13 Tips for Parents Traveling With Children

 

travel tips for parents

 

Any parent knows that traveling with young children isn’t the easiest of the things. At times, it can be outright challenging, especially if you’re a single parent. But most parents are known to be resourceful which is why we know they would love any tip or suggestion that would make traveling with children easier and much more fun!

Here, is a set of tips and tricks for all parents who wish to make the most of globe-trotting with their children!

 

 Don’t Forget the Medicine at Home

This is very important and something a lot of parents overlook. Do not forget the medicine whatever you do! Bring medicine for pain, upset tummies, fevers, allergies, and any prescription medicines.

 

Book Transportation in Advance

When leaving on vacation with your child, it is important to think ahead. Transportation is so important.  Arrange a limo service from your home to the door of the airport terminal and back home.  This eliminates parking the car and getting the children from the parking lot to the terminal. Also, don’t just rely on the fact that you will find a taxi when you get off the airplane!  Call the hotel to inquire about shuttles.  If you need to rent a car, make a reservation in advance.  Make sure the rental company has car seats and/or boosters if you’re not bringing yours.  Most importantly, most airlines will ship your car seats for free.  However, for a small weekly fee it may be more convenient to just rent.

 

Board Early

We know it can be hard to leave the house early when going on vacation with a small child.  However, you must give yourself sufficient time to arrive at the airport early.  This will allow time to allow the children to relax.  Additionally, most airlines will allow parents with children to board early. Boarding early will also release tension and stress. 

 

Bring Toys and Electronics 

You will need to bring toys and electronics to occupy the children.  These are great while you’re waiting to board the plane, on the plane and occupying them at the hotel or resort.  You will need to bring chargers for the electronics.  As far as the toys, travel light. 

 

Don’t Be Afraid of Your Stroller

Some parents avoid bringing the stroller because it’s too heavy or too hard to carry around on vacations. However, we advise against that. A stroller can be a huge help, especially on vacations and in airports, when you have to do a lot of walking. You also need to know that strollers don’t count as luggage.  So, they will ship for free. 

 

Do a Little Training Before You Leave

If your child is old enough to remember tasks, then it is wise to do a little training before you leave on your vacation. Explain to them what to expect and what is expected from them. Make it short, because we all know kids aren’t too good at paying attention for long periods of time.

 

Invest in a Child Tracker

The thought that you might lose your child is enough to make any parent break out in a cold sweat.  Get a child tracker. Research what other parents have used and recommended.  Most can be worn as a bracelet or attached to clothes. Pick the one you think is best for your kid!

 

Do Your Check In Online

Online check in has improved airports so much!  You can avoid lines by simply checking in online.  Procedures vary from airline to airline, so be sure to check your Carrier’s procedures.  Download any apps and make sure they are working properly before you head to the airport.  On-line check in allows you to breeze through the airport in no time.

 

Flight Attendants are Your Friends

Flight attendants are there to help you and you! As a parent traveling with a small child, you should take advantage of  as much as you can. We’re not saying that you should pester them with non-stop requests, but you shouldn’t feel guilty when you need something.  They’d be more than happy to help!

 

Research, Research, Research

Researching a hotel is one of the best things a traveler can do before booking a vacation. You need to know if a hotel offers babysitting and activities.  Also, ask if they have a crib, playpen or laundry service. Everything you need to have a great vacation!  Websites such as Hotels or TripAdvisor are awesome for finding out this type of information.

 

Noise Cancelling Headphones

A pair of good noise cancelling headphones can really make a difference when traveling with a young child. You can use them when your child is napping on the plane or train.  Make sure that you choose a pair that fits. 

 

Early to Bed, Early to Rise

When on vacation with a small child, it is very important that they go to bed early.  Making sure they are rested for the next day’s activities is important. Besides, if they go to bed early you get a little time to yourself. Unwinding, relaxing, and planning out the schedule for the next day.

 

Stay As Close the Attractions as Possible

When booking a hotel, do your best to choose a hotel that is as close as possible to the attractions. These hotels do tend to be pricier.  Also, you save a lot of time and you can be in and out of things such as museums, parks, and other sites that you can walk to. 

 

 


About the Author

Cristina Costea

Cristina is the Community Manager of BookSinglesHolidays.com, a themed travel website offering a vast collection of singles vacations & solo holidays. She is also a passionate traveler, cat aficionado and novice writer.

           

Second Honeymoon Travel Tips

tips for a second honeymoon

 

How do you picture your perfect honeymoon?  Do you day dream of walking hand in hand on a tropical beach?  Maybe you’ve always wanted to visit Europe? Or perhaps you both want to pack your hiking books and head to Morocco?  To help couples worldwide, we at WeLoveHoneyMoons.com have put together 8 essential tips to help you plan a first or second honeymoon that you and your loved one will reminisce about for years!

Set a Budget

Every project needs a budget.  And your honeymoon planning isn’t an exception.  You can use a honeymoon-budget sheet to help you keep track. Start with a general budget and then drill down by categories.  If you prefer apps, use Expensify to keep track.

There’s no reason to cut corners on your honeymoon planning. After all, there are ways to honeymoon for less. This includes staying closer to home or choosing an affordable honeymoon package.  You can also save by booking your honeymoon online or by using your miles to get a cheaper flight. On top of that, you can try alternative means of transportation.
If you are renewing your wedding vows, be creative and set-up  a “Travel Fund”.  Set a travel date and start looking for more ways to save.  You can sell things or take on a few odd jobs to help raise the extra funds.
The best part is that you don’t have to lower the expectations. There are ways you can still have an amazing time and not spend a fortune or go in debt!

Look For the Most Suitable Destination

Easter Island or the Maldives sound like amazing destinations for a honeymoon on the island. However, do you know how far these places are from where you live?

Here is some information:
• it takes 17 hours to fly from New York to Easter Island
• it takes 21 hours to fly from Los Angeles to the Maldives
If you only have less than a week to spend on your honeymoon, you don’t want to be on a plane for almost two days.  A better idea is to look for destinations closer to home. If you live in the US, a honeymoon in the Caribbean can be a great choice.  Just remember, you don’t want to be on a tropical island during the hurricane season.
When picking a honeymoon location, think about the weather. While being stuck inside with your spouse can be exciting, pick a place where there are interesting seasonal things to do when you’re ready to get out and about.
If you choose an early summer month, Southern Europe is a good idea. You can decide to go on a honeymoon destination in Italy or maybe choose a honeymoon package in Greece. When budget is a concern, consider a less popular time to travel.  Europe in the summer is expensive, but not in the winter. The Caribbean is always cheapest in August -September.  Find a destination to match your budget rather than the other way around.

 

airbus-380-1449458-639x451

 

Choose a Good Airline

Flying business class for your honeymoon may sound good, but it can be a very expensive affair.  Save money either by using miles to upgrade or by simply booking economy and choosing seats with extra leg room.  Don’t be afraid to choose a low-cost airline. They have new fleet and are affordable.  Consider the leg room when choosing your seats.

Book In Advance

Book your honeymoon package six to eight months prior to the event! This window gives you a good chance to find affordable airfare and availability in the resort of your choice. If you want to stay at a certain resort or do something specialized, you may want to push that booking date back to a year if possible.  Sign up for fare alerts for the flights you are interested in.

Avoid making changes to the airfare or accommodation after you book. Changing the date on your plane ticket or accommodations could lead to paying penalties.   
 
Buy Travel Insurance
This is something that many people tend to overlook, but make sure you have travel insurance. Why? Because the right kind of insurance can protect you against a lot of things: from delayed flight to lost luggage or stolen goods.  And not to mention that it can save you a lot of grief during emergency situations or medical issues.   Lisa, blogger at Playa del Carmen agrees: “If any time should be stress-free, it is your honeymoon! It is worth the peace of mind.” Make sure the insurance you choose covers the activities you plan to enjoy (eg. scuba diving).

vacation packing tips for women

 

Travel Light

You really don’t need to pack half of your closet.  However, you don’t want to go to a fancy restaurant and not have anything for the occasion, either. Pack smart and think layers.  For a honeymoon on the beach, consider packing a lightweight dress and a pareo or cardigan for the evenings.  You may want to leave your high heels at home if you plan to visit Europe, with its old, cobblestone cities. Also, it’s worthwhile to consider packing that ultra-light waterproof jacket no matter where you’re headed.

The less stuff you carry with you, the more flexibility of movement you’ll be able to enjoy. Also, get a bag with wheels and don’t strain your body! Your energy should all go towards enjoying your trip with your loved one.  Roll your clothes to maximize the space in your carry on.

Share Your Travel Itinerary 

You should share your travel itinerary with at least a person you trust.  Things do happen and it might be useful and even life-saving if your loved ones know how to find you when necessary.

Relax and Enjoy Your Honeymoon

Make sure you plan for a balanced mix of activities and down time. That means allowing yourself to enjoy it. You’ll get back to the real world eventually – but you only get one honeymoon. Relish it.

About the Author – Cris Puscas is a contributing writer at WeLoveHoneymoons.com the best place to book memorable honeymoon travel packages. She is a hopeless romantic, equally passionate about discovering new places to explore and writing about them.

 

 

6 Second Honeymoon Destinations

 

travel, caribbean destinations, honeymoon

 

Just the mention of the word ‘Honeymoon’ and one thinks of romance. First, a honeymoon is such a beautiful experience. So, why have it just one! Don’t stop at your first honeymoon, take a second, third or fourth.  Every couple deserves a honeymoon.  And one that doesn’t break the bank. Furthermore, it’s nice to get away from the normal routine of every day life.  Especially, when you can spend some time alone with your partner. Many couples struggle to find alone time.  Especially, as kids come into your life and responsibilities multiply. Because alone time strengthens and cements the relationship, a honeymoon should be important to every couple.  

Furthermore, taking a second honeymoon can be accomplished economically. The trick is to plan in advance.  Also, choose a destination that offers the excitement you are looking for.  Most importantly, choose one within your set budget. Here’s our pick of Top 6 Honeymoon Destinations That Are Exotic Yet Inexpensive:

SIKKIM

Sikkim, is a popular honeymoon destination in India. It is a place that offers a beautiful experience for travelers. The rich culture and natural beauty adds a magical and an exotic experience to the trip. Couples can enjoy the peace and serenity.  Additionally, they can delve into the history and mouth watering local cuisine. Also, they can spend a few days just soaking up the multiple facets of Sikkim.

 THAILAND

Next, Thailand is a beautiful beach honeymoon destination. It should come as no surprise that it’s always buzzing. Thailand has it all. If your idea of the perfect holiday is lying on the beach, shopping or just plain relaxing, you can find in Thailand. It’s budget friendly.  It also offers a multiple choice of accommodations and entertainment. 

Did you know that Thailand offers destinations with pristine waters and natural beauty? You can choose between being secluded by surrounding yourself with water or staying in the city. These pros make it an amazing honeymoon destination. You can try your hand at water sports and adventures and/or gorge on delectable seafood and local cuisine.

 KERALA

Kerala in India is well known for its backwater and massage experience. Combine the two and you have the perfect honeymoon destination! Furthermore, imagine soaking up the sun while nestled in a houseboat. Or sipping on sweet and pure coconut water. A professional masseuse will help you unwind by soothing stressed joints and limbs.  Isn’t the thought is divine!  You can also indulge in some guilty food pleasures.  Furthermore, you can marvel at the natural beauty.  If you’re feeling adventurous, visit some of the beautiful temples.

 BUDAPEST

Next, Budapest is a European delight! It is small, but oh-so-beautiful! The chain bridge across the river, the ruins, the castle and shops are filled with energy. Together they offer an experience that will leave you asking for more! Also, the thermal spas are a popular getaway for the locals and a must for every traveler in Budapest. You can choose from a variety of hotels, B&B’s, and motels. It’s a beautiful mix of peace and energy!

 PORTO

Last, if you are looking for a Europe holiday, Porto city in Portugal is the perfect place. It’s full of culture and a marvelous experience for  travelers. Next, the rich history, warm people, and great food adds to the experience. Lets not leave out the serene natural beauty Also, you can revel in the flourishing vineyards and exotic wine flavors. So, expect to be floored by the richness of culture and activity.  Yet, you can also spend time relaxing and just be lazy!

Finally, you have our picks for the 6 Second Honeymoon Destinations. So, start planning an adventure full of love, romance and rejuvenation! 

I hope that you found our honeymoon destinations beneficial. You may also like Second Honeymoon Travel Tips.

About the Author: Tejaswi Bhagavatula

An avid biker, published author and a regular blogger who has written for sites like Huffington Post, Life Hack, Better India, Times Network and more.

 

18 Places To Travel Off Season

vacation destination tips


I love to find travel bargains.  Off season travel gets you the most bang for your travel buck.  So, I start planning my summer vacation off season.  Planning is essential. Deciding where I want to go, and then coming up with a ball park figure on how much it’s going to cost are essential in my planning.  As a result, I look for places that have great deals off season.  Enduring crowds is bearable, but my preference is for the crowds to be small and the prices reasonable when I travel.

So, I put together a list of 18 Places To Travel Off Season and when the best deals are offered:

New York in January – It’s the city that never sleeps. You can find great shopping, Broadway shows, sight-seeing, and dining in so many places.  For example, Harlem, Manhattan, China Town, Soho and the list goes on.

Montreal in February – Brush up on your French.  Because Montreal is considered to be cosmopolitan and is the second largest French speaking city in the world.  Also, it is second only to Paris.  Montreal is known for its museums, shopping and great food.

Italy in March – Rome, Sicily, Naples, Venice, and Milan are places that I wish to see.  Milan is famous for it’s designer shops and Leonardo da Vinci’s painting, The Last Supper.  Also, there’s the canals in Venice.  Italians are known for great pizza and pasta too. 

Rio de Janeiro in March –  Rio is known for it’s world famous Carnival, beautiful beaches, and the infamous Sugar Loaf Mountain. 

Rocky Mountains in April –  You can enjoy the Rocky Mountains from British Columbia and Alberta in Canada.  This includes Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico in the U.S.  The mountains are approximately 3,00o miles from Canada to the U.S. Cross country skiing and snowshoeing are popular in April. 

Australia in May – If you like wildlife, Kangaroo Island is the place to go.  Additionally, you can meet sea lions on the beach, kangaroos, koalas, penguins and more on the beach.  Furthermore, you can also snorkel, dive or swim on one of the beaches. While you’re there, head to the Australian Alps and spend your time hiking.

Lake Tahoe in May –  Either North or South Lake Tahoe will suffice.  The choice is yours. Lake Tahoe borders the Sierra Nevada, state borders of California and Nevada. Tahoe South is great for skiing, boating, bike trails, and bar hopping.  Tahoe North is great for biking, hiking and golf.  Either way you will enjoy this freshwater lake surrounded by beautiful mountains and alpine trees.  Lake Tahoe is the 6th largest lake in the United Sates.  Great family vacation spot.
 
Dallas in June – If you’re a Cowboys fan, this is a perfect city to visit.  And there’s plenty of beef and history in Dallas too.  To name a few, Sixth Floor Museum and Southfork Ranch, which is about 25 miles north of Dallas. 

Thailand in June Thailand is located in Southeast Asia’s Indochina peninsula. Known for its tropical beaches, royal palaces, ancient ruins and displays of Buddha.  Add Asia to your vacation list.

Palm Beach in July – Great beaches, shopping on Worth Avenue and a tour of celebrity homes.  Howard Stern, Tiger Woods, Serena & Venus Williams, and Rush Limbaugh are a few celebrities living in the Palm Beach area.

Caribbean in July – Choose from the Bahamas, Dominican Republic, St. Thomas or Aruba to name a few. Turquoise water, white sandy beaches snorkeling, diving and great food for reason enough to vacation in the Caribbean.  

Las Vegas in August –  What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.  There’s plenty to do in Nevada’s Mojave Desert. Gambling on the Las Vegas strip, catch one of your favorite celebrity’s show, visit Hoover Dam, the Grand Canyon or the Colorado River.

New Orleans in August –  Looking for a diverse city with plenty of French, African, and American cultures?  Head to New Orleans.  It is located on  the Mississippi River and near the Gulf of Mexico.  It provides plenty of action around the clock.  Likewise, if you like it hot, there’s plenty of spicy food to be found there as well.

Martha’s Vineyard in September Martha’s Vineyard is only accessible by boat or air. Namely, vacationers head to Martha’s Vineyard for its beaches, lighthouses,  farmland, and celebrity sightings.

Vancouver in October Known for whale watching, Grouse Mountain, ziplines, Capilano Canyon  and horse dawn carriages.

Riveria Maya in November – Riviera Maya extends along the Caribbean coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula from Puerto Morelos to the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve.  Notably, its beautiful white beaches and the bluest water that you can imagine is a major attraction too.

Napa Valley in December –  San Francisco has hundreds of vineyards.  Take a ride on the infamous Napa Valley Wine Train.  In fact, it’s actually a restaurant in vintage Pullman railcars with views of the vineyards.

Finally, select your dream destination and start planning your next vacation today.  Most importantly, you can save hundreds, possibly thousands of dollars traveling off season.  Pack light and enjoy your time relaxing and enjoying the sights.  What’s your dream vacation destinations?   

 

 

Why You Should Visit Amish Country – The Home and Farm

 

I spent the week-end in Lancaster, PA recharging my battery and admiring the Amish.  Regardless of the time span between my visits, I always find it to be peaceful. First, who can’t use a little peace in their life, right. We may recharge our batteries and seek peace in different ways, but we all need to stop and take action at some point.
Next, watching the Amish and their way of life causes me to pause. The fields of corn, horse and buggies, roadside produce stands, handmade quilts and the slow pace take me to a peaceful and simple way of living. They are gentle people with a deep belief in God and family above all else. Furthermore, they have a deep sense of community and helping their neighbor without the distraction of modern technology. Most importantly, they are self-sufficient, independent, and they take care of each other. They pay taxes, but no welfare or social security benefits for their community. They have no desire to integrate into our society, their lifestyle is a choice.  Plain and simple is their motto and they live it.
During my visits, I’ve taken tons of pictures and I thought I would share some of them with you in a two part post on the Amish and their lifestyle. This is Part I  – The Amish Home and Farm.  Before the Amish Home and Farm became a tourist attraction, Amish and Mennonites families lived in this house for many years.

 

 
Because most Amish families are large, most have 7 or more children, Amish homes are usually quite large.  When parents get older they remain at the home.  They usually stay in another home on the property called a Dawdi Haus.   The second home can also be used as a guest house.  The Amish take care of each other life.  Rarely is an Amish person put into a nursing home or sent elsewhere to live.
Furthermore, the Amish are a deeply religious community.  However, they don’t attend churches as we know it. For example, families take turns hosting church service at their homes. The picture above shows an Amish living room that has the furniture removed.  The host family removes the furniture and replaces it with benches.  Or, benches are set-up barn or buggy house on the property.
Benches are placed on both sides of the room. Women sit on one side and men on the other.  So, benches are placed on both sides of the room.  German is the official language of the service.  After the service, lunch is served.   Everyone socializes while the children play.  Sunday is the day of worship, so only the basic chores are done at home.  Therefore, businesses are closed. Visiting neighbors is high on the list for the Amish on Sundays.
 
There is no divorce in the Amish community.   The women take care of the home, husband, children and kitchen gardens.  The men bring home the money, work the fields and take care of the farm animals.  There are some Amish men and women who work outside the home or farm.  They own businesses such as making furniture, storage sheds and yard furniture.  Additionally, they also work as waitresses, in factories or other jobs with the English, non-Amish. I own 2 storage sheds built by the Amish.  Their work is superior.
Those who work on the farm are ready to go at sun up and stop working at sun down.  As a result, they eat a hearty breakfast before heading out to the fields.  Normally, they return around noon for lunch and again for dinner. They usually start their day at 5:30 am and are in bed by 8:00 or 9:00 pm.
The above picture is a typical Amish kitchen. Appliances are powered by propane gas.  Lights, faucets, sewing and washing machines, as well as blenders and mixers are powered by compressed air. As in most homes, the man sits at the head of the table and his wife to the right of him. The oldest child sits on the opposite end of the father. There are no pictures of family or children hanging on the walls, Amish do not take pictures. They do hang quilted wall hangings, a framed list of their children and their birthdays, framed puzzles etc.
 
Amish serve hearty meals.  They typically preserve hundreds of jars of vegetables, fruits and meat during the canning season to feed a family of 9 or more during the winter months. They are masters at baking bread, pies, and cakes.  Fortunately, they are able to grow their own fruit for jams, jellies, pies and cobblers as well as vegetables in their kitchen gardens. Their gardens and flower beds are meticulous. You won’t find a weed in them. The children start in the morning pulling weeds to ensure that nothing distracts from mom’s garden.  They butcher or use Amish butchering shops for their meat. Self-sufficiency and being experts at it is the name of the game.  And the Amish know how to play. They are astute at making things happen.
Amish women are experts at sewing and quilting.  They do the sewing for the entire family.  Furthermore, they make their own dresses and aprons, pants and shirts for their husbands and all of the children’s clothing.  Additionally, they also make quilts, diapers for infants and a host of other items. Most prefer the old Singer treadle sewing machines shown above.
They do shop at local stores such as Wal-mart for plates, glasses, and other home goods as well as undergarments, socks, hosiery, Birdseye diapers/pampers etc. Most stores provide hitching posts for their horse and buggies while they shop.
 
 
This is the typical wardrobe for Amish girls.  Dresses are muted colors and calf length.  Muted colors include: pink, green, purple, blue, brown and black.  However, no prints are allowed.  Prayer coverings are black or white. And are pinned onto the solid colored dresses.  Hook and eye closures can be used, but no buttons.  Prayer caps are white and heart shaped. Shoes are black.  I have seen the Lancaster Amish wear sandals, Crocs, sneakers or go barefoot.
 
Girls wear a white prayer cap around age 9.  A black bonnet can be worn over the prayer cap.  In the winter, a black cloak is worn.  The black bonnets may be worn without the cloak, but the black cloak can’t be worn without the black bonnet.  Also, Amish women do not cut their hair.  Amish women are not allowed to wear prints or jewelry, not even a wedding band.
 



This is a picture of a nursery or small child’s bedroom in the Amish home.  They have the usual furniture that you would find in a nursery: a crib, rocker, changing table and dresser.  What I didn’t see was a bottle warmers, mobile or  baby monitors.

 

I bet this changing table is worth a mint.  It was heavy and study.  The hardwood floors are the wide planks and absolutely beautiful.  Amish women take their ability to keep house seriously.  As a result, their homes are spotless.

 

This is the typical Amish boy’s room. The boys wear black pants that hit about the ankle.  Their shirts are muted colors with snaps and hook and eyes.  The pants are worn with suspenders, but they have no zipper.  Instead, hook and eyes are used.  On Sundays, the boys and men wear black pants, white shirts, black vests or jackets.  Married men grow beards without a mustache.

 

This is the typical dress of a married Amish woman.  Her aprons are black instead of white.  Her husband’s clothing, is the same as the boys.
Another fact is, Amish women usually give birth at home and are assisted by a mid-wife.  However, they can use a birthing center or hospital if they desire.  

 

 

It looks like an older son is replacing posts on the farm.  Also, he has several of his younger siblings on the wagon.  He made sure everything was in place after making each turn.  Amish boys work the fields with their fathers at an early age.  Women and girls also help if needed.  Usually, Belgian horses or mules pull the equipment.

 

Corn fields are abundant in Lancaster.  It is harvested in stored in the farm silo to feed the farm animals.  This young man above is handling a team of 6 horses.  The Amish are masters of their domain.   The women are subordinate, but equal partners in their marriage.  Women are involved in the daily operation of making the farm efficient and productive.  Many can be seen hand picking various vegetables or helping with the harvest.
Amazingly, the Amish still use wringer washers to do laundry.  Hanging clothes outside on a clothesline is still a part of their chores.  Once dry, they iron the clothes.
Most of all, Lancaster is a combination of things. For example, traffic, shopping malls, horse and buggies and endless rows of corn and other vegetables.  It’s a place where you can lose yourself in the simplicity of a culture.  The beauty of the farm houses and acres of rolling land capture your deepest senses.  Furthermore, it draws you into a life that can only be admired by those who are willing to put down their smart phones and laptops.  I admire their ability to persevere in the mist of modern technology.  Also, their calming affect takes me back to the days of running through the cool grass bare foot.  Eating homemade ice cream or drinking ice cold water from the hand pump down the lane when I visited my grandparents.  Oh, how I yearn for those days now.
Last, if you have an Amish community nearby and you haven’t visited, you should.  We can all learn from the Amish, and it’s a great family activity.  Additionally, you may also like:  Quilts, Transportation and Great Food.  
 
 

Traveling Solo As A Female

 

females traveling solo, women traveling solo, travel tips for females


Traveling solo as a female can be invigorating. I’ve traveled solo many times for business and several times on a much needed vacation. I’ve lost track of the number of times that 
I’ve been asked throughout my journeys, “Are you going alone?” “Don’t you have a friend to go with you?” or “You aren’t afraid to travel by yourself, I could never do that.” Lets not forget this one, “Do you get lonely?”  

I remember the first time I traveled alone for vacation. I was married and at the time my daughter was five years old. I decided to head to Los Angeles to visit my sister and her family. It was the first time that my daughter and I had flown. My husband made sure we got on the plane without issues, and the flight to Los Angeles was smooth. The next task was to get our luggage and find my sister. This too went without incident. I juggled luggage and a 5 year old through a international airport.  We had a great time in Los Angles and the surrounding areas. We made our way back to Washington-Dulles, and it was at that point I was bitten by the travel bug. 

I started making my way around the country for my job shortly thereafter. Getting in and out of airports became second nature to me as well as either renting cars and driving in strange cities or hailing taxis to get from point A to B. When you have a job that requires you to travel, your company doesn’t pay for another person to accompany you so you don’t have to go alone. You put on your big girl pants and you conduct business. 

               Vacationing in Savannah, GA


I’m no longer married, but I still love to do personal travel. Yes I have friends that I could travel with, but trying to coordinate a week’s vacation with a friend or group of people can be taxing. I’ve been through that experience before, and it was by far worst than anything I’ve encountered while traveling solo.  I made a vow to never go there again. I’m not one to sit around and wait for another person to get in a position financially to vacation or find the time for a vacation. Most importantly, because a person is alone doesn’t mean they are lonely. There’s a difference.  

The people that I have met along the way have been insightful and have impacted my life immensely. On my last trip I met a lady at the airport that I have now become friends with. She called me her angel. I had arrived early at the airport and the United counter had not opened nor did they have a sign posted about their hours. I asked if she knew what time the counter opened. She didn’t, but after a small conversation I could clearly see that she was stressed. She was on her way to the states as well; however, she was an inexperienced traveler. We talked and got to know each other and it turns out that she was from South Africa. In fact not far from where I would like to go on safari.  

                                                                                                  Vacationing In Mexico


It’s funny people see women who travel solo as courageous or brave. Why don’t they see men this way?  Actually I see myself as neither, I’m simply doing what I love to do. As a matter of fact, I believe traveling solo has contributed to making me who I am today. I also believe that every woman should travel solo at least once in their life. Here’s my tips for women traveling alone:  

1. It Forces You To Step Outside Your Comfort Zone – It requires you to face your fears. I was quite nervous the first time I traveled alone, but I pushed through and marched forward. As a result, I became quite confident in my abilities to reach a destination and enjoy myself. It is definitely a self-esteem boost.  

2. It Broadens Your Perspective  – Traveling allows you to see that that there is another part of the world besides the little piece of paradise that you experience daily.  It allows you to interact with  people outside of your circle and allows you to get to know them and a little about their daily life.  I have met wonderful people along my journey, some I have remained in touch with and some I’ve just had a pleasant conversation with. All remain memorable. 

3. It Allows You to Experience Different Cultures and Foods – One of the things that I love most is experiencing different cultures and treating myself to local dishes. Eating out by myself the first time was a little uncomfortable, but I’ve learned to take my Kindle. I noticed one lady who was traveling solo doodling. People find a way to occupy themselves. I’m comfortable enjoying my meals alone and not feeling like an outcast. I’ve had people invite me to join them, but I’ve found I like relaxing and eating alone. I’m not obligated to make small talk and can focus on reading or getting on line and retrieving emails etc. 

4. It Teaches You To Think About Your Safety – Safety should be a major concern when traveling solo. It forces you to listen to your intuition and to become aware of your surroundings. I always do my homework before traveling. I educate myself on taxi fares so I will have some idea of what I should be buying. If I will be driving, I make sure I arrive during the day so I can reach my destination before night fall. I make it a habit of checking my surroundings, and never venture too far my hotel at night. I always park under lights and always keep my doors locked when driving or in my hotel room. They make peep holes for a reason, I use it before opening the door for room service, maintenance etc.  

5. You Return Feeling Like You Can Conquer The World – Traveling solo makes you stronger as a person. It enhances your leadership, planning and organizational skills. It allows you to get in touch with what you like and do they things you want to do. You get to plan and set your own schedule and not feel obligated to anyone. It’s freeing and totally invigorating!   

We’ve come a long way baby. We have women who are executives in corporations or own their own businesses and they travel constantly. It seems that traveling for business is acceptable, but there’s still a stigma for a woman traveling alone for personal reasons. Females traveling solo don’t want to be looked at sideways. We want to feel invigorated, and we’re simply refusing to be stifled in any matter. Let us assert our independence.  


Virginia Beach Neptune Festival

 

Virginia Beach Neptune Festival, summer activities in Virginia Beach, Things To Do In Virginia, beach activities

 

If you’re looking for an event to attend with the family in the Hampton Roads area, check out the Neptune Festival in Virginia Beach, VA. It’s a great way to spend the day with the family, soak up some sun and end the summer with a bang. 

The festival opens September 26, 2015 with a grand parade down Atlantic Avenue and closes October 4, 2015. You can stroll along the boardwalk from 18th – 29th street and find vendors under a sea of white canopies selling their wares and delicious foods. If you decide to attend, find the vendor selling the fish tacos. They are yummy in your tummy. They also sell veggie burgers, gyros, and a variety of other foods that you can expect at a festival.  There are also vendors selling arts, crafts and musicians to entertain you.  
 
What excites me about the festival is the artists who create these amazing sand sculptures. This year’s Neptune Festival will host 32 international sculptors who will flex their muscles and compete for the prize. Sculptors will bring their skills from the USA, Russia, Holland, Canada, Italy, Spain, Bulgaria, Ireland and Singapore. Big money is up for grabs and big sculptures will rise on the sand. The precision that they use to make the sculptures is incredible. 

It is so much fun to walk along the beach and check out these beautiful works of art. To give you a taste of what you will see here’s a few pictures from prior festivals: 

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11 Reasons To Visit St. Thomas

St. Thomas, Virgin Islands

I just finished a great vacation in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands and I’m looking forward to going back next year. At least once a year I head to the Caribbean or some other destination on my bucket list, and return with a positive outlook and so relaxed. I found St. Thomas to be truly breathtaking from the condo that I rented for the week.  I don’t think I could have made a better selection if I had scouted out the place before boarding my flight. 
 
I thought I would share a few of my pictures from my balcony and list 11 Reasons Why You Should Visit: 

My Bucket List

bucket lists
Another year has come and gone.  I started my Bucket List 3 years ago.  Each year I pull it out to see what I’ve accomplished during the year.
I’ve given birth to a beautiful daughter, survived a divorce, given the United Stated government 35 34 32 years of service, raised a daughter as a single mother, sent her through college, watched her get married and give birth to a beautiful son  son and daughter.  I’ve traveled, made new friends and kept old ones, purchased a home, a luxury car and I’ve been able to bank a few dollars. I’ve survived my father’s death and become closer to my siblings. I’ve strengthen my faith in God, I’m giving back to the community, and I can truly say that I’m working to be an example.  


Even at this stage of my life, I still have work to do. I’ve been thinking about retirement in the next 2 3 5 years and what I want to accomplish before and after I reach that milestone. I decided to make a Bucket List. Here are a few items that I’ve added or achieved to date:

  •  Drive Across Country 
  • Travel Abroad – Africa, Italy, Hong Kong, London, Thailand  
  • Cruise To Alaska  (Decided to mark this off my list.  I don’t cruise well). 
  • Open a Brick and Mortar for Sugar Kisses Boutique  (Decided to mark this off my list.  Not willing to work this hard anymore). 
  • Plant A Vegetable Garden 
  • Learn A Second Language – Spanish  
  • Skydive  (Decided to mark this off my list.  I’m not willing to take this risk)
  • Attend the Kentucky Derby 
  • Eat Lobsters In Maine 
  • Visit Martha’s Vineyard 
  • See the fall foliage in the New Hampshire area 
  • Spend a week in New York shopping and seeing a Broadway show 
  • Go horseback riding on the beach
  • Add a sunroom to my hone
  • Travel to Hawaii, Barbados, Dominican Republic, Jamacia, Virgin Islands
  • Plant flower beds along my new fence line
  • Build a greenhouse

 I’ll be adding to my list as I contemplate the next phase of my list. Have you created a Bucket List? Let us know what’s on yours.  If you haven’t created a list, name a few things that you would add to yours.