Todaiji Temple Nara
Podcast

Episode 24: Sightseeing in Japan

  • Hiroshima Peace Museum– Photo below is of the one building left partially standing after the explosion.  It has been reinforced and now serves as a visual reminder of the devastation caused by an atomic bomb.
  • Kabuki Performance– Kabuki is a classical Japanese dance-drama. Kabuki theatre is known for the stylization of its drama and for the elaborate make-up worn by some of its performers.
  • Kamogawa Odori Performance Kyoto– No photos can be taken during the show.  This photo is of the advertisement hanging outside the venue.
  • Nippon Professional Baseball- In Japan they have “beer girls” who run up and down the stadium offering beer for purchase. 
  • Beautiful Buddhist Temple Photos- 
    • Todaiji Temple in Nara- includes the largest indoor Buddha statueKoyasan- mountain top with 117 Buddhist Temples.  We stayed overnight at Fudouin.
  • Peaceful Shinto Shrine Photos-
    • Photo- Small Shinto Shrine tucked into a downtown Tokyo street in the Ginza DistrictPhoto- Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto is one of the most well known Japanese shrines due to its many red torii gates.
  • My favorite food- souffle pancakes at A Happy Pancake (Tokyo and Osaka
geisha walking
Podcast

Episode 23: Travel to Japan

  • Sandy’s Itinerary
  • Japan Rail Pass is an economical way to travel on multiple train trips in Japan (including bullet trains).  Must be purchased in advance of your trip and can be done online. A voucher will be sent to your U.S. home and then is exchanged for the actual Rail Pass in Japan.  With a Rail Pass, seat reservations can be made on specific trains. Visitors can also purchase one-way/roundtrip train tickets at the train station.
Los Cabos
Blog

The Beauty of Los Cabos Mexico

You might expect beautiful beaches and palm trees in Mexico, but how about cactus, desert and mountains? You won’t find those in Cancun! For a beautiful beach destination that also has the feel of the Arizona desert and the mountains of Southern California, check out the Los Cabos area. Located at the southern tip of the Baja Peninsula, you’ll find the beauty of Los Cabos. Enjoy lounging on the beach, sipping a cocktail at the swim up bar, snorkeling with whale sharks, whale watching from a catamaran or the nightlife of Cabo San Lucas. Regardless of your activity preferences, you’re guaranteed to be surrounded by the beauty of the area.

Los Cabos sunrise
Los Cabos sunrise
plane at sunrise
Podcast

Episode 19: In Transit – High Flying

  • Booking:
    • Discount flight notifications for deals from your nearest airport delivered to your email nearly daily for  $25/year – NextVacay.com
    • Join frequent flyer programs and look for ways to double dip
    • Prices often change late Monday nights so Tuesday is the best time to shop. Some advice suggests 3pm EST is the best time to shop for a fare on Tuesdays.
  • At the airport:
    • Research baggage prices and buy ahead – find out if the prices will increase if you wait to purchase at the airport
    • Also research size requirements as weight and dimension can differ by airline
    • Container store has nice small bottles for carry-on fluids
    • TSA Pre-check or  Global Entry are nice options for reducing your wait and streamlining your security experience; your credit company may reimburse this – look into it
    • Clear is a new option in a few airports
    • Global Entry is also a nice option which helps you clear customs faster when returning from out of the county; it includes TSA pre-check benefits
white airliner wing on top of sea clouds
Blog

Beware of the Basic Economy Airline Tickets

We’re all looking for a good deal on airfare and today’s easy access to travel sites allows us to compare and contrast fares across airlines. Travelers may expect to tack on additional costs to the ultra low cost carriers’ tickets but beware that the basic economy tickets on major carriers may also lack some of the standard options. These lower ticket prices may include restrictions like no seat choice, no carry on baggage, no upgrades and no qualifying frequent flyer miles. Read the fine print and be sure that the airline ticket you purchase does in fact include the options that are important to you. We love a good deal at LTP, but not at the expense of our upgrade eligibility!

woman walking on pathway while strolling luggage
Blog

Don’t Lose Your TSA PreCheck Privileges

Do you enjoy the (usually) shorter lines and less hassle of the TSA PreCheck line? If so, you’d probably be disappointed to be declined the opportunity to enter that line because your membership expired. These memberships are only good for 5 years.

The TSA began selling PreCheck memberships in December 2013. More than 420,000 travelers signed up in the first six months, with a total of 750,000 travelers signed up in the first year. This means that thousands of memberships are expiring each month this year. Most users can renew their membership for $85 through an easy online process and memberships can be renewed up to 6 months in advance of the expiration date. To learn more, check out the TSA website .

black car interior
Podcast

Episode 17: In transit – Renting a Ride

  • How to decide if you should rent:
    • Consider what mass transit and ride share options are available
    • If trying to cover a lot of ground and see a variety of sights, you will probably want the convenience of having your own car.
    • Costs can also be a factor. Sometimes it is cheaper to rent a car to get to and from your destination than ride share or taxis.
  • Rental tips:
    • Loyalty programs can have advantages for rates and efficiency – often getting to skip past the rental counter and go straight to the car
    • Cars may also be cheaper through 3rd party booking sites like Orbitz, Priceline & Expedia
    • Prices can fluctuate so it is worthwhile to look frequently in case a better deal is now available. Most reservations can be cancelled ahead of time with no penalty so you may decide to rebook a cheaper rate or to upgrade to a larger car class.
  • Reservation tips
    • Never pay full price – look for coupons (like in the Entertainment book)
    • Pay attention to what kind of deposit the rental car company expects – this can vary greatly when you travel global
    • Research the baggage space to know you have enough space
    • Smaller cars generally work better in Europe
  • Check the car before you leave the lot
    • Take picture of any damage on the car before you leave the lot
    • Don’t sign a damage form before looking the car over
    • Adjust your seat, mirrors, etc. before you leave the rental lot
    • The gas gauge tells you which side to pump the gas