Where We Went in 2023 Travel & The Best Places to Visit in 2024

We’re recapping our year of travel and sharing the many trips and projects for the podcast that we already have planned for 2024!

Best Places to Visit in 2024 – Episode Transcript

2 (44s):
Welcome to this week’s episode of the Travel Squad Podcast. In today’s episode, we are giving you our annual travel year recap. So this is our travel recap for the year 2023.

0 (56s):
2023 is a pretty good year for travel. I went to a few cool places. I also had a lot of friends actually come into Austin. So I spent a few different weekends exploring my own backyard and I’m pretty satisfied with all that I accomplished this year. How about you guys?

1 (1m 15s):
Yeah, it’s been a very successful travel year for us. And one thing that we didn’t mention at the start of this episode is we’re also gonna be talking about what we’re expecting for 20, 24 things that we have planned trip wise, things that we have planned for the podcast. And we’re really excited to share all of that information with you. And

0 (1m 32s):
It’s a lot guys, like 2024 is booked.

1 (1m 36s):
I know I, I literally have pretty much something every single month in 2024.

2 (1m 41s):
I was just telling somebody today exactly what we were doing in 2024. ’cause they had asked, it wasn’t any bragging, just you know, simple conversation and they were just like, oh my gosh. And I’m just like, yeah, I didn’t even tell you what we have sprinkled in probably for like little weekend getaways. You know, those were just like the big international trips and stuff like that. And you know, when we have these episodes, I just wanna say this isn’t in any way to brag or talk about, oh we did this, we did that, you know, at the very start of our podcast and we still touch upon it, but we hit upon it more at the very beginning of our podcast. Our goal is really to inspire people to travel and let them know that it’s possible. And if you just set your mind to the fact like, I’m gonna do these things and make it a priority, you can do it.

2 (2m 26s):
So when we’re in this episode here talking about all that we did, it’s meant to be like as an inspiration because we dedicated ourselves to be like, yes, we’re gonna make this happen and we’re gonna do this.

1 (2m 36s):
And I also wanna note that we aren’t full-time podcast creators, content creators, and we all do work normal jobs, full-time jobs. And so it is possible to use your PTO those long extra weekends that you have and any other sorts of benefits that you get for during vacation time or holidays to book these trips. And so we are just your normal average people just trying to live life at its fullest and book as many trips as we can every year.

0 (3m 8s):
One thing that I am going to try to do a little bit more of this year is to maximize vacation time. And my company has unlimited PTO, so it’s not the worst thing if I take the PTO, but there’s kind of like this unwritten rule that it shouldn’t be more than four weeks. So I’d usually try to stay around there. But this year I wanna bank on like Memorial Day Labor Day the last week of the year. That’s usually the office is closed and we have it off and not have to take my quote unquote PTO, but still get a lot more travel in in 2024.

1 (3m 42s):
It’s a good strategy, great strategy as a nurse and a per diem nurse. I actually don’t get any PTO, but I can stack my shifts to work, you know, five or six shifts in a row and then get six to eight days off in a row. So that’s my strategy. There’s oftentimes people ask, oh, what are you doing for this next week? And I’m like, I literally have a week off just because like my shift’s stacked that way and I could just take vacation without having to take like work days off.

2 (4m 9s):
Yeah. And Brittany, you’re really fortunate that you’re able to do that just because you are per diem. Kim hit upon a really good point. And again, something that we’ve always talked about in earlier episodes, and I don’t wanna say we strayed away from, but we just don’t hammer the point on home so much anymore about utilizing certain vacations and holiday weekends. Kind of like how you mentioned Kim, but that’s a really good strategy and I’m already seeing like Instagrams and tiktoks talking about, oh, utilize and get the most out of travel by booking on these holiday weekends. This is how many days off you can actually get because maybe it’s a Friday and a Monday off with it too, or that’s a Friday or a Monday, et cetera. You get the idea, right?

2 (4m 50s):
I’m already seeing that on social media talking about it. And they are very practical tips to get yourself those few extra days without having to take that PTO. That’s killer.

1 (5m 1s):
But definitely wanna dive into the episode. In this past year in 2023, we went to seven new countries. Amongst the three of us, we went to Morocco, Spain, Germany, Austria, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Greece.

0 (5m 16s):
We also went to eight national parks, three in the us, five International, grand Canyon, redwoods National Park, big Ben National Park, Banff, Yoho, Jasper Kne, and Birch Garden.

1 (5m 31s):
Birch Des Garden,

2 (5m 32s):
Or is it Birch Des Garden? I don’t know, it’s German. None of us are proficient in German, but you get the idea in the Bavarian Alps, BDEs Garden. It was beautiful. And of course we’re gonna touch upon that later on in the episode, minus the country’s and the national parks. 15 different states. I hate to say this one first ’cause we’re in California, but not anymore for you Kim. Right? So California is added onto that list. Oregon, Utah, Arizona, Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, New York, and of course Nevada who can’t fit in a Vegas run in the year. You gotta fit in a Vegas run. And we definitely one,

0 (6m 14s):
Actually we’re missing 16 states. I also went to Louisiana last year.

2 (6m 19s):
Oh, ooh, look at that. Well, we have one more for the list that we missed. So good catch on that. Kim 16, sweet 16.

1 (6m 28s):
So we started January of 2023 with our first trip to Morocco. We did eight days with Gate one. We invited our friends Cash and Ryan and we went to Marrakesh, Bez, Rabat and Casa Blanco. We, while we were there, we saw so many markets in Medina’s, but my favorite part of Morocco was the architecture. It was so beautiful.

2 (6m 51s):
I would have to say that was probably my favorite thing about Morocco too, was just seeing that architecture that Morocco was famous for. They’re kind of like mosaic tile designs bright, beautiful colors. And I will say this Kim, you were sorely missed on that because we went to some ancient Roman ruins that still have mosaic authentic tile floors there. And I know it would’ve gotten slow and it was kind of cold out there at around that time, but it would’ve warmed up a little bit for you. I’m pretty sure seeing those ancient Roman ruins,

0 (7m 23s):
I’m already warmed up just hearing about it.

2 (7m 26s):
But I just wanna say again, Brittany mentioned this was a gate one adventure. Again, always non-sponsored with Gate one at this point in time. We’re hoping that will change soon. But we love Gate one and have never really had a bad experience with them. We’ve had several squads reach out to us, tell us that’d be book trips with Gate one, hearing us talking about it. And for anyone who’s kind of timid or there’s this one country they want to go to but don’t want to do it alone or don’t know how to start the trip planning process, guided tours, we’ve said this are so underrated. Give it a chance. We’re hyping up Gate one here. We did Morocco, but definitely a whole plethora of places all over the world for you to go with Gate one.

2 (8m 8s):
And you guys should check it out. Take a

0 (8m 10s):
Look. Gate one sends out a deals newsletter and it came in this past week and there was an Egypt deal on there and I think they’d had like 500 or 600 bucks off of the booking price. And Gate one’s cool too because it’s flights, hotels, excursions, food, Nile River Cruise for three days too. I was very close to booking it for 2024, but I held myself back just because of the dates. They weren’t exactly lining up with my schedule. Yeah,

1 (8m 41s):
It’s a great deal. I have my eye on that one as well

2 (8m 44s):
Though. We’ll have to make Egypt Squad trip with Gate one. Let’s make a pact right now. That’s Squad trip for sure.

0 (8m 49s):
All right. It has to be 2025 then, because I’m getting a little antsy over here.

2 (8m 53s):
Well that’s fine ’cause we’re booked up in 2024, so you know what, it has to be 2025, but that was us in January. Did you have anything in January Kim?

0 (9m 2s):
You know, looking back, I did not do any travel in January. In February I did, I went to New Orleans for Mardi Gras, which was such a good time. It was just a couple of hours. New Orleans is pretty close to Austin flight wise, so it’s a quick flight thought, why not? Great surprise that it happened to be on Mardi Gras season and it was so much fun. We’re actually gonna have an episode coming out very soon for you all. If you’re trying to plan a trip for Mardi Gras as well. It’s a great time. It was a very quick trip, just a couple days in and out, ate my weight in red beans and rice, went to the parades, went out and enjoyed the nightlife as you do in New Orleans, and just had a really good time there.

0 (9m 47s):
It was a perfect amount of time to be in New Orleans.

1 (9m 50s):
We’re actually headed to New New Orleans ourself this upcoming February. So gearing all about your trip on that episode definitely inspired us. We have a lot of cool things planned, but in February of 2023, we actually went to Florida. We were actually supposed to go to Crystal River and do a tour where you get to snorkel with the manatees. However, there was too much rain and there was a storm that came in. So our tour was actually canceled. So instead we did a day trip to St. Augustine, we went to Venice Beach to visit our friends, Bob and Lorraine, and we spent one day at Epcot at Disney World. So we definitely made up for our time there.

2 (10m 29s):
We need to go back to Florida because I was so disappointed that we weren’t gonna be able to swim with the manatees. As a matter of fact, you know, when we were taking off from the San Diego airport here, I don’t know if people really pay attention to this, but Frontier Airlines, we did not fly them, but Frontier Airlines on their tail of the plane, always has a random animal, right? That’s kind of their thing that they have on their livery. And as we were taking off Frontier Airlines, we saw the manatee on the livery as we were going to Florida and I was like, oh yeah, this is a good sign. And I guess it was a bad sign for them to say, you’re gonna maybe have to come back because it rained us out. The water was too choppy, we couldn’t go.

2 (11m 10s):
But nevertheless, you know, you gotta make the best when things happen when you’re on vacation. So luckily we had our friends, Bob and Lorraine, they have a place in Florida, they happened to be there. We met them on our Uganda trip, gotta spend time with them. Did that pivot to St. Augustine and who doesn’t love a Disney trip? We checked out Epcot and had a really, really good time. But Crystal River, you are still on the radar maybe in 2024, don’t know quite yet to get back out there to see those manatees.

0 (11m 37s):
You say Crystal River, what is the nearest big city in Florida that I would recognize?

1 (11m 44s):
Probably Tampa.

0 (11m 45s):
Oh, okay. Tampa. Interesting. I’m eyeing potentially going to Florida in Q1 next year. So that could be a time to redeem yourselves.

2 (11m 55s):
Oh, that could be a time. And as a matter of fact, I think we did it in February for a particular reason. Isn’t that one of the best times

1 (12m 2s):
Actually? Yeah. So winter months are the best times to see the manatees because they don’t like the cold water. And so in the springs it stays a little bit warmer in the ocean, it’s a bit colder. So in the winter months they stay in the springs, the Crystal River because it’s warmer in that area. So the best time to see them is like November through March.

0 (12m 23s):
Okay, just planting that seed there.

2 (12m 26s):

0 (12m 27s):
This is a good time to mention that we have several travel Itineraries free squats because we’ve had so many requests for us to send our exact trips for y’all to replicate.

1 (12m 37s):
We actually have several international Trip Itineraries. We have Japan, Banff and Spain. And on top of the Itineraries we already have for us trips like Hawaii, the US Virgin Islands, and we have a bunch of National Park Trip Itineraries as well, including Utah’s Mighty five national parks and a week in Grand Tetons in Yellowstone.

2 (12m 56s):
Each one of our Itineraries is 20 to 30 pages in an instant downloadable PDF guide that tells you where to fly into the exact route to take, where to stay, park entrance prices, where to eat, driving distances between attractions, the things to see and do and even hikes. We recommend their mileage time to allot for each one and so much more.

0 (13m 19s):
We’ll link to our Itineraries page in the show notes. So if you’re interested, you can check it out there In March. I also didn’t do any travel. I did stay back in Austin quite a bit, but there was one big event that happens in March out here called South by Southwest. Maybe some of you have heard of it, maybe some of you have not. But it is a massive 10 day essentially takeover of the city. It’s a festival, it’s a conference, it’s popups, it’s basically a citywide gathering of the mind slash party. It is so much fun. I highly recommend coming to Austin for that time of year. It’s two weekends and then the weekend between and a couple days, you know, leading up to the first weekend it’s such a good time.

0 (14m 2s):
There’s music artists, there’s comedy shows, there’s intellectual talks, there’s technology introductions, there’s launches of different things. There’s a ton of really cool famous people that are in town too. So good for celeb spotting. And the coolest thing about it is that all around the city, different bars, restaurants and venues will open their doors and kind of latch onto the conference. So they’re not necessarily on the paid itinerary for South by Southwest, but brands have popups, there’s free shows, there’s free comedy, there’s so much free stuff to do around the city. It’s a great way to experience real.

0 (14m 42s):
Austin, have a really good time, get a ton of free stuff and just have a really good time. We are gonna put out an episode on it because it is this massive event. There’s a lot of confusion around the information. Do you need to pay? Do you not need to pay all of that? So stay tuned. We’re gonna have a deep dive episode on South by Southwest coming very soon.

1 (15m 2s):
Awesome. I’ll look forward to that episode and maybe one day Jamal and I will come meet you out there for the event. But this past March, we actually did a weekend trip to Monument Valley and the Grand Canyon. We actually went with Jamal’s sister Nua. The landscape in Monument Valley is so beautiful already, but it is exemplified at sunrise and sunset. Sunrise was my absolute favorite. We actually didn’t, there’s like a loop that goes through the formation, so we didn’t actually get to go on that loop because there was a marathon in town, so we’d love to go back. But we also went to the Grand Canyon on this trip because Ngel had never gone before and we did sunrise there and it was so beautiful.

1 (15m 45s):
There was also a freak snowstorm that had happened and so it was dusted with snow and it made it even more beautiful than we were even anticipating.

2 (15m 58s):
You know, this was our second time in the Grand Canyon and each time we’ve gone has actually been in winter when there’s been snow. One of them was a true OG Squad trip with you, Kim and Zaina. And then now I got to experience the Grand Canyon again with my other sister, nwa, who was an honorary squatty on that trip with us. And everybody knows the Grand Canyon, but everybody might not know what Monument Valley is when Brittany says that. And I guarantee you, you may not know it by name, but you know it by sight. So many Western movies are filmed out there just because it’s rugged, beautiful landscape. And it’s the famous area where Forres Gump goes on his run and he finally stops in the middle of the road and says, I think I’m gonna go home now, or however he says, or whatever he says and turns around.

2 (16m 45s):
And it’s that just big beautiful desert backdrop with the amazing rock formations. And to really see that, you know, when Brittany told us we were going on that trip, I was like, you know, I don’t really care to go see Desert Formations, you know, I’d rather see it in a national park setting. But I was like, you know, I’m game for the ride. But when I was there my mind was just like so blown away with like, wow, it really is beautiful out here. And I do want to go back because it was so beautiful. And too, like she said, they had the marathon going on and it’s actually on Native American land. I forgot what tribe it is a part of, but they were having a marathon and that’s why the hike and trail we were gonna do was closed. So all the more reason to go back.

0 (17m 26s):
It sounds wonderful. Pictures looked amazing.

1 (17m 30s):
Yeah, it was really good time. And then in April we did an eight day trip to Spain. We went to Barcelona, Madrid, and Toto. The food there in Spain is a top notch tapas, sangria, wine. Amazing. Delicious. If you haven’t been to Spain, it’s a great trip to just like kind of leisurely do and just eat your way across the country in the cities.

0 (17m 52s):
What was your favorite tapas you had in Spain?

2 (17m 55s):
Favorite tapas. Oh my gosh. Well, I would have to say our favorite was the braava potatoes. They’re just these nice fried golden potatoes, kind of like in cubes. They have some sort of, what would you describe it? Like a red chili sauce on top? Yeah. And it was like this garlic aioli. It was so good. And that is so common. Just the bravas at any tapas place will have it. Some are better than the others, I will say that. But they’re always pretty good. But ironically enough, when we were in Spain, our old roommate Rachel and her now fiance, Brett happens to be there. So we didn’t travel with them, but we met up with them while they were there and they wanted to go to this one restaurant.

2 (18m 36s):
The name escapes me, but of course it is mentioned in our Barcelona episode, but there was actually a wua tuna wasn’t the note that we got. This was a really fancy tapas situation, right? Normally tapas is very inexpensive. This was a fancy one, but well worth it. That one was actually probably my favorite. But in just generalities experience, the bravas were top notch.

1 (19m 1s):
We actually made a itinerary for Spain the eight days that we went. So definitely check it out on our website. We have everything laid out. The airports we flew into, what we did each day, what attractions we went to, how much they cost, links to the websites that we booked on and how we transported from Barcelona to Madrid and Toto and back to the US again.

2 (19m 24s):
Before we move on from Spain, I just want to give a big shout out to it. I really enjoyed it a lot for several reasons. One, it is on the Euro and countries that are on the Euro tend to be a little bit more expensive, but Spain is known for being actually relatively inexpensive when it comes to food, lodging and other things. So you’re gonna get more bang for your buck when you go to Spain. And I don’t wanna say that there’s not things to see because there definitely are, but as we were really planning the trip, we really found out like a lot of the stuff to do is just kind of walk around roam, eat here and there, have a casual drink here and there, you know? And I really kind of liked that leisurely pace. So I feel like Spain is a really awesome European country to go to, to get the most bang for your buck and really kind of see a lot of the cool architecture and things, but really at a leisurely not pace.

2 (20m 14s):
That’s not go, go, go.

0 (20m 16s):
I love trips like that. Just mosey around, see beautiful things, have a sangria, eat some food. Amazing.

2 (20m 24s):
Yeah. Yeah, Spain was amazing for sure.

1 (20m 27s):
In April we also went to Texas. We flew into Dallas to see my sister for Easter, but we did fly in a date early to do a day trip to Oklahoma that marked off our 38th state in the us. So we went to Oklahoma City and knocked off that state since we did not count the one time that we went to Hot Springs, Arkansas and drove that tiny corner through,

0 (20m 50s):
Oh I count, I count it. We saw gas watch, it counts. So what was your highlight of Oklahoma City?

1 (20m 59s):
So there is a botanical garden that we went to. The botanical garden was really cool. And then we also went to this famous gas station called Pops and they have a ton of different flavored sodas that you can try or buy and they have like a little diner in there. So we ate there, got a cool flavored soda, brought some home. It was just a cool experience.

0 (21m 21s):
Very nice. Get that 38th state. So moving into May, I was surprised to learn out here in Austin and Texas that it’s very wet. It rains a lot in May. And so you know, in hindsight now that I think about May, 2024, I probably will try to get out of town. May, 2023. I didn’t do too much. I did go to Houston. One of the things about living out here in Austin that I have set out to do is to explore the neighboring areas. Anything within a five mile driving distance or maybe even more, I wanna see it while I live here, right? So gotta check out. Houston didn’t really have an itinerary necessarily, but it just so happened that it was torrentially down pouring this entire weekend.

0 (22m 6s):
But I didn’t wanna cancel the trip. So just like that one time we drove highway one during one of the worst storms to hit California in years. This was one of the scariest three hour drives to Houston. Luckily I wasn’t driving, but it was so rainy. Like we should not have been driving, we shouldn’t have even gone on this trip. But we made the most of it, right? We saw everything that we could do in Houston, given that it’s raining. And given that a lot of the things that were on my list to do, were outside, made the most of it though. Saw some local restaurants, some local parks with what we can do. Saw the nightlife a little bit and stayed in a really cool hotel.

0 (22m 48s):
Hotel Zaza, which is in Houston and Austin. It’s a really, really cute boutique hotel. They had champagne and chocolate covered strawberries waiting for us. Squad tip, tell them it’s your anniversary always and you will get hooked up with free perks. They even came by after we checked in, knocked on the door and brought bottles of water and moon pies randomly. So really the hotel was one of the highlights of that trip to Houston.

2 (23m 17s):
That’s nice. I mean even though it is outside of Austin to some degree, of course it is a little bit of a staycation or even exploring your own backyard, right? It’s within your own state. You know, we were able to drive not necessarily too far, and in May we kind of did the same thing. We just stayed local. We did some local hikes, we did the San Diego Japanese Tea Garden because what we did not mention is when we were in Oklahoma City in April, that garden that we had actually gone to, they had an entrance cost of course, but then I forgot the name of the past. But basically there’s like a US horticultural society that you could buy an annual pass for and it gets you into so many different, you know, gardens throughout the the US and they have several here locally in San Diego.

2 (24m 3s):
Well the Japanese Tee Garden is one of them. So we’re like, well let’s just put our pass to use. And all our years living here in San Diego over 10 plus years now, never gone to the Japanese Tee Garden in Balbo Park. So we’re like, let’s go do that. And then, you know, me being the big rollercoaster buff that I am, I had told Brittany, I was like, we gotta get six flags. Magic Mountain season passes. It’s been a while. I got like a hankering for some coasters. And so we made a little day trip to Magic Mountain and I think I sold Brittany on it because we love Indian food. And right by Magic Mountain, there’s this bomb Indian place that we always like to stop in when we’re driving through LA to Northern California and kind of tied our mail altogether that really did,

0 (24m 43s):
What’s it called? Shout ’em out.

2 (24m 45s):
Well the shout out goes to Royal Tando. And so Royal Tando is super good. If you’re there on a Monday through Friday during lunch hours, they actually have a very reasonably priced buffet. But at dinner time of course they don’t have that. So then it’s ordered like a la car. And then you know, Indian food is almost kind of like Chinese food for dinner, you know, with the Lazy Susans, not that they have the lazy Susans, but point being it’s a shared meal. You buy several things for the table and kind of share. So really, really good. But if any of our squads are listening and wants to go to Royal Tender Door and Santa Clarita in Los Angeles area, food fire. I will say this service a little lacking and slow, but just be prepared if you really think it’s gonna be like 45 minutes in and out plan for like an hour and a half, maybe two.

2 (25m 31s):
But I’ll tell you what, the food is so good. It’s actually kind of worth it.

0 (25m 34s):
I like a slow meal every now and then.

1 (25m 38s):
So moving into June, we actually had our Squad trip. Heck yes.

2 (25m 42s):
Squad Trip. What? What?

1 (25m 44s):
We went to Canada. Jamal and I were there for eight days. Kim was there for about six. And we covered Banff, Yoho, Jasper Kune, and we had our honorary Squad member Charlotte with us.

0 (25m 58s):
This was such a well anticipated trip. We’ve been talking about going to ban for so, so long and I’m just so happy that we did. It was a great trip. The lakes were gorgeous turquoise, the forest, the hikes, playing cards in our beautiful mountain front cabin that one night, like everything was really, really nice here. And I think I, I don’t think there’s anything I would’ve changed about this trip. It was just absolutely beautiful.

1 (26m 26s):
The Maple Fudge. Oh my goodness.

0 (26m 29s):
Yeah, I burnt myself out on Maple Fudge. I, I didn’t finish what I bought and I can’t even look at it anymore.

2 (26m 36s):
I think I was the first one to buy the Maple Fudge as a surprise for you ladies. So I want to take credit for that. You did? I had to leave the restaurant to go do something. I forgot what it was. Maybe it was repay for parking or do something I really can’t remember.

0 (26m 47s):
Get an ornament.

2 (26m 49s):
Oh, get the ornament. That’s right. Thank you for that reminder, Kim. But then I passed this one place, it wasn’t even a chocolate shop, it was like a souvenir and they said Maple fudge or fudge inside. And I was like, I was like, all right, well let me peep this bomb maple fudge. So when we were playing cards outside of our little cabin on the deck overlooking the mountains at sunset with our glass of wine, all four of us playing and then we have some maple fudge for dessert. It was quite the experience, not to mention the just the natural beauty, the hikes, everything around there was really, really nice. And if you guys are interested in Banff, not only was it just Banff. Banff is the major famous one that everybody knows in the Canadian Rockies National Park.

2 (27m 29s):
But there are so many national parks all around that touch. And if they don’t touch, they’re only like a few miles apart. So there’s Yoho, Jasper Kune Brittanie mentioned that you know earlier, but I wanna reiterate that we have an itinerary for that. We have shouted out our Itineraries earlier, but we have one of our newest ones here for a very popular trip that lots of people and nature lovers take to Banff and Jasper National Parks. So be sure to check them out on our website, Travel Squad Podcast dot com. If you are interested in this trip,

0 (28m 0s):
I think this is probably one of our most useful Itineraries because the nature of this trip is very much road trip esque. You’re starting at the very north end in Jasper, working your way down doing these experiences and stays along the way. And to have a guide that takes you through the map of the route and all the stops along the way. I think we could have got a lot of use out of that if we had found something like that before going on this trip. So we’re just passing on all our learnings to you all and really pushing for you to go to Jasper. A lot of people forget about it because it’s so far north, but I think Jasper really was one of the highlights of the trip.

2 (28m 39s):
I loved Jasper a lot. I think so just as well. And shout out, they have a really awesome local brewery. So after a day of hiking in the park, come get your brew. It’s delicious. Loved it. Yeah,

1 (28m 50s):
That was such a great trip. But also in June, Jamal and I did a weekend trip to the Redwoods National Park up in northern California. We hiked the James Irvine Trail to Fern Canyon, which are both a popular trail and popular popular area in the park. We also went up to Brookings Oregon to see the natural bridges. It was just a really beautiful coastal weekend that we enjoyed in Northern California.

0 (29m 15s):
That sounds wonderful.

2 (29m 16s):
Yeah, so this was our second time in Redwoods National Park. Brittany was really hard on going here because she really wanted to do the Fern Canyon Trail and you actually need to have a permit for that if you are gonna park in the parking lot, that’s really close. But we did not have a permit for that. So we actually had to do a longer trail that met up, what was it, like 12 mile ground trip? Yeah, but I’ll tell you what, it didn’t feel like 12 miles. There’s incline, but I didn’t feel like there was a lot. And I just want to say, you know, we’ve talked about before, like when we’re in Sequoia National Park, you know, you’re just in wonder of how tall and big these trees are. ’cause Sequoia are the largest trees because they have the girth to them, right?

2 (29m 57s):
But redwoods are all, sequoias are also redwoods. But these redwoods here, they still have girth, not as much, but they have a little bit more length to them and height. And let me tell you something, just walking through the forest, seeing those trees, having the ground being littered with ferns, it’s just this really unique forest environment that you really don’t get anywhere else. And I loved being out there and that’s not even just going up into Oregon, along the Pacific coast. So scenic and beautiful out there just as well. They touch right by each other. So definitely a great weekend trip to do is heading into that northern region of Northern California, Southern Oregon.

0 (30m 39s):
I really need to get back up there to do this one. I’ve done Fern Canyon. Come to find out I’d love to spend more time in the Redwood National Park though and really take it in.

1 (30m 50s):
Yeah, it’s so beautiful. So in

0 (30m 52s):
June, almost right after our Canada trip, I had another trip planned. It was my cousin’s wedding up in Lake Gregory, which is in southern California. Just a couple hours driving from San Diego. So I kind of made it a twofer. Had a little family time in Lake Gregory with an Airbnb cabin in the woods. The wedding was beautiful and then went back down to San Diego, had a great motel, actually Oceanfront Motel in Pacific Beach, San Diego, which was a really great place to stay. Got to see you all and do a little podcasting. Got some beach time in, I really missed that out here in Texas and it was a good little balance of a trip.

0 (31m 35s):
Got some hometown love and some family time in there.

1 (31m 39s):
Oh that’s always good. So before we drive into July, we’re gonna take a quick little detour and talk about one of our favorite travel products. Liquid iv Liquid IV keeps us hydrated while we’re flying and traveling.

2 (31m 50s):
It’s full of electrolytes and hydrates you two times faster than water alone. We use them while flying when feeling jet lagged. Or after a long hike or night out in a new city, partying it up on a rooftop bar. They’re super easy to carry and keep stocked in your suitcase. Carry on. Dayak or Purse

0 (32m 8s):
Liquid IV comes in regular or my favorite Sugar-free flavors. Our favorites are the Tangerine with immune support Sugar-free Peach and sugar-free Lemon lime you Squaddies can get 20% off when you go to liquid iv.com and use our promo code that’s Travel Squad Podcast promo code at checkout.

1 (32m 27s):
We actually just had Liquid IV this past weekend on our last trip. So love Liquid iv.

0 (32m 32s):
I just had one today. It’s winter, we’re dehydrated.

1 (32m 37s):
So what did you do in July? Kim

0 (32m 40s):
July? I went to New York City. It was for Louis’s birthday trip, his 30th birthday. So had to go up and go big, you know, it was a great trip. We only were planning to stay two nights because of weather. It ended up being three nights but we made the most out of it and ended up being really, really fun. So we did a a boat cruise that was unlimited mimosa’s breakfast buffet. Got to see the Statue of Liberty up close and personal on that boat. That was like the epic highlight of the trip. We stayed in the New Yorker hotel right by the Madison Square Garden. So super close to Times Square and all that riff-Raff that goes on in Manhattan of New York City.

0 (33m 25s):
Went to the Edge rooftop, got a great aerial view of the city, went to the iconic Comedy Cellar comedy show. It was a really good trip. And only my second trip to New York and completely different than what I did the first time.

2 (33m 39s):
You know, we recently had an episode, our second episode on New York where you talked a little bit more about this trip, hearing you talk about it now. And even when we recorded and listening to that episode when it came out a few weeks ago, it got me really inspired to go back to New York because my only time being to New York was after our two week long, or I think it was even longer than two weeks maybe what, 16 days when we first went to Africa and we had stopped in New York and it was on a Friday, sort of like, well why would we be going home? Let’s make a weekend trip out of it. And so we try to pack everything in and we’re just so tired from a long one and I enjoy work, but I need to go back to be like, I’m really just gonna go to New York.

2 (34m 22s):
And I don’t know why we haven’t done that yet. It’s such a big iconic American city and we’re gonna need to do that. So really, really excited and motivated hearing you talking about it again for when you went in July. But in July it’s also my birthday month and we celebrated my birthday by taking a little Vegas vacation a little bit for a weekend stay.

1 (34m 45s):
Yeah, we actually back in 2022, my brother got married in Vegas and we sat through a timeshare presentation and they gave us a free week’s stay in Vegas to use within the next year. And we kind of, we go to Vegas all the time. So we kind of just sat there and then we got an alert saying that the deal was going to be expiring and we’re like, all right, let’s make this work. So we went for a long weekend. We did Vegas on the budget. So we got the free stay from the timeshare presentation and we got $150 from sitting through one of the presentations while we were there. We also ate off Stripp this time, which saves a ton of money, but they have some really, really great eats Ostrip.

1 (35m 27s):
We went to a restaurant called Wolf and Sparrow, which was so delicious. They had so many great options. We went to a new noodle place and a sushi spot and we just explored Vegas more like locals I would say. And it was a wonderful trip.

0 (35m 43s):
No pool parties, no haw

1 (35m 44s):
Kaan. Well you know we did hit up haw Kaan but no pool parties.

2 (35m 50s):
No pool parties this time, that’s for sure. But I wanna reiterate what the food scene is like in Vegas right now. Off Stripp. Everybody thinks strip ’cause of course that’s where all the hotels and yeah you’re gonna find like the celebrity chefs and maybe the Michelin starred restaurants on there. But there is high quality eats offs, stripp in the local areas now. There is so many Instagram, Facebook pages, tiktoks, that are dedicated to eating off strip and we found quite a few of them from those went and tried them out and they did not disappoint. So anybody who wants to go to Vegas, I’ll tell you what you know, eat at that famous celebrity chef restaurant if you want, we do it too.

2 (36m 30s):
But definitely spend a little bit more time looking into Food off Strip ’cause you won’t be disappointed their game is up there right now.

1 (36m 39s):
So in August we took an anniversary trip, Jamal and I and we ended up going to Philadelphia. It was our first time together there. And then we headed over to New Jersey to hit up the shore and Cape May. We were able to meet up with some squats, Ryan and Brie, while we were in Philly. And we spent the day with them. We ate Philly cheese steaks, saw the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall with them. Oh

0 (37m 2s):
I wish I was there to meet them.

2 (37m 4s):
I know. Well it was so nice meeting Ryan and Brie, you know, was as soon as they saw on our Instagram post like hey we’re going out there. Any recommendations? Ryan immediately messaged us and be like, I live in the area, would love to do a little meetup. So that was really, really so nice. And at that point in time we were already knowing that we’re gonna be doing and we’re gonna touch upon this a little bit later in the episode two, but that we’re having our West Virginia meetup at New River Gorge National Park and they were talking about being really, really excited to potentially come. So Ryan and Bria, I know you’re listening, I’m counting on you guys to come so you better be coming on on that one. But yeah, they showed us what the locals do as we toured Independence Hall, they took us to this really great market.

2 (37m 49s):
We got some cheese steaks and just got to spend time with them a little bit. But from there, Philadelphia is right on the border with New Jersey, right? You just look across the river and oh all of a sudden there’s New Jersey, right? So not too far of a drive to the Jersey Shore. And our friends, Bob and Lorraine, who we mentioned we met up with in Florida, well guess what? They have a place in New Jersey as well just on the shore. And we ended up meeting up with them and they hosted us and it was a great experience.

1 (38m 18s):
So Bob and Lorraine, they have this cute little beach cottage, it’s two bedrooms, one bath and they invited us to stay with them and it’s walking distance right to the beach. They actually live in a really great spot because like three blocks away is the beach and then the three blocks in the other direction is the bay. So they have the best of both worlds. So we spent two days with them there. It was really nice to catch up with them. We saw them last in February and they showed us everything we need to see in the shore. We saw the Jersey Shore House and had a great time. They took us to some really great eats while we were there. And from Jersey Shore we went down to Cape May, New Jersey.

1 (39m 0s):
And I have a friend, an old coworker, her name’s Ro and her husband Eric, they run the Mason Inn in Cape May. And it’s this huge beautiful old historic Victorian home. It has 10 rooms that are all themed and named differently and there’s like fireplaces in most of the rooms and it’s just Victorian theme. This town was made prior to like the automobile was made. So out front they actually have like a little stand where you would normally tie your horse. It’s just really cute. And we explored Cape May for a day and a half and got to spend some time with them while we were there.

2 (39m 38s):
Yeah, so when we stayed at the Mason Inn, this was actually our first bed and breakfast experience. So this is a bed and breakfast. I don’t know if you mentioned that earlier, if you did, it just may have glossed over me. But we really loved it and what made it more exciting and as like Brittany said, in this old Victorian home, but if you haven’t heard of Cape May, it kind of has the notoriety of being the first beach location vacation place in the United States. So all of the elite aristocrats back in the day along the east coast, this is where they would go vacation and all the rich people. So it has its own storied history, but all the homes are really beautiful Victorian style and just a great experience overall to kind of really give you a different vibe of New Jersey than the stereotypical that you would expect.

2 (40m 26s):

0 (40m 26s):
Great. You got a whole bunch of stuff in that one trip.

1 (40m 30s):
Yeah, it was five days and we really packed it all in and it was great. I really enjoyed it. So then in September I told Jamal that we needed to hit off state number 39. So we went to Kansas City because we had never gone to Kansas before. We did do both sides of Kansas, the city, the Kansas side as well as the Missouri side. And of course we had to try Kansas City Barbecue while we were there.

2 (40m 57s):
Kansas City Barbecue did not disappoint. I’ll tell you what, their sauce game is pretty good and the ribs delicious also. But Brittany and I are brisket people and nobody does brisket like you’re a home state now of Texas Kim. So I will say that. But we really loved our Kansas City barbecue experience. We went to several places. Probably our favorite I would say would be slaps when we went to slaps the ribs just fall off the bone. I know how particular you are about your ribs Kim. Yeah, I love these ones right here. Like Brittany said state number 39. So we went to a few barbecue spots. Two of them were actually in the state of Kansas, just over the river right there.

2 (41m 37s):
Only one of them in Missouri. But we took a day trip to Topeka too ’cause we said to ourselves, we gotta go to the capitol ’cause that’s the next biggest city that was close to us. And even though yes we were in Kansas, do we really count crossing the the river to get to the other side and being maybe no more than a mile or two in hitting off another state. Yes it counts, but you know, we just had to venture a little bit deeper.

0 (42m 1s):
What was the other state?

2 (42m 4s):

0 (42m 5s):
Oh ’cause you’d kind of been there before but you didn’t count it.

1 (42m 9s):
We have never been to Kansas before, but we’ve been to Missouri, but a different part of Missouri. So Kansas City is

0 (42m 17s):
Oh okay.

1 (42m 18s):
In Missouri as well as Kansas. So,

2 (42m 20s):
But the bigger side of Kansas City is actually in Missouri.

1 (42m 24s):
So we had to drive a little deeper into Kansas.

0 (42m 26s):
Got it. But in

1 (42m 28s):
Kansas City they actually have a pretty lively downtown. They actually have this bar called Uptown KC. And they have a lot of video games that you can play at a really cheap price. I think everything was what Everything

2 (42m 43s):
Was a quarter.

1 (42m 44s):
A quarter. Oh. For a whole bunch of like arcade games and stuff. So there’s two stories, plenty of things to do. We also went to a bar called Pawn and Pint. They have like 2000 games. So you can bring your own food or snacks, but then you have to order drinks there and then you can play any of the games. So it’s fun to go as a group. It would be really fun to go as a group and play a game there. They have a ton of space and they had a great brewery called Boulevard Brewing while we were there that had a ton of sours. I love Sours. Had a lot of great flavors. So we checked that out as well. So overall, I wouldn’t say Kansas City is my favorite city, but I was more impressed that I thought I was going to be.

0 (43m 26s):
Well that’s good to know if I’m ever there for like work or something.

1 (43m 30s):

0 (43m 30s):
So in September, this was my big travel month. I’d been looking forward to my trip to Greece for several months. And I think that’s probably why maybe I didn’t do as much travel because I was really banking on this one big trip and it really was one of the best trips I’ve ever had. I would even be kind of willing to say it’s the number one best trip I’ve ever been on. I know, I know, I know. I usually say Thailand, Italy, Greece. But I really think Greece is gonna take the top spot because it is the epitome of a European summer vacation. It has everything you see in the movies.

0 (44m 11s):
It’s beautiful. They have ancient ruins. The vibes are amazing, the nightlife is amazing. The beaches are gorgeous, the parties are fun. The day clubs, the beach clubs. Oh my gosh. So we went to Athens, anos and Santorini in Santorini. We stayed the longest and we also stayed in a luxury caldera front gorgeous property with a personal hot tub on our balcony. It was just everything I’d been dreaming of and everything I had planned for about a year leading up to it. We went on a luxury catamaran that had like a five course meal, unlimited drinks.

0 (44m 54s):
Ugh. I, I really would actually go back to Greece in 2024. I loved it that much.

2 (44m 60s):
Whoa, big bold statement. Just like you said one earlier coming in like again with it. Loved it that much. Well I’m glad you did. You know, I remember for a while Kim, you were really hard on Squad trip Greece and you guys said that I was being a downer on, I wasn’t being a downer. It just wasn’t super hard for me to be like priority. And as much as I know, any trip that we take together, we all enjoy. I’m almost glad that we didn’t because I know you enjoyed your Greece experience in a different way that you wouldn’t have if we had it be a Squad trip. So in that sense, I’m actually really, really thankful for it. So maybe your next trip to Greece, if it’s okay, we’ll tag along and then you can show us the ropes and then yeah, we’ll just definitely go from there.

2 (45m 41s):

0 (45m 41s):
Think Greece is a great destination for couples. Obviously it’s very romantic but I also think it’s a great girls trip destination. Oh

1 (45m 52s):
I could see that. Definitely. You also got a little bonus add-on with London.

0 (45m 57s):
Yeah, so we ended up saving somewhere around $600 just by adding a about 24 hour stopover in London on the way back. So you know, we got to see Big Ben and the London Eye and Westminster Abbey and walk around. The gorgeous architecture there is really cool to look at the cars there. There’s some like old British cars that were pretty cool to see driving around. And then that is where my love for bangers and mash started.

2 (46m 29s):
Bangers and Mash. I could

0 (46m 31s):
See that. So good. Went to a traditional London pub, had bangers and mash to end the night before getting on the flight back home. And I’ve been thinking about it ever since.

2 (46m 40s):
So speaking of the flight back home, I have to ask, how was your airport experience at London? Heathrow Kim? ’cause we’ve talked about this on the podcast before about how we hate traveling through that airport. Do you have bullshit to deal with?

0 (46m 53s):
So I knew that they have this stupid rule that you have to take all your toiletries out of its bags and put them in this one specific plastic bag that they provide. They’re very strict on that. And so we had already come through London on the way into Greece and kind of had to deal with like stopping, taking all our shit out and everything. So on the way home we actually checked our bags, put all of our toiletries in there and then anything else that we had, I’d save the bag thanks to a tip from Brittany and had PrepU everything in that small bag that we did have leftover.

2 (47m 27s):
Well at least it made it a little bit more smooth just having known the experience. But if you don’t know and have never flown through London, yeah, just keep that in mind. It’s their, their rules on liquids is completely different and they give you a specific bag that it has to fit in. If it goes over and doesn’t fit all into that bag, then you’re kind of screwed and they give you a hard time. So just

0 (47m 47s):
Brittany was this close to getting put on the no fly list in London because of that?

1 (47m 54s):
I know

2 (47m 55s):
Brittany definitely was, she was giving them a little bit of attitude but you know, they were giving me attitude. Yeah. Yes they were. Yes they were. But also in September, you know we took a little weekender to Kansas City but we also had a big international trip. We went to Germany for October Fest and what an experience that was. That one was really fun just to be there kind of in that party vibe. Although we didn’t really party in that sense. Of course we went to the October Fest, the tents did some drinking but we weren’t getting obliterated, right? Because we did some other things while we were there in the city of Munich. And then from there outside and when we were done with October Fest, that’s Where We went to that national park that we’re still not sure if we’re pronouncing correctly that we’re talking about earlier.

2 (48m 41s):
Burke Des Garden in the Bavarian German Alps. It was just so serene and beautiful and just, just a great experience overall out there in Germany.

1 (48m 51s):
I loved Burs Des Garden. It was probably my favorite part of the trip. There’s a national park there to get to parts of the hikes that we wanted to do. You actually have to take a boat tour, a lot of great scenic hiking in the Alps. We went to the Eagles Nest, which was Hitler’s old lookout. We took Gondola ride, very scenic. We went with some of Jamal’s friends, Garrett and Melissa had a great time with them. And then we also finished off the trip with a day trip to Saltzburg in Austria. And we had been there before, but it was their first time going. So it was nice to go back and go to a cafe we had been to before for these amazing apricot dumplings.

1 (49m 32s):
Mm oh they were so good. But we had a great time while we were in Germany and loved it. I would definitely go back again and even experience October Fest again. We just talked a little bit about Greece and October Fest, but those episodes are actually gonna be airing later this year. So be sure to stay tuned and subscribe to the podcast so you can hear when those episodes do come out. Well

2 (49m 54s):
Not later this year, later next year. ’cause this year still 2023 next year, around the corner here, 2024

0 (50m 1s):
In October, we got into our fall vibes because one of our squads had reached out to us offering us a stay in her gorgeous cherry log cabin in Cherry Log, Georgia. And we took her up on that offer and we are so glad that we did. It was a beautiful cabin with an amazing hot tub that we got a lot of use out of. We had a really, really good time. Just being out in the forest in a cabin is like so centering and so peaceful and we really liked that. Our friend Robin and her boyfriend Brandon joined us on that trip. We took the drive out to Chattanooga, went to Ruby Falls and Rock City Gardens and did a little exploration of Blue Ridge and went to a winery and an orchard and went out to dinner.

0 (50m 49s):
Just me and Brittany. So that was a really cool trip actually.

1 (50m 53s):
Yeah, the orchard had a really good, there was like handheld fried mini pies, like apple pies, blueberry out. So good. They were so good. And the wine tasting, cider tasting that we did, I think we went overload on apples and you know, with the cider tasting. Tasting, the apple fritters. The apple donuts. The apple cider. Yeah, everything apple. But that was really cool. And then we did a little stop in Atlanta for lunch. Kim and I, that’s where our flights were out of. So had a little lunch stop in Atlanta, walked a little bit of like this belt line and that flew home from there.

0 (51m 28s):
And then in November we have Thanksgiving. So I did go back to Sacramento to visit family. Didn’t do any travel or exploration. I kind of wish that I would’ve gone to Bernie Falls. I know you all have been there and it’s not too far. So maybe on my next trip up there. But the one thing I do wanna say about this trip is we’re getting a ton of warnings that it’s gonna be an insane travel day. The airports are crazy. Get there early. I was shocked that the airports were not busy at all. I got through TSA in five minutes in Austin and yes, I have TSA pre but still five minutes is insane for the day before Thanksgiving. When I got into Sacramento, the airports were not busy.

0 (52m 9s):
I was expecting to see like floods of cars backed up, picking up people that are arriving. Nothing like that.

1 (52m 16s):
Wow. Good to know. Good to know. I

2 (52m 18s):
Don’t think we’ve ever really traveled on Thanksgiving except for one time when we went to Texas to have it at Brittany’s sister’s new house. And I don’t remember it being too crowded either. Right. You always get those warnings. But usually we host Thanksgiving so we’re not really the ones traveling. So that’s actually really good tick to know, especially now if we’ve experienced that. Not too bad. And then Kim, I just feel like it kind of makes sense, but maybe we traveled the day before and people are traveling, you know, a few days before. So I mean I guess it could really vary. But to that sense, Kim, you went to Sacramento? We stayed in San Diego. We didn’t do much of anything in November ’cause it’s a busy time for work for me just as well.

2 (52m 59s):
So I really tell Brittany kind of like no travel. So we just kept it mellow. Yeah.

1 (53m 5s):
And here in December we actually just got back from a trip. We went to Big Ben National Park. It was National Park number 48 for us. I actually enjoyed it much more than I thought I would. We were out right outside of the park in a ghost town called Terlingua. We popped into Big Bend for a day and a half. We hiked along the Rio Grande into Santa Elena Canyon. We went to the Boas Hot Springs. We were able to soak in the hot springs and then immediately get into the Rio Grande to cool off. We did some cool hiking in the park, saw some awesome wildlife as well. We’re gonna be doing an episode on Big Bend in the upcoming year and we just had a really great time out there.

2 (53m 46s):
Yeah, big Bend really surprised me a lot more than I really thought it was. And I guess that’s something I need to take into every vacation is just have low expectations and then you’re just gonna be like so surprised with it. But I didn’t think it was gonna be bad. Right? But I thought to myself, okay, just like desert landscape, you know, I’ve seen it before, but it’s something really cool about this desert landscape that was different. They have like mountains, all sorts of other wildlife that’s kind of really readily available that you can see a lot of desert wildlife, a lot of times they’re like really hidden here. They’re out and about. Something cool about the aspect of it being on the US Mexico border with the Rio Grande being the natural division line.

2 (54m 28s):
And so when we run those hot springs, the hot springs are on the US side. Brittany mentioned we popped in to cool off in the river itself, but guess what? Just walk right over into Mexico. It’s not really regulated. There’s no wall, there’s no nothing there, you know? And so I was just waiting on the borderline and that’s a cool experience in and of itself. But that ghost town that we were staying in was actually really cool. Pleasantly surprised. You would think like, okay, there’s not really a big population of people out here, so what are the towns gonna look like? And the town was like, okay, what you would expect. But the food scene there was just absolutely incredible. Just being catered towards the national park and people being out there had some really good eats.

2 (55m 10s):
And I just enjoyed the experience all around. I think if I was to go back to Big Bend National Park, it would just be for that town and the night sky that the stars were just lit up so beautifully because when we were there we were saying, well would we come back? And we’re like, no. But now that I’m talking about it, I I, I’ve kind of convinced myself I want to go back. Thank that right now.

0 (55m 32s):
Well that’s good. I’m glad you had a good time out there. Now one last trip that I have for December that is gonna come out or that I will take after this episode comes out is back to San Diego. I’m gonna go December 23rd through 26, spend Christmas out there, Christmas on the beach and see you all do some podcast recording, some 2024 planning. And I think it’s gonna be a good way to end the year.

1 (55m 59s):
I think so too. I can’t wait to see you in San Diego. So we have a lot planned for 2024. We have some just kind of things going on travel-wise and we’ll just kind of quickly go through them. So in January Jamal and I are flying to Austin to meet up with Kim. We batch record our podcast episode. So we’re gonna be doing a day of podcast recording and a day in Fredericksburg or Texas Wine Country to go wine tasting with Kim and explore Austin A. Little bit more. We’re also at the end of January doing a six day gate, one trip to Rome. It’s an independent tour so it covered our flights and our hotel, but we don’t have a guide and we’re going with our friends, Kesha and Ryan.

1 (56m 41s):
It’s gonna be a great time. I think total for that trip we paid $850 a person and that included our flights in our hotels. So, and breakfast every day at the hotel.

0 (56m 51s):
Nice. January, I’m gonna be heading up to Oregon. My flight is in and out of Portland, but I’m actually going to Medford for a friend’s baby shower. So I, I was looking into flights, Medford Direct versus Portland, which is about a four hour drive and I think I’m gonna keep my Portland flights and hit up some waterfalls, some hiking along the way.

1 (57m 13s):
That’ll be a nice trip. I love the Oregon coast and Oregon in general. It’s so green, so lush has like a moody vibe with the fog. It’ll be great. We mentioned it earlier that in February Jamal and I are going to New Orleans. We haven’t been since I was 19. It’s been like 14 years since we’ve been, we’re also gonna be hitting off states 41, 40 and 41, which are Alabama and Mississippi. We’re staying on the Gulf Coast exploring some of those Gulf Shore towns and going to Orange Beach, Alabama and Biloxi, Mississippi. So we’re gonna have a great time out there.

0 (57m 49s):
It just so happens that I am also going to Orange Beach, Alabama. I’m going to stay in a beach house with a friend and her family for a few days, but our schedules are not going to overlap with each other. Unfortunately we’re a couple weeks off.

2 (58m 4s):
That bums me out a lot, Kim ’cause that’s like, I would’ve just love for that to be the case, but unfortunately it is not. But we will be sharing Orange Beach, Alabama stories, that’s for sure on what we were able to do out on the Gulf Coast over there. But in March we are taking our annual trip to Texas Dallas, specifically Fort Easter because Britney’s sister always hosts that. So we’ll be looking forward to family time out in Dallas come March.

0 (58m 33s):
In March. I don’t have anything solidified yet, but I am talking to a friend about going out to Florida. So still trying to figure out exactly what destinations we would wanna go to. But my friend Leah on our Squatty is in St. Augustine. Maybe go visit her. I’m also interested in seeing St. Petersburg also kind of interested in seeing Delray Beach, which is near Boca Raton. I’m somewhat sort of eyeing it as a potential next city to live in. Maybe moving sometime in 2025. So we’ll see. We’ll see what comes up there.

2 (59m 7s):
Don’t move around Egypt. Planning for 20, 25 time though, because you know we just talked about Egypt 2025. So just don’t make that move. During Egypt time

0 (59m 17s):

1 (59m 17s):
In April, we are doing a Squad trip. We are going to Costa Rica for seven days. It’s another gate, one independent tour. It was actually pretty affordable. We are each going, Kim’s going for like a thousand dollars and I think Jamal and I are about 1200 a person. So we’re gonna be seeing some hot springs, some jungle, some zip, possibly some zip lining,

2 (59m 41s):
Some volcanoes, yes,

1 (59m 42s):
Some who knows, it’s a lot of waterfalls. I can’t wait.

2 (59m 46s):
And so even though we’re all going together as a Squad trip, Brittany mentioned different prices. That’s because of course we are leaving from different cities, right? So that’s where the price discrepancy is. But rest assured they usually always have the same fare from a specific airport that they really have their special. But since we’re flying from different ones, we have different costs. But I would still feel for seven days, flights, hotels, your rental car included and then you could just go and explore wherever you want. You know, it’s so great and so affordable and you really can’t get a deal like that if you were gonna do something independent on your own. So we talked about Gate one earlier for guided tours, check ’em out for their independent tours.

2 (1h 0m 26s):
Also really good value

0 (1h 0m 28s):
And it’s so much easier than having to book each and every hotel book your car rental, book your flights when you just have one booking. And me and Zaina booked together. She’s going out of la, I’m going out of Austin. We had the travel agent custom build us the itinerary and the booking. So literally didn’t have to do any work to book this trip and got the best price out there.

1 (1h 0m 51s):
What a deal. In

0 (1h 0m 52s):
May, I think this might be a pipe dream, but that’s when the Kentucky Derby happens and I would love to go. I don’t know if it’s gonna happen this year, but I’m still keeping it as a potential.

1 (1h 1m 5s):
We are potentially eyeing a little road trip of the Dakotas, possibly Badlands, Mount Rushmore, Theodore Roosevelt and Win Cave potentially. It’s nothing solidified at all in any sort of way, but it’s something that we’ve been kind of chatting about. So may or may not happen. We do already have kind of a lot going on this year. So we’ll we’ll see

0 (1h 1m 26s):
In June, we have a very exciting first Squad trip meetup at the New River Gorge National Park. We’re staying at River Expeditions, whitewater, Rafting, zip lining, just hanging out by the fire. It’s gonna be so amazing. We have all the details on our website if you wanna join that trip. It’s actually very affordable. It’s gonna be very, very fun and I’m so looking forward to it.

2 (1h 1m 50s):
I’m really looking forward to it too. Brittany and I have actually been to New River Gorge National Park, done the Whitewater Rafting, we loved it so much. Really excited to go back there again for this Squad and Friend Meetup. So go to our website, check out the details, be sure to book. You’ll see a promo code that’s listed on our website. If you do a phone call reservation versus booking through the website, you’ll be getting a discount for it. So come on out, meet up with us. We’re gonna have a really good time. Time out on the river, exploring nature and having a good time

1 (1h 2m 23s):
In July. We are doing seven days in Iceland. We’re focusing mostly on the southern coast of Iceland. Can’t wait to go out there. We have a lot of cool hikes, planned excursions on a, a glacier lagoon. We’re going to Diamond Beach, a whole bunch of stuff. Also going hopefully into the Blue Lagoon.

0 (1h 2m 43s):
Oh you have to go,

1 (1h 2m 45s):
Have to go to Blue Lagoon. So also booking that as well. So we’re really excited for our trip to Iceland this July.

0 (1h 2m 52s):
How exciting. My family is trying to rope me into a cruise, seven day cruise in July. It goes from LA to Cabo, perha, Veta and Mazatlan. And I probably will book it. I’m just hesitating and dragging my feet because I’ve already done this exact same cruise with Carnival and so I’m like, ah, do I wanna take the exact same trip again? But it’s a family trip so I probably will do it.

2 (1h 3m 18s):
Is it also with Carnival again or is it Yes. A different cruise line? It is. Oh, okay. ’cause I was gonna say if it’s with a different cruise line, give it a go because yeah, so sometimes you don’t even really do much at port. The experience is the cruise. Then I was gonna say, if it’s a different cruise line, it’s kind of all gonna be the same, but also very different. Right, with different amenities, different things. But if it’s carnival again, yeah, you know, I, I’m not saying don’t do family time, but try to convince them to do a different cruise line. So that same itinerary though.

0 (1h 3m 47s):
No, I talked to them and I said, okay, I, I’ll do a cruise with you all but it, I don’t wanna go on carnival because I’ve already done two carnivals. What do they do? They book with a travel agent that they’re friends with on Carnival. I’m like you guys.

2 (1h 4m 2s):
So they basically said, Kim, we don’t want you to come. So what you’re saying is your July is fully open.

0 (1h 4m 8s):
We, we will see, we’ll see

1 (1h 4m 11s):
In August. Jamal and I are planning to go to Black Canyon of the Gunnison. It’s another national park in Colorado. That’ll be the last of the four Colorado national parks that we need to go hit off.

0 (1h 4m 23s):
I don’t have a lot of travel planned for the back half of the year just yet. September. I know I will be coming to San Diego. My coworkers already notified me of his wedding and an invitation coming in the mail. Another potential like event-based travel. I would love to go to New York Fashion Week and it happens in September. So maybe I’ll make that happen. Go to another New York City trip and I want to go to a fashion show. So maybe next year’s the year,

1 (1h 4m 54s):
It might be for you. In September we are going to Brazil and Argentina. We’re doing a 10 day gate. One trip with Kasha and Ryan are friends. It was K’s pick this year ’cause I’ve, I think I’ve picked probably the last few years we’ve gone on trips together. So I specifically said pick where we’re going and she picked Brazil and Argentina. So we’re gonna do that 10 day trip with her.

0 (1h 5m 15s):
Nice. And then November we have our second Travel Squad Podcast trip that we are partnering with another company on. This is a three day trip to Napa Valley and it is going to be a wine trip. Wine tasting, wine dinners, wine busts. Maybe if you’re that kind of a traveler, we’re gonna have breakfast buffets, hot springs. It is going to be an epic trip. And we have a promo code for you to get $200 off. So check that out in the show notes and the links for everything will be there too.

1 (1h 5m 47s):
I think on both ends. We really don’t have anything planned for December of next year, but I’m sure we’ll both think of something.

0 (1h 5m 54s):
Yeah, I’m thinking maybe a tropical getaway because it is cold and I’m in December right now I’m feeling the cold and I, I could see a nice warm tropical getaway being very well received this time next year.

2 (1h 6m 7s):
I think Tulum has your name all over it. Kim, but she’s

1 (1h 6m 10s):
Been there.

2 (1h 6m 10s):
She has been there, but you know what, that doesn’t stop Kim. She’s gonna go back to New York again for fashion week. She’s been in New York before. You know Tulum, I, I don’t know, I, I just, I feel good vibes for Tulum with Kim right now

0 (1h 6m 22s):
That out there. And Tulum is just about to open their own international airport so you don’t have to go through Cancun

2 (1h 6m 30s):
That I heard.

1 (1h 6m 31s):
So we have a lot also planned for the podcast next year in 2024. We’ve recently started sending out newsletters. You can go to our website and at the bottom and there is a signup for the newsletters. We release a newsletter about twice a month I would say. But it keeps you up to date on our most recent trips, episodes, upcoming trips that we have. Whole bunch of different info. We also have some different types of newsletters where we’re gonna be sending out some of our favorite hotels to stay at that are unique stays. Some of our favorite trip excursions that we’ve taken through like via tour or get your guide and a whole bunch of other things. So be sure to sign up for the newsletter to stay up to date.

0 (1h 7m 14s):
We have a lot of Merch coming out next year. This year we really started building some really cool Travel Squad, Podcast themed Merch, but also more seasonal Merch like Summers fashion or our most popular Forest Mountain zip up hoodie. That’s one of our best sellers. So we have a ton more Merch designs that are gonna be coming out next year and keeping them fresh as the seasons change. You know, we’re gonna have a ton new episodes as well. Every single one of these places that we mentioned we’re gonna be going in 2024 plus all of the other trips that you know are gonna pop up. You can expect new episodes on all of that.

2 (1h 7m 52s):
We’re also gonna be having more Itineraries for you guys both free and for purchase. You know, when we were talking about them earlier, a lot of our Itineraries are for purchase for you guys at a really good value to help save you guys from doing all that hassle. But one thing when we talk about the Itineraries that we don’t hit on a lot is that there are actually free ones up there for you too. So go to our website, check them out, download those ones, even if you’re not gonna go get a little flavor of what they look like, that way, you know, for that bigger trip and purchased Itineraries, what it’s actually going to look like. But of course we plan on bringing more of those your way. And

0 (1h 8m 28s):
Then you can expect a few more interviews from some really exciting travel industry experts. We have some plans in motion right now and, and things always pop up as the year goes on. So if you’re interested in being a guest and you have a unique perspective from the travel industry, hit us up at Travel Squad Podcast at gmail.com.

2 (1h 8m 46s):
Well, I must say ladies, 2023 has been an epic year of travel, love, friendship, joy, all of the above. I can’t wait to see what 2024 brings. I know we kind of teased on it a little bit, but you know, things can change, things could get added, deleted, moved around. So I’m anxious to see what 2024 holds its store for us and for you squads travel wise just as well.

0 (1h 9m 10s):
It’s always good to reflect on what we did and then really get excited about everything that’s coming up. ’cause as you can see, it’s a lot. Thank you Squatty so much for tuning into our episode this week. Make sure to keep the adventures going with us by following us on Instagram YouTube TikTok at Travel Squad Podcast. Tag us in your adventures too and send us your questions of the week.

2 (1h 9m 31s):
If you found the information of this episode to be useful or if you thought we were just playing funny, please be sure to share it with a friend that would enjoy it too. And as always, please subscribe, rig review our podcast and tune in every travel Tuesday for new episodes.

1 (1h 9m 45s):
Stay tuned for next week’s episode. We have more amazing adventures and tips in store for you.

0 (1h 9m 50s):
Bye squadies!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *