Friday, April 8, 2016

What to expect (NOT when you're expecting!)

Happy Friday, Friends!

In an effort to keep up with the goals that I set a couple of weeks ago [already slacking on #1], I am sharing what you will see in future posts!

Before I even started this little blog, my main goal was just to write. Whatever made my heart happy, those were the words that I would share. And there are very few things that make my heart happier than love, travels, food, and a good sweat session.

 I've been planning a few different trips that I'm going to be taking over the next couple of months, and when I search for information about these cities, I struggle to find real, honest opinions. Sure, it was nice to read reviews on Yelp and TravelAdvisor, but what if I didn't know what I was looking for? I came up pretty empty.

As a traveler, these are the things I want to know:

How do I know if the area is safe? Is it close to places I would want to visit as an out-of-towner? Is it reasonably priced? Is it clean? Will I have a good view from my hotel room? I don't want to know that your neighbors were noisy. News flash: although that's frustrating, that tells me absolutely nothing about the quality of the hotel/AirBnB/bed and breakfast.

I don't want to visit the touristy places that serve mediocre food, and up-charge their dishes because they know people will pay it. I want to know where you would take your husband for your anniversary, or you child for their birthday. I want to know where the best dang pastry shop is for breakfast. Or where I can find the richest piece of chocolate cake for dessert. And drinks. Tell me where the best bars are, and the cocktails I should order! #SoYum

Although I want to stay in a great hotel and eat the finest foods, I really want to explore the city! I have a goal of visiting all 50 states [no specific timeline] and don't know if I'll make it back to a city more than once. So I want to get the most bang for my buck the first time. Tell me the about the places that aren't popular, but you should absolutely not think twice about checking out. Or the places that are popular, but you cannot miss. Tell me the best time to see them. When are they least crowded? I want to know where I should go if I'm bringing my family. Or where we should go if it's just me and my cute man-friend [any SATC fans out there?]. I want the real, raw version of your city. Because I know full and well that there are tons of go-to places in Jacksonville, but equally as many places you should steer clear of.

Should I bike through the city? Use public transportation? Rent a car? Can I walk everywhere? Best time to visit? Best time to book a flight? If I have a connection, what are the best airports? Best place to go for a run? Must-try gym? Tell me things that only the locals know.

I want to help people plan the best vacation they can, within their budget and time constraints. I'm an ordinary girl with an ordinary budget. So my hope is to share the best and worst [read: avoid at all costs!] travel plans with you! Some posts may be full of the best deals I find, while others may be something I think is splurge-worthy. If there is something you're interested in, but I haven't mentioned it, please let me know! I want to do the research for you. Because I understand that there just aren't enough hours in the day to plan the perfect getaway.

Want to follow along on my adventures? Instagram and Snapchat: @el_michelle86
See you back here on Monday!


*I have personally visited all locations discussed on the blog and all opinions are my own.