The Weekend of Firsts: Pacific Surfliner and Hydrobikes

A childhood friend of mine, Rachel Fischer, visited me in Orange County and was looking to spend ample time gazing out at the Pacific Ocean. Due to the impending last few days of finals for summer semester I did not get to plan out a full itinerary as I had originally wanted to but there were two days I wanted to highly focus upon in this post…

Day 1 – “America’s Finest City,” San Diego

Rachel and I, took Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner into the Santa Fe Depot (SAN) which is the closest in proximity to the USS Midway Museum and other major attractions. Let me first take a moment to go over Amtrak’s easy to navigate online booking system…Amtrak’s website looks very similar to that of a major airline’s. I have already included some direct links to portions of their site that include maps of the Pacific Surfliner’s route and also the station my train pulled into. Another piece of information I wanted to point out is that there are discounts even for students!

I had only been on a train one other time going into Los Angeles, which is not the most scenic of routes, so I was determined to change my perception of our train system. I chose the Pacific Surfliner route to San Diego because I wanted to go somewhere Rachel and I could enjoy some views of the ocean–this was the right decision! Enjoying nice comfortable seats by the window, we watched the scenery roll by transitioning from agricultural greenery to tumbling waves and surfers. Wanting a full day in “America’s Finest City” we took the first train of the day at 6:52AM out of Anaheim (ANA) and arrived at the Santa Fe Depot (SAN) at exactly 9AM.

Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner making its last stop at the Santa Fe (SAN) Depot. - Tamara Mendoza/Suitable Travel Today

Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner making its last stop at the Santa Fe (SAN) Depot. – Tamara Mendoza/Suitable Travel Today

Upon arrival, I was immediately impressed with how well taken care of the Santa Fe Depot (SAN) station was and it made me excited for the changes currently being made to the Anaheim (ANA) station. Anaheim’s is located right next door to Angel’s Stadium, Disneyland Resort, Honda Center and The Grove, which will make it a central transportation hub. An article on the construction can be found here.

Downtown San Diego is one of the easiest areas for a tourist to get around and with the help of Uber is extremely cheap (several of my own trips were approximately between $5-10). Our first stop was less than five minutes away in Little Italy! It has been some sort of a tradition of ours to track down unique coffee shops for breakfast each morning of our vacations and the one I chose this particular morning was called Caffe Italia, located right in front of the Little Italy main entrance and sign. Caffe Italia was bustling with activity as regulars stumbled in for their routine brew of fresh ground coffee. I’m not too fond of coffee myself but quite enjoyed their Orange Baba: a combination of Strawberry banana gelato blended with orange juice and topped with whipped cream. There were also an assortment of delicious pastries, bagels and coffee cakes to choose from. If you’re like me the environment is a large factor in my enjoyment of wherever I’m dining and Caffe Italia’s indoor/outdoor patio seating with friendly staff and romantic serenading background music took their small little coffee shop to the next level. And for the animal lover, pets are welcomed and dog treats are complimentary!

Taking another UberX car, our driver Darren laughed with us and shared stories of his own experiences as a college student in Southern California (turns out he had even temporarily lived in Huntington Beach, Surf City U.S.A.). Darren dropped us off right at the park next to the USS Midway and since we had time to spare before we enjoyed a stroll before heading over to check-in with Hornblower Cruises for a two hour tour of the bay; check-in can be found right in front of the battleship. Once on the top deck of the boat passengers can purchase drinks and snacks while the captain provides facts about everything there is to see in the bay. Incredibly scenic views, the harbor cruise is a photographer’s paradise!

"America's Finest City," San Diego Bayfront - Tamara Mendoza/Suitable Travel Today

“America’s Finest City,” San Diego Bayfront – Tamara Mendoza/Suitable Travel Today

USS Midway - Tamara Mendoza/Suitable Travel Today

USS Midway – Tamara Mendoza/Suitable Travel Today

"Unconditional Surrender" invoking both Romance and Patriotism - Tamara Mendoza/Suitable Travel Today

“Unconditional Surrender” invoking both Romance and Patriotism – Tamara Mendoza/Suitable Travel Today

After our tour of the bay, waiting at the dock was a pedicab–I’ve never ridden in one before but since there were so many people looking as if they were enjoying themselves I just had to try one myself. Our driver’s name was Gary who had a simple bike, others blast memorable 90’s songs, I wish could remember the name of the pedicab company Gary works for but should anyone know he deserves recognition. Initially what I thought would be a short ride from here to the Seaport Village turned into another mini tour! Gary took us around the park we casually walked through and pointed out the World War II memorial statues and their importance. As we continued around he pointed out an aircraft carrier across from the USS Midway with a #70 painted on it–this particular vessel was the same that took down Osama Bin Laden. Watching her sit across the way a thought occurred to me: this is either the most dangerous or safest place to be right now. I settled with the latter, what better environment than being surrounded by our troops. Continuing on our ride, we headed towards the Maritime Museum where Rachel and I learned about each of the ships docked there. Among all of them I was extremely drawn to the HMS Surprise which was used in the filming of Pirates of the Carribean and in my opinion the most beautiful ship I had ever seen. Now it was a very hot day so Gary thought it would be fun to take us to the Waterfront Park located directly across the street from the Maritime Museum. We strolled with our feet in the cool water while we watched families playing around us and I was impressed at the level of customer service we were receiving on this simple pedicab ride. Relaxed and cooled off, we got back on the bike and headed toward our final stop, Seaport Village. After we said our goodbyes and gave Gary a generous tip, Rachel and I proceeded to explore some of the shops at the Seaport Village and even rode the carousel (which mind you goes extremely fast) before heading to the next stop on our itinerary.

Dine, educate and relax at Balboa Park - Tamara Mendoza/Suitable Travel Today

Dine, educate and relax at Balboa Park – Tamara Mendoza/Suitable Travel Today

By this time it was about 3:45pm so it was off to Balboa Park to explore! I absolutely love Balboa Park not only for its gorgeous Spanish influenced architectural designs but also because of all that is offered there! Here is a list.

After wandering around enjoying the scenery for a while Rachel and I start to get hungry so we opted for a restaurant in Balboa Park I had been to before called The Prado. Now this is typically not a slip I ever make but I neglected to check the menu to see if there was a difference between the lunch and dinner menus. But when you are as hungry as I was this mistake can cause irritability and frustration which resulted in what Rachel referred to as being “h-angry” (a play on the words hungry and angry). Let me finish by saying that The Prado is not to be shamed in terms of the customer service, their servers are very attentive and delightful which is one of the reasons why I love this restaurant. They also have a gorgeous outdoor patio which is my favorite place to dine while on property, make sure you ask for it! When the sunlight catches the leaves it illuminates the rest of the patio. In my personal opinion, their lunch menu is much more appealing and has variety for everyone in your party. Take a look for yourself!

Surfers at Sunset - Tamara Mendoza/Suitable Travel Time

Surfers at Sunset – Tamara Mendoza/Suitable Travel Time

By the time we left the restaurant it was time to head back for our 6:45PM train departure on the Pacific Surfliner heading back to Anaheim. This was not enough time in order secure first choice seating since there was a huge line to take the last train of the day, I would recommend getting there 30-minutes before departure. We were some of the last passengers to board but we still easily found seating near the rear of the train. Now as I mentioned before the route in the morning to San Diego was absolutely gorgeous…watching the sun set at the end of the evening was even better! I got a lot of great shots on my camera most of them didn’t even require a filter! The passengers on this train were a lot more rambunctious than the morning ride but soon fell asleep shortly after. Exactly at 9PM we arrived at the Anaheim station where an Angels game was going on! I love Southern California, there is always something exciting going on.

At the end of the day we were exhausted from our grand tour, I do not believe we could have had a better day in “America’s Finest City.”

Day 2 – Hydrobiking in the Alamitos Bay, Long Beach

Completely beat from the day before we slept in and then lazily tried to figure out what our plans for today would be. I have used Groupon on many occasions but sometimes it seems to be a hit or miss on what they offer. One that I had been wanting try out for the longest amount of time was a hydrobike. I had seen many of these in the Alamitos Bay Marina of Long Beach while strolling through some of the shops next to the landing and in my mind they appeared to be fun and fairly easy.

On a hydrobike the rider peddles on top of the water on a contraption like this…

*Note: Most items on Groupon you purchase require users to reserve at least 24-hours in advance…do not use it for a spontaneous trip.

Long Beach Hydrobikes highly recommends making a reservation and I was able to do so via text! The attendant responded quickly and we were on our merry way. When we arrived there parking was easy and best of all, free. We got out and walked down to the landing with time to spare, on a busy day I recommend utilizing the I-405 North freeway over Pacific Coast Highway, two words: carpool lane.

The attendants at the landing were pleasant, to some they could come across as scruffy irritable men but deep down underneath their tough exterior they were tremendously helpful. After signing a waiver form, one of the attendants shows you a map of the bay where you will be biking on a pre-routed one hour ride to Treasure Island and back. I was fine with the idea of getting on one of these puppies until it was my turn…instant panic struck as I experienced a “Peter” lack of faith that I would stay afloat. Frozen on top of my hydrobike the attendant tried to coax me to start peddling, “Sweetheart, you have to peddle. You can do it.”

As I finally started peddling away from the landing I suddenly felt as if I was tipping to one side and that at any moment would topple over. Were it not for the approaching yachts I would have never budged from where I sat petrified. One peddle at a time I started to become more comfortable peddling faster and faster until it became easy…like riding a bike.

It was a fun and a great workout! I’m very proud of what we both accomplished.

Conclusion –

Rachel conquered different activities on other days when I was working at the hotel but all in all she had a fantastic time. She has in a way become a great travel buddy for me and I can’t wait for our next adventure–next time hopefully it will be outside the realm of SoCal.

I have some other blog posts coming out within the next few days so keep up, you’re in for a nice treat!

Make sure you’re following me on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram for instant updates on upcoming adventures.

New Adventures – An Update

What a great week!

I’ve recently had a burst of motivation to get this blog to be more active and well known. One of my decisions being to collaborate with some of my other friends looking for opportunity. I want you to welcome two good friends of mine to the team who will be assisting me from now on!

 

Karyn Vo - Web Developer (top) Ian McGregor - Guest Blogger; Owner and Creator of Cela's Trek

Karyn Vo – Web Development (top)
Ian McGregor – Guest Blogger; Owner and Creator of Cela’s Trek (below)

Karyn Vo is my new Web Developer and will be handling the creative design of not only my website but also future applications or any other ideas she might have to expand web traffic. She is currently studying Computer Science at the University of Arizona in Tucson. Karyn has been a good friend of mine since the beginning of our education at a local pre-school in Huntington Beach.

Ian McGregor will be a Guest Blogger for Suitable Travel Today and is the owner and creator of Cela’s Trek. CELA’S which stands for Culture, Ecology, Language, Atmosphere, and Sustainability focuses on Ian’s travels and introduces his readers to the ecological side of traveling. He is studying Conservation and Resource Studies at the University of California in Berkeley and recently returned from studying abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark. Ian and I are friends from junior high and is new to the travel writing world but has as much desire to make it a career as I do.

With both Karyn and Ian on my side, I have no doubt that we can conquer this growing industry and have fun while doing so.

I also have a few other personal updates…

Over a course of time I have come to realize that Hospitality Management was not the right fit for me. I commend those who have the endurance to spend 6-7 days out of their week making guest stays memorable, special thanks to those I work with. During the past three years I have learned from the magnificent property I work for and re-discovered my love for journalism in the form of travel writing. I am now pursuing a Journalism major to strengthen my writing skills.

The hotel property I work for has been nothing but generous, providing me opportunity after opportunity to learn from our various department managers. In the very near future I will be shadowing them so that I can understand how a hotel works cohesively as a whole. I will still be at the concierge desk but will be dividing my time for research purposes.

I also have a lineup of excursions planned out over the next couple of months so there will be plenty to look forward to!

Thank you as always for your continued support…until next time, safe and happy travels!

Make sure you are following me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for instant updates on where in the world I am…because we all know I’m basically Carmen Sandiego.

Creating a Basic Itinerary

Itinerary According to Bing Dictionary an itinerary is a:

  1.  list of places to be visited: a plan for a journey listing different places in the order in which they  are to be visited
  2.  record of journey: a written record of a journey to visit different places
  3.  guidebook: a guidebook for travelers

An itinerary is a great way to not only outline where you’re planning to go each day but it will    force you to look at maps of where you’re staying and will familiarize you with the area and the  prices for each attraction. It also helps me to budget my money so I know about how much I’ll  be spending which is a plus for a college student.

Creating an itinerary may seem daunting which is why most people have no idea how to create one. I wanted to share the outline of my itinerary that I created for my upcoming trip to San Francisco. Of course, all activities listed are tentative because of time judgement–it may take longer at one attraction than at another. You can of course use a different template through Word or create one in any outline that is easiest for you. From experience I can say an itinerary is much easier than handwritten notes and loose papers/brochures.

Throughout the itinerary are some notes and suggestions that I have made.

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter/Instagram @SuitableTravel or like my Facebook page to get more tips along the way!

Happy Travels!

 

San Francisco Itinerary (TENTATIVE)

      Things to prepare before trip:

  • Purchase Alcatraz tickets (tickets sell out weeks in advance!) www.alcatrazcruises.com *This is the only boat company that books tours to Alcatraz and is the cheapeast way to purchase tickets as other 3rd party company will charge delivery and service fees.*
  • Purchase 72 Hour Hop on Hop off tickets for online deal (http://www.city-sightseeing.us/index.html)

Day 1 – List flight information here…

–  Planned transportation method to property

  • Hotel Address
  • Hotel Phone #
  • Hotel Confirmation #
  • Pre-check in and store luggage with bellman if room is not ready
  • Talk to Concierge
    • Do you sell: Hop on Hop off Bus Tix? Cable Car Passes (do they start the day of purchase or when cashed in)?
    • Can you make reservations: for Mama’s? Tea Ceremony?
    • WHERE San Francisco Magazine
    • Cable Car Route Map?
    • Is Hayes Street worth the stop?

–  Breakfast at Sears Fine Food Restaurant

–  Go to Walgreens and buy Cable Car pass (3 Day-$23…use when necessary) and any souvenirs *Tip: souvenirs are much cheaper at a local convenience store such as Walgreens or CVS.*

–  Walk and shop in Chinatown + Fortune Cookie Factory

–  Shopping in Union Square!

–  Lunch: Hunan Homes Restaurant (Chinatown)

–  Dinner: Cheesecake Factory – view overlooks the city (Union Square)

–  Go back to hotel, unpack and get ready for the next day

Day 2 –

–  Good Morning Sunshine! 7AM wake up call, 7:30AM follow up

–  Start walking outside at 8:30AM

–  Breakfast/Coffee Shop

–  C-Golden Gate Park Tour Loop (departs @ 10a, 12p, 2p, 4p)

  • Hayes Street (Is it worth it to visit?)
  • Golden Gate Park (Japanese Tea Garden – $7/person entry, $25/tea ceremony)
  • Haight District
  • Near Alamo Street (Painted Ladies) [do not get off – take photos]
  • Japantown

–  Lunch: (tentative – based on location)

–  Dinner: (tentative – based on location)

  Day 3 –

–  Wake up it’s a Saturday…Morning! 7AM wake up call, 7:30AM follow up

–  Start walking outside at 8:30AM

–  Breakfast/Coffee Shop

–  Take cable car to Fisherman’s Wharf

–  B-Golden Gate + Sausalito + Muir Woods Tour Loop (departs every 30-60 minutes, 10a-5p)

  • Fisherman’s Wharf
  • Lombard Street
  • Palace of Fine Arts (Presidio, Marina, Shopping)
  • Golden Gate Bridge (Hop on Hop off to walk on/across Bridge, Fort Point)
  • Golden Gate Bridge (Incredible view of San Francisco/Bridges)
  • Sausalito (Art Galleries, Views, Restaurants, Shopping, Connect to Muir Woods Tour) [Muir Woods – $7/person]
  • Presidio – Central (Walt Disney Museum)
  • Presidio – East (Opposite Lucas Art Studios)
  • Lombard Street (corner of Fillmore St.)
  • Ghirardelli Square [Sundae!] + The Cannery, Boudin Factory, Pier 39

–  Lunch: (tentative – based on location)

–  Dinner: (tentative – based on location)

    Day 4 –

–  Wake up Wake up Wake up its Day 4!! 5:30AM wake up call, 6AM follow up

–  Start walking outside at 7AM

–  Breakfast @ Mama’s

–  Take Taxi to Ferry Building

–  A-Downtown Tour Loop (departs every 15-30 minutes, 9a-5p)

  • Ferry Building (Farmers Market & Shopping)
  • North Beach (Italian District Restaurants, Coit Tower, Washington Square)
  • Lombard Street (Crookedest Street, Russian Hill, Hyde Street Cable Car)
  • Pier 39 (Alcatraz Tour – $30-$37; Aquarium of the Bay – $19.95 online price)

–  Night Tour Loop – Take from Fisherman’s Wharf (departs at 6pm and 7pm)

  • North Beach
  • Chinatown
  • Union Square
  • Alamo Square
  • Civic Center
  • Nob Hill
  • California St
  • Embarcadero

–  Lunch: (tentative – based on location)

–  Dinner: (tentative – based on location)

–  DON’T FORGET TO CHECK-IN FOR FLIGHTS! 24 hours prior to flight

Day 5 –

–  Good morning! Buenas Dias! Muchas frias! 6AM wake up call, 6:30AM follow up

–  Start walking outside at 7:30AM

–  Breakfast/Coffee Shop

–  Walk around Union Square or somewhere nearby until checkout or store luggage with guest services

–  Board flights!

–  Home Sweet Home!

san-francisco

Spooktacular Halloween in the OC

Happy Belated Halloween Everyone!  I hope all of you had a great evening and ate lots of candy. After celebrating all month with my family and stuffing our faces with caramel apples and other treats the time has come to put away our Halloween decorations.

In my family, Halloween is one of the biggest holidays out of the year, especially for my dad. We spend a majority of the month going to Halloween stores, watching Halloween movies, adding to the already pre-existing decorations in our house, and eating lots of treats. The day itself, we find tends to be somewhat lackluster but this year was a nice change as Orange County is constantly adding new things for its residents and visitors to enjoy.

Unlike most Halloween nights my family chose to stay closer to home this year. My little sister at the age of eleven-years-old is still partial to trick-or-treating so we planned our activities to accommodate that for her. Huntington Beach offered an excellent mid day trick or treating event on the day of Halloween on their Main Street, which they have offered in past years. It’s an extremely kid friendly event where kids go up to participating stores and restaurants for candy, go on the bounce houses, and make crafts—costumes are a must. The HB Halloween Trick-or-Treating is very similar to their street fair (Tuesday nights from 5p-9p) where they close off Main Street.

 

My little sister Katherine trick-or-treating as a Hogwarts student.

My little sister Katherine trick-or-treating as a Hogwarts student.

My personal suggestions for the event are to arrive early to secure better parking around Main Street if you do not wish to pay for parking in one of the nearby structures. The event ran from 4p-8p so we made sure to be there to find a parking spot a 3:30p. We enjoyed a nice walk down the pier and by the time we were walking back the festivities had begun.

 

Locals enjoying the 2013 HB Halloween Trick-or-Treating on Main Street.

Locals enjoying the 2013 HB Halloween Trick-or-Treating on Main Street.

By the time my sister had acquired all the candy she could carry in her bag it was time for dinner. My family does not always share the same adventurous spirit as myself and opted for ordering pizza and going home. There are so many wonderful restaurants in downtown Huntington Beach that residents and visitors alike can take advantage of. We did enjoy our simple evening, however, as we had our own small Halloween party at home watching some of our Halloween videos, eating delicious caramel apples from Helen Grace, and passing out candy to the adorable children in our neighborhood.

Mini-Vacation Near Your Home

FTDflagAs most of you know, I reside in Orange County central to everything exciting to do in Southern California. But what you might not know is that when I have time in between trips I have to do something or I’ll burst. Traveling for me is like a drug, its fun but it does take its toll on your wallet. To fill the void I highly recommend travelers explore the places around where they live as I’ve learned to do.

1.      History Lesson

 You can do as much research as you want to. I know a lot of people are not too fond of reading but I have found that looking into the history of where you live is like learning its genealogy. Make a trip to the local library and ask the clerk if there are any books or pamphlets you can look into. Another idea is going online and searching Google looking for articles or even going straight to the source by going to your county’s official home page. History was one of my favorite subjects in school so I just went right to Barnes & Noble and picked up a book and added to my own personal library and added it to my own personal library.

When doing so you’ll find not only the history so you can become more knowledgeable about the place you call home but you’ll find historical sites and museums that you can visit. And here’s the great thing: most of them are free for the public! Note: Keep in mind that some locations are only available for tours by making an appointment ahead of time.

2.      Anyone Hungry?

Looking to try a new restaurant nearby? Keep an eye out for new restaurants having their grand openings, sometimes they offer special discounts to introduce visitors to their location. Another way to find a new restaurant to try is by going online to www.opentable.com. You can read the reviews and book a reservation at the same time!

3.      Festivus

If you didn’t catch my Seinfeld reference right away that’s what it is from. During a holiday episode, George Castanza’s dad celebrates his own holiday called “Festivus.” You too can have your own “Festivus” by planning out your day trips around the holiday of the month. Growing up the daughter of a 6th grade teacher, my mom would theme everything we did, this made for some wonderful family memories that I will never forget.

Take the month of October for example and ask yourself these simple questions:

What do I think of when I think of the month of October? Halloween

What seasonal food goes with October? Pumpkins

Where do they grow that specific item? Pumpkin patches

Is there a place I can go to get that food item? In a restaurant/spa/activity? Restaurant – new bakery, Spa – pumpkin facial, Activity – pumpkin patch, cornfield mazes

Now take a look at your answers, you just brainstormed a bunch of ideas on where to go. You can then type up a list of these places so you know what to do the next year if you’re looking for a new family tradition, my mom and I did and it was very helpful for the both of us.

4.      Be Adventurous

This goes without saying but…the key to discovering new things to do in your area is to be adventurous; never be afraid to try something new. If an outing is too much out of your comfort zone build your way up to it by picking places to go closer to your home and then expand it one baby step at a time.

Be aware that you might not enjoy every place you go to, it’s okay to be disappointed. The trick is to learn to not get easily frustrated but to simply learn to work with it and mentally cross the place off your list. You don’t want to ruin your day after all by getting upset, besides there might be a charming little discovery right next door—and you won’t go if you’re upset.

5.      Sports Anyone? 

I’m not into sports (what did I say about comfort zones – baby steps, baby steps) but I do enjoy some outdoor activities. As I said earlier, Orange County is central to everything to do in Southern California. Some suggestions would be to find a new park you’ve never been to and try a new hiking trail or even just trying a new outdoor sport, my goal is try paddle boarding as well as surfing. Not only does it get you outside during great weather but it also keeps you healthy and active.

6.      Wilderness Explorer

To pair your trip to a new park, try adding a visit to their nature center, if they have one. This is even a great outing for kids as most nature centers include crafts and learning activities about the plants and animals that can be seen in the park. Some even offer hikes so you can see the animals in their natural habitat.

7.      And the award goes to… 

I may not be into sports but I love visual and performing arts! If you’re looking for a new experience try a new movie theater (i.e. drive-in), go to a film festival if you’ve never been to one, a concert or the local talent (jazz festivals are very popular where I live), or go see a show at your local community or professional theatre.

8.      Yelp it!

If you’re uncertain about the business or service you’re about to use, then Yelp it! Unless you’re unfamiliar with the site it’s www.yelp.com. Yelp provides wonderful clarity for me on businesses I’m about to use for their services. Note: Reviews can be helpful but they can also be misleading. Sometimes the people who post their review are not professionals and do not take the time to understand the business before accusing them of any wrong doings.

 

I hope my post has been helpful and answers some of your questions about planning day trips close to your home. The more you explore, the easier the planning process becomes and they become mini-vacations. Before you know it, you’ll feel like a tourist right in the comfort of your home!

Social Media? You Asked–Here They Are!

I’ve already been receiving some great feedback for my blog so I wanted to first of all say thank you for your kind words!

I know some of you have been asking about my twitter account and other social media that I have for my blog. So here they are!

It’s in the works but hopefully by the end of the year I should have a YouTube Channel up and running! Look back here or on one of my social media sites–I will be releasing the premier date within the next month!

Day 1: Santa Monica, California—

Although it was a very late start on my first day in Santa Monica, I was able to take the opportunity to really focus on the property I chose to stay at and the amenities offered. For my trip I opted for the Doubletree Suites by Hilton Hotel Santa Monica. I wanted to first take the opportunity to say how wonderful the staff at this property is. It is completely evident why they were the recipient of the 2012 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence Award.

I was extremely impressed however with a woman in housekeeping who brought me extra pillows and when I made another call seconds later saying I forgot my toothbrush and razor at home, anticipated my needs as a guest and delivered instead two toothbrushes, two packets of toothpaste, a razor, and two packets of shaving cream. It’s really that attention to detail that makes the difference in any guests stay and this woman deserves her own Certificate of Excellence Award—she gets one in my book at least.

Whether you’re traveling on business or for a family trip or even for just a quick getaway, the Doubletree Suites by Hilton Hotel Santa Monica is a mere three blocks away from the hustle and bustle of the Santa Monica Pier and Beach all of which I’ll explore tomorrow. But if you are on business and not planning to leave the property (I have not an idea in the world why companies torture their employees by making them work in such fun and beautiful locations) this is a great hotel to be in. High speed internet access is free first of all and most Hilton hotels do charge for the internet for a 24 hour service (unless you are a Gold or Diamond HHonors guest—which I am not), I didn’t encountered any glitches with the internet server at all. The property in general has incredible modern architecture with glass elevators and has a gym, pool, business center, and complimentary self service laundry center all located on the third floor of the property. The room I stayed in was just as perfect as the rest of the hotel (1 King 1 Bedroom Suite)—it included a pull out sleeper sofa which was as comfortable and about the same size as the actual bed included with the room [see the hotels website for a better idea of what the room looks like on the inside]. Book at: http://doubletree3.hilton.com/en/hotels/california/doubletree-suites-by-hilton-hotel-santa-monica-SMOPCDT/index.html

Well that’s enough from me for tonight; I’m going to need some rest before I take in a whole day of pure Santa Monica fun. In the meanwhile, subscribe to my Twitter account @suitabletravel and like my Facebook page Suitable Travel Today for updates along the way! And remember that exploring your “backyard” is just as fun as exploring a foreign country—you never know what you might find!

Welcome!

First of all, thank you for joining me here at Suitable Travel Today!

This blog is devoted to those who want to see the world and all its many wonders.

Here at Suitable Travel Today, I will be giving helpful tips on how to plan a stress free vacation and save money, how to prepare for your upcoming trip, and it will also document my trips as I take you on a journey with me.

The journey begins today!

Wish you were here!