5 Ways Coronavirus is Making More Connected Travelers
Connecting Through Travel in the Aftermath of a Pandemic
In terms of respect, human connection, and even connection to nature will be vastly improved due to the global pandemic that has impacted us all.
Confined to home, with very few places to go the past couple of months, has given me a renewed urge to explore the world, even right where I live. I want few things more than to hop on a plane to somewhere new and start exploring God’s beautiful world! More than ever, my heart and soul long to see more of this Earth, and I’m almost certain, so many of you are feeling the same.
Along with a renewed urge to travel, I have a strong desire to connect to others more than ever before. Being in “lock down,” as its been called, has many of us anxious to connect to others in a deeper way. For me, when traveling, I envision more chatting with other travelers, developing deeper connections to the people in the destinations I visit, and learning about new cultures on a deeper level. After all, connections to others and the world are what drive my love of travel.
In addition to forging those deeper connections, I feel a stronger sense of respect and awareness of others. Whether it be in distancing myself or making a point to creating more conversation, I feel stronger admiration and mindfulness of others. I can’t be alone in those feelings, so I can’t help but think they will only improve our bonds as humans and thus the world as a whole.
A huge factor in why I believe COVID-19 will make us better travelers has to do with the hospitality and service industries. Right now, those industries are getting the long-deserved praise they deserve! Folks are finally appreciating the value of hotel maids, restaurant workers, and especially custodial workers. Without these folks, there is no doubt our travel experiences, even experiences out and about at home, would be far less pleasant, and they have our undoubted respect.
COVID-19 is Teaching Us to Not Take Life & Experiences for Granted
Lastly, but certainly not least, this pandemic teaches us to not take experiences and living life for granted! I had come to a place where traveling was just a way of life. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t and didn’t take being able to travel or the experiences for granted, but I also never considered a future without travel. Living these past few months in a state of unknown for the future of our world has reminded me of the blessing I have to be able to experience the world and connect with others.
Clearly, I have a passion for travel, and COVID-19 can’t and won’t put out the flame. If anything, living through these times has added fuel to the fire, given me, and all of us, fresh eyes, and the ability to become better travelers.
Have you thought about how this pandemic will impact your connections with others at home and when you travel? Share your thoughts in the comments.
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Our quarantine and social distancing adventures have included watching dog sledding movies and reminiscing on one of the greatest experiences I’ve ever had. Just watching these movies, you can feel love of the musher for his dogs and dogs for his musher.
It’s a relationship of loyalty, love, even sacrifice, and extreme resilience—attributes we could all cling to at a time like this. I hope that’s what can be for each other, a means of hope. So let’s continue to cling to each other, lift each other up, and sprinkle love out into the world.
We are using films to continue on our adventures. How are you curing your desire to get out into the world during COVID-19? There are many ways we can travel right from our couch during these times, and even during other times travel isn't an option whether it be timing or budget. All of this got me thinking--we need a collective list to inspire our hearts for wanderlust.
So I sat down and created ideas on how to curb wanderlust when you can't travel during COVID-19 quarantine and social distancing. These activities are also perfect for other times when we just need a staycation, but also a bit of adventure. Whether it be film, television, books, or virtual reality, we have techonology on our sides. Without further ado, here are my tips for curing the travel bug from home.
Movies | Film has just always been such a big part of my life, and piquing my interest in travel. These times are no different. There are ENDLESS options, but here are some movies that we are loving to keep us longing for adventure or immersed in destinations.
Adults—Eat Pray Love, Roman Holiday, Crazy Rich Asians, Sex & the City, The Way
Family—Up, Togo, Wild America, Zeus & Roxanne, Rio, Home Alone 2, Aladdin, The Lion King
TV Shows | There are so many great television shows out there for the wanderer's heart. These are a few that came to mind, included a good toddler option. There are so many more, but these are our favorites.
Adults—The Crown, Yellowstone, Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown
Family—Serengeti, Mickey Mouse Mixed Up Adventures, National Geographic, Animal Planet
Virtual Activities | So many museums, zoos, and more offer virtual tours of exhibits or live cameras of animals. I have enjoyed this particular activities SO much, as some of these places are still on my list of places to visit, so it is great to get a taste of them. I've included links for each.
Museums--The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, The Louvre, The Vatican Museum
Zoos--National Aquarium, San Diego Zoo, Houston Zoo
Amusement Parks--Walt Disney World, SeaWorld Orlando
Cities—Apple Maps & Google Maps Flyover city tours (search a city (New York City, Sydney, Paris, etc., click the "Flyover" or "City Tour" option, and enjoy!)
Memory Keeping + Reminiscing | Creating ways to reimmerse yourself into your past vacations is a great way to keep those memories alive for rainy days. Not to mention, you want to prerserve those memories for years to come. There is no better way to do that than getting those photos off of your phone, and into tangible keepsakes to look back on. You can also take a look at how I document our travels here.
Scrapbook—Spend time scrapbooking your vacation memories.
Photobook—Not crafty? Download an app like Chatbooks or Shutterfly to easily create a photobook.
Memorabilia boxes—Decorate boxes to house memorabilia from your vacations
Reminisce—look back on your vacation memories together
Books | Books and movies are a solid tie for me. I cannot choose one over the other, but it is wonderful what books leave to the imagination! Here are some of my favorie books to spark wanderlust, and a few on my "to read list."
Adults—Call of the Wild by Jack London, The Royal We by Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan, Crazy Rich Asians Trilogy by Kevin Kwan, In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson, The Georgraphy of Bliss by Eric Weiner, The Good Girl’s Guide to Getting Lost by Rachel Friedman, Tracks by Robyn Davidson
Kids—The Madeline Series by Ludwig Bemelmans, Oh, the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss, The Boxcar Children by Gertrude C. Warner, Little Traveler Set by Mudpuppy, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg, The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
Plan a Vacation | Yep, what better way, besides an actual trip, to curb wanderlust than to start planning your next vacation! We may not be able to travel in the foreseeable future but traveling will reign again! To be honest, this is the best way for me to cure my aching for the skies and new places heart—planning future vacations. Having something wonderful to look forward to helps keep my fidgeting in check. Hey, we can even work together to prepare a vacation itinerary for you, then start booking whenever you are ready! Ready to cure your wanderlust? Start planning here.
As you can see, there are so, so many ways we can “travel” right from home! How are you coping with staying in during the COVID-19 crisis or other times lacking adventure? Be sure to share your ideas in the comments. Thank you for reading. Stay well & healthy, friends!
I’ve been reflecting back on our family vacation to Turks & Caicos.
It was a HARD trip. The twins are at the age of trying to learn how to communicate, and it often comes out as tantrums or whining. And Lovely & I are trying our hardest to not lose our minds. HA!
But as someone said, “The experience is worth more than the troubles.” So much yes! Witnessing them experience the sand and sea and Sesame Street characters was pure magic for me! They danced. They played. They clapped. They celebrated. All of the good things.
I wanted to recap our trip for you, and give you an idea of what to expect for your own family vacation to Beaches Resorts Turks & Caicos.
Kids Club | Even after having touring this resort and learning the behind the scenes of the kids club a couple of years ago, I was a bit leary of leaving my own kids there, and even felt quite guilty, promising them they wouldn't have to go again after picking them up. However, my mind was changed for two reasons! 1) We saw the kids club nannies over the fence (there is a fenced area with kiddie pool for the kids camp only) a couple of days later, and they called out to our littles by name. That blew me away with so many children! 2) Mama needed a break! Ha! Camp Sesame, as it is called, is chockfull of activities, crafts, character meetings, swimming (in their own special kid friendly sized pool), and so much more! BONUS: Camp Sesame and all of its featured activities are INCLUDED in your vacation price AND all of the nannies are internationally trained & certified!
Dining | If you go hungry at Beaches, you are either crazy or a mom or dad. Ha! In all seriousness, the food and selections are great! We just didn't have much time to enjoy them. #twintoddlers We were frequenters of the fire oven pizza, and weren't mad about it. This family loves some "pizzie" as the twins call it. Whether you are up for a casual breakfast, seaside lunch, or nice dinner just the two of you, there are so many options at this resort. Some 21 restaurants are available, so there is literally something for everyone. We particularly loved Schooners and Mario's! TIP: Check the restaurants hours (you'll receive the list at check-in), and plan to check out different options each day taking note of the days/hours open.
Kids Activities | I've already touched on Camp Sesame, but that is not all that Beaches has for the kiddos. A playground, pools, lawn games, and an INCREDIBLE waterpark are just a few of the other activities available for the kids, and kids at heart, to enjoy. I have to say the lazy river at the waterpark was a fave for me! I could have floated through there for hours on end. Along with the outside activties, there is plenty to do inside. Beaches boasts an X-Box lounge, arcade, tween & teen "clubs" (for the appropriate age group only, no adults), and so dang much more. Lastly, a favorite of our littles, the Sesame Street characters! The cast puts on shows, makes the occasional walk around the resort, give weekly parades, and more fun activities. The joy this brought our twins, well it made this hard trip SO worth it!
Beach | This is the crème de la crème as far as beaches go in the Caribbean, in not only my opinion, but the opinion of a slew of travel magazines and websites. Grace Bay, where Beaches Turks & Caicos is nestled, has been repeatedly voted among the best beaches in the world. It is by far the most beautiful beach I have ever seen. The sugary white sand, the crystal clear waters, it is just immpecable! The resort offers lounge chairs, covered loungers, non-motorized water sports, and, drum roll, beach drink service! Gimme a lounger, book, cocktails on tap, and the sound of the waves. Yep, it's heaven on earth! You are definitely going to want to enjoy this beauty and the magic of the sand and sea with your kids, but here are a few things to note. The resort does not provide beach toys or life jackets/floaties for beach or pool use. So, keep this in mind when you are planning out your time and packing for your trip. You can buy these items at the gift shops, if available, but it is so much more economical to come prepared and pack these items in your luggage.
Adults | Wondering what the heck there is for you to do? Well, plop those kiddies in the kids club OR hire an after hours nanny (same trainings as those mentioned above), and enjoy an array of adults activities. Whether it is a dip in the adults only pool, dinner at the adults only restaurant, or enjoying some late night fun at one of the cars, there is plenty for mom and dad. The spa could also add to your experience and give you a little relaxation time while the kids play. Us? We enjoyed a little time at the beach without worrying about our twinnies running off into the ocean or having to clean mounds of sand out of baby booties. Ha! Whatever your choosing, there is plenty of fun for adults too!
And that is what traveling with family is all about—the experiences together! So grateful for our time away in a beautiful place with those I love most!
That is what I hope for others, to experience the world with their loved ones. So, are you ready for a family vacation? Contact me here to get started planning an unforgettable family vacation.
Bright and early tomorrow morning, we are headed out on our next big family adventure! This time to an exciting tropical locale. Though this adventure's packing is quite different from the last (Alaska), our survival tactics for flying with the twins will be the same. To refresh my own memory, and mentally prepare myself for the feat, I jotted down a few tips and tricks for surviving flying with toddlers, and twins no less!
Read on to catch my 10 tips and tricks to flying with toddlers.
Ziplock Bags | One word. Poop. Or even vomit/spit up. Bring a spare set of clothes, for baby/toddler/child and for yourself in ziplock bags. If you need to change the baby's clothes from a blow out or your own clothes from being spit up on, then you'll have a bag to seal in the smell. This also works well for dirty diapers on the plane. I always want to be courteous of others, so it's a nice gesture to slip the dirty diaper into a ziplock bag (and seal) before throwing it in the trash bin. Also, a great idea for your hotel room when you don't have quick access to an outside trash.
Snacks | Keep 'em coming! Pack lots of snacks for the plane ride. Allow the toddler to snack during take off and descent to assist in ears popping. Not to mention snacks keep kids happy!
Books + Small Toys | Allow your little one to pack their own small bag with a book or two and a small toy to keep them occupied during the flight. Ours especially love books, so these were the perfect way to keep them entertained.
Stroller | Don't try lugging a toddler along with your suitcase around the airport. Bring a stroller! You will be required to check it at your plane's gate, but it's free! Note: you will be asked to remove the child to go through security.
Carseats | Most airlines allow you to check carseats for free. Pop them in a travel bag, and you're good to go. I'm a fan of this one since it is padded all around. You can even add in addtional items like diapers. Also, if you are headed outside of the U.S. consider their local laws and driving habits. I.E. Caribbean Islands are going to have interstates and high speed highways, and, therefore, don't likely require carseats. If you're comfortable with it, consider living the carseats behind.
Wings | Ask your flight attendant for wings for your kiddo. Major airlines give wings and log books for kids to keep track of their flights. The captain will even sign off. Such a fun little keepsake.
Run It Out | Allow your tots to run off some energy in the airport. Once you are all through security, let them walk, push/pull a suitcase, and burn off some energy before your flight. This will come in handy later.
Seat Belts | Starting out flying, when not a lap child, it is a good idea to have your little one go ahead and wear the seat belt. 1) They'll be required to for take off and landing. Sometimes attendants are lax on this, but it is the general rule. 2) It will make things easier when they are older and learning that it is a must.
No Nap | Whatever you do, hold off on that nap! Plan your flights to when your littles will nap, or be sure to not let them fall asleep just yet. It is pure heaven when they fall asleep in your arms mid-flight. Plus, they'll be refreshed and ready to hit the ground running once you land.
Be Flexible | Most importantly, be flexible. At the end of the day, toddlers are toddlers. And, as you know, they make their own rules.
We are gearing up for another big cruise this year. This time to the Bahamas, but all the things I wished I had or made sure to pack for our Alaska cruise will still hold true for this one. P.S. Our upcoming cruise is s group trip, and I have space to bring a couple more folks along. You can find all of the details here.
So, in celebration of preparing for that cruise, I put together some of my must have items to pack for a cruise. These are quite a variety of things. Some you might find on other lists, and some you may not have thought of. Read on to find out my must haves for cruising.
Detergent + Portable Clothes Line | Something that was a lifesaver for our cruise, especially traveling with the little ones, was laundry detergent. I found these nifty sink packets that worked great. What I didn't think about was where to hang dry clothes. A portable clothes line like this will definitely be in our bag next go round.
Insulated Cup + Reuseable Straw | Though you can't use them in the buffet restaurants, you can pour your meal drink into your insulated cup and take it to go. Not to mention, it is perfect for your morning hot beverage! Plus, there are water fountains all around the ships, so you can refill as needed. Also, plastic straws on cruise ships, in hotels, and at all-inclusive resorts are becoming a thing of the past. Be sure to throw in a resuable straw with your cup.
Slippers/House shoes | Now that I'm all about that balcony life on cruises (Alaska spoiled me), I know I need slippers for lounging on the baloncy. This is something I wish I would have packed, but I definitely will next go round!
Binoculars | These are a must for any cruise! I never thought about carrying them on a Caribbean cruise, but you'll likely see dolphins, maybe whales, and other marine life. It is definitely worth it to pop these in your bag.
Pashmina/Large Scarf | A thin, larger scarf or cheap throw blanket would be a great addition to a cruise, especially for chilly mornings or evenings on the balcony or walking the ship. Walmart, Target, and Amazon all have great selections.
Dramamine | This is a must for any cruise. Whether you typically get seasick or not, it is a great idea to pack as you never know what weather you may encounter. Ginger essential oil or ginger candies can also do the trick.
Travel Pouch | I'm all about that handsfree life, and I've grown to hate a crossbody. So, I've decided fo furture trips, that I'll be taking advantage of the "belt purse" trend. BUT, I'm also a fan of these travel pouches that lay flat under your clothes.
Portable Fan | Plug in metal fans are a no no on cruise ships, but a portable fan often passes go. I'm a fan of fans at night, ha. So I was missing mine last trip. I'll be adding this one to our packing list next go round.
Hand Sanitizer | This is a must for any vacation. Norovirus (basically a stomach bug) can spread like wildfire in a contained area with lots of people, so you can never be too cautious. Wash your hands often and stock up on hand sanitizer just to be safe.
Magnetic Hooks | These are great for keeping your cabin organized. I didn't bring these on our last trip, but they would have been a life saver for keeping things handy. I'm loving this heavy duty option.
Any additional items you'd add to the list? Tell me in the comments.