Welcome back everybody! I am so excited to bring this podcast episode to you. First off, it feels so good to be bringing this information to you after a brief hiatus. As I discussed on the podcast, we travelled across the United States and have both been working quite a lot, so it’s taken some time to get this up.
I have always struggled with making healthy decision while travelling, so I thought who better to ask questions of wellness to than my friend, Danae Fentie. I met Danae in high school. I knew her as the bubbly, tall, and intelligent girl who was always smiling. We’ve kept in contact here and there as she has become quite the accomplished holistic nutritionist. In this podcast we speak about how you can work at staying healthy when you are away from home…and once you’re back!
I could detail every nuance of the podcast, but to be honest, this is one that you will want to listen to again and again. Danae bestows some fantastic wisdom. She talks of how we should approach all inclusive resorts as ways to load up on good food we might not normally purchase when we are at home. We learn how to hold our non-negotiable rules for health as a measure for enjoying new foods. Danae brought up a great idea for using our vacation as a kickstart to new eating habits upon our return home. Eating on vacation is an adventure into new foods which we might not be directed to in our daily life. We might not have the courage or the perspective to notice our habits at home, but the different foods and cooking styles we see on our trip could enhance our habits at home in ways we never thought!
We also spoke about staying active and fit when on vacation. Danae mentioned that she travels with a yoga strap and resistance bands to work out wherever she is, on the beach, in the hotel room etc.. She also travels with strong balls to assist in massaging the tightness in your muscles so that you do not have aches and pains so that she is ready for whatever activity is on the agenda. This is a fantastic idea because these items are small and easy to travel with. We all know the pain of having a sore neck from sitting in a cramped airplane seat for a long flight. These small items can really help get you ready for the adventure that awaits.
One of Danae’s must have things in her travel bag was her water bottle. She’ll bring a water bottle that has a filter in it so that if the water is questionable in the area that she is travelling in she ensures that her body stays healthy. I couldn’t agree more. My OCD tendencies are always a topic of conversation with Jacquie, as she is more apt to drink any tap water. I tend to be a bit more cautious. As Danae stated, who knows what level of filtration exists in some countries. It is always better to err on the side of caution in my opinion.
Danae also spoke of some essential oils that can aid in our health. I am pretty unfamiliar with these, so you will have to do some deeper research. The results that I’ve heard from this is really interesting. She talked about ‘Thieves Oil’ which you can read more about here. I talked about oil of oregeno, which Danae said was a great anti-parasitic. Danae knows a lot about these and you can get these as well from Danae through the links below.
Danae spoke about wanting to travel throughout North America, South America and wanting to see Peru not only for the landmark sites, but to also learn about the local culture as it pertains to health and wellbeing. I can’t wait to hear about her travels there.
Winter can be a fickle mistress. You’ve bought your tickets to travel home for the holidays or to a sunny local, and BOOM, snowmageddon happens. Suddenly, your world goes into a tailspin as you scramble to fix the problem mother nature started. Don’t fret, we’re going to make sure you little get to your destination with these helpful tips for Avoiding Winter Flight Problems!
When I was still a call center agent in a travel company, the call volume is usually high starting from the last few weeks of November until the first few weeks of January. Why? Well, the traffic is not all because of Christmas and New Year itinerary bookings; but also because during these times, bulks of customers call to change and/or cancel their flights due to heavy flurries and some other issues related to the winter season.
As a customer, regardless if you booked your flight directly from the airline’s website or a travel agency, keep in mind that speaking to a customer service representative to make changes or perhaps cancel your flight due to weather-related reasons will not only take one minute of your time. Therefore, to avoid waiting for an hour for someone to answer you and another hour for your concern to be resolved, take note of these tips on how to avoid distress when travelling amidst the inconvenient winter snow.
#1: Be vigilant.
Preparing for a future travel does not end after booking your flight. Especially when travelling during winter, it is your responsibility to always be knowledgeable regarding weather updates and the current status of your flight. Remember that heavy flurries mean low visibility, which most of the time leads to flight delays and/or cancellations. Hence, if you are not the type of person who loves to sit at the airport for hours (who would want it, anyway?), then follow the next tip.
#2: Either rebook your flight for free or ask for a full refund.
If you think travelling on an earlier or later date is a good option, then call the airline/travel agency immediately to have your flight changed without paying additional fees. However, there’s a catch. Rebooking your flight for free is only possible when the airline has already issued a travel advisory. Sometimes, even if the news already says it is not good to travel at a particular date but the airline did not issue a travel advisory yet, then making changes to your itinerary will be at your own expense. Furthermore, the ‘change’ in your flight only means changes in the date and time, and not to the origin or destination, even if it’s a nearby airport.
Otherwise, if you decide not to go at all, then ask if a full refund is possible. If yes, then that’s good news. But do not be too confident; not all airlines are generous when it comes to processing a refund. Most of them will just give you a flight credit. Meaning, in cases of full cancellation, the amount you have paid can be used for another flight within a year from the original date you have booked the cancelled flight.
Sounds tricky? To put it simply, say you have booked your original flight on December, but decide to cancel; you will be given the chance to book another flight using the amount you have paid (credit) and you must travel on or before December. Of course, you are required to pay any difference in the rate of the new fare.
#3: The Power of Void!
I will tell you a secret. For instance, you have booked your flight on December. You are given roughly 23 hours to cancel your flight for ANY REASON and have a full refund even if your flight is non-refundable. In the airline industry, this is called void. Meaning, you have to call the airline/travel agency before midnight the following day you have booked the flight to cancel it. But then again, there are qualifications. The flight should not have commenced yet and the cancellation must be at least two hours before the flight.
In addition to the tips mentioned above, you must also arrive at the airport at least two hours before the flight (for domestic travel) and three hours before for international travel. This is true especially when travelling during winter. Lastly, it is not advisable to have an online check-in if you are flying on a snowy day. If you have checked-in online but found out, upon arriving at the airport, that your flight is delayed or cancelled, then the process of asking for a free flight change or cancellation gets even lengthier.
So now, like He-Man, YOU HAVE THE POWER! Remember, nothing is more important than the health and safety of you and others, so please review your plans with this in mind before travelling. Also, the people that you speak to at these travel providers are humans, similar to you, so please treat them as you would want to be treated. As my Dad used to say, “You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.”
So, you’ve packed your bags and checked the weather in your destination. The forecast says the temperature is between 60 to 65 °F and you know it means the sun is up. However, upon touchdown, you’ve noticed that it’s raining – cats and dogs – heavy enough for you to cancel your pre-booked itineraries. Will you let the rain ruin your entire travel? What can you do to still enjoy your trip behind the ‘unexpected’ change of the weather? Let’s talk about ‘How to Deal with the Rain, and even Enjoy it, when Travelling’
BUY AN UMBRELLA OR RAIN COAT.
Upon getting your things in the baggage claim counter, head directly to a store at the airport and get yourself an umbrella or a pocket-size raincoat. And yes, do not forget a pair of slippers, too. These are the essentials when travelling on a rainy season. If stores at the airport do not have these items, then allocate time to go to the mall after you have secured your luggage at the hotel.
DARE TO GO OUTSIDE THE HOTEL AFTER CHECK-IN.
Except for business travels, some people just prefer to stay at their hotel room after check-in when it is raining. Do not be like these people! Remember, you have planned and saved for this vacation for months; do not let the rain stop you from discovering great places and activities your destination offers.
FOLLOW THE SUN OR VISIT PLACES WHICH ARE ‘STILL’ BEAUTIFUL EVEN DURING RAINY SEASON.
It does not mean that it’s raining in one place then it is raining in the rest of the country. Make use of your tablet or smart phone and look for places that are still sunny; somewhere that is just few miles away from where you currently are. Otherwise, if it is raining in the entire region, then rather visit places which are still beautiful even during rainy season. Examples of these places are falls, nature parks, and zoos. Keep in mind that nature does not conceal its beauty when raining.
GO TO A BAR. MEET NEW PEOPLE. HAVE FUN.
Of course, bars have roofs so they can keep you dry even when it is raining heavily outside; unless you prefer to party in the rooftop? You are in a new place, so take time to meet new people. Enjoy your vacation, but always know your limits. After all, you are travelling because you want to have fun.
TAKE PICTURES, AND POSSIBLY, DANCE OR RUN IN THE RAIN.
A nice quote goes, “Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass. It is about learning to dance in the rain.” This is true even if you read between the lines or take the quote literally. Guess there’s no explaining needed for this last tip. It’s plain and simple! Even when the sun is hiding during your travel, still do enjoyable and worthwhile things.
True enough, life is full of uncertainties. However, not because it’s raining outside then you have to hide inside your hotel room during your vacation. Remember, life is too short to be alone and sleep all day, especially when you’re in other parts of the world.
Did we miss out some tips? Let us know by dropping your comments below.
Here’s the continuation of the very recent article we have posted. Read on and find out our choices for where your best choices for travel are from July to December this year. We hope you enjoy
There are dozens of events and festivals in Mexico every July. These includes the World Surfing Championship (surf open) in Acapulco during the first week; the International Guitar Festival in Taxco; the Wine and Food Festival in Capella Pedregal; the International Chamber Music Festival; the International Folklore Festival in Zacatecas, and so much more.
We have already talked about Maldives in our previous post entitled ‘Three Best Countries to Travel in Asia’. Now, we will talk about this small island again as an ideal destination for the month of August. Maldives is perfect for couples who want to spend their honeymoon in white, sugary beaches and serene resorts. During daytime, water sports activities such as diving, kayaking, and snorkeling are recommended.
SEPTEMBER: FLORIDA’S EMERALD COAST
Florida’s Emerald Coast offers a scenic view of the Gulf of Mexico. When in this part of the world, expect to soak up the sun all day. However do not worry; the fun does not stop after the sun sets. Get the party started and dance the night away in famous Emerald Coast bars and restaurants.
The most populous city in Canada boasts of a beautiful weather every October. The weather is not too hot or too cold. Festivals during this month include the Chinese Lantern Festival and the International Festival of Authors. So, can we say the festivals in Toronto are a fusion of beauty and brain?
NOVEMBER: SAVANNAH, GEORGIA
There are many reasons why you should visit Savannah this November. Two of them are:
1) To join the Rock ‘n’ Roll Savannah Marathon & Half Marathon on November 7
2) To experience the annual Savannah Food and Wine Festival. Mark your calendars from the 9th to the 15th of November this year.
DECEMBER: MADRID, SPAIN
People always say, “Save the best for last.” I guess this means preparing for your grandest travel on the last month of the year. Well, spending Christmas in Madrid is not a bad idea. In fact, it would be a great thing to do so. Madrid has a wild winter unlike other countries in Europe. Meaning, you can still go out on the streets, shop at night markets, and do other outdoor activities during the holidays.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our list of the best places to travel every month of the year. Have some of your own? Let us know in the comments.
Travelling to a new place, especially overseas, is never easy. You have to deal with the weather, the language, the culture, and the attitude of locals. To somehow ease home sickness, you certainly want to stay in a hotel that you can consider your ‘home away from home’. However, a lot of travelers end up in bad or perhaps, worst hotels because of rush bookings. To avoid being stuck in a low-rate hotel and pay for terrible services, every traveler should keep these qualities in mind when booking a hotel stay.
#1 Honest Information
When I was still working as a travel agent, many people call to cancel their hotel reservation and ask for a full refund. Processing a refund is not an issue if the reservation is fully refundable; however, not all reservations are.
To attract customers, it is a common propaganda of some hotels to advertise low rates, give one free night for a three-night stay, and to promise that the reservation is fully-refundable in times of cancellation. But, not all hotels live up to what they are advertising.
Some hotels would hardly process a refund even for extenuating circumstances (ex: death of a family member), even if you talk to the manager or supervisor directly. To avoid being deceived, ALWAYS read and understand the full cancellation policy of the hotel so won’t put your hard-earned money to waste.
#2 Homey Ambiance
What do you expect when staying in a hotel? Perhaps, a comfortable queen or king size bed and big, soft pillows that would make you think you are sleeping in your own bedroom. And of course, elegant shower, fully-furnished room, breakfast in bed, and complementary newspaper.
Almost all hotels in the world promise these things but only some of them offer these in reality. Do not be fooled by pictures hotels posts on their official website. Instead, search for them in travel websites such as TripAdvisor and read reviews from previous clients.
#3 Clean, Serene, and Secure
Good hotels are always clean. Better hotels are both clean and serene. The best hotels are clean, serene and secure.
#4 Excellent Service
Some four to five-star hotels are exceptional because of their modern and intricate architectural design. However, some hotels are ‘unforgettable’ because of their excellent service.
Excellent service means that the hotel employees think outside the box and anticipate your possible needs just to provide you with great satisfaction.
#5 Extra Assistance for NO Additional Cost
For instance, you need to extend your stay for one night because the schedule of your business meeting was moved to a later day or because you simply want to stay a little longer. The best hotel should be willing to change your reservation without charging you a change fee. And if the rate of the additional night is way more expensive than the rate you had for the original nights, the hotel should be willing to go an extra mile and charge you the same rate as with the other nights. Yes, ‘business is business’; however, if a hotel values their clients enough, then they will do this without hesitation.
The best hotels in the world do not mean the most expensive. Most of them are those that offer services beyond compared.
Have you stayed in a hotel that you can consider the best? Or perhaps, have you slept in a hotel that only gave you a nightmare? We want to hear your story.
Well, it’s been a few days since I’ve posted anything. I was in Niagara Falls visiting my family for my days off from work. I drove down from Ottawa, but was delayed and didn’t leave until the afternoon. I would have left sooner if WestJet hadn’t put my baggage on a different flight! However, they were very accommodating, and I received my luggage by courier at 4pm. I like to bypass Toronto whenever possible when not directly visiting the city, so I decided to drive through New York state, crossing through Syracuse and going under Lake Ontario. I find it to be a much more scenic drive with access to things I wouldn’t normally get… like Dunkin Donuts….which makes the trip heavenly.
Travel Tip: Whenever travelling in the winter, check road reports. Even when it may look good, remember that weather can change quickly.
On the first day I took my mother to Buffalo, NY for some belated birthday shopping and lunch! We are so similar. She had no shame whatsoever in obliging for an impromptu photo shoot at the Duty Free Shop. We ate lunch at Ruby Tuesdays and spent the afternoon at the Walden Galleria.
The following day I spent with my father, driving around town running errands here and there. We decided to all go out for dinner together to a local pub for wings & beer. It was the most relaxing time with family. I really look forward to these times.
The trip was short and sweet, and I left Niagara Falls at noon on Friday. I snapped a 360 degree photo from the bridge to New York state. There were earlier reports of the American Falls being frozen. I couldn’t see it from where I was, but water was flowing well from the Canadian Horseshoe Falls. I would have liked to have taken some more photos closer to the falls, but those will have to wait until the weather heats up. It was far too cold to snap any.
On the drive back I went through some bad weather, but it cleared up pretty quickly. Make sure when you drive in certain states, especially New York, that you have some pocket money as you will sometimes need this for toll highways. I stopped at Cracker Barrel for some food and snapped this photo of a rainbow which appeared in the ice crystals in the sky.
This was a fun little road trip. There are many new articles coming your way, so stay tuned!
If you cannot afford a luxurious vacation out of town for a week or even just for few days, then rather stay at home and enjoy a ‘staycation’. One fulfilling staycation idea is to transform your boring backyard into a beautiful flower garden and/or relaxing herb garden. Right now, what you probably see in the backyard is a field of grasses; but wait until you are done with this home project slash staycation!
Here are 4 ways on how to transform a backyard into a beautiful garden:
- Gather your thoughts and make a plan.
First and foremost, imagine how you want your new backyard to look like. If you have too many ideas and you can’t seem to stick to one design, then look for styles on the web. Choose which of these styles is closest to the design you have in mind. If possible, print out a picture of the garden you want to realize in your own backyard.
- Flowering plants, herbs or both?
What type of garden are you after? A flower garden, an herb garden, or a fusion of both? Knowing the type will help you decide the plants you are going to use. According to hgtvgardens.com, there are 13 low-maintenance perennials recommended for a flower garden. These are:
- Siberian Iris – white, yellow, pink, and purple
- Bleeding Heart – blossoms in mid to late spring
- Elegant Candy Daylily – blooms all season long
- Purple Coneflower – drought-tolerant
- May Night Salvia – blooms in early summer
- Black-Eyed Susan – best planted in average soil under full sun
- Garden Phlox – attracts butterflies and hummingbirds
- Vulcan Hosta – best grown in partial shade
- Blazing Star – can grow up to three feet
- Jack Frost Brunnera – best for ground cover
- Winter Glow Bergenia – grows in part- to full- shade
- Hibiscus Cranberry Crush – needs consistently moist soil
- Peach-Leaved Bellflower – needs average to full sun
- Add the right pieces of furniture.
Choosing the right pieces of outdoor furniture that would look harmonious with your garden theme can be tricky. Remember that in
addition to style, comfort, durability and size are among your top priority.
First, choose a classy and long-lasting couch which is not too big. If it is huge and your space is small, then it will only make your backyard look overcrowded. Second, choose a table and chairs that can withstand heavy rains or extreme heat knowing that they will be placed outdoors. To make your backyard/garden look more relaxing, you have the option to build a hammock.
- Provide a shady retreat.
Yes, you want to hang out in the garden during summer and feel the heat of the sun. However, this does not mean you can and should tolerate the sun’s rays for hours. Use a big umbrella or build a pergola. A shady retreat would be a perfect spot for lunch or afternoon snack with family and friends.
A paradise in your own backyard! Now, who says relaxing and spending a vacation is not possible without leaving home?
Many people nowadays are on a tight budget. If you are admittedly one of these people, then know that there are many inexpensive yet fun ways of spending a vacation at home. Staycation, which is defined as enjoying a vacation at home or at a nearby location, is possible by going to the beach with family and friends.
If you live in Florida, California, or Hawaii, then finding a beautiful beach will not be an issue. To name a few, there’s Siesta Beach, St. Pete, Pensacola, Ka’anapali, Kailua Beach Park, La Jolla Cove, and Newport Beach. To those living in areas away from the coastline, on the other hand, driving a few miles away to reach a beach resort would probably not hurt your pocket.
Is the scorching summer heat enticing you to cool off in a resort with white sand? If your answer is yes, then here are few ways on how you can enjoy a staycation at the beach but avoid outrageous spending.
How to Enjoy a ‘Thrifty’ Staycation at the Beach
Research – There is nothing wrong with being spontaneous. However, a ‘spur–of–the–moment’ attitude is not recommended to those who want to save some bucks. This means that the first thing to do if you want to go to the beach is to actually look for a beach. Choose the one that’s nearest to your location. Know the distance and the travel time.Schedule – After knowing where you want to go, the next thing to do is plan the date. If you are planning to go with the rest of the family, then gather them during your free time such as dinner and make a plan. If this will be a staycation with friends, then call each one and decide the schedule.Book ahead of time – When the dates are all set, go ahead and book a room in advance. This is if you are planning to stay at a beach resort for a couple of nights or over the weekends. Aside from the assurance that you have a confirmed reservation, booking in advance is way cheaper than booking on the same day of check in.Prepare and pack in advance – When going somewhere, even if it is just few miles away from home, preparing and packing in advance is always ideal. Doing so leaves a very little chance of forgetting the essentials.
Here are some of the things you will need when going to the beach:
√ Extra clothes, underwear and a couple of towels
√ Sunglasses, hat, and sunscreen
√ Umbrellas are optional if the beach resort you are going to provides parasols
√ Food and water
√ And of course, your best swimwear!
Do not forget the cooler! – Aside from water and soft drinks, you might want to put some bottles of ice–cold tequila in the cooler. Most beach resorts surely have stores and/or restaurants that sell these drinks and other liquor, but expect for the price to be sky–rocketing.
Lastly, rather than renting, parents are advised to bring their own bucket and shovel toys, swim rings, and beach balls for the kids to enjoy.
As what we said in our previous article entitled Staycation Idea #4: The Pool, enjoying a staycation is not about spending much. It is about preparing the essentials and spending time with the right people!
The past shapes the present, and the present shapes the future. When people come to visit us, or when we go to local areas and meet new people, having a unique perspective and a deeper understanding of where we live will allow us to make even better connections with people. Museums are built to preserve items that link the preset to the past while allowing the people of today to see them with their very own eyes. If you are planning a staycation for the weekend, then be sure that your itinerary includes a visit to your local museum.
If you are more interested on historical local items, you need to visit museums that mainly display historical artifacts. History museums are going to provide you with the legacy of the area and how it got to the way it became today. Most museums have a mixture of artifacts from ancient civilizations and from local history. It is best that you join a guided tour so you can get more information about the displayed items. The guide will provide little known trivia and most are available by audio book in larger cities.
If there is a museum near you that displays historical scientific pieces, then you should pay that a visit as well. While these may not give you the same sort of context that a historical museum would, it may teach you why your area is special. Perhaps there was an oil boom in your cities history, a great discovery, or even a certain type of vegetation only native to this location. In most cases, there are exhibitions wherein the museum features innovative inventions of the most brilliant minds of the decade. Science museums also displays prototypes and original models of modern equipment, and some of them are almost a hundred years old already.
If you have a thirst for beauty and history, then an art museum would be a perfect choice. It’s a great way to find past and current artists from the area. Many of the art pieces on displays either have historical significance, very old, or both. Seeing the masterpieces of a talented artist is already an experience to relish in itself. With the history that goes with the work, you will be able to contemplate the area you reside in through the artist’s unique perspective.
Staycation Protip: Make sure to tell the museum clerk that you are a local. Often times there is a reduced entry rate for those who live in the area!
This staycation idea is perfect for a a rainy day or one with inclement weather as most museums are indoors. Whether you are going it with the entire for family or you are just looking for an interesting way to spend quality time with your partner, a museum visit not only supports your local community but provides a learning opportunity which is a great way to bond with loved ones. After visiting the museum, check and see if there are any local performances at a local theater, as often times these are partnered with the museum.
Even the mere mention of the word ‘hammock puts me in vacation mode. Now, hammocks are obviously an idea for the warmer times of the year, as it would be hard to relax in a winter hammock with icicles on your nose. Imagine listening to the sound of the ocean or lake crushing down on the sand and suddenly you travel a blissful relaxation place. The idea of going on vacation to an exotic beach may sound appealing, but with life’s busyness, you most likely disregarded the idea as quickly as it pops in your head. Everybody deserves a time to sit back and relax. If you do not have enough time or money, then the best alternative is a staycation in a hammock.
So, first things first, you’ll need a hammock. These are relatively inexpensive these days and are durable enough to last a long time if taken care of. What’s nice about modern hammocks if that they pack into a small bag that is no larger than a cantaloupe. They are easy to pack. So easy, that in fact, I leave mine in the car for any chance of roadside R&R. If you use your imagination and resourcefulness, you could have a great time anywhere with a hammock. There are so many things you can do if you get out of the lines of what travel means. One of the easiest ways to relax is to find a quiet and enjoyable place which is just far enough from where you would be bothered, set up your hammock, and curl up with some relaxing music or a good book. Let the tranquility wash over you and then, when its time to leave, you can return back to reality with a fresh outlook!
There are easy DIY hammocks out there, which is perfect if you have a penchant for making things using your own hands, but definitely do some test runs before that pinterest hammock crashes you on a rock. I recommend the one pictured to the right here from Amazon. It’s identical to the one I use. Whether you are using a store-bought or DIY hammock, the most important thing is you are having a good time. Just lay back and grab a nice book as you sway your hammock gently on a breezy afternoon.
Maybe you live a little far away from the water? In order to give yourself the whole experience a beachside vacation would have, play nature sounds like beach waves using this ‘Relax Melodies’ app (Android, iOS). What I like most about it is that it has a binaural beats function that you can put into you sounds to help you reach more tranquil states!. Remember, this is a staycation so you should never allow calls, emails, and social media to bother you. Set your phone to silent, and let the wind take your mind far away while your body is not too far from home!