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Family Trip to Europe: Visiting Dublin and Kicking Jet Lag

Christ Church Cathedral

For the next several Friday’s I’ll be sharing stories and reviews from our family trip to Europe. Hopefully, if you’ve ever wanted to go, you can learn what to do and not to do from some of our wins and mistakes. Today, I’ll talk about getting to Europe, visiting Dublin, and how to help kids (and parents) overcome jet lag.  Before this trip, the only time I’ve ever been to Europe was a week long trip to Italy years ago. In fact, after booking that trip, we found out I was pregnant. I got to do Italy at six months along and no, I did not sample any wine! It was a great trip, but I swore that if we ever went somewhere far away again, I would take more time to acclimate. Back then, we always booked the cheapest flights, regardless of connections or time of day. That meant going from my parents house near Nashville to Atlanta, then across the pond to Paris and on to Rome. We missed our connection in Paris and had to spend four hours in the airport. By the time we arrived, we didn’t know if we were coming or going. It was ...

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Back in the US!

Big Ben tower in London

  If all goes well, by the end of the day, my family will be back at home in Colorado. After 21 days, seven countries, and eight times of having to pay to use the bathroom, I’m really glad to be back in the US. I wrote this mini-post early yesterday in the dark from our hotel room in New York. It seems like I should have been up hours ago, although it’s still very early. Gotta love jet lag! Because I can’t yet hold a coherent thought, I’ll share a few pictures from our trip and hopefully be back to normal next week. Most Exciting Moment I would love to say the most exciting moment during our vacation was watching Tom Watson play his last British open or seeing the Eiffel Tower sparkle at night, but honestly, it was finding out the night before we were supposed to leave Europe that our early morning flight had been cancelled. After almost four hours of phone calls and speaking to agents at the airport, we did make it home. It ended up working in our favor because the original flight left Amsterdam, connecting through Vienna, before going to NYC. Instead, we ...

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Dealing With Irrational Travel Fears

how to overcome travel fears

We are on the brink of heading out for our longest vacation ever, three full weeks away from home. We’ll visit two different areas on the east coast and five different countries in Europe. To say I’m excited would be an understatement, but I’m also terrified of being gone that long and taking a trip that’s a big stretch for our family. I don’t ever want to miss out on greatness because of being afraid, so here is how I’m dealing with my mostly irrational travel fears. Feel free to laugh! Fear #1: Being Robbed No matter how much we try to blend in with the locals, I’m afraid my family will stick out like sore thumbs to thieves and pickpockets. I can see us stranded with no money and no passports. How will we ever get home? Reality: I will scan copies of our passports into my email and keep a list of credit card numbers to call if our cards are lost or stolen. I have all of our train and plane tickets on email as well. We will also take more than one credit card and stash one in our luggage. Being robbed would be an inconvenience, but ...

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Steps That Make Travel Much Cheaper

save money on vacation

                One of my favorite things in life is going on vacation. I not only love planning my own trips, but I also enjoy hearing about other people’s travel stories. One thing I can’t stand, though, is when people pay too much for travel. Even worse is when someone wants to go on vacation but doesn’t because of the belief that travel is out of reach financially. I am a huge fan of using reward points to make vacations affordable. But even when paying in cash, there are a few steps that make travel much cheaper. Why pay more if you don’t have to? Disclosure: This post was written in collaboration with Groupon. I was compensated for my time, but all opinions are my own and from tips and tricks I’ve used personally to save on travel. Be Flexible Maybe your heart  is set on staying at the resort that offers cushy bath robes and free s’mores after dinner, but this level of luxury is way over budget. Instead of going into debt to stay at a particular place, look around the area to see what else might be available. After all, are ...

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Northern California Highlights

clear day at the Golden Gate Bridge

As I write this on less than four hours of sleep from our noisy hotel neighbors and a 6:00 AM flight, I’m sure I can’t do the Bay Area justice. We only had a few days, but I feel like we worked in all the things we wanted to see, and perhaps best of all, we returned home slightly under budget! Here are our Northern California highlights. Day 1: Half Moon Bay to Monterey Our first day was cut short because our flight didn’t arrive in San Francisco until 4:00 PM. We rented a car and drove south to Half Moon Bay for dinner. It was beautiful, and I had a delicious red snapper sandwich at Half Moon Bay Brewing Company. The weather was really windy, so we drove on down the coast after snapping a few pictures, arriving at the Embassy Suites Monterey Bay in Seaside around 9 PM. I was very close to a mini fit when our room was not ready, but the hotel redeemed itself by giving us free parking and candy bars. We are cheap dates! Day 2: Monterey Bay Aquarium and Pfeiffer Beach, Big Sur We started the next day at the aquarium as ...

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