I know. It's an odd travel tip
But if it's not a staple in your suitcase, it should be!
Researching my first cruise was the first I'd heard of packing duct tape. That year, I was turning 30 and had traveled my whole life without it. But the internet experts said I needed it, and the more colorful, the better. So I went to the store and purchased some duct tape. Blue. With penguins on it. I proceeded to wrap our luggage handles with it, just like the internet experts said. Guess how many other people had blue penguin duct tape on their luggage handles. None. Identifying our luggage was a breeze.
Then there was the time the vent cover flew off of our camper while driving down the road.
Some kind folks in the camping community came to help, and the first thing they asked my husband for was duct tape. I proudly produced a hot pink roll. After our trip, we drove back with an election sign attached with hot pink duct tape. It rained that weekend, and guess how much water got in our camper. None.
Over the years,
we've learned it's also good for keeping blackout curtains closed, marking water bottles so we won't get them confused, a temporary hem or tack, putting on the cruise cabin or hotel room door on that long hallway so it's easy to find, sealing things that leak, and repairing things that are loose or broken.
Looking back, I wish we had always traveled with duct tape.
I can think of a few trips where it would have come in handy. That's why when my clients ask me the inevitable question-- “What do I pack?”-- I'm always sure to mention duct tape.
Before Santa even made it back to the North Pole, I started seeing them. They were little, big, red, pink. Some had flowers on them, some had cute puppies. And they were filled with chocolate. The message was out and the reminders were here. There's no excuse to forget when you're seeing stores filled with Valentine's Day gifts a full 2 months before the big day. But why buy an insignificant gift when you can put some thought into an entire experience? Here's 15 ways to up the romance factor during your Valentine's Day getaway:
1. Choose a historic city: Maybe it's the added mystery, but there's something about a historic city that immediately sets the romantic mood for a getaway.
2. Book a BNB. No, not an AirBNB. A Bed and Breakfast. These are classier than regular hotels and usually have some romantic elements built into your price. Plus, with room service and no kitchen, there won't be any need for cooking and cleaning on this trip.
3. Upgrade your Room. You may be able to score a complimentary upgrade if you're celebrating something special, or if you book with your favorite travel agent :) But if not, consider upgrading to the room with the stellar view.
4. Arrange some Room Decorations. Whether it's just a bouquet of flowers or you go all out with streamers, centerpieces, and banners, room decorations let her know you've given this some thought. Your BnB may be able to do this for you before you arrive, so check with the concierge.
5. Welcome her to your room with Strawberries and Champagne (or sparkling cider). Again, the BnB will most likely be able to arrange this for you, but you can always bring your own and set it up while she's admiring the view from the balcony.
6. Take a Carriage Ride. I'll admit, we've never done one of these. I've always wanted to, though, for the simple fact that it seems romantic. Don't forget a throw blanket in case it's a little airy, and see if you're allowed to bring some bubbly along for the ride.
7. Surprise Suitcase Gift. Grab a small gift and sneak it in her suitcase before you leave. Make sure it is TSA approved, though, so the surprise isn't ruined during a security check.
8. Couples Massage. Enjoy some time relaxing together.
9. Pack a Picnic to go. Grab your basket and head to the beach, park, or a quiet place on the property.
10. Pack an assortment of bath accessories in her favorite scent. Some ideas are bath bombs, salts, aromatherapy, floating candles, and rose petals.
11. Order room service and have breakfast in your suite.
12. How long has it been since you've had professional photos of just the 2 of you? Hire a photographer for a mini session.
13. Share dessert. You may want to do this as part of your dinner or as a standalone date one night.
14. Write her a handwritten love note. This will pair well with number 7 :)
15. Book a vow renewal package. Or, you can surprise her by repeating your vows at some point during the trip (walking on the beach, during your picnic, during the carriage ride, etc.)
16. BONUS TIP: Do something challenging or adventurous together. Take a cooking class, Conquer a tree top course, zoom on a Zip line--be creative with this one and pick something you will both enjoy. Anything where you will communicate, work as a team, or encourage each other. Bonus if it is something that neither of you have done before. This will foster closeness and you will create a bond over unique experiences and memories.
What are some ways you up the romance factor on your getaways?
Still haven't booked your Valentine's Weekend trip? I have some great ideas! Request a custom travel quote here.
2023 is going to be a big year for travel. With the exception of a few places, we’re pretty much back to normal. Even cruise lines are removing all covid restrictions and you have plenty of options to board a ship without proof of a vaccine or a negative test. After the past 2 years, these are exciting times.
Like most of you, I’m taking time this week to plan my own vacations. And since I ask you guys what’s on your dream list pretty often, I thought I’d share my 2023 list with you. Here’s 5 places I hope to go in 2023:
Las Vegas, NV
2 years ago, my best friend from high school and I realized we’d be hitting a milestone birthday this year. We decided Las Vegas was a great place to celebrate. So this trip has been in the works for 2 years and we both couldn’t be more excited. While this trip is just a girl’s trip, we are also trying to plan a family trip for the near future and maybe see the Grand Canyon while we are there.
To…anywhere (but I’ve got my eye on a Princess cruise to Alaska)
If you know me at all, you know cruising is my favorite way to travel. All-inclusive with no need to cook or clean. A Princess cruise would allow me to experience one of the cruise lines I sell frequently and the Alaska stop would check off one of the states from my dream list. This one is a long shot, but I'm still dreaming :) But whichever cruise we take, I want that view right there.
Flashback to 15 years ago when we were planning our honeymoon. Los Cabos was high at the top. And then things happened and our honeymoon budget was slashed drastically. We wound up in a cabin in Gatlinburg. We both were happy with the mountains, but Los Cabos has always been somewhere we’ve wanted to go. Honestly, this one is also a long shot, and is probably the least likely to happen on this list, but I’m still holding out hope for a 15th anniversary surprise.
Myrtle Beach, SC
Myrtle Beach, SC
Our annual girl’s trip to the beach is on again for this year. It’s always a great time with lots of laughter, fun, and exploring. I recommend everyone take a girls (or guys) trip at least once a year and Myrtle Beach is an excellent destination. Of course, there is the beach to hang out on, but we've also done other activities like Ripley's Aquarium, shopping, Escape Rooms, the beach amusement park. There's so much more that will give everyone in your group something to enjoy.
Honorable Mention: St. Augustine, Fl
St. Augustine gets "honorable mention" because we're so close. We can make this a day trip, or a weekend. I know I haven't mentioned it in a while (we've been focusing this year on their neighbor to the south, Orlando), but St. Augustine is still one of my favorite places on the planet. It's been over a year since we've been there, so I'm hoping to at least do a day down there soon. Nights of Lights are up until the end of January, so this month is a great time to go and see the lights without the crowds.
Are any of these places on your dream list? Leave a comment and let me know where you're planning to go in 2023!
I’ve been busy watching the news, reading the stories, and being thankful I didn’t have clients up in the air on Southwest during the busiest travel week of the year. Here’s my take, as I understand it, on an important issue that’s reared its ugly head.
First, know that if you have been affected by a canceled flight, you will likely be offered a travel credit.
But, you are entitled to a refund, no matter what your insurance status is, so ask for one if that is in your best interest.
Let's take a look at what happened
Southwest has a kind of unique & antiquated system of scheduling in which the crew is not always with their equipment (the planes). When the weather started grounding flights, crews for grounded flights in Colorado (for example) got stranded and were not able to make their next flight in New York (again, for example), therefore grounding the flight out of New York. As you can imagine, this caused a cascade effect across the nation with crews and planes scattered all over and no one where they should be, requiring Southwest to shut down all but about a third of their flights (one number I saw was 29,000 flights canceled or delayed for up to 7 days). And, of course since their scheduling issues were triggered by weather, Southwest maintains this was a “weather event” (out of their control) instead of “scheduling” (within their control).
Why is that important?
Because whenever you travel you sign a contract. You may not realize it, but you do. The airlines file their client contracts with the DOT and put its on their website and at the airports. Weather is always mentioned as something beyond the airline’s control, and absolves the airline of any liability during weather events.
This means while millions are stranded without food, shelter, clean clothes, daily medication, or means to get home (through rental car or flight on another airline), Southwest is hanging out waiting on the weather to clear up and at no liability to reimburse them for extra expenses.
I hope every single affected passenger used a travel advisor to book their trip so they don’t have to navigate this alone. I also hope they bought a comprehensive travel insurance plan so they are not out the extra expense of being grounded for up to a week.
So what happens now?
Will Southwest be forced to change their antiquated ways? Only time & resulting lawsuits will tell. Will my business model change? Not likely. While I usually stick with Delta, American Airlines, and United as a general rule, I do occasionally book Southwest. Sometimes the risk of delays is worth the price difference for my clients (and my clients always get to make the final decision). In Southwest's defense, all airlines were canceling flights during a weather event no one could have predicted 6 months ago. So in a sense, their plight is weather related. However, their crew scheduling system and lack of liability included in their airline/passenger agreement made it much worse than it should have been and I personally feel like Southwest should be held accountable for that (but of course, no one has asked me and they likely won't).
Moral of the story
For now, we can't change how an entire company runs their business. But there are ways to ease our pain if we're caught in the middle.
1. always use a travel advisor so that in situations like this, you have a professional in your corner.
2. Make sure you’re traveling with peace of mind. Don’t skip on the travel insurance.
I'm not going to pretend I haven't written a blog post for you guys in almost 2 whole years. I honestly can't believe it myself. But with navigating my travel business through the travel shutdown, family life, sickness, and travel finally picking back up and making me work again (haha), I kind of accidentally abandoned it. But, really, post-pandemic, there's not a lot that is relevant anymore. Things have changed so much in the industry. Over the next few weeks, I will be taking down most of the previous posts and updating them. And of course, one of my New Year's Goals is to write more--not only blogs like this one, but exclusive travel guides and tip sheets available only to my clients to help them make happy memories on their vacations. And now, to the main feature:
Here are the money saving tips:
We've all felt the hit of inflation. And I think the most common answer I get when discussing budget for my clients is "as cheap as possible." We can talk about that answer later, but right now let's talk about Universal Orlando resort. When it comes to this particular theme park, they usually have at least one great deal that I can offer my clients on any given trip. But in general, prices are prices, and they are set. So if you can't really save money on your hotel and ticket package, what are some ways you can save after you book? I'm so glad you asked.
Last weekend, my family and I went to Universal Orlando for a break before we enter into full holiday mode. We had a blast. Everybody should go at least once, even if you're not a roller coaster or Harry Potter fan. There truly is something for everyone. But, of the 4 trips I've done so far this year, our budget was a little tighter this time and we had to get creative to make our dollars go farther. Here's what we did:
If you've followed me for any length of time, you might be surprised by this one. And honestly, I cringe as I type it (that's why it's first...to get it over with). I am not a fan of staying off-site and I hardly ever recommend it. Especially with the addition of the 2 value hotels giving you all the exclusive benefits of staying on-site with the price-point of an off-site hotel, the benefits almost always outweigh what little savings there might be. However, in our case for this particular trip, we had some resources (read: timeshare membership) that made it much more cost effective for us to stay off-site. We would have rather stayed on-site and, having done both, on-site is definitely the way to go. But if you absolutely find a great deal and really need to save that couple of hundred dollars to be able to go, I recommend it. But remember, you'll be missing out on:
Estimated Savings for us this trip: $240
bring your own snacks.
We're big breakfast and small lunch eaters, especially when we're riding thrill rides at an amusement park. So we went grocery shopping before the trip and brought along our cooler packed with eggs, bacon, orange juice, biscuits, and grits. We cooked breakfast each morning before we left for the parks, then packed our park bags with snacks. Make sure to pack plenty of protein! This breakfast cooked by my hubby was better than any restaurant!
This not only saved us money on 2 meals in the parks, but we ate "lunch" while we were in line for rides, so we didn't lose any park time by stopping to eat a full meal.
We had the advantage of a full kitchen in our room, so breakfast was easy. But what if you don't have a full kitchen? On previous trips, we have packed our own continental breakfast--muffins, pastries, fruit--or our hot plate/griddle for easy eggs, bacon, and pancakes.
Estimated Savings for us this trip: $300
Skip the souvenir cups.
We left ours at home this trip and brought regular water bottles. Ice water at the freestyle machines is free, so when we were ready to refill our drinks, we drank water. Not only did we save on cup activation, but it was the healthier option. And you know that yucky feeling you get when you combine sun and sugar? We didn't get that. We also didn't have any sticky messes when the water bottles leaked or spilled (which didn't happen as much this trip because we packed leak-proof bottles).
Estimated Savings for us this trip: $110
We each have a park bag, and they are tiny. There's a picture of mine somewhere on my Facebook page, but they are just big enough to fit a water bottle and some sunscreen (and obviously...snacks). We stopped carrying the larger backpack for theme park trips because of the bulk and the temptation to pack a ton of stuff into it making someone have to carry around, well...a ton of stuff. But the free lockers for rides that require them are also small. Carrying small bags mean our stuff can fit into 1 or 2 lockers (one for each ticket holder) and we don't have to pay for a big day use locker just to ride.
Estimated savings for us this trip: $60
Estimated total savings: $710
That's a huge chunk of change. Honestly, we probably saved enough to take a whole different weekend trip.
With a little creativity and planning, you can theme park on a budget.
Remember those travel guides I mentioned?
The first one is almost ready to be released! I've been working for months to pull together almost 30 years of experiences at Universal Studios Resort in Orlando. It's packed with tips, advice, itineraries, must-haves for your visit, and a lot more. And it's ONLY available if you book your package through me.
Fill out the theme park quote request form to get started.
Are you looking for the perfect gift for the traveler on your list? Or maybe you're hoping to snag some swag for your next vacation. Keep reading for a round-up list of a few of my favorite things!
Oh, yeah. Sorry for the lack of pictures. Honestly, I'm still trying to figure out which pictures I can use without violating copyright laws. If you want to see the product, just click on the product name. I DON'T get any commission or kickback from the links, I just love these products :)
When I discovered this neat little belt, I wasn't even traveling. Well, I sort of was. I was training for my first 5K, which was going to be in St. Augustine over the Bridge of Lions. It was amazing, by the way, but that's another story for another day. So, I needed somewhere to keep my phone and my car key while I was running the track in my pocket-less pants. Enter the running belt. I realized then that it is big enough for a passport and a few cards, as well. AND you can wear it up under your shirt pretty much undetected. Perfect for carrying the important stuff inconspicuously while traveling.
My water bottle is my constant companion. I have an earlier version of this one, but I know this one is just as good. It's double wall insulated and keeps your hot drinks hot and your cold drinks cold. Seriously. Our power was once out for over 24 hours. I filled my bottle up with ice water before going to bed that night and I was surprised that there was still ice in it in the morning. Traveling with a water bottle is always a great idea: Fill it up and sip on it at the airport (past security, of course!), on the cruise ship, or while relaxing at a resort. Paying closer attention to hydration is super important while traveling due to changing environments and humidity levels.
There's not a whole lot to say about this other than our Swiss Gear Backpack is the go-to carryon no matter where we are traveling. It's sturdy, durable, and has all sorts of pockets to cram our necessities in. It's everything you've come to expect from a brand like Swiss Gear. I also love that it's got a pocket for my laptop/tablet.
This RFID blocking passport wallet has a spot to keep your passport (of course!), cards, and boarding passes handy. You can even get a different color for every member of your family. If you've ever done the passport shuffle at the counter trying to figure out whose passport is who's, you know the importance of color coding. :) I love that it has the outside strap to hold everything in place.
I'm going to be completely honest: I don't have one of these. But I NEED it. With all the gadgets we take on the road and, of course, none of them can use the same charging cords, I definitely need something to keep those bad boys organized. I usually just cram them in the front pocket of my suitcase and hope for the best. Then we arrive at our destination tired, on our last battery bar, and frustrated because our charging cords are all tangled up. Yes. This cord organizer would definitely help!
Scratch off World Map
Honestly, I can't decide whether I like the scratch off or the photo frame better. Both are great ways to keep track of and show off your adventures. But, I chose scratch off because I feel like it's better for the world traveler. It'd be kind of hard to fully appreciate that awesome photo from Germany in a world map. This map also has a water color under the scratch off option and I just love that. Once all of the countries are scratched off (and while your masterpiece is in progress), it looks amazing as a wall hanging.
Travel Cup Holder
So, you're at the airport for your 1 hour and 2 minute layover (because you booked with your favorite travel agent and she got you the most reasonable layover available). You grab some coffee and an airport chair and sit down for a nice game of Match 3D while you wait. But...there's no place to put down your coffee. You don't want to chug it (it was expensive enough, may as well enjoy it), you don't want to put it on the floor because it might get kicked over, and the guy sitting next to you doesn't look like he'd be willing to hold it (so you don't bother asking). What ever will you do? You're going to whip out this trusty travel cup holder, attach it to your carry on, and commence to match random pieces of digital junk as fast as you can.
Organizing your outfits by person, day, type, or occasion has never been easier. My 2 favorite ways to use these: 1. Each person gets their own cube (or cube set, depending on the size of the person and length of the trip). It's like having suitcases inside of a suitcase! 2. Each day gets their own cube. This is especially helpful if you're traveling by yourself, or if you're sending your child away with the grandparents. Each day, take out the cube and everything you need is right there at your fingertips. And if something gets flagged in security? They're not dragging out your entire suitcase just to inspect one item. Everything is neat and organized. Just how I like it. :)
Did I miss anything? What's your favorite piece of travel gear for yourself or to gift others? Let me know in the comments!
If you want to be the best Santa on the planet on Christmas morning, raise your hand. But, let’s be honest, gifting someone travel is a BIG deal. If you’re thinking about putting a trip under the tree this year but you’re not sure where to start, I can help.
Here are 3 things to consider to make sure it goes off without a hitch.
Tip #1 - Keep it open-ended.
I love a good surprise. Really, I do. I can't tell you how excited I was the day a husband walked into my office asking for my help surprising his wife with a birthday cruise. But, unless you’re positive someone can depart on the exact dates you decide, it’s better to keep things flexible. Which leads me to...
Tip #2 - Instead of pre-booking, gift a token
Pick an item that represents the trip. I recommend wrapping up a guidebook or a travel brochure with a card explaining what you’ll pay for. You may also want to include Mickey Mouse merch for a trip to Walt Disney World, a snuggly blanket for a ski getaway, sunscreen & a beach towel for a tropical vacation...you get the idea. Then you can work with a me to get the trip booked once you’ve worked the details out with the person you’re gifting. Which leads me to....
Tip #3 - Make them a part of the process
For example: If you're thinking of surprising your children with a trip, consider picking the destination but allowing them to be a part of planning the itinerary so they feel a part of the process. If you're planning a trip for an adult, you'll want to refer to tip number one. Getting details about their schedules will come in handy when picking dates, and maybe even destination. Combining tips 2 & 3 will also increase the excitement surrounding your gift. The anticipation of traveling is part of the fun after all!
And there you have it.
With those three tips you’re well on your way to gifting that special someone, or someones, with travel this Holiday season.
Was this helpful? Leave a reply if you have any questions about how to gift travel.
Merry Christmas, enjoy the season, & don't forget to make memories!
My son is crazy about pirates right now. Not exactly sure why, but it makes for a fun little theme trip in St. Augustine.
Black Raven Pirate Ship: The Treasure Hunt
So, the premise of this attraction is that you're just hitching a ride on a "real" pirate ship and seeing what "real" pirates do in every day life. Suddenly, the ship is boarded by bad pirates (because I guess we're with the good ones?), the treasure is stolen, and it's off on the chase. My son loved looking for "the baby pirate ship" in the ocean, and really didn't care about the show going on around him.
The show: They told jokes and sang songs while "training" the children to be pirates. The training consisted of coming up with a code word and telling the kids to yell at the top of their lungs when they heard the code word. The kids got to participate in coming up with the code word and the whole thing was all around pretty interactive. I did think the jokes were slightly off-color for little ones, but I guess that could be just me.
Once we caught up with the thieves, they boarded the ship, the kids heard the code word and screamed and the bad pirates gave the treasure back (they're scared of kids and didn't want any trouble) and went on their merry way. The big treasure box was full of little treasure boxes and each kid got to keep one as a token of appreciation for helping recover the treasure. There was also birthday party on the ship, and the birthday boy got his own special treasure.
Social distancing and hand sanitizer was present on the ship, and most everyone stayed out of each other's faces. There is normally sword fighting with the pirates and face painting, but these activities have been COVID suspended at this time.
All-in-all, it was a neat activity for the kids. My only complaint was a few of the jokes and commentary. I realize this is the world of pirates, though, and they were probably not that kid-friendly, but they tried. LOL. My son enjoyed it and says his favorite part was when they stole the treasure.
For those interested, they also do an adults only sailing on the weekend. My husband and I did this a few years back. It's one of those experiences I'm glad I had, but it's not really my thing, so I doubt I'll be doing it again. But, if you enjoy dirty jokes, loud badly-sung pirate songs, and plentiful booze (for a charge, of course), and no kids, this is the attraction for you. It's how I imagine a real pirate ship would be, honestly. These sailings have been suspended until Florida's bars open back up, which will be soon, from what I understand.
The St. AUgustine Pirate & Treasure museum
I have long said that this is absolutely my favorite museum in the history of museums, and (if you can't tell), I'm not really a fan of pirates. But the sheer amount of information and the interactive exhibits is what makes this museum so great. You'll see one of only 2 original jolly rogers and the only remaining pirate's chest still in existence. As a history buff, I did find those things fascinating.
I'll admit, as a four year old, my son was kind of everywhere. So, if you're taking small kids, don't plan to soak up all the history. But, he had a blast finding all of the clues for the treasure hunt (and turning his paper in to get his treasure). He also liked the ship wheel, the interactive cannon (that was probably his favorite), and the screens with each pirate's story (because, who doesn't like screens?). There are also exhibits where you smell & guess the cargo that pirates carried, practice tying knots (although this exhibit was closed, presumably because of COVID), a story told by animatronic Blackbeard, and an audio theater where you can hear a retelling of the final battle of Blackbeard. The final exhibit is full of movie props from pirate theme movies, such as Hook and The Goonies.
Besides the number of interactive exhibits, the thing I love about this museum is that you'll see very few replicas. The artifacts here are actual artifacts used by real pirates.
Masks are required inside of this museum (and all indoor areas of St. Augustine), and they strongly encourage massive amounts of hand sanitizing. I didn't notice anyone cleaning the exhibits, but there is hand sanitizer accessible in every room.
The last few times we have been in St. Augustine, we did not visit our favorite restaurant. So, it was definitely time. We had skipped lunch, so an appetizer was in order. We're chips and dip kind of people, so the spinach and crab dip was looking really good...and it tasted good, too! My usual entre order is the Coconut Shrimp, but today I was feeling Fish and Grits for my palate. There's a few options for the fish, but I went with blackened flounder. A Bimini Breeze gave the final touch for a pretty delicious meal. I was not disappointed in my decision to break away from my usual. They have a kid-friendly meal, too, and ours got his usual: hamburger and fries. We ate outside, but masks were required for indoors going to your table or using the restroom.
St. Augustine remains my favorite little weekend getaway. There's so much to do that everyone, kids and adults, will find something they enjoy. There are so many themes that this city can take on, too...pirates, history, beach, art, food/wine/beer, ghosts, the list goes on. I definitely recommend this oft-overlooked destination, especially if you've never been!
What did you think of our trip? Would you be interested in a pirate themed getaway? Let me know in the comments!
On my social media channels this week, we’ve been talking about trips you can take with your kids that will make their textbooks come alive. We’ve mainly been focusing on weekend getaways that can give your kids practical skills and/or let them stand in the middle of history. If you want to learn how to make Savannah, Atlanta, Warm Springs, and even Universal Studios educational, head on over to Facebook and check it out. Of course, even narrowing it down to weekend getaways, there were still a few that missed the social media feature list. So, here they are (in no particular order):
Tour Plantation homes, see the oldest Live Oak tree east of the Mississippi, and take a ferry to visit the spot where the first shots of the civil war rang out. It's also in Charleston where you will find what is thought to be the country's oldest museum. And if you're interested in nautical history, you'll definitely want to see the H.L. Hunley- the world's first successful combat submarine lost at sea in 1864 until it was discovered off the coast of Sullivan's Island in 1995.
St. Augustine, FL
Is it any surprise that this awesome city made my list? :) You definitely won't see all of St. Augustine in one weekend, but it's an easy trip to make. We do this one 3-4 times a year. There is so much to do and learn in St. Augustine. Obviously, the nation's oldest city is full of historical sites. Your kids (and you!) may enjoy the Fort, the Oldest Wooden Schoolhouse, the Old Jail, the Oldest Store Museum, the Spanish Military Hospital Museum, or the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Site (yes! It's an active dig site!). Or, maybe you get a little bored with history and would rather learn how wine is made or see an actual chocolate factory in action. Fancy marine animals? Head to the St. Augustine Aquarium or nearby Marineland. You can even have a little fun learning all the interesting facts and oddities at Ripley's Believe it or Not! Oh, and there's beaches. Hop on & Hop off the trolley and hit all the highlights. St. Augustine is a wealth of learning for adults and kids alike, and it's right at our back door. If you've never been, we definitely need to talk!
Also a town you'll probably not be able to see in an entire weekend, it's still one that made my list. To do this one in a weekend, you'll need to hop aboard a train for a non-stop ride. Once there, you'll have a chance to visit the living history museums of Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown/Yorktown, and maybe even a trip to Busch Gardens for that all-important lesson in gravity! A rail package includes rail, hotel, and attraction tickets. The Williamsburg by rail itinerary is one of the best values on the east coast!
These trips grab an honorable mention because they are great for educational field trips, but would probably be better suited for a long weekend (or longer!) due to travel time
New York (by rail): A wealth of history, arts, and economics
New Orleans: The birthplace of jazz is a must for any music lover
The Florida Keys: Make sure to visit the Turtle Hospital and the Hemingway House
Fort Myers, FL: Tour the winter homes of Thomas Edison & Henry Ford (they were neighbors!)
I hope this week has been fun and educational for y'all! Which trip are you most excited to take with your kids?
Sometimes, you just want to bring your pet along.
But before you decide to make your pet your traveling companion, you should really consider the pros and cons. If you’re going to a place where you’ll be out most of the day and not spending much time with your furry family member, it might make more sense to leave your pet home.
If you’re going on a camping trip or staying in a cabin by a lake, your dog might just have the time of his or her life!
Of course, cats will always be happier at home, provided they have someone to keep their water fresh and change their litter box as needed.
If you do choose to vacation with your family pet, here are some tips to follow:
TRAVELING BY CAR Go on a trial ride. Never went on a long trip with your pets before? Take a few shorter drives and gauge how they react. Do they get anxiety or restlessness? It’s good to have a general idea of your pets’ travel habits before you embark on a cross-country journey.
Don't let your pets roam inside the car. For everybody’s safety, it’s important that pets are secured in the backseat while they’re in the car. Using a blanketed crate or a carrier secured with a seat belt will ensure that they remain comfortable and stay safe in case an accident occurs, as well as keeping them from distracting you when you’re behind the wheel.
Make sure to make frequent pit stops. Animals can get cramped while hanging out in their crates. To ensure that they’re happy and comfortable, take rest stops every 2-3 hours so that your pets can relieve themselves and get a little exercise.
Never leave your pet alone in the car. Any loving pet parent knows this, but just be sure you never leave your pet alone in the car. Temperatures inside of an automobile can skyrocket to dangerous levels after just a few minutes in a hot car if the windows are shut, leaving pets in grave danger of heat exhaustion, breathing problems and death.
TRAVELING BY PLANE According to the Humane Society, its recommended that pets never travel by airplane unless absolutely necessary. Driving is always a better option for them, but if you can’t travel by car, your pets are likely to be happier and healthier if you leave them with a family member, a pet sitter or put them in a kennel back home. But if you do fly, follow this advice:
Choose the cabin. Make sure to contact the airline well in advance for permission to accommodate your pet in the cabin. Generally, most airlines allow a cat or a small dog in the cabin for an additional fee. They also make concessions for service and emotional-support dogs. Contact your airline for further details about their pet policies.
Do your research if your pet must go cargo. Letting your pet travel via the cargo hold is not ideal. It’s definitely not recommended for brachycephalic animals (or those with “pushed in” faces) such as pugs, bulldogs or Persian cats, because the risk of oxygen deprivation and heat stroke is higher for animals that have short nasal passages. To ensure that your pet has a safe experience, make sure that you follow some of these tips:
TRAVELING BY SHIP In general, very few cruise lines allow you to bring pets on board unless they are assistance animals. Contact your cruise line well in advance to inquire about their policies regarding pets, as some do have kennels below decks.
I'd love to hear some of your favorite pet travel stories! Leave them in the comments below :)
Tales of a travel agent. Reviews, lists, and anything in between. *Opinions are my own and do not reflect the views of any travel companies mentioned. There may be affiliate links in these posts. If you use these links to make a purchase, I will receive a small commission.