Everyone always says I’m so stressed! I need a break!! Even before a vacation, between trying to get caught up with work in the office, getting that last-minute manicure, packing your bags, making sure that the pets have a pet sitter, the kids are ready, and the house is cleaned up and ready - wow! No wonder you are ready for two or three days to just rest up! I wanted to share a few quick tips to bring the calm and help you bring a bit of peace in everyday life.
Make a list and check it twice - no not like Santa, but make a list and then go back and label what has to be done today, then what can wait till tomorrow, the next day, and so on. Breaking down all of the big tasks will help.
When scheduling your time, make sure that you put in the time for yourself. Yes, you need to put yourself at the top. It’s so much easier said than done. I have to admit that I’m as guilty of this as everyone else. However, you need to - it will help you clear your mind and help you keep on track. I remember as a child my Mom saying that when we all left the house for the day she would sit at home and just sit and listen to the silence for about 15 minutes. Now in my teenage days when I thought I was so smart, I couldn’t understand what she meant. As I’m a bit older and wiser, I totally get what she meant. However, now I take that 15 to 20 minutes a day to meditate. It is so helpful to stop and clear my mind. I get a sense of calm, fresh ideas, and get so much more done than if I just keep pushing along. If you don’t meditate, I challenge you to just sit down in your house and turn off the TV turn on some quiet music and just relax. It is so refreshing to tune out for 15 minutes and come back rejuvenated.
Another tip that I’ve come to love is changing position while working. It gets so easy to sit in front of the desk and stare at the computer screen. Or sit in front of phone or tablet and stare at that screen. It’s good to get up at least every hour. I know that I now have a FitBit so that it buzzes on my wrist every 50 minutes so I know - “Hey get up get some movement in.” It really does make a difference in my mood.
Self-care is something that is so important. All of us are always taking care of someone else, tasks, duties, and the list goes on and on. Don’t forget to take care of yourself as well. Not just the outside, but most importantly the inside. Happy New Year!
Paper or digital? That’s today’s question. Well, for your boarding pass it is. Most airlines offer an app that you can load on your smartphone and get your boarding pass on. But should you? Why not get a paper boarding pass? Well, there are some security reasons to keep the boarding pass on your smartphone\smart device.
All boarding passes have a scanner bar code - that’s how they scan you in the plane. But did you realize that there is a lot of information that is associated with that bar code? Did you realize that if you are a frequent flyer account holder that the barcode can hold your email address, phone number, and more?
So why should you care? Well, did you know that a hacker can get a barcode scanner and get all of your information? Not only can they get that information, but they can also get other information as well. When you sign up for your frequent flyer account, there are security questions that you are asked. How many accounts do you have this answer?
Mother’s Maiden Name? Or What city were you born in? Think about it, how easy is it to get that information and access even more of your accounts.
So, what are some ways to keep yourself safe if you do have a paper boarding pass? NEVER EVER leave them on the plane. You know, how many times have you flown and seen an old boarding pass in the pocket in the seat in front of you, or on the floor at the airport? You should always take the boarding pass as securely as you do your passport or your driver’s license. Once you get home, shred your boarding pass. This way no one can get it.
For those of you, who like me love social media - DO NOT TAKE A PICTURE OF YOUR BOARDING PASS! Yes, you can take a picture of you, but not the boarding pass. You never know who will see your social media post and they can scan the bar code and get all of your information. If someone wants to hack you they could actually go in and change your flights or steal your information.
It’s always safest to have it on your smartphone, but if you do have paper, always remember that your boarding pass is as important as your passport. And when you are done with it, shred it for your own safety.
Here’s a question that I get asked, “My kids are older - should we take them to Disney?”. Or “I’ve never been to Hawaii, and I’m not sure if my kids are old enough yet to appreciate it if I take them.”. These are normal questions that I get asked, I’m not sure if the price of the vacation is worth the investment. The biggest questions are 1:) Will they remember it? 2:) Are they going to appreciate and enjoy it? 3:) Maybe I’ll wait till later or until they are older?
I wanted to tell you from the experiences that I’ve had and from clients that have returned have told me.
1:) Will they remember it?
Everyone wants to have that memorable family vacation. Disney is the biggest one that everyone thinks of. With our oldest, we took him three times once to Disney World when he was 4 and then to Disney Land when he was 5. And again when he was about 8 and his brothers were 4. Now, do they remember every last detail? No, however, are they the only people in the family? No, my husband and I are. And last I checked we paid for the vacation so we count too. I took tons of pictures and they still look at the pictures. We do talk about it and they enjoyed it. My husband and I cherish the memories and wouldn’t exchange them for anything. Now I have a question for you, do you remember every moment of every vacation that you took as a child? I know that I don’t but my Mom does, and when my father was alive he did as well. Well, at least more than I do. And I’ll be completely honest, when my father passed away, we enjoyed stories of our family vacations during our time of sorrow. What I remembered was completely different than what my sisters and my mom remembered. And that’s what makes them special - everyone has their own memories.
2:) Are they going to appreciate and enjoy it?
Most kids will appreciate it - and enjoy it, if not today in the future. Let’s face it all teenagers and tweens are not the happiest at all times. So, even though you may think that they might not enjoy it they will appreciate it in the end. If it is something that they are very afraid of you may want to change your plans. For example, my oldest was NOT going to go on a cruise, he had no intentions of being on a ship. We tried everything, and since he didn’t want to attend and the rest of the family did, we let him have a pass. I’ll be honest it was weird being a family of four, and I kept looking for him the whole week. However, this next year we are taking an all-inclusive vacation. Now, he’s not too thrilled about spending a week with the family away from his friends, but life will go on and he will be with us. And he will be spending time at the teens club away from us and his brothers but that is okay too. I know that I raised an independent young man, but in the end, we will have dinner as a family and do activities as a family and create family memories.
3:) Maybe I’ll wait till I get older or until they get older.
This is another one that I’ve heard, and I had a client that said this as well. I’m going to hold off on vacation until my daughter is in high school. Then when her daughter entered high school she was in traveling sports and her vacations were all about the sports games. Next came college, and college sports. Then her daughter became engaged and graduated. They finally took a vacation just the two of them, like they did when her daughter was little. Now her daughter is graduated, married, and starting her own family. It’s kinda like the song “Cats in the Cradle”. Sometimes you just have to make the time, the kids grow up before you know it.
Another reason not to hold off is you never know what life holds in store for you. My parents always wanted to take that Alaskan Cruise. My Dad had lung cancer, and unfortunately, he was too sick and couldn’t go. After he passed my Mom ended up going with my sister. Not that she didn’t enjoy going with my sister, but I know how much she and my Dad had made plans to do that vacation.
Vacations can seem like an investment. For me, it’s something that I cherish. You see, I love to travel, that’s a gift that my parents gave me. I’m hoping that I passed that on to my boys. It’s not always just going somewhere to see something, it’s the journey of getting there with the people that you are with.
Jet lag, something that everyone talks about when you switch time zones and your body isn’t catching up as quickly as you are traveling. Sometimes you are just tired, or you can have headaches or nausea. Here are a few tips to help you with Jet lag:
Before your vacation adjust your daily schedule. A few days before the trip if you are traveling east adjust your sleep schedule move your sleep and wake times earlier. If you are traveling west move your sleep schedule later. This won’t completely get rid of it but it will help you get a leg up.
When you get to the airport there are other things that you can do including changing the time to your destination time on your watch. Make sure that you are always hydrated when traveling, this will help stop the symptoms of jet lag. If you are traveling west you may want to consider taking a couple of caffeinated drinks to help you stay up later. If you are going east - you may want to think about it if it will keep you up too late. And watch how many alcoholic drinks you have on the plane as alcohol dehydrates the body.
I am a natural sleeper on the plane, but if you are not, you may want to consider bringing a travel pillow, earplugs, or earbuds and soft music to lull you to sleep.
While on vacation the first day make sure you plan a full day on the first day and stay up later at least till 10 pm so that you are nice and tired out to get a good night’s sleep. Make sure that you are eating more protein-rich foods to give you energy without the sugar crash.
Did you know that there are apps to help you reduce the jetlag symptoms? Try apps like Timeshifter which tailors its recommendations based on your age, gender, sleep patterns, and your travel itinerary.
If you are someone who has exercise in their daily routine, keep that up while on vacation, that can help you keep the jetlag away.
Once you are home - still stay hydrated, keep up on a morning exercise routine. A morning workout will help get your blood flow going and give you a natural jolt of energy. If you need that nap, take it. It usually does take a couple of days to catch back up. Plus now that you are home, and there isn’t anything new to see, it’s completely natural to feel the side effects of jetlag.
Bermuda has so many fun events during the Christmas season. There are so many things to see and do. Bermudians love to celebrate the holiday season!
The end of November St. George has a Boat Parade where dozens of boats are all decorated with their bright holiday lights and parade around St. George’s Harbour to start off the holiday season.
Then the begining of December the Bermudians welcome Jolly Old St. Nick - with of course another parade. They have majorettes, Christmas themed floats and dancing Gombey troupes that go down the streets of Hamilton to make way before the Jolly Old St Nick makes his appearance. But wait, what are Gombey troupes? They are very much a Bermudian tradition that comes from a blend of the African, Native American, Caribbean and British cultures that date back to the early 1800s. The costumes are very colorful and have mirrors, which is supose to ward off evil spirits.
And what would a holiday be without a tree-lighting ceremony? The Royal Dockyard has an annual tree lighting ceremony at the beginning of December. On the west end of the island at Destination Dockyard, on Sunday’s in December is there a holiday tradition that is called Sundays at the Frog, and is a street fair with all of the fun of the holidays with music, Mistletoe Market, tree light ceremony, and a Christmas Showcase.
If you decide the visit Bermuda during the beginning of December, you need to see the Bermuda National Trust Walkabout. The Town of St. George has their signature holiday event, several homes in the UNESCO World Heritage Site invite the public into their homes. What’s so unique is that you can see their homes completely decorated with all of their bountiful lights and decor. Plus see historical re-enactors roam the candlelit streets while you can hear classic carols in the air.
And in the Dockyard on the west end, you can go to Santa’s Workshop as well, or go hear a wonderful concert of carols with a backdrop of a choreographic dolphin display at Dolphin Quest’s annual Carols with the Dolphins.
On Christmas Eve, you can attend a traditional Christmas Eve candlelit service at St. Peter’s Church in St. George’s on the East end of the island. This church is the oldest Anglican Church in the Western Hemisphere and celebrates its traditional mass at 9 pm with both songs and scripture.
Then on Christmas Day, go to Elbow Beach, in the Paget’s Parish area, to celebrate Christmas Morning with several visitors and locals alike to take in the Christmas Sunrise with champaign, pink sand, and a dip in the ocean.
Then on New Year’s Eve, stay for the party. Now unlike New York, where you wait in the cold for the Ball to drop, in Bermuda you wait in the warm in St. George, for the Onion to drop! Yes, you read that correctly, the Onion to drop! As the onion is very popular in Bermuda since it is an crop for Bermudians to grow, it has become a staple and a symbol for them.
As you can see Bermuda is a wonderful, warm and very British island. They have many similarities to ours as far as customs go and would be a wonderful place to celebrate the holidays as a family.
It is not too late for you to plan your holiday travel. If you are interested in planning holiday travel, just let me know and I would be happy to be of service in helping you.
Barbados is such a beautiful island with its picturesque beaches and its amazing caves and the cool turtles that you can swim with. The island is a great place to celebrate the holidays as well.
The people of Barbados love to decorate with many lights. Both residents and businesses decorate the streets with lights. In fact, in Bridgetown, the capital city of Barbados, is lit up in red and green and the roundabouts in the city have different Christmas themes. This “Christmas drive” to see the lights is a tradition for many people and something to see if you are there for the holiday season.
And what are the holidays without food? While in Barbados for the holidays, you have to try their baked ham, They stud a curred with cloves and while the ham is baking they baste with it a pineapple and sorrel glaze. Most like the crackling, or the crispy ham fat.
You will need to try Jug Jug, which is influenced by the Scottish heritage of the Barbados people. It’s made out of green peas, guinea corn flour, herbs, and salt meat.
And to round out the Barbados Christmas table is Great Cake. Great Cake is made with a combination of dried fruits, spices and a fair amount of rum, port wine, and falernum. It can either have icing or plain.
And even though the beaches are the closest things that Barbados gets to a “White Christmas” the local radio stations play a lot of what we consider traditional Christmas music about winter wonderlands, fires and sleigh rides. A particular favorite is Kenny Rodgers and Dolly Parton. However, they also have a bunch of local favorites with a local flare as well such as Maize.
There are Christmas Eve Midnight Masses as well as Chrimas morning masses to attend. On Christmas Day traditionally, families usually spend the day celebrating the holiday with immediate family, however leading up to Christmas there are many house parties to celebrate with family and friends.
Then in Queen’s Park, located in Bridgetown, the capital, on Christmas Day, many Barbadians gather in their finest outfits for a fashion show and to celebrate with friends and loved ones.
Old Year’s Night, or New Year’s Eve, is a fun and great celebration in Barbados. There are many party options to celebrate in the New Year. You can go down to 1st and 2nd Street in Holetown, St. James. They have a ton of restaurants and nightclubs for you to ring in the New Year. There are many clubs that offer a holiday party as well.
Fireworks will bring in the New Year on the beach. Some people go out early, around 8pm to get their spot and watch the fireworks at midnight. Or at some of the resorts, they enjoy them from their parties at the resorts. You can see them from both the south and west coasts on the beaches. Can you imagine a more romantic way to bring in the New Year than a romantic candlelit picnic while waiting for fireworks in paradise?
You can still plan your Christmas or New Year in Barbados. Just give me a call or send me a message and I’ll be more than happy to help you plan the romance and the fun of a Barbados Holiday.
The beautiful waters and beaches of the Turks & Caicos with the tasteful backdrop of the holidays is a beautiful backdrop for a wonderful holiday getaway.
The main season for Turks & Caicos starts off in mid-December and is definitely not a tacky decorating island. Each resort decorates a large Christmas Tree in its roundabout to keep up an understated elegance.
Some of the largest festivals in Turks & Caicos is the Maskanoo Parade. It is held on December 26th, Boxing Day, in Grace Bay. It’s a large street festival and parade. At the street festival that starts in the afternoon and goes into the evening, you will find food and drink, little light-up toys for the kids, cultural stands and music. The parade will have bright colorful costumes and bright masks. This festival celebrates the rituals brought to the islands by the African slaves back in the 1700 and 1800's. This is a safe and fun event for the whole family.
You would definitely want to take in a post-Christmas Beach Party! It’s held on December 28th at Grace Bay. Eat some local food, enjoy some kayak racing, music, and stay for a beautiful sunset.
Since most of the island is Catholic, they celebrate Old Year’s Night. They go to church on New Year’s Eve and then church bells ring to bring good luck for the new year. Then they have fireworks at midnight to ring in the New Year. Most people go to the beach to see the fireworks, it’s safe, and quite the event to see. You will be able to see the night sky light up from end to end of the island.
Turks & Caicos is a wonderful place to go for the holiday season to sit back, relax and enjoy. It’s a laid back island that many of the celebrities like to visit. A place you can get a hotel room, an all-inclusive, or even private villas, where you can hire your own private chef so you don’t have to cook that holiday meal.
It’s not too late to plan your holiday getaway. Contact Tina at Shores and More Travel today to help you find your holiday vacation plans.
Christmas in the Bahamas is a beautiful time of the year. Although you don’t have snow you do have those nice white sand beaches. And Christmas time is Carnival time in the Bahamas. Carnival time is often streaked with very secular colors and sounds. The spirit of Christmas can be found all around the islands of the Bahamas.
First of all, the weather in the Bahamas in the month of December averages around 72 degrees Fahrenheit, with a high temperature of 79 and a low of 64. Usually, there are only 9 days of rain so it’s a wonderful warm relief for those of us in the north. There are many parties held on the beach during the day, especially on New Year’s Eve.
But wait, if you want to get that perfect gift, you will want to make sure to stop at the Nassau Straw Market. During the entire year, they have amazing gifts, but especially at holiday time, you can find many gifts.
When it comes to dinner time at the holidays the Bahamas has some amazing choices for dinner. Garlic pork, various conch dishes, pickled onions, and ham, black cake, imported grapes, and apples make up most of the feasts! To wash it down you can have ginger beer, mauby, sorrel, sweet potato fly (a fermented drink) falernum, rum, shandy, and of course, wine.
The celebrations are wonderful for the whole family. It’s carnival time in the Bahamas. The Ministry of Tourism starts off the season with the annual lighting of the Christmas Tree. And throughout the month there are different holiday concerts and celebrations.
For about a week before Christmas Day, you will see carrollers go to public places in the evening to sing their favorite Christmas carols, like “Salute the Happy Morn”, Christians Awake”, and more. And don’t worry, Santa will be coming on Christmas Eve to deliver gifts to all of the good girls and boys in the Bahamas as well.
On the 26th of December, they have a huge celebration called, Junkanoo. You will hear the sounds of bands playing soca, reggae, roots and other genres of Caribbean music in the streets while thousands of locals and tourists alike dress in colorful costumes come out to dance. In Nassau, they have a huge parade to celebrate the festival. They will be dancing their way down Bay Street and Shirley Street ending in Rawson Square. You will want to walk around and see the costumes. You may even want to stop in the Junkanoo World costume store to catch a close up look at a costume. And since the parade doesn’t start until the wee hours, stop at the start of the parade ahead of time. The dance troop leaders would love to show you their moves. You can also see the Junkanoo parade in the Grand Bahama, Eleuthera, Mini, and Abac.
What a wonderful way to celebrate the holiday season with a fabulous new tradition for your family that includes centuries-old traditions from others.
It’s not too late to book your holiday travel. Contact Tina today to schedule a complimentary consultation to discuss creating your holiday memories with ease.