You want that once in a lifetime vacation, that special honeymoon, or that special anniversary trip. You may want to go to a beach, or on a cruise, but you don’t want it to feel like just any other vacation. How can you put your own personality on it? Let’s take a look at a few options…
Before you leave home, purchase a small gift and pack it away. You can then give it to your sweetheart at a special moment. What a great way to surprise them with a special piece of jewelry or momento that will remind them of this special vacation.
How about a special dinner either on a beach or at a romantic location for just the two of you? Candlelight, or at sunset with torches of lights around you?
How about having rose petals on the bed when you arrive? Or on a certain day? Better yet, what about a bubble bath for two with rose petals?
You can also to the spa and have a massage for two. A lot of resorts have outdoor massages that you can have on the beach, or in a garden.
Perhaps you would like to have a special momento of this once in a lifetime vacation and would like to have a photographer take a session of the two of you. You can have this set up ahead of time.
Something that I like is taking a piece of resort stationery and write a love letter to your sweetheart. Write about how you are feeling right now at this moment. Then after you return home, I always say wait six months or so and give it to them to remind them that this wonderful time.
When I work with a couple I like to make sure that they have any little surprises or special touches. I can help them put together all the extras that take a vacation from ordinary to extraordinary. Helping create a romantic moment that you won’t forget, or surprising your sweetheart with a day trip to that one place that crosses off his or her bucket list is one the best parts of my business.
And until next time….
Love is the journey!
In today’s day and age, everyone has a device and is using it when traveling. Here are 5 tips to help keep you safer when traveling…..
5:) Prepare your device before leaving by installing anti-virus software and having the latest OS version loaded on your phone.
It is crucial to have antivirus software on your phone while traveling. You are exposed to more threats when traveling because you are on more free wi-fi services. And that is the same with having the latest OS loaded on your phone before leaving home. It will save you from any previous OS exploits and you will have the best speeds available when using the mobile and cellular networks. It also wouldn’t hurt to look into having a VPN service on your phone for safety.
4:) Don’t let everyone know on social media of your travel plans.
You wouldn’t want to have the neighbors calling you on vacation telling you that your house has been burglarized. Yes, that does happen. Save all of your cool pictures and share them at the end of your vacation. Burglars are known for scanning social media for travel plans and then making their plans on your homes.
3:) Keep an eye on your devices at all times!
Anymore our entire lives are on our cell phones. Just as much as our wallets. Think about it - we have our pictures, our banking information, our email, our social media, everything on that little device. When you are traveling, don’t just leave it out on the lounge chair or on the table by the lounge chair and walk away. Take care of it like you would your wallet. Put it in your hotel safe if you are not going to be using it. If you are using it, keep it next to you at all times.
2:) Turn off the Bluetooth!
Turn off your Bluetooth when not in use. Not only will this save on your battery life when you are on vacation, but it will be a big safety protector. Hackers may be able to get into your device from the Bluetooth connection. Only use it if you need to.
1:) Change your passwords.
Even though you should change passwords every three months, it is especially crucial after coming home from vacation. You were most likely on free wifi over your vacation and especially if you used a public access PC to print out plane tickets or to access your email, you will want to change those passwords.
It’s always better to be safe than sorry. Hopefully, you will find these tips helpful!
And until next time - Love is the Journey!
Let's face it, after you’ve been together for awhile, perhaps you have a couple of kids, the career, and everything else, you want to feel like newlyweds. Especially in the bedroom - that’s the biggest reason why we take the romantic vacation away. Here’s a few tips to set the mood for the two of you to enjoy each other’s company….
Most of us love to go the beach. Find us a beach resort, or a cruise and we are happy. However, that may not the setting for everyone. What setting made the two of you feel sexy. Is it a night out in the city? Is it exploring a new land? What makes you feel sexy?
When picking out your room, splurge a bit on the accommodations so that you WANT to stay in your room. Get the king size bed, or the in room jacuzzi. And when picking a resort, stay away from the family resorts, choose one that has more of an adult feel. You left the kids at home, you don’t want to see everyone else’s kids. It’s harder to “get in the mood” when the kid at the table next to you is throwing his spaghetti on the floor.
When planning activities and excursions or day trips, don’t over book yourself on your romantic vacation. Remember that you will want to rest up and get some downtime to enjoy each other’s company. You need to reconnect on all levels when you are away. You don’t need to go from sun up to sun down on excursions and activities. Pick something to do for the day for a few hours and then relax a bit. If you are a couple who feels sexier in the morning, pick afternoon activities. If you are a couple who feels sexier in the afternoon pick a morning activity. And if you really enjoy this romantic getaway and the location makes you feel sexy most likely you will want to return and you can then go see something else in that location so you don’t have to do it all in one vacation.
Most importantly, disconnect from the outside world. Yes, put down the smartphone, email, and everything else. If you must check email and take calls, talk ahead of time and setup a mutually agreed upon time to do that. And if you are going to check in on the kids, make sure that you have a window of time that you have setup with their caretaker. Check in, let them know that you are good and get back to being newlyweds.
Things might not always go as planned, from getting there to the weather, to activities. Sometimes you need to go with the flow. And that’s okay. Enjoy the moment - who knows how the romance will flow.
And until next time remember, Love is the Journey.
When I was younger I would fly by the seat of my pants. Yes, I didn’t want to make any plans just let life happen by. Now, as I’m a bit more “seasoned” as they say, I’ve learned to have some things set up and ready to go when I leave home and travel.
What are they?
Travel Insurance - I have learned the hard way that it’s always good to protect my travel investment. I remember a time that I didn’t because “Wow that was an extra $200 and really I was going on that vacation!” You see it was a spring break quickie vacation that I was going to take the boys and my mom to Houston Texas, nothing was going to go wrong. We were going to get on that plane no matters what! Well, four days before Easter I was in the doctor’s office getting seen and ended up on antibiotics. I was in a panic that the boys were going to catch it from me and the trip was going to be over. I was going to be out that money! Lesson learned - always get the travel protection.
Plan my “excursions” or shore trips ahead of time.
I use to always say, “I’ll just go with the flow…..” that’s great until you really want to do something and it’s sold out! Lesson learned: I wanted to see the Everglades at the end of my cruise. It was May, beautiful weather in Florida. “Ah, not worried I’m sure we will get to do it!” Nope, I ended up taking a tour of Miami. Now don’t get me wrong, it was super cool and I enjoyed every minute of it, however, I really wanted to see the Everglades. The next time I was on a cruise, it was in January. Being a Wisconsin Gal, you would think that Florida would be warm in January. I was whisking away in the Everglades in 40-degree weather with my winter jacket on! Not what I had envisioned!! Again, lesson learned!
Give myself plenty of time when I leave for the airport.
Not to give away my age, but I remember when you would just whisk into the airport stop at the ticket counter and run to the gate. Those days are no longer! I’m sure that some of my readers can’t even fathom those days! I always give myself at LEAST two hours once I’m at the airport. That will give me time to pack my car, get through security and get to the gate. I would rather be early and overpay for an airport drink than to rush and have my blood pressure go through the roof!
And those my friends are my lessons learned over the years to make a more favorable vacation. Because travel should be the most riching and rewarding thing you can do, not the most stressful.
And until next time remember Love is the Journey!
It's that time of year again, that crisp feeling is back in the air, and the kids are back in school. The days are getting shorter and the holidays are getting closer. More of us are getting ready to either take a look at taking a holiday break or visiting family across the country or across the globe. And it’s that time when those little germ bugs are coming into full season again. But as Dr. Travis Stork says, “The key is to be germ aware, not a germaphobe.”
Here are a few tips to be germ aware while at the airport and on your next flight.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a flu shot during the flu season and to get it at least two weeks before travel, as the flu shot takes two weeks for vaccine immunity to develop after the shot.
Another suggestion is to get your immune system ready for travel. Get lots of rest and make sure that you are well hydrated. Don’t be afraid to drink lots of water before the flight.
Use nasal saline before and after your flight. This will help keep your nose moist since the airplane air is so dry it will dry out your mucous membranes. And during your flight stay hydrated to keep the
Open the air vent above you on the airplane. It keeps the air circulating around you.
Bring some hand sanitizer for yourself and don’t touch your face. Also, bring some antibacterial wipes and wipe down your tray table, armrests, and even your hands. After touching some of these areas you can be filled with lots of germs.
Just be prepared and get ready to enjoy the journey.
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.
Did you ever wonder what you can bring in your checked luggage? I know the liquids rule and don’t bring knives and weapons, however on my last flight I was stuck behind someone in security for quite a while. They were emptying their carry on and it was amazing what all was in there. I don’t know if you remember the Mary Poppins movie where she kept bringing things out of her bag, like a lamp, but that’s how this felt. They literally had everything to make a four course meal in this bag. That made me start to wonder what can I really bring in my carry-on?
It really amazed me what you can and can not bring on. The one that made me chuckle the most was bread machine. Don’t ask me why, but it just did. I guess that I don’t think of taking a flight and making bread. But there are all kinds of things that I know I wouldn’t of thought that would have made it through security. Like knitting needles, sewing needles, crochet hooks, and even small scissors.
Having kids, and if you’ve ever traveled with young children you know that a balloon can be fun for them. It’s nice to know that a balloon that is deflated can go through security as well as a small bottle of bubbles under 3.4 fl ounces. Think of the entertainment in the airport you will get so you can save the electronics, etc for the plane. Another great item to bring for them to play with are glow sticks and as long as they are under 3.4 fl ounces they are approved. However, leave that foam toy sword in the checked luggage or the TSA will be taking that for the garbage.
If you want to look beautiful when you get off the plane you can bring your hair clippers and your hair dryer, flat iron and your bobby pins in your carry on.
Now if you want to bring your Harry Potter Wands, those are okay as well, and so are your headphones, hookahs, and handcuffs. The shock collars are allowed and so are Segways, but I’m not sure what your airlines policies are.
As you can see the TSA has a VERY LONG list for you to go through if you are wondering if it’s allowed or not. It’s always important to go through it. They keep it updated and they tell you if you can bring it in your carry-on, or checked luggage. And as you can see with the Segway, they don’t know what the airlines policies are with some of the items - so if you have a question on it you are best to double check on that item before bringing it.
For a complete list of what is allowed, go to the TSA’s website CLICK HERE
And until next time, don’t forget that 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.
I have a deep dark confession to make. Mark and I haven’t been on a weekend getaway ALONE in a long time. We were busy with the kids activities, scouts, work, and just about anything that you could think of.
Then it happened, I said enough is ENOUGH!! We need to get away. Grandma took the boys, Mark took a half day on a Friday and we just bummed, I always wanted to go to a local festival, then we came home, packed a bag, I booked a hotel and we left.
Why am I telling you this? Because I feel like travel is like another muscle, if we don’t use it we lose it. There is a sense of adventure in all of us that we like to fulfill. There is a reason that most of us look at others vacation photos on social media, or watch shows on destinations. We love the idea of going somewhere new and having new experiences. Whether it’s a weekend road trip or a week’s or longer vacation to an exotic destination, we all have a need to explore.
The “EXCUSE” factor. Just like we have an excuse factor of going to the gym, we have an excuse factor of why we don’t want to go on that vacation or that getaway. When I don’t feel like going to the gym, the first day I’ll give myself an excuse and the next day the excuses just get easier to handle. It’s the same with travel. These are my favorite excuses, and the reasons why I really can’t use them:
“We can’t get away, what if the kids have an event that comes up?” It’s not like they don’t have fifty more, and I have someone who can fill in for us at that event. I have a close friend who misses an event once a while and as she puts it, “ I go to almost all of their events, they know that I love them, and if I miss a game or an event it’s okay.” I totally agree, in their entire life they are not going to remember if you missed one or two games or scouting events or band practices. Plus when we get back we will parent better and that will be better for our kids.
“Well, I can’t get away because of work.” That one is my favorite, especially in today’s day and age. We have internet, wifi, and data hotspots. If there is an emergency we can be reached. Don’t get me wrong there are weekends or weeks that we definitely can’t go, but for the most part, we can. Did you realize that 25 percent of Americans took ZERO vacation days last year?? Wow!! For a society where we can connect from anywhere, it seems like we never leave to even try out that theory. And when we get away we come back refreshed and inspired with new ideas, what employer doesn’t want you at a higher working level?
“Well, I don’t have the money for it.” That excuse is there too, I always tell Mark, let’s save for it, a vacation\getaway fund is something that we have always had in the background. It’s something that is a necessary to save for. I know that I’ve said it before, but when we travel alone we spend time together and we get back into alignment with each other. When we get home, we get along better - we communicate more, and we parent better. I tell him all the time even when the kids are gone, I want to still be on the go, exploring. It’s the journey that life is about, not just the destination.
I remember a commercial on TV that said, “A body in motion stays in motion.” The same can be said about travel, “A soul that explores stays exploring.”