7 Airbnb Tips for First-Timers

1. Browse every page

There is a method that Airbnb uses when deciding the ranking of their listings. Instant book, pricing, and image orientation are just a few of the factors the booking site uses to decide which posts receive the top slots. That means some of the most popular listings may not be on the first few pages of a search. They might be several pages into a search, and can be easily missed out on if you only browse through the first few listings.

2. Start booking early

If you are looking to stay in a highly trafficked or popular area, chances are there are many other travelers looking for a place to stay on the same dates as you. People like to book their trip in advance, making the number of listings decrease and the chances of finding the kind of place you want less likely. Book well in advance so that you have more options and a better chance of finding a place you love.

3. Search with/without filters

Filters are a great way to weed out listings that aren’t what you are looking for. Airbnb allows you to filter things such as instant book, amenities, type of place, number of rooms and beds, host language, property types, price, number of guests, and more. With that being said, filters can be super helpful but sometimes you’ll miss out on an great listing by using them. Try your search first with the filters you wish to have, and then try searching again without them.

4. Read guest reviews

Reviews are the only legitimate feedback that potential guests have when considering staying at an Airbnb property. Read several of the reviews to get overall gist of what the place is like, and any feedback that is repetitive or seems to be a popular opinion amongst past guests so you can book according to your needs and wants.

5. Make note of any added fees

Airbnb racks on extra fees to the nightly total which can cost a huge amount after it is all said and done. Some cleaning fees cost up to $100, which can easily double the nightly cost that is listed. If there is a super extravagant place that is listed for $100, chances are that price does not include the additional fees, so be aware of any additional charges. After selecting your desired dates the total will likely double in amount from what the price is set as originally.

6. Communicate with your host

Whether it be via the phone, email, texting, or directly though the Airbnb website or app, stay in touch with your potential host to make sure that you’re both on the same page. This way you’ll be able to ask them questions directly and they can provide you with everything you need to make your stay smooth sailing.

7. Leave an honest review

Once your trip has ended, Airbnb asks that you add a review of the listing that is made public. Be honest with you review. Many negative or nasty reviews are flagged and are not posted on the Airbnb website, so don’t attempt to be hateful , but be honest. Give constructive criticism and explain in detail how your trip went. It’s super important that you give honest feedback so that other potential guests who will likely be reading your review can book their own stay accordingly.

10 Tips For The Perfect Road Trip

1. Tidy Up

Clean your car before and during your trip. The last thing you want is a cluttered and messy car when traveling in it for long periods of time. Whenever there’s a trash barrel available, pick out the trash from your backseat that may be lingering and toss it out to avoid a nasty pile-up.


2. Food & Drinks

Avoid stopping at any chain gas stations with mini-marts in them. Try and hit a grocery store or Target in advance and stock up on your favorite snacks so that you don’t wind up paying a ridiculous price for a candy bar. A cooler is a great addition to have in your vehicle. Ice can be easily purchased at most gas stations or markets. This is an easy way to get fresh food along for the road so that you don’t feel obligated to stop at every drive-thru you see.


3. Road-trip playlist

Before hitting the road make sure that you create a road-trip playlist with at least fifty songs or more on it. Download your music directly to your phone so that when you’re in ‘offline mode’ you won’t loose access to your tunes.

Click here for road trip playlist ideas.


4. Car Maintenance

Before hitting the road it is important that you get your oil changed regularly (and on time) and check up on general issues just to be cautious. Invest in AAA or roadside assistance as well in the event you break down. Even if you aren’t exactly sure how to use them, invest in a pair of jumper cables. If you wind up with a dead battery in the middle of no where, someone could easily help you get your car running but you’ll need the cables in order to do so. If you don’t have an air pressure monitor in your car, make it a routine to check your tire pressure manually at regular intervals, just to be on the safe side.


5. Fuel Up

It sounds silly and a tad bit obvious, but get gas when you need to. Don’t push those extra few miles when your gas light is on just to make better timing. When you see that your tank is 1/4 or less filled, stop to fill up at the closest gas station. Don’t be quick to assume that there will be another gas station nearby that’s open, especially late at night and in more remote locations.


6. Rest Stops

When you’re too tired to continue driving it’s best that you pull into a rest area or truck top and take a power-nap. If you want to sleep for the night, rent a cheap hotel or make a DIY bed in your backseat. Bring a small travel pillow (or full sized pillow), plenty of blankets, and keep them in your trunk to have handy when exhaustion hits.


7. Planing Ahead

If you are planning to do long miles on a road trip, it’s fairly easy to find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time. Map out your route and be aware of any trouble spots such as long bridges, highly conjested areas, cities, road work zones, closed roads, etc.


8. Safety

Be sure to make it a habit to always lock your car when you leave it. Even if you’re just going into a gas station super quick – you just never know. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Take the most important valuables (wallet and cell phone) with you. Avoid leaving valuables such as cameras, laptops and other valuables in the car, espeically in the open. If you need to leave these items in your vehicle then make sure to fully cover them from plain view. 


9. Offline maps

You aren’t always going to have access to online data when driving through more remote areas without cell towers nearby. This means an online navigation app like Waze could run out of map resources, leaving you without a navigation system to guide your route.


10. Scenic routes

Always take the scenic route when on a road trip. One resource you can check out is the Official Scenic Byways website and search for the states you plan on driving through. Set aside some extra time to explore around and stop at any pull-off scenic areas/vistas along the way. Don’t forget the camera!

The Most Instagramable Food In NYC

1. Milk Bar

2. Ice & Vice

3. Cha Cha Matcha

4. Tipsy Scoop

5. DŌ, Cookie Dough

6. Black Tap

7. Wowfulls

8. Taiyaki

9. Stuffed Ice Cream

10. Chip

11. LROOM Cafe

12. Mangolia Bakery

13. Bibble & Sip

14. Pietro Nolita

15. Broken Coconut

16. Sweet Churros

17. Soft Swerve

View this post on Instagram

This cone slaps 👌 📸: @baleytastes

A post shared by Soft Swerve (@softswervenyc) on

18. The End Brooklyn

19. The Bagel Store

20. Gelso & Grand

21. Matchaful

22. Bona Bona

23. Bar Pa Tea

24. Blank Slate Tea

View this post on Instagram

Glasses up! It's #nationalicedteaday ✨✨

A post shared by Blank Slate Tea (@blankslatetea) on

25. Matcha N’ More

26. Eggloo

27. Flour Shop

20 U.S. National Parks To Add To Your Bucket List

1. Joshua Tree National Park

Located in the state of California and covering large areas of the Colorado and Mojave Deserts and the Little San Bernardino Mountains, Joshua Tree National Park gets its name from the vast stands of Joshua trees. The terrain varies greatly, from bleached sand dunes, dry lakes, rugged mountains, and scattered clusters of monzogranite monoliths.

2. Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, home to the Appalachian Mountains, spans over a wide range of elevation. The Appalachian Trail winds through the park for roughly 70 miles, and hiking is the park’s main attraction. Hiking is the park’s main attraction. Other activities include fishing, horseback riding, and touring nearly 80 historic structures.

3. Zion National Park

Zion National Park is located near Colorado Plateau, Great Basin, and Mojave Desert. The park features sandstone landmarks such as mesas, rock towers, and canyons, including the Virgin River Narrows. They are divided into four ecosystems: desert, riparian, woodland, and coniferous forest.

4. Redwoods National Park

Redwood National Park protects almost half of all remaining coastal redwoods, the tallest trees on earth. There are three large river systems in the area, and 37 miles of protected coastline reveal tide pools and seastacks. The park contains several forest ecosystems that contain a wide variety of animal and plant species.

5. Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park includes 26 glaciers and 130 named lakes surrounded by Rocky Mountain peaks. The local mountains, formed by an overthrust, reveal many Paleozoic fossils that include trilobites, mollusks, giant ferns and dinosaurs.

6. North Cascades National Park

North Cascades National Park includes two geographically distinct units of the national park, including Ross Lake and Lake Chelan National Recreation Areas. Popular hiking and climbing areas include Cascade Pass, Mount Shuksan, Mount Triumph, and Eldorado Peak.

7. Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park covers the majority of Mount Desert Island, Acadia National Park features the tallest mountain on the Atlantic coast of the United States. With  granite peaks, ocean shoreline, woodlands, and large lakes. The summit of Cadillac Mountain is also known for its impeccable sunrise view on the East Coast, with hiking or driving options.

8. Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park, outlined by the Colorado River, is 277 miles long, roughly 1 mile deep, and up to 15 miles miles wide. Years of erosion have exposed the rock formation and the colors of the Colorado Plateau in mesas and canyon walls. The Grand Canyon sees roughly 6.5 million visitors per year.

9. Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park is a geological amphitheater on the Paunsaugunt Plateau with tall, multicolored sandstone hoodoos formed by many years of erosion. The region was originally settled by Native Americans and later by Mormon pioneers.

10. Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park is the hottest, lowest, and driest place in the entire country. The temps during the day have exceeded 130 degrees. The park protects canyons, badlands, sand dunes, mountain ranges, historic mines, springs, and more than 1000 species of plants which grow in the surrounding area.

11. Canyonlands National Park

Canyonlands National Park contains eroded into plethora of canyons, buttes, and mesas formed by the Colorado River, Green River, which divide the park into three distinct sections. The park also includes rock pinnacles and arches.

12. Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park contains the tallest mountain in the Teton Range. The park includes Jackson Hole and lakes with endemic wildlife. The safe-covered valley is cloaked with a backdrop of craggy, tall mountains.

13. Denali National Park

Denali National Park is a serviced by a single road leading to Wonder Lake. Denali is the tallest mountain in North America and is covered with long glaciers and boreal forest. The park contains wildlife including  grizzly bears, dall sheep, caribou, and gray wolves.

14. Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park is a large collection of buttes, pinnacles, spires, and mixed-grass prairies. The White River Badlands contain the largest supply known of Eocene and Oligocene mammal fossils. There is a variety of wildlife in the park including bison, bighorn sheep, prairie dogs, and black-footed ferrets.

15. Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park has ecosystems varying from riparian lakes to montane and subalpine forests to alpine tundra. The Continental Divide Trail crosses through the park as well. There is a vast variety of wildlife in the park, including mule deer, bighorn sheep, black bears, and cougars. Longs Peak is a very highly popular place to visit, reaching over 12,000 feet.

16. Arches National Park

The area features over 2,000 natural sandstone arches. Millions of years of erosion have created these structures located in a desert climate where they serve as water collecting basins. Other formations in this area include stone pinnacles, fins, and balancing rocks.

17. Yellowstone National Park

The park has an expansive number of geothermal areas including boiling mud pots, bright colored hot springs, and erupting geyser. The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River contains several high waterfalls, and four mountain ranges traverse the park. Yellowstone is best known for its high wildlife presence.

18. Sequoia National Park

The park protects the Giant Forest, home to some of the world’s largest trees. Other features include over 200 caves, a segment of the Sierra Nevada including the tallest mountain in the contiguous United States, and Moro Rock, a large granite dome.

19. Saguaro National Park

Split between the Rincon Mountain and Tucson Mountains, this park is filled the giant saguaro cacti. There are barrel cacti, chollas, and prickly pears, as well as lesser long-nosed bats, spotted owls, and javelinas.

20. Great Sand Dunes National Park

The tallest sand dunes in North America, up to 750 feet tall, are located within this park. There is a variety of grasslands, shrublands, and wetlands, along with several alpine lakes, six 13,000-foot mountains, and old-growth forests.

20 Tips For Solo Travel

1. Pack light

Only pack the necessities. If you’re traveling for a few days, don’t bring a weeks worth of clothes and shoes. You want to to pack as light as possible. You’re going to save money and be more mobile if you pack light. Ditch the high heels or hiking boots if that means a little less weight in your suitcase.

2. Set a budget

Make a budget for yourself before hitting the road. Stick to that budget, but bring along extra funds in case of an emergency event. Pick a budget before leaving and make it a goal to stick with it. Hold yourself accountable for every purchase you make and how much money you spend in total.

3. Smile

Be friendly! While visiting a new city or town you want to smile and look like you’re excited to be there. Smiling means you are happy, friendly, approachable, kind. A smile can also initiate a conversation with a stranger and you may get to learn a thing or two.

4. Save your pennies

Make sure to save up enough money prior to your trip. Set aside a travel fund and don’t touch the money until you leave for your trip. Give yourself 6 months or more to save up enough money so that you can prioritize your funds when on the road. Don’t spend money on foolish things you don’t need or aren’t an absolute necessity.

5. Travelers insurance

Getting traveler insurance is always a smart idea when you travel often. If you don’t buy travel insurance, you will be held  responsible for anything that goes wrong. With the purchase of traveler insurance, you can claim many expenses back, which can be a lifesaver when traveling.

6. Bring books

Reading is a great activity to do while traveling solo not only on your flight, but throughout your day. Bring plenty of reading materials. If you start to feel uneasy sitting alone in a public place, you can open up a book, take out your phone, or read a magazine to take your mind off of it.

7. Adapt

Adapting to a new area can be a challenge, especially when you’re only visiting for a short period of time. Adapt as much as possible so that you feel at home and comfortable during your stay. Try to blend in with the crowd. Radiate confidence and walk purposefully so you don’t look like an easy target. You want people to think you are from the area, to avoid any issues or unwanted interactions. Act like you own the place.

8. Book accordingly

When booking a place to stay, many websites offer a “work trip” option which usually indicates you will be traveling solo. Some places even offer dorm style lodging with communal areas including kitchens, living spaces, and even bedrooms with bunk beds.

9. Take a tour

Take a tour of the area you’re visiting and learn more about the culture and backstory. Take a tour of a brewery, museum, art exhibit, sightseeing attractions, full day excursions, etc. A guided tour can be a good way to meet new people and experience the area firsthand.

10. Ask a local

Nothing beats asking a local for their food recommendations. They will point you to the best spots in town. They will know where to go and where not to go, and save yourself the trouble of an unpleasant experience. The locals in the area will know the very best places to see when visiting the area. Ask where they’d recommend eating, sightseeing, exploring, and anything that’s not to be missed!

11. Ditch the valuables

A lot of hotels and accommodations offer a lock box or safe to store your personal and valuable items. Keep your passport and other important documents secure. Have backup copies on you and at home with your trusted contact or family members. Avoid carrying a big purse if possible.

12. Board flights early

Give yourself enough time to board your flight with time to kill. The last thing you want to be doing is running down the airport terminal so that your the plane doesn’t take off without you. Always confirm that your flight is on schedule before leaving for the airport. If you have a lay over or connecting flight, gather all the information you need before boarding your first flight to make the connection go smoothly and without any issues.

13. Plan ahead

Make sure that you familiarize yourself with the areas local transportation and know how you’ll be getting around during your stay. Plan a ride from the airport to your accommodations that is reasonably priced. Taxis can ring up a large, unwanted bill! Take local transit if walking is out of the question. If you are going to a non-English speaking country, research how the system works before you arrive, or ask someone at the hotel you’re staying at before heading out. Be sure to be on the look out for passes and special deals for tourists visiting the area.

14. Establish a routine

Try and establish a daily routine when traveling for extended periods of time. Go for a run, get a 7-day trial pass for the local gym, find a spot that offers happy hour deals. Visit the same café or restaurant every day and you will quickly get to know the people who work there.

15. VPN

VPNs are extremely helpful when traveling and needing to connect to WiFi frequently. Public Wi-Fi is not always the most reliable source. Sign up for a month of VPN for just $10 or a year for about $69. You can renew your membership after the month subscription runs out if needed.

16. Keep in touch

Try and establish a daily routine when traveling for extended periods of time. Go for a run, get a 7-day trial pass for the local gym, find a spot that offers happy hour deals. Visit the same café or restaurant every day and you will quickly get to know the people who work there.

17. Bring identification

You’ll want to bring cash, along with another form of currency when traveling. In the unfortunate event that your wallet or purse gets stolen, you’ll want a back up plan for money. This is why you should avoid carrying a large purse all together. Many places ask for back up identification. It’s always a good idea to have multiple forms of I.D. handy. Examples would be a drivers license, passport, identification card, birth certificate, credit or debit card, military I.D., etc.

18. Self protection

Bring a form of self protection in case of the unlikely event that you are in harm or feel that your safety is at risk. If you feel unsafe, seek the support of strangers – people of your choice. Look for a family or a couple to ask for assistance or fill them in on your current situation.

19. Ask for help

Ask a local about the area and spark a conversation. Don’t look lost or confused, even if you completely are. Ask someone where you are, or for directions to where you need to go. Ask them tips for getting around and what they recommend to use for transportation services.

20. Stay in public

To ensure that your safety is never compromised, stick to public places and don’t wander alone at night. You don’t want to arrive to your accommodations after night fall, so plan your flights and transportation accordingly so that you arrive during the day with time to spare in order to get situated and settled.

Top Destinations For Solo Travel

1.Melbourne

Melbourne is known as being one of the safest places to travel alone, especially for women. Australia is an English-speaking country, meaning it is easy for solo travelers to get around and communicate with the locals. People are happy to help you out and they are typically extremely friendly. Don’t forget to chat it up with the friendly locals and learn a thing or two about the culture!

2. Barcelona

Barcelona is a known to be a very walkable city, and people tend to be friendly and accommodating. Also, the dining options are great for a solo traveler too, and many have free some type of live entertainment show during dinner. Don’t forget to catch some local live entertainment while eating out for a meal!

3. New York City

New York City also known as the Big Apple is best known for solo travel because well – nothing closes. Ever. You can dine in a restaurant alone and nobody will think twice about it. There’s also tons of gourmet food markets to eat in NYC. There’s always something going on in the city that never sleeps. Don’t forget to treat yourself to a solo fine dining experience and hit up a local food truck for tacos at 4 am.

4. Dubrovnik

Getting around the city is easy in Dubrovnik; making it perfect for solo travelers. The city offers plenty of beautiful hiking trails, historic forts, and gorgeous beaches with views of the old town and city walls. There’s unlimited things to do and sights to see in Croatia. Don’t forget to hit the dirt trails and explore the beauty the area has to offer!

5. London

Visiting London is like getting the full European charm without culture shock or a language barrier. It’s the perfect destination for solo travelers, particularly females. There’s plenty to do, see, and eat in London, you’ll never run out of options. Don’t forget to learn about the culture over a cocktail with a friendly stranger.

6. Seattle

Getting around in Seattle is super easy. One can simply use the monorail, take a bus or street car. There’s plenty of things to see and do in Seattle. Head to Snoqualmie Falls, take a hike through the magical Olympic National Park forest for some of the most incredible, otherworldly sights you will ever lay your eyes on. Don’t forget to hang at a coffeehouse on a rainy afternoon and read a good book or hit up a local brewery for a full day brew tour and try out some new beers!

7. Bali

Bali is often deemed one of the ultimate places to travel alone for females, and for good reason. There’s great options for budget-friendly traveling and plenty of backpacking and hiking to be done. Book a solo-friendly accommodation, which is typically a traditional dorm style building with communal facilities. This is a great way to meet other fellow solo travelers in passing! Indonesia is also extremely inexpensive, once you’re there. Don’t forget to connect with other fellow solo travelers by mingling in the communal spaces they offer!

8. Portland

Portland has quite a reputation of having free-thinking residents, making it the ideal destination for solo travel. Fun fact: Portland is home to 75-plus breweries, more than any other city in the world. There’s plenty of great solo spots such as Powell’s City of Books and Voodoo Doughnut, both are not to be missed! Don’t forget to hit up a brewery. Or two. Try at least five new beers you’ve never even heard of!

9. Iceland

Known as being one of the most peaceful countries in the world, mostly due to its small population. The locals are usually extremely friendly and welcoming to visitors. Don’t forget to check out the Blue Lagoon while you’re visiting! Don’t forget to hit up the Blue Lagoon for some luxury solo R & R. Be sure that you don’t forget to call ahead of time because they tend to fill up quick!

10. Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is mainly a Buddhist country, and its residents are friendly and welcoming to all. The beautiful land is covered with tea plantations, ancient cities, forest reserves and mountains. On the coast you’ll find beautiful beaches, fancy resorts and lagoons. Don’t forget to check out the tea plantations while you’re there.

11. Denmark

Known for its friendly people and safe steets, start your solo adventure in Copenhagen and head to Nyhavn for some epic scenery and landmarks to visit. Be sure to take a stroll through Tivoli Gardens while you’re at it!

12. Costa Rica

Known to be the “happiest country in the world”, and for good reason. Costa Rica is perfect for a solo traveler with unlimited things to do and see along the way. From whitewater rafting to zip-lining through gorgeous rainforests, the lush waterfalls, and hiking in the Volcano National Park, there’s plenty to do for solo travelers!

How To Plan A Sunrise Hike

What could be more incredible than watching the sun rise from the top of a mountain? The White Mountains of New Hampshire are a beautiful place on an ordinary day, but once the first rays of sunlight peak over the mountain range, it’s something pretty special. Planning a sunrise hike can be tricky, but the extra preparation is always worth the pay off.

1. Pick a trail

Choose an easier trail you are familiar with. Pick a shorter, relatively easy, trail with incredible views. You don’t necessarily have to look to far-off destinations or the tallest peak to have an incredible sunrise hike. Sometimes those smaller summits with less mileage will provide some of the most incredible views at sunrise. Pick a trail carefully and mindfully.

2. Dress like an onion

Always prepare and pack for temps that are 20 degrees cooler than the expected forecast calls for. Without the warmth from the sun, the air is cool and brisk, even during the summer months. You’ll want to dress in layers, and always pack extra layers and a jacket. It’s important to think about the types of weather you’ll encounter when you head out for a sunrise hike, or any hike for that matter.

3. Be prepared

Bring a headlamp with extra batteries. Having a reliable lighting source is key when hiking in the dark, and don’t forget to pack an extra set of batteries! Also you should pack your gear carefully and know how to read a map and use a compass. A mug or Hydroflask of hot tea or coffee is the perfect morning pick-me-up for a sunrise hike.

4. Timing

Time it right. It’s important that you time out your hike accordingly, so that you don’t miss dawn. Give yourself 30 extra minutes of time to kill when planning your hike. Hiking in the dark requires a bit more patience, so make sure you give yourself plenty of time to reach the summit before the sun comes up. Determine how early you are willing to wake up to leave your home and consider the length of the drive you have when making your plans.

5. Pay attention

Be mindful of any wildlife, campsites, or other hikers on the trail. Pay close attention to your surroundings and maintain solid footing as much as possible.

6. Hike in groups

Use the buddy system. Never hike solo, especially at night. Bring a hiking buddy or buddies along to enjoy the trip with you. Groups of 3 or more is an ideal number when hiking at night into the early morning. There is power in numbers.

7. Leave your plans

You should also always plan on leaving your exact plans with a friend or family member to let them know where you plan to hike and how long you intend to be gone for.

8. Don’t bail

Set an alarm, and stick to it! That 3 am alarm clock isn’t going to be pretty, but you’ll be glad you went through with your plan. Sunrise hikes can be an awesome way to start your morning off right with the proper planning and execution.

Happy hiking!