Do you collect items when you travel? 

I have always been a bit jealous of people who collected things. I always remember wishing I was a collector of something.  (I should have been a bit clearer with my wish. Enter “be careful what you wish for”. As a mom I feel like I now collect dirty laundry 😒). I tried stickers when I was a kid and that was as far as I ever got. I seemed to lose interest pretty quickly (admittedly, I feel the same way about the dirty laundry 🙄)

Over the years my husband and I would pick up items on our various travels. I believe I have a shoe box of shot glasses from various trips packed away somewhere from our pre-kid jaunts. We didn’t make it a point to collect them and have some large collection of shot glasses-getting them just seemed necessary  natural in our late 20’s. 😇

I love that my (almost) 10 year old daughter took it upon herself to start collecting something (my inner 9 year old who couldn’t manage to collect anything is a bit miffed about this 😖). We got her a giant Belle snow/water globe before a trip to Disney a few years ago and that was it. She then had to have them for every holiday and from places we traveled. Much like our stickers, it’s fun for her (and for us) to find them.

 

a portion of her collection

 

A couple of years ago we ended up getting one of those hard shell luggage carriers for the top of our van (see my previous post on that carrier 😖) and BAM! We became collectors of travel stickers for it (the 7 year old in me loves this! 👧🏼). Everywhere we go, we find ourselves trying to ferret out the neatest stickers to slap up on it! It is something that we enjoy doing and it often can take us off the beaten patch to locate a small shop or store that actually sells them-and that has become part of the fun!

We only use the carrier a couple of times a year, but we search for the stickers all year long.  There is something so great about pulling the carrier out and talking about where we got the stickers, how we found the place we got them, and remembering our various trips.

I know someone who collects Christmas tree ornaments and another who collects to magnets. In the end, it doesn’t matter what you collect-the fun in collecting is the memories your collections bring back to you!

Do you collect anything travel specific?

☀️Heather

Travel Tip Tuesday # 2: Duct Tape

Yepper. You read that right. Duct tape. You should NEVER travel without it. That’s right, I said it. NEVER. Don’t ever do it.  💪🏼

I’ll start by telling you our personal Frogger story about and the moment I realized why it’s a must have and we’ll move on from there. 😬

If you follow my Facebook page (insert shameless plug: Five Sandals Travel), you might already know what story I am going to tell you, but humor me and follow along. 

Picture it: G5 was all packed up and on our way to Florida for Spring Break. We have one of those hard shell turtle type carriers for the roof. My husband always puts bungee cords over it even though it latches. It was SUPER WINDY, but we were happily traveling down the highway (this happiness credit can pretty much be given to Dodge for having a plug in the van, Roku for working in the van, Netflix and Verizon for my hotspot 😍😍). I happened to be driving and looked out my mirror and thought “that sucks, someone just lost a big, blue bag.” A few seconds later I looked up and said (well, I cannot say what I actually said 😳 so I’ll translate it) “that was a softball glove and a softball!-OUR SOFTBALL AND GLOVE!” 

Ultimately, our latch was a bit loose on the carrier p, and it was so windy, that the latch actually BLEW OFF the carrier!!! Thank GOODNESS my husband also bungeed the carrier closed (points for G1)  However, it was flapping open a bit and stuff was being sucked out!! 

We had just bought that stinking $80 softball glove for my daughter, so we went back to look for it! There was my husband, crossing 3 lanes of traffic to get the glove (kids, do NOT try that 💪🏼) -and we got it! We ended up stopping at a gas station because I broke Traveling Tip # 2 and did not have duct tape. 😖 I will never make that mistake again. 

That lovely, silver roll of duct tape held the carrier shut for the 1,000 remaining miles of our trip. ❤️

 

Duct tape will fix anything, and if it won’t-you’re not using enough!
 
In addition to keeping my carrier closed at 75 mph for 1,000 miles, there are a gazillion other uses for duct tape when traveling. Let’s list a few:

1. Band aids.  No kidding! In a pinch, you could wrap a Dunkin Donuts napkin (I know you have a giant stash of those and straws in your glove compartment-we all do) around a finger or over a cut and secure it with duct tape. 

2. Fix any hole.  Slap a piece over a hole in a back pack, suitcase, jacket-pretty much anything. 

3. Fix a hem.  You’re heading out to dinner and realize the hem on your skirt or pants is hanging. Cut a small piece of tape and tape it back up.  Wa-lah! 

4. Make your luggage unique.  Use one of those fancy rolls of duct tape and fold it in half and put it through the handle of your suitcase, or put a piece across the front. 

5. Hide your loot. Use duct tape to hide your money, passport, keys, etc. under furniture or under a cabinet in a hotel room.

6. Receipt holder.  I use this for random things at home and took it on vacation with us. I picked up a coupon holder at the Dollar Tree and grabbed a roll of matching duct tape. I prettied up the coupon holder and I then used it to keep track of receipts for gas, food, activities-basically anything we swiped our cards for. It worked beautifully to keep us organized! 

$2 receipt/ money holder

So, see, I wasn’t kidding! You really need duct tape for traveling. It’s uses are only limited by your imagination (and desperation level 😂) 

If you’ve used it while traveling, comment and let us know what you’ve used duct tape for!

☀️Heather 

Stand Up Paddle Boarding-Get your family out there!

Stand up paddle boarding is currently number one on my bucket this for this summer and I thought that maybe it should be on yours, too. 😬

What is stand up paddle boarding and what makes it different from just plain ol’ paddle boarding, you ask? (Or maybe you didn’t ask, or even know there WAS a difference) 

Paddle boarding is done while you remain KNEELING on the board and use your arms to propel yourself. 

Stand up Paddle Boarding is done while you are STANDING on the board and you use a paddle to move yourself through the water. 

One would think that because I have a tendency to keep my toes firmly planted on the Lazy Line, I’d be more interested in traditional paddle boarding so I wouldn’t have to stand up (😂). However, for some reason I’m definitely drawn to the idea of standing up!

I think the great thing about stand up paddle boarding is that ANYONE CAN DO IT-children and dogs are doing it. No. Really-just look!

  
The fact that this is an activity that you can do is a family is something I love about SUP (I decided that writing this allowed me to use the acronym 😉). I’m always looking for something that G5 can do together. I’m ALL about making memories-those are the best part of any trip! 

The other thing that makes this a great family activity is that you can do any place there is water. SUP is not limited to the ocean. If you can kayak somewhere, odds are you can SUP there: lakes, rivers, the ocean, in the city our off the beaten path.

  

I also just discovered that SUP Yoga is a thing. Yep. You read that right. Yoga on your stand up paddle board. It’s actually offered in a lot of locations (even where I live in Upstate NY 😱)

  

I cannot provide links to all places that offer SUP (the laundry will not do itself (I know. I’ve waited before ☹️)), but here are some places to check out if your family is in the area!

Binghamton, NY: Southern Tier Stand Up Paddle 

Tampa, FL: Tampa Bay SUP

Myrtle Beach, SC: Express Water Sports

New Hampshire: Stand Up Paddle Board New Hampshire

South Florida: South Florida Paddle

San Diego, CA: Isle Surf & SUP

If you have experience trying SUP, I’d love to hear about it! Once I’m Ble to try it, I’ll be sure to let you know how it went!

So, get out there and try something new with your family. Even if you never do it again, trying something together as a family is what it is all about. ☺️

☀️Heather 

P.S.  None of these images are mine and could very well be copywriten by SOMEONE, I just have zero idea who!

Where to go Wednesday: Family Cruise 

Don’t be afraid. 

I promise that I am not proposing a family vacation that will require you to leave your first born behind as payment for your trip (unless you have a hormonal teenager that you would LIKE to leave behind 😁).

Most people believe that cruises are far too expensive for a family vacation. However, most people like to poo-poo anything they don’t understand. 😒

Let’s breakdown a cruise and see what you get for your hard earned dollars. 

I chose a 7 day Eastern Carribean cruise for a family of 4, out of Miami, leaving on July 9th in a balcony room. You would visit the Bahamas, St. Thomas USVI, San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Grand Turk. You also get to spend two full days at sea exploring your amazing floating city!

Food: For those 7 days all of your food is “free” (Free: meaning included in your fare-nothing in life is truly free! 🍷🍸🍻are also not included). You can eat all day and all night.  ***let’s put a number on this. A family of 4 who needs 3 meals a day for 7 days could easily cost $910 (average $30 for breakfast, $40 for lunch and $60 for dinner)***

Entertainment: Ships are LOADED with everything from giant water slides and outdoor movies on ginormous screens by the pool to miniature golf. Casinos, spas, pools (both family AND adult only so you can get a bit of time alone with your one and only 😉)..the list is endless! And, let’s use that “F” word again-it’s all FREE (except for spa services). Seriously. How could anyone say it wouldn’t be amazing to spend a week with your family making memories like these?! The ships also have amazing clubs for kids to spend time in while onboard. This is when they adult only pool I mentioned would be a good time to check out. 😍  ***this one is a bit more difficult to put a number on. If we figure $60 a day (4 people x $15 to play mini golf is $60) we’d land around $420***

  
 Shore Activities: What your family decides to do at the various ports of call is TOTALLY up to you. You can go to the beach, see the sights-the things to do are endless  and the amount of money you spend would also be up to you.  ***this is another shot in the dark. Let’s equate it to extra activities and souvenirs. I’m going to throw out $200 (which is prob too cheap- I know what my family of 5 can spend on entertainment and activities when we’re on vacation 💸💸💸💸💸)***

Getting to the ship: Ok. There is a catch to cruising. 😖 Getting to the port is an expense that is not part of the fare. That having been said, if you live on the east coast, there is probably a port within 6 hours of where you live. Most people  do not realize you can cruise out of New York City, NJ, Baltimore, Norfolk, Charleston, Port Caneveral, Miami and Tampa. So, save the airfare and take a road trip to the port! 

Hotel: I came up with an average for an ocean front room for 4 people. That amount was $360.43/night. So. Over 7 days, that’s a total of $2,520 

I know by now you’re thinking “good GRIEF Heather-what’s the bottom line!”  Here it is. 

This cruise I mentioned above would cost $3771.88

The comparison (I use that term loosely) adds up to $4,050. That actually makes the cruise potentially LESS expensive than a week at the beach. 

So, see! You CAN consider cruising with your family and make amazing memories!!! 

We have 271 days until our family cruise, how long until yours?! 😉

☀️ Heather 
  
P.S. All images are probably copywriten and belong to Carnival 

Travel Tip Tuesday #1:Canvas Bags

I am a HUGE lover of tips, tricks, hacks..basically anything that will make my life easier. Or less messy. Ok. Mostly less messy. Either way, the travel tip I’m sharing today falls into both of those categories (it’s like getting 3 🍒🍒🍒 on the Travel Tip slot machine).

As I said previously, we do a TON of traveling by car (actually, by van) and I am constantly looking for a way to keep the kids things organized and off the floor. I also want their items to be easily accessible to THEM. I emphasis “them” because I do not want to be crawling around looking for headphones, pens, gum, action figures..well, you get the point.

Now, I’m sure I did not invent this idea and I’m not taking any kind of credit for being the first person to do it (if I am, let me know. Maybe I’ll market them and charge far too much money for something people can make themselves 😂) I just don’t know anyone who has done it, so I’m hoping it will be a new idea to you!

And once you look at the picture, it will be obvious that I am not a person who spends a lot of time crafting 😳. For me, it was more about getting my hands on something quickly that would do the job.

I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted for a bag and I was short on time, so I ended up with CVS canvas reusable shopping bags. I turned them inside out and wrote each of my kids’ names on their bag. You could certainly let your kids go to town and decorate their own!

The bags will hang around the headrest of the seat in front of them. The kids are able to keep their Kindles, headphones, books or any other items they need for traveling in there. They will even slips their shoes in if we’re traveling a super long distance so they aren’t fumbling for them on the floor.

These bags have really been life savers on our road trips and I hope they will be for you, too!

☀️Heather