Archives for category: Best of
Ligaya Malones floating in pool at The Saguaro Hotel in Palm Springs, California
Staycation vibes in Palm Springs, California (photo: Alina Mendoza)

When it comes to vacation planning, there is nothing like the attractive power of a best places to visit list. You know the ones: lists like New York Times’ annual 52 Places to Go, Travel+Leisure’s 50 Best Places to Travel, Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel List and the like. For readers, these lists offers a curated snapshot into the trendiest destinations and a learning opportunity to discover the towns, cities and countries worth traveling for. They can be valuable travel planning tools, even for a travel writer like me, who finds herself in a new destination every month (see: Nashville in January, the Central Coast in April, North Carolina in May.) I enjoy skimming through best-of travel lists; I’ve always discovered several new-to-me destinations every year one of these lists publishes. I’ve also been curious about the process of putting together one of these lists, and more broadly, how does a lesser-known destination jump from obscurity to destination darling? Let’s take a look.

How Does a Destination Make a Best of Travel List?

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Fletcher Cove in Solana Beach, California
Solana Beach, California

Maybe you’ve noticed, but I think it’s safe to say that the concept of wellness and its expanded definition in modern times (as a verb, and more broadly and perhaps more recently, a social construct) has gone mainstream, beyond spa services and retreats. We now live in an age where wellness, also known as self-care, can mean everything from yoga, to the latest plant-derived face mask, meditation to dedicated no-tech time. Though wellness isn’t anything new—the commercialization of it is. According to one citing, the Global Wellness Institute traces wellness back to ancient civilizations, where traditions and rituals were just… part of life.

For all that today’s wellness opportunities offers, my version of wellness tends to fall into quiet, intimate moments; mostly surrounded by nature and my favorite humans. And I think that’s the point; to sift through the barrage of options and find what works for you. And in San Diego’s northern regions (and my home base), for example, there are numerous opportunities to define what wellness might mean for you. That said, call me a typical Millennial if you want, but I am one of those people drawn to seamless, approachable experiences like the ones I’ve highlighted below. Bonus points for personalization. I’ll plan to update my picks as I discover them, but for now, these are my go-to wellness activities in North County, San Diego.

My Wellness Picks in North County, San Diego

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Lychee at Polihale State Park, Kaua'i.
Lychee keep the day sweet.

Southwest Airlines begins service to Hawaii

Earlier this week, plucky budget carrier Southwest Airlines finally began selling tickets to my home state––Hawaii! In a statement, Southwest announced service to the Hawaiian islands of Oahu (Honolulu), Hawaii Island (Kona), Kauai (Lihue––shoutout to my hometown) and Maui (Kahului). Nonstop service to the Aloha State on Southwest begins with California cities including Oakland and San Jose with more information about flights from San Diego and Sacramento to be announced in the coming weeks.

Currently, reservations through June can be booked via the airline’s website.

Of course, you can still get to Hawaii from other Southwest gateways, but you’ll have to purchase separate, connecting flights if you want to fly Southwest. The airline continues to build out its schedule.

Southwest had this to say, as reported by USA Today, “As we continue to add service to Hawaii and increase some of our technical capabilities, we will only see more cities gain connections to the state.”


Hanalei Bay, Kauai

In the meantime, if you’re planning a trip to Hawaii, I’m resurfacing some of my favorite bylines to help inspire your time in the islands regardless if you’re flying Southwest or not:

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