Posts Tagged With: travel channel

Summer Travel on a Budget

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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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Taking the Stress Out of Traveling with Kids

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It’s summer time! And with summertime come trips and family vacations. Spending long hours traveling in a car, on a plane, or another mode of transportation can be tiring on both parents and children. But, there are tricks to keeping kids engaged and not asking the typical, “Are we there yet?”

Keep the Activities Coming: Pack a travel bag full of games, puzzles, coloring books, stickers, and more to keep your kids occupied. If you are traveling for several hours, try handing out a new item once per hour. Take the travel bag a step further and create a small bag for each child. This bag can be a pencil pouch or something of a similar size and include items that are interesting to that child. Lastly, play family games along the way. Have printable road bingo or a road trip scavenger hunt. Another classic family game is the license plates game, where everyone competes to see how many different license plates they can find. When traveling by airplane, it can be hard to pack all of these items into your carry-on. Instead, try downloading kid-friendly apps with games and videos on your iPhone or iPad. This way, your children will stay engaged in an activity other than running up and down the aisles of the plane.

Pack a Snack Bag without Sweets: Kids will get hungry going from place to place. Be sure to have their favorite treats to ease their hunger and avoid the hangry mood (hungry plus angry). However, remember one thing: don’t include sweets. There is nothing worse than being in a public tourist attraction with a child having a sugar rush. Include in the bag savory treats like cheese cubes, pretzels, fruit, and veggies. Don’t forget water to drink!

Start a Travel Journal: Put an educational spin on your trip and have your kids start a travel journal. This travel journal can include drawings, lists, and stories about the interesting places you visit, food you eat, and the various activities you do. Also, collect postcards from the different places. With these postcards, you can either write a message on the back and mail them to yourself or include them in the journal. Another way to engage your kids in the travel journal is to give them a camera to take pictures. This child-friendly camera will allow kids to capture their favorite sites and what interests them. Types of cameras can include disposable or Polaroid.

Have a First-Aid Kit and a Clean-up Kit: When you are traveling with kids, anything can happen. Be prepared with a First-Aid kit and a clean-up kit for spills. In the First-Aid kit, include band aids, gauze pads, a digital thermometer, cold pack, sunscreen, bug spray, aloe vera, saline solution, antibacterial wipes, medicine, and anything else you would normally include. For the clean-up kit, put in antibacterial wipes, paper towels, small garbage bags, zip-lock bags, and extra clothing and diapers.

Plan Ahead: Plan your trip and make your reservations well in advance. Along with hotel and flight reservations, buy tickets for attractions ahead of time. In addition, plan out a schedule for your trip, including the various activities for each day. Check out the websites for the places you’ll visit, see the nearby restaurants, and other sites to help your trip go smoothly. However, one of the most important things to remember is to stay flexible! If you have one attraction planned for a day and end up doing something else, don’t worry! Don’t plan too much or too little. The ultimate goal of the trip is to have fun and make memories with your family. Also, have a plan of what you’re going to pack in regard to clothes for your kids. Have a to-do list and schedule of what needs to be done in the final days leading up to your trip.

Bring Your Child’s Must-need Items: Don’t forget to bring your child’s favorite stuffed animal, toy, or blanket—anything they normally carry around and need to have at home. These items will help kids feel safe and comfortable while exploring new surroundings. Plus, it might help prevent some emotional break-downs.

Traveling with kids can sometimes be stressful. However, use the tips above to ease that stress and create lasting family memories.

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Simply Carolina: My NC Bucket List

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I absolutely love my home state of North Carolina! From the mountains to the coast and everything in between, the Tarheel has something for everyone. This state is full of historic sites and attractions that are must-sees. Even though I have live here for my whole life, there are still many things I want to experience. Here is my NC bucket list.

  • Climb Old Baldy on Bald Head Island
  • Go to the ghost town of Portsmouth
  • Visit NC potters in Seagrove
  • Visit the Life and Science Museum in Durham
  • Climb Mount Mitchell
  • Visit the Carolina Coffee Shop in Chapel Hill, the oldest restaurant in NC.
  • Visit St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Bath, the oldest church in the state.
  • Go to a race at the Orange County Speedway
  • Run on an old Nascar track in Hillsborough
  • Do some shagging, shucking and jiving at the NC Oyster Festival
  • Raft the Nantahala
  • Climb the stairs to the top of the Corolla Lighthouse.
  • Take a dip in Lake Lure, the setting for that famous scene in Dirty Dancing.
  • Tour the USS North Carolina.
  • See the wild ponies at Shackleford Banks.
  • Slip down Sliding Rock.
  • Learn about sea turtle rescue at Topsail.
  • Visit the Carolina Raptor Center at Latta Plantation.
  • Climb the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.
  • Paddle board on the Intracoastal Waterway.
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Winter in Europe



“Oh, the weather outside is frightful.” These song lyrics are never more true than when you are in Europe during the winter. While the temperatures are chilling and snow covers most of the ground, there is also no better time to travel to this continent. The scenery of the different countries is beautiful and you’ll leave with tears in your eyes, wanting to stay. Here are your top tips for planning your trip for winter in Europe.

Where to Go:

  • Finland
  • Sweden
  • Denmark
  • Germany
  • Hungary

When to Go: 

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April

What to Pack:

  • Fleece Jacket
  • Insulated Coat
  • Warm Pants
  • Gloves
  • Hat
  • Wooly Socks
  • Winter Shoes
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Simply Carolina: South Carolina’s Hidden Gems

Travel the road less traveled, go off the beaten path…we all know the quotes that tell us to travel away from the busy places. You know what? Those quotes are true. Sometimes the best travel and memories are made within the “hidden gems.” For today’s Simply Carolina, there is anything better than the hidden gems of South Carolina.

Walahalla – A mountain city, full of history.

 

Chattooga River – Hiking, whitewater rafting, and waterfalls? What more could you want?

 

Abingdon Manor in Latta – A bed and breakfast inn, complete with a Greek Revival Style.

 

Cooper’s Country Store in Salters – Shop for smoked hams, shotguns, and everything in between before hitting the road again.

 

Bluffton – This little city is home to charm, cafes, and cute shops.

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Winter Weather Driving Tips

It’s the season for winter weather. Snow, ice, and sleet are likely and can make travel a little sticky. The most important tip is if you don’t have to go anywhere, stay home. But, if you do, follow the below advice for safe travels.

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Simply Carolina: Holidays in Winston-Salem



It’s the most wonderful time of the year! During the holiday season, there are lots of things to do, including cooking, decorating, shopping, and wrapping presents. But, there is also another important part to the season – participating in some of the traditions throughout Winston-Salem. Growing up, some of the events below were must-dos to complete the holidays. Here are the can’t miss events for the holidays in Winston-Salem.

  • Holidays at Old Salem- As an alumna of Salem College, the holidays at Old Salem was always one of my favorite times of the year. I loved the decorations in the Square and buildings. Some of the events at the historic site include Saturdays with St. Nicholas, Christmas Lovefeast at St. Philips, and the Candle Tea. My favorite, the Candle Tea, is sponsored by the Women’s Fellowship of Home Moravian Church. The event is held in the Single Brothers’ House and is made up of singing Christmas carols, learning how the Moravian beeswax candles are made, enjoying Moravian coffee and sugar cake, and hearing about the history of Salem. Visitors will also experience what life was like in early Salem through hearing stories and viewing the putz, which is the miniature replica of the town. Lastly, the meaning of Christmas will be shared through the lighted Nativity putz.
  • Tanglewood Festival of Lights- Open nightly from November 18th to January 1st, the Tanglewood Festival of Lights is now in its 25th season and is one of the largest light shows in the Southeast. The 4 mile route has over 100 light displays that you can drive past. In addition, attendees can shop the festival’s gift village, have a visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus, and warm up by the fire at S’moresville. Hayrides and carriage rides through the Festival of Lights are also available.
  • The Winston-Salem Jaycees Holiday Parade and the Downtown Winston-Salem Partnership’s Annual Christmas Tree Lighting- For many, the holidays don’t begin until this evening occurs. This year, the Winston-Salem Jaycees will host it’ 26th holiday parade through downtown Winston-Salem. Businesses, organizations, school groups, Boy and Girl Scout troops, and many more will march down the parade route as we welcome the holidays and you guessed it, the guy in the big red suit, Santa Claus! Many parade go-ers will then attend the next event, the annual Christmas tree lighting, hosted by the Jaycees’ event partner, the Downtown Winston-Salem Partnerships. The tree lighting will take place directly after the parade. This year, the event will be held on Saturday, December 3rd at 5p.m. with the parade route starting on Fourth Street on Poplar Street and ending at the intersection on Liberty Street.
  • UNC School of the Arts Presentation of The Nutcracker Ballet- the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA)’s performance of The Nutcracker has been a holiday staple in the Camel City for decades. Each year, students from the university put on 10 performances of Tchaikovsky’s world-famous ballet, complete with the Sugar Plum Fairy, Nutcracker Prince, Clara, and the Mouse King. The matinée and evening shows will be performed daily December 9-10 and 14-18. Tickets are currently on sale.
  • A Bethabara Christmas- Venture back in time to the 1753 Moravian settlement of Bethabara. On Saturday, December 3rd, visitors can experience holiday traditions of the historic site. There will be music by Downtown Sounds, beeswax candle demonstrations, and other Christmas traditions.
  • Fox8/Old Dominion Holiday Concert- This Winston-Salem holiday tradition is a musical way to spread holiday cheer and get in the spirit of the season. Fox 8 news anchors hosts a concert by the Winston-Salem Symphony, filled with a carol sing-along. This year’s concert is Saturday, December 17th at 7:30pm and is free with a canned or non-perishable food donation. The donations will be given to the Salvation Army Food Banks throughout the Piedmont Triad.
  • Handel’s Messiah– Another musical way to ring in the holiday season with the Winston-Salem Symphony is their annual performance of Handel’s Originally written for Easter, George Handel’s classic musical work made its debut in Dublin in 1742. Now, known as a Christmas piece, Messiah is performed throughout the world, including right here in Winston-Salem. This year’s productions will be on December 13th and 14th at Centenary United Methodist Church with conductor Robert Moody and special guests.

Article originally published in Forsyth Magazines. 

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Homemade Spanakopita

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This past weekend, I went to a Greek bake-sale in my hometown. Yum! I could have bought everything on the menu. One of the items I purchased was Spanakopita, which was devoured in no time. So, I decided to try to make some at home and wanted to share the recipe with you. Here is my homemade Spanakopita recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 pounds spinach, washed and drained
  • 1 bunch scallions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 pound feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 to 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup  unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 pound filo pastry sheets

Directions:

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large sauce pan. Add half of the spinach and saute until spinach wilts, about 2 minutes. Remove spinach and squeeze out excess liquid, then chop roughly. Repeat with remaining spinach, using 1 more tablespoon of oil. Pour off any liquid from the pan, and add remaining oil.
  2. Add scallions and saute until soft, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add spinach, parsley, salt and pepper to the scallions. Cook over low heat for 1 to 2 minutes, then remove from to cool.
  3. Stir the feta and beaten egg to the cooled spinach mixture.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Brush a baking sheet with the melted butter.
  5. Unroll the filo dough on a flat surface and keep it covered with waxed paper and a damp towel so it doesn’t dry out. Using a sharp knife, cut the filo into 3 by 11 inch strips, and recover with the towel. Use a pastry brush to brush a strip of filo with melted butter. Place a small spoonful of spinach filling 1 inch from the end of the pastry. Fold the end over the filling to form a triangle, then continue to fold up the strip in triangles, like folding up a flag. Continue with remaining strips of dough, placing filled triangles on the baking sheet and keeping them covered with a towel until ready to bake.
  6. Brush the triangles lightly with butter, then bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Enjoy!

 

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Giant’s Causeway – Northern Ireland

  
Known as one of the most beautiful sights in Northern Ireland, Giant’s Causeway is made up of more than 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, which are a result of volcanic activity. However, people believe the site was a bridge built for giants.

Legend has it that Finn MacCool was an Irish giant, who was challenged to a fight by Scottish giant, Benandonner. MacCool accepted the duel and built the causeway to travel the North Channel to meet Benandonner.

As for the rest for the story, there are different versions. One states that MacCool defeated Benandonner. Another says he disguised himself as a baby and hid once he saw how big Benandonner was. Benandonner went looking for MacCool, but when he saw the baby’s size, he ran thinking the real MacCool must be even larger than him and destroyed the causeway.

However the legend ends, we can all agree on one thing – Giant’s Causeway is absolutely breathtaking and a must-see.

Some little known facts about the location are:

  1. It is located in County Antrim on the northeast coast of Northern Ireland.
  2. In 1987, it became a national nature reserve by the Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland.
  3. The column’s tops form stepping stones that lead from the cliff foot to under the sea.

 

 

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Being Prepared for a Hurricane

 
 It’s hurricane season and with this time of the year, it is important to be ready for a storm. Hurricanes mainly affect coastal areas but also can cause rain and damage inland. Below are some tips from the American Red Cross on how you can be prepared for a hurricane. 

  • Listen to a NOAA Weather Radio for critical information from the National Weather Service (NWS).Check your disaster supplies. Replace or restock as needed.
  • Bring in anything that can be picked up by the wind (bicycles, lawn furniture).
  • Close your windows, doors and hurricane shutters. If you do not have hurricane shutters, close and board up all windows and doors with plywood.
  • Turn your refrigerator and freezer to the coldest setting. Keep them closed as much as possible so that food will last longer if the power goes out.
  • Turn off propane tank.
  • Unplug small appliances.
  • Fill your car’s gas tank.
  • Create a hurricane evacuation plan with members of your household. Planning and practicing your evacuation plan minimizes confusion and fear during the event.
  • Find out about your community’s hurricane response plan. Plan routes to local shelters, register family members with special medical needs and make plans for your pets to be cared for.
  • Obey evacuation orders. Avoid flooded roads and washed out bridges.

Recommended Supplies: 

  • Water—at least a 3-day supply; one gallon per person per day
  • Food—at least a 3-day supply of non-perishable, easy-to-prepare food
  • Flashlight
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio – NOAA Weather Radio, if possible. 
  • Extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Medications (7-day supply) and medical items (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, etc.)
  • Multi-purpose tool
  • Sanitation and personal hygiene items
  • Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)
  • Cell phone with chargers
  • Family and emergency contact information
  • Extra cash
  • Emergency blanket 
  • Map(s) of the area
  • Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers)
  • Pet supplies (collar, leash, ID, food, carrier, bowl)
  • Tools/supplies for securing your home
  • Extra set of car keys and house keys
  • Extra clothing, hat and sturdy shoes
  • Rain gear
  • Insect repellent and sunscreen
  • Camera for photos of damage

For more information, visit: redcross.org

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