I love lists! When it’s the end of the year and the magazines, newspapers, websites are all featuring best of  lists, I am in hog heaven. Which brings me to this page where I will post my lists. I will also add them as posts on the Home page but you will always be able to find them right here.

Places we have been together

This list is a personal one…countries that Kathleen and I have visited. To get on this list, we have to visited this country on the ground (that means changing planes doesn’t count) and together.

  1. USA (of course, we were born here)
  2. Canada (Our home away from home. We have so many friends there.)
  3. Italy (Our first overseas trip to find my heritage)
  4. Vatican City (kind of a cheat, but it counts)
  5. England (Part of our second major trip in 2005)
  6. Scotland (Part of our second major trip in 2005–finding Kathleen’s heritage)
  7. France (Part of our second major trip in 2005)
  8. Aruba (Our first real cruise through the Panama Canal on Celebrity’s Infinity)
  9. Panama
  10. Costa Rica
  11. Mexico
  12. Dominican Republic (One of our few Caribbean cruises on Celebrity’s Infinity)
  13. Bahamas
  14. Greece (Part of an amazing “Exotic Mediterranean” cruise on Celebrity’s Galaxy)
  15. Turkey
  16. Ukraine
  17. Romania
  18. Spain (Part of a wonderful Western  Mediterranean cruise on Celebrity’s Century)
  19. Monaco
  20. British Virgin Islands (One of our few Caribbean cruises on Celebrity’s Solstice)
  21. St. Maarten
  22. Singapore (Maybe my favorite cruise ever on Azamara’s Quest)
  23. Thailand
  24. Vietnam
  25. China (Hong Kong)
  26. New Zealand (Part of a wonderful cruise on Celebrity’s Century)
  27. Australia
  28. Belgium (Visited on our Baltic cruise on Celebrity’s Eclipse)
  29. Germany
  30. Sweden
  31. Finland
  32. Russia
  33. Estonia
  34. Denmark
  35. Guatemala (Our second trip through the Panama Canal on Celebrity’s Infinity)
  36. Columbia
  37. The Netherlands (Almost a week here before our British Isles cruise on Celebrity’s Silhouette)
  38. Ireland
  39. Iceland
  40. St. Kitts & Nevis

And of course we have been back to a bunch of these places numerous times. And there are many we would like to visit again (like New Zealand, Italy and Spain).

Best small cities in the USA (from Conde Nast magazine)

This isn’t my list but one I grabbed from Conde Nast (a pretty great travel magazine). I liked the list so much I decided to publish it and make comments below it because amazingly, we have been to all but four of them.

15. Santa Barbara, California
14. Newport, Rhode Island
13. Palm Springs, California
12. Napa, California
11. Portland, Maine
10. Key West, Florida
9.  Greenville, South Carolina
8.  Asheville, North Carolina
7.  Monterey, California
6.  Sedona, Arizona
5. Sarasota, Florida
4. Alexandria, Virginia
3. Savannah, Georgia
2. Sante Fe, New Mexico
1. Charleston, South Carolina

I see a lot of these lists. I don’t think I have ever seen one I agree with as much as this one. We have been to a number of these small cities and loved them all. I will make some notes about those. In the meantime I need to add the ones we haven’t been to yet, to our list of future places to go. So far we have not visited Alexandria, VA (other than a quick stop on the outskirts while visiting Washington, DC), Asheville, NC, Greenville, SC and Newport, RI. I have been to Sarasota (and loved it) but Kathleen hasn’t so I never count a place as visited unless we both go.

Some thoughts on the other small cities:

Number 15–Santa Barbara, CA and Number 7–Monterey, CA. We haven’t been to either of these places in years. They were both part of our Mom-to-Mom tour we took years ago. We flew into Oakland and visited Kathleen’s mom in San Leandro (near Oakland) and then drove all the way down the coast (staying in both these towns) to visit my Mom in Number 13–Palm Springs, CA. We loved them all but we haven’t been back to Monterey or Santa Barbara in years. Maybe it’s time.

Palm Springs, CA (Number 13)

Number 13–Palm Springs, CA. If you know me, you know this is where I grew up. Lived here from the time I was four years old until I graduated from high school (Palm Springs High Class of 1971) and went off to college and then moved back for a couple of years after college to teach school in nearby Coachella. My parents lived there until they passed away a few years ago so we have spent a LOT of time there over the last 20 years since I met Kathleen, visiting them. I suppose I see Palm Springs from an entirely different point of view than I would as just a place to visit. We were last there in March of last year when our Toronto buddies, Tim and Perry were visiting for some sunshine so we went to meet them.

It has also been awhile since we visited Napa, CA (Number 12) and Key West, Florida (Number 10) but when we did we had a super time. If I had to choose which one to go back to first, I would pick Key West. Our visit was only three days/two nights but we really had a great time. But then we were visiting with our buddies Bob and Jude so that may have been it.

Sante Fe-Day 3075
Meow Wolf in Sante Fe, New Mexico (Number 2)

Lastly in the last two years we have done some major touring in all of the top three. We did a week long trip to New Mexico which included Sante Fe (Number 2) and also got to see Albuquerque as well…during the Balloon Festival…which was incredible and if you ever get a chance to attend—do it! Plus we have friends in New Mexico (Hi Mary and John) who took us so many places and made so many great recommendations. If you ever go to Sante Fe, make sure you go to Meow Wolf. I wish I could describe it but the morning we spent there was nothing less than surreal…and fun. Check out their website with that link.

Lastly, just a few short months ago (it seems like a few but it was May 2017) we spent a week touring the Low Country and visiting Savannah, GA (Number 3) and Charlestown (Number 1) and would go back in a minute. Loved both places a bunch. Click the Low Country link and see what we did while there. We can highly recommend just about every single place we went while we were there and we loved the food.

I just realized that I skipped Portland, ME (Number 11). I think that because we were really only there for about half a day on our New England cruise last October and it was hot, humid and horrid. Kathleen almost wound up with heat stroke. Who would have guessed that it would be almost 90 degrees in Portland, Maine in October? We need to give the place another chance. Just not sure when.

So, what small cities have you been to that you loved? What would you go back to? What would you have skipped? Where is the next small city you wan to visit? Let me know in the comments.

Our favorite shore excursions

  1. Touring Amalfi with Marcello in 2006
  2. Touring Bangkok with Tong in 2010
  3. Touring Inverness with Ian in 2016
  4. Touring Nice, Monaco and Eze with Sylvie in 2007 
  5. Touring the Panama Canal control room with Roberto in 2014
  6. Touring Akaroa, NZ on our own in 2012 including a visit to a working sheep ranch
  7. Harv & Marv whale watching in Juneau, Alaska in 2007
  8. Jet boating in Acapulco in 2004 on a Celebrity shore excursion


Travel Apps I love (that I discussed with Seth Wayne on Adventures Await, September 22, 2019)

  • Packing Pro/Click here to get it
    • Why I love it and have been using it for 10 years+
      • Let’s you keep lists you have made for one trip and reuse them
      • Synchs to different devices (phone and tablet)
      • Suggests items in categories
      • Splits by trip and individuals
      • My favorite thing…lists more than the things you will take but also the things you need to do before you go.
        • Buy tickets, stop mail, take out garbage, turn off water to washing machines, e-mail neighbors, etc.
  • Tripcase/Click here to see Tripcase
    • The best app for being on the road—ever!
    • Keeps track of every move you will make
      • Track:
        • Flights—once you enter the info, it tracks the flight
        • Hotels
        • Restaurant reservations
        • Tours
        • Cruises
        • Transfers
        • Anything else you want to keep track of
    • Everything is in one place
      • You don’t have to look up things in e-mails or anywhere else—it’s all in one place
      • It moves along as the days go by. When you open it up, it’s on the day and time that’s current
      • You can enter the info on your phone, your tablet or any computer that’s online but you don’t need to be online to use it.
      • I wouldn’t travel without this app
    • It’s FREE!
  • CityMaps2Go/Click here to get it
    • More than maps…maps you download before you go and can use without cell service or WiFi.
    • Maps for just about every country, region and city in the world.
  • Currency (that’s the name of the app)—if you go outside the USA, this is a must. Constant updates of the best exchange rate. Put prices of items you might be buying in to the app and find out your investment.
  • Flight tracker—great to see where your flight is if they are running late.
    • Can send you alerts if things change about your flight, like delays.
  • Transport Apps
    • Uber, Lyft and in Europe, MyTaxi for countries where ride-sharing is not allowed like Ireland.
  • Government Apps
    • My TSA/Has wait times for all USA airports.
    • Mobile Passport (gets you back into the USA faster).
    • CBP Roam (currently testing—would eliminate your Customs stop at airports and cruise ports by allowing FaceTime/Skype interviews with off-site Customs agents.
  • Translation Apps
    • Google Translate (needs cell or WiFi) or any equivalent application.
  • Specialty Destination Apps
    • Cruise line apps:
      • Most cruise lines have FREE apps
      • They often act as your boarding pass
      • Some act as room keys
      • They have the Daily Planner for the ship.
      • Allow non-internet texting between passengers. A great way to communicate while onboard.
      • They have full deck plans.
      • You can use them to reserve shows/shore excursions/activities.
    • Airline apps:
      • Almost all airlines have electronic boarding passes. Great for checking in when you are on the road and don’t have access to a printer.
      • Many of the airline apps will text you flight delays.
    • Ticket Apps:
      • Find tickets for excursions/Broadway/East End
      • Many do electronic tickets
    • Touring apps: If you are going to tour, see if there is an app for your tour.
      • Rick Steves Walking Tours are WONDERFUL.
      • Big Bus Tours in many cities have their own apps.
    • Airport Apps:
      • Heathrow, SeaTac and many others give you lots of info about the airport.
        • They can help you find your gate.
        • They can help you find food and shopping.
    • Rental Car Apps
      • Most of the major companies have them.
      • Biggest advantage is quick check in.
      • Use to book cars when things are busy. Helps avoid standing in line.
    • Hotel Apps
      • Some using apps for keys.
      • Some apps give you discounts.
      • Can get you hotel restaurant reservations.