May 10, 2012

Final Post

I hope that some of you have found my blog to be interesting and informative.  This will be my last post for a few days as I will be traveling, but I hope to be updating you with stories and pictures as soon as I get back from my trip!

Some of the locations I will be visiting in France

In this post I have attached 3 photos of tourist sites that I will see while in France.  Please let me know if you have any other suggestions of sights I should see!

Louvre Museum 

Notre Dame de Paris - Cathedral

Eiffel Tower

Paris, France

One of the cities that I will be visiting on my European vacation this summer is Paris, France.  Although I will not be joined by my boyfriend. I hope that we will be able to communicate through email or Skype.  For those of you who travel and do not know about Skype, I strongly suggest that you create an account next time before you leave on vacation.  It is a free video chat program that allows you to connect with anyone around the world as long as you are connected to the internet.  You can use Skype on your computer, phone, or smart-pad.  It is an application that allows you to keep in touch with people around the world for free!  When spending anytime away from your loved ones, I definitely think that Skype is worth having.

Antique Hunting in France

One of the ways in which I get ideas about where I want to visit is through reading various blogs, books, stories, and articles.  While there are trusted sites that I tend to visit each and every time I am planning a vacation. I found the following narrative very helpful when planning my most recent vacation: Antique Hunting in France: Art of the Brocante.  This essay provides helpful tips for antique hunting in France which is one of both my and my mothers favorite things.  I think that essays provide useful tips, whether it is for travel or for any other advice you are looking for.

Another Travel Blog

Here is another travel blog for those of you who want additional tips on traveling: Everything Everywhere: Around The World Travel Blog

My Story

As a young girl, I have always been interested in the idea of traveling.  I wanted to follow in my mother's footsteps and go into the field of international marketing.  While at such a young age, those things are hard to happen so I had to take advantage of any and every summer program that I could enroll in.  Starting at a sleep away camp, then spending a summer at a college, and finally spending a summer in China, I have always been interested in the idea of traveling.  It never mattered how far away from home.

Interview Your Friends and Family

I think that one of the ways in which you can gain the greatest understanding of other people is through interviewing them.  And if you aim your questions at a certain subject you might get some information that is helpful in the long run.  I tried to ask my mom about trips that she went on and trips she wishes she went on, as I know that she has a lot of insight into traveling.  Through interviewing friends and family, you can learn the ins-and-outs of where you are going and what you need to plan before you go.

Interview with my Mom

I decided to interview my mom this week because she used to work in international marketing for a global company. Here are a few of the questions and answers from the interview.

Q: What was your favorite place to visit?
A: Greece. It had the best food, culture, and most beautiful setting.

Q: What was the most dangerous place you have ever been to?
A: The middle east.  When I went there for work years ago, it was almost like riots everywhere.  There were people running around in the streets shooting, and I had to be taken out of the city in a bullet-proof car.

Q: What is one trip that you would like to visit, and you haven't been yet?
A: Africa.  I have always wanted to go on a safari

Above are a few questions I collected from my interview with my mom.  

How to Plan a Vacation: Part 2

Many concerns of families when planning a vacation is making the vacation fun for both the older people you will be traveling with and the younger people you will be traveling with.  It might be hard to find a common ground on which you can plan a vacation that is fun for everyone, but here is a website that can help you when trying to plan a vacation that is fun for everyone: How To Plan a Vacation Both Grandma and Junior Can Enjoy 

How to Plan a Vacation

There are many important steps that one must take when planning a vacation.  In order to explain all of these steps, please look at my next blog post for the remaining steps and tips.  There are many different factors that one has to consider when planning a vacation.  The first is: making sure you have the money to go on the vacation you want.  While you might think a destination is expensive, there are many deals, on Expedia and other related websites that allow people to find deals on vacation destinations and help save money.  Another factor to take into consideration when planning a vacation, is researching any "hidden fees" that you might encounter.  A lot of websites, although not all, have hidden fees that they tack on once you book your vacation.  Here is an article that goes further into detail about saving up for your vacation and hidden fees: How To Plan A Summer Vacation Without Breaking The Bank

Vacation Club

When traveling, one of the first things that many people think about are what hotel they are going to stay at.  There are many options that people can choose from, whether they are a member of a vacation club, a young traveller staying in a youth hostel abroad, or renting a hotel room.  Although I have never stayed in a hostel, I can definitely say that vacation clubs are worth the money.  After being a part of one in mexico, and now in New York, I have always loved vacation clubs.  You can convert your points so you can use them at a sister-hotel and you are not locked into one resort.  There is a lot of freedom within vacation resorts, and when planning a vacation. You are not locked into certain dates, nor are there blackout dates.  Overall, I suggest looking into a vacation club the next time you are in your favorite vacation spot!

Hybrid Cars

Along the lines of my post that raves about the positive aspects of taking a road trip, I think that hybrid cars are a great invention.  They help save people money, and are good for the environment.  While they might be more expensive at first, the amount of gas you save by driving a hybrid saves you money in the long run.  And for those of you who also enjoy taking road trips, whether short or long, a hybrid is great because you do not have to stop for gas as often, and once again you are helping the environment!

Global Entry

Global Entry for those of you who haven't yet heard about it is a pass that expedites customs lines when coming into and out of the United States.  Not only do you get to skip those long annoying at the airport, but you basically get to go through customs by just answering a few basic questions on a kiosk.  It can save hours at the airport depending on what time your flight lands.  And I think we can all agree that one of the most annoying things about traveling is waiting in the customs lines when coming back into the United States.  I definitely recommend everyone apply for  Global Entry pass!  This pass also helps a lot when driving into or out of Mexico or Canada.  With the Global Entry pass, you do not need any other documentation in order to be able to drive into or out of Mexico and Canada.  There are also express lanes that you can drive through so you do not have to wait in line in your car when entering or leaving Mexico or Canada.  The one catch is, that in order to drive through the expedited line, everyone in the car must have the Global Entry pass.  I am always pro for anything that saves time.  I will be using the Global Entry pass for the first time soon, but I think it will be a great program to be a part of!

Don't Always Use the Same Source

While many of us tend to use the same websites, blogs, or articles when planning our trips, I think that it is also helpful (depending on what kind of trip you are planning) to look outside your trusted resources and look up a different blog or website.  As I was reading another travel blog (Nomadic Matt's Travel Site: Travel Better, Cheaper, Longer) I thought that he made some very valid points about traveling.  When constantly referring to the same source (book, website, etc.) make sure you have the most current edition.  Not only will it provide you with the most up-to-date information about what attractions are popular, which restaurants to eat at, and even bus or train times, but it will provide you with a general overview of information of the location you are going to visit.  I recommend that if you want insider tips on "what's hot" in that location, to look in magazines, websites or blogs.  Best of luck planning your next trip!

Rome, Italy

As I have mentioned in one of my previous posts, I have two cousins getting married.  One of which is getting married in the midwest and the other is getting married in Switzerland.  While traveling to see my cousin get married in Switzerland, my mother and I have decided to make the most of our trip and visit a few other countries while we are in Europe.  One of the locations is Rome, Italy.  I have always dreamed of visiting Italy, and now I am finally getting the chance to go.  Some of the recommended sites that we were told to see are: the spanish steps, the Vatican, and the Sistine Chapel.  Due to the fact that I have studied Latin since I was young, I have always wondered what the locations I was studying actually looked like.  Now that I will be able to see the locations first-hand, I think that my appreciation for the language will grow. This is one of the special qualities that  I think traveling offers.  It gives us experiences that we will remember for the rest of our lives.  Comment on this post if you have any other recommendations of where I should visit!

Additional Traveling Tips

As I have said before, by no means do I consider myself to know everything about traveling.  But I do consider myself to be an avid traveller always looking to other people to learn more so that I too can travel "smart."  The article gives a brief overview of their top 50 smart travel tips.  The following link provides some smart travel tips courtesy of U.S. News & World Report.  Here is the link, Enjoy! :  50 Smart Travel Tips

Road Trip

With the summer coming up, many people have have events to attend.  Some of these events might require you to take a plane or a train, but if you get the chance, I recommend that you drive if you get the chance.  Not only with driving will you have more freedom, by having your car at whatever destination you are going to, but you might also save money.  In addition to saving money, you get the chance to bond with whoever you are traveling with.  Last summer, my boyfriend and I took a road-trip about 4 hours north of where he lives.  Although it was a short road trip, I think it was one of the best experiences I've had.  We were able to talk extensively without any disruptions or distractions, which let us learn a lot more about each other than we ever thought we would.  And it allowed us to grow more comfortable around each other. Being in a car for a road trip with someone you love is a great experience.  Not only do you get to travel and potentially see a new location, but you also get to bond with everyone you are with.

Please answer my poll!

What do you think is most important about traveling?
Creating an Itinerary ahead of time
Packing light
Visiting a new location
Traveling with friends
Traveling with family
Traveling alone
= create poll =

Other Tips for Vacationers

I know I am not the only one that has posted tips about traveling, and my views about traveling on the internet, which is why I have included the following video to give those of you women who are avid travelers or travel for pleasure some additional packing tips.

My Cousins Getting Switzerland

While most destination weddings I have been to and heard of are to an island or somewhere warm, I never thought I would be going to a wedding in Switzerland.  While one of my hobbies is traveling, I would never pass up the opportunity to go to Switzerland, a country that I have never visited, especially because my cousin is getting married there.  Although we will be there for her wedding, we are also planning on traveling around.  But due to the fact that I have never been in that part of the world, I do not know what to expect.  I have heard it is pretty, and I have heard that they have great chocolate, but other than that this will be a new experience for me which I am sure is going to be a positive one.  If you have any tips or recommendations for visiting Switzerland, comment on my page and let me know!

What I see when visiting the midwest...

With the spring season hers, and the summer soon approaching, there are may people having weddings.  In particular, this season I happen to have 2 cousins getting states and countries other than my home town.  I live on the east coast and have one cousin getting married in the midwest.  As a person who has been traveling out there my whole life, I can say that there really isn't much to see unless you take the 5 hour road trip to north to the canadian border.  While I can divulge that there are definitely some things I look forward to seeing when I go out there every year or every other year, such as how open and still undeveloped it is, I always can't wait till I get back home.  While it is nice visiting family, and I will never pass up the change to, visiting the same location year after year doesn't provide much excitement.  When traveling, I enjoy visiting new places and seeing different cultures.  Here is an example of the most interesting scenery that I see when visiting the midwest.