Disneyland: Staying On-Site vs. Staying Off-Site

Hi everyone! I just got back from a fun trip to California, specifically Disneyland, the Happiest Place on Earth!

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On this trip, I debated whether I should stay on-site again, or if I should save some money and stay off-site. On both my previous trips to Disneyland, I stayed on-site, first at Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel, and then at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa. This trip, I thought about staying at the third Disney-owned hotel, the Disneyland Hotel. Looking at the prices for May 20-24, the lowest price I found was for $390/night, which was way more than I wanted to spend.

When I stayed at the Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa a few years ago, they had a deal to “buy two nights, get the third night free”, so the room ended up costing $298/night, which is still pretty steep. However, I really wanted to be immersed in the Disney environment, so I decided that paying that much would be worth it – and it totally was! Read More »

My Best Find: Raymond Weil Watch (Cartier Tank Look-Alike) for £7.50!

One of my hobbies is scouring places like eBay, charity shops (as they say in the UK), and stores like TJ Maxx and Marshalls for awesome deals. I mention my love of this in my Instagram and Twitter profiles, but I’ve never really posted about it. However, I figured I should post on a variety of topics that I enjoy, and deal-hunting is definitely one of them!

I’ve always loved the look of Cartier’s tank watch, with it’s graceful rectangle face and the elegant font of the numbers, but there’s no way I would pay those prices. It’s just so much for a watch! I’ve looked on eBay for pre-owned ones, but I thought the prices were still too much. I had resigned myself to settling for a much-less expensive watch.

They say you find what you’re looking for when you’re not looking, and that’s exactly what happened when I found my perfect watch, for a crazy-low price.

R Weil - Cartier Lookalike Watch

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Where to Go in London When You’re Traveling with Kids

Just like any major city, London has numerous options to keep you entertained no matter what your age. In this post, I’m going to skip some of the obvious touristy places (Tower of London, Hamleys toy store, Westminster Abbey, and the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace) and list other interesting things to see and do that both you and your kids will enjoy on your trip to London!

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When Trip Expectations Aren’t Met: Visiting Dublin’s Cliffs of Moher When it’s Raining

It’s been pouring rain here for the last 24 hours, and that reminded me of my trip to Dublin and the Cliffs of Moher where the rain unexpectedly caused our views to be nonexistent.

Have you ever planned a trip where you were so excited to visit a specific place, but then on the day of your visit, it’s pouring rain with absolutely no visibility due to thick fog. That’s what happened on my trip to Dublin, specifically on the day I was visiting the Cliffs of Moher.  I had seen beautiful photos online, so I was looking forward to seeing the beauty of that landscape in person. However, Mother Nature had different plans.

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Traveling to 4 Countries in 1 Day – Is it Worth It?

Need a new travel challenge? I definitely felt that way after experiencing most every possible travel situation: traveling with family, friends, and solo; traveling using tour companies; and traveling while planning every detail myself. Luckily I had some adventurous friends who were feeling the same way, and we decided to challenge ourselves and have each meal in a different country!

Our day’s itinerary: breakfast in Switzerland, lunch in Liechtenstein, a snack in Austria, and dinner in Germany. Not only that, we wanted to incorporate different types of transportation, including a bus, train, and a ferry. Read on to see if it was worth it or if everything felt too rushed!

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The Best Patisserie (Stohrer) and Ice Cream (Berthillon) in Paris

When you’re visiting Paris, you expect to be surrounded by delicious food, especially pastries and other sweets. Since there’s so much to choose from and so little time to try it all, I’ve done the “difficult” work by testing out some of the most popular places to make your decision much easier! Let’s find the best patisserie and ice cream in Paris!

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Let’s Visit the Warner Bros Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter!

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For fans of the books and films, there’s no better and unique place to visit than Warner Bros Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter. I’ve been to this studio tour twice, once when it first opened in 2012 and once again in 2016, and both visits were absolutely magical! There’s so much to see for both kids and adults, even if you’re not a fan of the series.

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Solo trip to Biltmore, Staying at the Inn at Biltmore Estate, & the Best Breakfast Buffet Ever!

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Biltmore Estate

On a trip to Newport, RI, I noticed a poster advertising the best privately-owned homes to visit in the US. The largest and most impressive was Biltmore Estate, located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville, NC. The unique architecture of the mansion was what really caught my eye – it’s amazing! I knew right then that I had my next holiday destination!

I read about it online and found that they decorate the estate for Christmas. Since Christmas is my favorite holiday and I usually visit Walt Disney World in December for Christmas, I decided to add an extra three days to my holiday and stop by North Carolina on my way back home from Orlando. This would be a solo trip as I would be spending one week at Disney with my sister, and then we would fly home separately since we live in different states. So how was staying right on the estate as a solo traveler during Christmas?

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Solo Holiday in London: Food & Museums in Covent Garden and Kensington

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Clusters of clouds at Covent Garden

Sometimes when I feel like traveling but don’t have enough money or time, I like to go to TripAdvisor, pick a city I want to visit, and look at the hotel rankings for that city. Maybe it’s my researcher side, but I like to see what hotels have available rooms for a timeframe I wish I could visit, like near my birthday or for a long weekend, and then research online to see if I can find the best prices. It’s kind of like when people use pretend money to invest in stocks, sometimes you win or lose money, but it’s all pretend.

However, there are times where I’d find a great deal on a nice hotel, but the flight to that city might be too expensive, negating any savings I might have had with the hotel deal. But on the rare occasion when the hotel is within driving distance, I might throw caution to the wind and say “why not?” – and I’d book the hotel for a much needed escape!

This is exactly what happened when I was feeling mentally drained from my PhD. I had just submitted my PhD thesis and was now in the middle of studying for my viva, which decides whether or not I earn my PhD. To take my mind off my stress, I went to TripAdvisor and looked at the top hotels in London just to see if there might be any good deals. Well, lo and behold, that day I found one!!

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An Inexpensive (Yet Comfortable) Way to Travel Around the UK, Specifically South Kent & London

When I’m feeling stressed from working on my PhD, I like to take a break by walking around Canterbury’s City Centre and browse the shops, get a snack, or read in a lovely park. Sometimes, though, that’s not enough and I need a proper mini-holiday away, or at least get away from Canterbury and any reminders of my studies! Since I don’t drive in the UK, I have to rely on public transportation. However, since we’re in the UK, forget about any misgivings you may have about traveling by bus. In the UK, the buses are very clean, on time, AND they’re mostly double decker!! The British might be used to these factors, but to me, it made traveling a little more fun.

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Stour River in Canterbury

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