Dining on a cruise

In the old days, eating on a cruise was pretty simple. You would be put at a table, and you would eat with the same group of people three times a day. You would usually be given a choice between early or late dining. And you might get some kind of afternoon snack. But boy, has cruise dining changed over the years. Let’s look at some of what’s available today.

  • Nearly all cruise ships are going to have a main dining room where you and your family can eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Most cruiselines have done away with assigned tables, and you should be able to be pretty much eat any time you would like. And did I mention that you would have to dress for each meal? They’ve done away with that as well.
  • You will also have less formal dining options. You will usually have some kind of buffet, and that will typically be opened twenty-four hours a day. Ships are also going to have places where you can get pizza or hamburgers.
  • Most of the rooms are pretty small, and I think most people would prefer to be out with the other people. But maybe you want to relax in front of a movie. Or maybe you want a quiet evening with your spouse. Most cruiselines have room service at no additional charge. Though some river cruises are not going to have this option at all.
  • And then there are specialty restaurants. These restaurants often offer superior food and a higher class of service.

Hotel etiquette #1

Unless you travel all of the time as part of your job, staying in a hotel can be a lot of fun. But today we are going to look at some hotel etiquette. First, please remember to take some cash.

  • Yes, I know that a lot of people don’t carry cash anymore. But these hotel workers truly rely on your tips. Please reward them when they do well.
  • And I know that having someone that will clean up after you is part of the fun. But that does not mean that you get to be total slob. Take two minutes to clean up any time you leave your room. And please, take care of the messes you would be embarrassed for anyone to see.
  • Hotels are first and foremost for people to sleep. Please be careful when you are out in the halls especially. Be reasonable at how loud your tv is.
  • Your children may be super excited to be on vacation, and may love not having to be in bed at their normal times. They may love doing night swims. However, again, they need to be quieter in the halls and places like that.

Not taking vacations leads to…

I must confess that I often have no idea what I am going to write about each day until I get ready to write, unless I’m in the middle of a series or something. I often look at travel news for inspiration.

But there are certain things I’m passionate about.. My heart in this business is to help families reconnect through travel. Families are extremely busy these days. Both parents usually have careers they are working on. They may have parents they’re trying to take care of. And then somewhere, somehow, even grown ups need some time to relax and have fun. And children have their school and then all their extracurricular activities. Families hardly take the time to sit down and eat together.. I think families spending so little time together is why so many families are breaking up. And that is devastating. I think the breakdown of the family may be part of why this country is getting so messed up.. But let’s not go there.

BUT ANYWAY. Work\life balance is so important. I talk about that balance a lot on my Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/TravelforMompreneurs/. Back to what I was saying earlier, usually I don’t know what to talk about, but I again wanted something about this passion I have for work\life balance today.

And then I saw this article on the travel news about how Americans taking fewer vacations. And not only are we as a society taking fewer vacations, taking fewer vacations is leading to depression in some people. This is especially true of people who have not taken a vacation in two years or more.

Is that you? I would love to help you plan a vacation. All you have to do is to write me at familytripsinc1@gmail.com. I’ll help you work through everything you need to in order to plan an excellent vacation. Please let me know.

Tips for traveling with kids #1


Okay, most of us feel like the best part of the trip is spending time at your actual destination. Getting there is often not fun. Today let’s look at some tips that might make the travel time more bearable, especially for the little ones in your family.

First, please bring snacks on any adventure you take. If it is going to be a long trip, you will want to bring a good variety of snacks. Bring snacks that your kids will consider special. Bring something nice for the adults as well.

  • I said to bring snacks that everyone will enjoy, but you don’t want to bring too many sugary snacks. You don’t want your children bouncing off the walls whether you’re driving or flying.
  • Families with children tend to sit in the back of airplane. This works well for a couple of reasons. Other people will thank you for trying to keep the noise in one place. You will also be near the bathrooms.
  • Kids are going to get bored on long trips. I know that a lot of parents want to limit the amount of time their children are on screens. But a trip is one place you may want to bend the rules. Hopefully once you reach your destination, your children will have plenty to do and won’t want screentime.
  • Flying early in the morning may be one of the best ideas ever. This is the least popular time to fly. So you won’t be fighting as many crowds. You may get a discounted flight. And your children might even sleep some on the way.
  • Noise cancelling earphones are always a good idea for anyone. Bringing them for children might help them sleep. It will also help when they play on the tablets.

We are going to discuss this more tomorrow. I would love to know your thoughts.


There is a lot I’m trying to figure out, both with work stuff and personally. So I’m glad to be able to write this blog as I’m going through these travel agent courses. I feel like I am accomplishing more, and the bonus is that I’m working through, and passing, a lot of these courses. It’s definitely a win/win in my book.

Today we are going to take a look at Wyndham, which is one of the fastest growing hotel chains in the world. There is an average of two Wyndham properties opening each day. And before you stop reading because you think of Wyndham as a luxury brand and you tend to stay in less expensive hotels, this company has over twenty different brands. Among these are hotels like Ramada, Travelodge, and Days Inn to name a few.

Okay, so who is Wyndham exactly? First, they like to keep things simple. They try to provide you with all the comforts you want in the places you want to be. And they hope to make you comfortable in any of their hotels, no matter what you paid. They strive to give you a great memory of your hotel experience with them. They’re generous. Most of their properties have free wifi and free breakfast. They also have a very generous rewards program. And finally, they know that Americans are finding more reasons to travel, from your once in a lifetime honeymoon, to family gatherings and girlfriend getaways. And this hotel group wants to be part of all those experiences.

Let’s look a little more at their rewards program. Like I said earlier, this is one of the most simple programs out there. For 15,000 points, you can stay free at any of their participating properties. For every qualified stay, you earn ten points for every dollar spent. You can also earn points by using a Wyndham Rewards Visa Card, or by renting a car through Budget or Axis.

I think I am going to stop here for now, and get back to this tomorrow. As usual, I would love to know your thoughts on any of this.

Cruise news

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I have several different things going. So I am going to try to get this done so that I can get to some other work stuff.. I’m trying to figure out the best way to do everything and the right order. I’m someone who likes doing everything in a certain order and getting into a rhythm..

The fall is a wonderful time to go on a cruise. A lot of families are now heading back to schools and into their normal routines. You can usually find pretty good deals on cruises. Let’s look at some cruise news today.

  • First, where are the places that people are loving cruising to these days? Actually it might not is the destinations themselves that may be the biggest draw. People like to be entertained while on their cruises, and cruiselines are doing their best to cater to those interests. Cruises these days are not only going to have a lot of your food covered, you’ll also get a lot of your entertainment, sports activities and the kids’ club privileges for no additional charge.
  • And I know I’ve said this before, but the higher grade of cruise that you go on, the less you will have to pay for anything once you are on board. That is just the way it works in the cruise industry. When you go on the nicer cruises most everything is already paid for, and you don’t need to worry about money.
  • Theme cruises are also big. There are cruises for foodies where you not only eat well, you can also learn to cook and learn more about wines as well. There are cruises that will be all about certain shows, or history, or art.

I would love to be able you plan your dream cruise. Please let me know.

Wanna see the cherry blossoms?

f you’re wanting to go see our nation’s capitol, now would be a great time to go because it is beautiful with cherry blossoms. Today lets look at some hotel packages that are available.

  • First, let’s look at the Mandarin Oriental Washington D.C. This place has been recently renovated and has been designed for comfort and rejuvenation. You are going to be on the water at this place. They have a package that will be available through May twenty-fourth, and you can get this whenever you stay more than two nights. You will get a hanami style picnic for two. You will also get breakfast each day of your stay.
  • The Rosewood Washington D.C. is located in Georgetown, and again, this place is designed for relaxation after your days of touring. You are going to get breakfast for two each morning. You will also get a tour of the city, and a kite-flying kit.
  • If you stays at the Hay-Adams, you will be staying near 1600 Pennsylvania avenue, which is where the first family lives. Here you will get a nice pastry. You will get a full American breakfast each morning of your stay. You will have to stay three nights to get this package.

I would love to know your thoughts on any of these. Let me know your questions.


Another interview

I have gotten several interviews, and think I am going to post one each day.. Thanks, Lynne, for sharing.


My name is Lynne Gallagher 51 yrs old and very happily married. I have threE fabulous boys 14, 12,
and 9 5 cats and three dogs. Real family of animal lovers and very inspired by nature. In my down
time I run a local wildlife rangers group for 9 – 18 year olds, photograhy is a passion especially
wildlife, I work on self improvement through Yoga and meditation.
My business is an online makeupsuperstore, basically it was set up as niche filler when Avon pulled
out of Ireland. I wanted to work with makeup as a way to empower women to feel good about
themselves. To encourage them to just try a bit of something to make you feel special even if its just
a bit of lipstick. I also wanted to discourage the notion that only supermodels wear makeup and look
fabulous. Even if you are a novice or other people look at your makeup and think oooh wouldnt
have done that, enjoy how makeup makes you feel not how the media tells you too.
For most people they would say that my work/life balance doesnt exist. And from the outside thats
how it looks but to explain, I had a serious heart attack nearly 5 years ago and have a
pacemaker/defibrilator fitted, couldnt work and stuck at home feeling useless so first thing I did was
take the boys out of school and home schooled them. The two eldest are at secondary school now
doing honours in all subjects so did a reasonable job there and smallest is still being schooled by
me. It might sound like I have no work/life balance but in truth I do. We get to share special times
when we can go out in thesnow and watch animals for school work, they trust me more and its a
very harmonious household.
\When I mine is fairly good.
the kids loved it but I really dont like travelling so it was a nightmare going and coming back,
holiday was great tho.
Planning holidays for us is deciding where to go and then going to a really good travel agent who
knows wht they are doing, the best plans, hotels, flights etc. I have zero interest in trawling the net
for cheap flights etc, a holiday to me means starting as you mean to go on and letting someone
qualified do the work.
If I could ask a travel agent something, hmm, can you find find me the best place to just relax with
family where the kids can be entertained doing outdoor pursuits and interesting stuff and we can
just chill and have spa days or just a bit of leisurely activity to keep us from boredom.
You could ask Danielle Rock Kealy just mention me, and Laila Ali again mention me.
Please do send me travel newsletters especially anything on the ice hotel in Svalbard and holidays
to see the polar bears in same place.
Thanks hun and a pleasure to help you out.

Another interview

I final figured out how to print and paste this interview correctly. So here it is.

First, tell me about yourself. Are you married? How many kids do you have? What do you like to do in your downtime?

I am a working mother who owns Bowers Occupational Therapy Services Inc. I have 3 step children and 1 natural born child. I usually watch tv, go hiking, look at face book and make crafts, along with gardening.

Tell me about your business. Why did you start it? What made you decide to go into that particular business?

My business is to house my Occupational therapy degree. I started it out of need to be paid by the school districts and not to pay so much in taxes. I decided after I graduated from school.

Tell me about your work\life balance. Do you feel like you are balanced?

I work with children who have disabilities in a public school setting. I do feel balanced because I work from 8-3:30 mon through fri.

Do you set aside time each day\week to be with your family? Do you have certain things you like to do together? Do you and your husband do date nights? Tell me about those.

I don’t set aside time per se but I spend time with them everyday. We like to do crafts. We do not do date nights. We really enjoy having Bess around.

If you’re feeling like you are not getting enough time with your family, do you think that a family vacation might help?

I would love a family vacation to a tropical island, I would like to invite my best friend and her family also.

When was the last time you took a vacation? Did you enjoy it? Did it bring you together?

I take several vacations but mostly we stay home or do stuff like camping, fishing and hiking.

Did you plan it yourself? Did you enjoy planning it?

Yes we plan it.

Have you considered using a travel agent? Why or why not?

Yes I have considered it. But think that it would be expensive so I have not used one.

What would you like to ask a travel agent?

How much does it cost to have some one plan my vacation? Can you get deals that I cant get?

Do you know any other women business owners who might be willing to take this?

I don’t know any others that will take this. Sorry

Would you like to receive travel newsletters online?

Not at this time. Thank you though.

Thank you very much. I truly appreciate your


About travel agents

I got another interview yesterday, which is always nice.. I plan to post the interview later… Well, I planned to post it earlier, but the computer does not want to cooperate with me.

This blog, and hopefully my book, exist to help educate people about travel agents and what we do. And I was a bit discouraged to see that the person I was interviewing thinks that travel agents are expensive.

First of all, I have personally decided not to charge you, my guest, any additional fees. We make money when you book your travel through us. And that includes things like hotel stays, car rentals, cruises, and amusement parks. I’m sure there other things, but I ca’t think of any more right now.

And since this is what I do from day to day, I’m always learning more and more about this industry. I’m always hearing about deals. I’m also part of a large group of travel agent whose brains I can always pick with all kinds of questions.

I would love to know any questions you have for a travel agent.