Maui

This is my fourth time being in Hawaii. I can’t say I remember them all though. This time we stayed on the island of Maui.

How I Got There

I actually paid this time not using points, but I recommend booking as far in advance as possible. I paid ~$500 on American from PHX to OGG. My siblings booked the same flight a few weeks later and paid over $600.

What We Did

1. The Road to Hana

The road consists of over a 64 mile drive of beautiful waterfalls and nature. Before you go consider brining: a fully charged camera, water shoes, sunscreen and bug repellant. Also, check the weather because since it is a rainforest there can be road closings.

Within the Road to Hana we hiked in the bamboo forest

It took about 1.5 hours from the spot my Dad dropped us off. The beginning of the trail looked like this… 

Then you’ll cross this wooden plank…

Then you’ll see a 3 waterfalls and have to climb up this ladder. Don’t worry there is rope! But I wouldn’t do this hike with my parents…

At the end of the Road to Hana you’ll arrive at the black sand beach.

2. Spa Day at the Sheraton Black Rock Spa.

3. Snorkel

My dad rented snorkel rentals for $10 a day which was way cheaper than getting them from our resort at The Snorkel Store.

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4. Haleakala National Park

Haleakala is known as the volcano that formed most of Maui. We drove up this over 10,000  feet above sea level. Apparently, the thing to do is watch the sunrise here which we didn’t do. I saw you had to make reservations. If you are an early riser, I would do this because I saw awesome pictures on Yelp. Overall, it took about a half day.

5. Massages at the Spa at Black Rock

Where We Stayed

We stayed at the Westin in Ka’anapali. I would highly recommend. It’s very family friendly with a few kid pools. In addition, theres a lot of amenities on site. We went to breakfast and dinner to two of the restaurants. The rooms even have a kitchen. The only thing we wished it had was an oven. In the end, this hotel has everything you need including the beach.

Where We Ate

 Breakfast: go to the Gazebo. We got there right at 7:30am. There was already a line. We probably waited about a hour, but it was worth it for the beach view. They are known for the fried rice.

Lunch: Paia Fish Market in Lahaina

Cool Cat Cafe

Dinner: Seafood try Merrimans

Mexican: Fridas

Italian: Pulehu (in our resort)

Taverna

Colorado

I’ve been to Colorado a handful of times. I can’t believe I haven’t posted about things to do until now.

I’m so lucky that my college bestie lives there and can show me the ropes of the mile high city.

Here are a few of my favorite things…

Favorite restaurants:

For brunch we went to Denver Biscuit Co.. It was super filling and busy, but worth the wait!  For dinner I would recommend Linger l love the variety of options here. From sushi to burgers to pizza theres something for everyone.

Favorite Hotel:

The Art Hotel which is located in downtown Denver. It is super modern with different art features on every level. The rooftop bar with the fire pit is great place to grab a drink.

Favorite ice cream:

Little Man’s Ice Cream…enough said.

If you’re looking for a killer hike:

Manitou Incline Trail a little over 1.5 hours from the Denver airport.

Skiing

We went to Arapahoe Basin to skii. I rented all my equipment including skiis, boots, pants and a helmet for about $50. You can buy a day pass. This was only about a hour and a half drive from Breckenridge.


Breckenridge… although I didn’t skii here we used the time share hot tubs and walked around and shopped.

 

 

 

Charlotte

What I Did

Work work work work work. Literally. I was in Charlotte for almost 3 weeks so I had time to explore.

Hike

Thanks for the recommendation from my friend Taylor. Crowder’s mountain was an awesome hike! The only issue was I had to wait about 10 minutes for parking. There was a place down the street you could pay $5 to park and walk. Here is the link to the website with the hours and things to do at Crowder’s National Park.

Banana Suit Bar Crawl

The best $20 I’ve ever spent (including the suit). This was the 5th annual crawl. We got tickets here. If you are in Charlotte during February you have to do this bar crawl!


Shopping

My work mom Sandy took me to Birkdale Village. It was a really cute outdoor mall in Huntersville. We ate at Red Rocks which was a super nice restaurant. I highly recommend we had the best server named Lucky!

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Cliffs of Moher

The cliffs have been on my bucket list ever since I went to Ireland last time in December 2015. We drove straight from the Dublin airport which is a little over 3 hours to the county of Clare where the cliffs are located.

What to Know

  • You can buy tickets online ahead of time and save 10% here. Tickets are 5.40 euro per person online.
  • Check the weather ahead of time. You won’t want to go on a rainy day. 
  • They open at 9am all year round. Check to see when they close online it depends on the time of year.
  • There are a number of shops and cafes located in the visitor center. Bring cash!

What to Wear

It’s windy and expect rain. I wore boots and my winter coat. The trails were muddier than I expected. I probably should of wore my rain boots. The hood to my jacket and gloves were a lifesaver!

Pay 2 Euro to go up O’Brien’s tower

 

 

Miami

Where We Stayed

Hilton Miami Downtown. Only 3 miles from Miami beach. My friend Gabi works for Hilton so she gets the team member rate. That’s one way to travel on a budget (I miss working in hotels for this reason).

Places We Ate

You have to eat Cuban food while in Miami We ate at David’s Cafe Cafecito. I can’t say I’ve honestly ever had Cuban food,  but it was amazing. Try a cortadito which is cuban coffee. This place was super affordable plus free parking! 

Bodega in South Beach. This is a cute taco truck with a hidden bar. The drinks were pretty pricey, but I loved the vibe.


Make a reservation at Komodo for a fancier dinner. We got the Lobster Dynamite to start and sushi for dinner. The service was phenomenal! They really made us feel special. This is the new hot spot. The restaurant was still packed at 11pm on a Thursday. Celebrities go here including Kim & Kanye. We even saw Michael Bay aka the director of Transformers!


Go to happy hour at  Sugar in Brickell. We went right at 4pm when they opened and got an awesome table. It’s a rooftop bar on the 40th floor of a hotel that overlooks Miami. Although, they kicked us out after two hours since there was a long wait so that part kind of sucked. Other than that the sushi was good.

Overall, there’s a ton of great shopping, nightlife and beaches in Miami. I was only here for a few days so we spent most of our time at the hotel pool and dining out. 

Road Trip to Mexico

Road trip to Mexico…sounds crazy right? It actually was an easy drive from Phoenix. About 4 hours to be exact. The border is closed from midnight to 6am. I would recommend driving during the day. It’s safer anyways.

What you need?

You are allowed $75 USD tax free in new merchandise per person.

– Items for personal use such as clothing, shoes and toiletries according to the length of your stay.
– One (1) photographic or motion video camera, including a power source and rolls of film or video cassettes. (No professional equipment.)
– Books and magazines.
– One (1) used sports article or piece of equipment for individual use which can be transported by 1 person.
– Two (2) cartons of cigarettes or 100 cigars.
– Three (3) liters (appx. 3 quarts) of wine or Alcohol (including beer) per person if the passenger is an adult (21 or older).
– Medicine for personal use (with your prescription).
More questions? Click here for more information about Puerto Penasco customs.

Where we stayed?

We rented a villa for 11 people. It came out to $167 USD per person for three nights. This is for sure less than I would spend out at the bars for New Years 😉

Check out the website here. Las Palmas was easy to find and close to the beach. I would recommend it because it’s safe (all guests are required to wear wristbands).

 

Things to do in Rocky Point

Check out the website here for more detailed information here from whale watching to ATVing to night life.

We walked down the street from our resort and got two quads for $100 per hour. We had 6 people so only $16 per person. So cheap! There’s also a bar right by called Banditos that we watched the Fiesta Bowl and spent New Years Eve at. 

If you an looking for an affordable road trip this is it! I’ll definitely go back for a long weekend at “Arizona’s beach”. It’s super Americanized.