Every snowbird destination has its perks, subtle climate differences, maybe some different currency or language, and of course the vibes. It's honestly hard to just choose one! For this trip my family and I knew we wanted to swim in the sea, log a few hours underwater with the corals, rest on the beach, shop for the boutique, do some off-roading, enjoy tacos, and visit family. Trouble was, that wasn't just one location!
When skipping around to different destinations, airline miles are key! We were able to score some great mileage tickets which made the entire trip possible. The other challenge was what to pack for 3 weeks and 3 totally different locations.
This trip was over Winter Break, accounting for seasonal rates, more traffic traveling, and weather conditions went into play. Hawaii generally stays the same, however Baja and Palm Springs can vary quite a bit depending on time of year.
Perfect place to unwind, can't beat the weather, epic snorkeling and diving, and surprisingly not too overly priced. I love an AirBnB when traveling with family, having a kitchen and laundry make a huge difference for packing light and not having to eat out every meal! This destination was just for my family and I to enjoy the Christmas Holiday + my birthday. Sometimes it takes a week to unravel the stresses anyway. Hawaii has all the ingredients to unplug and loosen up.
The most surprising part of the trip was the cost of things. Coming from Alaska, you're used to Alaska prices, however it seems as though Hawaii escaped inflation haha. We were buying local eggs at the grocery store, $4/dozen! I'll pay $10-12 for a dozen organic eggs here in Juneau! Hawaii also produces local beef, meat and seafood so prices were below Alaska's which was nice!
Mexico's chill appendage is a world of its own. More of an off-grid, go with the flow, less rules, more tacos, and a place with layered history and land ownership everyone is still trying to grasp. I've only ever explored the most northern part and southern Sea of Cortez side. There's over 900 miles between the two which leaves a LOT more room to go back and see what else is going on!
The Mexican peso has gone up, and inflation has caused the price of things to rise substantially even in the las year! Any typical tourist place will cost you almost the same as if you were in the States. Gas is closing in on $5/gallon. We spent most of our time in La Bufadora, a little ranch just south of Ensenada staying with my dad who is building a house. This leg wouldn't have been possible without him, as bunked up in his hacienda.
I wished I had packed an extra layer for this leg, as it was deep winter here! Bottoming out around 48ºF at night and rising to the high 50's during the day. Of course this only lasts for about a six week stint before temps start trending up. It's a fairly benign climate since it sits right on the ocean.
PALM SPRINGS, CALIFORNIA
As if a snowbird's journey would be complete without it! There's an entire retired generation that cruises around these desert cities! I've got a few friends and family members who have winter homes here so usually sleeping in a spare room works out well, however this time all were full! Palm Springs is a distant suburb of LA so the hotel game here is strong! I've driven by The Saquaro many times so it was fun to finally book a stay! Their pool and restaurant game is everything you need to create the perfect mood!
WHAT TO PACK
Knowing that we would be staying in places with laundry made all the difference. I packed for a week's worth of clothing, plus a few extras for each place, and made sure to leave a bit of room because I never come back empty handed!
- 5-7 pairs of underwear
- 4 pairs of socks
- 2 bras
- 1 pair of my most comfortable and versatile jeans
- 1 dress
- 2 skirts
- 2 shorts - 1 jean pair and one casual pair
- 2 tshirts
- 1 tank
- 1 lightweight hoodie
- 1 sweater (this is an add in, I wished I had packed one!)
- 1 shacket
- 3-5 swimsuits - mixes of one pieces and bikinis
- 2 hats - one straw and one ball cap style
- snorkel mask + fins
- 2 water bottles
- 1 book - then I like to buy a few when visiting
- 2 pairs of sunglasses
- basic toiletries
- 2-3 pairs of earrings, 1-2 necklaces, 1-3 rings
- not a lot of makeup - after a few days in the sun all my insecurities start blending in. I use Bare Minerals makeup which has SPF in it.
View the Snowbird Collection and shop for your next destination!
Browse the goods I sourced for the shop during this trip in the Hawaii/Mexico Collection below.