = good things for him. Highly recommend doing this!

Letter from doctor – this only applies if you have an Emotional Support Animal, but super important to not forget to bring with you! Make sure your letter complies with exactly what the airline requires. It’s worth doing specific research on this before your flight to ensure you don’t run into any issues when checking in your pet at the airport.

Potty pads – we don’t do this because Jack can hold it and we haven’t flown more than 5 hours (or 7ish hours of all-up travel time), but I know a lot of people bring these in case their pet needs to relieve himself on the plane.

Pet anxiety/stress relief remedies –  we’ve tried this natural Rescue Remedy before (just drop into water) but Jack didn’t like it. But, some people swear by this stuff and says it really helps their pet stay calm in the new travel environment.

Non-plane stuff to pack for a trip – food/water bowls (up to you if you want to include these in the carrier for eating and drinking during flight), enough food for the duration of your trip (or, we often just buy a small bag of food at our destination to avoid traveling with it), extra treats and toys, potty bags.

DAY OF TRAVEL:

Limit pets food/water intake that day – We’ll pull Jack’s food and water about 4-5 hours before the flight time.

Exercise pet before flight – If you have a super active pet, I highly recommend going to the park the day before or morning of your flight for a big play sesh. It’s much easier to travel with Jack when he’s tired.

WHEN YOU ARRIVE AT THE AIRPORT:

Potty time (outside) – Before going inside, find the pet relief area at the airport or walk around so your pet can go to the bathroom (one last time 🙏🏻)

Check In – When you get inside, go to the ticket counter and check in your pet. Again, if you have a service or emotional support animal, you have to also check them in at the ticket counter. Bring appropriate paperwork from a medical professional for service / emotional support animals.

Getting through security – Take pet out of carrier at security, take off leash/tags/collar and put both on the security conveyer belt. Hold or walk with your pet through (you can ask the security people what they prefer – it’s always been hold for us). If you have any pet food in your bag/carrier, I would recommend taking out of the bag/carrier. We’ve had secondary screenings of dog food several times, so it’s helpful when it’s out of the bag already or at the top of your suitcase instead of buried at the bottom.

ON THE PLANE:

Pet stays in carrier – Your pet needs to stay in its designated carrier throughout the flight. Again, the exception here is for service and emotional support animals who can just sit on the floor or on your lap (size depending).

Leave your pet alone – Minimize “checking in” on your pet – we’ve found that checking in on Jack and giving him attention simply distracts him from sleeping or just chilling in his carrier. Just let them chill and nap in there! ✌🏼

Food/Water – depending on how long your flight is, give your pet some water or ice an hour or so before landing. We’ve done this on our 4-5 hour flights and usually, he prefers eating ice over drinking water out of a bowl while traveling.

WHEN YOU LAND:

Go outside right away (duh) – especially if it’s a long flight, I always try to hustle to make sure Jack can relieve himself right away. If you are waiting for checked bags, take your pet outside first, and then come back into the airport to grb your bags.

Okay! So those are my tips and tricks for air travel with a little furry family member! As mentioned earlier, the rules and policies are a bit different when traveling with an emotional support animal or service animal. My friend Davida wrote a great post HERE about emotional support animals – what they are, how to get a pet registered, etc.

If you’ve traveled with a pet before, would love to know what other tips you have to share, in case I missed anything. Thanks for reading and safe travels! ✈️

travel adventures: italy (rome, positano & capri)

Posted on: Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Hi! Two months later…I’m finally sharing more photos from our trip to Europe! I shared a blog post about the first half of our trip, spent in Greece, HERE. Today, I’m going to share about the second half, where we visited Italy – Rome and the Amalfi Coast, specifically! I’ve broken down the post based on the three different places we visited and stayed with info about what we did and photos from each spot below. Honestly, this post is REALLY long and I could have broken into three different posts, but decided to just bundle into one. As always, thanks for reading! xx

ROME:

We were in Rome for around 36 hours, getting in on Friday evening and leaving Sunday morning. We stayed close to the train station, since we were coming via train from airport Friday and leaving via train on Sunday and wanted to be close by. Most of Friday evening and Saturday were spent just wandering around to different neighborhoods and walking a TON. Some highlights from our time in Rome:

visiting the Spanish steps (although tourist-y) // getting croissants at Antrico Forno Roscioli (this family is known for their bread and baked goods) // wandering the Campo de’ Fiori market // lunch at a cute cafe called SOFIA, where we had buttery focaccia bread and a yummy tomato and bacon pasta // having wine at Ai Tre Scalini, an adorable family-owned tiny wine bar, right across the alleyway from Emma // dinner at Emma (where we had THE best, paper thin pizza – it was magical and so delicious. make a res! // rooftop views at Hotel Campo De’ Fiori (I would stay at this hotel if I came back to Rome, just for the incredible, plant-filled rooftop and views) // exploring the Traveste neighborhood (bop into the gorgeous Basilica de Maria while you’re there) // gelato (twice in 36 hours) at Gelateria Romana  // having a Lizzie McGuire moment at the Trevi Fountain

 

CAPRI:

Capri was one of the most magical places I’ve ever been to in my entire life. ✨ It was truly so, so beautiful and I’m really glad we went! The coastline of Capri reminded me a lot of Northern California – areas like Big Sur and Mendocino. We took the train from Rome to Naples and then took a ferry from Naples to Capri. From the ferry, you take the funicular (train that goes up a mountain) to get to the main part of town. From there, we walked through the tiny cobblestone streets/alleys to our bed and breakfast. Cars don’t fit through the narrow streets outside of the main road – so walking or paying for a cart service to bring you to your destination.

We stayed in Capri for only one night and while there isn’t a *ton* to do in Capri itself, I could have stayed for longer and just lounged and wandered around the adorable island. Capri is also very expensive, so keeping the trip shorter can help save $$ 😉 .  You can also take a day trip to Capri from Positano or other spots along the Amalfi coast – which is a great and inexpensive way to check out the island without staying overnight.

Two highlights from Capri (outside of the truly incredible views and just general adorableness everywhere): visiting the Gardens of Augustus to overlook Via Krupp, which is a historic switchback path down to the coast. You pay a euro to visit the gardens and wander around. The Via Krupp path itself was closed when we visited and I was in no shape to do *that much* hiking anyway 🙃. Another favorite experience was hiking to the Arco Naturale, an incredible natural arc within the rocks – pictured below. We stopped for lunch along the pathway and E ended up hiking down to the water for more pretty views while I napped afterwards!

POSITANO:

Positano bites deep. It is a dream place that isn’t quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone. Its houses climb a hill so steep it would be a cliff except that stairs are cut in it. I believe that whereas most house foundations are vertical, in Positano they are horizontal. The small curving bay of unbelievably blue and green water laps gently on a beach of small pebbles. There is only one narrow street and it does not come down to the water. Everything else is stairs, some of them as steep as ladders. You do not walk to visit a friend, you either climb or slide.”  – John Steinbeck, 1953

This quote couldn’t be more true about Positano or the Amalfi Coast in general. I find myself thinking about the time we spent in Positano frequently – leisurely strolls through town, hours spent on the beach, soaking up the beautiful views at every turn. It’s such a stunning, picturesque and magical part of the world and photos truly don’t do it justice.

We were in Positano for five days and nights. We spent most of our days in Positano walking into town for a leisurely breakfast and wandered around town and then the rest of the day either doing a mini adventure (like the Path of the Gods hike) or spending hours at the beach reading, swimming and napping. In the evenings, we would hang out on our patio for sunset views and grab dinner at one of the great spots in town. A lot of people choose to do day trips when in Positano, visiting places like Priano, Sorrento and Amalfi. Since we had done so much travel and moving around up until this point in the trip, we decided to just stay put in Positano. 😊 More details on our favorite beaches and food spots below!

Beaches: Our favorite beach was Fornillo, since it was much more secluded and quiet. We went here almost every day and LOVED it. We did spent one afternoon at Spiaggia Grande, which is the main beach in town and where you see all the iconic umbrella photos of on Instagram! It just wasn’t as relaxing in my opinion, but definitely stunning. We also tried to go to Arienzo, which we’ve heard great things about, but it was closed because of the rain earlier in the week. This is the “300 steps beach” – a big walk down, but the beach is a lot more secluded than the main beach and apparently the beach club is super fun!

Food + dining highlights:

Da Vincenzo for dinner – one of the best in town. Super high quality food and they have an adorable shop nearby with ceramics and other local trinkets for sale. Make a res! //

La Tagliata  – one of the most fun dining experiences! You call ahead to make a reservation and the restaurant sends a shuttle to pick you up for dinner. They only do one seating each evening and there’s no menu. It’s 40 euros per person, which includes legitimately 10 courses of food and a bottle of wine per person. It’s like being at a family reunion – the grandmother of the family does all the cooking and when she came out of the kitchen, every stood up and clapped for her. Very unique and fun. //

Cappuccinos and pastries at Collina each morning.

Saraceno d’Oro  – delicious family spot where we had pizza! Not overly fancy, but super tasty and the workers were super friendly.

Il Fornillo – we went here on a night it was POURING outside and I had the best cacio e pepe (cheese and pepper) pasta of my life. Obsessed. Like Saraceno d’Oro, not fancy, but really good.

Casa e Bottega – we went here for breakfast twice and they have super local, healthy food like acai bowls, omelets, etc. Tons of gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan options. Everything was delicious and the restaurant itself is so cute. Pictured below!

Another dining highlight was our surprise anniversary dinner at Michelin-starred Zass in the San Pietro di Positano hotel. The dinner experience starts with drinks and snacks on their gorgeous patio. I had THE best mocktail of my life made with fresh squeezed/pressed strawberries, pineapple and oranges. After your patio drink and light bites, they bring you inside for your dinner. Fun fact – they give everyone a slice of pizza from their pizza oven as a pre-dinner appetizer! Super fun and just as delicious as all the other food we ordered.

Other recommendations from friends, but spots we didn’t get to visit: Next2 // Al Palazzo // Franco’s // the champagne bar in Le Sierenuse hotel (pictured below – we just didn’t get a chance to go to the bar!) // Da Afolfo // Max Restaurant

Whew! This was a long post! Thank you for reading and of course, if you have any questions about our time in Italy or specific recommendations, just reach out. 💛

travel adventures: greece!

Posted on: Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Excited to share some photos from our recent trip to Europe! First, I want to share about the first half of our trip to Greece! We were super excited about this part of the trip because 1) we were going with our good friends Luke and Renee who recently moved to Paris and 2) the majority of the trip would be on our own private sailboat visiting different Greek islands. 💙  SO DREAMY!

We took a red-eye from SF to Athens, with a layover in Munich. The long flight was fairly painless, especially since 1) they had good movie options and 2) we booked a row of two seats together instead of having a third person next to us. Way easier to sleep that way, in my opinion! We then took an Uber to our Airbnb in Athens (more about Athens at bottom of the post) where we stayed for the weekend before our sailing trip started on Sunday afternoon.

But, since the majority of our trip was spent on the water, that’s what the majority of this post is about, plus what I have photos to share of! Here’s more info about the sailing adventures.

We booked our trip via Incrediblue, which is like Airbnb for boats. I had no idea this was even a thing, but Eric and Luke did a ton of research (thanks guys 🙏🏻) and booked our sailboat. This is the boat we stayed on and it was just the four of us, plus our captain, a 60ish-year-old quirky guy named Dimitris (who spent a lot of time in his speedo working on evening out his summer tan 😂).

We went to three different cities on two different islands during our trip – all listed below and I have a breakdown of photos from each city below too.

Night 1: Lavrion (about an hour drive from Athens) – this is where all the Incrediblue trips begin and you spend your first night here getting acclimated to the boat, especially sleeping on the boat and seasickness.

Night 2: the town of Loutra on the Kythnos island – more below

Night 3: the town of Merichas on the Kythnos island – more below

Nights 4 and 5: Vourkari on the Kea island (our favorite!) – more below

Our typical day started with expresso (thanks, Dimitris!) and an easy breakfast like yogurt and granola on the boat. We would take off around 9-10am for our next destination, stopping at different coves to swim, lay out, nap, and just spend a few hours on the boat. We would do lunch on the boat, which was usually cheese, bread, tons of fresh fruit, olives, nuts, etc. – my type of eating!

We would arrive to the next town around 4-5pm to dock and explore the town, grab dinner and then hang out on the boat before bed. In town, we would grab provisions for the boat, like food and water for the next day.

The trip was slow and relaxing and amazing. I think I finished eight books during the trip and we played cards, water colored, journaled, and took leisurely afternoon naps every day. I’m really grateful that I felt great overall (was 20 weeks pregnant at the time) and didn’t feel sick throughout the trip, especially with the boat constantly rocking back and forth. 🙌🏼

Renee said it perfectly – that the trip was a good reminder that slowing down is good for our souls and how important it is to carry over some of the relaxation from the trip into our regular life. 

Greece was GORGEOUS and we really lucked out with amazing weather the entire trip. I really liked that we were able to explore smaller, less touristy islands and that we had an “insider’s look” of sorts at the Greek islands, thanks to Dimitris’ never-ending recommendations and “fun facts.” 🙃

A majority of these photos (the pretty non-iPhone ones) were all snapped by Renee and E snapped a few cool GoPro ones, so I can’t really take credit for any photos other than the subpar phone photos 🙃). Here’s the three different places we visited on our sailing trip!

LOUTRA (KYTHNOS): this was such a pretty town! And, the beach had hot springs so that was really cool and relaxing. We went to dinner at a super local place a little outside of the main town strip that our captain recommended to us. It had a great view of the water, right at sunset.

MERICHAS (KYTHNOS): this was our least favorite of the three cities, but it was still charming and quaint. We grabbed dinner at an Italian place (trying to take a break from our daily meal of mussels and Greek salads) and ended up getting like two types of pizzas, pastas, etc. SO FULL. Also, random, but there are cats everywhere on the islands. That was really weird and surprising to me!

VOURKARI (KEA): this was our favorite town by far, and we were super pumped we could stay for two nights. On the second day, we took the boat out and explored coves like usual, but then came back to this town to dock for the night since we liked it so much. There’s a few cute boutiques and we found cafe with good smooothies (and wifi!) and some good dinner and happy hour spots here.

As I mentioned, we only spent about 24 hours in Athens, but here’s a few photos from our quick time there. Our favorite neighborhood was Kerameikoswhere we grabbed dinner and drinks at a few different spots. It’s a little grittier than other areas but super good vibes and much less tourist-y than areas like Plaka and Monastiraki. Both of those areas were cool to walk through and explore, but would recommend limited time because they are just really crammed and crowded.

ATHENS:

Thanks so much for reading! xx

trip to wine country

Posted on: Wednesday, June 28, 2017

over the weekend, I went up to wine country with friends and had the best day! typically, I usually visit sonoma county since it’s a little closer, but this time, we trekked to napa valley to taste. we visited Turnbull Wines in Oakville, Clif Winery in St. Helena and Chandon (champagne! 🥂) in Yountville.

Turnbull was our first stop and we did a mini tour of the property and learned more about the family-owned, small production winery. this place was SOOO cute and quaint. we sampled their incredible reds (including a cab franc, E’s favorite!) and snacked on fresh peaches, cheeses, and nuts. everything about this place was A+. 🍷

Clif has an amazing farm-to-table bruschetta food truck onsite and we were able to pair the bruschetta with Clif wines. We tried three: porchetta (pig, herbs, Pecorino, aioli, red onion), funghi (mushrooms, fontina, chives) and cured (smoked salmon, smashed avocado, cilantro, crème fraiche) and they were all delish! I don’t typically eat meat and I don’t love mushrooms, but tried both of those and they were 👌🏼👌🏼.

on the way home, we visited Chandon for rosé! the entire day was casual but so fun, relaxing and enjoyable and definitely reminded me that I need to make the trek up to napa valley more often! highly recommend all of the spots we visited if you’re heading that way sometime soon. more pics from our sunday below! xx

ps, I brought this new Verloop Knits bag with me and it was perfect for the day trip. this is their ‘market bag’ which is knitted with leather handles. I love the bright colors and how big the bag itself is – it fit my water bottle, random snacks, Jack’s accessories and more!

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