Holiday Travel Tips

travel tips Yup, the holidays are here and I don’t know about you, but I always look around to get inspired, or reminded, of some travel tips during these busy days. I love seeing other people’s ideas and creativity, because let’s face it, when it’s time to travel, people come up with really great ideas especially for food…

I love to travel and I’m the kind of person who can eat anything they serve on the plane. Definitely the food is pretty blah and I feel awful once I land, but there’s something about it. Then, we have my daughter, who told me when she was 5 that she wasn’t going to eat the food they give you, so I better get her something before. I call that a win!

Besides the fact that plane food is not the best, another advantage is that you can both control the quality of the ingredients and you can save money if you bring your own stuff. Granted, it may take some space but, wouldn’t that be the same space than buying food once passed security?

Food ideas

  • Nuts or individually packed nut butters – be careful with this. Some people are extremely allergic to nuts and can’t even be around them. I’m still amazed at some airlines giving peanuts at snacks considering how many people are allergic to them. I would say, if you can, you should avoid eating them on the plane.
  • Protein bars – I’m not a fan of them but they come pretty handy. Make sure they have just a few ingredients.
  • Fruit – just make sure it won’t get mushy. I love bananas but I usually get them passed security.
  • Shakeology – I always bring a couple of packets with me just in case. I can mix it with water in my shaker cup, eat a banana, and that’s my breakfast or lunch.
  • Veggies – carrots, celery, cherry tomatoes.
  • Crackers – I love Mary’s Gone Crackers
  • Cheese sticks
  • Salad – if you bring it just make sure that the dressing is treated under the 3-1-1 TSA rule.
  • Hummus – same as the salad dressing.
  • Yogurt – same as the salad dressing.
  • Seeds (pumpkin or sunflower seeds)
  • Sandwiches or wraps – so much better than the airplane food.
  • Dried fruit
  • Chocolate for your sweet tooth – you’re welcome.

I would suggest you avoid salty foods because it’s going to make you even more dehydrated. Speaking of which, don’t forget your water! You’ll need to stay hydrated since the cabin will suck the moisture out of you. You may require to visit the bathroom more often, believe me I’m with you, but it will be worth it.

Other tips

  • Bring antibacterial wipes to clean the tray. It gets gross and unfortunately they don’t get 100% clean.
  • An empty bottle of water that you can fill once passed security or to use with your protein powder or Shakeology.
  • Once you get to your destination, get moving. Unless you get at night and there’s barely not time change, try to get out and move. Exercise or just move. You’ve been stuck in a plane with stale air and not moving. Get that blood pumping!
  • Bring your own entertainment. I can’t sleep or read on planes, not sure why, but I can watch movies for hours upon hours. I’ve been in several planes where my screen was broken, so having my laptop with my movies saved my sanity and my husband’s. You never know, so plan accordingly.
  • Have your toothbrush, toothpaste, face cream, deodorant, makeup remover wipes, and an extra pair of undies in your carry on. You’ll be happy when you’re stuck in a hotel without your suitcase because it didn’t make your connection. I’m glad I had this with me when I travelled to Nashville last summer.

What tips and trick do you have when you travel?


Chocolate with Churros

Chocolate con churros

Chocolate con churros in San Ginés

Well, well, it’s been ages, I know, life got in the way but I’m back. Nothing too exciting has happened during this time except for being super busy at work and for the 2.5 weeks we spent in Madrid. That was fun, and I wish we could do it more often.

We went to visit family and friends during the holidays, and we had missed them sooooo much. I wish I could show you pictures, but I barely took any. Yes, I brought the big camera. No, I really didn’t use it. The thing is, since we spent most of our time with our friends, we didn’t really go out sightseeing. Even if we had gone to see other places, although I always enjoy the surroundings, I always forget to take pictures. I should get better at that.

Anyways, one of the things I do there, non-stop, is eat. I think we didn’t have any vegetables for a week, seriously, I’m not joking! One of the best foods you can have for breakfast or afternoon snack (or for lunch, dinner, I won’t judge) in Spain is chocolate with churros “chocolate con churros“. At this point, everybody knows what they are, but you will never know what you are missing until you try them in Spain, so there’s your excuse to get on a plane. The chocolate is so thick that, in my mother-in-law’s words, “you could put a spoon in the mug and it would stay up straight”. This is a little bit of an overstatement, unless my sister makes the chocolate. Then, yes, the spoon will stay up. You can make the chocolate at home, actually we always get the bars and bring them back here, but not the churros, that requires more work. Back in the day you could find the chocolate with churros pretty much everywhere, but unfortunately, nowadays there are less and less places where they make the churros. I remember, when I was young, going to the churrería (churro store) to buy them for breakfast on Sunday mornings, while my grandma or my mom would make the chocolate.

Spanish Chocolate

New Year’s Day breakfast – take-out chocolate with churros, yum!

Lucky for us, we stayed at my sister’s who lives in a little town in the mountains (sierra) of Madrid. Turns out that this little town has one incredible restaurant, or bar as we call it, that makes chocolate with churros to go. Unheard of for Spaniards, especially for us, the ones who left a long time ago. Needless to say, we order quite a few times from there. I have no words to describe how delicious that chocolate was.

Chocolateria San Gines

Chocolatería San Ginés and my mini model

If you ever go to Madrid don’t miss San Ginés, photo above, and indulge in their chocolate with churros. Be careful, they are addictive.


Around California – Solvang


Image via Magic Madzik

It’s been years since I’ve been to Solvang, and I really hope I can go back soon. We discovered it when we were driving to L.A. on 101 and my father-in-law told us to stop there. He said that Solvang is this little Danish town close to Santa Barbara. We thought it was weird, and probably he was exaggerating, but decided to stop.
This town is ridiculously cute and totally out of place. If you are familiar with California, you know that the no matter what town you are they share some similarities, especially in Southern California where the Colonial style is more prevalent. But when you get to Solvang, it’s like you’ve been transported to Denmark. Everything — the stores, bakeries, architecture– is Danish, there are even windmills!


Image via Alkan Boudewijn

Image via

Image via Raymond Shobe


Image via Alkan Boudewijn


Image via Michael

If you are ever in the Santa Ynez Valley or Santa Barbara areas, please stop by. It’s not that far off the road and it’s totally worth it.


Around California – Yosemite

Vernal Falls Footbridge

Vernal Falls Footbridge

I can’t even begin to explain how magnificent Yosemite is. The first time I went there I didn’t think much about it until I started reading about it while driving through the park and admiring the views.
Glaciers landscaped Yosemite millions of years ago. Yeah, that’s old, and I was right there. Until that moment, I only knew that there were bears and that I had to keep my food far away from them. So much for my research.

Fast forward to now, this national park is just stunning. One of the most iconic hikes is Half Dome. For some reason, missy here (me) thinks she’s going to hike the whole thing one day, which I believe takes 8 hours. I can guarantee you that’s not going to happen.

Vernal Falls - Yosemite

Vernal Falls

The first time my husband took me there we hiked Vernal Falls. This is the first waterfall on the hike to half dome and we loved it although there was almost no water since it was August. At the top you end up in Emerald Pool, which you are not supposed to swim in, but people, my husband included, just got in it since it was really hot. To their credit, there wasn’t enough water and we were far from the waterfall. Still you should never do that.

Vernal Falls

Vernal Falls

The second time we went there together, it was Memorial Day weekend, so Vernal Falls was so incredibly full of water. It was beautiful, and we got soaked. We got to the top so early in the morning that we decided to keep going up to Nevada Falls and almost to Yosemite Valley. I can’t even describe the views and the feeling of how little you are in the world. There is when we decided to go back because we didn’t have enough water, since we hadn’t planned to make it up to that point. I was so pumped that I kept saying that I wanted to come back and hike Half Dome. My husband agreed, he’s done it quite a few times, but I’m sure he thought that I was going to bail. Seven years later and I haven’t even been back. Oh well. It’s not that I don’t think I can’t do it, it’s that there are lots of steps in all the hikes, which I don’t mind going up but I do mind when I go down, plus the last bit to make it to Half Dome is the cables part. That scares me. Yes, I’m a wimp.

Nevada Falls

Nevada Falls

Top Nevada Falls

Top of Nevada Falls

Top Nevada Falls

Top of Nevada Falls (so young!)



Weekend Getaway – Tahoe

Tahoe No matter what time of the year, Tahoe has something for everybody. Lots of nature, lots of sports, and gambling in the Nevada side of the lake. Considering that it’s less than three hours from San Francisco, it’s the perfect weekend escape.


During the summer you can enjoy the beaches, and all the water sports offerings you can imagine. You can also hike some trails that you would otherwise ski during the winter. I’ve been meaning to paddle surf there, since it’s safer than the ocean, and hike Shiley Lake which I used to ski during the winter. Of course, none have happened this summer. Hopefully 2015 will be the year to do both.

A couple of my favorite beaches in Tahoe are Kings beach, where there is a little town too, and Sand Harbor which is in the Nevada side of the lake. There are lots of other beaches but those are the ones we tend to go since we stay close to the northern side of the lake.



As for the winter there is a big selection of ski areas too. I love Squaw Valley because of its little village, and it even has a ski-in/ski-out Starbucks, but I hear Heavenly is amazing and Northstar is supposed to be great too, especially if you have kids.

Extra bonus, whichever the season, the views are just breathtaking.