Havasupai Falls

I’ve been trying to get this permit for 2.5 years ever since I moved to Arizona. About a month ago was my lucky day. Every year on February 1st the office opens up their phone lines to sell permits for that calendar year. I called on repeat at least hundreds of times and never got through. On October 17th, 2017 I called randomly to see if they had any cancellations and it was my lucky day! I quickly learned that it is easier to get a permit during the week if you are able to take off work. The weekends permits go quicker.

HAVASUPAI CAMPGROUND RESERVATIONS & PERMITS:

To make camping reservations in Havasupai, you can must call the Havasupai Tourism Office at (928) 448-2121.

2017 Costs*:

  • Camping permit – $25 per person, per night
  • Environmental fee – $10 per person
  • Entrance fee – $50 per person as well

This means that for the first night the cost for one person is $85, and $25 for each subsequent night camping. For more information, click here. It cost us $93.50 including tax per person for one night.

We crammed a lot into one weekend, it’s doable, but if you have more time to explore I would highly recommend to do so.

Gear rental

REI has some great free classes to prepare for your hike. I saw one locally called “preparing for the grand canyon”. You can also rent backpacks, tents, and more gear from them. Check to see what stores you can rent from here. OR a cheaper option would be to rent from Arizona Hiking Shack off of 32nd and Thomas. My friends went there and they had everything for cheaper.

Only way I could fit the bread lol!

What I Packed

  • 2 person tent
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad
  • 1 gallon of water (Camelbak with bite valve)
  • Backpack
  • 2 pairs of wool socks
  • Change of clothes
  • Plenty of Cliff bars, trail mix, and stuff to make PB&J’s
  • Swim suit
  • Rain coat (you’ll want this for Moony falls)
  • Water shoes
  • Hiking shoes
  • First aid kit
  • Portable chargers
  • Camera/Go Pro

Think minimal! Unless you plan to have the helicopter or donkeys take down your stuff (extra $$) your bag can get reallyyyyy heavy.

Agenda

Friday

We left after work around 5pm to head to the nearest hotel near the trailhead which is still a 1.5 hour drive away. From my house (Scottsdale) to the lodge was about 3 hours and 22 minutes. Definitely worth staying closer Friday night so we are energized for the long hike ahead. To book a room at Hualapai Lodge click here. I got the AAA rate for $127/night.

Saturday

Drive to the trailhead then get ready for a 10 mile hike down the Grand Canyon to the famous Havasupai falls! We set up our tent right near Havasu falls for the night. I do warn you in November the canyon gets pretty cold. It was about 21 degrees at night and up to 60 degrees during the day.

My friend and I went swimming in Navajo falls. The water was cold, but not unbearable for being so late in the year.

Group before the 10 mile hike down!

Sunday

This is the hardest part! Hike 10 miles back and the last mile is straight up the canyon. Then we drive back 4+ hours to Scottsdale. It was a super exhausting day, but if you’ve seen the pictures I think it’s worth it.

Havasu Falls
Navajo Falls
Mooney Falls

Ladder down to Mooney Falls (it was wet and slippery)

Seattle

Seattle blew my expectations away. The weather was PERFECT! I kept waiting for rain and it never came. Which means….more time for exploring.

Place to Eat & Drink

  1. Elliot’s Oyster House- this place was packed! I highly recommend a reservation. It was right on the water with a beautiful view. Try to get an outside table if you can.img_1201
  2. Momiji- awesome Japanese food with a Twilight vibe in Capitol Hill. There is a super cute patio in the middle of the restaurant.
  3. Rachel’s Ginger Beer- just drinks!

Places to See

  1. Future of Flight Tour– we did a 90 minute tour in Everett, WA. About 1 hour outside of downtown Seattle.
  2. Space Needle
  3. Chihuly Garden and Glass- we bought tickets for this and the Space Needle package $38 each.
  4. Original Starbucks & Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room
  5. Pike’s Place Market
  6. Wallace Falls State Park– 4.6 mile trail to a beautiful waterfall just one hour outside Seattle

    How We Got There

    We flew American there and Alaskan back for about $250 per person.

Where We Stayed

  1. The Renaissance in downtown Seattle for $183 (AAA rate) per night + tax. Not bad for downtown! It was cheaper in area like Bellevue, but I figured we could walk to a lot of places from here like Capitol Hill
  2. Four Points by Sheraton Downtown Seattle. We walked to the Space Needle from here! Overall the location was very central. I used 10k points so it was free!

Overall, I would definitely go back to Seattle and explore. There are so many hikes, parks and restaurants with great views.

Vegas 2.0

So you probably know I have a slight obsession with Vegas, but my last Vegas post really focused on pool parties and clubbing.

I’ve done a few trips since then with some fun fesitivies that I would highly recommend for your next Vegas trip.

  1. Brunch during off season aka when you aren’t going to a pool party (October-March) : Lavo Brunch
  2. Seven Magic Mountains
  3. Minus 5 Ice Bar– in the Monte Carlo. Totally worth it to do once and buy the pictures! We got two drinks each in ice cups with parkas and gloves.
  4. $$$$ STK– if you’re looking for a good steakhouse go here! Its located in the Cosmopolitan.
  5. $ Taco Bell Cantina

Need promoter advice? Email me at jetsetbrunette247@gmail.com

Newport Beach

 

Where We Stayed

Hilton Orange County/Costa Mesa– $273 total for two nights. I found that the prepay option is cheaper although, it was non-refundable.


Where to Eat

Bearflag-loved this chill atmosphere. I got the Bearflag sushi roll!

Wahoo’s Tacos- cheap, but so worth it! We were able to walk here from our hotel.

Agora Churrascaria– a Brazilian steakhouse a lot like Texas de Brazil if you’ve ever been.

Things To Do

 Rent bikes and bike around the pier.

Take the ferry from newport to Balboa Island only $1

Where to Drink

The Bungalow– great atmosphere and view of Huntington Beach!

Laguna beach- we did the 1000 steps beach located here. Be prepared to feel the burn on the way back up!

7 Day Ring Road Route in Iceland

 

Route

This blog post includes a day 7 itinerary of the ring road including the golden circle in Iceland.

Day 1: The Blue Lagoon! It’s only minutes away from KEF airport. Buy tickets online ahead of time because they sell out. We choice the comfort package because it included entrance to Blue Lagoon, Silica Mud Mask, use of towel, 1st Drink of your choice and algae. 

We spent about 2 hours here. Let me tell you it was SO relaxing!

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Day 2: The Golden Circle which which includes: ÞingÞingvellir National Park, Strokkur Geyser , Gullfoss Waterfall, Crater Lake, Seljalandsfoss Waterfall and Gljúfrabúi. Have fun pronouncing those.

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Day 3: Vik which included the DC-3 plane wreckage. This was a four km walk from the parking lot so be prepared. You won’t see the plane until you pretty much walk the whole distance.

Next stop: the glacier lagoon. They offer tours here, but be prepared with layers for this stop. It got pretty chilly.

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Day 4: Myvatn Lake, Godafoss, Horseback riding at Galsi horse rental, Grjotagja Cave and Rhino rock

Day 5: Kirkjufell, volcanic crater, Snaefellsbaer, and the seal stop.

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Day 6: We explored Reykavik. I highly recommend the Icelandic hotdogs. They have many food trucks and it’s only $4 which is cheap for Iceland. The Phallic museum which was interesting…only $15.

Day 7: Reykavik again. We visited the big church aka Hallfrimskirkja, Hapra and explored all the street art.

How We Got There

Check out my blog post on Wow Airlines.

                 Where We Stayed

Check out my blog post here.

Questions? Email me at jetesetbrunette247@gmail.com

 

Where to Stay in Iceland

I booked all of our Airbnb’s a few months in advance and one hotel. Split between 5 girls the price wasn’t bad at all. I recommend booking these early. Since Iceland is a hot destination they can sell out quick.

Our first AirBnB here was super cute. The only issue is they didn’t leave us that much toilet paper or paper towels.

My favorite was the Ion Adventure Hotel. I booked with points, but it was THE coolest.

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Champagne upon arrival
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Geothermal pool

 In Reykjavik we stayed here for $179/night. It was within walking distance to bars including Lebowski Bar (I highly recommend a White Russian although they were $22/drink).

This AirBnB is just past Vik this AirBnB for $300/night. This was in a lava field. It was one of our favorites because it had a private hot tub on the porch.

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In Egilsstaðir, we stayed at this AirBnB on a horse farm. This host was so nice they left us red wine, white wine, beer and chocolates.

Most of the AirBnB’s gave us codes so make sure you check your messages when you are on wifi so you can get in late. We often wouldn’t get to our AirBnB’s until midnight or later.

All AirBnB and the Ion hotel had free wifi and parking.

Tip: I recommend downloading Google Maps offline. I was able to get around the country without buying an international plan or renting a GPS. I just kept my phone in airplane mode.

How we got there?

Check out my blog post on Wow Airlines here.

Questions? Email me at jetsetbrunette247@gmail.com

Wow Airlines

There’s no doubt when we booked this flight from LAX to KEF that it was a good deal. We originally paid $424 USD roundtrip when we booked in October.

They ended up canceling our flights for “unforeseen circumstances” in January. We received two separate emails for each segment. You could either rebook or request new dates. We ended up requesting new dates for a day later and pushing back our trip, but it was a pain because we already booked our flights from PHX to LAX. We ended up staying in LAX for a day. But, the sucky part was the customer service. They don’t have a phone number so it’s done over email and takes a at least a few days which was making me anxious because at one point I had a way of getting home, but not a way there for about a week.

Where they get you is food and baggage fees. You are given one personal item for free which is essentially the size of my backpack. Nothing bigger. Then you have to pay for either a carry on or checked bag.

I packed a duffle that I thought would fit in their measurement box…but it didn’t. I paid $49 for the carry on prior to the flight. Since it didn’t fit it cost $30 to upgrade to check it. They said every bag needed to be tagged, but to be honest I didn’t see anyone checking for the bag tags on each bag. Be sure to check the requirements here before you go on your trip. My friend Nicole bought her bags ahead of time when she booked the flight and saved a little bit of money.

I recommend bringing andf filling your own water bottle and eating before you get on the plane because everything costs extra.

Overall, it was a cheap experience, but probably not worth the hassle to do again and dealing with all the extra fees.

San Francisco

This trip was amazing…not only did we swim Alcatraz, but we swam it for a good cause. We swam for the FAST Foundation which raises money for awareness and water safety.

The Distance

The Alcatraz swim is about 1.4 Miles (about 2,500 yards).

The Conditions

Temperature: Water temperatures during our swim are in the low to mid 50’s. Pretty. Damn. Cold. My suggestion? Buy a full body wet suit off of Amazon.

How I got there

Airline points. It only cost me 5,542 points for a one way on Southwest from PHX to SFO.

One my way home segment…I used my Capital One Venture points and cash which is a new, awesome feature! I used 6,297 miles + $33.23. Not bad right!?

Where We Stayed
Sheraton Fisherman’s Wharf. We loved it here. It was a pretty central location from our swim and all the main tourist attractions. The front desk agent even sent us free champagne for finishing our race. I highly recommend!
Where We Ate
  • Breakfast: Mama’s. There was a line that we waited in for about two hours, but it was definitely worth the wait.
  • Dinner: Cioppino’s for seafood.
  • Ice Cream: Ghiradelli’s where else…
What Else We Did For Fun
  • Rented bikes and biked across the Golden Gate Bridge
  • Sausalito
  • Golden Gate Park
  • Mosiac Tile Stairs
  • Crooked street
  • Painted Ladies
  • Twin Peaks
  • Alcatraz
  • Fisherman’s Wharf Pier

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The ones who see things differently. While some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” – Apple

Travel Nursing

Travel nursing? Let me guess. You have a million questions because so did I. I decided to interview my friend Renee for this post because this is one option for working full time, but still seeing the world. She started her career at a hospital in Columbus, Ohio. Then, made the move to Phoenix, Arizona for her first stop of her adventure.

What inspired you to do travel nursing?

My first job was a good learning experience. I needed a positive change to help people. Travel nursing allowed me to do that and explore the USA.

How did you apply?

Research, research, research! There are a ton of travel nursing agencies. I honestly think this is the hardest part of the whole travel nurse experience. At first, I decided to go with a small local company in my hometown. I thought working with a local company would be nice so I could go into the office if needed. But, I found that the bigger companies had more options depending on what state you want to go to. Also going into the office really isn’t necessary.
– Just keep in mind that you may have to switch companies depending on what part of the country you are trying to go.
Also remember these companies are working for you so ask lots of questions.
Find a company that will reimburse you for your license, any certifications, scrubs, etc. Keep in mind they will not reimburse you until you get to that state to work.
Another thing to look for is to make sure companies offer health insurance.

How do you go about getting your license?

25 states are in the compact licenses which include licenses to all, but Ohio (which is where I got my original license) is not one of the compact states. So I have to apply to each state individually. I just went to each states board of nursing website and look for endorsement license. If you want more information to see if your state is in the compact license go here.

What states did you get and why?

Arizona: consisted of a two page paper with my contact information, I mailed it back to the board and then they mailed me a fingerprint card which I then took to a police station. Cost is about $10. They make you get a background check which cost $50. My Arizona license is good for three years and cost $240 total. It took me two months to get this license.

California: one page paper and they mailed you back a finger print Card. You have to get ahold of your college and get a transcript sent to the state. Keep in mind for all license if you miss any steps it delays you and with California the board is behind and averages 3-6   months to get your license. My California license is only good for one year and cost $179. It took me six months to get this license.

Colorado: this was the easiest and cheapest one. Everything was online, no finger printing needed. It was about 200 questions that you checked boxes and filled in your personal information. My license was emailed to me. My Colorado license is good for two years and cost about $90.

Texas: consisted of three pages of questions and an online test about their nursing law. I had to get finger printed and a background check. My Texas license is only good for one year and cost $216.

I had to go nursys.com and it will prove your license in your residential state. I paid $30 for each state that I chose. $30x 4 states= $120 (included in the costs above).

I chose Arizona first, because I wanted to go places based on weather and the time of the year. My next stop is Denver, because I didn’t want to be there in the winter. Then, my plan is to go to California and then Texas. The majority are 13 week contracts, but some places can do as short as 6 weeks. You can stay in one state for as long as a year before you claim residency.

How does housing work?

I would recommend finding it on your own. I looked into airbnb’s, VBRO, craigslist and even just googled furnished housing. For VRBO if you message the owners and explain you are doing travel nursing I have found they normally give you a discount. My agency sent me Extended Stay America and Hotel Engineer Apps.

How are your contracts broken down?

Think of it as a big pot of money that they break down into different sections. The agency will give you your hourly rate which will most likely be very low compared to what you’re used to, reimbursement for housing & meals, if you miss a shift how much you have to pay them, overtime hourly rate, holiday hourly rate, on-call hourly rate, and your call-back hourly rate. All of that is negotiable.

Join The Gypsy Nurse group on facebook. There is a lot of good information on there and it allows you to ask questions and get answers.

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others”- Mahatma Gandhi.

The Best Travel Credit Card

I started my blog in December 2015 and lately I’ve felt the need to take a step back. Why am I doing this? I’m not trying to brag about all the places I go. It’s genuinely a hobby and a passion.

I’ve found myself looking back at my blog posts that typically state the places I go, what I did, and how much it costs but often forgetting the most important part…how I got there.

I want to help you, your friends, anyone to make travel dreams happen. A lot of people I know can’t wrap their heads around  the crazy trips I do. Honestly I don’t spend a ton. I often use points to book all my airfare.

For those of you who know me this is something I am super passionate about. Sometimes I wonder why I’m not in sales, because I pitch this credit card to a lot of my friends. It boggles my mind how many of my friends still use their debit card.

My personal favorite: the Southwest credit card

Why?

Here is my personal snapshot on Southwest for 2015:

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Pro: After I signed up I earned 30,000 points after spending $1,000 in 3 months. DONE! So easy right? That is included in my 42,291 points shown above.

You get 2x points on all Southwest purchases and 1 point for every $1 spent on all other purchases.

You get 6,000 anniversary points.

AND no foreign transaction fees. Save 3%. Yep. I use this all the time while traveling internationally.

Con: Annual fee. While you can find a lot of credit cards without annual fees these days, I strongly believe you get more than the $95 you spend in the annual fee.

 

In 2015, I flew to San Francisco & Ohio for free using points. I would suggest using the low calendar fare and if you are flexible you can get some really good deals. Especially when Southwest has its sales. On average those flights cost about $ flying from Phoenix.

  • $321.96 PHX to SFO
  • $204.98 PHX to CMH (one way)
  • =$526.94 total savings!
  • -$95 annual fee
  • =$431.94 savings

Granted I spend most of my purchases on this card. Another thing I love about Southwest is their cancellation policy. You can cancel and use the credit. Plus, you get two free checked bags. Sometimes when you are searching for flights you have to take that into consideration. Although, a Frontier flight might be cheaper they will charge you for the seat and bags.

So what are you waiting for? Sign up here and start planning your dream travels. Right now they have a 50,000 after you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months… which is even more points than I got aka more savings!

I hope to focus a lot more of my posts the specifics to get help you plan really cheap weekend trips or even a trip of your dreams. I have a few other travel credit cards so I’ll be sure to let you know in future posts what I use and how I get there. Let me know if you have any questions! I’d love to help 🙂