Do you ever hear yourself say, “One day I’ll take that vacation, but right now I just can’t.” Did you know that 53% of American employees have unused vacation time? Did you know there are 705 million total unused vacation days per year? That’s a lot of vacation time that went unused and wasted away, and more stress on more Americans.
When you have kids you are setting an example to them of what life is all about. And it’s great that you are showing them hard work, but shouldn’t you show them that life is also about fun? You are setting an example. Let’s take a look at most excuses. Money? We can all make more. Time - the clock is ticking the same amount every day. And the kids are growing up so fast, plus you never know what tomorrow may hold. I know so many people who say, “I’m waiting till I retire then I’m going on that trip….” and unfortunately something happens to them and they can’t. You are living today, enjoy the day! Life is a journey, love is a journey - enjoy the journey! We all have commitments, but can you get some help or cut back on some? If you want to take that trip or vacation, I’m sure that family, or a family friend can take the kids to that weekend activity. But I have work commitments. Isn’t it good once once is a while to show the kids that your career doesn’t own your life and that your life is meant to be lived and enjoyed. That’s a great example to show your kids, a great work and life balance. Plus when you get back and you are refreshed you are refreshed and are ready to live more in the moment.
Everyone talks about budgeting for vacations, I have a tip that I’ve found to help me over the years that I would love to share with you. Do you remember the days of the “Christmas Club”? I have a “Vacation Club” account at the bank. It’s a little savings account that is my go to. I put away a little here and a little there and it adds up so quickly! Before I know it I have enough for a vacation or a getaway and it didn’t hurt the pocketbook at all. For the same as a cup of coffee at Starbucks.
Last but not least, come see a professional. You would be amazed with what we can do. We think of your vacation as our vacation. I know when working on a client’s vacation I put as much time and effort into it as if it was my own. Don’t get me wrong you can spend hours and hours on the internet looking at those sites and finding a “great deal” however you are just data to those sites. When you work with a travel professional, you are more than just data, you are a person who has spent time saving, wanting and dreaming about that special vacation just like we have and we realize it and want to make it as special as you do. I just love when someone comes to me and I make their vacation or honeymoon special. My favorite comment is, “All I had to do is pack, you truly did all the work for me.” Because my friends, love is the journey.
So summertime is almost over and so is that once in a lifetime vacation or getaway. There are a few ways that you can remember your once in a lifetime vacation long after you have unpacked your suitcases.
Don’t just leave those pictures stuck in your phone! My new favorite app is FreePrints. You get upto the first 85 free prints per month plus shipping and handling. You can order more prints after that to be shipped with them. They also have Freeprints photobooks as well to keep your memories in a book if you want. Then you can either scrapbook those memories, or put them in an album so you remember your vacation long after you arrive back home.
When I was a child, my Mom had the traveling blanket. She picked up a blanket at a local store and everywhere that we went she would purchase a patch and sew it on, underneath it she would sew the year. That blanket sure had the patches! If you are not a sewer, my next favorite thing is to pick up a postcard from every stop along the way and create an album with it. There are albums that have two spots for 4x6 pictures on the top put in the post card when you get home and on the bottom use an index card to write down your favorite memory from that place along with a date.
Music, if there was music that you loved on your vacation, create a playlist of your favorites. The last time that we went to Jamaica we found a new love of Reggae, and our favorites have become a playlist that we listen to. It takes us right back to Jamaica.
I’m a t-shirt kind of girl. I like to get a t-shirt to remember where I’ve been. We took our honeymoon back in 1999 and I still have my t-shirts from then. Yes, I still wear them it reminds me of that wonderful time. For every romantic vacation and place that I just NEED to remember I get a t-shirt, baseball cap, or even a sweatshirt to remember it. Sometimes it’s wonderful to just put it on and remember those moments, while listening to the music of that vacation.
Long after the vacation is over, you sometimes need to remember the journey. The journey is not always just the place that you arrived at, but the memories that you made along the way. That’s where the music, t-shirts, pictures, postcards and memories all come into play to remember the journey not just the destination. Because at the end of the day, Love is the journey.
It’s always better to be safe than sorry…. Here are some of my top travel safety tips.
1:) Plan your travel with a travel professional who is knowledgeable in the area that you are planning on going to.
2:) Leave a copy of your itinerary along with a copy of your passport with a family or friend who is trustworthy.
3:) Make an extra copy of your passport and id’s incase they are stolen. Leave them in your suitcase.
4:) Once you are at your hotel or resort, lock your passport in your room safe.
5:) If you leave the resort or hotel, only take enough cash for the day. Leave the rest locked in your room safe.
6:) Lock all jewelry in your room safe. Any really expensive pieces, better yet just leave them at home.
7:) If you decide to venture out on your own, check with the hotel concierge for a reputable driver or taxi service.
8:) Once you decide to go out on your own make sure that you let either the front desk or concierge know where you are going, when you are returning and your cell phone number in case of emergencies.
9:) If you wouldn’t do it at home, don’t do it on vacation. In other words, go with your gut! Use your common sense, if it feels sketchy, walk away.
10:) Don’t be afraid to say NO! If you don’t feel comfortable with having someone help you with your bags, or you don’t want that next drink, just say no. Again, go with your inner gut feels, you know best!
And until next time…
Love is the Journey
This past Tuesday I had a Facebook travel tip about using vacation time. I have to admit that when I looked at the startling statistics about how many hours are left “on the table” by Americans each and every year I started to wonder why. And as they say, curiosity got the best of me so I had to research it more.
As Americans we are a country of vacation time hoarders. We love to hoard our vacation time! Our favorite thing to do is to use them around a holiday weekend to extend it. Let’s face it, how many employers now have a policy that you don’t get paid for the holiday if you take a vacation day before or after the holiday? It’s starting to become a trend. I hear it from many of my friends. We end up hoarding our time and then end up losing it because we are too “busy” to use it. According to Project: Time Off Study conducted by the U.S. Travel Association, 206 Million of these days were lost in 2016. That means that these days were not paid out, or rolled over in 2016. Basically, the average employee donated $604 back to their employer. But why didn’t we take them?
FEAR! According to the study most Americans don’t take the time off because they are afraid of the extra work when they come back, or even worse being replaced when they do.
However the study shows just the opposite. That just perhaps the relationship with you and your employer needs a break to “make the heart grow fonder”. Employees with 10 or less days of vacation taken a year are less likely to receive a raise or bonus in the next three years than someone who takes 11 or more days of vacation.
Vacation time helps both the employee and the employer. In the study 82 percent of managers agged that it improved employees morale, health and wellbeing. 81 percent said that it alleviate burnout. Your employer wants and NEEDS you to be focused. 78 percent of manager said that vacation improves that upon return, 70 percent also agreed that the employees’ job commitment improved, Here’s the amazing statistic 64 percent managers feel that it makes employees more willing to put in long work hours when needed.
That last statistic doesn’t surprise me, when you get away you get refocused and reenergized. Your personal life gets back in realignment and you are able to make that commitment to yourself and your relationships. When you are able to do that you are refreshed and ready to go in your professional life.
This past week while walking around the back of my van, I tripped and fell. Normally I would catch myself, however this time I did not. And I ended up “kissing” the pavement. To be truthful I would rather kiss Mark, it’s a lot better, but I did fall on my face. My knees, and my face had road rash. But the worst part was chipping and fracturing my front tooth. Thank goodness Mark was there to help me back up. I was foggy, and had a headache for days. Plus I’ve been in and out of the dentist’s chair. Now why am I bringing this up in a travel article? Well because one of the things Mark said was “At least we aren’t on vacation.” He does have a point what would we do if we were on vacation? It started me thinking about why I get travel protection.
Yes, if I were on one of my vacations out of the country, and my health insurance doesn’t cover me abroad, or if it does, would it be at a lower limit? What if the injury was bad enough, would I have enough money to cover myself for an emergency evacuation?
If it happened before my vacation and my fall would have been bad enough that I couldn’t travel, or what about a sickness, severe weather, or even a terrorist attacks?
There are other ways that it would help me, what if my baggage and passport are stolen? My credit card has some travel benefits built in, but doesn’t have many of the benefits of a third party plan. A third party plan can even help you with a lost prescription, assistance with finding lost baggage, and if your passport is lost while traveling abroad help you find the nearest U.S. Embassy to replace that lost passport. And if I needed medical attention they would be able to help me find the closest medical facility up to U.S. standards.
Travel Protection isn’t the most glamorous part of planning a vacation, however it is something that you do have to think about.
And until next time…
Love is the Journey.
One of my favorite commercials ever was from Disney Cruise Lines. There was a little boy with his mom, and baby brother inside an elevator, and the little boy talks all about the fun he had on his cruise and then at the end he says his parents call his baby brother their “souvenir”.
Let me tell you a little secret, you don’t have to be alone just the two of you to have a romantic vacation. Although I am a HUGE supporter of having vacation time alone to reignite the spark of romance, being a mom of three, I realize that you don’t always get that time alone to make the spark happen. Especially when it comes to vacation time! That’s why when picking a vacation destination for the whole family it’s like a matchmaking service. I’ll explain….
When someone wants to go to a resort or on a cruise, you want to find something for everyone and something that will keep the kiddos happy and maybe even some time to make new friends in a supervised kids club or activity so that mom and dad get that all precious alone time. For someone like me with super active boys it would be totally different than someone who has younger kids. A good example, I’m not as concerned about a resort having a tot lot, however I do care if they have supervised teen activities. Not that my kids will be there all day, however my boys are at an age where they do want some freedom, and I DO NOT want them running around a resort without anything to do. My one son LOVES sports, any kind of sports, the oldest likes golf, and my other son dabbles in archery and will try golf here and there. For us, I like Club Med, with all of their sports clinics and activities there is something to keep those guys busy and we get a little time away for us. Then at the end of the day we all get to be together as a family. However for someone who doesn’t have kids who likes sports, and has kids who would prefer chilling and the whole family are into the food experience I would suggest a Karisma property instead.
Even if you are taking a trip that isn’t at a resort, or on a cruise you can still sneak in a dinner or afternoon lunch for the two of you. When working with your travel professional and creating that perfect vacation let them know that you want a little romance in your family vacation. They will find a resort that offers babysitting service so that you can get some alone time for a couple of hours, and let’s face it you deserve it!
Here at Shores and More Travel, I realize that reconnecting is one of the most important reasons that we travel. The journey is not just on the map, it’s the memories and connections that we create while we travel.
And until next time,
It’s no secret that I love the Caribbean. The beautiful water, the warm weather, what’s not to love?? Jamaica is a beautiful island with so much to offer. One of my favorite cities in Jamaica is Ocho Rios.
Ocho Rios would seem to be Spanish for “eight rivers”, but it is most likely a corruption of the Spanish word chorreras, which means “waterfalls”. Jamaicans refer to it fondly as Ochi. And with such a beautiful name comes beautiful scenery with ahh-mazing nature adventures for everyone.
The first is the Famous Dunn’s River Falls. It’s about a 15 minute drive west of Ochi, and it’s probably the most iconic and most popular attractions of Jamaica. With your guide, you get to make a “human chain” and climb up the cascading waterfalls and go in and out of some small caves. However, to be safe you must pack water shoes (swim socks), or tennis shoes with a gripping bottom to be safe on the rocks. If you don’t prefer to walk up the falls there is a viewing platform to see the falls. Where the river empties into the Caribbean there’s a nice beach for sunning and swimming. And at the top of the falls there is a craft village and t-shirt shops for you to shop at.
Next is Green Grotto Caves. These caves are said to have provided shelter for Jamaica’s first inhabitants, the Tainos, a haven for “runaway slaves” in the “18th Century”. In 1655 Jamaica was taken over the by English and the caves were sought after as a hideout by the Spanish during that time. Now they are an incredible 37 meter or 121 plus feet underground expedition of majestic stalactites and stalagmites, and just wait till you see the grotto with water as translucent as nothing you have ever seen before! Don’t forget to stop at their “Wishing Well”, and throw in a coin in for love…..
Last but not least….. Island Gully Falls. It is also known as The Blue Hole. It is truly a hidden treasure. You can walk on trails and see nature’s untouched beauty. Then climb waterfalls and search in hidden caves. It’s totally ahh-mazing feeling the natural rushing waters on your back giving you a natural back massage! The best part is feeling like a child again when you are playing “Tarzan” and swinging on a rope and jumping into a pool of serine blue water.
Ochi has a lot of nature to offer, and there are tours that are for everyone.
And until next time…..
The world is a big place, and I know that I have a bucket list that is a mile and half long. I LOVE to see as much as possible. As I put it before I love to cruise because I would I love to get a quick glimpse of a country and then get back on the ship and move on to the next place. Kind of a “try it before you buy it” special. However, there is something to be said about going back somewhere to explore the location ever deeper and find out what else there is to see.
One of the best examples of this is Disney World. I’ve been there more times than I can count on one hand. I’ve been there as a child, as a young adult with my friends, again with my children and with my adult family members. Each time, everything changes and I come back to explore it more and find things at a deeper level each time. There are rides that I remember as a child that I went on as a young adult with my friends. However, once I had children I saw the same rides through totally different eyes. I have also enjoyed character experiences as a child, with my children, and with my friends. When I traveled with my children I wanted to make sure that I saw everything for them. When I went this past year with my sister-in-law, we went at a slower pace and there was no pressure to see everything, and in some ways we saw more by not rushing to see it all. We went to different restaurants and shopped at different shops. We didn’t have to rush to make sure that we went on different rides and make every character greeting.
This is the same as the ports on a cruise. The first time I stop at a Port of Call, I want to see everything. What I’ve noticed is that I take a “sampling” of the area and then before we even leave I’m telling Mark, “Next time when we come back I want to do this and this and this.” A good example is Cozumel Mexico. The first time I went there we took a tour of the island. And I was hooked. We have been back a handful of times. We have done everything from taking the ferry over to Tulum to see the Mayan Ruins to spending the day at Chankanaab National Park to have a dolphin experience, tequila tasting, and exploring the park. We found a private beach club to explore and have a wonderful day at. And of course lots of shopping and Margaritaville. Although the first time at a port of call or any vacation spot is exciting to see something new, the second time around can be just as exciting or even more as you know what to expect and you can dive even deeper into that location’s riches.
And until next time….
Tina Moczynski is a member of the GTN network. And loves to travel with both her husband and her three boys.