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!
I have a little secret, I love to read People Magazine. Yes, it has all the juicy gossip plus it has great mysteries stories as well. This week while reading, there was an article about one of my favorite comedic actresses, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and her cancer recovery. She was stating how much she has to be thankful for. Including her friends, boys, and husband, Brad Hall. As I was looking at the pictures of her and her family the one thing that struck me was a caption under a picture of her and her husband that stated that she still refers to her husband of 30 years her boyfriend. How cool is that?
Then I started to think about marriage. I think that sometimes, and I know that I can even be guilty of this, we start to get into that “slump”. We start to go into automatic mode. You know, get up, get going for work, get the kids off to school, wait what’s for dinner? Then when you get home, there’s homework, a load of laundry, dinner, dishes and the list can go on and on. Throw in a work project or two and then the next thing you know your exhausted and falling asleep on the couch.
I know that I’m guilty of this, and I’m lucky enough to have a husband who is not afraid to voice his opinion that he wants his wife back. But after thinking more closely at it, and thinking about our life in general, sometimes I like having him as my boyfriend. I’m lucky enough that my parents gave me a great example of how important it was for them to spend time together in their relationship, and now I do that with my own husband.
When our kids were younger, we would ship them off to grandma’s for date night, or for a weekend away as much as possible. Sometimes a weekend away was a weekend away for the kids and we would stay home. Here’s the most important key to that, turn off the phone. I know it’s evil to say, but do you remember when you were dating and you didn’t pick up the phone on a date? Pretend for a few hours that you are dating. It’s fun!
To this day, there are certain songs that go on and we dance in the living room. When the boys were little they would want to dance with us, now they are still at the point where they are like, really? It’s almost fun to watch them cringe.
And now that they are old enough for us to have a date night and they can stay home alone if we don’t take at least one night out a week, they let us know. They are like, “Mom and Dad, aren’t you going out together this week?” And it’s not an all-nighter either. It’s sometimes just for a quick dinner, or maybe out for a drink. It’s funny how they realize how important that time is for us as well. I think that it’s something that we are teaching them, that our relationship is very important and if we nurture it we are able to be better parents and a better family.
So here’s to my boyfriend! I’m lucky enough to have married him and I’m lucky enough to enjoy this journey with him!
Because 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.
This is not a “cookie cutter” romance! I’m going to be honest with you - I’m not a “Bachelor or Bachelorette” fan. I know, I’m romance travel specialist, however, I’m honest Romance doesn’t come in a rose.
Yes, they make the dates look fabulous, and I would love to go to all those locals, however my idea of romance doesn’t look quite like that. For Mark and I it looks somewhat different.
When we were first married, one of the most romantic things that he did was tell me pack your bags for the weekend. Pack a swimsuit, and a couple changes of clothes. Now it was early December in Wisconsin, and we were both in the holiday spirit. He booked two airplane tickets to Minneapolis and took me to the Mall of America for the weekend.
Another time, we went to Las Vegas, and he drove me down to Oatman, Arizona. What’s in Oatman you may ask? Well, it’s a very cool old town filled with tons of history, which includes the Oatman Hotel where Clark Gable and Carol Lombard honeymooned back in the day. I love and geek out about history. Plus I geek out over feeding the wild burros in the streets. My parents use to take us there as kids and I have to admit it’s still one of my favorite places to visit. He knows that and when we go to Vegas he still rents a car and takes me there.
Mark likes to visit distilleries, and has turned me into a huge fan as well. We visit them whenever we go somewhere new. When we were in the Grand Cayman, we took a distillery tour. Seven Fathom Rum was one of our favorite stops. We also visit local breweries, and make a weekend away of them.
Mark also loves bowling. It’s one of true loves. When we are somewhere out of town, we go check out the bowling alleys. Last year when we were with the kids in Philadelphia, we were on a trolley and he saw a bowling alley. The next afternoon we all stopped and checked it out. On our cruise - the last afternoon they had stick bowling and Mark and I had a fun game together.
So as you can see the romance is where you make it together. Don’t get me wrong, the beaches, mountain tops, and exotic locations are great but they aren’t the true romance. It’s where you find it together, bowling, drinking, exploring history or just feeding the wild asses!
Don’t forget Love is the Journey.
When you are married and especially when the children are little it’s really easy to spoil the kids and not your sweetheart. However you should think about leaving the spoiling of the kids to their grandparents and spoil your sweetheart instead. In the end, you’ll be giving your kids a bigger gift. You want your children to grow up in a home that is happy, secure, and loving, that’s what will make them most happy and “spoiled”.
When you “spoil” your sweetheart and your relationship by putting them first it shows your children what a great relationship is made of. Signs of PDA are a good thing for them to see. It’s good for them to see you holding hands, cuddling on the couch, kissing. It’s good for them to see what a positive good loving relationship looks like. I remember when my Dad came home every night my Mom gave him a hug and a kiss and asked him how his day was, and I’m an adult. These are lessons your child will take their entire life.
Make time for each other. At the end of the day, when the kids go to bed, take that hour to watch a TV show, or play a game or do something together that you enjoy. Don’t forget that you are a couple and not PARENTS during that time.
Sometimes when you are a couple and parents you start feeling like you are not coming first that you are last, and if you start giving of yourself selfishly to your spouse, you will see that they will give back to you and it will strengthen those bonds. It doesn’t take tons of money, just little acts of kindness, like when you were dating. Leave little notes for your sweetheart, give them little compliments, sneak a little kiss. It’s amazing how those little things can add up. Don’t nag for what you want, give what you want and see what you get in return.
As my kids are getting older, I’m realizing that it will once again be just Mark and I in a few short years. I’m thankful that I have a sweetheart that wants to be with me and take the time to work on our relationship. We make the time for date night, we still sit on the couch together. Don’t get me wrong we still have our disagreements, and as we tell the boys, “Our marriage may not be perfect, but it works because we keep working on it.”
And until next time remember 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.
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…..
I think just about everyone has heard of the show, “The Bachelor”. It puts a guy and one of many women in a perfect local for a perfect date. And of course they fall “in love”. And yes, while watching it and folding laundry, or washing dishes you can say, “Well yeah, you can have a perfect romance if you just have that perfect situation and not have to deal with everyday life, it’s like having instant gratification.”
Sometimes I think our everyday romances need that as well. Sometimes we need to take time out from that laundry, dishes, job and kids to make time for that “instant gratification”. Sometimes we need that getaway, that hidden kisses, or that “rose ceremony” that gives us that smile and reminds us of that feeling that we had when we first fell in love. Because what we are looking for really isn’t instant gratification, but the feeling of what we felt like when we first fell in love with our sweetheart. And let’s face it if it feels good, we’ll do it again and again.
Yes, I say it all the time “Love is a journey.” And although it is a journey, the journey is made up many moments good and bad put together. I know that when I look back on the years with Mark, it’s not all the “rose ceremony” moments, I also look at the times that we went through like staying up all night feeding newborn twin boys. It’s learning how to grow with each other as we change and grow as individuals. It’s also Mark sneaking me out for a date night for martini’s and a comedy show because he knows I LOVE a good laugh. It’s the entire journey, not just the vacations together (although I do love sitting on a beach…) or the wedding day, or the day our kids were born, it’s all the mundane days in between. That’s what truly makes up the journey.
So if you need and want and are looking for the “instant gratification” moments with your sweetheart, don’t feel bad. It’s not that you don’t love your journey, it’s just sometimes we need that feeling again. It’s not a bad thing, and we shouldn’t feel bad about it. It feels good, and we should enjoy that part of the journey.
And until next time - don’t forget - Love is the journey!