Tell me you're a follower, I will reciprocate

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Zipline Tours

Zipline Fun!
Z....wow, we're at the end of the alphabet.  I've never gone on a Zipline, probably wouldn't, but people I know whom have, said it was fun.  Just don't think it's my cup of tea.  Above picture is linked to a place in southern Ohio, Hocking Hills where you can zipline through the forest.

If you like outdoors, how bout Zion National Park, here's the link where I've blogged several times about it. HERE

Or maybe you prefer the animals at the Zoo?

**After the close of April's A-Z, I plan to continue to write a post a day in the month of May using again the A-B-C's as my guide.  My focus for the month of May will be Spain.  I've been planning and almost have every letter thought out.  If others are interested in continuing to blog daily using our A-B-C's, please let me know.  We could start a linky and continue what we've begun during April.  I don't imagine it will be anywhere near the scope of the annual April Challenge.  But, if you're interested, please let me know in your comment.  And even if you're not up for another blog challenge, do stop back in, I have much to share from recent travels to Spain.**

If you're a new follower, please let me know so I can reciprocate.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Yellowstone, Yugoslavia, Yemen, and the Yukon














This is one of only 2 posts I wasn't able to write and schedule ahead.  I kept racking my brain for a topic and or location that started with the letter Y.  Last year at this time I wrote about Yellowstone HERE.  Seemed a cheat to write about the same thing again, so instead I'll leave a link.  

This years model for my A-Z has been topics that start with whatever our letter of the day is and then linked it to a post I previously wrote about a location that started with that letter.  

Year and Yummy is all I can come up with.  A year...we all know that's 12 months, the significance of a year with regard to travel.........you might need to plan that far ahead.  We pretty much do, for example when we returned from Spain in April (which will be blogged about in May), we planned next years location for April which will be Arizona.  Some trips you don't need to plan that far ahead, in fact you can't really book airlines that far ahead; but if you're trying to book a popular destination it's a good idea to get your lodging that far ahead...........we had Spain booked a bit more then a year ahead.  

Yummy........one should eat yummy food, which does NOT include fast food chains when you travel.

 Prawn kebab....hubby's meal.  He said it was yummy
 Seafood kebab, our friend Jane's meal; who also said it was yummy
Park Medallions, my meal....and you guessed it..........it was yummy for my tummy.

I'll tell you about these meals and others at this restaurant in Marbella Beach Spain in May when I blogged alphabetically about the trip.  The first two pictures are meals I prepared at  home; but could and have easily prepared when traveling when we stay in a time share with a full kitchen.

Other Y locations are Yogoslavia, Yemen, and The Yukon; but I can't blog about those as I've not been there.

**After the close of April's A-Z, I plan to continue to write a post a day in the month of May using again the A-B-C's as my guide.  My focus for the month of May will be Spain.  I've been planning and almost have every letter thought out.  If others are interested in continuing to blog daily using our A-B-C's, please let me know.  We could start a linky and continue what we've begun during April.  I don't imagine it will be anywhere near the scope of the annual April Challenge.  But, if you're interested, please let me know in your comment.  And even if you're not up for another blog challenge, do stop back in, I have much to share from recent travels to Spain.**

If you're a new follower, please let me know so I can reciprocate.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Xenophobia and Xenia

X...this letter gave me fits last year, but since I had signed up multiple blogs to the challenge last year I really had to stretch.  I used X Marks the spot, the city of Xenia Ohio, and X...well here, take a look

There are 6 cities/towns with the name of Xenia in the United States.  One in Colorado in Washington County at 4,534 feet of elevation, Kansas in Boubon County at 1,040 feet, one in Iowa in Dallas County at 1,027 feet, also one that used to be in Hardin County, but there's very little documentation of this, Illinois has a Xenia in Clay County at 534 feet (this location is now known as Altanta), and the one most known for the horrible tornado in Ohio.

Additionally, there used to be a city/village in Missouri named after Xenia Ohio as a matter of fact, that no longer exists.  There is a sign marking where the village used to be in Nodaway County.  It moved to Pickerington when it was by passed by the railroads and ceased to exist back in 1870.
There was a small skirmish during the Civil War between The Union from the Iowa Calvary and the Confederates from southern Nodaway County.

XENOPHOBIA:
 fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners or of anything that is strange or foreign

**After the close of April's A-Z, I plan to continue to write a post a day in the month of May using again the A-B-C's as my guide.  My focus for the month of May will be Spain.  I've been planning and almost have every letter thought out.  If others are interested in continuing to blog daily using our A-B-C's, please let me know.  We could start a linky and continue what we've begun during April.  I don't imagine it will be anywhere near the scope of the annual April Challenge.  But, if you're interested, please let me know in your comment.  And even if you're not up for another blog challenge, do stop back in, I have much to share from recent travels to Spain.**

If you're a new follower, please let me know so I can reciprocate.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

What is the Weather Like

W=Weather in our A-Z blog challenge.  We all like sunny days, but we don't always get them.  How to pack, how to dress while traveling can be a challenge.  As you're planning your trip it's a good idea to frequently check the weather where you plan to travel ahead to be aware of the destinations on going weather.  Pack with a range of weather conditions in mind.

Pack a small umbrella, perhaps a lightweight poncho in order to be prepared.  You don't want to miss touring because of rain, or be on an all day tour and have it rain and get soaked.  Smart phones have a variety of weather apps that can prove to be very helpful.  Lightweight wool sweaters are always a good item.  Even being light weight, wool will keep you warm, and wool is always better in the wet then say cotton.  And because wool is lighter weight you'll not take up lot so suitcase room like a big cotton does.  Good Merino wool is not scratchy.

Don't let the weather ruin your travels, be prepared.

World Largest Cross?

**After the close of April's A-Z, I plan to continue to write a post a day in the month of May using again the A-B-C's as my guide.  My focus for the month of May will be Spain.  I've been planning and almost have every letter thought out.  If others are interested in continuing to blog daily using our A-B-C's, please let me know.  We could start a linky and continue what we've begun during April.  I don't imagine it will be anywhere near the scope of the annual April Challenge.  But, if you're interested, please let me know in your comment.  And even if you're not up for another blog challenge, do stop back in, I have much to share from recent travels to Spain.**

If you're a new follower, please let me know so I can reciprocate.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Viu Bicing, Vodafone in Barcelona

 A bike rack
For Viu Bicing in Barcelona.  Today is the letter V as we move through our A-Z challenge (if you want a V location post, here's several for Virginia...Richmond, Monticello, Arlington National Cemetery, Williamsburg, and more.
We saw these strange bikes everywhere while we were in Barcelona.  Viu Bicing is a bike sharing program that began in March of 2007 in Barcelona.  It has moved about Europe, to Germany, Netherlands, and Italy as a means to reduce traffic and carbon dioxide emissions in busy cities, reduce noise and it seems to be very popular.  You purchase a pre-paid smart pass annually, and with a swipe of a card can slide a bike out to use.  They are meant for short distances, to supplement public transportation for the locals.

There are 420 stations and close to 100,000 members in Barcelona.  Vodafone (a mobile wallet app) is now involved giving members the ability to track their distance, average speed, and emissions saved.  The first 30 minutes of use are at no additional cost beyond the membership.  Each subsequent half hour has a charge and can be used up to 2 hours.  They are meant for short distances and therefore you are in fact penalized if you hit 2 hours, and your membership can be revoked if you hit 2 hours too many times.

You do not need to return the bic to the same location where you collected it.  Example you hop off the city bus or metro, hop on a VIU bic and ride 3 more blocks, park it and go to work.  When you slide the bike back in the rack, it is identified and locked until the next person/member slides their card.  They are meant for 1 way transportation.

What a great idea, too bad the US doesn't get on board with something like that, then again we don't have good public transportation in most areas either.  Not only is this a means to control noise, traffic and emissions, think of the wonderful on going exercise you'd get.

**After the close of April's A-Z, I plan to continue to write a post a day in the month of May using again the A-B-C's as my guide.  My focus for the month of May will be Spain.  I've been planning and almost have every letter thought out.  If others are interested in continuing to blog daily using our A-B-C's, please let me know.  We could start a linky and continue what we've begun during April.  I don't imagine it will be anywhere near the scope of the annual April Challenge.  But, if you're interested, please let me know in your comment.  And even if you're not up for another blog challenge, do stop back in, I have much to share from recent travels to Spain.**

If you're a new follower, please let me know so I can reciprocate.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Un-Scheduled Time

Un-scheduled time.  Take the watch up, unplug clock you're on vacation.
Today's letter is U......Un-scheduled.
While it may not be practical to truly unplug the clock in hotel room, it probably is reasonable and worthwhile to take your watch off.  Aside from a few tours you've perhaps scheduled where tickets are necessary, eat when you're hungry, sleep when you're tired.  Don't schedule everyday of your vacation.  Often it's the unplanned things that make the trip special.  Allow yourself to just be idle, to relax, to take in and think about the sites you've seen or the book you read, or even just enjoy the fact that you're not on the clock.

We like to be busy when we travel site seeing; but we also enjoy doing off the cuff things, have been known to cancel something that was planned in favor of "down" time or a different activity all together.

Want to travel to a destination that starts with U.......how bout Urbana, or Utah

**After the close of April's A-Z, I plan to continue to write a post a day in the month of May using again the A-B-C's as my guide.  My focus for the month of May will be Spain.  I've been planning and almost have every letter thought out.  If others are interested in continuing to blog daily using our A-B-C's, please let me know.  We could start a linky and continue what we've begun during April.  I don't imagine it will be anywhere near the scope of the annual April Challenge.  But, if you're interested, please let me know in your comment.  And even if you're not up for another blog challenge, do stop back in, I have much to share from recent travels to Spain.**

If you're a new follower, please let me know so I can reciprocate.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Packing Toiletries


T's the letter for today, Toiletries or Turtle Park, for T destination.
Packing Toiletries can be time consuming, difficult, and be be the biggest item that tips the scales of your luggage weighing too much.  Why?
  • The actual weight and size of the bag you use to pack your toiletries can be part of the problem.  Look at the difference in the two bags.  I loved the look of my Vera Bradley bag, and I liked that I got it on line for really cheap when it was out of season; but no matter how I packed it, it rolled up large and was heavy.  I take shampoo, hair spray, a few meds, toothpaste etc. all the usual stuff.  I should add, I don't wear make up so that's not even packed in there.  The construction of the bag makes it heavy, the heavy duty plastic to contain liquids is the primary reason, I believe.  The 2nd bag, the red Eddie Bauer one has been made with a light weight fabric specifically to be light weight, yet durable.  Purpose over appearance.  You can see how much smaller it is.  I packed almost the same stuff in it and it rolled up smaller.  The actual roll size saves space in the suitcase as well as weight. 
  • Liquids really add to the weight.  Did you know that a pint of liquid...a pint is pretty small but it weights a whole pound?  Think about the liquid you pack.  Shampoo, Conditioner, mouthwash, perfume, body spray, hair gel, hair spray.  All those things add up pretty quickly.  Lotions and liquid soap as well.
  • I bounce back and forth about what is easier, makes more sense and or packs best ...multiple small containers vs 1 large container with regard to things like toothpaste and hair spray.  If you pack 3 or 4 small containers of hair spray, you can throw them out as you go...therefore making more room in your bag.  Same goes with toothpaste.  Example 1 normal size hair spray weights 10 oz vs 1.5 in the little travel size of my brand (S-G).  So even with taking 4 little ones 4 x 1.5=6, I'm saving 4 oz, plus I'll have ability to toss as I go.  The trick is to mark the one you're using so you keep using the same one til empty...vs have 4 partials and still needing to tote them all.
**After the close of April's A-Z, I plan to continue to write a post a day in the month of May using again the A-B-C's as my guide.  My focus for the month of May will be Spain.  I've been planning and almost have every letter thought out.  If others are interested in continuing to blog daily using our A-B-C's, please let me know.  We could start a linky and continue what we've begun during April.  I don't imagine it will be anywhere near the scope of the annual April Challenge.  But, if you're interested, please let me know in your comment.  And even if you're not up for another blog challenge, do stop back in, I have much to share from recent travels to Spain.**

If you're a new follower, please let me know so I can reciprocate.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Stranger Danger, Sausalito, A-Z challenge


S is the letter of the day.  Travel with me to Sausalito
Stranger Danger...if you've got kids, grandchildren and the like you're know what I'm referring to.  Kids are taught at a very young age about Stanger Danger.  Now think about that and the mass of people at an airport.  When you travel with a child they don't know what to expect.  They don't know whom to afraid off or who's "safe".  You have lots of travelers, airport personnel, security people.  Is it any wonder children scream, cry, crawl on the floor or refuse to stand in line or talk to people who ask them questions?

Parents should prepare the child for what will happen, what they'll see so they're not taken by surprise.  Knowing ahead of time what to expect provides a level of comfort.  If you prepare your children, they'll be better travelers, your job will be easier and less stressful and your fellow passengers will be appreciative.  They should know ahead of time they will be walking through the line without being carried, and that they'll need to remove their shoes.

Adults have comfort zones, children really are no different.

**After the close of April's A-Z, I plan to continue to write a post a day in the month of May using again the A-B-C's as my guide.  My focus for the month of May will be Spain.  I've been planning and almost have every letter thought out.  If others are interested in continuing to blog daily using our A-B-C's, please let me know.  We could start a linky and continue what we've begun during April.  I don't imagine it will be anywhere near the scope of the annual April Challenge.  But, if you're interested, please let me know in your comment.  And even if you're not up for another blog challenge, do stop back in, I have much to share from recent travels to Spain.**

If you're a new follower, please let me know so I can reciprocate.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Rafting

Rafting!  This is white water rafting and there are many places you can enjoy this.  Some are fun float down the river in hot water type trips, others much more strenuous fighting rapids.  What time of year you can has a lot to do with how high the water can be, how difficult the rafting might be.  There are different sized rafts piloted by skilled guides.  Hubby and I enjoyed a white water rafting trip years ago out in Utah.  There was some calm and we were able to take in the beauty of the area.  There is one picture of us in the raft......this isn't it.  Perched high on a cliff a professional photographer snapped pictures as the rafts rounded the bend.  You then had the option to view them and purchase them later.

State Parks, National Parks and Forest Preserves often have organized raft trips that vary in skill needed.  I'm not a good swimmer and so once was probably enough for me to feel that my card is punched on this particularly outdoor activity.

Goodness, we're rounded in on Letter R of our A-Z challenge, not many letters left.
Want an R destination?  Get your Kicks on Route 66

**After the close of April's A-Z, I plan to continue to write a post a day in the month of May using again the A-B-C's as my guide.  My focus for the month of May will be Spain.  I've been planning and almost have every letter thought out.  If others are interested in continuing to blog daily using our A-B-C's, please let me know.  We could start a linky and continue what we've begun during April.  I don't imagine it will be anywhere near the scope of the annual April Challenge.  But, if you're interested, please let me know in your comment.  And even if you're not up for another blog challenge, do stop back in, I have much to share from recent travels to Spain.**

If you're a new follower, please let me know so I can reciprocate.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Wrapping Up Another Week with A-Z on Easter Sunday

Since it's Easter Sunday, thought I'd share this photo taken in Barcelona at Sagrada Familia.

Another week has been completed by lots of bloggers in the anual A-Z Challenge in April.  I appreciate all who've come by read and left comments.  I've returned all.........except a few who have the blogs set to only accept people signed in with Disgus, Google+, and or Facebook.  It's a bit frustrating.  Joining a huge linky with currently over 2,000 members (and was more initially) then making it difficult or impossible for people to leave you comments.  That defeats the entire purpose of the linky and the challenge.  What I wonder from time to time is...they join, knowing they will not be returning visits and comments, therefore they don't care that they've closed their blogs to a large percentage of people.  They still get the traffic...because you don't know you can't leave a comment until you've taken the time to visit and read their blog...ie..they get the traffic.  They won't be visiting you back, because you can't leave a comment.  Or is it not intentional and they simply don't understand?  One has to set ones blogs settings, so me thinks it's intentional.  How bout you all?

It's like sending someone an invitation to come to your house, and when they come knocking on your door; you don't answer it.  I do think as soon as those sites are visited by the hosts and the minions they should be deleted from the linky.

Last Sunday I asked that people please not leave the google+ page, that they leave the url to their actual blog, thank you to those that have changed. The same problem exists for those of us with multiple blogs, if I leave my google signature/ie my blogger dashboard you go to my profile page where you need to sort through my 5 blogs to see which one to visit, then hope it's the one signed up for a-z....though it's a bit more straight forward then the google+ pages it still puts the onerous on the visitor which I believe isn't quite the way it ought to be.  The blogger is the one that should take on the responsibility of making the path to his or her blog OPEN and EASY and QUICK.

Name and url (to your actual blog) is by far the easiest to me, but many don't like to have the setting available as you also have to have the anonymous option with it.  So then the next option is the hyper-link.  Many don't know how to make one, so they leave a cut and paste of the url to the blog...they're trying, but it's not a live link.  Here's how you make a live link...a hyperlink.



Alex Cavanaugh
Ann
Arleen Bird
ATarkabarka Holgy
betty
Bob Sanchez
Carolyn Branch
Cascadian Nomands Bethany
Chris Boothman
Christine Rains
Corinne Vail
cranthie
Crystal
Daidri Smythe
Fili
grammy
GSMarlene
Heather Gardner
Heather Musk
il;akshee
Jaime
Jaimie Ramsey
jenna,Mark Draddy
josephAlsarraf
Kate @Another Clean Slate
Kimberly
Kirsten
Kirsten
Leslie
Leslie Melby
Lila Asnani
Linda
lindalh
Liz A
looking for a view
Meandering Mind
Melanie
melaniegobledvm
Millie Burns
Nancy LaRonda Jackson
Natalie Bowers
Nicky
Nilanjana Bose
ovengoodies
Paige Rion
Paula
Perry
perspective of a writer
Preethi Venugopal
Rhonda Albom
Rikaine Hernadez
rscottamsbaugh.com
sean@His And Her Hobbies
Spacer Guy
Sue Kuentz
Sue McPeak
Susan leighnoble
Susan Scott
Suzanne Sapsed
thelmaz
thewayofwytch
Tina
Troy Miles
vanilla ban
Veronica Sicoe
Welcome to my World of Verse
Wendy
Zoe Byrd

 **After the close of April's A-Z, I plan to continue to write a post a day in the month of May using again the A-B-C's as my guide. My focus for the month of May will be Spain. I've been planning and almost have every letter thought out. If others are interested in continuing to blog daily using our A-B-C's, please let me know. We could start a linky and continue what we've begun during April. I don't imagine it will be anywhere near the scope of the annual April Challenge. But, if you're interested, please let me know in your comment. And even if you're not up for another blog challenge, do stop back in, I have much to share from recent travels to Spain.**

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Queue Up

WOW......Todays's letter is Q.  Well I don't think you can travel in this day and age without finding yourself in a queue.....be it for a cup of coffee, to use the bathroom, to go through security at the airport, to board or deplane your plane.  Knowing that ahead of time and expecting it might make people be more patient.  Sadly, queuing up seems to bring out some ugliness in people who think they have the right to be in the front of said queue.......even though often they walk right in front of someone who's been standing there longer.  

Some perspective......see what the dictionary has to say about the word.

1. A line of waiting people or vehicles.
2. A long braid of hair worn hanging down the back of the neck; a pigtail.
3. Computer Science
a. A sequence of stored data or programs awaiting processing.
b. A data structure from which the first item that can be retrieved is the one stored earliest.
intr.v. queuedqueu·ingqueues
To get in line: queue up at the box office.

[French, from Old French cuetail, from Latin cauda, cōda.]
Word History: When the British stand in queues (as they have been doing at least since 1837, when this meaning of the word is first recorded in English), they may not realize they form a tail. The French word queue from which the English word is borrowed is a descendant of Latin cōda, meaning "tail." French queue appeared in 1748 in English, referring to a plait of hair hanging down the back of the neck. By 1802 wearing a queue was a regulation in the British army, but by the mid-19th century queues had disappeared along with cocked hats. Latin cōda is also the source of Italian coda, which was adopted into English as a musical term (like so many other English musical terms that come from Italian). A coda is thus literally the "tail end" of a movement or composition.

Another Q word related to travel, is Quin, which is apparently a hotel room for 5 people.



Pop in Often, remember Menu Mondays for dining tips, Traveling Tips on Thursday, and any day for vacation destinations.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Planes, Fly the Friendly Skies


P for Plane.  ( or for a P destination, I've blogger 39 times about Park City...yes there really is that much to see and do there. Traveling by plane can be positive or negative.  Yes, it's sometimes faster then driving your car, yes there are places you can fly that you can't drive your car, yes it's more expensive then driving your car........with a few exceptions.

How do you determine whether or not to fly or drive when making a trip?

  • How far are you traveling, how many tanks of gas would it take to get there, and how long in terms of hours?  Explore that fully.  Gas isn't cheap, and depending on the distance you're traveling you may need to factor in a hotel stay.  You also need to factor in how many times will you be stopping to eat, and how many mouths are you feeding.  Some trips can be cheaper to fly.  
  • Will you need a car once you're there?  Most likely and so now you also need to add the cost of a car rental.  
  • Time is important, you hate to lose valuable vacation time traveling; but even though plane's are considered to be quickier; you can still loose a whole day traveling.  Example:  If a car trip is around 6-8 hours, it's not much longer then a plane ride to the same location.  Arrive at the airport 1hour earlier then your flight, go through security, board, and actual flight time, wait for your luggage, wait again for your rental, drive to your location....that can come pretty close to how long it would take you to drive.  So here the determining factor might come down to how many people are traveling.
**After the close of April's A-Z, I plan to continue to write a post a day in the month of May using again the A-B-C's as my guide.  My focus for the month of May will be Spain.  I've been planning and almost have every letter thought out.  If others are interested in continuing to blog daily using our A-B-C's, please let me know.  We could start a linky and continue what we've begun during April.  I don't imagine it will be anywhere near the scope of the annual April Challenge.  But, if you're interested, please let me know in your comment.  And even if you're not up for another blog challenge, do stop back in, I have much to share from recent travels to Spain.**

If you're a new follower, please let me know so I can reciprocate.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Odors, Offensive Overbooked.......yikes

Several O words related to travel come to mind, looking for a O destination?  How bout a post I did previously on Olde Town.

Odor, Offensive, organization, overbooked, and oversized..........are words that popped into my head thinking about travel.

  • ODOR, when you decide it's a good idea to take something smelly on the plane to eat later, you are not everyone's favorite traveler.  The entire plane, passengers and crew members have to smell your too garlicky, too spicy, fishy, too Mexican and really don't appreciate it.  Think about your fellow travelers, you're not flying a private plane.
  • OFFENSIVE, your noisy game is offensive to those around you.  Turn it off, or plug in your ear phones.  Likewise your constant chatter about how important you are, is offensive to others.  Remember if you're really that important, rich...you would be aboard your personal plane.
  • ORGANIZATION, think about what you need at hand, think about what you will be using in your carry on and pack accordingly.  Don't just throw everything in, stand up every 10 minutes to grab something from the over head bumping your neighbors as you go.  Don't stand in the aisle for 20 minutes while you route for something and hold up the rest of those trying to board.  We have a constant theme here folks, YOU are NOT the only passenger, be considerate of your fellow travelers.  The idea of being organized is even more important if you're traveling with some children.
  • OVERBOOKED...some folks get irritable when planes are overbooked, some like it and volunteer to give up their flight for a free one later on.  Whichever camp you fall into, remember the ticket agent isn't the one who overbooked, don't take it out on them.  Be Polite.
  • OVERSIZED, stop packing oversized bags as carry on.  Yes, you think you're being clever saving money by not checking your bag; but YOU are responsible for delaying the plane, irritating your fellow travelers and the crew, AND YOU are responsible for raising ticket prices and the charge on bags.  Why........because a heavy plane needs more fuel, so when you pack oversized bags you're making the problem you think you're avoided worse.  You know before hand it's not going to fit under your seat, that it doesn't even come close to fitting into the sizer at the gate.
I repeat, you are not the only traveler, you are not flying a personal plane.  

**After the close of April's A-Z, I plan to continue to write a post a day in the month of May using again the A-B-C's as my guide.  My focus for the month of May will be Spain.  I've been planning and almost have every letter thought out.  If others are interested in continuing to blog daily using our A-B-C's, please let me know.  We could start a linky and continue what we've begun during April.  I don't imagine it will be anywhere near the scope of the annual April Challenge.  But, if you're interested, please let me know in your comment.  And even if you're not up for another blog challenge, do stop back in, I have much to share from recent travels to Spain.**

If you're a new follower, please let me know so I can reciprocate.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

GPS, Oh Garmin Where am I?


(Charlotte, North Carolina)
We've made it to N so far in our challenge.  N for Navigate.  "Re-calutating", Make a U-turn.  Can you hear the winy voice telling you that?  You do if you've ever used a GPS be it a Tom Tom, or Magellan, or the most popular of all Garmin.  We have a Garmin, why I sometimes wonder.  Hubby will ask me where's so and so, or such n such.  I turn it on and he precedes to argue with the machine, almost 100% of the time.  I love it personally, because I do not have a good sense of direction, AND...men, I'm willing to admit it.  Not something many men are willing to admit to........ask for directions, surely you jest.

A GPS gives us comfort, by us I mean those willing to listen to it.  You can navigate using your cell phones, but it's not really the same thing as a true GPS, and if you loose cell coverage you loose your directions.  So, I personally much prefer a GPS.

However, they can be frustrating.  We have the type of unit that can be updated.  However, I wish I'd never done it.  Why?  It's a bit of a come on, and very misleading.  I had the whole US when the unit was purchased, finally decided with construction perhaps I should update.  Apparently they've added so many graphics with updates that you don't have room to do the whole update.  So, once you've plugged it into your computer and waited 20 minutes you get a message telling you there's not enough room to load the new maps.  They ask what section of the country you'd like to add.  We were traveling in Arizona, so I choose the SW and added all the addresses of the hotels we would be staying in.

We arrived late at night, turned on the GPS as we exited the airport, and it spoke to us in Spanish....gees that was helpful, NOT.  Hubby turned to his smart phone.  Took two more attempts the following day to get the proper updated maps in English.  When I attempted to add my home area, once we were home; I again got the message insufficient room.  Nixed that idea and decided to load maps of Spain for an upcoming trip.  They wanted an additional $75.00 for that.  My unit is 2 years old, most new ones run around $110.00.  My choice add Spain, then attempt to remove and add my area once home again???

Solution..........currently I took the GPS out of the car, it won't be packed for the Spain trip, and I currently can't use it for here.  Do I opt to purchase a new one?  Isn't that their plan?  Planned obsolescence?  Jury's out on what to do next, but my advice is NOT to do the updates and just make adjustments to the areas you know have construction or have changed slightly.

Pop in Often, remember Menu Mondays for dining tips, Traveling Tips on Thursday, and any day for vacation destinations.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Marriott's

Continuing to blog alphabetically for the month of April for the A-Z challenge brings us to M and today, let's talk Marriott.  Or maybe you like to visit an M destination, Manzanilla for instints, I've blogged about it HERE.   I've counted 38 Marriott Time Shares in the Continental US, however there are over 50 in 31 countries to choose from.  That's alot of locations and variety in activities as well.  Some are beach locations, others geared to golf, while others are geared to more family oriented destinations with things like Disney at hand.  Example there are 7 Marriott Time Shares in Hilton Head South Carolina (where it all began), and 7 in the ever popular Orlando and Disney area.

You can stay at your home resort, you can trade your weeks through Interval International, you can convert your weeks to destination points to stay elsewhere beyond your home resort, and you can turn your weeks into Marriott Rewards Points.  Maybe you've purchased more recently and don't own "weeks" but own trust points.  You can use your trust points to book at any of the locations and or use them towards tours or cruises.  Lots to choose from.

But, that's only one side of Marriott.  You can enjoy the quality of Marriott's without purchasing time share weeks.  There are a variety of Marriott Hotels, Marriott, JW Marriott, Residents Inn, Springhills, Courtyards and Renaissance.  With that variety there's always one near at hand.  With that variety of brands you also have many chooses in prize, room styles and amenities.  Some are geared more to personal travel, some more business, while others are nice adult locations and others geared towards traveling families.  Remember to use your Marriott Charge Card to obtain the most bang for your buck.

Pop in Often, remember Menu Mondays for dining tips, Traveling Tips on Thursday, and any day for vacation destinations.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Loyalty Programs.

Today's letter is L.  I've written about Lake Erie here, a favorite spot for Ohioans.  And one must talk about Luggage for all kinds of travel, but I already wrote about that too, HERE

So today, I'm going to talk a bit about "loyalty" programs.  Everyone has one and it pays to take advantage of them when you can.  There are loyalty programs connected to your charge cards, example Eddie Bauer Charge Cards get connected to Delta Airline Miles.  Chances are your bank has one connected to their charge card.  Chase for example has a cash back program, and they have a 2nd program that gives you more points on certain types of purchases IF you go through their webpage.

Marriott has a rewards program and their rewards points can be used to book flights, and or hotel stays, you get more points if you're using their card.

Airlines have loyalty programs so it pays to be able to book most of your flights through one carrier.  You're not always able to, but if you're know you're going to be traveling for business and or pleasure, think about where you're going ...is there one particular airlines that generally goes where you go?  Make that your primary airlines and you'll be more inclined to earn enough miles to get free flights.  

Many grocery stores have loyalty programs where you can save money by purchasing gift cards through them and earn money back on your groceries, some are tied into free gallons of gas as well.  

Loyalty programs can indeed save you money; but you need to be willing to invest some time to check several programs out and determine which one works best for you.  Don't try to do too many different programs...not only is it confusing; but you'll be spreading your earnings/savings in too many directions to quickly reap the rewards.

Save money on your flights, and your hotel stays by seeing what loyalty programs you can take advantage off.

**Though Sunday is a free day, I did write a post yesterday, wanted to thank all my visitors, check it out HERE**

Pop in Often, remember Menu Mondays for dining tips, Traveling Tips on Thursday, and any day for vacation destinations.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

AtoZchallenge, Sunday Wrap Up and Thank you

I wrote 98% of my A-Z challenge posts ahead and had them scheduled for the correct days, as I knew I would still be traveling for the first several days of the annual April Blog Challenge.  I visited briefly here and there while away (limited time and internet); and have played catch up since returning. **the picture is my hubby in Morocco, which is where we were when our blog challenge began, there will be lots of blog posts about Spain and Morocco after the a-z challenge**

I return every visit.............except when people don't leave links.  Very frustrating.  PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do not leave the link to your google+ page.  It's next to impossible to find your blog.  What I think those who have google+ don't see is ...When a non google+ person visits your page we see the comments you've left on other peoples blogs........we have to hunt to find your blog, and even after hunting often it's not visible due the number of comments you've left elsewhere.  AND, if we non-google+ people are able to find your blog it's another 2 sometimes 3 clicks to get there..........then after reading and attempting to leave a comment we find we can not as your settings do not allow anyone (which includes wordpress, disgus, blogspot etc) who is not a member of google+ to leave a comment.  Since the whole point in the a-z challenge is to visit, meet new people....please open the doors to your blogs.

The easiest way to leave your link is to use the name and url option, url of the actual blog post, then I can return the favor of a blog visit and comment with 1 click.

The 2nd option is to leave a hyper link (NOT a cut and paste of your url)

Thank you to the following who've visited my blog:

grammy
Leslie Melby
Kate @Another Clean Slate
Corinne Vail
Nicky
Lila Asnani
Paige Rion
Daidri Smythe
Ann
Leslie
Jaimie Ramsey
Perry
Rhonda Albom
Nancy LaRonda Jackson
Chris Boothman
Rikaine Hernadez
Heather Gardner
Spacer Guy
il;akshee
melaniegobledvm
josephAlsarraf
Christine Rains
Arleen Bird
Heather Musk
Suzanne Sapsed
Liz A
Meandering Mind
Linda
Carolyn Branch
Fili
Wendy
Preethi Venugopal
Kimberly
Kirsten
betty
Paula
Melanie
Tina
Cascadian Nomands Bethany
Crystal
ovengoodies

 If I missed someone.., please sing out so I can add you.  I apologize if I did.

Pop in Often, remember Menu Mondays for dining tips, Traveling Tips on Thursday, and any day for vacation destinations.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Knitting Needles on Board Airlines

Knitting = K  and or Knoles Log Cabin (a K destination I've blogged about)

I have plenty of pictures of real knitting needles, knitted projects and the like; but thought the squirrel knitting might put a smile on your face.  Knitting starts with K...our letter for the day.  There are lots of discussions about whether or not one can knit on a plane.  Though you read and hear constantly you can't, I have more times then I can count.  I've flown domestically, and international to Aruba and to Mexico.  I've taken several different types of knitting needles, however........to be on the safe side I usually pack my good needles (like Turbo's) in my checked bag, just in case and only have back up needles in my carry on.  I've generally taken circulars or wooden needles and try to have them be some of the less sharp needles.  The ONLY time I was questioned was when I had a whole set of interchangeable needles with extra cords.  The cords caught the camera's attention and they had to be sure they weren't wires.  I demonstrated how they hooked to the needles.

That said, some airline's list they are permitted, others don't list them as ok or not.  AND my research on the subject indicates which country you're flying in or out of can also make the difference.  To be safe, don't take a pair of needles you'll be upset about losing if they're taken from you.  I've not yet decided if I'll try to take any during my flight to Spain, as I've not flown on Ibera Airlines before.

Pop in Often, remember Menu Mondays for dining tips, Traveling Tips on Thursday, and any day for vacation destinations.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Journey through your Journals



Journals, journals can be cute or plain; they can be big or small.  Write a journal of your trip/travels/vacation.

Moving right along with our A-Z challenge and today's letter is J=Journal.  Keeping a journal can serve several purposes.  If you're taking a family vacation, getting the kids involved in writing a journal about what they see, where you're going is a excellent way to keep them busy.  AND it's far more productive then letting them tune out with an electronic something.  They can keep track of mileage, dollars spent each day, particularly if you're travel by car.

Writing a journal is a good way to remember your trip.  What day you went where; even as an adult and makes for a nice momento.

Journals can aid you identify your pictures after the fact also.

Journals are a good educational tool also for the kids.  When they write about what they saw, what they learned, what they liked etc.  Find those places on the map, learn how to spell those words.  All very positive.

For a J destination, here's my post on Joshua Tree National Park

**REMINDER, please leave the url to your actual blog post, NOT your google+ page, NOT your blogger profile/dashboard page.  Use the name and url option, or leave a hyperlink.  As we all try to visit throughout the a-z network, leaving links that are not your actual blog post cause frustration and time loss.**

Pop in Often, remember Menu Mondays for dining tips, Traveling Tips on Thursday, and any day for vacation destinations.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Interval International

Interval International is the topic for today (but if you want a destination that starts with I, here's my post on The Iwo Jima Monument)  because it starts with the letter I.  If you're a member of Interval International you can travel the world more affordably.  People who belong to various timeshare groups have the ability to deposit the time share weeks to trade to go somewhere beyond their home resort.  You can purchase travel insurance through them as well, pretty reasonably priced.

There are multiple levels of membership, each providing additional benefits to the member.

  • Regular, you can exchange your time share week, Getaways (vacant weeks more affordable then regular rental rates), E-Plus (options for re-trading your week for a different location or date), and travel insurance
  • Gold, in addition to the above benefits you get $25.00 discount when you book a Getaway, ability to book short-stays (turn your week into 2 stays of 1-6 nights), Interval options (turn your timeshare week into a cruise, golf or spa specials), Hertz Gold (discounts on car rentals).
  • Platinum, same benefits as above but, $50.00 discounts for Getaways, membership in airport lounges, free quest certificates (when you book a vacation for someone else there is a charge to change the certificate to their name, this fee is waved with this membership level), Priority Getaway viewing (you see the options before the other members
I've found the staff at Interval International to be very helpful and whenever possible very accommodating.  If you're a timeshare owner, I highly recommend you join Interval International.  Decide which membership works for you based on how you tend to use your timeshare, and how often you travel.


Pop in Often, remember Menu Mondays for dining tips, Traveling Tips on Thursday, and any day for vacation destinations.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Historic Destinations

Moving right along with the A-Z challenge today brings us to H.  Words that start with H and have to do travel.......for hubby and I the biggest word is History, Historical.  We love visiting historic landmarks around the country, and elsewhere.  Touring and learning the story behind something to me makes it all so much more enjoyable.  Whether we stop to read an historic sign, or tour a historic home, or visit historic battlefields or enjoy the art that surrounds historic monuments; we always learn new things in our travels.  Doing this gives us a better understanding about how our country developed.

One thing hubby and I don't share an interest in though is a haunted tour.  I always want to take them, and he never does.  A haunted tour takes place at night, and I don't want to do that solo; so...it's something I've yet to do.

However, I've lunch at a Haunted and Historic Tavern.  Click here for the story about the murder.
Where....right here in Ohio.

Pop in Often, remember Menu Mondays for dining tips, Traveling Tips on Thursday, and any day for vacation destinations.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Group Travel


Group Travel.......or Gettysburg  you decide.
Group travel can be fun, it can also make travel less expensive; but it's not for everyone.  It could have you feeling a bit blurry like the folks in the picture.  Things to consider before you sign up for a group travel:

  • Will you have any free time?
  • Does everyone in the group want to do the same thing?
  • Does noise and chaos bother you?  If so, group travel might not be the best option for you.
  • How many meals are included in the group price?
  • Is it a walking tour, or a bus type tour?
  • Will there be opportunities to take pictures?
Other ways to save money without doing a complete group tour in your travels...check Groupon for the area you're going to.  Sometimes there are good deals in tourist areas for dining and entertainment, as well as lodging.

Maybe a combination of your own vacation with a day or two for a group tour is the way to have quiet and group time.  Fun and relaxation.  It's also a good way to visit someplace you've not been before.

Hubby and I used to do group type vacations, not organized group tours and find as we get older trying to get everyone organized is a bit of a chore.  Who wants what for dinner, who wants to go out vs those who want to stay in; how much money do people in the group want to spend can lead to lost time and uncomfortable situations.  Think about your needs, there's much to consider beyond the price tag.

Pop in Often, remember Menu Mondays for dining tips, Traveling Tips on Thursday, and any day for vacation destinations.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Foreign Travel



 Foreign Travel.......Another A-Z post. (Fort Sumter post click here)

Foreign Travel takes far more preparation, planning and organization then traveling within your own country.

  • Do you have a passport?
  • Do you need a visa?
  • What type of currency do you need, and how long do you need to give your bank to obtain the funds?
  • What is the exchange rate?  Are you charged if you use your charge card?
  • Will there be a language barrier?
  • Will your electrical devices, such as your phone, computer and i-pad be compatible with the electrical outlets where you plan to travel?
  • Do you need to make special telephone arrangements?  Is your cell phone set up for foreign travel?
  • Do you need to purchase skype or other such service to minimize the cost of phone calls back home?
  • Do you need to upgrade your Garmin (or other GPS) to have directions in your travels?
Do pay attention to these items ahead of time, otherwise you'll find yourself struggling to over come problems instead of enjoying your travels.


Saturday, April 5, 2014

Enough and Everything when Traveling

No these pretty tulips have nothing to do with todays post, today's letter for the challenge; but

ENOUGH and EVERYTHING Do.
Ok, you might be scratching you head, saying...what?  Let me explain.  First with regard to the picture, it's last years photo, nothing close to that colorful or pretty, still watching snow melt.  No you can't have enough of color, and flowers...(PERHAPS YOU PREFER A POST ABOUT A LOCATION THAT STARTS WITH E...Effingham

But When do you know it's enough when you're traveling?  It's enough when you can't zip your luggage.  When you think you have "enough", remove one whole outfit.

When you try to do "everything" when you travel, because you think you can't get enough; you end up with not enough.  Scratching your head again, right.  When you try to do everything, you end up with not seeing enough; because everything is a blur.  Plan down time to absorb what you've seen.  That gives time to enjoy it, remember it and then you will have had enough.

Example (notice that's another E word).

We're traveling to Spain.  I've never been there before, I know we can't see everything or go everywhere, but it will be enough because we're planning.
Depart on Monday, arrive Tuesday...........beyond checking in, adjusting to the time, and doing a bit of grocery shopping (for things like coffee and maybe snacks), that will be enough.  Wednesday we'll explore close at hand in order to get back to the condo and rest and Thursday we'll pick up a friend and explore on the way back from the airport.  Friday will be low keyed and a brief day visit somewhere in preparation for a big day on Saturday, Monday will probably be another big day of touring.........see with time in between to think and chat about what we've seen.



Pop in Often, remember Menu Mondays for dining tips, Traveling Tips on Thursday, and any day for vacation destinations.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Destination, When and Where

You've heard the expression, Location-Location-Location!  While that generally refers to where a house or business is in relationship to what the price tag is...it occurs to me Location=Destination when thinking about traveling. (or if you want a location Drayton Hall, South Carolina)
So, here we are with another A-Z post.  We'll discuss destinations.  How do you decide where to go on your family vacation, or in your travels?  Do you think about what you want to do or do you just go to places you know; or places others have told you about?  Are you often disappointed about your vacation/travels?

What you want to do should be decided first, then you narrow your choices about where and when.  Example:  You lead a really busy time oriented life style and you want to relax on your trip in order to rest and re-charge.  You lead a quiet home life and want some adventure in your travels. You need family oriented activities vs adult only activities.

If you want an active vacation you'll need to think of places to hike, or scuba dive, or snow ski or perhaps sky dive.  Hiking is generally not done in beach areas for example; so then maybe you're looking for mountains.  If on the other hand you want to relax and read by the pool, you'll want a hot sunny area Florida vs Maine.  If you want to entertain the kids area's with Casino's aren't the way to go.  So think about what you want to get out of your vacation.

The number of times I've heard people say well yeah the resort was really nice; but there wasn't anything to do.  Apparently they wanted a more active vacation vs some dear friends of ours that said I felt like I was a boot camp...........too active and time scheduled.

So think:

  • Relax
  • Active
  • Family Oriented
  • Pet Friendly
  • Adults please with nice restaurants.
Answering a few questions like that will get you started on selecting the ideal destination for your travels.


Pop in Often, remember Menu Mondays for dining tips, Traveling Tips on Thursday, and any day for vacation destinations.

Pop in Often, remember Menu Mondays for dining tips, Traveling Tips on Thursday, and any day for vacation destinations.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Carry On Lugguage, A-Z Challenge

What's all the Fuse about Carry On's? (or any of 28 blog posts on California)
Another A-Z post.  This piece of luggage (with wheels) is called a carry on.  But, in reality I know and you do too there's no way that's going to fit underneath the seat in front of me.  AND yet, I constantly see people with suitcases larger then this one trying to push and squeeze it into the overheads.  Some are so large they can't even make it down the isle with them.  Why do the airlines not enforce the real size?

How does a luggage company call something a carry on, when in fact the size of said carry on is not uniform, it is in fact determined by the individual airlines.  Some airlines say a carry on can't weight more then 11 pounds.  11=6.8=4.2.  Keep in mind unless all you put in this size suitcase is hose and underwear........there's no way it's not going to weight more then 4.2 pounds.  AND this carry on is a good 3 pounds lighter then most.  I checked out about 15 different models, styles, and makers recently.

Some airlines say a carry on should not be larger then 40-45-50 inches total.  I found 3 different parameters when looking through American Airlines, Southwest, and Delta's webpages.  What does then mean, not total more then 40-45-or 50 inches?  L+W+H.  American Airlines specifically gives these dimensions 22 x 14 x 19.  If you add 22+14+19 you get 45.  In centimeters they list 56x36x23.  Another website indicates 10 x 16 x 24.  Those measurements total 50.  But, get out your yard stick and see how small those measurements actually are.  And yet we constantly see duffels and suitcases so large it takes 2 grown men to lift it in the overhead and takes up 2 or 3 spaces.  I don't think this should be permitted.  Heavy plans use more fuel, more fuel makes the need to raise the cost of tickets.  Why should the traveler not toting a heavy too large carry on help to pay for those who do not abide by the rules?  AND...it makes loading the plan slower.

A carry on should a few items you need or want to have with you during the flight, NOT your weeks worth of junk...you need to check that bag.  Think about it next time you travel.  Get your tape measure out and actually measure your bag.  Weight it, see how far beyond 11 pounds you are.

I measured 3 different "carry on's" here at the house.  Bags that look more like a brief case and they're all in the 17 x 5 x 15 range.  They don't have wheels and I doubt most of them would fit under the seat.  Seems the airlines need to re-define what is a carry one.  Perhaps there should be categories, those with bags that fit under the seat free, those that use up valuable cargo above charge them, perhaps less then a checked bag...but, that would be a more equitable arrangement.  Pay for what you use.  I often opt for a canvass Zip back I can stuff under the seat and easily carry.

Pop in Often, remember Menu Mondays for dining tips, Traveling Tips on Thursday, and any day for vacation destinations.

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