Tips & Tricks

Tips & tricks for traveling, from choosing the right gear to the best ways to save money on vacations, and more.

10 Best Beaches in Laguna Beach, California

Laguna Beach has the best beaches, oceanfront, and public parks in Southern California. In fact, its miles of coast along Pacific Coast Highway might be some of the best in the world. This list ranks the top 10 beaches–plus whether they’re currently open or closed. (Updated June 9, 2020.) While this quiet little beach town […]

Travel Newsletter Sign-up & Free Planning eBook!

Our free travel newsletter features updates about U.S. National Parks, California, Japan, Europe, and other places to visit. It offers the latest travel news, vacation planning guides, step by step itineraries, tips & tricks for your trips, and more. As the world starts to reopen and travel resumes, we’ll also be providing updates to help […]

Why This Year Is Perfect for a National Parks Trip

With states relaxing stay at home orders and the United States beginning the slow process of reopening, many people are dreaming of a much-needed vacationing. This post will offer our “sales pitch” for the U.S. National Parks, which we view as one of the best road trip travel destinations for summer and beyond. While it […]

2020 Kyoto Cherry Blossom Guide & Sakura Season Viewing Tips

This guide to sakura season in Kyoto, Japan covers our favorite cherry blossom spots, best temples & shrines, tips & tricks for avoiding crowds, plus a 2020 cherry blossom forecast. We also take a deeper dive into the topic, highlighting hidden gems where you’ll find fewer people and no busloads of tour groups. (Updated February […]

2020 Yosemite Firefall Best Dates & Viewing Tips

Yosemite National Park’s Firefall at Horsetail Fall is a natural phenomenon visible for ~3 weeks in February 2020. This post offers tips based upon my experiences, best dates & viewing locations, new parking restrictions, California weather, and more that could impact Firefall. (Updated January 28, 2020.) First, you can read about my experience last year in […]

Tips for Christmas at Universal Studios Japan

“Crystal Christmas” is a holiday event at Universal Studios Japan celebrating the holiday season, running from November 14, 2019 until January 13, 2020. The holiday festivities at USJ’s Osaka park include a nighttime show, one of the most spectacular Christmas trees in the world, and lots of treats. In this post, we’ll share tips for Universal’s […]

Things To Do In Joshua Tree National Park

This provides info on my favorite things to do in Joshua Tree National Park, and tips for accomplishing it all. Since it’s the closest National Park to Los Angeles (see our Ultimate LA City Guide for more on visiting), Joshua Tree is an easy stop on a California road trip. For me, this is the […]

Transportation Tips for Getting Around Kyoto

Kyoto is incredibly easy to explore by public transport (trains, subways, buses and taxis) or under your own steam (by bicycle or walking). This is a guide to getting around Kyoto, with information on the best way to get to each part of the city. It covers things like our favorite railway lines in the […]

Tips for Visiting Hollywood, California

Hollywood. Tinseltown. Showbiz City. This post offers planning tips for visiting the neighborhood in Los Angeles that has a reputation as being the epicenter of the film business, a glamorous spot to rub elbows with celebrities. With the Oscars showcasing the glitz and splendor of Hollywood tonight, I thought this would be a perfect post […]

Keyhole Arch “Light Show” on Pfeiffer Beach in Big Sur

For a few weeks each year during the Winter Solstice, the sunset casts an ethereal glow through Keyhole Arch on Big Sur’s Pfeiffer Beach that is absolutely breathtaking. This natural phenomenon doesn’t have fixed dates, but if you’re in Monterey, California in December or January, it’s a must-see. In this post, we’ll share tips for […]