Travel Tips: Family Getaway

For a recent family getaway, we went to Las Vegas for two nights.  We enjoyed a wonderful time, and I will detail our activities in a future post.  But today, I wish to share with you some of my travel tips.  This is not a sponsored post- no one is paying me to talk up their products.  Just a couple of tips and tricks I have picked up along my journey.  I am a strong believer in “paying it forward-” and I hope my experience may help you plan your own fabulous vacations!

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Eiffel Tower, Paris, Las Vegas

 

We packed for all four of us for two nights.  Happily everything fit in one big suitcase. (Always pack your medications in your carry on.) Basically we packed two day outfits for each person, plus pajamas, underwear and bathing suits.  Everyone wears tennis shoes on the plane, and we pack flip flops for swimming. For myself, I packed an extra dress and flats, because I like to dress up if we are going to see a show.  My daughter wore cute skorts that were comfortable in the day and pretty for evening.  My husband and son wore khaki shorts and a polo shirt or t shirt.  We were in Las Vegas, after all!  Where is was no less than 105* F.

When I am in a hot, humid location, I prefer to use liquid makeup.  I find this keeps my skin moisturized and not itchy. I use liquid foundation and concealer, as well as liquid lipstick.  A tube of lipstick can melt.  A liquid lipstick tube with applicator fits the bill.  I also bring along these Almay Q-tip eye make-up removers for touch ups.  When traveling, I bring eye shadow crayons, like these double sided ones I found on Avon (similar here).  They are super convenient! Six colors on 3 sticks and I can do “Sunset Eyes.” sunset eyes Read more about my travel make-up case (and other tips!) here in my post “Cruisin’ 101”

The best tip I have for you is to bring along these microfiber towels.  You can find them in Target, or on Amazon. I hold them one at time under the faucet to fill it with water.  Then you must really wring it out.  A quick “snap” and you are ready to go.  Wear around the neck for instant cooling sensation.  So important when we are traveling in the hot summer.  If you can keep cool, you can keep your wits about you- am I right?

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Cool Kids

Here is an awesome bag I found on the internet last year. It is called Not-a-bag and it folds into itself for easy storage, then opens up to a regular tote bag, or you can pull the straps through to turn it into a back pack. 25 Euro and worth it.  I pack it in my airplane carry-on, just in case. It is perfect for when you are walking down the Strip.  Sometimes places do not allow backpacks for security reasons (sport arenas), and so this is convenient alternative.

One more thing- I love to read but I did NOT bring a book this time. I had finished my “vacation” book the week prior, because it was so good!  And the next book I wanted to read was a big and heavy paperback.  So I downloaded the free sample from Amazon Kindle (usually 1-3 chapters) and brought a magazine.  #PackLight

I will detail our travels in a separate post, but for now, let me share with you that in Vegas, I prefer taxiing versus using Uber.  Uber is only very slightly lower in price, but the designated pickup spots are NOT at the front of the hotels.  They are in weird locations such as the parking garage, 3rd floor. If you are in Vegas without a car, you don’t want to even enter a parking garage.  For that reason it’s so much easier and more convenient to just take the cab.

Finally I want to underline the importance of planning.  Do your research before.  Think about what you want to see and do, and mock up an itinerary. I used minitime.com for this trip. I am so glad I did, because I found out that a couple restaurants we wanted to revisit had since closed.  Understand that you may need to be flexible.  Things happen.  And in a taxi town, everything takes longer to get to than you think.

Tune in next time to see what we did!

What are your favorite travel tips?

 

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My Alaskan Cruise: Day 1

My family has been so fortunate to enjoy some fun family vacations at some spectacular destinations.  I am so grateful for these opportunities.  It is my hope that  writing about them will encourage some of you to get out there and plan your own dream vacations! 

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Can you tell we’re related? ❤

We began the morning already happily packed. This is one of the times my creative brain works very well with my logical side and I can Plan, to Have Fun. May I say, I’ve got packing down. Four outfits,  three pairs of shoes, carry-ons. See my recent post on packing necessities. 

 

For some reason, we had decided to pack two large bags for the family, and check them this time. Upon checking in, we observed that the checked luggage was piled near the area, and we saw one of our bags get on but not the other.  So we hovered and watched about twenty bags go through the queue, before they got to our second bag.

Turns out, that second bag never made it on our flight!  There was a similar-looking suitcase spinning on the carousel, and I thought maybe someone had taken mine, instead.  This was the larger suitcase containing all clothes and shoes for myself and my daughter, as well as our toiletries and borrowed binoculars.  My hubby tells me he added his own toiletries and medications to our bag. too.  Great. Our airline offers $600 if it is lost, but there remains a possibility it could arrive on the next flight which arrives in two hours.  They ask me what uncommon or easily identifiable objects might be inside, in case they need to open it. The first unique item that comes to my mind is my romance novel paperback!

I tell my hubby I think we should take the $600.  I can go to Target or Walmart and shop.  We cannot wait until 2pm to go shopping, because we have to be at the pier by 2:30pm.  So we decide to do this: I take a taxicab to the nearest Target and begin shopping.  Meanwhile, my kids and hubby wait at baggage claim.  Fortunately, I had made sandwiches for everyone, and the kids enjoy those while hubby calls his doctor’s office to see what happens if he doesn’t take his meds for a week.  If the next flight arrives and our bag is not on it, then I purchase.  If our bag arrives, then I just abandon my cart.

I happily sail through the girls and shoes departments throwing items in my cart. This part is very easy, actually, as I’ve now memorized my packing plan and I know what items are needed, and there are many 4th of July sales/ clearance items, as well.  Perusing through Women’s is much less fun, however. I quickly decide just to abstain from swimming and not even buy a swimsuit.  I have to dig deep and search for a black sundress which could double as “formal” night wear.  Four tee shirts, two skirts, one pants, one shorts, all complementary colors per capsule wardrobing.  Darnit, my beloved reversible necklaces are in my suitcase!  I need to buy three bras, jammies, underwear, socks, jewelry for me and hair accessories for my daughter, the whole kit and caboodle.  It’s not completely overwhelming, as I’ve still got my wits about me.  But it is less fun, now. The whole time I am thinking: Thank God I had the sense to keep my anxiety meds in my backpack! I’ve just sailed through health and toothbrushes when my hubby calls with good news:  our bag arrived!  I purchase only a few items and run outside to wait for my family.

Their taxi arrives and I eat my sandwich in the cab.  We are on the phone with the cruiseline, saying we can see the boat from our taxi, we are only 2 miles away.  They say, fine, as long as you are here by 3:30 for the 4pm departure.  And here we were rushing to get there by 2:30 per their instructions.  We meet our family on the pier and check in together.

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Boarding the Explorer of the Seas

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Hubba Hubba!

I’ve brought lanyards for my kid’s Sea Pass Cards, which are our ID’s, room keys, and charge cards while we are on the cruise. Hubby says, “Do I get one of those?”  Uh, no, as you are not a kid. LOL.  Our Jr. Suite is every bit worth the upgrade we paid!  We have a balcony and a walk-in closet, more shelving and drawers than we know what to do with, but most of all, all this space to walk around in the room! Last summer we were in a regular Balcony room, and it was tight quarters.  (We learned to upgrade to a Jr. Suite  when we sailed to Mexico earlier this spring.)  Our nephew is visibly and vocally jealous. I almost feel bad telling them about the walk-in closet.  The closet is really handy though, as it also serves as a private dressing area, which is nice when you are travelling with family. One time, when we were just hanging out in the room, I looked up at the kids and said, Where’s Daddy? They said, In the closet!  (The rocking of the boat had shut the door on him.)  Here are some pics I found online of our Jr. Suite. Beds View Desks View

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Panoramic View from our balcony

We are all starving, so our Party of Nine checks out the Windjammer Café (buffet).  We all decided to go back for seconds and call it our dinner.  Exploring the ship is really fun, there are so many more activities than we are used to.  Arcade, Ping pong, rock wall, mini-golf, and surf simulator.  It’s too cold to surf or golf, though.  My 8 year old daughter proudly carries her notebook wherever we go and takes notes for her daily journal entry.  We end up at the Theater and enjoy a welcome production show including singers, dancers, live musicians, and a comedian.  The Cruise Director is also extremely entertaining. It’s like he is a comedian, too.

We begin our bedtime routine although it is still sunny outside.  Sunset will be at 10:30pm!  The blackout curtains overlap, so its all good.  The boat is rocking, gently, well, moderately.  But I love it.  We are on a boat.

Tomorrow is our first day at sea.  I can’t wait to explore the ship even more!  Plus, it will be Formal Night, which is always fun.

 

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making friends wherever she goes!  a crewmember brought her chocolate milk.