🎁 The Gift of Travel: The Who, What, Why and How 🎁

I love Christmas and am 1,000% on board with the joy of giving.

I also have 3 kids and know how the joy of giving can suck you (and your bank account) dry. You know the joy of giving I’m talking about..the one that leaves you weeping your last remaining tears in the PS4 aisle at Target because they are out of NBA19 and you needed just one more gift to even things out. 😢

This joyous feeling is what prompted me to rethink Christmas gifts for my kids a few years ago. I’m hoping I can save someone the agony of toys and items still sitting in boxes in February because you possibly bought things to buy them, not necessarily because they were wanted (no judging here, I still do it every year).

Here it is…give the gift of travel!

I know. I know you might be thinking that sounds complicated, out of your budget, and really difficult to wrap, right? 😉

No worries.. I have the answers.

The Who: Children are top of my list. We have given our kids large trips 2 out of the past 4 years and my kids STILL talk about them being their favorite gifts. Multi-generational family members are also a fantastic choice to receive a git of travel.

The What: Any trip from an overnight out of town to a cruise, an all-inclusive vacation, or Disney. Honestly, any trip that will allow you to make memories as a family, either big or small.

The Why: I’m going to say it, and I think as someone who has fallen into the deep pit -I mean joy- of giving, I think I can: the endless gifts and things are ALL TOO MUCH. Even now at 12 and 10 my kids lists are insane. They think Christmas is a free for all and nothing is off-limits to ask for. Yep. I’ll shoulder a good portion of the blame. We had great intentions before our kids were born and then that first year you become Santa all good intentions are shot to heck with your common sense and your Visa balance. Now, years later we’re working on backpedaling and changing how Christmas goes down around here. So back to the why. The why is simple: the stuff and the things do not last. Very few kids can remember what they received for Christmas by March. So, why not give an experience and memories that I PROMISE they will not forget.

The How: The how you give it is really up to you. We have given the gift of travel for Christmas two different ways.

The first time was a trip to Disney. The kids each received a few gifts and then they began opening Disney related items. For example, my daughter collects snow globes, so she got a Disney globe, they opened Disney socks, Disney notepads (I got at the Dollar Tree!) and a few other small things. They finally realized something was going on and asked if we were going to Disney. At that moment, the didn’t even care about the gifts they opened before they found out!

The second time was a cruise. The last gift the kids opened was a small box which began a scavenger hunt. Each box contained a large puzzle piece and once they had all the boxes they had to put the puzzle together to find out what the gift was. They had so much fun searching and assembling together! I just ordered a puzzle of a picture I created and came up with fun rhymes.

The physical HOW of booking and giving a trip is simple. Most people do not realize that you can book almost any trip with a deposit and make payments. So, now is the time to think about a trip for next Christmas. Speak with your travel agent (or me, if you don’t have one 😁), decide on a trip and book it! Pay on it all year and you will be ready for next year! We’re already planning our next one. 🏝

To wrap this all up, my kids STILL talk about our trips. On our cruise our kids got a glimpse into how people live in another country. A country where plugging in iPads isn’t top priority. It was a great experience for them and we had an amazing time. Our kids STILL talk about the cruise more than anything else. They will remember both of these trips forever. This is another reason multigenerational trips are a wonderful idea. Grandparents and grandchildren sharing experiences is the best gift you can give to everyone. 💗

Happy shopping!

Our Scavenger Hunt

5 Reasons You Should Give a Travel Agent a Try



You use a professional for your taxes, your car repairs, your hair so why aren’t you using a professional for your travel needs?

In this day and age with hundreds of websites full of travel information, discount deals and special offers constantly in front of us, people need the services of a travel professionals more than ever.

  1. They read the fine print and compare offers. There are a lot of deals  on the internet seem far too good to pass up and people wonder why the quote they received from an agent was higher. However, what they are missing is the small details from the discount website quote that makes it less expensive. For example, it is a lower category room, doesn’t include transportation to/from the airport, includes horrible flight times, etc. An reputable agent is trained to put together the best possible deal for you and include everything you need for a stress free trip.
  2. They are your personal vacation shoppers. One you have established a relationship with an agent, you become more than just a client. They will often keep you in mind if they come across a deal or a trip that you might be interested in.
  3. The Human Factor. Let’s face it, a discount internet site isn’t going to share you vacation excitement and have real interest in how your trip was when you return.
  4. They are the experts. Like your doctor or mechanic, a good agent will ask the right questions, listen to your answers and help to guide you to the best fit for your vacation time.
  5. They can manage both the product AND the service of your vacation. A travel agent knows how to sell you the vacation that fits your needs-the airline and resort, the cruise or the vacation closer to home. They also offer the service that will guarantee your vacation is stress free and goes off without a hitch.

The best way to find a reputable travel agent is to ask your friends and family. You might be surprised how many people actually use an agent for their travel needs!

So, the next time you’re thinking about a vacation, give a travel agent a try!


NEWS FLASH..Travel professionals are still a fantastic resource and you should use one.

Let me start out by saying we know all about them. Those not-so-secret sites that offer all the amazing travel deals and coupons for travel. 🤐

We also know that there are times that those sites can beat the prices we are able to find for you on that amazing all-inclusive vacation or the cruise to the Bahamas. You might think that it would pain me to type that they can sometimes beat my prices. But it doesn’t.

I swear It doesn’t bother me at all that those sites are out there. I’m the first person who loves a a great deal and I cannot fault anyone else who does too.

However, imagine this:  someone in your party has lost their passport or you are having a problem with your resort hotel room that is not being resolved on site. Then imagine yourself holding at an 800 number for 40 minutes to get in touch with a customer service representative to try and help you only to be told they offer you zero assistance once you have booked your trip. 😱

Now, I cannot tell you that every booking site works that way. What I CAN tell you is that if you feel strongly that you are going to book your once in a lifetime vacation through a discount site, that you know EXACTLY what kind of service will be offered to you should you run into a problem down the line. What if someone in your party should become ill and you need to return home in the middle of the trip? Can they help you with that? Did they offer you the option of travel insurance which would have taken care of the expenses associated with returning home suddenly? Or, will you be left high and dry and the $400 you saved by booking on your own suddenly seems like pennies when presented with a suitcase full of problems and nobody to help you carry it (do you like how I used the suitcase analogy there?) 💼

I want to cover just a few of the reasons why you should give a travel professional a chance.

  1. A LOT OF US ARE FREE. Yep. You read that correctly. Some people assume we must cost money for our time and you’re going to be writing a big, fat check to us for sending you on that cruise. I cannot speak for all agents because some do charge a fee, however most of us do not. We offer you our time and our expertise at ZERO charge to you. We search out the information on your perfect vacation, find the best deals, book it,  and handle any problems that arise while you are gone for the NOTHING. That’s not to say we do not get paid. We do. We all earn a commission from the hotels, the resorts or the cruise lines. You should know that he commission we earn from the suppliers is pretty standard across the board. Do not worry for a second that when we are offering you several resort options we are not swayed by the amount of money we would make. Our suggestions are based on YOUR personal and specific needs and requests. NEVER by any amount of money we would make.
  2. I WANT YOU TO GET A GREAT DEAL. Yep. You read that one correctly, too. If you find that amazing Internet deal, bring it to me. I’d be happy to look  it over and validate what they’re offering. I’d also like the option to see if I can match that price, find you a better deal or get you a few extra goodies that you aren’t going to get booking on your own. See…I’m not anti Internet deals at all!
  3. YOUR FAMILY WILL PUT YOU IN THE LOONY BIN. By this one I’m talking about planning that big multi-generational family trip to Disney World or on a cruise. You have to keep everyone happy from Grandma down to Baby Timmy. I’ve been there. I planned two Disney trips with both sides of my extended family- one trip was 17 people. Do you know how difficult it can be to keep 17 people happy? I hope you do not. It can be difficult to be impartial about plans- or make people believe you are impartial about plans- if you are part of the group. This is where a travel professional can come in. I can provide the information about why that knitters retreat might not be the best option for everyone and tell her that I found a great cruise that will have a knitting group on board. Essentially, I can help make everyone happy.
  4. DISNEY WORLD. For so many families a trip to Disney World is a once in a lifetime experience. You only see Disney through your kids eyes for the first time once and you want to make it as magical as you can. want it to be as magical for you as it can be. Book Disney with someone who knows the ins and outs of the most magical place on earth. Travel professionals that book Disney know how many days in advance you can make dining reservations, we can recommend the restaurants with the best character meet and greets, we can hep you with your Fast Passes, rand recommend the resorts that would be the best fit for your family.

❤I do what I do because I love sending families on an amazing adventure. ❤An adventure that will create memories they will carry with them forever. Every vacation I book for someone feels like MY vacation. I take your good time personally. Can one of those vacation sites do that…..😉

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!