5 Great Cities to Live In As an Expat

Living as an expat is an exciting opportunity but sometimes, choosing a perfect destination can be a challenge. Though it may seem overwhelming at first, it is a decision that will change your life. There are practical plans that must be made such as setting up a foreign currency deposit account to cater for financial needs and researching on the travel details. However, the destination is the most important aspect of expat life. Consider these beautiful cities as your next or new destination.

Sydney

Life in Sydney Australia is a little different than what is portrayed in famous films. While one may expect to arrive and see rugged mountains crawling with snakes and spiders, the reality is actually very charming. There are great restaurants and entertainment spots within the confines of the city. Cultural diversity is rich with large populations from just about every race and the expat community is also relatively sizable. If you are fun of nature, the Blue Mountains are accessible with an easy trip. In the North of the city is Hunter Valley which coincidentally has great wine tasting opportunities.

Vancouver

Vancouver is a stunning coastal city that has some of the best attractions. The Capilano Suspension Bridge is considered one of the iconic sites. The parks and gardens offer a natural serenity and if you favor more culturally significant places, you will love the Museum of Anthropology. Expats who move to this location enjoy the hospitable nature of the locals as well as the busy shopping scene.

Singapore

Singapore has high living standards and somewhat odd laws to help keep the country blossoming. The climate is ideal especially for those who do not like the low temperatures in temperate zones. Though the location is small compared to big cities around the world, it is a very safe place to be in and the people are considered very hospitable. The entertainment scene is quite rich and pretty mainstream and there is a beautiful innovative park, Gardens by the Bay, worth visiting.

Amsterdam

If you are looking for a cool, romantic and charming city to enjoy, Amsterdam may be perfect for your expert life. There a lot of cozy restaurants, museums and shopping centers. The general feel of the city is of ease and the lifestyle is more laidback than in other places. The people are friendly and there are no issues of a language barrier.

Hong Kong

Expats who love fast city life will find Hong Kong amazing. There are great restaurants, nightlife and fantastic attractions. Though the expat community is sizable, it is quite small compared to the total population. There are nice beaches and if you would like to explore the spirituality, there are many Buddha’s temples. Restaurants in the city are numerous and the culture is quite refreshing.

When making plans to move to a new or next destination as an expat, you should consider opening a foreign currency deposit account. This will help you manage your finances better and is highly beneficial for varied currencies. The account will give you better protection from the risk of fluctuating exchange rates. Think about acquiring this convenience for ideal expat living.

Top 5 countries to live as an expat

So, you have decided to live and work abroad? But which country do you go? Obviously some states are better than others when it comes to offering you solid quality of life, safety and security, good healthcare, prospects for hire earning, and of course excellent schools for your children. Picking the best place can be quite overwhelming for you-especially if you don’t know the ins and outs of that particular country. Luckily for you, we have compiled top 5 best countries to live as an expat.

1. Switzerland

According to a survey conducted by HSBC, which involved 9,000 expats, one country that rises above all others in terms of overall experience as well as family life is Switzerland. It takes all the honors thanks to its economic state. As an expat you will earn a whopping $200,000, an amount which is double than the global average. Another major reason for its high ranking is because of its stunning scenery, with many activities to do both in summer and winter.

2. Singapore

Those who are looking for greater economic opportunities and improved quality of life will certainly find Singapore as a safe haven. It’s ranked among the top in terms of economic measures, with a perfect climate for raising children. It has excellent schools and many job opportunities for the career-driven individuals.

3. China

While this country has its own share of downsides, such as mediocre healthcare and bad weather, the positive factors overdo the negatives. Firstly, it has a booming economy that is even ranked as the first globally for expat economics. There are many job opportunities with less competition. The country also boasts a great social life, huge sport opportunities and a friendly culture. There are numerous places to explore in China, not to mention the Asia-Pacific region which is easily accessible.

4. New Zealand

You must applaud this country for its low crime rate, something that allows you to bring up your children as confident and well-rounded. In fact, according to a report by HBC, it ranks first when it comes to quality of children’s life. The government is also aiming at recruiting expats by introducing a website for those thinking about moving to live in the country.

5. Germany

And finally taking the fifth position is Germany, a country that boasts a very strong economy, low crime, and a stable political system. 87% of expats express their satisfaction with the safety and security in the country and good schools where they take their children. Over 80% of them say that Germany is much safer than their home country.

These are some of the best countries to live as an expat. Whichever country you make a decision to move to, ensure that you have an offshore bank account, where you can manage your money while abroad. Keeping your money in one place as you move is beneficial in that you can enjoy convenience no matter how many times you move, have your choice of currency, not to mention tax efficiency. Generally, you will be at a good position to capitalize on the advantages you will find in any country you decide to move to without the need to keep on opening new accounts.

Picturesque Landscapes to Meander in at Queenstown

The scenic town of Queenstown is located on the South Island of New Zealand and is without a doubt one of the most exquisite localities offering attractions all through the year. Sitting on the edge of Lake Wakatipu, this town is surrounded by the Southern Alps creating a setting right out of a fairytale. Among the famous attractions here is the Remarkables, a saw-toothed range of mountains that is located right opposite the lake from the town. A popular activity among tourists here is to find a lakeside bench at dusk and soak in the most beautiful views New Zealand has to offer.

Picturesque Landscapes to Meander in at Queenstown

Exploring the Picturesque Landscapes of Queenstown

The gorgeous mountain scenery and the Lake Wakatipu end up dominating the views from almost every part of Queenstown. The most famous attractions here also choose to leverage this view to enhance visitor experiences. Even if one chooses to do absolutely nothing while here, there is still enough reason for travellers to spend at least a couple of days here.

·Bird’s Eye View
One of the best views of the town can be experienced from the top of Bob’s Peak. One can get here with the help of the Skyline Gondola and sigh in awe of the breathtaking views of The Remarables Mountain Range, the Coronet Peak and the Walter Peaks.

·Scenic Drives
With the help of a car rental service from companies such as Hertz, consider making the convenient and comfortable drive to Glenorchy located 50 minutes north of the lake. Considered as one of the most scenic driving experiences in the world, one will not be disappointed.

Another drive worth considering is the 20 minute journey from Queenstown to the wine area in Gibbston Valley. This drive takes visitors through the ancient Kawarau Gorge.

Choosing to Drive in and around Queenstown

New Zealand is renowned for the magnificent experiences it promises to self driven vacationers. By renting a vehicle with a reliable car hire company like Hertz it is possible to receive additional facilities such as the availability of navigation equipment. This helps visitors get around Queenstown and the nearby regions with ease and convenience. Getting around the area like a local allows one to make the most of their trip and explore the region at their own pace. Stop for photo opportunities or simply to soak in the beautiful scenes that pass you by without having to worry about any tight schedules.

The world of alternative finance

The internet has game changer many industries, and the financial sector is no exception. There are ways we pay and send money today that were unheard of 10 years ago. The most obvious is online payments, which has pretty much killed the need to line up in queues to pay bills ever again, to more revolutionary ideas like peer-to-peer payments and cryptocurrencies. Currencyfair have put together this infographic on the world of alternative finance.

The world of alternative finance

Sorrento, an ideal place for excursions on the Amalfi Coast

Sorrento is a wonderful town in the province of Naples that overlooks one of the most beautiful Gulfs of the Italian peninsula surrounded by a lush vegetation. The scents of the surrounding Mediterranean are immediately noticed by tourists who arrive here for the first time, and the descent of the sun into local waters will leave you in complete awe. A truly spectacular town that is also ideal as a starting point to visit the entire Amalfi Coast and discover the many well kept secrets.

Sorrento

Visiting Sorrento will not require a lot of time seeing that it is not a very large town, nonetheless Sorrento hosts an infinite number of events during the year perfect for everyone to participate in. Amongst the unforgettable events don’t forget to visit the many food festivals, which give you the possibility to taste exquisite local flavors, and local delicacies Sorrento is known for worldwide, but Sorrento is also famous for its theatrical performances, art exhibitions and musical events.

The excursions Sorrento is able to offer are numerous. Going farther away the Sorrentine Peninsula you can reach Naples, the immense Metropolis rich in southern Italian Culture, characteristic neighborhoods and lovely food, or take a trip to Pompeii where you’ll discover the ancient ruins buried by Mt. Vesuvius’s lava, then maybe head back to the Amalfi Coast where each town along the way will leave you shocked by their astonishing beauty, towns like Nerano, Ravello, Amalfi, and Positano. These wonderful places all have very characteristic streets and alleys filled with wonderful restaurants run by locals, offering local dishes, mainly fish based entrees with their fresh, daily catch from local fisherman.

Positano

Amalfi, and in general the entire Amalfi Coast, is a land rich in mythological stories and legends about heroes, nymphs, and mermaids.

The origins of this locality’s name are connected to the legendary Nymph ‘Amalfi’ with whom Hercules fell in love. When the Nymph passed away, Hercules decided to burry her in what he considered to be the most beautiful place on earth (the Amalfi Coast) and on her tomb he decided to build this wonderful town rendering her soul immortal, surrounded by the enchanting sea.

Naples

Historians are contrary to this legend and sustain that the Romans built Amalfi, right after Emperor Constantine’s death.

Another myth regards Punta Campanella, today a natural marine reserve, where a sanctuary dedicated to Athena was constructed to celebrate magical cults between mermaids, and other mythological creatures. Legend has it that three mermaids by the names of Leucosia, Ligea, and Partenope inhabited the local waters long ago. Ligea particularly spent most of her time by the rocks of Punta Campanella.

Mermaids were extremely dangerous for navigators because they would lure them into the deep-sea abyss with their dazing chants, and force them to loose control of their vessels. Local myths narrate how Ulysses had been the most cunning and to not fall into the mermaid’s trap, he had himself tied against his ship’s pole and had his crew put wax into his hears so he could not here the stupefying chants.

For those who prefer a more realistic view of things, Amalfi was also once an important Maritime Republic. When you’ll finally get to visit Amalfi, remember that you’re in a land filled with ancient, monuments, legends and myths that will blow your mind away!

Last but not least, the typical local cuisine, made with Amalfi Coast local products of high quality.

Exploring Ocean City: Five Fun Beach Activities

Ocean City is a popular resort town located on the barrier spit of Fenwick island, Maryland. Over 10 miles of golden sandy beaches run the length of one side of the island where you will find most of the hotels in Ocean City. The town is most famous from its shop-lined promenade, scenic nature parks, and tropical beach vibe. Bronzing on the beach needn’t be a bore with these five fun beach-based activities in Ocean City.

Surfing

Surf culture plays a huge role in the town, with the area being home to two beaches that are reserved just for surfers. These surf hotspots change daily, so look online to find out where they will be during your visit. Affordable surfboard and wetsuit rental is available at Chauncey’s Surf Shop on 28th Street & Coastal Highway, and Malibu’s Surf shop offer private surf lessons.

Fishing

Fishing is allowed on the beach providing that you cast your line at least 50 yards away from any beach-goers or swimmers between the hours of 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. No fishing licenses are required if you cast-off at Third St. Pier or at Northside Park. Ocean City has the nickname of the Marlin Capital of the World, but you’ll have to take a fishing boat out to deeper waters if you want to be in with a chance of catching huge marlin, mahi-mahi, or bluefish.

There are several shops on the boardwalk that rent out tackle and rods, and the staff will be happy to provide you with some tips and insider info on the best fishing spots in the area.

Water Sports

Adventure seekers can get their thrills by renting watercraft. How do you fancy whizzing off on a jet ski or parasailing high above the Atlantic Ocean? For something a little more relaxed, rent canoes or kayaks and gently paddle your way out. Stand up paddleboards are also available to rent, and they provide a great way to work out and admire the promenade from the sea.

Loungers and Umbrellas

While it’s not exactly an activity, sometimes all you want to do laze on the beach and soak up the sunshine all day. Several vendors have cute little beach huts where you can rent sun loungers and parasols to make your time on the beach a little more comfortable. Some of the top-end Ocean City hotels will even have a private beach club where guests can pick up free chairs for the day; check with your concierge to see if this applies to your stay.

Special Ocean City Events

A number of fun events are held throughout the year. Free beach movie screenings and a special “family Olympics,” which includes sand castle building and tug-of-war, are held on 27th Street Beach throughout the summer. Check the official Ocean City Maryland site for more information on what’s on during your trip.

Savvy shoppers use comparison sites to score cheap Ocean City Hotels and affordable flights to the area. What are your favorite beach activities in Ocean City, Maryland? Tell us all about it.

Author Bio:
Alisha Smith is a writer with a serious case of wanderlust. She’s most likely to be found road tripping up the West Coast or sipping coconut water on a beach in Bali.

How to Have Pleasant and Economical Road Trips

We are spoiled for choices these days with vacation options. You can find great deals whichever way you want to travel to your destinations. Some people love trains or planes and others love a road trip. It is generally about the journey with a road trip. You can drop and see many places on the way, sample great food and even see relatives as well.

It is essential that you prepare well for the journey. This will increase your enjoyment, avoid some of the problems and make it more economical to drive. Here are some tips that can make your life easier on the roads and save you money.

1. Have Your Car Serviced

First of all you don’t want to face breakdowns some unknown places far from home. A good mechanic will service your automobile and check for any apparent problems that need urgent attention. Secondly, you will save a lot of money on a long road trip if your engine is properly tuned up, filters are changed and tyre pressure is checked. Also, you should mind how you drive while on the roads. Following speed limits, avoiding aggressive driving and not using air conditioning are some of the ways to save money on gas.

2. Find the Cheapest Petrol on your Route

Even you save $0.1 dollar per litre that would be $5 each time you fill a 50 litre gas thank. You can find the cheapest petrol stations on the way by using websites like gasbuddy. Some areas can really have expensive petrol prices. You can avoid them by filling before you hit the area and after leaving. If you can do your research in advance you would know where to fill and where to avoid filling. This could save you at least couple of hundred dollars depending on the length of your travels.

3. Research about Food Options

There are a few great mom-and-pop diners across wherever you travel. You can find about them from a good guide book or on the internet. They offer much larger portions, a unique experience, chance to taste local food and they are generally cheaper. It is best to avoid drive-through and chain restaurants that have branches in your home town as well. Not only they are not healthy but also work out expensive as well.

4. Buy your Snacks and Drinks Beforehand

You know how costly and unhealthy it is to snack on gas station purchases. For example, you would pay at least $0.50 for a bag of crisp that can be purchased at about $0.10 a bag if you buy bulk. Besides, you would be able to choose your favorites and healthy options when you take your time in a supermarket. Gas stations will have limited choice and you will be tempted to buy a few other sweets if you are browsing. Being prepared can save you a lot of money and snacks will be in your car whenever you need. You should also fill up on water and your favorite drinks.

5. Check your Auto Insurance and Roadside Recovery Coverage

You need to make sure that you have the required automobile insurance cover for your entire journey. Some of the cheaper auto insurance policies may exclude overseas driving, have limited coverage or offer cover for a limited period. You have to make sure that you have the right coverage for your needs. Also, you should buy a roadside recovery cover that provides services in all your destinations. You will have no clue who to call if you have a breakdown at some unknown places.

6. Have a Quick Set Up Tent in the Car

Camping equipment are quite compact these days. Have them in your vehicle even you don’t plan to camp. Camping sites are generally located in great spots like next to a river, lake or national forest. It would be great to camp out a few days and it will reduce your costs. Furthermore, camping will offer you alternative should you fail to find reasonably priced hotel rooms.

7. Research your Accommodation Options

When you are on a road trip you don’t spend much time in hotels. You arrive to sleep and get out early morning. So, you should make sure that you don’t pay a small fortune for hotels. You should research cheaper hotel chains and see if you can get discount cards from them. With the chain hotels you know the standard of accommodation and you know where they are located. You can book your room on the day or day in advance depending on your progress. This way, you don’t waste time looking for accommodation too.

Exploring the Great Salt Lake at Salt Lake City

On my recent trip to Salt Lake City, I wanted to focus my exploration on the Great Salt Lake. At 35 miles wide and 75 miles long, this is the largest salt lake in the western hemisphere. Not only that, it also has amazing scenery everywhere you look.

Staying in Salt Lake City
Since I knew I would be spending all my time on the Great Salt Lake, I realized I didn’t need a hotel in the heart of downtown. However, it was easier to find a cheap hotel in Salt Lake City and drive out to the lake than to try to find accommodations by the lake. Since most of the popular attractions were about a half hour or less away from the city, I knew this wouldn’t be inconvenient at all.

Hiking Antelope Island
Antelope Island is a Utah State Park and the largest island on the Great Salt Lake. The only way to reach the island is by a causeway that’s about 35 minutes north of downtown. While I was there, I hiked along the trails that wind through the island. There was plenty of wildlife to watch while on my hike, including porcupine, bighorn sheep, antelope, and a large herd of bison.

Floating in the Great Salt Lake
Antelope Island also has my favorite beach, Bridger Bay Beach. This 2-mile long beach on the northern end of the island has beautiful white sand. However, the best part is that it’s easy to wade out into the water from there. Floating in the Great Salt Lake is a truly unique experience since you don’t have to paddle or tread water to stay afloat. However, I will caution that if you have any scraps or cuts on your body, including ones you might not even know about, you’ll immediately feel them stinging.

Kayaking on the Great Salt Lake
Even though fishing isn’t a possibility because the lake is too salty for any fish to survive, there are still plenty of activities to do. On my second day in the area, I drove to the Great Salt Lake Marina, which is about 15 minutes west of Salt Lake City International Airport. Here, you can rent paddleboards, pedal boats, and kayaks. I chose to take a kayak out for the afternoon and paddled around the shallow waters to watch the birds.

Staying for the Sunset
Sunset
Image via Flickr by O.S. Fisher.

When it was time to return the kayak, I made sure to stay along the shoreline to watch the sun go down. Sunsets along the Great Salt Lake are truly some of the most beautiful in the world. If you want a completely unobstructed view, I recommend driving just a few more miles down the road from the marina to Black Rock. This famous landmark is right on the edge of the shoreline, and if you can manage to climb on top of it, you’ll have some amazing memories and pictures to take home.

If you’ve been to the Great Salt Lake, please share your experiences below and go to my page on Hipmunk to learn more about the area.

Author Bio:
Kristen McCalla is a writer and avid blogger who lives in St. Petersburg, Florida with her husband, cat, and dog. When she’s not writing on her blog, 31 Million Seconds, she enjoys traveling and exploring all over this beautiful country.

How to pack for an overnight trip

You never hear of a celebrity, supermodel or star arriving at their destination and discovering that they haven’t packed a specific outfit, or that they don’t have the right top or jacket for a certain event. Of course you could argue that many celebs have people to pack for them, allowing them to enjoy flights without a care in the world. Well the great news is that it isn’t actually that difficult to pack like a pro if you consider the length and purpose of your trip. You too can enjoy stress free flights, knowing that everything you need is safely in your suitcase or bags whether it’s an overnight stay or a round the world vacation. Some people get stressed just thinking about packing, but there is one thing that every pro knows – plan ahead and pack light.

The professional way to pack for an overnight trip

It is so easy to pack too much, and that’s the main mistake that most amateur packers make. Think like a pro and pack the minimum amount. You really don’t need too much stuff and for an overnight stay you should be able to easily fit everything into one small bag. The outfit you wear that night can be easily freshened up with a clean top the following morning. Choose a striped top or a vibrant color if you want to draw attention away from the fact that you are wearing the same jeans, skirt or shoes. Throw your toothbrush and toiletries, make-up sleep wear and underwear into your bag, and add an eye-catching necklace or earrings if you want to really make an impact.

Minimize the cosmetic bag

A great space saving tip is to create a cosmetic bag specifically for your travels. Use plastic bottles of the size recommended by airlines and simply siphon in some of your favorite foundation, moisturizer, shampoo, conditioner and shower gel. Having a make-up bag that is streamlined and ready to go allows you to take full advantage of last minute deals at Flights.com too. Pick up a roll on deodorant – it’s more travel friendly than an aerosol. Smaller size products are perfect for your travel bag, and masacara, lip gloss, eyeliner, shadow and blusher are all available from most drugstores and department stores in cute, small editions. Try products like bronzer that can double as eyeshadow or blusher. Mini toothpaste and floss is a smart essential, and you can also find folding travel toothbrushes easily. Add a comb as a space saving alternative to a brush. Solid perfume doesn’t leak and designer fragrances from Stella McCartney, Marc Jacobs and Swarovski come in solid form, or choose brands like L’Occitane or Pacifico. Face wipes can double as refreshing hand wipes and a few cotton buds are handy for make-up application.

Tip

Remember to renew used items from time to time.

Carefree weekend packing

With terrific fares to a great choice of destinations on Flights.com there has never been a better time to plan a few exciting weekend breaks. Packing for a fun weekend trip should be easy, but it is so tempting to haul out a suitcase or a large bag. You really don’t need it and having to cart a heavy bag around is guaranteed to ruin that fun, carefree vibe. Pick a simple, basic piece of clothing like a shift dress or dungaree dress and work around it. Choose a plain dark color – white or pastel shades will look grimy quickly. A long sleeved shirt can be worn under a dungaree dress or worn unbuttoned over it as a cool cover up. Add a couple of sleeveless or short sleeved t-shirts – a basic for day time and a stylish silky fabric top for evening are ideal choices. Pick a pair of lightweight flat, strappy sandals for indoor or evening wear and select something versatile like cowboy or biker boots to wear for travel and during the day. Low heeled boots work in almost any setting and are perfect for festivals, weekends in the country, city shopping breaks or walks on the beach. Take a pair of leggings or tights so that you can ring the changes with the minimum of fuss, and add a couple of changes of underwear and socks. Enhance your cosmetic bag with a travel size dry shampoo to freshen up your hair, and pack a pair of big earrings or a cool cuff and some hair clips or bands to be ready for anything.

Tip

Take a drawstring bag or a few freezer bags from the roll to use to put used undies, clothing or socks in.

Pack like a pro for a week or more.

Packing for longer vacations can be fun – honestly! Once you’ve booked those dream flights at Flights.com you can get down to the serious business of packing your bag. Even for longer breaks you don’t require a full matched set of Louis Vuitton, even if you are lucky enough to own one. One large suitcase or travel bag has more than enough room. Choose a suitcase or bag with interior pockets and begin there. First of all, choose some sturdy footwear for walking such as low heeled ankle boots or trainers and put them inside a drawstring bag in one of the pockets. Stuff three pairs of socks in one and a couple of pairs of tights, one sheer, one opaque in the other. A pair of flip-flops doesn’t take up much room and can double as slippers indoors. Pack a hairbrush, flannel and shower cap to augment your cosmetic bag, and add some extra costume jewelry. Rolling clothes not only saves some space, it also prevents creasing and heavier items like jeans and leather skirts can go on the outside. For a week away you’ll want to have several different looks. A leather skirt works for night or day and doesn’t crease, and jeans and a denim skirt or shorts are also good. A sarong is light and can be used as a wrap or beach cover up and is ideal for some of the sunny locations on Flights.com. Take that old staple the stripey or brightly colored top to wear with skirts, shorts or jeans and use the long sleeved shirt as a cover up at night or as a tie up top for the beach. A shirt also looks great worn over a maxi dress, tucked into jeans or over a floral sundress. Take two swimsuits or bikinis and a couple of pairs of sunglasses. Add the basics and get ready to enjoy the vacation of your dreams.

Five California Cities to Include on Your Travel Wish List

Thinking of visiting California? Big cities like San Diego, San Francisco, and Anaheim will likely figure into your plans, but you will want to make time to visit some of the smaller California cities. Here are five that you won’t want to miss!

Palm Springs, Riverside

Located in the Coachella Valley, Palm Springs is a popular resort city. With nonstop flights to Palm Springs from 20 cities, it couldn’t be easier to experience. More than 350 sunny days each year make it easy to enjoy area attractions such as Desert Hot Springs, the Joshua Tree National Park, and the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. Palm Springs hotels include budget options like Desert Lodge, and upscale accommodation such as the Colony Palms Hotel.

Garden Grove, Orange

Garden Grove in Orange County is perhaps best known for its annual Strawberry Festival. But a love of berries shouldn’t be the only thing that tempts you to visit this California City. Mickey and his pals at Disneyland Resort will offer you a warm welcome throughout the year, while a highlight of the summer months is the Festival Amphitheater’s annual Shakespeare Festival. Hotel options in the city include the Hilton Garden Inn and Candlewood Suites.

San Gabriel, Los Angeles

Escape the hustle and bustle of downtown LA by heading a little more than ten miles northeast to the smaller city of San Gabriel. Check into hotels such as the Flamingo Inn Rosemead and the Lincoln Plaza Hotel, before setting out to discover local attractions. The San Gabriel Mission, Gamble House, and the Norton Simon Museum of Art make this city a real treat if you are a culture enthusiast. Do not miss the shopping in San Gabriel Square, either.

Palo Alto, Santa Clara

Located in Santa Clara County’s northwest corner, Palo Alto is home to attractions such as the Shoreline Amphitheater, Downtown Mountain View, and the Stanford Shopping Center. If you like getting out and about outdoors, you will love the Arastradero and Palo Alto Baylands Nature Preserves. Hotels in Palo Alto include upscale accommodation such as the Westin Palo Alto, and plenty of budget options courtesy of Airbnb.

Yucca Valley, San Bernardino

Located in the Mojave Desert, a little under 40 miles north of Palm Springs, the Yucca Valley boasts a picturesque setting between the San Bernardino Mountains and the Joshua Tree National Park. Its stunning setting makes it ideal if you like exploring the outdoors, although you will want to make time to visit the Sky Village Outdoor Marketplace and the Hi-Desert Nature Museum, too. Accommodation possibilities for your stay include the Best Western Yucca Valley Hotel, Black Rock Campground, and HomeAway options to suit all budgets.

Tempted? Check out California travel options, including flights and hotels on Hipmunk.com. It’s where travelers in the know go to take advantage of the best travel deals. When you have ticked off your visits to these cities, why not come back and share your stories in the comments below?

Author Bio: Linda Forshaw likes to write about local haunts and far-flung places. She lives in Liverpool, England, and spends her free time exploring new places, going to live gigs, and planning her next adventure. She is currently working on the #HipmunkCityLove project.