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Why Do Travelers Use Airbnb?

Airbnb.com is a website on which anyone can list space to rent, similar to a bed and breakfast this can range from the person who may just have an extra bedroom all the way to an extra castle. Both the host and guest are able to rate each other based on their experience. But why do travelers utilize this site instead of traditional hotel rooms or bed and breakfasts?

Airbnb Gives You More Value

Accomodation can be the most expensive part of travel. The average for a night at a hotel in downtown Bremerton is $150. That includes a continental breakfast (which are never very good), free (usually shitty) wifi, a hundred or so square feet of bedroom, an ish view, and basic cable access. For $120 more, I can rent a waterfront cottage with THREE bedrooms. You just can’t get that same access with traditional hotel options.

Access To Local Sights

Locals aren’t going to direct you to the worst diner in town. They’re full of insights into the community, which parts of town are safe and which aren’t, and the best way to navigate their corner of the world.

Extraordinary Locations

Not only is staying in a “real house” with a kitchen, full bathroom, and living space more comfortable, but it can also be more interesting. Since
Airbnb is so budget friendly, you have access to stay in places like sailboats, mountain cabins, and tiny houses.

The downsides?

Sometimes properties aren’t as the host described, however, their review system as well as excellent customer service from Airbnb can weed out such hosts. Sometimes the hosts are creepy, again rely on the review system and on the Airbnb customer service hotline. (If you feel unsafe, just turn around and leave. Then call Airbnb and ask for help finding somewhere else to stay, they will comp you a night somewhere else or refund your money. If someone is threatening you, call 911 immediately!)

A good way to avoid bad experiences? Do your research, don’t select an accomodation that will put you in circumstances you aren’t comfortable in. Select a host with LOTS of positive reviews about them AND their property. Review hosts honestly – always!

Any other questions? Throw them in the comments!

Discover The Pacific NW Like Never Before By Doing This One Thing

This one thing will link you with the thrilling and unforgettable beauty of Washington. You’ll discover the region as never before, with lots of help, research, and time from me personally.

Continue reading “Discover The Pacific NW Like Never Before By Doing This One Thing”

A Step By Step Guide To Setting Up Pinterest For Exponential Results

This article provides an invaluable and foolproof method to master the setup of your Pinterest account so you never have to go back and correct mistakes. Why even set it up at all? Pinterest is a powerful search engine tool that has the ability to connect your site with an active community of women who are interested in everything from college dorm decor to outdoor adventures. It’s a search engine site that utilizes images instead of text results like Google – and approximately 90% of the users are female. In fact, if your blog or website focuses on DIY, Food, Fashion, or Travel you’re looking at a very receptive audience due to the popularity of these subjects on Pinterest.

Before we get ahead of ourselves, remember automation is your friend. It saves your time, gives your followers relevant information in a way that keeps them coming back each day. Spontaneity is for the birds – those of us with real work to do don’t have time to waste every single day on Pinterest.

If you’ve navigated here from my article “How To Start A Blog” you’ll have set a tone for your blog’s images and have a sense of consistency based on the target market. This is vital for all of your social media accounts. This makes your images instantly recognizable no matter where they’re gathered from and meaningful for readers.

Step One: Generate Images

Make sure your images are sized for Pinterest – tall skinny images (approximately 700px by 800px) work best. Using the right combination of tools can make or break your process. It’s okay to keep it simple as long as your images include your web address (so no matter how far your pin goes, it can always be traced back to you.)

Some of the tools I utilize for my website are here:

Canva – Canva is the ultimate in creating visuals for your social media, blog, website, and physical business. It’s where I designed my business cards.

Pablo – a basic tool from Buffer to create images for social media quickly. It’s where I actually customize most of my header images.

Unsplash – creative commons “stock” images – where I get most of my images.

There are innumerable options for paid stock photos online, I will leave it up to you to find what you want based on a quick google search. Use images relevant to your articles that are also interesting to the viewer.

Step Two: Get Your Tall & Skinny Images Into Your Blog Post

Make sure there are “Pin It” buttons at the top and bottom of your page and over any additional images in the post itself. That can be done with a plugin if you’re utilizing WordPress, I have a list of the Plugins I use and recommend here if you’d like to know what I use to share my articles online.

If you’d like to put multiple Pinterest friendly images into your post without them being visible, there’s a code to hide these. Click open the “text” view so you can see the code and insert the following code around the image code you see:

<div style=”display:none;”> image code </div>

This will hide the images but if the person clicks the “Pin It” button at the top or bottom of your page this image will appear as an option to pin. Once all of your posts have images created and uploaded time to open a tab and go to Pinterest.

Step Three: Setting Up Pinterest

You will want to make sure to set up Pinterest as a business, not as a a personal account. Some even go so far as recommending you seperate it from any personal accounts so you can later sell the domain and the social media accounts when you become rich and famous.

Make a board specifically for all your articles, products, or whatev’s from your website and make sure to always pin to that board first. Assuming you haven’t already, find group boards to join that are relevant to your topic. I used this search system to find dope group boards to join. As an outdoorsy/adventure blogger, I joined Hiking and Camping boards. Instructions to join the group board are often posted in the captions. I also created my own boards for topics my readers would be interested in. The 80/20 rule is vital for reposting other pins vs. your own content. I use the following tools to schedule out my pins and repins.

The approach that will get you the most success involves posting topics your audience values 80% of the time and from your own blog or website 20% of the time. I’ve found the most success with posting between 5-10 pins/repins a day. Since I rarely have time between college, full-time work, and my own part-time gigs as a VA I use the following tools to schedule out my pins and repins.

Board Booster – (If you sign up for a paid account using the affiliate link I embedded I get $5 to use towards Board Booster, this offsets my costs.) Board Booster is a fantastic tool I use that allows you to schedule pins directly from Pinterest – both on the website and app. It helps you contribute to group boards with campaigns, loop old pins in a board, optimizes and streamlines broken links and duplicate pins, and even gives you a way to split a board or remove pins in a single click. It does a lot more but those are the tools I love the most.

Tailwind – Tailwind is another invaluable tool. As an official partner of Pinterest and Instagram, it allows you to schedule, monitor analytics, view content relevant to your brand, promotion, and more. By clicking on the hyperlink I’ve embedded you’ll receive $30 worth (1 month) of Tailwind Pro and so will I. Mastering this tool is as easy as following this video:

Step Four: Make a strategy

This is a topic we will discuss in a future article.

Comment below with any questions!

The Best Summer Bucket List for Washington

Every year I participate in the most predictable “twenty-something college girl” stereotype by making an epic summer bucket list. This year I’ve pulled out the big guns and make this list twice as valuable as any other because I show you WHERE to accomplish these bucket list items as well as HOW TO articles because I also need this article for future reference. (Hence, DIY flower crown making and wearing.) While I normally focus exclusively on adventure travel I figured today I’d branch out and share some of my own bucket list items AND resources to participate in these items. Continue reading “The Best Summer Bucket List for Washington”

Product Review: Reebok Yourflex Trainette 5.0

Reebok Training Shoes Circa 2015

DESCRIPTION:

*Mesh upper with durable overlays for breathable support

*Memory Tech foam insole for comfort.

*Low-cut design for mobility with an EVA foam sockliner for cushioning

*YourFlex outsole combines an all-over lightweight construction with RealFlex-inspired outsole nodes to promote natural motion

*Forefoot grooves for flexibility and 3D Ultralite midsole for comfort

Back in 2015, I purchased the Reebok Yourflex Trainette 5.0 in pink and grey with memory tech. For the past two years I’ve worn these faithfully for every hike and day trip, which is probably much too long for my only pair of shoes. When I first tried them on I was shocked. Reebok made

Zenith and I <3

both cute and comfortable shoes that I felt great wearing. I’m talking cozy x 10. The memory foam insoles make every step feel like you’re walking on clouds. It’s been the most pleasant experience with any running shoe I’ve ever owned.

At the time I loved the pink and the style of the shoe, however, fashion has since changed in the past two years. I hope I can find something as comfortable soon as I prepare to get new shoes for my day hikes and adventures with a little more fashion conscious and low key look. I saw some of reeboks newer designs in gray and black and was instantly smitten. I realized many of my clothes were dark toned and this flashy pink wasn’t great for what I needed. They’ve held onto their color quite well given two years of harsh wear, they have been everything I needed.

My only issue stems from my weirdly wide feet, Fred Flinstone wide. After a particularly long hike, my pinkie toes would go numb and I’d start limping. Unfortunately, this is an issue I face with almost every pair of shoes I own. Anyone know of any shoes designed for such Fred Flinstone tootsies?

What kind of shoes would you recommend? Have you had these shoes? What was your experience?

 

 

Beat Writers Block: Find Your Perfect Blog Title Generator

“Writer’s Block: making authors miserable since the Stone Age.”
Max Hawthorne

I stare hard at the screen, trying to ignore the paranoid thought that maybe the hamster spinning the wheel of my mind is on it’s deathbed (is this because I drank Four Lokos last year?), and manage to come up with a title. I rework the title for about ten minutes before removing it completely with a hard tap-tap-tap of the delete button. I proceed to perform a ritual all great college students have mastered to attempt to jog the words out of ones head, including but not limited to; drinking my sixth cup of coffee, thumping my head against my desk repeating the mantra “I am a good writer”, and vigorously complaining to my unsympathetic golden retriever. When these clearly practical inspiration methods don’t provide any return on investment, I turn to a handy online tool called a blog title generator.

What’s A Blog Title Generator?

Even the best writer has experienced the agony of writers block. If after every effort you’re still left with a blank canvas, an online tool called a title generator can help jog your creativity. I decided to use the same phrase, “Pacific Northwest” to test each generator listed below (in no particular order.)  Continue reading “Beat Writers Block: Find Your Perfect Blog Title Generator”

Diversity as a Way to Surprise and Connect with People

Written by: Ana Montano, of GnomeTrotting

I’m diverse in many ways one can be diverse. I’m a Cuban-born female who also happens to be bisexual. And rather than hinder me, I’ve found that my unique brand of diversity tends to surprise people in a good way and helps me connect to them. Rather than face discrimination and hate, I find that most people embrace the fact that I violate many of the stereotypes associated with my minority groups. Continue reading “Diversity as a Way to Surprise and Connect with People”

Issaquah – The Outdoor Hotspot

My family moved up to North Bend, Washington from California some thirty odd years ago. My mother graduated from Mount Si High School, like the rest of her siblings. My grandparents owned and cleared about two acres with two horses and a trusty trail dog. It’s a corner of the world I happen to have wonderful memories of. One of my favorite places to go was Issaquah during Salmon Days, a huge festival the town throws with lots to do and see for a ten year old.

“Issaquah” is a version of a word for a local Native American name, Is-qua-ah meaning either “the sound of birds”, “snake”, or “little stream”. There’s a lot to do in Issaquah, in this short guide you can find thrilling outdoor activities, from horseback riding to paragliding, as well as spectacular accommodations. Take note of the festivals listed below to enjoy the best of the community there! Continue reading “Issaquah – The Outdoor Hotspot”

Introducing The Diversity Series

Why is establishing diversity in every part of your life important in this day and age? Aren’t we over racism/sexism/ableism?

2017 has not been a year I have been proud of as a white woman living in the United States. The president is a hateful little person who propagates awful messages about my friends, family, and community. His opinions and the cronies he’s surrounded himself with have established that racism, sexism, and ableism are far from dead. I think of myself as someone who stands against his racism and ableism. However, when I went through my blog feed recently to format posts, make small revisions, and update header images I realized my blog had become shamefully whitewashed. Every picture featured a white man or woman, every article written from the perspective of a white physically “abled” man or woman. My stomach dropped, I had become one of those ignorant white female travel bloggers that I so strongly disliked. How on earth could I go about fixing this disparity?

It starts with a conscious decision to be inclusive. I started by replacing many of my “basic white girl” pictures with images that featured diverse models. When in doubt, I took color out of the picture completely and used landscapes. You can’t whitewash a landscape.

But I don’t want these changes to be skin deep or temporary. While I’ve been working on being more open about my own mental illness, that’s no place to stop. So I asked the advice of my fellow travel writers. From now on I’ll work to get one post a month featuring diverse blogger(s) or material focused on diversity.

Here’s to hoping I don’t crash and burn. A big part of not burning and crashing comes from your participation and active involvement. If you’d like to submit a guest post or idea for a post please submit your article below. Please email with any questions: info@upperleftculture.com.

Click here to access what resources I have collected so far.

Here are the submission guidelines:

  • 300 or more words
  • written by YOU, a member of a minority, about travel in general, or with a focus on the PNW, travel, and outdoor adventure is important
  • I will include a do follow link to a source of your choice which can be your blog, social media, or a non-profit organization (like NSCP or Planned Parenthood.)

Best of Sequim, WA

Sequim is an adorable community in the northernmost part of Washington state between Port Townsend and Port Angeles. The city itself is rather small, but the surrounding area has a population of about 68,000 as of a 2010 census. The area is full of exciting and intriguing things to see. As a kid, my favorite place to visit in Sequim was Dungeness Spit, where little sea creatures could be discovered tucked away in tide pools. We’d find sand hidden in every nook and cranny of our bodies and our car for weeks afterward. I hope you and yours enjoy Sequim as much as I have! Continue reading “Best of Sequim, WA”