It’s time to go somewhere. I choose Nashville!

It’s almost April and I haven’t traveled anywhere yet. The start of the year is always crazy and it’s always difficult to find a good time to travel. But is there really a good time to travel? I need to make the time to explore!

I’m in the middle of planning a girls trip to Nashville, one of the many places on my bucket list for 2015. I’ve always wanted to go to Nashville and, gosh darnit, I’m determined to make it happen this year.

So what are we planning?

  1. Lower Broadway: What would a girls trip be without hanging out on Lower Broadway? I’ve heard the nightlife here is so much fun. There is live music wherever you go. I’m a big country fan, so this is going to be heaven for me. Music and dancing is right up my alley and I hear Tootsie’s is the place to be.
  2. Walking Tour: Friends of mine that have visited have shared that they really enjoyed doing a walking tour of the Downtown area. It give you a feel of where everything is and takes you through some of the landmarks. I’m all for the great nightlife, but why not learn a little during the day about the place you’re exploring?
  3. Pancake Pantry: If you go to Nashville, apparently you need to go to the Pancake Pantry. You’ll wait 45 to an hour to get some breakfast, but I hear it’s well worth the wait.

So the trip we’re planning in a 4 day weekend. What are your suggestions when visiting Nashville? Share them in the comments!

Photo of the Week: Welcome Back, Spring

IMG_1685This picture says it all. Open the windows and doors, I’m ready for SPRING! Here in Ohio, I know I’m not the only one wishing for the nice weather to come around. On the first day of Spring, we had a little sprinkling of snow in the morning. And it better be the last time we see snow until Winter. Fresh air, green grass and colorful flowers is what I’m excited for. Let’s make it happen, Spring!

How to Create a Wall Map Without Paying a Fortune

Photo Mar 01, 1 24 13 PM

I wouldn’t classify myself as a crafty person. When I wanted to create a scrapbook of my Italian vacation, I made it online and had it printed versus the tradition way to scrapbook. The time, effort and detail that goes into crafts tend to be a bit overwhelming.

But when I was looking to get a wall map to track my travels, I noticed that framed maps tend to be terribly expensive. Like, $200 expensive. The typical size I came across was 36”x24”. I wanted something larger and didn’t want to pay even more. So I decided I was going to channel my inner craft lover and build my own wall map.

What do you need?

  • Cork board
  • Foam core boards
  • Spray adhesive
  • Duct tape
  • Sharp craft knife
  • Map (mine is 50”x32”)
  • Map pins

Step by step:

  1. Start with your foam core boards. These will support your cork and map. You need a back so you can hang the map and these boards are light enough, yet sturdy, to do the trick. Measure out the boards to be the size of your map and duct tape them together. Tape both sides so they don’t bend when you move them.
  2. Cork comes next. Measure the cork out to fit the size of the foam boards. I found that purchasing the roll of cork is less expensive than the squares. Keep in mind that the roll is thinner than the squares, so it’s a matter of personal preference. Duct tape your cork together.
  3. Marry the boards and the cork. That’s right! Use the spray adhesive to glue the two together. I rolled up the cork and lined up one edge then continue to spray and roll until I got to the second edge. This is a two person job. You can easily go crooked, and we did, so be prepared to pay close attention to what you’re doing. Place something heavy on the top of the cork while you let it set. I let mine sit with for a week before getting around to the next step.
    Photo Jan 31, 3 59 42 PM
  4. Marry the cork and the map. My map did not come laminated, so I went to Staples to get this done. Bring back the spray adhesive and glue the map to the cork. I used the same rolling method I did when doing this with the cork. I recommend two sets of hands for this, too. Again, place heavy items on top of the map and let it set.
  5. Get to pinning! This is the best part. I’m choosing just to mark where I’ve been. Some people use a different color pin and mark where they want to go. Figure out what you want this map to document and get to it!

This was a relatively simple process. I’m pleased that I took on the task of doing this myself. I spent under $80 on the map, materials and laminating the map. The time commitment to this is minimal. There is more waiting than there is working. So if you’re looking for a fun project to give you a beautiful wall piece? Try this one!

Have you made your own wall map? Have you purchased one? Share it with me on Twitter @tripintotravel so I can see your work!

Photo of the Week: Mediterranean Paradise

IMG_26230With this bond-chilling cold that’s been tearing through Ohio, I wish I was back on the Mediterranean Sea. I’d give anything to be back on our little boat circling the island and catching the suns rays. Until I can escape the cold or summer comes to Cleveland, I’ll be snuggling with my blankets and thinking of the sunshine.

Photo of the Week: Oscars Nod

DSCN1057With The Oscars happening last night, I thought it would be appropriate to share a picture of where the awards take place – The Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, California. I would love to see this tourist-filled attraction transformed for The Oscars, but sadly I haven’t been that lucky in my life. Maybe next time I go back I’ll catch a movie.

Countdown: Favorite Coastal Towns

It’s Beach Week on Travel Channel! With all the rankings of beaches that will be playing across the channel, I thought it would only be appropriateĀ if I shared some of my favorite coastalĀ cities. So here is the countdown, starting with number six.

6. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

I use to go here as a kid and have so many fond memories of this place. The best way to experience Myrtle Beach is by staying at a condo or hotel right on the beach. The perfect way to start and end your day is a walk on the beach. Not much of a walker? Sit on your balcony and listen to the crashing waves. There’s really nothing more soothing than that.

If you’re looking for a family vacation, I highly recommend visiting this coastal town. There’s plenty to see and do, like hitting the Boardwalk or going putt-putt with the crew. You’ll deal with the crowds, just like any other beach town in the summer season, but there are ways to travel smart. Sadly, I couldn’t find a picture to share with you all.

5. Kennebunkport, Maine

I’ve visited this city twice, once as a kid and again as an adult, and the place never loses it’s charm. The New England town is exactly how you would picture it. The beach houses exude old money, with modern amenities. Be forewarned, the water may be a tad chilly! It doesn’t get too warm in the New England waters.

The other aspect of this town that I love are the shops in the town. When you’re breaking from the beach, take a walk through town and pop in the quaint shops. Check out some more information in my other post!

4. Venice, Italy

You may not automatically think of Venice as a coastal town due to it’s lack of beaches, and you may be right. But, I consider Venice to be one of the more unique coastal towns around. You’re not going to see your typical sail boats cruising in the water, but the gondolas give this place so much charm.

Let yourself get lost in the winding alleyways. Leave the map back at your hotel room and just submerge yourself in this beautiful city. At night, swing by St. Marks Square and take in the entertainment. The quartets that play are romantic and extremely talented. I really don’t think you’ll come across a coastal town as interesting as Venice.

3. Amalfi Coast, Italy

The top three could all really be number one, but what’s a countdown with a three-way tie? So the Amalfi Coast comes in a close third. My most favorite thing about this place is how the village is built into the cliff side. Coming up to the coast on the ferry honestly blew my mind. Homes look like they’re stacked on top of each other and the colors are so vibrant.

The cities I visited were Amalfi, Positano and Ravello. If you want to get the best views of the coastline and sea, take the bus up to Ravello. I promise you you won’t be disappointed. If you want to hit up a beach, there are a few in Amalfi but more in Positano. You may have to pay a fee for these beaches, but they’re worth it.

2. Capri, Italy

This little island attracts the rich and famous, but it’s not only for that crowd. However, you’ll feel like you landed in paradise when you get off the boat at Capri. I highly recommend renting a boat and taking it around the entire island. You will get the best views of all the amazing cliff sides, natural wonders and turquoise sea.

One of the best things about visiting Capri is going to the Blue Grotto. This little opening opens to a massive cave that glows the most unbelievable blue you’ve ever seen. Jump off your boat, take a swing and ask your captain to sing to you. This coastal town is super popular, expensive and crowded. So it almost has it all, but ranks second due to the crowds and cost.

1. Lipari, Italy

If you want the beautiful scenery of Capri but without the crowds, visit Lipari. It’ll take you a while to get there via ferry, but I promise you it’s worth the sea sickness and voyage. This coast town gives you the small time feel everyone loves, but also has a sense of luxury due to the private beaches and fancy restaurants.

When visiting we went to a private beach. Our hotel called a local man, Bubu, to take us to the beach. His boat had a pirate flag and he spoke no English. This is the charm Lipari has to offer. Regardless of whether or not the people you meet speak your native language, they’re happy to help you and make you feel welcome. All this happens in one of the most beautiful places I’ve visited.

The Interesting Characters on Hollywood Boulevard

Photo May 04, 5 12 36 PM

It should come as no surprise that there are a number of street performers on Hollywood Boulevard in California. Some of them are terribly fascinating. These aspiring actors spend hours and hours every week trying to make a break for themselves. One thing to keep in mind about these folks is that you don’t have to pay them for their services, aka pictures. It’s illegal for them to ask you! But, they do take donations.

Here are some pictures from my trip to Hollywood Boulevard, including those interesting characters.