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Water Parks in the Summer = A Beautiful Thing

3 Aug

I love summer. No, really… LOVE! Give me sweltering heat over turtle necks and snow boots any day.


One of my favorite pasttimes when I was younger was visiting Splish Splash Water Park on Long Island in New York. I haven’t been there in ages, so I’m sure it’s a bit dated but man, what a good time we had whenever we went.


There’s nothing like packing up a picnic lunch and spending an afternoon on water rides during the summer.Visiting the top amusement parks of the U.S. is a bucket list trip for me but if you’re a big water park fan, I’d suggest you pull together a fun road trip before summer leaves us!


The folks at TripAdvisor, a favorite resource of mine- I might add, pulled together a list of the top-rated water parks in the country. I’m a big fan of TripAdvisor because it provides real feedback from real people in real time so you know these water parks have to be good!


Take a look. Been to any this summer?


TripAdvisor’s Top 10 Water Parks:

1. Sensational Soaking: Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari, Santa Claus, Indiana
Admission, which includes complimentary soft drinks and sunscreen, costs $42.95 for adults, and $32.95 for guests under 54” and seniors.


2. Wondrous Waves: Typhoon Lagoon, Orlando, Florida
Admission costs $52.29 for adults, and $43.67 for children aged three – nine.


3. Splashy Scene: Noah’s Ark Water Park, Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin
Admission costs $35.99 for adults, and $28.79 for children and seniors.


4. Beachfront Bonanza: Morey’s Piers, Wildwood, New Jersey
Admission to the water parks costs $36, $28 for guests under 5’4” and is free of charge for seniors.


5. Dunking Delight: Kahuna Laguna, North Conway, New Hampshire
Admission costs $40 for adults and children alike.


6. Thrills and Spills: Water Country USA, Williamsburg, Virginia
Admission is $46.99 for guests aged 10 and up, $39.99 for ages three – nine, and is free of charge for children under three.


7. Spectacular Slides: NRH20 Waterpark, North Richland Hills, Texas
Admission is $23.99 for guests measuring 4’8” and over, $19.99 for those under 4’8”, and is free of charge for children under two.


8. Divine Dip: Adventureland, Des Moines, Iowa
Admission costs $35 for guests aged 10 and up, and $30 for ages four – nine and seniors.

9. Watery Wonderland: Aquatica (SeaWorld’s Waterpark), Orlando, Florida
Admission costs $47.99 for adults, and $41.99 for children aged three – nine.


10. Poolside Pleasures: Wild Water & Wheels, Surfside Beach, South Carolina
Admission is $29.25 for guests measuring 4’8” and over, $18.40 for those under 4’8” or over 55, and is free of charge for children under two.



To read more about these parks, check out the full article on TripAdvisor.




Travel Beauty Tips from Women’s Health Magazine

5 May

This month, Women’s Health magazine features some great survival beauty tips for those on the road traveling. See below for some tips from the article in their current issue and check out more at!

Nobody wants an out-of-town mishap to derail their vacation. These quick fixes from the editors will prevent any unexpected health hang-up from ruining your getaway.

1.         Treat a scorching sunburn

Thin skinned and easily forgotten spots like the ears and the tops of the feet often suffer the worst sunburn.  First take an ibuprofen to help curb any inflammation.  Next, hit the grocery store for some white vinegar; dilute one teaspoon of it into a pint of cold water and every few hours cover the burn for 10 minutes.

2.         Manage motion sickness

It’s hard to enjoy sailing when your heads hanging over the side of the boat.  Taking slow deep breaths of fresh air and focusing on the horizon should help. So can nibbling on some ginger candy or placing a drop of peppermint oil under your tongue.

3.         Fix a chipped tooth

For a small chip, use an emery board to file down sharp edges, just as you do to fingernail. Since cracked tooth enamel can leave nerves exposed, if you feel pain you can temporarily seal the area with Krazy Glue. For bigger chips, put broken tooth pieces in a container filled with cold milk; the sugar compounds can keep tooth cells alive for 72 hours.

Countdown to Thailand!

3 May

I am just one week and one day away from my very first visit to Thailand and I can hardly contain my excitement! Being this close to a trip is certainly exciting but it can also be just as stressful. Are my hotels all booked? Do I know where to go once I land? What do I do about currency? etc. etc.

I am not one to take the laid back approach when it comes to trip planning. I like to be very thorough with everything I do to ensure a relaxed, stress-free vacation.

Below are some of the things I am doing, just one week out, to eliminate some of that unnecessary, and unwanted, stress. If you are approaching a vacation and haven’t done these things already, be sure to get on it!

  1. Re-confirm all hotels, domestic and international flights
  2. Research airport transfers; will it be easy to get a taxi to your hotel? If not, arrange for a car to pick you up at the airport, prior to your departure
  3. Re-confirm all tours/activities, if pre-booked. If not, research to make sure you won’t be shut out upon arrival due to crowds
  4. Print all confirmation emails, receipts, etc. or keep them accessible on your iPad, cell phone, etc. to make sure you have proof of your purchase
  5. Call your cell phone carrier to ask them about roaming charges. If you need cell phone access, consider adding on an international plan to avoid sky-high charges. Otherwise, be sure to purchase a calling card so you can let your loved ones know when you’ve arrived safely
  6. Change some of your currency to get small bills in the local currency. This will be helpful for tips, transportation, etc. Choose whether you’d like to rely on traveler’s checks, cash or your atm card. A mix of each is usually a good balance- you never want to be 100% reliant on your atm card and then run into lack of access to machines!
  7. Call your banks (checking and credit cards) and let them know you are traveling so they don’t freeze your account once they see foreign transactions
  8. Make two copies of your passport. Keep one in your wallet (for when the original is locked in a safe) and another one at home
  9. Make copies of your credit cards, atm card and traveler’s checks to leave at home, just in case you lose your wallet and need those details
  10. Purchase TSA-friendly locks and toilet trees (if you are going with carry-on only)
  11. If bringing prescription medications, make sure you have a doctor’s note so you don’t encounter any trouble at security
  12. Type up an itinerary that includes details about where you are staying, what you are doing and how you are getting there to help keep you organized and your family informed of your travels
Keep this checklist handy and hopefully it will help you on your next vacation!

Upcoming Trip: San Francisco

19 Apr

I’m heading to San Francisco next week for the first time, if you can believe it! Super excited for it, not only to check out the new Terminal 5 at SF airport but to check out what often rivals NYC! Sadly, I am going for work and only have one day to myself but I’ve done some research and pulled together some of the “must see” staples for a first time visitor. Let me know if I’ve missed any!

Trolley Ride- Getty Images

Trolley Ride- Getty Images

First Time Visit to San Francisco

When to Go:  San Francisco generally has mild weather throughout the year but it does have a marine climate, which means chillier and damp. If you’re looking for beach weather, look elsewhere. You will get warm weather during the spring and summer but it can get pretty darn cold at times!


Where to Stay: Ideally you want to stay in the Union Square area where there are tons of shops, restaurants, etc. Fisherman’s Wharf is also great, especially for families looking to do tourist activities.


Some Union Square Hotel Options:


Golden Gate Bridge- Getty Images

Golden Gate Bridge- Getty Images

Must-Do Activities:

  • Golden Gate Bridge: No visit to San Francisco is complete without seeing this iconic bridge. If your schedule allows, take a walk, or bike ride, across and soak in the beautiful views of the Bay and city. Bring along a picnic and hang out in Golden Gate Park after.
  • Cable Car Hopping: The must-use method of transportation in San Francisco are the cable cars; duh!
  • Nob Hill:  This part of town has awesome views of the city but it’s a steep ways up. Take the Powell-Hyde cable car up to the top and grab a drink as you take in the views of the Bay. After completing your first Powell-Hyde cable car ride, it’s apparently a San Francisco tradition to celebrate with an Irish coffee at the Buena Vista Café, located at 2675 Hyde St.
  • Alcatraz Island: What was once home to some of America’s most dangerous offenders has now become part of the National Park Service and a fixture on all visitors’ itineraries. Cut out the middleman and book a day or night tour directly with Alcatraz Cruises; tickets start at $26
  • Shopping: Union Square, where you will likely be staying, is great for shopping but if you are looking to branch out, check out the vintage and trendy shops near Haight Street and Valencia street in the Mission and Hayes Street in Hayes Valley. If you’re looking for typical souvenirs, try Chinatown and Fisherman’s Wharf.
  • Eat: San Francisco is one of the country’s food capitals, famous for its seafood. There are tons of great restaurants offering Dim Sum in Chinatown. Other great, trendy restaurants all over Union Square as well (see below for some of the city’s popular choices).


Liberty Hill

Liberty Hill- Getty Images

Popular Restaurants:


Some Helpful Planning Links:

Vacation Planning Tips for the Unprofessional Traveler

7 Apr

One of the main reasons why I created this blog was to share my unprofessional travel planning tips and itineraries with other travelers, like myself, who unfortunately don’t get to travel for a living.

The folks over at CheapOAir (an awesome site for getting cheap airfare; check it out if you’ve never used it!) caught wind of what I was doing with this site and asked me to pull together some of my vacation planning tips for their readers.

Check out some of those tips below and be sure to check out the full post on CheapOAir’s blog . I hope these tips help you just as much as they help me whenever I plan my vacations.


Vacation Planning Trips for the Unprofessional Traveler

Planning a trip can be extremely hard, time-consuming and overwhelming, especially if you aren’t a huge travel enthusiast or fortunate enough to travel for a living.

To make the process a little easier, here are some planning tips you should always utilize when researching a vacation.

Vatican City in Rome, Italy in June- we found a deal on Alitalia for direct r/t air for less than 500! Unheard of during this time of year! With this deal, we were even able to fly into Rome and out of Florence.

Photo Note: all photos are from vacations I was able to take thanks to following these tips!

1. What’s dictating my itinerary? This should always be the first thing you should ask yourself when starting the planning process. It could be budget, time of year, activities, culture, or anything, really.

Note: The easiest topics to deal with are budget and time of year. For instance, with weather: say, you can only travel in June and warm, dry weather is a huge priority for you. Well, if so, you can easily cross of places in South America or parts of SE Asia, as the weather is colder or rainy during this time of year.

2. Create a wish list. After realizing what is dictating your vacation, take a look at a map and make a “wish list” of 6-10 locations you’d love to visit at some point in your life.

Note: Can’t decide on a short list of destinations to go to? Allow companies like Travelzoo and Sherman’s Travel inspire you. Each Wednesday, these two companies release a list of the top 20 and 25 vacation deals. Catch: you have to be ready to pounce right away as deals sell out quickly. You also have to luck out in finding a deal that coincides with your travel days (or be flexible). Wanderfly is also a great inspiration tool.

Cinque Terre, Italy

3. Research.

Things to look out for as you research each area:

  • Weather: what is the climate like during the time of year you are able to travel? If it’s rainy and you’re looking for beach time, you can likely cross off a couple of destinations and save them for another time of the year.
  • Airfare: Your plane tickets will almost always account for majority of your budget, especially if you’re traveling abroad. Utilize the amazing search engines and fare trackers out there to find the best fares available so airfare doesn’t put you totally out of your budget.

Some tools:

  • Bing Travel: Bing uses price predictor technology that will tell you whether a fare is a deal or not. Based on fare history, your search results will tell you whether you should buy now or wait for a better price. You can also set a fare alert to email you the latest fares so you don’t have to check back each day.
  • has a great fare calendar that tells you the cheapest days to fly to the destination of your choice. This will save you the headache of guessing which days will garner the best fares.
  • HipMunk: This somewhat new search engine generates search results in a refreshing way: through a colorful bar chart. It also filters search results by degree of “agony,” and allows you to search multiple dates and airports in separate tabs, saving you a trip to the previous stage to start all over again.
  • This website, of course, also does a great job of highlighting cheap airfares.
  • Newsletters: subscribe to newsletters to receive alerts about low fares from your hometown airport.

Some great ones include:
–   Airfare Watchdog
–   FareCompare
–   Ortbitz

** Tip: this research will come in handy for almost every vacation in the future so keep your findings in a safe place!


Read the rest of my tips at

Happy Planning!

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