Tag Archives: travel prep

Doing What the Locals Do

I will totally own it.  I’ve said it.  I say it, in fact, every time we travel.  “Let’s do what the locals do!”

I mean, locals go to the Dubai Mall, right?  That counts.  And Angkor Wat.  Those are totally local things.

We're local here. Seriously. The Angkor Wat complex is local, and we're visiting it. It's local.
We’re local here. Seriously. The Angkor Wat complex is local, and we’re visiting it. It’s local.

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When Trip Advisor Goes Wrong

I love Trip Advisor – I do.  I really, really do.  And I never make a hotel booking without first checking what Trip Advisor contributors have to say about that hotel.  There are always the odd reviews out where people have an ax to grind, but if you read the reviews with a practiced eye, you will get a very good idea of what to expect.

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Family Vacation Planning as a Second Career

Last night my husband broke into one of my nightly monologues (I feel the need to narrate everything that has happened that day to him, since he travels quite a bit for business) with this, “I know you’re really excited about our December vacation, but I honestly don’t really care what you decide we’re going to see. You’ve always chosen good places, I’ve loved all of our travel.  I’m sure this will be wonderful as well.”

Dude.  Buzzkill.  I know that half-an-hour on this hotel vs. the other hotel might seem like overkill to the uninitiated, but I love figuring this stuff out.

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Things No One in Zambia Would Say

There’s a lot more to travel than knowing what to go see and booking a flight to get there.  There are visa issues, of course, and those can be horrifying.  Then there’s the whole food thing – what can you eat? And are you sure?

It boils down to this:  if you know a little about the culture of the place you are going to visit, you can probably figure out a lot of stuff that might stymie a tourist who isn’t as interested in a spot of adventure.

And sometimes the best way to know what to do is to know what *NOT* to do.

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Hotels and Apartments and Campsites

I’m a HomeAway junkie, I’ll own it.  Whenever we decide to make a trip, HomeAway is my first stop to find accommodation.  We’re usually traveling with at least three children, and like any parents we like a little bit of privacy.

Two weeks in single hotel rooms with two double beds and a roll-away is a recipe for disaster.  Also death threats.  Possibly sanitarium time.  Definitely a need for a vacation-from-the-vacation.

That’s where my obsession with HomeAway comes in.

Our HomeAway rental in Rome included this baby donkey in a side yard.  For real.
Our HomeAway rental in Rome included this baby donkey in a side yard. For real.

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In Which I Grind My Teeth and Make Terrible Faces

I love travel.  I love exposing my kids to travel.  I love that my family is absolutely insufferable when watching the movie European Vacation.  I know that sounds snotty, and I don’t mean it to.  I put a job’s worth of time into getting the most out of our travel, because goodness knows that we’re not at an income level to be able to just throw down the Visa card whenever a place strikes our fancy (case in point – Australia and New Zealand.  My kids are DYING to visit those two and we have not been able to find a way to swing it as of yet.  But, you know, goals are good).

We have not yet resorted to a Third World minibus vacation, but I'm sure it is coming.
We have not yet resorted to a Third World minibus vacation, but I’m sure it is coming.

Because we are not independently wealthy, we pay close attention to sales, promotions and airline points.  It is those airline points which are today causing the ridiculous headache, and I have vowed they WILL!  NOT!  WIN!

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Dressing the Part

In my spare time I like to dress children as alternates for the It's a Small World ride.
In my spare time I like to dress children as alternates for the It’s a Small World ride.

I’m not even going to continue to try to make the case for yoga pants as the world’s best travel outfit.  It’s like arguing over the deliciousness of freshly made French croissants – it just IS.

But yoga pants on the airplane are one thing – we still need to plan out what to pack for the rest of the trip.  Unless you’re going to Vegas, you will need to actually pack clothes.  But what to pack?

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