Hipmunk Hotels: Affordable luxury hotels in West Hollywood, Pismo Beach and Dana Point

This post was originally published on Savored Journeys in May 2016 by Laura Lynch.

 

If you’re seen popular towns like West Hollywood and Pismo Beach on television shows, you already know how swanky and luxurious these areas are. As a traveler, you have many options for affordable luxury hotels in the midst of some of the best shopping, dining, nightlife and beaches the west has to offer. You can’t go wrong with a stay at any of these affordable luxury hotels right in the heart of the action.

West Hollywood, California

Hollywood, California (Photo: CC0 Public Domain/Pixabay)

Consider staying in West Hollywood for affordable luxury. It’s right in the heart of Los Angeles, with swanky bars, restaurants, and nightlife, right outside your door. This area is home to high-end shopping outlets and celebrity restaurants. You might even spot a celebrity, if you’re lucky. The Andaz West Hollywood Hotel is in the center of the action on Sunset Strip. It has a rooftop pool and is within walking distance of some of the hottest nightclubs on the strip.

Pismo Beach, California

Pismo Beach (Photo: Laura Lynch/SavoredJourneys)

As far as beach locations go, you can’t do any better than the small, quaint town of Pismo Beach, located just a few minutes from the college town of San Luis Obispo. The pristine beach stretches for miles, which is perfect for a long stroll in the sand or a day of relaxing in the sun. You’ll also find incredible views of the Pacific Ocean, dramatic sunsets, and dozens of wine tasting rooms nearby. There are many beachfront hotels to choose from, and most come with incredible views.

Dana Point, California

Dana Point, California (Photo: CC0 Public Domain/Pixabay)

Another great beachfront town is Dana Point, in southern California. Dana Point is a surfer and paddleboarder’s paradise, with over seven miles of coastline to enjoy and great weather year round. If you’re not out participating in water sports, hiking, or admiring the views, you can relax at one of Dana Point’s extraordinary hotels, like the St. Regis Monarch Beach or the Laguna Cliffs Marriott, both of which have a high standard of luxury.

Fullerton, California

Disneyland, California (Photo: CC0 Public Domain/Pixabay)

When visiting Disneyland or one of Northern Orange County’s other amusement parks,Fullerton offers affordable luxury accommodations in a quiet and charming historic town. Three of the Disney hotels are in Fullerton – Disneyland Hotel, Disney’s Paradise Pier, and Disney’s Grand California Hotel and Spa. All of these luxury options have a pool and give early access to the park.

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Santa Fe, New Mexico (Photo: CC0 Public Domain/Pixabay)

While California is a great location for affordable luxury stays, don’t underestimate other trendy places in the West, like Santa Fe. With a rich Native American history and evidence of early Spanish settlers still visible in the architecture, Santa Fe has a distinct appeal. There is a vibrant art and music scene, as well. Stay at the Hacienda & Spa at Hotel Santa Fe or La Fonda on the Plaza for an affordable luxury stay with many great amenities and a truly local feel.

How to Avoid Getting Sick on Your Next Flight

The post below was originally published on Hipmunk’s Tailwind Blog on January 22, 2016 by TheHipmunk.

Forget snakes on a plane. Worry about the germs. Research shows that air travelers are at a higher risk for infection than people going about their daily lives.

Just how are illnesses spread on a plane? It comes down to two main factors: Airborne germs that are easily inhaled by people sitting in close quarters, or contact with germ-riddled surfaces on the plane. These factors are exacerbated by the dry conditions typical of airplanes, because viruses prefer low-humidity environments.

The good news is that, for the most part, airplanes’ air filtration systems function well enough that you’re unlikely to contract more serious illnesses. Instead, your greatest risk is contracting the common cold or a classic case of the flu.

While that’s all well and good, it may be little comfort to people who don’t particularly want to have a cold or the flu while trying to enjoy their vacation. Luckily, it is possible to decrease your risk of infection from germs on a plane. Here’s how to maximize the chances of disembarking the plane as healthy as you boarded it.

Don’t travel if you’re already sick.

If you know that you’re suffering from a contagious illness, do your immune system (and your fellow passengers) a favor and don’t expose yourself to any more germs by boarding a plane. In particular, the CDC advises that people avoid plane travel if you’re more than 36 weeks pregnant, have recently had surgery, have had a recent (serious) injury, or have a fever. In each of these cases, you’ll be traveling with a compromised immune system, which increases your risk of catching a contagious infection. Some airlines may be lenient with rescheduling fees if you can prove that you’re sick; contact the airline to discuss your options.

Ask to switch seats.

If you find yourself beside someone who’s hacking or sniffling, it’s okay (really!) to ask a flight attendant if it’s possible to switch seats. Even moving just a few rows away can help protect you from a sick person’s germs. If there are no other seats on the plane, donning a face mask might help.

Wipe down germy surfaces.

Tray tables, armrests, and seat-back pockets are consistently found to be some of thegermiest parts of a plane. Minimize contact with these germs by using wet wipes to disinfect tray tables, armrests, and seat-back pockets and/or using hand sanitizer after touching any of these surfaces.

Wash your hands (a lot).

For the most part, your hands are your body’s primary point of contact with germy surfaces. Those germs (including cold and flu viruses) can survive on your skin for hours. The simple fix? Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or (in a pinch) with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Keep air vents open.

Circulating air is key to preventing the spread of illness on a plane, so keep the air vent above you open. And don’t worry—the air pumping through the vent is filtered and safe to breathe.

Bring your own blanket and pillow.

A Wall Street Journal investigation found that airlines tend to wash their blankets and pillows only every 5 to 30 days. (Yes, you read that right.) This means that when you borrow a blanket from the airline, you’re sharing a whole lot of germs. Avoid the issue entirely by bringing along your own travel blanket and pillow.

Close the toilet seat before you flush.

The spray that accompanies flushing spreads germs throughout the airplane bathroom; closing the lid before you flush will help you avoid contact with these nasty microorganisms. The flusher itself is also a hotbed of germs, so put a paper towel in between your hand and the flusher whenever you flush. And of course, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after using the loo.

Stay hydrated.

The high elevations and low humidity typical of airplane travel have a dehydrating effect, which can provoke headaches, stomach problems, cramps, and fatigue, and diminish your immune system’s ability to fight off infections. The simple solution? Stay hydrated by regularly sipping water before, during, and after your flight. It’s also a good idea to avoid alcohol and caffeine, which can contribute to dehydration.

There are a few caveats to this point, however. It’s best to avoid drinking the tap wateravailable on airplanes, because airplane tap water has consistently been found to contain levels of bacteria well above U.S. government limits. Opt for bottled water instead. For a similar reason, be sure to ask for drinks sans ice—since many planes refill their ice tanks at foreign airports, the water standards may not be up to par with what you’re used to.

Moisturize your nasal membranes.

Cabin air tends to dry out our nasal membranes, which are the immune system’s main line of defense against incoming germs. Keep your immune system functioning at optimal capacity by using a nasal mist or saline nasal spray during the flight.

While all the immune-boosting strategies in the world can’t guarantee your health with absolute certainty, practicing these behaviors on every flight will give you the best chance of making it through a plane ride with your immune system unscathed.

San Diego – The Ultimate Californian Weekend Getaway

If you think that life is better in flip-flops and you’re up for some California dreamin’, there is no better place in the world than San Diego. The city’s sunsets and surf is so laid-back that no one would ever believe it to be the nation’s 8th largest city. Still, that’s exactly what it is, and it’s everything you would expect it to be: bikinis, khaki shorts, raucous and ritzy beaches, sunny days and, of course, Legoland. If you’re planning to spend a weekend in San Diego and don’t know how to make the most of it, here are some tips that will help you.
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LaJolla Shores

If you’re looking for the ultimate stretch of sand in San Diego, you must definitely visit the La Jolla shores, where you will be able to enjoy several different beaches featuring dramatic cliffs, secluded coves, and sandy expanses. No matter if your interest – swimming, surfing, sunbathing or watching the adorable baby seals, you will find a beach for you. Windansea Beach is secluded and picture-perfect. Couples go to enjoy romantic scenery there, and surfers go to enjoy the waves. La Jolla Children’s Pool is not that convenient for kids (although this was its original intention), but more for families of seals. If swimming, diving and snorkeling are your hobbies, than you should head out to La Jolla Cove. Beautiful and isolated, Black’s Beach is ideal if you want to get a nudist experience.

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Gaslamp District and Little Italy for Dining and Partying

Great food and fun nightlife are not rare things in San Diego, but when you have only one weekend in this fabulous city, you want to try only the best. And for that, you’ll have to go to these two neighborhoods.

  • Gaslamp District is San Diego’s historic neighborhood with Victorian-era buildings and skyscrapers side by side. It hosts more than 100 of the city’s retail shops, restaurants, pubs and nightclubs. You can dine fine at a rooftop lounge or try some delicious street food on the sidewalks. Live music and dancing after your belly is filled are a must.
  • Little Italy is, as it name implies, the best quarter in the city to eat authentic pizza, pasta and gelato. This eclectic neighborhood has a number of adorable sidewalk cafes, charming little shops, and specialty stores.

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The Best Neighborhoods for Shopping

Sure, you can just head to one of San Diego’s numerous shopping malls, but where is the fun in that? Instead, try searching through some of the most charming shopping neighborhoods (La Mesa, Encinitas, Chula Vista, Coronado, Solana Beach and South Park). Who knows how many unique things you can find in the charming local shops? From artisan jewelry to vintage clothing, San Diego has it all.

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Visit the City’s Top Attractions

Sometimes, you must do things by the book and be a true tourist. For that you will have to visit some of the best San Diego’s attractions.

  • USS Midway Museum offers not only indoor exhibits, but also local tours around the city’s most famous historic sites.
  • Belmont Park will not only welcome families with kids, but it will also awaken your inner child, when you take a ride at the Giant Dipper Roller Coaster.
  • San Diego Sports Museum is a sentimental journey through the history of the city’s sports.
  • Museum of Photographic Arts reveals fascinating, moving and surprising images which are witnesses to the history of photography.
  • Seaport Village is a charming and quiet part of the town, where you can go to shop, explore art and drink wine.
  • San Diego Zoo is basically a huge park with animals and plants.

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Two days are not enough to enjoy all the wonders of San Diego, but if you plan everything carefully, you can see the best it has to offer.

 

This article was written by Roxana Oliver, a travel enthusiast and an occasional blogger from Sydney, Australia.