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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Happy New Year and What will be the future of Traveling Suitcase?

First let me say belated Merry Christmas to all who's blog I never made it to in order to wish you the best; and Happy New Year to all. I hope you've all been able to spend quality time with loved ones celebrating whatever holiday is your special one. I hope you've all been safe in your travels.

The Traveling Suitcase hasn't been updated in sometime. The longest time, actually since it began. Life has been busy, work has been busy, work on my other blogs has been busier than normal; and I've been hustling trying to knit and crochet as much as possible for the homeless (through my Bridge and Beyond Blog)

I'm very inactive these days with regard to EC and am unsure whether or not I'll be deleting my membership there. Apoligies for not returning drops with the same zeal as I have in the past. It seems when I've looked in, many are not active. I'm not sure there's much point with all the changes, they surely have diluted the orginal intent and fun of the program.

I have much still to tell you about regarding the trip to Mexico and a few other places where I've traveled. And Flat Stanley has lots of interesting things to share, he too has been busy.

Travel safe my friends if you're traveling throughout the remainder of the holiday.

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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Not a typical day at The Beach, Manzanillo Mexico

crocked beach partiersOnce again the order I wanted on the blog seems to be an issue. Apologies that they aren't in the nicest order. Two friends here, one still wearing a party hat. Not a typical day at the beach. Not for me anyway. A normal day at the beach might be a packed lunch/packed cooler and a couple of beach towels and or beach chairs. This is doing it up in style folks. One might ask who's crocked here, those in the photo's (see drinks in hands), or the photographer. lol
party and bar areaOur table area in the shade of a Palapa, table cloth, and real dishes in the foreground with the bar area further back. The staff prepares the area then transported us there for a wonderful day at the beach with fabulous food and drink.
pretty table settingReal silverware, cloth napkins; so much nicer than paper and plastic. And when you see the food they prepared for us....truly the real stuff is needed.
private beachVilla Paraiso has access to this private beach. The day we were there, we were the only ones. The town of Manzanillo is off in the distance there. We're in the vicinity here of where the movie 10 was filmed. I'd show you a picture of me running the beach, looking like Bo Derek's look alike...except I'm taking the pictures you see. lol
kabobsThe Shrimp, Chicken, and Beef Kabobs were fabulous.
party hatsAn attempt to get all 9 of us in our party hats failed, but you can still see how festive everyone was in their special sombrero's.
food viewFood view with chilled adult beverages.
Party AnimalIn case you wonder how to show you're having a good time, use this photo as your guide. Here forward this picture will appear in Websters under the words Party Hats.
bathhouseThis is the bath house which was quite large and very nice. There were lots of tables inside, and facilities for concessions which I believe are open during the "in season". We were there just 1 week before the "in season".
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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Villa Paraiso, Manzanillo, Mexico

Ernie and SandyWelcome to Mexico. Sorry these pictures are out of order. I've loaded them twice, seem to be having some tech issues. Ernie and I here, relaxing after lunch on Day 1. Look at the food, tons of wonderful food. Yes, we are in our bathing suits. We lived in them for a week. Note to self, pack more suits and fewer clothes in the future. One can get very relaxed after several good margarita's.
Mexican lunchA close up of some of the food for our typical lunch. Chips, Margarita's, Tortilla's and more not shown in this photo. No one left hungry.
BarMeet Joel, our bar tender. Actually Joel did many things there at the house, Villa Paraiso I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me back up. Day 1 began early, before daylight early -arriving at the airport. After making it to Houston we flew into ZLO (Manzanillo). The airport is about 35 miles north of the city of Manzanillo on highway 200. We were met by our guide/driver Antonio. He transported 7 of us to the Villa, where we met the staff. They were fabulous. They greeted us with a tray of waiting margarita's and nice warm cloth to towel off after our 2 flights and van drive. AWESOME beginning.
Ohio State DudeThey gave us a tour of the house, we each selected our bedroom and quickly got into swim suits. We made our way outside to The Palapa (were we virtually lived for the duration of the week); refilled our glasses and were soon served our lunch. This was a nice touch, The Buckeye Dude by the bar. The house is owned by a fellow Ohioan, a Buckeye.
poolThis pool view is awesome. You're looking out at The Sierra Madre Mtns, the Pacific Ocean; the bar is to your right should you need a refill.
sunsetOur first breathtaking sunset. This shot was standing behind the pool in the above photo.
sunsetThe sun is almost dipping into the water here, or so it seems. The pools water in the foreground. Manzanillo is a busy port city in the state of Colima in Mexico. It's home to The Navy, and is The Sailfish Capital of the world.

Once the sunset we ventured indoors for dinner, but returned again after dinner to The Palapa to visit, and enjoy ourselves before calling it a night. The house is an open air home, some folks left their doors open to the outside, others used the a.c. at night only. The weather was fabulous.

Return for more fun and information, I've got a lot to share.


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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Kicking off our travels to Mexico

OSU Guy at airportKicking off our recent trip to Mexico this OSU Guy at the airport. Several in our group were having a Bloody Mary here in the bar prior to departure for a week in Mexico. This was an away Sat Game Day, when Ohio State played Minnesota in Minnesota. I assume this guy was traveling to the game. I asked if I could a picture and he was gracious enough to wait while I did so.

Follow along each day for information, pictures and participate in the fun from my travels to Mexico. This kicks off the series which will start tomorrow, Monday the 15th
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Thursday, November 11, 2010

A wordle post for FUN regarding GROUP Travel

Wordle: group travelHave you heard of a wordle? I hadn't until a few days ago. Kinda fun, sorta artistic. I plugged in the url of this blog and it picked up on the most recent post (scroll back to read about group travel), and bingo here's what you get. It's black and white unless you choice colors. I choose orange because of the current season of fall leaves and so it then choice colors associated with it. Give it a try, it's fun, it's free, it's easy, and it's fast! No much news for you today regarding travel, but thought you might enjoy some fun. Pop back tomorrow for Friday Fun with Flat Stanley

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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Group Travel

Group travel has both pluses and minuses. You need to actually think about it before you sign on to a group travel excursions.

Are you a scheduled person? If so, group travel can make you nuts. It's hard to get multiple people ready to go at a specific time and to agree when and where to go.

Are you flexible? If you're flexible group travel may be a breeze for you. If you have one thing in mind and do the opposite you need to ask yourself ahead of time if that will be ok with you. Will it disrupt you and cause you irritation?

Are the folks you plan to travel with like minded? Do they like to do the same sort of things? If not, you could have a problem. If group 1 is active and wants to get up early to exercise; and group 2 wants to sleep in, get up leisurely and take the day as it comes without things being pre-arranged or scheduled. You might have conflicts. Will the early birds be quiet, are they content to do their own thing and leave you be?

Group Travel can save you money. But, it can also actually increase the costs. Are you all sharing equally in the cost of a condo vs each of you paying for your own hotel room? If you're paying for your own hotel room, you need not all have the same accommodations. Example ocean view generally costs more than side or street view. Are you eating out or eating in? If you're eating out, the choice of restaurant can up the cost of your trip. Likewise if you're eating in, are you sharing the costs? Does everyone like to eat the same thing?

Are you a person that likes things neat? If so, going on vacation sharing a house or condo with people who aren't can be an irritant to you. Example: You have a beautiful condo and every night people leave their shoes everywhere, their drink glasses on end tables, personal care items like sun tan lotion on the table. Access your situation, what you like, what your travel partners are likely to be like and decide if ground rules need to discussed before the trip.

If you're at a house or condo and are eating in. Who's doing the cooking, the cleaning up? Are you going to get stuck with it all the time? Is it being shared. Really a good idea to discuss this before hand.

Do you want to do some things by yourself, or with your spouse and not necessarily everything with the group? If so, discuss it before hand. People can get their feelings hurt if they expect all activities to be group activities and you want some time alone.

What time do you like to eat dinner? If you're a 5 o'clock person but traveling with people like myself who like to eat at 7 ish, you have a potential problem.

There is no right, or wrong way to go about this. We all have our routines. The important thing is to discuss things ahead of time.

Here's 2 of the biggest area's that can be a source for discord in a group. Pets and smoking. Pet people tend to think everyone should love their pets they way they do. If you're not a pet person, you probably don't want to travel with people who are or want to bring their pets. Time tables can be an issue here, when and where to stop. Where to eat, what to do with the dog in the car etc. Smoking, if you're a non smoker, chances are you don't want smoke in your hotel room, condo, or beach house. If you have people in the group who are smokers, discuss ahead of time how that's to be handled. Is there a reasonable place outside for them to smoke?

Organize yourself, think about what you want out of vacation, and by all means discuss things BEFORE hand that will give everyone the best possible means of having a wonderful vacation.

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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Securing your House when you Travel

While you travel, be it for business or pleasure you don't want to have worries about your house/apt. or condo while you're away. Take a few precautions to safe guard your home. Naturally everyone thinks to close the windows, and lock the doors; but there's more to be done. Always let one or two people in family and in your neighborhood know when and where you're traveling so they can keep an eye on the house.

Always stop the mail and the newspapers. Door hangers are more difficult to stop, so do have a neighbor check the house. Nothing sends more of a signal you're not home then to have a pile of mail, newspapers, and or door hangers advertising that fact by being piled up in your absence. You can stop you mail easily by doing it on line.

Have several automatic lights set to go off and on while you're away in various parts of the house. Set those times to match your normal routine. If you typically go to bed around 11, leaving lights on in the middle of the night is a sure signal to anyone that might wish to enter that you're not home. Leave your window blinds up so your neighbors can see if something is wrong inside the house.

Make sure at least one neighbor has keys to your house should they're be any problems.

Turn off the water. It's not uncommon for a leak to happen in hoses' and you don't want to come home to a flood. Or due to cold temperatures have a pipe burst.

Turn your automatic garage door opener off. You don't want people to play with your combination and or another opening and be able to work yours. Turning the electric to it completely off is double security.

Don't take out your trash can, as it will sit there the whole time your gone....another big flag you're not home.

If it's winter, make arrangements for someone to shovel your drive and walk if it snows; and or to drive their car in and out of your drive leaving tracks....it looks like you've been there then. Likewise with tracks on the walk.

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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Versatile Blogger Award

versatile blogger award

A nice blogger and friend, June Zach over on A Fledgling Blogger recently gave me “The Versatile Blogger Award“.

I never expected to be a recipient of this cool award. Thank you very much! :D

-

The Rules:
* Be sure to thank and link back to the person who gave you the award. (check)
* Share 7 things about yourself.
* Pass the award to other bloggers who you think deserves it.(working on it this wkend)
* Be sure to let the bloggers know you chose them to receive the award.

7 Things about Me

1. I like quiet surroundings, rarely turn on the radio when in the car, even on a long trip.

2. I wish I were more techy with things on the computer, but strive continuously to learn new things.

3. I hate all the nasty things that come about during election times. People are so dishonest about their opponents it's troublesome

4. I no longer enjoy fall as I did when I was younger, thinking about the cold and snow and what follows causes me to want summer all year long.

5. I had a small speech problem when I was a kid, couldn't say s's at the beginning of the word. Took speech class which was helpful. Though at the time, I was upset about.

6. I wish my daughter lived nearer, we so enjoy time with her.

7. I knit and crochet for homeless, please check out my blog, Bridge and Beyond

Many thanks June for the award

Flat Stanley will be back next Friday with adventures. He's been busy planning for the next couple of weeks. Please check back



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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Laundry, Prepping for Travel

Laundry, something we all do all the time. Something you can't get away from no matter how hard you try. It's like the EverReady Bunny, it's just keep going and going. lol

You do laundry all 4 seasons of the year, you do it before after and sometimes during your travels. So, what's so important we need to talk about it here in this post? Laundry is a part of prepping for your travels. Make you life easy, make less work. As you do your laundry a week before departing for an adventure; set aside items you plan to pack and don't wear them. Lay them out on an extra bed (cover them if you have fur babies in the house that won't leave them alone). In the course of a normal week most of us do laundry multiple times. If you do this with all your laundry for the week, you'll have very little you actually need to get out of the closet or draws to get ready to pack. AND best of all, you won't have to do a last minute laundry because something you want isn't clean and ready.

There other benefit is, you have the opportunity to review things without feeling rushed about what to pack. You can see what might work or not, what might need a button sewn on etc. AND by keeping up with the laundry you're not pressed the minute you get home. It's also a good idea to launder, iron and have ready the outfit you'll need for your first day back at work before you go. If you're delayed getting home; you'll have what you need and not need to do laundry in the wee hours of morning to have something to wear to work; in fact.........you won't even have to unpack right then....you'll have what you need for your first day back.

Make your life simpler, plan ahead with this simple plan. It's saved us a couple of times. Getting stuck at the airport or even when driving due to weather and not making it back in town as scheduled doesn't have to stress you out, if you're ready.


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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Carry on Bags for Traveling

canvas carry bagYou give thought when you pack suitcases and duffel bags for plane or car travel; but do you give the same thought to your all important carry on bag? Do you pack a carry on bag even if you're traveling by car? I do, and consider it a must for pleasant, organized, and efficient travel. What will you need at finger tips? How heavy will it be (more important if you're packing for a carry on for plane travel), will it go through security safely?

The items I put in my carry bag regardless of whether I'm traveling by car or traveling by plane are:
My Camera
My GPS
A water bottle
My yarn

If I'm traveling by plane I add a pair of footies, and sometimes a book.

I have lots of canvas bags and use them constantly; but for carry on they must have a zipper and an extra pocket. The extra pocket is where I put my boarding pass, and my footies. I like the little footies for standing and walking through the security line. Not about to walk on that floor or carpet where thousands of people have; many with dirty feet. Boarding pass is something you want to be able to grab quickly, and not have to root in backpack, purse, or brief case/ laptop case for.

Pack LIGHT! I put my yarn, the needles or hooks I need for that item, and pattern if I'm using one in a zip lock bag sealed inside the carry on. Keeps it neat, clean, organized, and dry. Water bottles can leak, and have condensation which can be a problem. Likewise my GPS and or book would be in a sealed zip lock bag. I always use the freezer zip locks, as they're heavier and hold up far better than the regular ones. Additionally, if security needs to look through your carry on, they don't make a mess of everything. They can see right away what everything is.

I always have the camera in a small padded camera bag for protection again inside the carry on. Ladies this is for you, leave enough room in your carry on bag to put your purse inside it and still be able to zip it shut. The carry on bag should have shoulder straps so you can comfortable carry it. The bag needs to small enough to shove under the seat in front of you. If you count on being able to put it in the above compartments, it's not then at your finger tips. It's not convenient and you have to jump and down constantly to get what you need. Not only is that a nuisance to you, but it's a HUGE annoyance to your fellow travelers, and sometimes it's not possible. Sometimes with rough air travel you're not permitted to get up; and sometimes due to people carrying on too much your carry bag is no where near you. Again, that defeats the purpose. PARENTS should pay particular attention to this. You probably need items for your children, you need it to be organized, you need it to be at finger tips.

Can you count the number of times you've seen a harried traveler not being able to find something they need? The mother with a huge heavy purse flapping open as she bangs her way down the aisle. People who need help lifting their carry on bag because it's too heavy for them to lift. Bags that end up needing to be checked because their too big, they don't fit under the seat and the room above is gone? People with multiple plastic bags losing items as they go? Take time, think about what you need and pack it neatly. When you throw something together, you risk breaking it, losing it, and causing travel delays.

Always toss in a couple of extra zip lock bags in your carry on bag, and your suitcase. They are always useable.
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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Getting the most out of your Cell Phone and GPS when Traveling

cell phoneCell phones, we all them and use them daily; but they're not much good to you when you travel if you leave home without them being fully charged! How many of you have tried to reach a friend or family member for an urgent purpose while they were on vacation and not been able to reach them. People toss the phone in their pockets and purses without checking to make sure it is FULLY charged. Yes, I know most of us don't need to charge the phone daily; you might not reach your destination as planned (due to unforeseen delays) in order to plug in. You might reach your destination during a storm and electrical outage. No electric leaves you no ability to plug in and recharge.
  • Fully charge your cell phone and your bluetooth before you leave home
  • If traveling by car, use your bluetooth it's far safer than reaching for your cell phone
  • Pack your charger for both your cell phone and your bluetooth in your carry on bag if you're traveling by plane. That way, if you're delayed you'll have necessary plugs and hopefully have the ability to plug in, if necessary
  • Pack your car charger for your cell phone. If you're traveling by car this is a MUST. It can charge while your touring around and it doesn't rely on being near an electrical outlet. If you're traveling by plane, it's handy if you're going to rent a car as well.
  • Add phone numbers to your hotels BEFORE you leave home. You don't want fumble around looking for a phone number should you need to alter your reservations. If you need directions to their locations you have the number at your finger tips.
The cell phone really is more then an entertainment piece, it is truly a tool--a safety tool at that. Add your emergency contacts to your cell phone BEFORE you hit the road.

Garmin GPSGPS....love mine, and use it all the time. I feel safer having one. You can use them to find your way from point A to point B, certainly. You can also use it to find where to get gas, where to get food near where you are.
  • Make sure your GPS is FULLY charged before you leave home
  • Make your car charger. You can use it in your personal care or your rental
  • Add the names, phone numbers, and addresses of your hotels, airports and wherever you know you'll be traveling ahead of time.
  • Don't leave your GPS visible in your car. Put it in your purse, carry on type bag, out of site perhaps in the glove box. Leaving this visible in the car is an invitation to theft.
Remember, a GPS may not be aware of detours or new roads. Though there are GPS's that give you the updates; it's my experience it's not the model most of us have.

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Saturday, October 2, 2010

Flat Stanley & Flat Joe at a Leathers Playground

entrance to playgroundSilly Stanley, he and Flat Joe missed Friday Fun with Flat Stanley yesterday. They apparently were too busy having a good time to come and post and tell you all about it. Here they both are at Wickliffe Elementary Playground in Upper Arlington, Ohio. This is a very special playground you see. It was built in 1989-1990 as a community build. Everyone got in the act. First all the school kids told Leathers People what they wanted in their playground. The kids talked, drew pictures, and made models. Then a plan was drawn up by by The Leathers Team and presented to the parents along with the price tag. Fund-raising ensued and for a week everyone came together, students, teachers, parents, and neighbors in the community to building this fabulous playground. Everyone was involved in some manner. Some took care of tools, some carried work equipment to and from, others prepared food and drink to keep us workers going hour after hour, others babysat so parents could pound nails Follow us now and we'll show you this marvelous playground. Come on in through the gate where Flat Stanley and Flat Joe are....

Flat JoeHang on Joe, it swings. That's pretty cool. See behind Flat Joe? Things of different sizes for different age kids to enjoy. Fun spaces to crawl and play hide n seek, places to climb, places to sit and read. Even a little stage where kids can perform.


Flat Stanley & Flat JoeFlat Stanley here walking on a rail, while Flat Joe is exercising on the rings. Look careful and or click to enlarge the picture to see Joe.
Leathers PlaygroundWalkways, Castles, benches, play phones, swings, and slides and more. Flat Stanley and Flat Joe had a marvelous time playing and learning all about this really cool playground; but you know what they thought was the coolest? People working together to accomplish good are unstoppable. Flat Joe of Joseph Allen's Designs, said it's just like all the people pulling together on The Bridge and Beyond, there they make a difference one stitch at a time, and here they built a playground one board at a time.

Joe's on his way home now after 4 fun adventures here with Flat Stanley. If you missed any of their fun, you can catch up here:
Not a ordinary playground
Traveling Buckeye Style
Flat Joe and Flat Stanley

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