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Category Archives: Travel

Now that’s a first!

Those of you that know me, know I love to travel.  I could spend hours searching for the perfect destination, rental, airfare…and often do when we’re planning a trip.  I want to ensure I get the best location for the absolute best price.

What can I say?  My momma taught me well.  Maybe it’s because being a single parent of four kids, she could never afford to take us on vacation so now that I have the opportunity to go every now and then, I want to make her proud by finding a bargain so she doesn’t think I’m spending my money frivolously.  Whatever the reason, searching for bargain travel has to be one of my favorite hobbies (Can that even be considered a hobby?).

Anyway, I was perusing one of my favorite travel sites, SniqueAway and came across this hotel in Punta Cana…

Normally – $371 / night

On special for the barain price of – $129 / night

Ok…what’s the catch?

I proceed to the hotel website to read the fine print and stumble across their FAQs…

Well then…that’s a first!  Most either say… Yes! They are welcome…. or No!  Adults only!

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen an answer quite like this, but it doesn’t make you feel so welcome.  I like a definite “No” better than a “well…we’ll allow them, but we’d rather not have your bratty kids at our resort” type of response.

Hmm…maybe they need some help in their Marketing department or maybe they don’t know what they want to be when they grow up.  Either way, my advice…

Make a damn decision and stick with it!

 
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Posted by on February 26, 2012 in Travel

 

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Family Vacation 2011 – San Francisco – Episode 3

If you missed the first two episodes of our 2011 family vacation to San Francisco, you can check them out here…

Now, on with Episode 3…

Day 3

This day began with a visit to the Children’s Playground at Golden Gate Park.  It was beautiful!  They have everything imaginable – including a carousel!  The best part was that hubby got to relive his childhood when he taught Nate how to go down the concrete slide in style (see Exhibit A)!  Riley loved playing in the sand with all the sand toys. The visit ended with a few rides on the wonderful carousel…AND – are you ready for this awesomeness?!… adults ride free!!! (**disclaimer – adults free with paying child – I can just see all of you “big” kids out there trying to ride it free without any children)

Koret Children's Quarter - Golden Gate Park

Exhibit A - Hubby being a kid again

Wee! This rocks mom!

On top of the sand pile

The Carousel @ Golden Gate Park

After working up an appetite, we headed to lunch in the Sunset District at Park Chow.  They had excellent food!

Lunch @ Park Chow - YUMO!

The beach was calling to Nate, so the next stop on the list for Hubby & Nate was Ocean Beach. Riley and I headed back to the condo for a quick nap.

Ocean Beach

We all met up again for an evening walk on Baker’s Beach.  Riley was scared of the waves and didn’t like the chilly weather so she whined the whole time and was only happy when one of us held her.  The mean mommy in me must’ve come out because I made her walk on the way back back to the car.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about easing her fear of new things, but try lugging around a 30 lb toddler while walking in the sand.  Talk about a workout!

Nate loved playing ball with Steve's puppy!

Beautiful Scenery!

Doesn't he just look like he belongs here? Nate could not have loved it more - the beach, the ocean, the cool weather. Daddy's boy through and through.

Day 4

It was a gorgeous day in the city – warm, sunny and so clear you could see to the other side of the bay.  What better way to kick-off the day than to spend some time at House of Air, an indoor trampoline park.  They have a kid’s section for the smaller ones that has two bouncy houses, which is one of Nate’s favorite things to do!  It was an amazing facility!

Nate playing @ House of Air in SF

Since it was such a nice day and we were right by Crissy Field, we decided to stop and play at the beach.  After all, why not hit all the beaches in the city while we’re here.  Wasn’t that one of Nate’s goals?

Nate running from the waves

Riley was finally getting used to the sand and "digging in"

She was even getting brave enough to go see the water!

The next stop was the Fire Station where hubby’s friend worked.  Nate loved climbing all over the trucks and playing golf in the back.

Cheesin' it up in the fire truck

Practicing his golf swing

Trying on the gear

Posing with his two buddies

To be continued…

 
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Posted by on October 12, 2011 in Travel

 

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Horse and carriage liability – Does your hotel have it?

I was glancing at the fire escape route on the back of my hotel door when something else caught my eye….

The Limitation of Innkeeper’s Liability

No Innkeeper is liable to make good to any guest any loss of or injury to any goods brought to the inn, not being a horse or other live animal or any gear appertaining thereto, or a carriage, to a greater amount than the sum of $40 except where default or neglect.

Wha?  I could’ve brought my horse and carriage to the hotel in downtown Toronto?  I wish somebody would’ve told me!  I bet that would’ve been much cheaper than the mandatory $45 valet parking for the car!

 
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Posted by on October 5, 2011 in Travel

 

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Customs with a side of sarcasm

We arrived at Pearson International Airport in Toronto around 11:00am on Friday.  I was lucky enough to get randomly selected in the security line.  The security officer (in a “you’re a winner” voice) said… “YOU have two options.”  Behind door number 1 – the full body scanner that bares it all to the officer. There’s no hiding things here folks.  Behind door number 2 – getting felt up by a random stranger.

Hmmm…options, options.

I selected door 1 – I’ve always wanted to bare it all without actually taking my clothes off – awesome!

The U.S. customs line was amazingly fast (for once). I walk up to the kiosk, hand the customs officer my passport and the conversations begins…

  • Officer (with a stern face): So, tell me about yourself.

I thought…this is strange, usually they just ask questions…ah! lightbulb moment and inside giggle

  • Me (with a big grin): Well, I’m married, I have two kids and a cat named Kingston, I enjoy longs walks on the beach and I really like 80s music…what else would you like to know?
  • Officer (with a slight grin): Umm…I was thinking more like – what were you doing in Canada?

Ha! Take that customs officer!  I made you (somewhat) smile!  Mission accomplished!

 
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Posted by on October 3, 2011 in Travel

 

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Slacking in action

Sorry for the lack of posts so far this week! I’m in Toronto on business again and was too exhausted to post anything last night. Why does traveling on a plane take all the spunk out of your Wheaties? Maybe it’s the fact that it feels like a cattle car or maybe (like me) you’re tense the whole time because you don’t want to invade the other person’s space. Whatever the reason, I promise to do better the rest of the week.

 
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Posted by on September 27, 2011 in Travel

 

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Family Vacation 2011 – San Francisco – Episode 2

If you missed the Intro Post of planning our 2011 family vacation, you can check it out here, or if you prefer the cliff notes version, let me recap it for you…

“Word of advice – if you’re travelling with more than one child, PAY THE MONEY FOR A SEAT!  Did you hear that? I said PAY THE MONEY FOR A SEAT.”

Now… onto Episode 2 of the 2011 Family Vacation series…

Thoughts of hubby and I living in a 300 sq foot room with two kids under five for seven whole days did not bring happy images into my head.  That is one of the many reasons why I opted to search for a condo instead of a crammed hotel room for our family vacation in San Francisco.  After countless hours researching my two favorite travel sites, Trip Advisor and HomeAway, I decided on a two bedroom condo in the Richmond District. Pricing was just a little higher than a hotel room, but well worth the investment.  It ended up being the perfect location and the perfect layout for us!

Day 1

Upon arrival, Nate wanted to go play, so we set out for Lincoln Park.  It had been completely renovated since our last visit and the equipment even looked enticing enough for adults to play on.  Who can resist a Christmas Tree shaped merry-go-round that you can climb up while spinning around and around and around?

If you’re over in that section of the Bay Area, I highly recommend making a stop there.  Afterwards, you can head over to the Tee Off Bar and Grill for some world renowned mac & cheese and a refreshing glass of a Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale (be careful, I found out the hard way that it’s 7.5% alcohol… can you say tipsy?).  I know it doesn’t look like much and it seems expensive as hell, but I still dream about that mac & cheese!

Riley enjoying the slides @ Lincoln Park

Hubby & Friend Testing the Spinners @ Lincoln Park in SF

 Day 2

We stopped by for a visit with Grandma.  The kids loved playing with her artist supplies – glitter crayons, artist chalk, paint and sketch paper.  Nate even got schooled on what a record player was when Grandma busted out daddy’s old Fisher Price antique.  Nate said “Is that a CD?”

Grandma showing Nate the FP record player

Kisses for Grandma

Afterwards, we headed to the Haight Ashbury Street Fair.  Riley didn’t make it too long – it seems the chilly San Francisco weather didn’t quite agree with her – runny nose, watery eyes and sounds of hacking up a lung.  I took her back to the condo for a nap while hubby and Nate stayed at the fair.  They had a great time visiting with friends, playing in the bounce houses, and eating junk food.

S.F.O.G. Booth - Hubby's friend's clothing line

Check our S.F.O.G. here

This is how much Nate enjoyed the Haight Ashbury Street Fair

For those of you that haven’t been to San Francisco, I’ll leave you with a word of advice…

Even if weather.com shows a balmy 60 – 70 degree days, do yourself a favor and pack fall/winter clothes and a heavy coat.  You WILL need them! Besides, you don’t want to be caught as one of those tourists wearing an “I love SF” fleece down by the pier because you stupidly left without a jacket and the only thing you could find to keep from freezing to death was a thin, overpriced piece of material that didn’t even keep you warm. Trust me!

To be continued…

 
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Posted by on September 5, 2011 in Travel

 

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Family Vacation 2011 Intro

One of my passions in life is traveling.  I secretly always wanted to be one of those hosts on the Travel Channel that reviewed places to stay and things to do in all the exotic locations around the world.  So, when it came time to plan our 2011 family vacation, I spent countless hours scouring the internet for content.  Where did we want to go?  What would we do when we got there?

Traveling with children brought out my fear of the unknown – all these thoughts running through your head… will they make it through the airport and flight without a meltdown… how will the time change affect them… did I pack the medicine… did I pack diapers and lovey in the carry-on… will I get to enjoy this vacation too or will I be too worried about my children…

So, more research ensued – traveling with toddlers, airplane games, to purchase an airline seat for <2 or not to, etc.  One of the ideas I stumbled across was to fill a backpack full of new items and let them open one every 30 minutes to keep them entertained on the plane.  I purchased the following for our bag of goodies, which turned out to be a lifesaver:

  • iPod loaded with games
  • Crayola Color Wonder Markers & Coloring Books
  • Modeling Clay (the kind that doesn’t dry out)
  • Wikki Stix (VERY cool toy!  Nate still plays with them around the house and comes up with some pretty imaginative games)
  • Nesting Fairies (which might sound like something perverted, but I swear it’s not!) – I would not reccomend these for a flight – When Riley opened one of the nesters, the others went flying everywhere.
  • Flash Cards (on a ring)
  • Books

For the airplane seat, we decided to go the el cheapo route and have Riley be a lap child.  Word of advice – if you’re travelling with more than one child, PAY THE MONEY FOR A SEAT!  Did you hear that? I said PAY THE MONEY FOR A SEAT.

Riley's 1st plane ride

Now that the “how” was figured out, I had to make a final decision on the “where”.

I REALLY wanted to go back to Jamaica, but I kept questioning taking the kids at such a young age.  I almost booked it several times, but then I envisioned going through customs with two kids under 5 and I talked myself out of it (yes, I talk to myself alot).

In the end, San Francisco won out.  Hubby is a native, plus Grandma Nicole and several of hubby’s childhood friends still live there, so we decided to keep it low key and spend our vacation visiting.  We took Nate there when he was two and now that Riley was turning two, we thought it was time to take her to see the city by the bay.

To be continued…

P.S. My favorite travel resources are Trip Advisor followed closely by HomeAway

 
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Posted by on August 29, 2011 in Travel

 

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