Category: Travel and Vacations

3 Amazing Luxury Getaways

luxury getaways

Now that the holiday season is over, you probably need a vacation from your vacation.

So, where can you go that’s far away from prying in-laws, screaming kids, and the town where you grew up in?

No matter what kind of destination you’re looking for or experience you’re interested in having, this list of some of our favorite luxury getaways will have you ready to hit the ground running in 2018.

Here’s to a healthier, happier, and more well-traveled you.

1. The Chiva-Som International Resort/Spa In Thailand

Did 2017 really do a number on your body? Have you noticed a few new wrinkles forming? Do you just feel like your alignment is completely out of whack?

If so, then book your stay at the iconic Chiva-Som resort in beautiful Thailand.

If you really want to reboot, then we suggest traveling for one of their many wellness retreats. You’ll get personalized wellness, physical, and even skin consultations. You can also take part in one (or more) of the eight daily fitness classes.

You’ll also get an incredible daily spa treatment, including a scalp massage, body polish, and the signature Chiva-Som massage. If you really want to take it to the next level, book your stay when a visiting consultant is on the grounds.

The resort frequently hires experts in facial relaxation, hypnotherapy, reflexology, and more to come and teach on the grounds.

Even better?

Don’t worry about dressing up. Guests usually walk around and explore in special pajamas and bathrobes designed by the resort.

2. The Marulivo Resort In Italy

Next up on our list of the best in luxury getaways?

The hidden gem that is the Marulivo Resort in the tiny village of Pisciotta, Italy. If you want to stay in stunning, specially-designed apartments that combine Italian comfort with the ultimate in luxury, then this is the place for you.

Think cozy stone fireplaces, balconies overlooking the sea, and enormous bathtubs that allow you to truly relax and take in the UNESCO World Heritage site surrounding the resort.

You’ll even be able to relax on a stone terrace and take in evening cocktails, the olive trees, and stunning sunsets.

Talk about romantic.

Especially if you want to experience the ultimate in Italian cuisine, you simply must book your stay here. In addition to stunning gastronomy and homemade bread with everything, you can also take Italian cooking classes, so you’ll be able to bring the knowledge back home with you.

What else is there to do at the resort?

Explore the ancient Paestum Temple, the Palinuro Cape and caves, or even take a ferry to Capri or tour the coast in a sailboat.

If you’re more the artistic type, the resort even offers local pottery classes.

Want to bring your furry friend along for the ride? Good news — the hotel is pet-friendly.

3. The Constance Moofushi In Maldives

Last on our list of luxury getaways?

The absolutely jaw-dropping, total escape that is the Constance Moofushi in Maldives. Think bright blue water, shining sun, your own seaside (we mean that the Indian Ocean is literally three feet away) private home, and more.

You’ll dine nightly on freshly-caught seafood, take sunset cruises, and even have the chance to swim with the dolphins. You’ll also be able to explore under the sea in private diving tours.

If you’re a fan of gold, there is a course available for you to play. In terms of spa treatments, it goes without saying that this resort offers some of the best in the world.

You’ll step into a stone and rose hot natural spring, enjoy rejuvenating facials, and experience the top massages. But you don’t have to worry about missing the scenery. You can be pampered on your porch, overlooking the Indian Ocean.

If that’s not luxury, we don’t know what is.

What Should You Bring?

Now that you have a few destinations in mind, it’s time to start packing for these luxury getaways.

So, what are a few things you need to take care of before you go?

First, if you’re traveling abroad, get to know the local currency. While it might be convenient to switch out your dollars at your destination’s airport, the commissions and exchange rates won’t be on your side. Always stash some cash before you go.

Additionally, make sure that you protect your phone from the elements, whether sand or snow. Invest in a Custom Envy phone case to ensure your data is always protected. Traveling at the last second? Don’t sweat it — they offer rush delivery for those spontaneous trips.

Finally, we suggest picking up this “Airplane Mode” travel kit to make sure you’re in tip-top shade when you arrive. It has an eye mask, emery board, wrinkle remover, and much more so you’ll land looking your best.

What Are Your Favorite Destinations For Luxury Getaways?

Thanks to this post, you have more than a few ideas about possible destinations for the most unforgettable luxury getaways.

Is there a special place you think we forgot to add? Where are your favorite places to travel when you want to be pampered and unwind? Let us know in the comments below!

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Take your Instagram (and your luxury getaways) to the next level by checking out our website and blog. We’re sharing the latest scoops on must-have travel items, exotic destinations, and what you should wear to turn every head on the beach.

The only New Year’s resolution you really need to be happy?

Forget that ten pounds. Instead, make the time to travel, meet with locals, sample international cuisine, and definitely to meet that cute foreign hottie.

The Top Texas Destinations to Fulfill Your Taste Buds

No one makes ’em bigger–or better–than Texas! And that goes double for the Lone Star state’s delicious cuisine. When traveling through or camping in the large state, there are a number of Texas destinations you’ll want to stop by to sample everything it has to offer.

Such notable Texas destinations for great food range from the urban cities to the rural southeast part of the state.

Central Texas

Central Texas is the home of the “Texas Trinity”: ribs, sausage, and brisket. Ribs come in either full-size spare ribs (which come from pork) or big beef ribs. Texas sausage is usually made of beef, but sometimes you’ll find it made of pork.

The Texas Trinity formed way back in the 19th century when Czech and German immigrants made their way to the center of the state. Both Czech and German cultures are noted for their love of meat, so it’s only natural that their mingling would lead to new meat creations.

Specifically, the Texas Trinity is the result of the two cultures finding new ways to preserve and recycle leftover meat. Some immigrants smoked it inside enclosed brick smokers while others ground it up to produce new sausage.

East Texas

Hot links, an east Texas delicacy, came to be in 1897 in Pittsburg, TX. That year, butcher Charlie Hasselbach sought a way to efficiently recycle scrap pieces of meat such as cheeks and tongue. He ended up grinding them into a paste which he then molded into raw hot links.

The original hot links took a hit of water and binder as well as some spice to mask any “outdated” flavor. Today, Texas hot links are made with fresh meat and sold at a myriad of different restaurants, stands, and food trucks.

In addition to hot links, you’ll find a great deal of Cajun food in east Texas (specifically southeast Texas). That area of the state’s close proximity to Louisiana has caused it to adopt some of the Pelican state’s cuisine.

The most noteworthy Louisiana-Texas crossover food is crawfish. Crawfish is a staple at mud festivals and other popular Texas events.

The Gulf Area

Without a doubt, the most popular food found along the Gulf coast in Texas is oysters.

While not as popular as east or west coast oysters, a true Texan appreciates oysters from the Gulf. They’re best eaten in-season when they’re plumper and sweeter.

South Texas

Much like southeast Texas has adopted some of its neighbor Louisiana’s delicacies, Mexico has influenced its neighbor south Texas’s cuisine.

Mexican staples such as tacos, fajitas, and the like first became popular in the Rio Grande Valley and San Antonio. Their popularity has since spread north to Austin and beyond, though, so you don’t need to learn how to make migas or any other ingredient to enjoy them!

Other Texas Destinations For Delicious Food

Texas is a huge state, and the number of amazing delicacies that it offers is endless. If you know of any other great Texas destinations for excellent cuisine, feel free to comment below or shoot me a line!

5 Essential Tips for Safe Travels with Your Family

Road trips with your family are a great opportunity to bond and make memories on the way to a getaway.

They can also be stressful, heavy on the wallet, and potentially dangerous.

But you’re a great parent, so you want to ensure safe travels on your road trip.

I’ve put together 5 essential tips to ease your mind and enjoy your next big road trip with your loved ones.

1. Stock Your Emergency Road Kit

If you don’t have a basic emergency road kit, you need to get one.

You should have jumper cables, a small battery charger, spare tire, and a small plastic gas can. Make sure you have your bases covered.

You should also consider a small first aid kit with bandages, antiseptic wipes, and aspirin. Being able to treat small cuts or deal with minor aches will keep your moving.

I also consider my travel mug as part of my emergency road kit. One less stop for coffee keeps my trips on schedule.

2. Visit Your Mechanic

Make sure your inspections are up to date to provide safe travels.

You’ll want your mechanic to check tire pressure, brake pads, and all of your fluids before you hit the road. Looking for a mechanic in a strange place can be costly and can disrupt your trip.

If you’re planning far enough ahead and don’t feel confident about your vehicle, this could be the perfect opportunity to lease a new or used car.

Plenty of vehicles made in the last ten years have all the safety options, charging ports, and storage options you need for a road trip. If you’re trying to decide whether to buy new or used, there’s a great breakdown of pros-and-cons here!

3. Start Hands-Free and Stick to It

I recommend keeping maps in your car since you never know when you’ll be in a low service area.

I wouldn’t recommend using them as your main navigation tool, though. Before you leave, set your smartphone or GPS to your destination and leave it alone. You need your hands on the wheel at all times.

If you have voice activation options, set them up in advance of your trip rather than figuring them out on the road. You can keep your music going and skip tracks without looking away from the highway.

4. Need Medication? Bring Extra

If members of your family need medication, pick up your prescriptions in advance.

Get a pill organizer to ensure you have what you need for each day of your trip. If you need to keep medications cool, try a lunchbox with an ice-pack for an efficient solution.

5. Power Up

Does your family use lots of electronic devices on a road trip?

To make sure you can focus on safe travels and keep your eyes on the road, charge your devices the night before.

Depending on the length of your trip, consider portable chargers, extra cables, or even a power strip. The last thing you want to be doing is digging around for a cable when you’re on the highway.

Safe Travels

Family road trips are some of the most fun memories I have of my childhood.

They’re also some of the best memories I have with my kids. Planning ahead can ensure that you can keep your mind on your trip and have the best time.

5 Family Camping Tips You Need to Have

hike, travel, tourism and people concept – happy family roasting marshmallow over campfire

When you are inundated with emails from work at all hours of the day and night, you need to hit the great outdoors! When your children refuse to look up from their tablets and smartphones at the dinner table, it’s time for a family camping trip.

However, if the mere suggestion of camping strikes fear in your loved ones, here are some helpful family camping tips which will help you all disconnect from daily life and remember the thrills and serenity of nature.

1. Pack Right

You do not want to overpack on your voyage, but it is likely you will need a variety of outfits even if you are only away in the woods for a few days. Layers are important for cold nights and misty mornings; you can then discard the fleece pullovers and leggings as the day warms up.

If you are near a lake or a swimming hole, make sure you remember bathing suits. And take into account the fact that everyone may get muddy- so one extra pair of socks per person is advisable.

Invest in a lightweight travel pack for each camper. Kids can help out by carrying their own stuff and learn a lesson in prioritizing essentials. Not every teddy bear gets to go on the camping trip!

2. Plan your meals

Meals may be the biggest challenge of the family camping trip, especially when everyone has different palates. Most kids are used to grabbing whatever they like from the refrigerator at every hour of the day.

One of my favorite family camping tips is to pack a dutch oven. These handy items can cook a meal for a crowd easily and you can use them for breakfast, lunch or dinner. You can find a wide variety of cast iron dutch oven recipes for camping which will help you please even the pickiest eaters on your family camping trip.

3. Leave the electronics at home

To really reap the rewards of a family excursion into Mother Nature, you need to put down the iPhones and the computer. If you need your cell to stay in touch with work or you are concerned about a medical issue, lock it up in the glove compartment of your car so you can get it if you need it.

If your kids are not used to entertaining themselves without their devices, now is a great time to “get crafty.” You can show them how to create a nature journal to describe or sketch the flora and fauna they see, or they can make artwork out of leaves, twigs and stones.

4. Don’t forget the first aid kit!

From bug bites to blisters from new hiking boots to the ill-timed fever, you will want to be prepared with some medical care essentials when you are out in the woods. Make sure you pack band-aids, insect repellent, aspirin and rubbing alcohol to deal with those unexpected bumps and bruises.

It’s not just the kids who may require medical attention. Include any regular medication needed by the grown-ups on the trip. You don’t want to be an hour’s drive away from the nearest pharmacy if predictable health conditions arise.

5. Let everyone know what to expect

Another one of the most important family camping tips to remember is communication.

If there are family members new to camping, it’s important to prepare them for what they can expect. Children who are scared of the dark should know they will be sleeping outside under the stars. Grandma should be alerted to the fact that the public bathrooms are a fifteen-minute walk from the campsite.

Put a positive spin on the adventure! You all will be making memories that can last a lifetime.

Just let the first-timers know what it means to “rough it” if this is not one of their regular activities. Otherwise, you may expect some complaining to mar the fun.

Follow These Family Camping Tips For a Happy Escape

Whether you are exploring one of our country’s amazing national parks, or just starting out at a local campsite, a family camping trip can be the perfect way to reconnect with your loved ones. Without the distractions of the modern world, you can share good grub, fresh air and plenty of laughs by just getting away from it all.

Start planning your camping trip today!

Why Rent a Smoky Mountain Cabin For Your Next Vacation

fotolia 109068753 subscription monthly mLooking for your next family vacation destination? Consider renting a Smoky Mountain cabin to enjoy fresh mountain air, some peace and quiet and incredible views year-round.

The Great Smoky Mountains range is on the border between Tennessee and North Carolina. Vacationers have been going there to get away from the bustle of the big cities and to enjoy the colorful nature.

The best way to stay in the Smoky Mountains is to rent a cabin, and they’re much more affordable and cozier than hotels.

So keep reading to discover why staying in a mountain cabin in the Smokies will take your family getaway to the next level.

You’ll Have Plenty of Space for Rest and Relaxation

Mountain cabins are cozy, functional and spacious enough to accommodate all of your needs. They come fully equipped with everything you need for a nice, relaxing holiday.

Many cabins even come with hot tubs, rocking chairs and rec rooms, so you and your family can have some fun, but also rest when you need it.

Cabins offer a sense of privacy that you won’t find in hotels. You have the entire lodge to yourselves and you won’t need to share anything with anyone else.

You’ll Enjoy Quality Family Time

Renting a Smoky Mountain cabin with your family means spending quality time together.

You can do tons of activities such as hiking, bird watching, soaking up the sun and playing outdoor games.

At night, you can watch the starlit sky outside or light up the fireplace and tell funny stories inside.

You’ll Wake Up to Breathtaking Views

Imagine waking up to a view so majestic, you’ll want to keep it in your memory forever.

Well, you can! Staying in cabins in the Smokies can give you incredible views of the vast mountain range and unparalleled sunrise and sunset.

Listen to the birds singing, watch the breeze make the leaves tremble and breathe in crisp mountain air as you sip your morning tea or coffee.

Consider coming here in early October to mid-November to witness the fall foliage that’s unlike any other.

You’ll Save Money

Renting a mountain cabin in the Smokies is a true money-saver. It’s a lot cheaper than staying in a hotel. And well-equipped cabins have almost all the amenities offered by hotels.

Being cozy and comfortable while staying in cheap cabins is not only possible but also good for your budget. And you can use the money you save to prolong your stay or take a short trip to nearby places.

Many cabin rental companies offer money-saving deals and specials. You can get an extra night free of charge or win admission passes to attractions in the area.

Final Thoughts on Renting a Smoky Mountain Cabin

Staying in a quiet, cozy cabin in the Smoky Mountains for your family vacation will give you all the rest and relaxation you need.

Share this article with your friends and family and contact me if you have any questions or comments. I’d love to hear from you!

5 Smart Travel Tips for Your Next Family Roadtrip

smart travelDoes the idea of a road trip sound great in theory, but make you groan when you consider all the details? You’re not alone.

Family road trips often sound like an amazing opportunity for quality time and bonding. But the tenth cry of “she hit me” and repetition of the Wiggles soundtrack can quickly drive you crazy.

Luckily, we’ve got all the info you need to make your family road trip a success. Read on for some smart travel tips that’ll help you actually enjoy your next adventure.

Making the Most of Family Roadtrips

A road trip is a great way to travel as a family. You have the freedom to go wherever you want and can easily pull the car over for food and bathroom breaks. You’ll also get to explore parts of the country that you would miss if you were flying to your destination.

But it’s not all fun and games, and a road trip can quickly turn into a nightmare if you don’t prepare correctly. Here are some smart travel tips to get you started:

1. Do Your Research

The best thing you can do to make your trip go smoothly? Research. Get online and find where other parents drove, where they stayed, and the activities they recommend.

Speak to other parents and get suggestions for experiences or itineraries. Keep in mind the ages of your kids (and theirs) so you can ensure you’re getting the best advice for your situation.

2. Travel With Other Parents

What’s better than a road trip? A road trip with other parents and kids. The more people you travel with, the less likely you’ll hear “I’m bored” from your kids.

You’ll also be making decisions as a team, and can enjoy a well-earned glass of wine at the end of the day.

3. Drive Safe

Before you leave, it’s a good idea to get the car checked out. Whether you have a teeny Toyota or a handicap van, take it in for a service and check that everything is working as it should.

Before you leave, check the tires. You may also want to check the back seat to ensure all windows and doors have the child safety locks activated and there are no choking hazards back there.

4. Take Entertainment

There are now more ways to entertain your kids than ever before. But even the most prepared parent can still hear whining on a long drive.

The answer? Pack more options than you think you’ll need.

However you feel about screen time, most parents allow at least an hour or two on road trips. Here are some other great options:

  • Reading
  • Family podcasts
  • Games like “I Spy”
  • Audiobooks
  • Talking
  • Looking up information about the area
  • Listening to songs
  • Writing in journals

5. Take Frequent Breaks

If you’re close to your destination, it can be tempting to keep driving, even when the whole family is tired. Instead, avoid setting a strict schedule and play it by ear.

That means regularly taking breaks for snacks and the bathroom. Encourage the kids to run around (set up a quick game of tag or race around the car), and try to stretch your legs yourself.

Smart Travel is Sane Travel

A family road trip doesn’t need to be stressful. By following the above smart travel tips, you can enjoy spending time together as a family and see the sights without losing your sanity.

What are your top road trip tips? Leave a comment below and let us know! Then, check us out for more tips on thrifty living and more!

A Guide to Going on Vacation Overseas With the Family

going on vacationAre you thinking of heading overseas on a family vacation?

Taking the family overseas is a great way to bond as well as expose kids to a different culture.

Before you take off, however, there’s a lot of research and planning that needs to take place in order to have the best experience possible. Here are a few tips to ensure the whole family has fun the next time you’re going on vacation:

1. Make sure you have all paperwork ready

The first step is making sure you have all the documents you need for international travel. This typically includes proper identification, such as a passport.

When you’re traveling with the family, make sure everyone has what they need well in advance of your departure date.

Once you arrive at your destination, make sure all documents are stored safely so they’re not stolen or lost during your trip.

2. Research, research, research

This step should really be done before you even decide that you’re going on vacation. Researching where you’ll be is key to a successful trip, especially when traveling as a family.

First, make sure everywhere you’re planning to go is safe for a family. This might not always be obvious, so try to read reviews or consult a travel advice website before leaving.

Next, get a good idea of what you’ll want to do and activities, tourist attractions and restaurants that will be good for the whole family.

3. Plan out an itinerary

After you’ve done your research, you should be ready to build out your itinerary. It’s crucial to have an itinerary planned out well in advance to prevent surprises from popping up.

For example, make sure every restaurant you pick is family-friendly and that there will be menu items everyone can eat. Some restaurants around the world won’t be accommodating to certain diets or feature children’s menus.

4. Pick the best accommodations

When going on vacation as a family, picking the right hotel or other accommodations is key to having a great trip. First, make sure the hotel you’re looking at allows children.

Also, read reviews of the hotels online and do a special search for reviewers that stayed there with children. There’s often a lot to be learned from people who have already stayed there.

Reading reviews and looking at user photos is also key to getting an idea for how big the hotel rooms are and what amenities they have. Hotel rooms differ around the world and they might not be the size or have everything you’re used to at home.

If you’re craving more space and a more authentic vacation, you could also consider renting holiday homes. Renting a home in your destination often gives you more space for the family, as well as helps you assimilate into the culture and feel like a local.

5. Pack a survival kit before going on vacation

It’s always best to plan for the worst, especially when you’re traveling in unfamiliar territory. To do this, you’ll want a well-stocked backpack or purse to take around with you on your daily excursions.

Stock this pack with essential you know you’ll family will need, because you might not be able to pop into a store and buy them quickly. This can include things like diapers, batteries, a map, a bilingual dictionary, water bottle and more.

Do you have more tips for traveling with the family? Leave them in the comments below.