Category Archives: Travel Tips

Safe Travels: 7 Tips for Staying Safe while Traveling

“Safe Travels.”

You probably heard or said that phrase dozens of times. Usually the meaning behind it is simple – we hope your car won’t break, your flight will be uneventful, and nothing bad happens while you’re on your way. However, the phrase could also mean – I hope won’t encounter any natural or man-made disasters while you travel, be it a tsunami, an earthquake, or, recently, a terrorist attack.

Wherever and however you travel, you can make your travels safer with a few precautions.

I assume that you have already researched the destination where you’re going, whether on U.S. Department of State’s Country Information pages, or an equivalent site.

Here are a few other tips from me and my fellow travel bloggers on how to stay safe while traveling:

#1. Register Your Itinerary with a Government Agency

Susan from Gen X Traveler says: “I register my travels with the U.S. Department of State Smart Traveller Enrollment Program (STEP) program. That way our government know where to look for me if they need to evacuate Americans.”

Sally from Our 3 Kids v The World adds: “Australia has the same, it’s called Smarttraveller website. You fill in your itinerary & if anything thing happens our government will know where we are. The onus is on yourself to register your movements on the site.”

Canadian traveler Alouise from Take Me To The World, registers with Registration of Canadians Abroad.

Do a bit of research to see if your country offers such registration service. Continue reading Safe Travels: 7 Tips for Staying Safe while Traveling

Looking back at 2015 and forward to 2016

I’d been thinking that 2015 was not the greatest year for me, travel and otherwise.

I didn’t get to do a long weekend trip to Montreal in 2015, as I was hoping to.

My husband and kids went on vacation to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina without me, because I was crazy busy at work during the April school break.

Peter and the kids having a great time in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, while I worked
Peter and the kids having a great time in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, while I worked

Continue reading Looking back at 2015 and forward to 2016

Clam Chowder from Scratch: An Ode to Vacation Rentals

Digging for clams is hard.

First you look for the “clam shows” – the air holes in the sand that show where a clam might be. Once you find a nice, big hole, you dig the wet, heavy sand around it, pushing your shovel as deep as you can. Then you bend, squat, or kneel to look through the pile of sand you just turned over, or plunge your hand in the hole feeling for clam shells. And then you stand up again, and move to dig in another place.

Dig. Squat. Stand up. Repeat.

my sister-in-law and I, digging for clams in St. Mary's Bay on Prince Edward Island, photo courtesy of my brother-in-law, Brian Sutton
my sister-in-law and I, digging for clams in St. Mary’s Bay on Prince Edward Island, photo courtesy of my brother-in-law, Brian Sutton

Continue reading Clam Chowder from Scratch: An Ode to Vacation Rentals

How much can you see in three-and-a-half days in Quebec City?

Mind you, just so we’re clear on that – three-and-a-half days is NOT enough to see everything worth seeing in Québec City and the area.

From its centuries-old stone buildings that look like they were transported straight from France, to its many museums, this charming city of about half a million has a lot to offer to visitors.

Unfortunately, we only had a long weekend for this visit, but if you have more time, do yourself a favor and spend a few more days in this capital of the Canadian province of Québec.

It’s an about six-hour drive from Boston, another old city worth seeing, but it’s very different than any American cities you will see, including the also-French New Orleans.

We saw the following attractions in Québec City. You can decide whether you want to put them on your to-see list as well.

Continue reading How much can you see in three-and-a-half days in Quebec City?

Memorable Travel Experiences: A Collaborative Post

It’s better to spend money on “experiences such as travel over material goods” Cornell University’s researchers tell us.

“[P]eople get more retrospective enjoyment and satisfaction from their experiential purchases than from their material purchases”

I completely agree.

Yes, it would be nice to see every day an updated and gleaming bathroom or kitchen, but even though I hate the wallpaper in our kitchen, and our bathroom could use updating as well, I get much more enjoyment from reminiscing our recent trips, to the Alhambra, London, or Portugal.

I love traveling back in my mind to places I’ve been to, especially when I look at the pictures. Keeping the memories alive is one of the reasons I blog about our trips – it lets me relive that moment I smiled when I saw the Trafalgar Square, or the time we had leisurely breakfasts on the balcony of one of the places we stayed at.

Even when I look at old photos, going back to when I was five, I still remember bits and pieces of those vacations.

Continue reading Memorable Travel Experiences: A Collaborative Post

Flying from JetBlue Terminal 5 at the JFK Airport in NYC

What a difference a terminal makes! A few months ago, in December 2012, we traveled to Europe from terminal 1 at the JFK Airport. At that time, our tween son hunted far and wide for an available outlet to plug his electronics in, so that he wouldn’t waste the battery.

At JetBlue’s terminal 5, there are outlets galore in the section with long tables especially designed for plugging in.

The terminal also has free Wi-Fi – which was very welcome by my “plugged in” family.

Continue reading Flying from JetBlue Terminal 5 at the JFK Airport in NYC