Howth Cliff Walk – A Dublin Highlight

I was recently in Dublin for the college football kick-off game of Notre Dame vs. Navy (Go Irish!). The weather was lovely, the Guinness was smooth, and the company was pleasant. A friend suggested a coastal hike in Howth, a peninsula just to the East of center Dublin. I’d never heard of the area but sounded like a fun activity so we took the Dart Train to it’s end point in Howth.

The hike was an absolute stand-out of the trip and I’d highly recommend to anyone visiting Dublin. I really like having some physical activity each day when traveling, so it was a great pair with a night out in the pubs. There are a few different options for the Howth Coastal Walk and we did the longest, a full circle hike beginning and ending at the Howth Dart (Train) station in the main commercial area on the North side of the peninsula. There are a number of way-finding signs to get you started from the train station and once on the route it’s pretty apparent which way to go. The total was 7.5 miles, about 1,000 feet elevation gain, and took about 3.5 hours. The ocean was in view for the entire hike, as well as views of Dublin, some large sheep grazing, and a rolling golf course. There were a couple of spots to stop and jump in the ocean, which was about 60 degrees, but we didn’t take a dip – I wish we would have looking back now.

All in all a great half day activity in central Dublin. 5 stars.

Summertime Sadness Road Trip – Kanab, UT to Lafayette, CO

Uncompahgre River in Ouray, CO

Uncompahgre River in Ouray, CO

Leg 2 of our summer 2023 road trip – Leg 1 here.

Stop 3 – Ouray, CO

After a really nice stop in Kanab, UT we headed NE toward Ouray, CO – a small mountain town near Telluride (approx 400 mile drive). The first part of the trip took us through northern Arizona, with a brief stop at Horseshoe Bend. We also stopped at 4 Corners along the way. Lots of big, open space on the first half of the drive.

I’d forgotten how pretty Colorado is and especially driving into cooler temperatures and mountains with trees and rivers after a long stint in the very hot Southwest summer. Eva decided that Colorado was the best state by far of our trip after about 20 miles in the state. (Although she also swore no more Mexican food until we’re close to the border after getting burned by bad refried beans at a pub.)

We made a brief ice cream stop in Telluride which had a really nice feel and I’d like to go back for a long weekend adult trip (lots of good looking restaurants, coffee shops, hikes, etc.). Driving downhill in the mountains was a bit intense as our brakes and rotors are looking like they need replacing. Eeeek!

Ouray is a beautiful little town with mountains all around, a very large hot springs pool, and lively Downtown. We played pitch for an afternoon at the Ouray Brewery and our small motel had a balcony right over a small river and we saw deer right outside a number of times. We didn’t get to do the Perimeter Trail around the town, but is on my list for a return visit as well. Maybe even a hike from Telluride to Ouray…

Highlights: Ouray Hot Springs pool, Colorado trees and waterways, hotel rooms with a small outdoor space for parental sanity.

Stop 2 – LaFayette, CO

Continuing through Colorado we took a pretty drive through Gunnison on US Highway 50 and over the Monarch Pass through the Rocky Mountains. The drive took us through Fairplay, CO (inspiration for South Park TV show) and was about 350 miles. The car was shaking pretty hard on the downhills and me forgetting to put it in low gear, but we made it through. A brief thunderstorm and hail just before arriving with family in LaFayette, just east of Boulder.

We had a great time enjoying some Colorado beers, playing in the backyard and at local playgrounds / parks, and a fantastic local indoor pool. The kids really liked the fast two-story water slide. Somehow I neglected to get any photos in Colorado so below are from the first half of this section.

Highlights: Time with family, playing pitch, shooting water guns (pewers) in the backyard, more than one room for the first time on the trip.

Summertime Sadness Road Trip – Summer 2023

Draft version of trip

School is out for the summer and this year we’re loading up the mini-van (Honda Hotyssey) and heading out on the road en route to a Minnesota lake house stay. I’m excited for the trip and have named it the Summertime Sadness tour since I really like the Lana Del Rey remix jam.

Thought I’d document the trip for future reference and reverie with some posts along the way.

Stop 1 – Las Vegas, NV

About 350 miles on the first leg of the trip, with a stay at Luxor in Las Vegas. Had to take the van in to a shop in Vegas due to pretty good shaking on the last bit of the drive up. Front tires a bit too old and starting to separate – better than blowing up the transmission like last time I drove this way.

Oh – and Vegas is insane hot in the summer. After about a day I couldn’t stop thinking about how hard it would be to live here in the hotter months. #SDlove

Highlights: Gelato at MGM Park (Eataly), Discovery Children’s Museum, drinks at Red Dwarf with family, attempted hike at Ice Box Canyon in Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area – ended after less than a mile due to children mutiny. Honorable mention: Chipotle – my absolute favorite chain for meals with kids on the road. $5.55 for rice, beans, meat, orange / chips, and drink. Probably helps that rice and beans are our kids’ favorite foods…

Stop 2 – Kanab, UT

First, my apologies to Kanab – I was expecting a dusty small town in the southern-most part of Utah with not much going on. Instead a pretty charming town with lots of red rock mountains rising up around it, a nice Main Street, and a stellar Fourth of July concert and fireworks in the main town park. Main feature of the town is probably proximity to popular National Parks (Zion, Grand Canyon, Bryce, etc). About 250 miles from Las Vegas to Kanab by way of Zion National Park.

Zion was our stop on the way to Kanab and wow – very cool. The kids wanted to continue up The Narrows trail – a slot canyon with water you walk / wade through. The drive out of Zion to the east was one of the prettiest I’ve seen and even saw a herd of bighorn sheep along the way.

Next day was a trip to North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Spectacular and impressive views but some of the views were a bit too scary for this family. The lodge looked very cool but was closed for the month due to water issues and a pipe fix. Apparently it’s only open about half the year – not sure why but this area would be fantastic to stay in. I’d like to come back and stay in the park.

Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park was our outing on final day in Kanab. We rented a couple of “sand sleds” and attempted to snowboard down to limited success. We made it out exhausted and feet on fire as the day was warming up and walking while carrying kids on hot sand is pretty tough.

Overall a really nice time in Kanab area although the kid’s favorite by far would probably be the hotel swimming pool followed by the hotel breakfast (cereal).

Highlights: River Rock Coffee Company west of Zion (really cool views, good food and coffee, great prices too), Zion – The Narrows specifically, drive east from Zion, swimming pool and playing jump-catch a lot, Grand Canyon.

Annual Financial Update (AFU) – October 20

Man, it’s like Christmas today at the Anderson household. October 20 aka Annual Financial Update Day!

We gonna order some good food, hope the kids stay in bed, and review some Excel spreadsheets together as all happily married couples do.

Honestly, a day we really look forward to each year. A time to reflect on the progress of the past year, challenges, and goals for the upcoming year. I like doing this at the end of October because there’s also enough time before year end to address anything that needs taken care of – max out the Roth if we forgot, make some charitable contributions, maybe adjust the daily automatic investments, etc.

Our annual update is mostly two items:

  • Review Personal Financial Statement (PFS) – essentially a net worth statement, often requested by banks
  • Make some fun goals for the coming year – travel plans, family visits, stretch goals for work or money

You can add more items if you like, but this set up works well for us. A bit of a New Year in October with the setting in of fall weather. So much to enjoy.

Hope you can also celebrate AFU with your partner, or a friend. Cheers!

Hoping to return to Iceland in the future – a fun 2021 travel goal.

Bicycle Tour – Santa Barbara to San Diego (September 2022)

I live in San Diego and often bike in the local area – Mount Helix, Bayshore Bikeway, Mount Soledad are some frequent rides – but had been wanting to venture a bit further. My friend Dylan and I decided to bike from Santa Barbara back to San Diego to take in part of the California coastline. It was a very fun weekend and I wanted to share some photos and notes from the trip for others interested in biking in Southern California.

Just south of Carpinteria, CA near the Rincon surf break and Mussel Shoals

Trip Overview

We took the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner from San Diego to Santa Barbara leaving San Diego (Old Town) at 4:10 PM on a Friday. It was scheduled for about 6 hours and ended up about 15 minutes longer than that. It cost $44.20 a person and bicycles were included in the cost. The train was pretty full and standing room only in basic class for about half the trip. We ended up sitting in the dining car which was awesome as it had tables and couches facing the ocean. It also had overhead windows so there was a lot of light.

We arrived in Santa Barbara at 10:25 PM and biked about 10 miles South to Carpinteria. Although we would have liked to have a morning in beautiful Santa Barbara the hotel rates were huge and we could get a small start on our estimated 230 mile trip ahead. The ride from Santa Barbara to Carpinteria was really chill – very little traffic and riding on a frontage road along Highway 1.

We stayed overnight in Carpinteria and our next hotel stays were in Torrance and Oceanside. We had considered camping but couldn’t locate solid information on campgrounds that offered hike / bike sites we could bank on. Hopefully we can do that in future at the many state parks along the coastline. It was nice staying in hotels for an evening pool and hot tub, as well as a nice shower and comfortable bed.


  • Los Angeles Bike Paths – From Santa Monica to Redondo Beach in Los Angeles was awesome. Really wide bike path right on the beach and has recently been doubled in size on the north end. Awesome.
  • Seal Beach to Newport Beach – another great section of bike paths right on the water. Very low stress and enjoyable. Tons of people walking, biking, etc.
  • Lots of good coffee and pastries – a must for any morning bike ride. Prospect Coffee in Ventura was really good.
  • Century Club – I ride a decent amount but had never done 100 miles in a day. Got that done on day one. Nice accomplishment.


  • Malibu – just really not fun. North of Malibu is low traffic Highway 1 with a wide shoulder / bike lane. Lots of other bikers too which was fun to chat a bit. One group was going from San Francisco to Los Angeles and camping along the way, sounded really fun. When you hit Malibu you go to 5 + lanes and lose the shoulder, plus have a lot of sports cars zooming around. 25 miles or so of gritting teeth and intensity. Not recommended but not a good way around it if you want to stay coastal.

Suggestions and Tips

  • North to South – we originally planned on going from San Diego to Santa Barbara and train home, but on input from others took the train first and rode South. Good for two main reasons – less headwind typically as you are going South and East, and you are also on the coastal side of the road going South so have a bit better view and more breezes.
  • Backup gear – as with any longer bike ride having spare tubes, pump, multi-tool, etc. is a must. We had two flats on the trip but not a big deal with supplies in hand.
  • Early starts – We left about 6:30 AM each morning which was nice, cool weather and also quieter on the roadways. We ended most days about 4 PM so had some time to relax and enjoy a good dinner.

Short-Term Rental Properties – A Few Useful Tools

So you want to operate a short-term rental for your vacation home, in-law flat, previous home, or other property? Sites like Airbnb and VRBO have made the idea of second home or investment property a reality for many. These sites make the marketing and management of a property much easier than in the past. However, there are a number of additional tools and considerations to take into account.

We recently stayed at an Airbnb in South Lake Tahoe. It was great and a day at Angora Lakes was a highlight of our trip. (Photo is of Fallen Leaf Lake.)

Here a few recommendations for getting your short-term rental up and running smoothly.

Open a Checking Account (and potentially Credit Card) – If you are running a rental property, you are operating a business and will need to report the earnings and expenses on your tax return. Open up a checking account at a minimum to make tracking your net income easier. You may also want to open a credit card to earn rewards or cash back, depending on the amount of activity you have.

Check (And Modify As Needed) Your Insurance Policy – You may need to get an additional or different insurance policy for the property. There are a number of insurance providers that offer policies for short-term rentals, I use Foremost. Additionally, you may want to add an umbrella policy or consider setting up an LLC to address liability exposure.

Utilize Additional Tools – I currently use the following add-on tools for my Airbnb listings.

  • BeyondPricing – This tool adjusts the nightly rate to account for prices in the area, occupancy rate, seasonal factors, etc. There are a number of similar tools but I’ve been happy with BeyondPricing. The company charges 1% of gross for the service but I’ve found that just being able to pick up higher rates for large events like Comic-Con or conventions pays for itself.
  • Smartbnb – I really like this tool for managing multiple properties and team members. You can set up automated messages for check-in, check-out, etc. You can also set up text reminders for your housekeeper, manager, or other service providers.

Utilize Service Providers – Depending on your situation and goals, it may be well worth it to hire a property manager for your short-term rental, especially if you don’t live in the area. Guests often need in-person assistance for various needs, repairs, or other reasons. You may also want to consider a housekeeper unless you’re typically in town and have a flexible schedule to clean yourself.

Hosting on Airbnb for over a decade has been a great financial help for my family. I hope these suggestions are helpful to you and if you’re looking for more specific advice please contact me and let me know. Cheers!

A sample of Airbnb listings on the website

Want To Be An Airbnb Host in San Diego? Good Luck – You’re On Your Own

The City of San Diego continues to discuss options for regulations and rules around short-term rentals on sites like Airbnb.  Short-term rentals are rentals for less than a full calendar month and have been the topic of discussion at a number of City Council and committee hearings over the last few years.

I recently received an inquiry from a San Diego resident that would like to rent out one or two bedrooms in the home they live in – sharing a room or home with guests is often referred to as “home-sharing”.  Home-sharing is frequently brought up in the short-term rental debate with both sides typically saying there is no issue with this type of activity.  (However, home-sharing is the only type of short-term rental I’m aware of that the City of San Diego took to court, and ultimately the judge decided that this type of activity is not allowed under current rules and issued a fine to that host.)

The prospective host in this case was looking to do the right thing and get clarity from the City before hosting on Airbnb.  They contacted several City departments regarding how to fill out the right information for the Transient Occupancy Registration Certificate( “TORC”), if a Business Tax Certificate is required, what taxes they need to pay, and if there are other regulations they need to follow for lawfully renting out rooms via platforms such as Airbnb. 


On the response to the prospective host, the city was clear and straight-forward in providing the process to register for the TORC, what kind of taxes the host would need to pay, etc.  The Transient Occupancy Tax (i.e. hotel tax) is not part of the debate and proposed short-term rental rules – it is already in place and collected (and in the case of Airbnb remitted for all hosts on the platform each month by the platform itself).

However, in regard to other requirements for operating an Airbnb, the prospective host was directed to consult the Development Services Department (in charge of Land Use and Development). Surprisingly, when the host reached out to Development Services they were told  that since there are no official regulations or rules around short-term rentals, this kind of activity is currently not allowed in San Diego.  That’s when the host reached out to me, as part of my efforts with the Short-Term Rental Alliance of San Diego (STRASD) – seeking clarity the city couldn’t provide and how they should proceed.

The contradiction between the responses from different City departments is confusing but accurate.  Yes – you can register and pay the taxes for this sort of activity.  No – you can not engage in this type of activity in the first place.  This is the current status of short-term rentals in San Diego, at least for home-sharing situations.  It still seems that whole-home short-term rentals may be on firmer ground, although the current City Attorney has declared all short-term rentals illegal. [Note: the previous two City Attorneys held a different position, that short-term rentals were not illegal.]

This sort of lack of clarity is harmful to potential hosts like the one highlighted in this post – a San Diego resident seeking to improve their economic position and do so in a straight-forward and compliant manner in the type of short-term rental that is roundly approved of and supported.  We need clarity to support residents like this and should encourage this type of widespread entrepreneurial opportunity to give citizens more options and ability to chart their own desired course.  Hopefully in the months ahead we will see clarity that gives certainty to current and potential hosts and guests and that supports the opportunity that platforms like Airbnb and others gives to many thousands of San Diegans.

A screen shot of some home-sharing options currently available on Airbnb (taken 4-19-2018)

Short-Term Rentals in San Diego – Economic Impact Analysis Report (Oct 2017)

Last month a press conference was held to release a study done on the economic impact of short-term rentals in San Diego for HomeAway / Expedia by Xpera Group.  The report follows a similar study commissioned by Airbnb and done by National University in October 2015.  Both full reports are included on this post for anyone interested in this issue.

A few highlights from the new study:

  • Total of $500M of impact in City of San Diego ($300M direct spending, $200 induced and indirect spending)
  • 3,00 jobs in City of San Diego
  • Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT or “hotel tax”) estimated to be $19M or more in 2017, a 200% increase over 2015 when the TOT from short-term rentals total $9.6M
  • In 2016, City of San Diego TOT was $202.8M of which $15.6M was from short-term rentals, a 7.7% share.
  • “Short term lodging guests tend to be much younger than hotel guests and have a higher percentage of females than hotels.”
  • Short-term guests typically stay longer than hotel guests, “roughly half of short term lodging room nights coming from trips of seven days or longer”
  • 7,436 total short-term lodging listings in City of San Diego, estimated (as of June 2017).  11,530 estimated for San Diego County.
  • In 2016 San Diego County had 30.4 million visitors, 17.4 million overnight visitors.  That would be an average of 47,671 overnight guests per night in the County.

The short-term rental issue continues to be a hot topic in San Diego and a good explainer for the current status can be found here on Voice of San Diego (from Nov 1, 2017).  A full City Council hearing is expected to be held on December 12 although a recent hearing was cancelled on short notice in October so we’ll see how the December hearing plays out.

a photo of my Airbnb listing in North Park

Short-term rentals in SD – Economic Impact Analysis – Xpera Group – October 2017

Short-term rentals in SD – Economic Impact Analysis – National University – Oct 2015

Hostfully Host Spotlight – Our Place in San Diego

I’ve been using custom online guidebooks from Hostfully for about a year to share recommendations and property information with our guests in San Diego.  I really like the platform and functionality, especially the ability to send a PDF, print, or link to the guidebook for easy guest use.

Hostfully recently started a regular series of articles featuring hosts using the platform – the “Hostfully Host Spotlight”  and this week they decided to feature our property in North Park and some favorite recommendations in San Diego.

You can check out the profile article at the below link.  Cheers!

(If you’re an Airbnb or VRBO host in San Diego and interested in Hostfully please feel free to drop me a line and we can chat.)

Hostfully website top banner image

Airbnb Co-Hosting – Have You Heard About This Program?

New Airbnb Feature Likely To Be A Boon For The Platform
Airbnb has a feature currently only available in a number of cities around the world – Co-Hosting.  The current list, below, includes 25 cities although additional cities are being rolled out per my conversation with an Airbnb representative this week.

Cities currently offering Co-Hosting on Airbnb – San Diego’s on the list!

So what is the Co-Host program about?  Basically, it’s a way for a property owner (a “Host” in Airbnb parlance) to add another Host (the “Co-Host”) to a listing.  You can tap a friend, relative, neighbor, or experienced Airbnb huser to manage your property for you.  This is a huge growth opportunity for the platform and one I’m surprised is not getting more publicity.  I’d guess this is because they’re currently in test mode and working out any bugs in the program.  In addition to assigning management rights to an Airbnb listing, the Co-Host option allows users to set fees (management fees as a percentage of gross earnings or fixed fee, cleaning fees, etc.) and the platform will automatically split earnings and distribute to both the Host and Co-Host per the Co-Host settings.

There are a number of reasons why someone might want a co-host for their property.  The hassle of managing a property isn’t for everyone and to be able to hand off some or all of that responsibility will be attractive to some.  For others, travel schedules or work demands might necessitate a co-host for short periods of time or seasonally.  I can see myself wanting to add one of my children as a co-host to our listings in the future and giving them limited management rights to gradually give them control and responsibility for their own business.

In addition to existing Airbnb Hosts it’s easy to see how the Co-Hosting option could enable landlords to allow long-term tenants to utilize Airbnb in a monitored and responsible way.  Between landlords, existing hosts, and the growth in the number of hosts in general I see a lot of growth potential for co-hosting.  It should also allow Airbnb to retain hosts as there’s an option to avoid the hassles of managing a listing but still have the earnings, flexibility of schedule, and other benefits the platform provides.  Airbnb has built a huge user base complete with reviews and other data and strengthening that base and building on it will be a competitive edge for the platform against the many competitors in the field.

I recently became a Co-Host here in San Diego and am excited for the opportunity.  As one of the most experienced SuperHosts in the area I’m comfortable with taking on another listing to manage and hopefully the Host will see a benefit from the reduced workload for the property.  If you are considering a Co-Host in San Diego you can find my profile at the below link.  I’d be happy to talk with you about co-hosting and my experience and expertise.

Have a great day!

The current co-host options that are on offer, as of 4-28-2017.

Wondering if Airbnb offers Co-Hosting in Your Area? You can find out by logging in, and checking at the bottom of the menu bar.  If Co-Hosting is an option for you, there will be a section labeled “Management” with a sub-section “Co-hosts” on your menu bar.  You can directly invite someone you already know as a Co-Host or use the “Find a co-host” option to search by location for experienced hosts.