May 25

Bucket List Item – Attending the Olympics

Several years ago I was discussing with some friends what to do to celebrate a big birthday. During that conversation I mentioned that for my last mile stone birthday I spend a month in Scandinavia and Russia. I needed to come up with something good for my next mile stone. During that conversation I realized that the Olympics were this year and also on my bucket list. After almost a year of planning, I’ll be going to the 2016 Rio Olympics!


My friend and I have been planning the trip since last spring when the initial ticket lottery opened up. In that lottery my friend and I got tickets to diving and Rowing. We then added tickets to Beach Volleyball and Gymnastics when we purchases a package. After that another friend joined into the mix and our ticket stash grew to include Rugby, Track and Field, Fencing, Equestrian Horse Jumping, and swimming.

It’s a pretty full line up with a gap or two for events we want to see, with word that ticket sales are low we’re hoping to pick up a few more tickets when it’s closer. We’ve also booked flights and are staying with a friend in Rio, which is saving us a lot of money.

We’re both super excited and are welcome to hear any tips you might about attending the Olympics.


Oct 28

What I should have packed – Galapagos Islands

The more I travel, the more I find packing to be an unfortunate and inconvenient chore. Subsequently, on my trip to the Galapagos Islands, I did a really lousy job packing. I’ll also blame the weather predictions I read about that were WRONG!

I’ll explain the weather first. The weather in Quito was forecast to be in the lower 60s and raining everyday. It NEVER rained and, I think, because of the altitude and dry conditions the temperature felt 5-10 degrees warmer.  The forecast in the Galapagos I only got for one island, Santa Cruz, and it would be in the mid 70s and foggy everyday.  The temperatures were probably in the mid 70s to lower 80s and really humid with very little fog.  Of course the forecast matched the information I read about the weather during September so I thought it would be a good gauge for packing.

So here is what I should have packed for a 7 day Galapagos Cruise:

(some of this I did actually bring and found useful)

2 pairs of shorts (preferably quick drying)

Or 1 pair of shorts and a pair of zip off pants

2-3 short sleeve shirts to wear during the day

2-3 short sleeve shirts to wear at night

LOTS of sunscreen

Bug spray (a small amount)

Sneakers/Hiking boots

Athletic sandals

Flip flops

2 Bathing suits

1 pair confortable pants or jeans

1 Sweatshirt

Hat (I didn’t wear one but most people would like a hat)

Camera with zoom lens and lots of memory

A few packaged snacks – you cannot bring organics into the Galapagos Islands and there isn’t much opportunity to purchase once on the islands.

One thing of note is that due to the humidity and the fact that you’re on a boat surrounded by water, nothing fully dries. Most of the boats seemed to have a laundry line on the top and clothing got 95% dry very quickly. But it’s best to bring things that dry quickly, you’ll get wet on the zodiacs and it’s nice for your clothes to dry in minutes. I would not bring jeans to wear during the day, only at night when lounging around. They’ll take too long to dry and aren’t practical if you have a “wet” landing (climbing into the ocean at the beach instead of from the boat to land)

Jun 27

Leave My Undies Alone

I’m frequently listening and reading tips on packing for a trip and it never fails that I hear the recommendation to bring less underwear.  And I always wonder, what the heck is wrong with me bringing a week or two worth of underwear????

Yes, if you’re trying to squeeze into a carryon for more than a few days, yes, I could see this as a potential strategy.  But, under normal conditions, I have enough room for as many pairs of underwear as I want to bring.

Seriously… If push came to shove, I can wear a shirt more than once between washes, pants, etc.  But underwear? Things have to be REALLY bad for me to wear dirty underwear.  Which means, I need to be able to go longer with my underwear.

But then it occurred to me, I’m usually hearing this from men.  Granted, this is a bit of a generalization, but men typically have lower standards of hygiene and there underwear does take up more room than most woman’s underwear. So I can almost see where they are coming from.  It also means, I can bring as much underwear as makes me happy, so stop counting how many pairs of underwear I take!

Jun 06

Rome2Rio Website

Have you ever planned a trip where getting from point A to point B was not as easy as you thought?  Well then check out the website allows you to insert your starting and ending point of a trip you’re taking and finds you a variety of different ways to get there, with a focus on the cheapest way.  I haven’t had to use the site yet, but my friend who is planning to do the Camino de Santiago is and his brain was hurting from the different options.  This helped him narrow down the options and helped his thinking about them in a different way.  It also meant he was bugging me less about the options.

May 09

The Ethical Traveler

I know many of my readers have long lists of places they want to visit. I also know that the strangest things can get us to choose our next destination.  But, what if we were more intentional about choosing our next travel destination?

The Ethical Traveler is:

Ethical Traveler is a nonprofit organization, founded to “empower travelers to change the world.” We seek to use the economic clout of tourism to protect human rights and the environment.

They review different locations around the world and seeks to find the ones where your tourism will make the biggest impact on the world with a focus on: Environmental Protection, Social Welfare and Human Rights.

Not every vacation needs to change the world, but once in a while when we’re considering different locations it’s good to consider how we can make an impact.

Apr 25

Weather Base

Are you planning a trip and wondering about the weather?  I used to use WeatherUnderground (and I still do) to help me plan my packing for different trips. But I recently found the website Weather Base.

weatherbase 2

Weather Base isn’t as flashy as WeatherUnderground, but it provides the same information, and it a little easier to use and probably better for the less tech savvy vacationer.  I also wonder if, because the site is a little less low tech, if it will load up faster when you’re working with lower internet speeds.  Just a thought.

Dec 13

How to Use a Guidebook

When I watch the Amazing Race I find the contestants are often reading a guidebook on their flight, getting aquatinted with their destination. Luckily for them they don’t need to plan their trips, just need to get the basics on the destination.  Of course they also don’t have time to plan their trip either, just time on the flights.

How do you use a guidebook? Do you read before your trip or wait till the flight or even when you get there?  Well Robert Reed wrote an interesting post how to use a guidebook, from someone who has written for one.  After reading his post I discovered I do use them the right way. But I still learned a few tips too.

Go forth and get more out of your guidebook!

Nov 22

Website Review: OverWaterBungalows.Net

ID-100152259You’ve been fantasizing about your honeymoon since you were a little girl or boy, an overwater bungalow in Tahiti, sigh.  Now it’s becoming a reality, and you’ve seen the price and how long the flight is.  You’re now plotting all the different travel adventures you could have for the price of one week in that Bungalow and thinking there must be a cheaper way to do this, otherwise you’ll need a new honeymoon.  One with a shorter flight.

There is a solution – OverWaterBungalows.Net a website listing different resorts with bungalows all over the world.  As the site says, locations like the Caribbean are not well suited for Bugalows, but if you want that shorter flight there might be a suitable alternative.

Of course if you insist on Bora Bora or Tahiti, they have plenty of information on resorts there.  I did check out some other sites too, but this one seems to have the most extensive listing of over water bunaglows.

Nov 15

Printable Packing List For Kids

tripcliplogoWhile I don’t have children of my own, I often travel with my nephews. Fortunately I’m not responsible for packing for them, my sisters do that. For the occasional traveler, packing for your kids probably makes sense.  But, if you travel a lot or would like your children to be more independent while they travel, then printable picture packing lists might be perfect for you to help them started.

There are a lot of different sites that do this, but I like The Trip Clip’s list best. They allow you to select the items you’ll need for the trip yourself.  They have a decent list of items already, but you can also add your own items, though I’m not sure they will come with pictures.

Trip Clip also has some printable games you can bring along on your trip.

Whether you use The Trip Clip (I have no affiliation with them) or another site, this idea will help get your kids involved in the tip and make them better, independent travelers.