Posts Tagged With: summer

Summer Travel Safety 101

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Exploring a new town, city, or country can be an exciting time. It can also be a time of unknown, wondering what could happen and whether your new location will be safe. However, there are several ways to ensure your travels are safe, while still having a memorable time.

Leave an itinerary and emergency contact: Before leaving for your trip, leave your itinerary and contact information with a trusted friend or family member. Your itinerary doesn’t have to be down to every detail, but give them the basics as to where you’ll be and when. Try to check in with them often, so that in case something does happen, they can contact authorities.

Choose your transportation wisely: Research transportation companies and their safety records before starting out, especially if you are traveling abroad. Avoid less-safe vehicles by making sure your mode of transport is in good condition and has working seat belts. According to the World Health Organization, the number one death for U.S. citizens abroad are motor vehicle crashes.

Secure your items and leave valuables at home: It is very important to secure your luggage, money, and other items when traveling. Keep your valuables, such as laptop, jewelry, and other expensive items at home to avoid them being stolen or lost. As for your luggage, always have locks on it. TSA-approved padlocks are great to prevent airport security from taking them off and having your things falling out after inspection. If you need to secure your bags, use a backpack and a bag mesh protector. Your bags will be in a wire mesh, where you can lock them inside. When you are in your room, use a travel door alarm on your luggage to make you aware of any suspicious activity or tampering when you are out sightseeing. Lastly, always remember to secure your money. Travel wallets that strap to parts of your body are dependable. Whenever I travel, I use a cross-body purse to carry my belongings. Other travel wallets can strap to your legs, waist, and shoulders. Also, let your bank and credit card companies know when you are traveling, especially overseas. Remember to not flash your money every time you pay for something. Also, be protective of your cell phones. It is common for thieves to grab cell phones out in public.

Stay alert: When you’re in a new city, stay alert to your surroundings. Your surroundings include the areas you are traveling to, buildings, and people around you. If someone is making you uncomfortable, walk away in either the direction you came from or a quicker way out. Head towards a safer, more touristy/populated area. If they follow, find the authorities. Try to blend in and not take on the typical tourist look. Don’t have a map sticking out of your bag or pocket, or a camera around your neck. These actions are a giveaway that you are unfamiliar with the area and a tourist. Instead, dress like the locals and be alert when using your camera, maps, etc. An important part of staying alert when traveling is always having an escape route. For your room, take note of the map on the back of your door and familiarize yourself with the emergency routes. Also, if you are venturing into unknown areas, be aware of the buildings and landmarks. If you feel unsafe, go into a café, shop, or restaurant, until you are more comfortable.

Be aware of your location’s safety: The State Department is a great resource to check whether or not there are travel alerts and warnings for your destination. In addition, you can find out what possible vaccinations you need and local laws. Be sure to check on the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. Within this program, you can register your travel plans and if an emergency occurs, the State Department will be able to notify you.

Traveling to new places and touring unfamiliar sites is one of the best things a person can do. It’s a time to make new memories, fall in love with new places, and learn about other parts of the world. However, it is important to always be safe and alert when traveling. Using the tips above will help make sure your trip is stress-free and a memorable adventure.

 

 

 

Article published by The 20 Something Traveler in Forsyth Woman magazine, July 2017.

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Summer Travel on a Budget

Icon. Traveler luggage with hand drawn clothes and icons on

As of Wednesday, June 21st, it is officially summer! With summer comes no school, longer days, and more traveling. However, taking trips can be expensive. But, never fear, there are still ways to travel and enjoy the summer season without breaking the bank.

Start a Travel Fund: Start collecting your spare change or setting aside money for an upcoming trip. You can also create a savings account just for traveling. Little by little your money will add up, and before you know it, you’ll be in your dream vacation spot.

Go During the Middle of the Week: Did you know hotel rates and other travel expenses are lower during the middle of the week than the weekends? Try going on vacation during the week. You’ll end up saving more money and won’t have to deal with crowds at popular tourist attractions. Another way to save is to travel during the off-season. Research your destination and see when the crowds are the lowest. For some places, winter is the highest tourist time, while summer is the busiest for other destinations.

Visit Nearby Destinations: While staying in one place, explore the surrounding areas. For example, if you are staying in a major city, take the time to venture out to nearby tourist attractions. This will save you time and money without having to plan another trip.

Have a Staycation: There are probably places in your own hometown you have never explored! Take a day or two and get to know your city a little bit more. Visit the little, unknown places, historic sites, and more. You never know what history you’ll learn about your hometown. Also, read your newspaper and look online for free events and festivals to take part in.

Research Your Accommodations: Hotels aren’t the only place to stay while on vacation. Vacation rental websites, such as Airbnb.com and VRBO.com, are great places to search for cheaper accommodations in different cities. Plus, you’ll get to live like a local while exploring a new place. Another benefit is the possibility of having a kitchen, where you can make your meals and save on food. Be sure to read the rentals’ ratings and reviews before booking.

Take Advantage of Free Things: There is no shame in taking advantage of free entertainment, attractions, and transportation while on a trip. Sites like museums and parks can be free to visitors. Also, look into your location’s events, including concerts, art shows, and more to experience. Another way to save money is by using public transportation or, when possible, walking.

Fly Right: Prices for plane tickets vary throughout the time of the year and day of the week. It is recommended you purchase your tickets 50 to 100 days before your trip. Another way to save money is research prices through travel websites, such as Kayak, Expedia, and Airfarewatchdog.com. Try to plan your departures on a Thursday and returns on Monday to save more. When traveling abroad, fly to your destination during the off-season for cheaper airfares.

Use Travel Saving Websites and Apps: When it comes to any trip, the best thing you can do while planning is to research the best deals for accommodations, transportation, and more. An easy way to compare prices is by using travel saving websites and apps. In addition to the websites listed above, the Travel Channel recommends using jetsetter.combudgetplaces.com, and momondo.com.

Save Money on Food: You don’t have to eat out every meal while on vacation. When you first arrive, go to the grocery store and stock up on the essentials and items, such as sandwich supplies and easy to-go meals. This way you can pack your lunch, dinner, and snacks to take with you while site-seeing. Plan to splurge and eat out for maybe one or two good meals during your trip, and pack the rest.

Vacation expenses can quickly add up when you aren’t looking. However, there are still ways to save money and have the time of your life exploring a new place and making memories.

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Simply Carolina: Cheerwine Cupcakes

Happy Simply Carolina day! There is a special post planned for Wednesday, so I’m celebrating Simply Carolina two days early.

I love absolutely love this recipe and there is nothing more Southerner than a cup of ice cold Cheerwine.

Don’t know what Cheerwine is?  The beverage is a cherry soft-drink, founded in North Carolina. Trust me, it is a must-try! This soft-drink has multiple uses, including being made into quick and easy cupcakes!

Ingredients:

Cupcakes:

  • 1 box white cake mix
  • 12 ounces Cheerwine
  • 1/8 teaspoon cherry flavor
  • Maraschino cherries
Frosting: 
  • 4 cups Cheerwine
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2-3 cups of powdered confectioner sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line cupcake pans with liners and set aside
  2. Whisk together cake mix, Cheerwine, and cherry flavor. Pour into prepared pans and bake according to package instructions. Cool completely.
  3. In a saucepan, boil down the Cheerwine until it has reduced to 1/2 cup.
  4. In a mixer, cream butter and 2 cups of powdered sugar on medium speed. Slow speed to low and add Cheerwine reduction. Increase speed to high and beat until light and fluffy, adding additional sugar if needed.
  5. Pipe frosting onto cupcakes and top with maraschino cherries.

Enjoy!

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Labor Day Travel Tips

  
Today’s the unofficial end of summer and your plans might include spending time at the pool, having a backyard cookout, or just plain taking it easy. I do know, however, one thing your plans don’t include-travel hassle.

Here are my five tips to avoid the unwanted hassle of Labor Day:

  1. Be flexible with flight accommodations.
  2. Take the road less traveled-use back roads! 
  3. Plan out traveling breaks.
  4. Have a staycation at home.
  5. Don’t be the person that makes traffic 10x worse! Be patient, drive the speed limit, and be careful changing lanes. 
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Beach Do’s and Don’ts

  
Heading to the beach one last time before summer ends? Enjoy these tips for your Labor Day weekend! 

  1. Keep your space. Layout your towels, sand toys, and more first thing after arriving, that way you’ll have a spot the whole time you’re there.
  2. Pick up trash. Be nice to Mother Nature and the animals around you.
  3. Don’t feed the seagulls.
  4. Wear sunscreen, even if you are trying to get a tan. 
  5. Don’t pump up the music. You probably aren’t the only one on the beach. Be nice and considerate of others.
  6. The bathroom is the only bathroom, need I say more? 
  7. Play volleyball, football, soccer, whatever, but play in an open spot.
  8. Fill up all the holes you dig in the sand. This might save someone from falling and breaking an ankle.
  9. Watch out for fishermen. Trust me, no one wants to get tangled up in fishing lines.
  10. Enjoy! It’s your farewell to summer! Make memories and have the time of your life! 
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Insider’s Guide to Louisville, KY

louisville

Louisville, Kentucky 

Calling all horse fans, bluegrass lovers, and more! Louisville has many, many attractions, ranging from museums, boat tours, and sports!

Things to Do:

  1. Churchill Downs
  2. Muhammad Ali Center
  3. Belle of Louisville
  4. Louisville Slugger Field
  5. Kentucky Science Center

Restaurants to Try:

  1. Jack Fry’s
  2. Harvest Restaurant
  3. Proof on Main
  4. Havana Rumba
  5. Wild Eggs

Tips to Use:

  1. Make online reservations before you for any hotels and attractions. You’ll get tons of deals and discounts. Visit, http://www.gotolouisville.com/, for more information.
  2. Look into the Urban Bourbon Trail. This is an unique, fun tour of the city and all it has to offer!
  3. Day passes are a huge help for all the attractions and tours! Always do research before you go.
  4. You don’t have to go to Louisville in early May when the Kentucky Derby is happening. Look into other festivals that you could take part in.
  5. Get off the beaten path and walk the city! Stroll down streets in downtown and get adventurous. Sometimes this is how the best trips are made.
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Insider’s Guide to Nashville, T.N.

nashville

Nashville, Tennessee

This city isn’t just for music lovers; it’s full of things to do and places to go for people of all ages!

Things to Do:

  1. Ryman Auditorium
  2. Centennial Park
  3. Opryland US
  4. Belmont Mansion
  5. Parthenon

Restaurants to Try:

  1. Bluebird Cafe
  2. Five Points Pizza
  3. Loveless Motel and Cafe
  4. Patterson House
  5. Arnold’s Country Kitchen

Tips to Use:

  1. Go to the Music City during the Spring.
  2. Look into packages and deals for the museums. This helps if you are a country music fan (like me) and want to hit all the high spots.
  3. Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center is the must stay place for your trip.
  4. There are tons of different restaurants for everyone. Try something new and get out of your comfort zone.
  5. Plan ahead! There is so much to do in Nashville, that you’ll want to schedule out what events and attractions you want to see/do.
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We’ve Got A Winner: Travel Games for the Road

As much as I love a good car trip, sometimes it can be a little boring. To help ease the time, here are five games to play the next time you hit the road.

  1. 20 Questions: Think of an object, animal, or person. Each person has only 20 questions to guess the answers. The person who thought of the item can only answer with a yes or no.
  2. License Plates: Keep a tally of all the license plates you pass on the road. The person who sees the plate with the longest distance wins. Another way to play is to see if you can find cars from all 50 states.
  3. I Spy: There is nothing better than a classic game of I Spy on the road.
  4. Mad Libs: This game is hilariously fun to play. Mad Libs can be purchased at Target, Walmart, or any drugstore,
  5. Road Sign Scavenger Hunt: See if you can find the traditional road signs, such as stop, speed limit, and more!
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Insider’s Guide to Fort Worth, T.X.

Fort Worth

Fort Worth, Texas 

Being originally from Texas, Fort Worth is the ULTIMATE favorite spot of mine on this Southern Summer Roadtrip! There’s cattle, cowboys, and a little something for everyone.

Things to Do:

  1. Fort Worth Zoo
  2. Sundance Square
  3. Fort Worth Stock Yards
  4. Will Rogers Memorial Center
  5. National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame

Restaurants to Try:

  1. The Capital Grille
  2. Reata Restaurant
  3. Pizza Snob
  4. Enchilada’s Ole
  5. Sweet Sammie’s

Tips to Use:

  1. When traveling to Fort Worth, spend some time in Dallas. The cities are only about 30 miles apart.
  2. Research the times for the cattle drives at the Stock Yards. This is something you don’t want to miss and makes for great pictures.
  3. Also make time to learn about Fort Worth’s history.
  4. The Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport is one of the busiest hubs in the world and makes for great experiences, if flying in.
  5. Check the hours of operation for museums and restaurants, especially for Sundays and Mondays.
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Insider’s Guide to New Orleans, L.A.

NOLA

New Orleans, Louisiana 

Ah-New Orleans, another favorite of mine! From rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina (10 years ago this week) to the city’s full history, New Orleans is stronger than ever and a great spot for a vacation.

Things to Do:

  1. French Quarter
  2. Jackson Square
  3. St. Louis Cathedral
  4. New Orleans Museum of Art
  5. Aquarium of the Americas

Restaurants to Try:

  1. Eat New Orleans
  2. GW Fins
  3. Meals from The Heart Cafe
  4. The Joint
  5. Muriel’s Jackson Square

Tips to Use:

  1. As with any big city, be careful as to the amount of cash you carry around. You don’t want to flash a big roll of money-anywhere. I recommend using a debit card.
  2. Avoid Bourbon Street hotels. Bourbon Street is in the heart of downtown NOLA and with that comes all the late night noise.
  3. Be careful at night (similar to the amount of cash). Unfortunately, this city is known for it’s high crime rate.
  4. Don’t stay in the French Quarter, because, as charming as the hotels might be, they are very expensive.
  5. Look at the weather before you go, but pack for anything. You are WAY down South, which means high temperatures and humidity.
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