Plnnr to plan your trips

Oh my….you must try out the site Plnnr. It is fun, but more importantly useful!

This website gives a list of 20 popular travel destinations around the world,

plans an itinerary around your interests,

including how intense you want your travels to be,

and the star rating of your hotel,

then maps out the route to your attractions, and the location of hotels that match your criteria.

WOW!

I know what I am doing on my Sunday morning….

Advertisements

WWWebsite

I recently heard about this website, airbnb, that allows people to search for or promote their home as vacation rentals all around the world.

This website seems quite dangerous to me….not in the way that I would feel uneasy about letting complete strangers into my personal space, but that I just spent the last 30 minutes browsing through places in Moscow. These places look absolutely gorgeous and cheap!! Can I go right now?!?!

The site might be perfect for me as well, to promote my condo in downtown Toronto. I am usually gone for 2 weeks in March and then again for a few months in the summer traveling my little heart away. Why not make some of the $$$ back that I spend on gas, flights, and lodging/camp sites by lending my nice place out to people wishing to visit Toronto on a budget?

Sounds like this website is becoming very popular, as Ashton Kutcher recently invested some cash into this website!

I dare say I might try it, and I feel better that this site now boasts property protection insurance. Time to travel!!

Hostel Archi Rossi

Source

Someone was recently asking about a cheap and clean place to stay in Florence, which can sometimes be quite expensive. When I was there last summer, my travel partner and I actually extended our stay in that fine city partly because of a hostel called Archi Rossi.

It had everything we needed:

1. Clean. The walls were filled with graffiti but it added to the awesome character of the building. You can find my name somewhere on the second floor I believe…..

2. Helpful staff. They gave us directions and tips when needed and gladly kept re-booking us as we decided to stay “just one more night”.

3. Free internet, including a computer in the room.

4. Nice big rooms, including a pretty courtyard to hang out in.

5. Free breakfast, which was actually decent. I miss the yogurt and granola that became my standard when staying there.

6. Great location! It was very close to the train station, which was our means of entry and escape. Also close to the duomo and the leather market….mmm shoes….

Source

Hawaii Five O

So I was heading home from visiting my mom for Mother’s Day yesterday evening and began daydreaming of the trip we took together to Hawaii last August. It was AMAZING! More specifically, I kept recalling a hotel that we stayed at when we were on Maui.

The hotel/condo was called Outrigger Aina Nalu in Lahaina, Maui.

Here’s why I loved this hotel…

1. It was my first destination upon arrival.

The first inhale of Hawaiian air….sigh. With the rental car, the directions (so difficult to get lost here, thank goodness), and smiles all around, the 2.5 week adventure began. As soon as I hit to open highway, my excitement waned just a very tiny bit. It was pitch black. All I could see in front of me was yellow lines and pavement 2 feet in front of my rental car. Occasionally, cars would drive by on the other side, and I would glimpse a high cliff to my right, but that’s about it.

Well, let me tell you…the next morning when I set out on that same highway to see what I missed…my jaw dropped. There was a sheer cliff that was to my left the entire time. The view was spectacular! The Pacific Ocean, deep blue and turquoise. The island of Lanai quite close across the way. Not sure when my jaw went back to normal, maybe 3 weeks later.

So this hotel was the first “home base” for the trip. Welcoming my mother and I with wide open arms.

2. The bathroom!

Lava rock on one side

I have never seen a shower like this. With lava rock in abundance on these islands, why not build a shower with one massive extrusive igneous rock?! It was the shower with the most character I have ever seen. Also had very convenient nooks and crannies carved out conveniently for my toiletries. Thanks!

Also, shout out to the rest of the bathroom, very clean and pretty..ahem WASHING MACHINES!

3. The location

Hawaii….Maui….Lahaina. More to say?

Lahaina is an old whaling village in Maui, with a very lively main street called Front Street. I had to pause there to inhale the memory of the views from this place. It’s located on the southwest part of the island of Maui with quick access to the airport and a gorgeous view over to Lanai, another Hawaiian island.

This hotel was about a 2 minute gorgeous walk to Front Street. It was easy to become distracted on the way to Front Street with all the cute shops along the way. It’s still my dream to one day move to Lahaina and open up shop in that town. Ohh…the yoga we would do!

4. The staff

Friendly, relaxed, there for you. The concierge who booked our helicopter tour over West Maui and Molokai (must do) talked to us for probably about an hour. She missed her mother as well, and wanted to make sure we had the best experience we could ever have. That’s where we discovered some amazing restaurants and gift shops that could not be missed, as well as a few insider tips.

The reception staff was also great as well. They didn’t mind us hanging out in the lobby, uploading pictures on facebook, and sending emails off using their internet. Also, when it came down to directions (although you don’t need many there), they were oh so happy to help.

5. The pools

Two of them! One was a regular pool that you find at a hotel, filled with children and their lounging parents. The second pool was a salt water pool. I was so impressed, this would be my first time in a salt water pool. It did not disappoint, especially when you are there in August. My attempt at floating semi/succeeded. The colour of it was amazing. Cloudy/turqouise/blue/green amazingness. Yum. Plus no weird cholorine/bromine smell left on my skin after a dip.

6. The kitchen

Ok – stove, microwave, FULL stash of cutlery, glasses (including wine – very important!), plates, bowls, can opener…what else!? Oh yes, that’s right…a DISHWASHER! Please, can I just live there as about half of the people there did?

7. Free internet!

Although you had to pay in your room, you could either go to the pool or the lobby to access all the internet your little heart desires.

8. The cabana’s

Mmmmm, memories of sitting in a cabana with a morning coffee, reading the local paper and sending off a few emails.

9. The BBQ’s

So along with the amazing kitchen complete with dishwasher, you have access to THREE BBQ’s. Unfortunately my mother and I are not big Q’ers so we watched instead and took whiffs of the charred chicken being prepared. The grocery store is about a 5 minute walk PS.

10. The view

Laying at the pool in the morning, or late afternoon after a long day of wandering around the island, it was always so humbling and relaxing to gaze at the volcanic mountain peaks. Certain days, you could predict rain in the mountains, other days it was bright and clear and sunny. Always just so amazing to stare at for hours and think of how they were created.

Oh yes…the price? I believe it was $110/night. Amazing!