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Wayne & Pat Dunlap
Plan Your Escape®

We have visited 106 countries and 48 U.S. states in our lifetime.

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Wayne Dunlap  Selected Top 25 Travel Blog in the World by TripAdvisor
Selected Top 25 Travel Blog
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Please use these posts for easy-to use trip planning ideas and tips, interesting things to do & what is worth seeing, history, and more. Also, for many free and unique travel bargain-finding strategies, visit our page: Travel Bargains, Strategies, Tips, & Resources
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at says: “Choosing to run away with my husband and best friend has been the most rewarding lifestyle change one can make. It's brought us closer together.”

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Travel for half the cost for all levels of travel from budget to luxury and 100's of other unique travel tips for all trips from weekend getaways to longer vacations, trips, or living somewhere for awhile!

From a former Economics professor, experienced traveler (106 countries), award-winning photojournalist/blogger, featured speaker at large travel shows, and travel TV host (Plan Your Escape® TV), turn your travel dreams into reality with this acclaimed, groundbreaking, and inspiring how-to travel better book.

Available as paperback or as Ebook for $9.99 on Amazon, you will learn to safely realize and afford your travel dreams with comprehensive planning tools and checklists. You deserve this 5-star rated book! It also makes for a great gift that keeps on giving.

Former Economics professor and experienced world traveler (106 countries) tells 100′s of powerful cost-saving tips revealing proven secrets the travel industry does not want you to know! Learn to get the best deals on airfare, hotels, tours, cruises, tours, car rentals, restaurants, and more.

Experienced and occasional travelers say Plan Your Escape®, Secrets of Traveling the World for Less Than the Cost of Living at Home is an inspiring and comprehensive how-to travel book: “It gets people exploring possibilities they never thought of.” – see Book Reviews and 5-Star Customer Ratings on Amazon.com! Give yourself, friends, and family the gift of affordable travel.

Plan Your Escape® shatters common misconceptions about traveling the world or living elsewhere. It shows you how travel can be safer, easier, and more affordable than you think giving you the practical resources, and tips missing in other travel guide books. 

Buy this popular book now on Amazon.com (also available as e-book for $9.99), click here: Plan Your Escape®: Secrets of Traveling the World for Less Than the Cost of Living at Home

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Airfare deals - How to Be the One on the Plane Who Paid the Lowest Price

Airfare deals - How to Be the One on the Plane Who Paid the Lowest Price

Note: we are not paid directly by any of these resources and use them to find travel bargains just like you would.

For good airfare deals, we use Google Flights (Google.com/flights) and Skyscanner.com.

Many of the large online travel booking sites have been bought and owned by the same companies so the prices they yield are almost the same. The Frommers travel organization did a study of all the major airfare booking websites and Google Flights (Google.com/flights) and Skyscanner consistently reported good airfare deals.

For International airfare deals: Airtrek.com books a substantial number of flights and they do deals with airlines for volume deals. We have been using AirTreks for years now. After searching fares and coming up with goods deals, we then called AirTreks and they always had as good or better rates.

Be flexible – Dates, Times, & Airports - It is amazing that just changing your flight timing a day or so, different hour, or even to a nearby airport will yield great airfare deals. Again, Skyscanner offers a "Whole Month" option where you can see cost of flights on days around the day you are interested in and an "Everywhere" option to evaluate possible savings to nearby airports.

On the average, flying on these days offer the best airfare deals: Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday.

Again, on the average, these are the best days to purchase for airfare deals: Saturday through Tuesday afternoon. Click here to learn more.

Booking ahead can yield good airfare deals – 8 weeks Domestic (average 19% savings) and 24 weeks International (average 27% savings). If you are flexible in your travel plans, waiting to book the last minute can also yield airfare deals if you can risk not finding a flight or possible higher prices.

Basic Fares - The major airlines need to compete with the budget airlines and are offering lower service 'Basic Fares'. They can be good airfare deals but be sure to read the details. Sometimes they are non-cancelable and regularly have fees such as luggage, seat selection, and possibly other fees. But if that is OK, go for it - we do.

Airfare alerts are a good way to find airfare deals. You can go to the following websites and enter in your flight plans and when good fares come up, they will notify you - Yapta.com, Skyscanner.com.

Airfare deals in Europe: Many booking websites do not include flights from budget airlines. You can use Flycheapo.com when searching flights in Europe to locate the budget airlines that service your needs and then you can go to their websites to book your flights.

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Click here to see many more free travel tips and bargain-finding strategies to travel for half the cost for all levels of travel.

Idyllwild, California USA

Idyllwild, California USA (May 19-20, 2023)

Welcome to Idyllwild California
Welcome to Idyllwild, California
Located just a 2-hour drive from San Diego and Los Angeles, Idyllwild offers a fun 2-3 day getaway out of the city and back to nature. This Southern California mile-high alpine resort town is known for its picturesque tall-trees forest environment ringed by rocky mountains and its small town vibe with a friendly downtown.

Map - Idyllwild California
Idyllwild was an artist community and you can see the art heritage all around town. Today it is a nice laid-back place to relax, recharge, breath in the pine-scented fresh air, enjoy the many beautiful forest hikes, explore the unique shops and art galleries, eat well at local restaurants, engage in mountain adventures, and stay in cozy accommodations. All Idyllwild businesses are local owned - no franchises here.

Cafe Aroma Idyllwild California
Cafe Aroma - Idyllwild
Idyllwild restaurants are local-run with an alpine atmosphere and good food. Not to be missed on a visit to Idyllwild for dinner is Cafe Aroma located near town (see photo). The food and service is excellent and the open-air seating is a wonderful setting. Reservations are highly recommended and and be made on their website.  

Red Kettle restaurant Idyllwild California
Red Kettle - Idyllwild
Gastronome is a very nice restaurant located in the center of town open for lunch or dinner. Housed in a mountain cabin, it is lovely to sit in the shaded patio deck during a warm day or be cozy inside around the large fireplace when it is cold. For a classic American mountain experience, the place to go is the Red Kettle (see photo) in town for breakfast or lunch - try one of their homemade pies. For a more modern place for breakfast or lunch, try the Alpaca Brunch Cafe just south of town.

Rustic Theatre Idyllwild California
Rustic Theatre - Idyllwild
Accommodations in Idyllwild include cozy B&B’s, hotels (a couple modern ones), or renting a mountain cabin. The Village Market in town has good groceries and across the street is a Shell Gas Station. Also in town, the Rustic Theater (see photo) offers current movies and special events - we attended one and it was fun. Look out for notices about other special music and art events held in town.

Good hikes around Idyllwild
Good hikes around Idyllwild
Many alpine hikes around Idyllwild are family friendly with more challenging ones for the adventurous (see trail map). You will likely see an array of birds from blue jays to Stellar’s jays and woodpeckers. An easy stroll along Strawberry Creek near town is beautiful (see photo at bottom of this post).

Located a few minutes drive from town, we liked the Idyllwild Nature Center, a nature preserve located in a beautiful mountain setting with easy forest trails, picnic areas, and an informative museum about the local birds and animals. There is Ranger to answer questions. We enjoyed the easy (less than 1 mile) Nature Loop Trail. The Perimeter Trail offers a longer hike.

Rent Mountain Cabin Idyllwild California
Rent a Mountain Cabin - Idyllwild
Close to town is 202-acre Idyllwild Park, a great place for gathering with family or friends. Many picnic tables are available and you can enjoy exploring the different hiking trails where you are able to see tall trees, clear lakes, and views of the mountains. You can also mountain bike the trails. Camping is available in shaded campsites with fire pits.

Pretty Lake Fulmor
If you prefer a flat, easy hike around a pretty lake, head to Lake Fulmor, located about 10 miles north of Idyllwild (see photo). Around the lake, you may see ground squirrels, tree frogs, butterflies, and noisy jays. This recreation area is good for fishing stocked with rainbow trout or have a picnic in the shade of beautiful trees. It also has restrooms.

Downtown Idyllwild California
Downtown Idyllwild
Good for history buffs or for an indoor day, the Idyllwild Area Historical Society Museum is a local museum housed in a circa-1930’s cabin. There are old photographs, artifacts, and relics once owned by locals who lived in Idyllwild and its surrounding area.

Painted Deer Project Idyllwild California
Painted Deer Project - Idyllwild
During your visit to Idyllwild you will probably notice the painted deers public art throughout the town and businesses. This project highlights Idyllwild as a quirky and beautiful art center (see photo).

Idyllwild is the gateway to the San Jacinto Wilderness. A variety of recreation opportunities are found here including hiking, camping, fishing, mountain biking, horseback riding, and rock climbing. 

Palm Springs Tram
After your visit to Idyllwild, you can take a drive on the scenic Pines to Palms Scenic Byway for about 45 minutes winding down the mountain into Palm Desert. The change in landscape is fascinating and the view down into the desert is breathtaking. 

You can enjoy the scenic landscape of Palm Springs on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway up from the dry terrain of the Sonoran Desert to the cool heights of the San Jacinto Mountains 8,516 feet above sea level (see photo).

Strawberry Creek Idyllwild
Strawberry Creek

Enjoy your time in Idyllwild… we did!

Click on these links to see our other 13 posts on beautiful California:

Laguna Beach, California

Mammoth Lakes, California

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Travel for half the cost for all levels of travel from budget to luxury and 100's of other unique travel tips! From a former Economic professor, experienced traveler (106 countries), award-winning travel photojournalist/blogger, featured speaker at large travel shows, host of the travel TV show Plan Your Escape® TV aired on the CW network, and travel columnist for the Huffington Post, and experienced travelers (106 countries), our popular 5-star customer rated groundbreaking and comprehensive how-to world travel book Plan Your Escape, Secrets of Traveling the World for Less Than the Cost of Living at Home reveals secrets how you can travel and see more for half the cost for all trips from weekend getaways to longer vacations and trips, experience more adventure and romance, safely realize your travel dreams with comprehensive planning tools & checklists, travel the world for less than $100/day for a couple, and much more!
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