9 Tips For How You Can Travel More

I could have also titled this “How to Travel More When You Only Get a Week of Vacation Each Year (Thanks Corporate America)”

  1. Figure out what you want from travel

Knowing what you like will help you choose activities that can simulate the feeling of being on a vacation. Are you looking for fun, relaxation, learning, food, nature, etc?

2. Start small

I mean really small like: pick one new activity small. There are a lot of options right at our feet in the place we currently live. Doing a fun new activity can give you that travel feeling without breaking the bank or requiring vacation time. For example, wine tasting is a very popular activity to do while traveling. Checking out a local winery one afternoon or evening can satisfy the travel bug in you. Also, while traveling I love finding breathtaking views. Challenge yourself to spend a couple hours hunting down the best view in the area. For example, when I lived in Indiana I didn’t have to travel far to enjoy a beer at the top of the John Hancock building with all of Chicago below me. I felt like I was on vacation but I was 30 minutes away from home. Another option would be to check out a local museum. Museum hopping is always on a traveler’s to do list, taking time to learn and to better understand the area. Doing things like this is a great start on your path of making more time in your life for travel.

3. Utilize the “day trip”

Unless you live in a truly remote area, you probably have access to at least a few new experiences within a short distance. Do some research about what is within a 2-3 hour drive or train ride from you. Using public transportation is another way to feel like you’re traveling and to get that “I’m excited to be going somewhere” feeling. For example, Ollie and I plan on taking the train 45 minutes north to Oceanside to spend a day sampling new restaurants, bars, and shops (is that not what you do when you travel to new cities in other countries?!) Another day trip we did involved driving a little over an hour to the gold rush town of Julian, CA. Experiencing a new area (even for a day) can work wonders and help cure your inner travel bug.

4. Expand to a weekend trip

Now that you are comfortable making time to try new activities and go on day trips, add an overnight stay to the mix and spend the whole weekend somewhere. Waking up in a bed that isn’t your own will totally give you the travel feeling you desire. If you are willing to take a short flight you will add many location options to your list of possibilities. Ollie and I just recently weekended in LA. Another weekend, we flew to Sacramento to check out Northern CA and go wine tasting in Napa. We also want to spend the night in Palm Springs soon. All of these things will happen without taking any time off work, yet we will still get the feeling of escaping reality.

5. Plan in advance

In American culture, getting time off work isn’t as simple as it should be. This being said, you do need to plan in advance for longer trips.

6. Commit to travel

If there’s somewhere you’re dying to go, make it happen. I do understand that life can get in the way sometimes which is completely understandable, but to make dreams a reality you do have to do some work to achieve that and make sacrifices. For example, my college bestie and I have had a trip to Iceland planned for over 6 years. We haven’t given up on it, and 2017 will be the year we finally commit and give it a whole week of our time, meaning that we will have to miss out on other trips and will have to postpone travel plans with other people. It’s a sacrifice we are both willing to make because we’ve wanted it for so long.

7. Save money

Unfortunately, none of this is free. You will have to budget, and opening a savings account is a good idea. A travel credit card can also help if it is an option. The card I use bought my flight to Australia later this year.

8. Relax and live in the moment

You don’t have to be gone for 3 months on a huge, expensive trip to feel inspired by the world. Make every moment of relaxation count that you do get. Be curious. Having periods of disconnection from the internet is also a great practice.

9. Don’t be afraid to try something new

Yes, you know the place you go every year is great, but maybe it’s time to give somewhere else a chance and experience something new. Do that thing you’ve always been meaning to.

Now… get up and go 🙂 and comment where you’re headed below!
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Ollie O’Loughlin’s Guide to Airport Beers

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For this post I interviewed my hubby, who is Australian and therefore has traveled a hell of a lot more than I have. Over the years, he has basically perfected the art of drinking in airports around the world and considers himself “the man, the myth, the legend of airport beers”. I wanted to share this very important information on the blog and give some tips and insight to help you improve upon your own airport drinking skills.

Allison: Welcome to the Daydreamer Next Door–excited to have you here today! For starters, can you run us through a situation that comes to mind when you hear the words airport beers?

Ollie: When it comes to airport drinking there are several thousand stories I can tell and most of them would be some of the best stories I could ever tell, but lets keep it simple for now. There’s almost a beauty to it, and when I say beauty I don’t glorify alcohol abuse or drinking alone unless you’ve had a hard day at work and you’re sharing a glass of wine with your pet cat, but the sense of adventure could make a sober person want to have at least one beer before their trip into the unknown. So once you check your bags and you clear security and you’ve passed the bomb test which you’re holding your breathe you don’t get, even a sane man feels a little thirsty. You scour the airport like a rat looking for the next best piece of cheese, and then all of the sudden you find a bar where there’s a seat, television screen, and a bunch of people who look like they could offer good chat. You order your first beer–you’ve got your hometown favorite, take one of those. While your passport is on the bar the person next to you says, “where are you heading?” You reply with great excitement telling them your destination, and before you know it you’re in a great conversation, and that’s even before you leave. Fast forward… you’re cheers-ing and walking toward your gate. You have a few on the plane, and then you reach your dreaded lay over which no one wants to have. After about 8 hours of sleep, which on a plane feels like 1, you feel like a busted asshole. So the first thought that comes to mind is how can I cure the thirst that feels like an unfillable well? You walk the foreign terminal lands like Napoleon discovering the north pole. You finally deem a bar worthy of your 2 hour layover. You look at the draft beer, the taps behind the bartenders. Some of them you’ve seen, some of them you have not. You decide “what the hell,” and you dive into a beer you’ve never even heard the name of. One sip in, the bartender asks you if you like it? You reply yes with all the politeness your mother taught you from a young age. Your passport on the bar now carries a lot more weight than it did back home. Before you know it, you’re talking to several people from several different countries all because they can identity the Australian cross. There have been times I’ve had a full blown conversation with someone form a nation I do not even know of or the language they were speaking… but we bonded over one thing at the bar and that was a sure nod at the scoring of a soccer goal. This and a whole world of possibilities opens up when you participate in airport drinking. I can’t wait for my next airport beer!

Allison: What would you say are the top 3 benefits of airport beers?

Ollie: Meeting new friends, being more relaxed on a flight (flying is scary and very uncomfortable especially for a large man), and some of the airport bars I’ve been to are better than normal bars and usually do good food too.

Allison: How do you know what area to settle down in?

Ollie: Me personally I always look for a place with a lot of screens because there’s almost always sport on. And a place with a lot of taps because you know they have a variety of beers. I prefer a more open space versus a tiny bar. Being closer to your gate is also ideal–catching a tram 3 terminals away means more time between your last beer at the bar and the next beer on the flight.

Allison: With all this liquid, how do you time your last bathroom break?

Ollie: The best time is right after closing out your tab but before boarding. You know once you hop on a flight it’s about an hour or more until the seat belt sign turns off.

Allison: What’s the number one tip you can offer?

Ollie: Rule number one is never let anyone know how many beers you’ve had. You need to be let on the flight and also allowed more alcohol in the air.

Allison: Do you ever have cocktails or is it just beers?

Ollie: I personally only have beers purely because if you spend a couple grand on a plane ticket the extra $3 for a cocktail doesn’t seem worth it until you get to your destination.

Allison: What time is it acceptable to start drinking?

Ollie: As soon as the bar opens which is usually 6 am. It’s the one place in the world where it’s acceptable to drink beers at 6 am.

Allison: What are your favorite airport bars around the world?

Ollie: My top three are the Qantas first class lounge in Sydney, Hard Rock Cafe in Singapore, and Stone Brewery in San Diego. I really like Indianapolis Airport because they have a sick Lids store, it’s never busy, and the people are nice. Drinking Guinness in Dublin Airport was also fun while watching Air Lingus planes take off.

Allison: Thank you for joining us and walking us through how to make the most of an airport drinking session!
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Reflecting on Time With Jord Watches: My 1 Year Blogiversary

Quite often as I’m scrolling through the blogs I follow, I come across their anniversary posts. Reflections on the past year of their blogs-two, three, and even more years having passed since they first started. Then it dawned on me that I too have a blog and realized that it’s already turning a year old. So I’ve decided to join in on the tradition of posting a “blogiversary” post each year.

My blog all started a year ago when I decided I needed a creative outlet. I had recently moved to the west coast and started my big girl job in pharmacy, which is obviously highly scientific and structured. Then football season came around and I realized every Sunday for the NFL season (and even most Saturdays for college football) would have to be spent at home so Ollie could watch all the games. This gave me more free time and left me a little bored considering I don’t care to watch every single game if the Bears or Dolphins aren’t on. I spent more time reading, daydreaming about travel, and remembering the previous trips I’ve taken. I had an urge to write about it all, so I got on WordPress and started, without knowing how blogs work or what direction I was heading.

When I first considered writing a blogiversary post, I was hesitant. I felt like I hadn’t accomplished much or anything worth writing about. Some blogs and instagrams have thousands upon thousands of followers by the time they turn one. That definitely wasn’t the case for me; however, as I thought about it more, I realized I had accomplished a lot and that this first year was worth documenting and remembering even just for my sake-which is why I started my blog, for me and only me. If people want to follow along then that’s just a very welcome bonus.

So here are some things I’m proud of and some journeys I’ve been on this year:

  • I’ve stayed with it and still feel inspired every day
  • I put a lot of thought into my vision and target audience to try and post more consistent content
  • I renamed my blog to “The Daydreamer Next Door”
  • I reached out to a graphic designer to collaborate on a logo in the future
  • I started an Instagram page specifically related to my blog and to highlight travel
  • I invested in a nice camera to post high quality photos
  • I started playing around with making videos of my travels using said camera
  • I started reaching out to tourism boards for potential collaborations-no bites yet but good practice!
  • I took a promotion at work so I now have weekends off and more vacation time (making things happen with 1 week paid vacation and working every 2nd weekend was very challenging)

Last but not least, I started collaborating with Jord Watches which has been so fun and wouldn’t have been possible without my blog and social platforms. I’m so excited to be able to offer my readers a chance to win $75 off a gorgeous women’s watch or men’s watch. The contest goes until September 25 and just by entering you are guaranteed a $20 off voucher (all vouchers must be used by 1/31/17). I choose to get Frankie which is made with natural zebra wood and has a navy face-the perfect shade for me considering I so often find myself on the beach chilling by the ocean. It’s a unique watch-simple and neutral all while making a statement with the large face and pop of blue. It’s also been a cool watch to take on my travels because it matches so much of my wardrobe and quickly makes me feel more put together and accessorized. Thank you Jord Watches for making me feel like a more fashionable adult and for helping me keep track of the time that passes by always too quickly. I can’t believe my blog is already a year old. Instead of receiving presents on its birthday, it’s offering them haha! Click the link below to enter my contest! Much love to those who read along. And hey it’s football season again which means more time to write 😉

https://www.woodwatches.com/g/thedaydreamernextdoor

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This post was sponsored by Jord Wood Watches, but my opinions will always be my own.

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Luxury Wood Watch

Exploring California: Napa Valley Edition

Our first time in Napa turned out to be a great introduction. We started at Domain Carneros, which was the perfect spot to begin. The winery is home to a massive, French-inspired chateau, which instantly impressed us. With gorgeous views of the grounds all around, we sat for a wine tasting and opted for a mix of white and red. The server poured the wine and explained a bit about each one which I found so interesting and fun. With every sip I was trying to really taste the flavors and learn. Being so engaged made the experience much more memorable. How could you not be happy with these views and a drink in your hand?

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After the first wine tasting (which we paired with a delicious cheese plate), we strolled around and admired the property. Those grapes are going to become some fantastic wine down the track 😉 Then we were off to lunch at R+D Kitchen, a sister restaurant to Rutherford Grill. We grabbed a few drinks while waiting for our table inside. The outdoor area was a relaxing oasis with lots of greenery. The restaurant actually uses the herbs they grow out here as well which I loved.

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We then did a little driving tour, which allowed us to see a few more wineries since we were there for such a short visit. Opus One was very unique and impressive. I’ve never seen a building like it.

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On our way to one last winery, we stopped for a photo at the Napa Valley sign! What a beautiful region of California to explore.

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We ended up at Menage a Trois Winery for one last glass. They have a cute bar and gift shop inside and serve wine from 3 different labels. I loved how quaint the outdoor area was, mountain view included. My wine was so white it was practically clear-not a bad drop.

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After all the wine on Saturday, we decided to go for the craft beer on Sunday and spent a few hours at Berryessa Brewery Company. The beer was great (and very affordable)! They have a food truck on site and have live music most of the time.

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Visiting Napa for the first time can be overwhelming, since there are so many great options. I would recommend making reservations at a nice, fancy place that you for sure don’t want to miss out on to begin. From there, finding somewhere for lunch is a good idea, so you can experience at least one restaurant and get some food in you to prepare for more drinking. After lunch, stop into 2-3 other wineries to make the most of your day and to make sure you taste a variety of wines (we sampled more expensive wines as well as brands you can get for $10 at the store). With a stomach full of good food and good wine, you’ll sleep like a baby when night rolls around! The thing about Napa is all the wineries are beautiful-it’s hard to go wrong.

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Exploring our state: Malibu, Hollywood, and Venice Beach

Since moving to California last year, I’ve jumped at the opportunity to explore more of our new state. Ollie and I spent a sunny weekend in July checking out Malibu, Hollywood, and Venice Beach (finally utilizing our proximity to LA). Although they were all quite touristy, I still wanted to see what the hype was about at least once. We strolled along Malibu Pier, the Walk of Fame, and Venice Beach. The color of the water in Malibu took my breath away. Getting to see the Harry Potter square in Hollywood was so much fun since I’m such a huge fan. And even though I wasn’t too impressed by Venice Beach, it is pretty famous and I’m glad I got to experience it. Here are some snaps from the weekend… I love you California!

Check out the vlog here: Malibu, Hollywood, and Venice Beach

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How to Spend a Layover in Dallas

Dallas Fort Worth is a busy airport hosting a slue of connecting flights. Ollie and I had a stop there on our flight from Chicago to San Diego and missed our connection due to maintenance issues and a flight delay in the windy city. We decided to make a day out of our layover, since neither of us had been to Texas before. We arrived at our hotel around 11 pm and were out the door by 10 am the following morning (we wanted to get a good nights rest). We had to head back to the airport at 2:30, which gave us about 4 solid hours to explore Dallas.

Our first stop was ATT Stadium, home of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys. It is located about 25 minutes outside the city center.  It cost  ~$17 to do a self-guided tour which gives you access to the field, players and cheerleaders locker rooms, post game interview room, and bars that only the fans with private suites get to use. You can also do a VIP Tour, Art Tour, and more. We opted to do the self-guided tour so we could go at our own pace and not be stuck with a crowd. We are not Cowboys fans, but that didn’t make the tour any less fun. The stadium is very impressive, and I would recommend it to anyone slightly interested in sports. The huge screen is so amazing to see in person! You also can’t beat being able to run around on a real NFL field.

I’m a sucker for views, which led us to our next stop–Reunion Tower. It is in the city and offers a great view of the skyline. There is a rotating bar/cafe at the top where we passed time enjoying a few beers. Reunion Tower entrance is also ~$17. They have interactive TVs at the top to show you the highlights of the city and give some information about the assassination of JFK. Once we noticed how close we were to that infamous block, we knew we would have to head over to check it out before leaving for the airport (it was a 10 minute walk to the site). We would have gone into the museum if we had some extra time, but we at least got to see the X’s on the ground where the shots hit the president. It was crazy to stumble upon something so historic during our unexpected layover.

Our short time in Dallas was the perfect way to wait for a flight, mixing excitement, relaxation, and history. I definitely recommend getting out of the airport and checking out this city if you have a few hours to spare on a layover!

Check out the Dallas vlog here

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Joshua Tree National Park Photo Diary

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And California continues to impress.

Jasna and I decided to take the scenic route back to San Diego after attending Coachella, and it doesn’t get much better than road tripping through a national park with your bestie! We had both wanted to visit Joshua Tree for quite some time, and it did not disappoint.

Here’s how we spent a few hours exploring (but there is so much more to do if you have a longer amount of time): Our first stop was the Cholla Cactus garden. They were so unique and beautiful. We also had fun wandering around on the deserted street-hardly any cars came through this area. Then we made our way to the Oasis Visitor Center, which I’m very happy we did. Planning for the madness that is Coachella did not leave either of us with much time to plan our day in Joshua Tree. While at the visitor center, they showed us a couple must sees that we would have regretfully missed out on otherwise. We stopped at Skull Rock which blew us both away! I had to get a mature picture of me picking its nose. Then we continued the drive to Keys View. From here you can see Mexico, Palm Springs, the Salton Sea, snow covered mountains, and the San Andreas fault. I had to get the map out to try and figure out where exactly the fault line was, but it was so exhilarating being so close to it! The end of our drive was through tree-lined winding roads where we stopped for some last minute pictures.

I loved every minute we spent in Joshua Tree National Park- it’s the perfect combination of strange and stunning.