Visiting family #2

Happy Monday everyone. I have several different things going on. But first, I want to make sure this does get done. Today let’s get back to our discussion on how to survive visiting family.

  • First, if you are relatively [ha ha] close by, and have a difficult family situation, consider going for a very limited time. Maybe you could just go for a day. Keeping your visits short will help prevent baggage being brought up. It might be more relaxing for everyone involved.
  • If extremely short visits are not a practical option for you, remind yourself, and maybe more importantly, remind your spouse, that this visit is only temporary. You will return to your own home. You will return to the life that you love.
  • If it is possible, try spending some one on one time with the family member you have most trouble getting along with. Try to do this when no one else is around, so that others are not made uncomfortable. Is there anything you like doing together? Try doing that.
  • If you are the one who has left the family home, and the rest of your family lives right around there, take some time to be with each person individually, not leaving anyone out.
  • Just because you are visiting them does not mean you have to spend every second of every day with them. Take some time to enjoy the are area. Enjoy an old favorite restaurant. Visit your favorite haunts. Do some date nights.
  • They are your family, you know the hot spots. Does your mother think you’re too hard on your children, and your sister think you’re too easy? Try to avoid conflict when you can.
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Disney tips #1

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I’d bet that if you asked your children where they would like to go on vacation, they would say that they want to go to Disney World. But unfortunately, the “most magical place on earth” is also known as the “most expensive place on earth”.. Today let’s look at some ways you might be able to save on your next Disney vacation.

  • When you go to Disney, you will pretty always want to stay on property. And yes, that is even true if you are trying to save money. There are some what they call “Value Resorts” that are pretty comparable to other hotels in the area. Some of these hotels are going to have their own entertainment. You will always receive free transportation when you stay at one of Disney’s resorts, and you will be able to take advantage of their “Magic Hours”. And one more advantage of staying at a Disney resort is that sometimes you can get a great deal on their din plans.
  • Disney has a whole lot to offer families, so much so that you will want to plan out your trip. You will want to decide which rides you want to use your Fastpasses. You can even book the time ranges that you want to go on these rides. Disney also has a lot of character dining experiences you can take part in. You will just need to figure out which ones would mean the most to your children.
  • Okay, yes, Park Hopper Passes are going to cost you a little extra, but getting these will allow you to get into any park that you want. You can actually switch parks several times a day. And this will probably allow you to stay fewer days. Let’s get back to this discussion tomorrow. I would enjoy hearing your thoughts on any of this. I would also love to help you plan a trip to Disney.

Culinary trips for children

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Foodies love to travel to experience the cuisine of a certain destination. Today we are going to put a twist on that. Let’s look at some places you would want to go if you wanted to give your kids culinary treats.

  • Okay, personally I would eat a nice, healthy breakfast and lunch, and maybe grab a slice of New York style pizza before heading to the place known as the “Sugar Factory”, which is in Manhattan. This place will have every confection known to man, and probably some you’ve never heard of. We’re talking cotton candy virgin drinks, s’mores crepes, and something called insane milkshakes. You are going to think you’ve stepped into Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory.
  • So maybe you don’t like feeding your children while you’re flying. They can make a real mess, they might not like what is being served, it can be a real headache. But in Colorado Springs they have turned an old Boeing military plane into a restaurant. It is simply called “The Airplane Restaurant”. You are going to be served American classics, and when the kids get restless, you can send them to the cockpit..
  • The DuPont Circle has one restaurant called the Firefly. You are going to start your evening by decorating your cookie while you are waiting on your orders. Don’t worry, you won’t be actually eating your cookies before eating your dinner. They are going to take your cookies and bake them while you eat. You probably want to explain that to your children.
  • We are discussing restaurants your children will love, right? You might want to go all the way and plan a whole trip around your children and go to Disney world. Have dinner in the Beast’s castle. You might even meet Beast if you’re lucky. What do they serve? The one thing I’m reading about is meatloaf serve in the shape of Mickey’s ears.
  • Do your kids like the idea of sitting at the table where your food is cooked, but don’t necessarily like Japanese food? You have to try Slappy Cakes in Portland, Oregon. This is a pancake kid place where you choose your batter, you’ll also choose what you put in your pancakes as well as what you put on top. You will be cooking your own pancakes right at your table.

Please let me know if you’re interested in taking your children on a culinary tour.. I’d love to help you plan something.

European tips #2

 

 

 

Different countries, and continents, have different cultures and customs. And when you’re visiting a place, it’s a good idea to know the kinds of things they expect from you, and also what you can expect.

  • You will want to remember that Europe is not a third world place. You will have no problems finding a grocery store or a drug store. As a matter of fact, you might even want to pack light and buy clothes once you get there.
  • Some people think that Europeans are in general more liberal. While that might be true across the board, it isn’t true everywhere, and it certainly isn’t true true of every single person. Many countries over there are led by conservative parties these days. You might just want to be careful what you say.
  • Like him or hate him, Mr. Trump is pretty much synonymous with the United States. People over there are going to want to know your thoughts. It’s up to you whether you want to try to laugh the question off or give them a serious answer.
  • Remember the whole Brexit thing? The United Kingdom decided to leave the European Union in 2016. However, they are still working on all the details of what all that will mean. All that really means for you is that you should have no problems going between the UK and the continent.
  • If you need to make your trip ten days or less, you’re probably going to want to limit yourself to one country, and maybe just two or three cities in that city. Trying to fit everything in one trip is going to wear you out.
    • The rumor that Europeans do not tip is simply not true. They do tip, but usually less than we do here. Tipping 10% is likely the best bet.

Celebrate the royal engagement?

I’ve heard that some entrepreneurs take the whole time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day off. And to be honest, I can kind of understand that. I will work tomorrow and then be off the rest of this week just as way of reminder.

Okay, I love British drama. I can’t decide whether I like Pride and Prejudice or Downton Abbey more. And I also really like The Crown, but I’ve never been one to keep current on the royal family. However, when I saw this piece in the travel news about the royal engagement, I was intrigued. Yes Prince Harry is engaged to an American named Meghan Markle. In honor of this, Trafalgar is setting up a royal tour of England. Let’s look at that today and probably tomorrow as well.

  • You will be flying into London your first day. On this day, you will be getting in and settled. And there will be a tea served where you will be getting to know your fellow travelers as well as your tour guide.
  • On the second day you will be free to enjoy a leisurely breakfast. After which you will be touring places like Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament and Buckingham Palace. After that you will be free to decide what you want to do the rest of the day. Shop at the famous stores. Explore more on your own. It’s really up to you.
  • Day three you will be exploring Windsor Castle. This is one of the places the queen still comes and works. You will spend the entire day here, but will be free for lunch.

I am going to pick this back up tomorrow. I would love to know your thoughts or any questions you might have.

Bachelorette getaway #2

I have several other things I would like to get to today, which  guess is pretty typical for a Monday. So let me do this first to make sure that it does get done.

Last Saturday we started talking about bachelorette getaways. Let’s continue that discussion today.

  • It is always a good idea to get to know any new destination you are going to go try out. And this is something that I would be more than happy to help you figure out if I’m helping you put this trip together. Figure out some rough ideas of what you might like to do while you are on your getaway. Again, you may want to check with the bride to get her input. With everyone together, you might want to have your bridal shower, especially if you’re planning on doing a more intimate shower.
  • You’ll want to plan your events around what the bride and everyone else likes. If most everyone likes to sleep in, don’t really plan anything until afternoon. Is the bride going to be comfortable with going out for drinks? Are there traditions your group has, like maybe you watch a certain movie every time you get together? Or maybe you like cooking together. Think of those things and include them.
  • Sometimes all we girls really want is to have time to talk and catch up. You may want to get some nice foods for everyone. If a lot of your guests are on a budget, this may be a great way to go.Or maybe your group is just especially close, and you don’t want all the distractions of somewhere you don’t know well. Still, you will at least want to plan a nice meal out or a shopping excursion.
  • Alternatively, if most of you are established in your careers and have some extra cash, you may want to check out an exotic location. Is there somewhere your group has dreamed of going together? Again, you will want to discuss these options with the bride and find out what works best for her.

I think I am going to stop here. Please let me know your thoughts on this.

More about Buddymoons

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I have to be honest, what I wrote yesterday got me curious about the whole concept about this. So that’s why we are going to look at this more today.. Sadly for many couples, getting married is not some huge change in their lives. They have been living together before marriage, and so going on a vacation together may not seem all that special, even if they do go to some exotic place. Friends, and even family, can make the trip even special.. Okay, let’s look at some etiquette for these things.

  • Unless bride and groom are rich or extremely popular, they are not going to invite everyone they know. It is best not to talk to anyone about it until you know they have been invited.
  • Remember that this is the couple’s honeymoon and let them have their privacy. They are going to need their own suite, and you probably should keep out of there.
  • The couple wants to spend time with you, they wouldn’t have invited you if they didn’t. But they are going to want privacy as well. Be respectful of that. Hopefully you are going to know and enjoy the other people in the group.
  • With that said, it really does help everyone when the couple makes a schedule. This will help clear up any miscommunications.
  • The group also want to be considerate of other couples. Who knows? This trip might produce another engagement which might lead to another buddymoon.

Let me know your thoughts on this.

Tipping at hotels

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My family’s stays in hotels were mainly the times we were moving from one city to another, either that or on an occasional soccer tournament. We stayed with family or friends whenever we would go on vacations.. And I must confess that most of my knowledge about nicer hotels comes through reading travel news or things like that… But today let’s look at some advice on tipping.

The practice of tipping people work in hotels goes back to before the Great War. The richest people would either stay with a family friend in their grand house, or if that was not an option, they would stay in a fancy hotel. Hotels would basically provide room and board for their staff, just like a servant would get in a grand house. Tipping allowed these people to get some treats for themselves.

Obviously that way of life started deteriorating around the time of the Great War. Hotels started paying their staff more and more as time went on. And now, I feel like tipping is mostly done in nicer hotels.. Now let’s take a look at how much is recommended.

  • Tip a person helping you with your bags a couple of dollars for the first bag, and a dollar more for each additional bag.
  • You’ll want to leave the maid staff anywhere from two to five dollars a day, depending on how well they clean. You’ll want to throw in a little more if you have a kitchen in your suite.
  • In general it is not expected for you to tip the concierge, unless they go over and above the call of duty.

I would love to know any thoughts or questions you might have about this..

Airbnb etiquette

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In general, people know how to act when they stay in hotels. Be polite to your fellow guests. Try to be quiet, especially late at night and early in the morning when most people are sleeping. Nicer hotels usually have people who would like to be tipped… But what are the rules when it comes to this new thing called airbnb? Please read on to find out.

  • It is wise to know exactly what you are getting into before you leave. What will be the bed situation be like? Do they want you to bring your own towels, or are they going to let you use theirs?. Many times, people are actually living in these homes. Unless they say otherwise, use their kitchen but eat your own food.
  • Many times these people are going on a vacation of their own. Please discuss your arrival and departure times with them. Clear communication will make things easier on both sides.
  • What did your mother always used to say when you were growing up? “Please leave a place cleaner then when you came .” Here that means, put your stuff away, throw your garbage away, put food away when you aren’t eating.. This is basic common courtesy.
  • Sometimes the people leave, but sometimes they’re right there with you. Please follow their rules. Find out where they want you to eat and where is off limits. Know when they want the house to be pretty quiet.
  • And remember to say thank you. Write a note saying how much you enjoyed staying there. Write a review to let other people know about your experiences. You might even want to leave a tip or a gift card..

I would love to know what other thoughts you might have.

When should you travel for Labor Day?

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A lot of people are going to be traveling for Labor Day weekend. In case you don’t know, that is two weekends from. Do you have your travel plans in place? Do you want help making any reservations? If you do, please let me know. I would love to help you plan something.

But getting back to the main point of this post, there will be all kinds of people out on the highways. The airports are also going to be overcrowded. Traveling Wednesday or Thursday of that week will make things less hectic for those that can do that. But no matter when you travel, here are some ideas that might help.

  • If you are flying, try to get to the airport as quickly as possible. It’s less stressful on everyone if you have plenty of time to check in, and do all the pre-flight stuff.
  • If you have children, please make sure to have plenty of snacks and things that they enjoy doing.. And even for adults in your group, long rides, no matter the vehicle, can get boring. And there is no real reason to be bored, there are games you can take along. Sometimes my family even made up games on the road.
  • Play nice.. Whether you’re on the road, in your own car, with your own family, or traveling with a lot of people you don’t know, most people don’t like the traveling, they just want to get where they are going. Do your best to smile at everyone. Let other people go before you.