Tips & Tricks

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

What to Pack for Kyoto, Japan & Clothing List

Our Kyoto packing list includes travel gadgets, unique items, and clothing suggestions that will improve your trip to Japan. Everything on this comprehensive ‘what to pack’ will save you money or make your Kyoto experience more comfortable and pleasant. The first part of our Kyoto, Japan packing list highlights things you never knew you needed […]

When to Visit Kyoto, Japan

When to visit Kyoto to avoid crowds, experience the best seasons, and enjoy the top festivals is a common question for first-timers to Japan. There is no single worst or best time to visit, and when you should travel to Kyoto depends in large part on your priorities. In this guide, we’ll narrow down your […]

Yosemite Firefall Photography & Viewing Tips

Yosemite National Park’s Firefall at Horsetail Fall is a natural phenomenon visible for about 3 weeks each year in February. This post offers tips based upon my experiences, plus updates on the 2019 government shutdown, recent California weather patterns, and how both could effect the Firefall. (Last updated January 9, 2019.) First, the update. Despite […]

Top 100 Temples & Shrines in Kyoto, Japan

With over 1,600 temples and shrines, Kyoto is unquestionably the spiritual capital of Japan. This list of Kyoto’s 100 best temples and shrines is narrowed down from the 200+ that we’ve visited during our months in the city. From Kiyomizudera to Golden Pavilion to Fushimi Inari, Kyoto is home to some of the best places […]

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 […]

Tips for Christmas at Universal Studios Japan

“Wonder Christmas” is a holiday event at Universal Studios Japan celebrating the holiday season, running from November 9, 2018 until January 6, 2019. The festivities at Universal’s Osaka park include a nighttime show, one of the most spectacular Christmas trees in the world, and plenty of holiday treats. In this post, we’ll share tips for Universal’s […]

Best Japan Railway & Train Museum Rankings

Japan has a lot of museums devoted to railways and transportation, and we’ve visited the best of these near Tokyo, Nagoya, and Kyoto. During our two-month stay in Japan last year (documented in our Brickers’ Fall & Winter Japan Trip Report), we used the trains countless times and took several Shinkansen rides courtesy of our […]

November 2018 in Kyoto, Japan

November features Kyoto’s peak fall colors, plus a full calendar of special events, nighttime illuminations, and a few festivals at temples and shrines. Despite the heavy crowds, it’s an excellent month to visit Japan, and you’ll have too many choices for seasonal things to do during a November trip to Kyoto. In this post, we’ll offer a […]

Tips & Things to Do in Fall at Mount Fuji

If you want to see Japan’s famous fall colors, the Fuji Five Lakes region is an excellent destination. Here, you’ll not only get some of the best autumn foliage from late October through early December, but you’ll also have photogenic scenes with vibrant momiji in the foreground and Mount Fuji in the background. In this […]

Our Eiffel Tower Visit: Tips & Mistakes

If you’re visiting Paris, France and plan to go up into the Eiffel Tower, we have tips for saving time and money. In this post, we’ll share our experience so you can learn from our mistakes, plus photos of the views from the Eiffel Tower at sunset and night, and other helpful planning advice. We’ve […]