Posts Tagged ‘Travel’

What You Should Pack For a Beach Vacation

We’re getting ready to head to Grand Cayman for my husband’s work.  We’ve been there 4 times, but always with our kids.  This time we’re going by ourselves. We know the area well and know some of the fun things to do there. We are excited to be going back to a place we’re so familiar. We’re hoping for a little rest and relaxation and also to see things we may have missed on other trips. I’m going to show you a couple things I’m packing so if you have a a trip coming up this summer you can get some ideas of what you should pack for a beach vacation.

Check out these tips and tricks for traveling out of the country on a beach vacation.

Packing for A Beach Vacation

Clothes- Clothing is probably the first thing you start with and how you determine the vibe of the trip.  You have to think is this going to be casual and a resort feel or a more formal and business like attire and then go from there.  For us, we will have several dinners we have to attend so I know I have to dress up for those. The rest of the trip I will mainly dress in resort, casual attire since it is a resort type atmosphere.  Don’t over pack. Pack only what you need and maybe an outfit or 2 more for emergencies.  Remember, you have to carry all of this, wash it, and put it away when you get home.  Take only what is necessary. You will thank me the day you return.

If you’re not sure what the dress code is for dinners, look online or call the hotel ahead of time.  They are glad to tell you the dress code.  They want your business.  It is better to be prepared then to get there and have the wrong clothing.

Toiletries–  I try to pack the least amount as possible.  I pack the bare minimum in make up, hair supplies, and skin care as possible.  Remember the hotel will have things like hair dryers, shampoos, and lotions. This will save space if you can eliminate having to take those items. However, you MUST have sunscreen.  Even take more than you think you will need.  It is very expensive at the hotel. If you are going out of the country the sun’s rays are coming in directly instead of at an angle like we’re used to in the United States. You will  get way more sun than you’re used to and at a quicker rate.  We’ve run out before and I would never be unprepared again. We can only use one type of sunscreen with our sensitive skin and they didn’t have it so we broke out on top of also getting a sunburn.  NOT a fun rest of the trip. 

Miscellaneous– You will want to take things like jewelry, your computer, kindle, and, camera.  Just remember that if you put these things in your carry on it will become super heavy.  One time my carry on and purse together weighed 25 plus pounds.  I stopped taking my big computer and just took my iPad so it wasn’t as heavy.  That way I could use that as my computer, music source and kindle app.  Total space saver.  Think smart when you travel. You don’t want to put things like medicine, jewelry, or a camera in your luggage so you must put them in your carry on.  Remember your chargers for all your devices you take and even extra chargers if you have them.

Check out these tips and tricks for traveling out of the country on a beach vacation.

Packing Tricks

  •  Make a list of items you’re taking a couple days before you leave so you can leisurely prepare.
  • Write your list starting from your morning routine all the way to what you do each night.  That way you won’t miss any important items to take.  ie medicines, inhaler, epipen, supplies).
  • Put your shoes in a shower cap or travel bag so they don’t get the rest of your clothes dirty.
  • Make sure you know travel rules before you leave.  Be aware if  a passport is needed and what you can carry on a plane.
  • We like to check in at least an hour and a half early for domestic flights and 2 hours for international flights. To be safe, ask each airport what their guidelines are.
  • Check the night before to make sure there haven’t been any delays or changes with your flight.  Do this again in the morning.
  • Print out all hotel confirmations so they are easy to produce if there is a problem at the hotel.
  • Give each person in the group a little money in case the head person on your trip loses their wallet or unfortunately gets robbed. That way you will have a little emergency cash from the others in your group.

Check out these tips and tricks for traveling out of the country on a beach vacation.

Are you going on any fun trips this summer with your family or friends?  I would love to hear about your travel plans and some of your tips as well.  Any Grand Cayman fans?  Would love to know the things you enjoy doing there as well.

Yours Truly,

Jenn

A Surprise Ending to My Travel Plans

If you read my latest post of, Put Your Hands Together For..…you may know that I am currently on vacation.  However, you probably don’t know my exact travel plans.  Well, I would like to fill you in a little bit. I am in a Springhill Suites Marriott typing this post while at this very moment my daughter and her best friend are meeting Peyton Meyer (From the show Girl Meets world).  So I’m sure you want to know the rest of this story and how this all came about.

My daughter, Taylor, is into acting and wanted to attend an acting camp called Broadway Break Thru in Newtown, PA.  To be honest, I wasn’t familiar with this part of PA or the camp.  So we looked into it and decided she could attend.  However, this camp is not an overnight camp.  So we would need to drop her at the camp during the day from 9-5 and stay in a hotel Sunday-Saturday.  I researched this town and decided to stay in a neighboring town called Ewing, NJ.

The camp is led by brilliant teachers who are all known in the world of acting. Of course the day they got to meet Peyton Meyer was one of their favorites.  They took a master class taught by him and then had a meet and greet session with him where they got to take pictures and get his autograph.

While they attended camp this left me from Monday-Saturday 9-5 in a hotel with nothing much to do.  I came prepared knowing this would just be a working week for me.  I brought 5 books to catch up on all my reading. I also brought tons of notebooks and organizational stuff to get my blog on track since I would be on vacation the following week.  I figured when they came to clean my room I would take the opportunity to go workout and then back to the grind.

Well….The week started out that way. Of course I read 3 of the books and got a lot done with my blog, but what I didn’t think would happen is how I found these towns so quaint.  I really wanted to get out and explore them and find cute shops and what these towns really had to offer. The town the camp was in and the town we stayed in were very similar to where I live.  It is very busy during the day with lots of traffic and businesses around.  However, there are also places that are still quite rural in certain parts.

I was really proud of myself for venturing out and finding things to do.  Normally if I’m by myself I would have stayed in the room and just worked the whole time.  So my daughter and I both tried new things this week.

We toured Princeton University Founded in 1746. What a beautiful campus.  This was the girl’s first college tour so of course I was excited and sad at the same time. I know lots of you are feeling the same way since this past weekend was when most freshmen went off to college.

Princeton Campus

Beautiful campus building in Princeton

Princeton Campus tour

Princeton Campus Tour

Church in NJ

Gorgeous Church in Princeton, NJ

I saw the cutest Starbucks I’ve ever seen.

Campus Starbucks

Cutest Campus starbucks Ever

To top it off, I got to see my daughter and her friend perform on Saturday in the big performance.  Then another road trip home Saturday afternoon with two great girls.  We created memories that will last a lifetime and I’m so glad I spent this week in Newtown, PA and Ewing, NJ.

Taylor and Cassidy

Taylor and Cassidy

Big performance

Night before the big Performance

If you want some info on Broadway Break Thru they are already signing up for next year’s summer camps.  Our girls learned so much and got to audition twice during the week for NY casting directors.  Please comment below about your latest summer trips.  I would love to hear about them.

Yours Truly,

Jenn

 

 

 

 

 

My Favorite Places in NYC

Welcome to New York, Its been waiting for you. Boy do I love a long weekend trip to New York.  It’s only a 45 minute flight from our house and you feel like you’re in a whole new world when you arrive.  My family loves to shop and spend quality time together while we’re there.  This blog will show you ten of my favorite places to visit when I’m in the city.  We’ve been numerous times so some of these stops are my old faves. The other places I chose for people who have been to NY a few times and are looking for some other things to do while you’re there.

Times Square

You can’t visit New York without going to Times Square.  You want to hit the shops (especially at night) and see all the televisions and billboards all lit up. Of course, there are tons of people and street performers day and night.  Try to get a glimpse of the Naked Cowboy while you’re there.  Some great shops to hit are Sephora, Footlocker, A four story Forever 21, and the huge Toys R Us.  They have an actual ferris wheel inside the store.  Your kids will love you if you stop by and let them grab a bag of candy or baked goods and let them ride the ferris wheel.

Times Square

Times Square is so magical and some of my favorite places to shop.

 Broadway Show

New York is known for wonderful shows.  I have seen Lion King twice, Stomp, Wicked, Rockettes, and  Aladdin.  All were phenomenal and I would strongly recommend them all. In order to get the best seats, I would purchase tickets as soon as you lock down your travel plans. The newer shows can sell out months in advance.  If price is a concern, consider a matinee.

Lion King

I’ve seen The Lion King twice and it never gets old.

Brooklyn Bridge

I was so excited to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge.  I have been to NY ten times before I did this and I’m so glad I did. It’s one of the oldest suspended bridges in the United States.  This bridge connects Manhattan with Brooklyn. You can see so much of the city from the bridge.  If you’re down near the financial district consider doing this as one of your MUST DO activities.

Juniors

OMG!!! My family loves Juniors.  No matter if you’re hungry for Breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert; Juniors will be the right choice.  They have amazing food for the right price.  Of course, they are famous for their cheesecakes and YES they are amazing.   We have eaten there every time we have visited and we have sampled all the courses.  My husband loves to get the omlette.  The restaurant we eat at is across from the Marriott Marquis in Times Square.

Juniors

You have to stop by Juniors for a cheesecake or a quick bite to eat.

Century 21

I’m about to tell you one of the best kept secrets in NY.  Century 21 is a 4 story clothing store that has name brands at discount prices. You can find clothing, jewelry, make up, purses, shoes, baby items, and men’s clothing for amazing prices.  The men’s department is very organized, but sometimes you have to pick through the women’s sections to find a good deal.  However, it is worth it.  No matter what our plans are; we always carve out a couple hours to hit this store before we leave.

Central Park

Central park is such a NY landmark.  This huge park has 843 acres of land to enjoy.  We stayed in the Ritz Carlton which is right across from central park.  My daughter and I walked every morning in the park.  Central park has such a family atmosphere and was so peaceful.  There is also a tiny carousel and a few rides as well as horse drawn carriage rides that will take you on a tour of the park. When we were there a family was having professional portraits taken in the park.  I thought that was a great idea!

Central Park

My daughter and I loved walking in central park.

Top of the Rock

Top of the Rock is a 3 level observation deck on the 67th, 69th and 70th floors of Rockefeller Plaza.  Some say this 55,000 square foot deck has a better view of the big apple than the empire state building.  You can purchase tickets for this online.  You can also see this included as part of some tours of NY.

5th Avenue Shopping

This street has been said to be the most expensive street in retail.  This street includes the most prestigious stores with the most expensive brands. It is often portrayed in movies for the most exclusive clients. Even if you’re just window shopping, try to go in Tiffany’s and one of my favorites, Bergdorf Goodmans.  They always have the store so beautifully decorated.  Especially at Christmas.  You can also find Louis Vuitton, YSL, Chanel, Prada, Burberry and numerous other stores.

Louis Vuitton.

This window display at Louis Vuitton was one of our favorites on 5th Avenue.

Magnolia Bakery

Magnolia Bakery is an international bakery that also has an online store.  Every time I have passed by this bakery it has massive lines wrapped around the block.  I don’t really like cupcakes that much and I LOVE theirs.  They have daily fresh baked goods such as cookies, cupcakes, brownies, gift packages and seasonal products.  If you have a little time, stop in and check out their goodies!

Magnolia Bakery

If you’re looking for something sweet, stop by Magnolia Bakery.

Rockefeller Center

We all know Rockefeller Center is known for the huge Christmas tree we all look forward to seeing in late November.  I’m sure you have also seen the ice skating rink they display in the winter.  These are the things Rockefeller center is most famous for. Right now there are a bunch of tables where you can eat under the umbrellas. The shopping is really great around this area with lots of great places to eat as well.

Rockefeller Center

You can’t miss stopping by Rockefeller Center. The shopping and restaurants are amazing.

I hope you have the opportunity to visit NY.  Christmas is my favorite time to go just because the city is so magical that time of year with all the decorations.  However, that is the most expensive time to go.  I would say May is another great time to go.  The weather is great and you’re past the spring break prices.  Please leave comments and tell me what places you like to visit in NY.

Yours Truly,

Jenn

 

Best Ways to Use your Phone Internationally

Spring break is coming up for many families and lots of you may be taking a trip out of the country.  Of course you think to take your passport and clothes, but do you think ahead to how you will stay in touch with the people back home? You’re on vacation enjoying yourself, but you want to talk to your family and send them that picture of you zip lining through the rain forest.  What is the best way to do this without costing you an arm and leg?

The first thing to do is check with your provider as to what your plan offers in terms of international status.  DO THIS BEFORE YOU LEAVE ON YOUR TRIP. You may have more than you think (or less).  Once you know what you have on your plan, then you can start searching for the best ways to use your phone to contact people back home.

cell phone use

What is the the best way to contact people back home?

If you don’t have an international plan here are some Apps you can keep in mind to use when you’re out of the country. This is just an Overview so always check on them in depth before using them and make sure you have spoken with your provider prior to leaving the country.

  • VIBER- Send free messages, free calls, and video calls on any device and network in any country. Finds friends. However Viber crunches through your data plan.
  • FRING-This one is for iPhone and android. This is used for buddy messaging and video chatting up to 4 people.
  • WHAT’s UP-Free for the first year and $0.99 after that. Works on iPhone, android, blackberry, Nokia etc… This is for texting, attaching pictures, audio clips, emojis, Can only text people who have this app- Glorified chat option that uses the data plan.
  • REBTEL 2.0-International texting App  for iphone . Save 60% when used on international texting.  Creates a local # to route text through. You’re charged by your local carrier for a local text depending on your plan.

Some other things you may want to look into are local SIMS cards and google voice.  These just give you a starting point to research prior to you leaving the country.  Always know how you’re going to stay in to with your family back home before you leave.

If you are going on vacation soon, I hope you have safe travels and an amazing, relaxing time with your family or friends.  Hopefully this post will give you something to think about when you’re looking for phone options.

Yours Truly,

Jenn