Planning for your Cold Weather Getaway

Whether you’re planning an escape from the dreary cold winter weather or are seeking to save a bit of money traveling in early spring, it’s never too early to start planning for your upcoming getaway. Even if it’s just for a few days, a cold weather vacation can promote numerous mental and physical health benefits.

I created a list of Winter Hacks for BMW Drivers that you have to check out! For everyone else here are some great tips on planning your cold weather getaway.

Planning for your Cold Weather Getaway

Depending on your budget and preferences, you may choose to embrace the winter months and grab a few friends together for a winter getaway at a premier ski resort. If you’d prefer to put a bit more distance between yourself and the brutal cold, however, your plans could very well involve a trip to a much warmer and sunnier vacation destination. Regardless of where you choose to go, it’s crucial to adequately prepare for your cold weather getaway, especially if it involves hopping on a plane.

Connecting Flights

Connecting Flights

It’s no secret that winter weather wreaks havoc on roads and highways, making traveling by vehicle quite difficult, if not impossible. While winter weather may not always ground a flight, it can slow down or even completely halt air travel. From extensive delays to cancelled flights, even smaller winter storms can have a tremendous impact on your air travel plans.

These problems can certainly affect direct flights, but they may negatively impact connecting flights as well. In some instances, bad weather at your connecting flight airport can be enough to significantly delay or even cancel your trip. If you must fly at least one connecting flight, continue to check the weather at each connecting city along with all departure and destination airports. If the weather looks ominous you can contact your airline ahead of time to see if it can reroute you.

Choosing the Right Luggage

When it comes to selecting the most appropriate cold weather travel luggage, you’ll want to find something that is practical yet offers enough space. A compact day pack is easier to carry than a wide body spinner, but it might not adequately hold your belongings. One larger jacket can take up a lot of room, leaving just enough space for a few essentials.

Depending on where you’re going and how much traveling you need to do to get there, you can narrow down possibilities based on features. For example, you might select a two wheel luggage piece or an expandable one. There are even selections based on the duration of your trip, such as one to two days or two to five days. The best carry on luggage often involves lightweight pieces, which are ideal for trips that involve frequently carrying, lifting, and transporting your bags.

Plan in Extra Time

Travel delays are common throughout the year, whether you’re traveling in the middle of winter or the peak of summer. From storms to general delays, it’s best to give yourself plenty of extra time to get to your cold weather destination. The weather is only half the battle, as delays are common in security lines and departure gates. Delays can quickly add up in the winter, particularly when de-icing or snow clearing measures are involved.

As your cold weather getaway draws closer, you want to be prepared. You can’t control the weather, but you can make the trip a bit easier by planning ahead. For example, scheduling a non-stop flight instead of a connecting one and selecting the most appropriate luggage for your trip can help simplify the process. Remember to give yourself plenty of extra time, especially if you’re heading to the airport.

 

Swim with the Manatees in Citrus County

What’s 2000 lbs, Sort of Gray and And Ready to Be Your Swim Buddy In Citrus County, Florida?
Ancient mariners thought it was a mermaid, but….it’s a Florida Manatee!
Crystal River, Fla. – According to legend, ancient mariners mistook Manatees for mermaids. We think that the mariners had been at sea for a loooooong time. But, today visitors to Citrus County can see for themselves, because it’s the only place in North America where you can legally swim with these protected mammals.

In the cool winter months (well, frigid anywhere but Florida) the Manatees seek the warmer spring waters — which are a constant 72 degrees — for comfort.Manatees are curious and interested in the terrestrial visitors to their watery homes, and, like other “guests,” swimmers have to respect the manatee’s space. Most people tend to be pretty respectful as a ton-sized wild animal approaches, but even so, there are some rules. But as far as we know, the rules that protect the manatees have yet to stop a close encounter with experienced guides.Citrus swim with manatee

Want to see manatees without getting wet? Visit the Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park, where manatees can be viewed up close in an underwater observatory in the main spring. Then there’s something special: Yuma, the rescued Florida Panther. Visitors can also meet the rare whooping crane, deer, bears, bobcats, egrets and flamingos along unspoiled nature trails.Swimming with a manatee is a Bucket List item that can easily be checked off with a visit to Citrus County this winter.
To learn more about the area, special offers, events and accommodations, please go to VisitCitrus.com, or call the Citrus County Visitors & Convention Bureau toll-free at 1-800-587-6667.

Travel Tuesday – Random Pictures from the Latest Adventure

As I’m deleting the random pictures from our latest adventure to New Orleans I thought I would post a few of my favorites. These are in no particular order; I just like them and hope you do too.

All of these were taken with a Canon Rebel T4i and 50mm macro lens.

texas (1)

Texas! Pretty much all I got to see of it since we had 30 minutes before landing and reboarding.

Texas

The view before descending into Texas

railroad track picture

My very first railroad track picture, ever!

A balcony on Bourbon Street

A balcony on Bourbon Street

A mask in the New Orleans CVB

A mask in the New Orleans CVB

A statue in the New Orleans Cemetery (#1)

A statue in the New Orleans Cemetery (#1)

A statue in the New Orleans Cemetery (#1)

Another statue in the New Orleans Cemetery (#1)

Yet another statue in the New Orleans Cemetery (#1)

Yet another statue in the New Orleans Cemetery (#1). Creepy it is; Like I do!

A horse!

A horse!

Pretty steeple

Pretty steeple

Spanish Moss

Spanish Moss, just because

Another track picture!

Another track picture!

guy on a bike

…and this guy on a bike

Carnival Cruise ship leaving port

Carnival Cruise ship leaving port

Twilight Eclipse

Looks like an old book, right? It’s a copy of Twilight Eclipse (lol)

5 Ways to Plan an Authentic, Experiential Vacation

This is a sponsored giveaway with Mums the Word Network and RCI.com. All opinions are my own.

When it comes to vacationing we all want it to be special and memorable. It’s easy to get sucked into the must see and must do of specific locations and miss out on a truly authentic experience. Instead of planning a cookie cutter vacation where you do and see things from a list, choose to make your vacation authentic and experiential with these tips.

 

Choose your destination for the culture: This year I’m treating myself to a vacation for my birthday. It didn’t take me long to decide where I want to go – New Orleans! I can’t think of anywhere that has as much cultural diversity as the Big Easy. A combination of French, African, Spanish… It gives me goosebumps just thinking of how culture rich the city is and how it has survived even the most damning hardships.

I’m quite intrigued by the Voodoo culture in New Orleans – Marie Laveau’s tomb is on my must see list.

New Orleans vacation

Immerse yourself in the culture ahead of time: New Orleans goes way deeper than Interview with the Vampire and Bourbon Street. I’ve done a ton of Googling to prepare myself for my trip. I’ve learned some interesting facts like the first Opera performance in the U.S. was in New Orleans circa 1796. It’s also where poker and jazz originated.

I also learned that Mardi Gras did not originate in New Orleans, it actually started in Mobile, Alabama. Who knew?!

 

Choose accommodations that let you live like a local: One of the best ways to live like a local is to stay in timeshare units, which often include kitchens and living spaces. With a kitchen, you can cook according to the local customs. There’s no better way to live like a local than to cook and eat like a local!

  • Want to give timeshare a try? You can test out the accommodations without a long-term commitment through sites like EndlessVacationRentals.com, which offers amazing deals on a variety of accommodations options, including vacation ownership units.
  • Or, if you are ready to commit to authentic travel by purchasing timeshare, you can add a vacation exchange membership through companies like RCI, which allows you to swap your vacation ownership for accommodations all over the world.

New Orleans vacation

Visit local markets and farm stands: I’m a humongous fan of farmers markets. Fresh produce, people watching and the chance to delve into local lifestyles intrigue me. This goes hand in hand with immersing yourself in the culture of your destination as you can interact one on one with the locals.

I may be secretly hoping to bump into my own personal Prince Charming at a Farmer’s Market. That’s always been a fantasy of mine.

 

Don’t plan every moment: Besides a few must see places (Marie Laveau’s tomb, Cafe du Monde, Audubon Zoo etc…) I plan to just wing it while I’m in New Orleans. I want to enjoy myself not stress over sticking to a schedule. I want my experience to be authentic and spontaneous so I can enjoy every second of it.

I’m going on this trip with 1 motto in mind – Live for the moment. I can’t wait to share my experience with  you and I hope you found this post helpful in planning your upcoming vacation! Do you have any tips to share? Be sure to leave a comment below.