Friday, November 29, 2013

When Vacations Attack

Well this guy wasn't exactly on a vacation...He is a photographer and videographer and he got pretty darn close to a Black Rhino! Click here to see the video. I hope I never get caught in a situation like this! EEK!!!

{Source, screenshots from the YouTube Video}

P.S. Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Travelers You DON'T Want Sitting Next to You on a Plane

I saw this article and thought that it was a funny/good topic to talk about on a travel blog :) So here is a list of people you might get stuck sitting next to, some funny, some not so funny.

1 - The smelly person - this is the person that doesn't shower and reeks of body odor!!!
2 - The snorer - a snorer...even worse on an over night flight
3 - The sleep talker - I can't imagine sitting next to some that talks in their sleep! 
4 - The sleep walker - Same with this one, I hear that this is a side effect of ambien which many people take to help them sleep on planes! 
5 - The I have the cold/flu person - Unfortunately I became this person mid flight the last time I was coming home from Europe. About 1/2 over the Atlantic I came down with the cold...I'm sure from another passenger! 
6 - The dead person - This one is not meant to be funny. When I was in high school a friend of mine was traveling to Paris on a full flight and the passenger next to him passes away. Since the flight was full, he was stuck there. 
7 - The awkward person - Just someone is a little weird. I sat next to a guy traveling to LAX and he didn't speak a word of English. Every time the flight attendant came buy and asked if he needed anything he would just point at what I was getting. It was just a little strange.
8 - The talker - Having to sit next to someone who is a chatty Cathy is never any fun if you don't like to talk on planes. When we were flying from Kauai to Oahu the young man behind us was talking to his seat mate and asking her all sorts of inappropriate questions like, "how much money do you make as a nurse?", "can you write me a recommendation?", "how much money does your ranch make?" of course she didn't answer and I could tell she was uncomfortable. 
9 - The lovers - Once on a flight there was a couple that was so all over each other that the flight attendant had to tell them to please sit properly with your feet on the floor. (She had her legs propped up on him and was pretty much sitting in his lap...get a room...and not one 35,000 ft in the air!)

Have you ever had to sit next to any of these people? 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Places to See Before They are Gone FOREVER

When reading the title of this post you have to say forever like the kid form The Sandlot...FOR-EV-ER, FOR-EV-ER, FOR-EV-ER...if you don't know what I'm talking about you have to youtube it! Anyway, I found this article from Yahoo! Travel about worldly sights to see before they are gone for good. Its quite the list and spans the whole world! I hope to make it to some of these places some day.

The Maldives
Why to go now: The Maldives is an archipelago in the Indian Ocean and is the lowest country on the planet with an average elevation of five feet above sea level. Made up of thousands of coral islands and reefs spread over nearly 56,000 square miles, this surfing and diving paradise is naturally more ocean than land. But if sea levels continue to rise due to climate change, the Maldives may end up completely submerged within 100 years.
 {Photo: Steve Allen / Getty Images, source}

Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Québec
Why to go now: An idyllic island getaway in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Îles-de-la-Madeleine's white sand beaches and sandstone cliffs are steadily eroding. Strong winds have always been part of life on the islands, and they make for notable kitesurfing. But Canadian Geographic reported last year that the high concentration of sea ice currently shielding the archipelago's shores from destructive storms is disappearing. Climate researchers estimate the protective ice will be gone sometime between 2050 and 2090. Currently, anywhere from four to 43 inches of coast are lost each year and intense storms can destroy up to three feet along certain cliffs.

The Mongolian Steppe
Why to go now: Known for its vast grassland plains surrounded by mountains and desert, Mongolia is the most sparsely populated independent country in the world. But the legendary steppe of Genghis and Kublai Khan will not remain untrammeled for long. Mineral exploration is threatening the country's age-old nomadic way of life. Fueled by a mining boom, Mongolia's economy grew at a record 17.5 percent in 2011. According to Citigroup Global Markets, it will continue to grow at an average of 9.7 percent, the fastest in the world, through 2030. That means the great wide open spaces of Mongolia are shrinking at an ever faster pace.

The Karnali River, Nepal
Why to go now: Originating on the Tibetan plateau and cutting through the Himalayas to India, the 315-mile Karnali is Nepal's longest, largest and wildest river. For serious floaters, it's also one of the planet's premier rivers for multiday rafting trips, featuring clear water, consistent flow and big Class V rapids. Unfortunately, the abundant water and fast flow make the river a prime prospect for hydropower development. The Nepali government is seeking investors and financiers for a large dam project on the Upper Karnali. If built, the dam would generate electricity for export to China and India at the expense of world-class whitewater.

{Photo: Getty Images, source}
The Galápagos Islands
Why to go now: The sheer number of endemic species inhabiting the Galápagos Islands, an archipelago 620 miles off the coast of Ecuador, inspired Charles Darwin to formulate his evolutionary theories and write “On the Origin of Species.” Many of the species that live on these actively volcanic islands are found no place else on Earth, including marine iguanas and giant tortoises. More than 100,000 tourists visit the Galápagos annually, resulting in the introduction of invasive species like pigs (smuggled in by workers) and rats (stowed away on boats) and landing the destination on the World Heritage Site Danger List from 2007 to 2010. Environmentalists warn that the islands aren't yet in the clear. Tourism continues to rise 12 percent year over year with the infrastructure alone threatening to forever alter the once isolated islands.

The Ecuadorean Amazon
Why to go now: Deep in the jungle at the headwaters of the Amazon lives one of the most isolated ethnic groups in the world. The Huaorani, an indigenous people who've only been in contact with the so-called civilized world since the mid-twentieth century, harvest jungle fruits and hunt in much the same way as they presumably have for thousands of years. And they do it through virgin forest. Unfortunately, oil interests in the region have put their way of life, and the pristine environment, at risk. The government of Ecuador originally asked that the international community raise funds to offset potential oil revenues – an effort to justify keeping oil development out of the Amazon that was considered tantamount to blackmail. Nevertheless, development is coming and it's coming fast – bad news for both the Huaorani and the myriad birds and other animals that call the region home.

Glacier National Park
Why to go now: In 1850, Montana's Glacier National Park had 150 glaciers, a number that has dwindled to just 25 today. Glacier recession models predict that in about 15 years, none will remain. And while the park is famous for retaining nearly all of its native plant and animal species, including the grizzly bear, the ecosystem could change dramatically when the glacier-fed cold water is gone. The glaciers — arguably the park's chief tourist draw — will be gone, and, of course, the park's own name will become a misnomer.

{Photo: Getty Images, source}

The Athabasca Glacier, Canada
Why to go now: Alberta's iconic Athabasca Glacier is the most visited glacier in North America, thanks to a convenient location just off Highway 93 between Banff and Jasper. It dramatically spills down from the Columbia Ice Field, the largest ice field in the Canadian Rockies. Athabasca's visibility and popularity make its rapid recession all the more distressing. The glacier has been melting for about the last 125 years, losing half its volume and receding nearly one mile. It's currently receding at a rate of 6.6 to 9.8 feet a year.

The Dead Sea
Why to go now: One of the saltiest bodies of water on Earth, the Dead Sea is the world's original health resort. Herod the Great and Cleopatra allegedly took dips in the mineral-rich waters, which have been said to relieve ailments ranging from psoriasis to osteoarthritis. In the past four decades though, the lake has shrunk by 30 percent and sunk 80 feet. The culprits? Surrounding countries tapping the River Jordan, which is the Dead Sea's sole water source. At the current rate, experts predict the Dead Sea will be gone within 50 years.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

London/Paris Link-Up

Yesterday Debbie at Buisson International joined a link up hosted by Selena at Oh, The Places We Will Go and her co-host Amy from Créatrice Mondial. It's actually a link-up for both Paris and London. Since I have only been to London that is what I'll talk about! :) I visited London in the summer of 2008 with some friends that were on my study abroad adventure with me (this is a re-post from March 5, 2011). You can also see my plans for Paris sights and food by clicking the links. 

Getting there was a bit of a mess! We took a bus to the “cheap airport”, Sandefjord, near Oslo and landed at the “cheap airport” near London, Stansted. When it was all said and done, I’m not sure if taking the cheaper flights was worth it since we had to take so many buses and trains to get to our final destinations. We made it to London and met up with her uncle briefly (he had to finish his work day) and he showed us were we would meet up with him for dinner and the play we were seeing that night. So we had some lunch and then walked around the River Thames and popped in the Museum of Modern Art.

The play we saw was The Buddy Holly Story! During the play they kind of interacted with the audience and asked someone where they were from…well they were from Japan…but how fun it would have been if they had picked us and we got to say, “Lubbock, TX!” It would have been awesome (since we went to Texas Tech). So we did and headed home via our feet and strolled by Buckingham Palace, and the Queen was home too! The next day we went to the Tower of London and took the tour with the only female Beefeater (they are the “guardians of the Tower of London”) but it was very cool to be somewhere that is so old and see things that are so old! And of course, it’s part of my family history! My mom’s cousin has been able to prove that one of our family members was a bastard child of King Henry the VIII (one of many bastards I’m sure!) so it was just really neat! We walked by Big Ben many times and then went to Saturday mass at Westminster Abby! Very cool and the boys choir was so angelic. Then we went for a sunset ride on the London Eye (the best way to see London I am sure, and you must do it at dusk! Så vakkert)! When everything was all said and done I think we figured we walked 15 miles in 2.5 days! Talk about cardio!

I loved seeing all the amazing sites and taking in the history of it all. I would love to go back and explore some more one day!

Top left corner - Big Ben; Top right corner - London Eye; Bottom (Left to Right) - Abby Road, London Phone Booth, Beef Eater

Today, I have linked up with 
Selena at Oh, The Places We Will Go and 
Amy at Créatrice Mondial for 
Cheers, Madame!

Monday, November 18, 2013


This month's pinspiration is Thanksgiving themed. We usually don't do anything for Thanksgiving because we have been on vacation for the past 3 of them! Hawaii I miss you *tear* But this year we are in a new house so I thought it would be nice to have my family over and have our first Thanksgiving in our new home.

Since we don't usually have Thanksgiving we didn't have a lot of fall decor so when I saw this on the Silhouette Blog I thought, "hey, that's cute and looks easy to make." I went a bought some card stock and started messing around on my Silhouette. Its not like we need place settings because there will only be 5 of us but still, I thought it would be fun. Here are some pics:

From the Silhouette Blog

Made by me!

I think I did a pretty good job if I do say so myself! To make the leaves curl a bit I just wrapped them around a pencil.

Do have any fun fall crafts or decorating ideas?

Friday, November 15, 2013

A Plan for Paris: Food

So my plan for eating while we're in Paris is to pretty much focus on loaves of bread and desserts! haha. I have come up with a list of stops based on TripAdvisor reviews, the Travel Channel, and some blog reviews. Here we go...

This place is know for their crepes! And what is a trip to Paris without trying a crepe?!?!

They are know for their rich hot chocolate served with a small pot of whipped cream and their Mont Blanc Cake that is a combination of meringue, light whipped cream and chestnut cream vermicelli. 
{Mont Blanc source; Hot Chocolate source}

Famous for their ice cream and how its served! Almost looks too pretty to eat...but you know I will!

Known for their pastries and macaroons! I am hoping to make multiple stops here! 
{Debbie Buisson, Source}

As seen on Anthony Bourdain's The Layover and on Samantha Brown's Travel Channel's shows I thought this place is another good stop for some sweet, sweet ice cream!

La Cuisine de Philippe
Near Luxembourg Gardens and sort of close to the hotel.
Le Tournebievre
Close to hotel and the pictures of the food look amazing! It is also very close to Notre Damn and Pont de l'Archeveche which will make for some good pictures!
This is close to the Moulin Rouge so its an option when we visit that area
Chez Toineete
This too is close to the Moulin Rouge. This is my first choice out of the two.
Little Breizh
Close to hotel with good reviews so its an option for dinner.

Poilane has been baking yummy breads since 1932 and I can't wait to try some!
Again, saw this on Samantha Brown's Travel Channel show and must stop in!

Where are some good eats you recommend in Paris? Let me know!

See my Plan for Paris: Sights here.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

In 2013 We Missed Hawaii

For the past few years November hasn't just been the second to the last month of the year. Its been the month when the new Twilight movie came out (lame, I know) and it has been the month when we would travel to Hawaii...and we're kind of missing it. After we decided that Thailand and Cambodia wasn't feasible (you can read about that here) we were really torn on where to go. The wanderer in me wanted to go to some place new in different ... but Maui is new and different ... since we have only been to Kauai and The Big Island. In the end we decided to head to Europe and see some new sites! This will be my husbands first time to Europe and I hope he loves it as much as I do! ... But in the mean time we are missing and day dreaming about the Aloha State!

Here are some fun things you might not have known about Hawaii. (original article found here)

1. The Hawaiian language comes with a bit of a learning curve. For starters, there's only a 13-letter alphabet and every word—and syllable—ends with one of five vowels. 

2. The state of Hawaii consists of 8 main islands, the biggest of which is called, the Big Island. The Big Island's official name is Hawai'i.

3. The Big Island's getting bigger—by more than 42 acres each year—thanks to Kīlauea Volcano. It's been erupting for 30 years!

4. Mauna Loa, the world's biggest volcano, is also on the Big Island. Astronauts once trained for moon voyages by walking on its hardened lava fields. Most recently, six NASA-funded researchers spent months on the northern slope simulating a Mars space station.

5. Hawaii is the only U.S. state that grows coffee, cacao, and vanilla beans. (Also: It can take up to five years to grow a single vanilla bean.)

6. The Aloha State's also good at growing ... people. It's got the highest life expectancy in the United States.

7. The people of Hawaii consume the most Spam per capita in the U.S.

8. No matter how old you are, only people with Hawaiian ancestry are called “Hawaiians.” People of non-Hawaiian ancestry—even those born and raised there—call themselves “locals."

9. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, Hawaii has the highest percentage of Asian Americans (38.6 percent) and multiracial Americans (23.6 percent) in the United States. It also has the lowest percentage of White Americans (24.7 percent).

10. Regardless of ancestry, most families traditionally celebrate a child's first birthday with a luau.

11. No celebration's complete without a lei. The flower garlands come with strict rules. For starters, it's impolite to refuse a lei, remove it in front of the person who gave it to you, or wear one that you intend to give to someone else. A lei should never be thrown away. Instead, it should traditionally be returned to the earth, ideally to where its flowers were gathered. And it's bad luck to give a tied lei to a pregnant woman, as it suggests an umbilical cord around a baby's neck.

12. There are no seagulls in Hawaii. The closest thing is the white tern, a seabird that lays eggs directly on tree branches without building a nest to protect them. 

13. Hawaii has its own time zone 10 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time. It's also one of two U.S. states that does not practice Daylight Saving Time. (Arizona's the other one.)

14. Barbecue aficionados in Hawaii prefer meat smoked with guava wood, instead of hickory or mesquite.

15. The state gem isn't a gem at all. Black coral is technically an animal, but it's often used to make jewelry.

16. The Aloha State is one of four that have outlawed billboards. (The others are Alaska, Maine, and Vermont.)

17. Snakes are also outlawed. The only legal serpents are housed in zoos. Good to know one cant get you when you are hiking around!

18. When you picture a beautiful Hawaiian getaway, you might imagine a black or white beach. They also come in yellow, red, and green.

Monday, November 11, 2013

A Plan for Paris

Our trip is still more than a few months away but I cant help but plan and I want to share my plans and thoughts with y'all! Even though we are taking a tour on our trip to Europe (Trafalgar Tours) I am still engulfing myself with what we will do with our free time and our extra day in Paris (and I have to say I am wishing we had stayed an extra 2 days in Paris!). If you Google things to do in Paris you’ll find many lists of sites to see and place to eat. So I am going to sum things up for you! This post will be about things to SEE in Paris and then I’ll do one on where to eat!

We will arrive in Paris in the late afternoon/early evening; we'll call that Day 1. And then we have one full day with the tour, Day 2, and then we'll have one full day on our own, Day 3. We depart on Day 4. 

After looking at many lists I have compiled the following:

Day 1 
After arriving in Paris, we check into our hotel in the La Défense area. Then we have the option to see the famous Moulin Rouge cabaret show.  We just can’t justify the $200 per person price tag, although past travelers have said it’s totally worth it. So what I think what we’ll do is go with the group but on the bus (free transportation) but we’ll just walk around the Montmartre area and see the Sacre Coeur Basilica and grab a bite to eat.

Day 2
This is our first full day in Paris and it will be jammed packed! We’ll have the city tour which will include photo ops of: Arc de Triomphe, Champ-Elysees, Notre Dame Cathedral, and the Palais Garnier Opera House. We will get to go up to the second level of the Eiffel Tower and enjoy the wonderful views!

{This Graphic was Powered by Marriott}

We will also make our way to the Palace of Versailles to tour the palace and walk to grounds. In the evening we’ll have diner included and take a river cruise on the Seine!

Day 3
Day 3 we’ll leave our hotel in La Défense (leaving out tour group as well) and head to our new hotel near Notre Dame… I’m thinking an early morning, maybe wake up at 6 and out the door by 7 to hopefully be at our new hotel by 7:30. Once at the new hotel we’ll either check in or leave our bags for them to hold and we will start our day of walking the city. I pretty much want to make a loop from our hotel area to the Arc de Triomphe, go to the top if it’s a clear day, and then make our way back to the hotel. On this loop we’ll see:

Arc de Triomphe
The Louvre area (Jardin des Tuileries, Place de la Concorde, Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel)
Pont Alexandre III & Grand Palais
Sainte Chapelle
Notre Dame Cathedral 
Pont de l’Archeveche (one of the bridges with locks on it)
Luxembourg Gardens
Hotel de Ville (seat of the French Government)
Place des Vosges

We have decided we aren't going to go into any of the museums since we just won’t have the time. I have mapped this all out and our walk for our free day will be 10 miles (16.1 km) and take 3.5 hours! So I definitely think it will take all day with stops, I am hoping some quick rides on the subways will help save us some time! 

Friday, November 8, 2013

Secrets to Save on Travel

Yahoo! Finance asked industry insiders and travel web site editors to weigh in with their top tips and smartest strategies for getting good deals on airfares, cruises, hotels and vacation packages. See their responses below.

Currently I am on the watch for some cheap flights back to Houston from Chicago. When we booked our flight to Europe using our rewards miles we were able to get a free flight in first class TO Chicago but not back (go figure, but it’s because they want you to use this on your actual trip not as a bonus trip). Let me know if you have any tips!

1) Fly when no one else wants to. Fares rise and fall with air traffic -- so says the law of supply and demand. In general, plan to fly on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Saturday afternoon to bag a cheaper plane ticket. If you're taking a week long domestic trip, depart on a Saturday and return on a Monday and you'll score a 16% discount on your airfare, according to For week long international trips, departing on Tuesday and returning on Wednesday of the following week saves 21%, on average.

We do this all the time since we don’t have kids yet and don’t have to worry about their school schedules. And my friend visiting from Norway did exactly what is said above; she arrived on a Thursday and is leaving on a Wednesday.

2) Be flexible about where you go. You can use Kayak's Explore tool to pinpoint on a world map all the destinations you can visit within your airfare budget.

I did not know this but its SUPER awesome!

3) Use to quickly scan hundreds of travel web sites for the cheapest airfares. Check fares on separately because Kayak doesn't include fares for the budget airline.

4) Sign up for airlines' free e-mail alerts to get sale notifications and coupon codes delivered straight to your in-box. Or follow airlines and alert sites, such as Airfarewatchdog, on Twitter. Not only do you get first dibs on flash sales, but you also develop a point of reference to recognize good deals.

5) Make sure you're buying at the right time with Bing Travel's "price predictor." Just enter your itinerary, and the site will return a list of fares with a recommendation to either buy now -- because it expects the fare to rise -- or wait for a soon-to-come fare drop. And note that domestic airfares are cheapest seven weeks before departure, according to CheapAir, an airfare booking site. 

6) If you're booking a last-minute flight, consider buying a vacation package. Online travel agencies lock in lower fares early and combine them with cheap hotel stays. At the eleventh hour, when fares may spike elsewhere, these bundles may cost less than purchasing the flight alone.

When booking trips to Hawaii we have learned that it’s best to book through a travel agent. We use AAA and we always get a $50 voucher to use for activities or excursions.

7) Get a deal on extras. Several airlines have introduced new ways of bundling fees. For example, Delta's $21 "Ascend" package includes in-flight Wi-Fi and priority boarding. American Airlines' $68 "Choice Essential" package includes a checked bag, a reservation change and Group 1 boarding.

8) Keep an eye on fares, even after you book. You have the right to change or cancel your flight plans for free within 24 hours of booking, thanks to rules introduced by the Department of Transportation in 2012. So if you find a better fare within that window, you can snatch the savings with no penalty. After 24 hours, if you find your booked fare has dropped, some airlines may be willing to refund you the difference. Use to track any price changes on nine major airlines and score any cash back you deserve. 

9) Avoid the extra baggage fees that most airlines charge. Southwest continues to allow two free checked bags; JetBlue permits one.

We have the MileagePlus credit card with Chase; it allows us each one free bag, priority boarding and access into the United Club.

10) Go off-season -- an especially savvy strategy if you select a destination that's designed for large peak-season crowds. Desperate to fill rooms, hotels will slash rates or throw in perks, such as free Wi-Fi or spa credits. For example, consider business or convention hotels after the suits have departed for the weekend and beach resorts in the spring (after spring break) or fall.

11) Book directly through a hotel's web site. Many places offer lower rates for online booking. You can also sign up to get hotels' e-mails about special promotions and discounts. Just remember the lowest rates are usually prepaid and non-refundable. If you think your plans might change, you'll have to pay the higher, more flexible rates.

12) Double down on tip number five and be flexible to save on a high-class stay. Private-sale sites, such as, offer deep discounts on luxury hotels for a limited time. But the destinations are random and most sites only offer a few deals at a time. 

13) Book blind for rock-bottom rates. The "Priceline Negotiator" and's "Hot Rates" can cut up to 50% off regular hotel rates. With either site, you specify your length of stay, preferred neighborhood and a guaranteed minimum star class. But you won't know the exact hotel or location until after you pay -- an especially big risk when visiting unfamiliar areas, particularly overseas. (Blind booking works fine for car rentals, too; a sedan is a sedan is a sedan. But it's a bigger gamble for flights because you won't know exact departure times or airlines.)

14) Keep an eye on lodging rates, even after you book. If you see a lower rate on the same type of room at your hotel, call the front desk and see if they'll match it. specializes in this kind of cash-back courtesy -- if you book a "Money Back" room through the site, it will track the hotel's rates and automatically refund you if the price drops.

15) Fight the fees. Call your hotel to confirm an online reservation -- especially if you booked at the last minute -- and check to see whether you're being charged additional fees. Hotels may be willing to waive fees, especially for frequent visitors or rewards-program members. Also, request a copy of your bill the night before you check out so that you have time to dispute any extra charges.

I agree with getting your bill the night before, on our first trip to Hawaii I should have asked to have some charges removed because they were a bit ridiculous but I was ready to go home and didn’t want to deal with it.

16) Switch hotels mid stay. Say you're booking a hotel for a five-night stay starting on Saturday night. If Saturday and Sunday are more expensive than Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, you'll typically pay for all five nights at the highest price. Consider switching hotels midway through your trip if you can find a comparable hotel for a cheaper weekday rate.

17) Visit the concierge. You'll get the inside scoop on discount theater tickets, two-for-one restaurant deals and other entertainment. Or get help before you check in. Travelocity offers free concierge service if you book vacation packages through its site. Expedia offers "Local Experts" to give advice on popular vacation destinations. And Room 77, a hotel aggregator start-up, offers concierge service to help you locate the right room at three- to five-star hotels. 

18) Online travel agencies Travelocity, Expedia and Orbitz are well known for their bundled bargains. But don't forget to check packages offered by airlines, such as United Vacations and Southwest Vacations. And some smaller travel operators can pack in big savings. For example, Apple Vacations often offers some of the sweetest deals, and Gate 1 Travel sends a regular e-mail newsletter with its latest vacation packages.

19) Use your frequent-flier miles. You can book bundles directly through air carriers, such as American Airlines and Delta, and use frequent-flier miles to pay. Even AAA offers its own member-exclusive travel packages. Or check out packages on daily deal sites at Groupon and LivingSocial. Their offerings range from weekend trips to guided tours.

We did this for our upcoming trip to Europe!

20) Seek all-inclusive deals to pay just once for your whole vacation -- including lodging, food, drinks and activities (making it easier to stay within your budget, especially if you're traveling with children).

21) Price it a la carte. To see if a package makes sense, research prices for all of the elements before you commit. For example, a cruise package typically charges per person for hotel rooms at the port of departure. See whether you would save by reserving a double-occupancy room outside of the package. If you can, consider dumping the package or opting out of the hotel portion.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

A Visual Tour of Orlando Theme Parks

On Monday morning I was so excited to see an email from a representative with Marriott asking if I could post this fun infograph on my blog! You bet I will!

I will never forget my trip to Disney World...and wont forget how my parents told us we were going. I was in 5th grade and my brother was in 1st grade, we were taking a walk and my mom said guess where we are going tomorrow? My first thought was school...duh, it was going to be the one of the last days of school before Thanksgiving break. She said no and I guessed all the attractions around San Antonio and she said no to all of them and for me to think BIGGER! I said, "Disney Land?" She replied, "BIGGER!" and then I said, "Disney WORLD?!?!" YES!!!! Pack your bags because we're leaving tomorrow!

We were there for the 25th Anniversary and we stayed at the Polynesian Resort across the lake from the Magic Kingdom and we also spent some time at Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studio (Animal Kingdom was under construction).

{This Infographic was Powered by Marriott}

The only downside was that Cinderella's Castle was decorated like a cake and my brother claims he doesn't really remember it...I guess I really don't remember much from 1st grade either...sorry bro!

What are your Disney memories? 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Travel Channel's Picks for Spring Vacations

As I was research things to do during our free time (away from the tour) on our trip to Europe in 2014 I found this article from the Travel Channel. They asked their editors to picktheir top vacation spots for Spring and here they are! (Surprisingly only two are outside the US!)

Florence, Italy
“For a taste of some serious amore, jet-set to the city of Firenze, where couples canoodle in piazzas, sharing bites of creamy gelato and soaking up the warm sunshine. Stroll across the quaint Ponte Vecchio with that someone special-- perhaps they’ll splurge on a gift from one of the iconic jewelry shops that line the bridge. Single women, beware: As you wander the streets, you’re sure to hear an Italian man call out to you, “Excuse me, I think you dropped something!” When you turn around, concerned and confused, they’ll laugh and say, ‘You dropped my heart!’” -- Allee, Producer

Santa Monica, California
“My favorite thing about spring is the changing of the weather, so I choose to be outside and by the water. My ideal spot for a spring fling would be Santa Monica, CA. I love Santa Monica’s quieter areas, away from the hustle and bustle of the boardwalk area, with lesser-known yet out-of-this-world restaurants that are home to memorable dishes. My first time having barbecued tofu was off the city’s Main Street. The restaurant, located behind a wooden fence, had no name on the front. Ask around. Folks will know!” -- Rani, Managing Producer

Joe's Valley, Utah
“Spring is the perfect time for a climbing adventure in Joe’s Valley, Utah. With ideal springtime temps, this is the best season to enjoy bouldering, camping and other outdoor fun. Located about 2 hours north of Moab, this is one of the world’s premier bouldering destinations, offering hundreds of sandstone boulders for climbers ranging from novice to professional. There is no better place to see the beauty of Southern Utah.” -- Arthur, Video Project Manager

"Blooming magnolia trees and 75 to 80 degree weather make Charleston a great spring destination. You'll enjoy a mix of lowcountry culture, mouthwatering cuisine and beautiful beaches. And what could feel more like spring than strolling through garden plantations sipping on a sweet tea cocktail? It seems we aren't the only ones who have this Southern belle on our radar lately. Conde Nast Traveler's Readers' Choice Awards just named Charleston the 'No.1 City in America.'" -- Kathleen, Producer

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
“When picking my perfect spring fling, my choice would have to be a road trip to Myrtle Beach. With over 100 courses, this stretch of coastal South Carolina is one of, if not the premier, destination for golf on the East Coast. Grab a few sixers, light up a couple of cigars and hit the links with some of your closest buddies -- it's the ideal mancation spring fling.” -- Ben, Producer

"I never knew the charm of spring … till April in Paris." American songwriter Vernon Duke's famous lyrics about the City of Light are so true. Paris' charm lies in its beautiful gardens, like the Jardin des Tuileries, where it's not uncommon to see couples and a group of good friends lying on the grass, chatting, sipping wine and snacking on a fresh baguette and cheese. Take a stroll by the Seine, visit the open-air market on Rue Montorgueil or people watch outside a café in Le Marais. Romance and a fun adventure are always around the corner no matter where you are in this historic city." -- Kwin, Managing Producer

I am so excited to be finally going to Paris in the Spring of 2014! I can not wait!!!

Washington, DC
“Spring is a great time to visit DC’s National Mall. Enjoy a relaxing stroll along the Tidal Basin, the reservoir bordered by thousands of cherry blossoms in full bloom this time of year. Also, be sure not to miss the Tulip Library on the north side of the basin, where you’ll find nearly 100 varieties of tulips. And come nighttime, stop by the World War II Memorial, where you can sit by the edge of the cascading fountain at its center, resting your head on the shoulder of your evening date … who may just turn into more than a spring fling.” -- Lisa, Producer

San Francisco
"My latest spring fling took me to San Francisco -- a city ideal for any gastronomically-inclined couple, thanks to its plethora of great dinner date spots. From the hole-in-the-wall Ramen Underground to the farm-to-table-fresh Super Duper Burger, you'll indulge in basically the best food ever. After stopping for tea and cookies at the picturesque Japanese Tea Garden and a scoop of "Chocolate Smoked Sea Salt" ice cream at Humphry Slocombe, go for a bike ride down the Embarcadero or head back across the Golden Gate Bridge for a hike through the Marin Headlands to work off your week of foodie fun." -- Amanda, Producer

Charlottesville, Virginia
"I've heralded Charlottesville's charms before, but hear me out on why this college town is the perfect springtime getaway. Starting in April, you can catch the free concert series, Fridays After Five, and then dine alfresco on the Historic Downtown Mall. Round out the weekend with a bagel at Bodo's, a historic tour of Monticello and a drink on the patio of Blue Mountain Brewery or glass of wine at King Family Vineyards, with the Blue Ridge Mountains just beyond." - Sara, Producer

Friday, November 1, 2013

Travel RoundUp

Happy November y'all! Although it doesn't quite fell like November here in East Texas...high of 81F/27C today! I hope everyone had a fun and safe Halloween! Here is your November Travel RoundUp!

1 – Are you planning on traveling to South Korea soon? Look for the tourist police that will be dressed like Psy’s Gangnam Style!

2 – Soon you might not be able to just walk in and see the Sistine Chapel, you may have to take a number and be one of the first there.

3 – Ever wonder what your food might be like on your flight? Check out

4 – The FAA has finally okayed electronic devices on flights!

6 – China really needs to get a hold of this smog situation! Why would you want to visit or even live there if you can’t go outside?!?!?


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