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Fall is Coming!

Kelly McCombs - Saturday, September 16, 2017


Fall is just around the corner and what better way to enjoy this gorgeous season than getting a jump start on all things Autumn!



First on the list should always be apple picking, especially in September. This is the perfect month to pick because the orchards all have a large variety of apples ready to go! There are numerous apple orchards in the Saratoga area, many of them offering pick-your-own, which means you get to pick which apples you want right from the trees! My favorite orchard is Bowman Orchards. They boast 46 different varieties of apples on almost 100 acres! On top of the apple picking, they have berry picking hay rides, apple cider donuts, and plenty of fun activities for everyone in the family. They even have a plethora of different farm animals for you to pet. They say their trees are lower to the ground so picking ladders are generally not needed, making this an exceptionally family friendly orchard. Bowman Orchards is quintessential “Fall” to me and a must see!



It wouldn’t feel like Fall without a trip to your local Farmer’s Market. With the change in the season comes a change in the many different kinds of produce that are available. Now is the perfect time to visit the Saratoga Farmer’s Market before it moves inside for the cooler months, starting in October. Not only do they have a huge selection of different fruits, vegetables, and flowers, but they also offer many vendors that sell local meats, cheeses, jams, and even crafts and other various items. The Saratoga Farmer’s Market runs every Wednesday from 3-6pm and every Saturday from 9am-1pm at the High Rock Park Pavilion in downtown Saratoga Springs.



One thing I always do each Fall season is go “leaf peeping”. This is a funny way of saying I go for a drive around to view the gorgeous Fall foliage! Some of the best places to see the magnificent change in colors on the trees is up in the Adirondacks and also in Vermont, specifically Brattleboro and Grafton. These are two towns I have visited in Vermont strictly for the purpose of seeing the foliage, but they offer so much more, as well! From hiking, to beautiful historic houses and apple cider donuts, I have made some of my favorite memories here!



Along with apple picking, one of my other favorite Fall things to do is go pumpkin picking! We always go to Liberty Ridge Farm in Schaghticoke. It is very easy to spend the whole day here, exploring the Farm and all it has to offer. They are known for having the Capital Area’s original and largest corn maze. It is huge! Liberty Ridge Farm also has a General Store where you can purchase things like homemade pies, apple cider donuts, and many other souvenirs. They have pig races, a giant pumpkin cannon, and a live band…there is so much to do! In addition to all of this fun family-friendly stuff, every Friday and Saturday night beginning in October, Liberty Ridge turns into Nightmares at Liberty Ridge. If you are feeling brave and like terrifying things, than this is a must-see. Nightmares boasts 7 different haunted attractions that are all sure to have you quaking in your boots. Liberty Ridge Farm is the perfect Fall destination for the young and old alike!



We hope you take some time this Autumn to get out and explore the many fun and exciting things to do in our area. We are lucky enough to have many wonderful events, so take advantage of the cooler weather and get out there!


Our Favorite Romantic Getaways

Kelly McCombs - Friday, January 20, 2017

                                                            (Photo from www.thesagamore.com)


With Valentine’s Day just a few weeks away, now is the time to plan that romantic getaway! Whether you want to stay close to home or travel a few hours out of town, we have put together a list of some of our favorites!



First up is The Inn at Five Points in Saratoga Springs, NY. Owned by James and Eilis Petrosino, the Inn is a beautifully restored Victorian Bed and Breakfast nestled right in the heart of Saratoga. Centrally located and within walking distance to all that Saratoga has to offer, this would be a very special place to visit with your loved one for a romantic overnight, yet one that is still close to home. The Petrosino's serve a delicious breakfast every morning, in true Bed and Breakfast fashion, with everything being locally grown and sourced. If you would like a true taste of all that Saratoga has to offer, this is the place to do it!



For something a bit farther out of town, head south to The Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, NY. Architecturally impressive, this castle-like resort is situated right on the banks of Lake Mohonk. Surrounded by beautiful views of the mountains and forest, The Mohonk Mountain house offers a few different packages for your romantic getaway. Whether you want a relaxing spa package for two or a luxurious “Special Occasion” package, they have something to fit everyone’s needs. There are a plethora of activities here even in the winter, from ice skating to snow tubing, so you will never be bored!



Heading back up north, The Sagamore in Bolton Landing on Lake George is one of those hotels that many people know and rave about. Another stunning resort, The Sagamore has been inviting guests to stay with them since 1883. They are offering a lovely Valentine’s Weekend Getaway package which includes breakfast and dinner for two, along with complimentary champagne and chocolates. They also have a beautiful spa which should be high on the list of priorities if you choose to stay with them. There isn’t anything more romantic than relaxing time spent together!



One of my favorite places to go on Valentine’s Day is a little farther than the others, but very much worth it. Niagara Falls during the winter months is one of the most beautiful places. Even if you have been there before in the warmer months, seeing it in winter adds a whole new dimension. The mist from the falls coats everything in a layer of ice, making for some really beautiful ice sculptures. Make sure you dress warmly! Even though this may not be one of the coziest romantic getaways, you will surely make some wonderful memories with your loved one!



We hope you are able to take a little time away from your everyday life to be able to enjoy one of this beautiful places with your loved one. Even if it isn't for Valentine's Day, they all are wonderful places to visit any day of the year!


Winter in Lake Placid

Kelly McCombs - Saturday, January 07, 2017

(Photo from whiteface.com)


The next stop on our travel adventures is a perfect one for those winter enthusiasts...Lake Placid! A quaint village nestled in New York State's Adirondack Mountains, Lake Placid is the perfect destination for a romantic couple's getaway or a fun family vacation. There is a plethora of exciting activities to take part in, especially during the winter months. We have put together a list of our favorites!

One major thing to know about Lake Placid, is that both the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympic Games were held there! When a large event like the Olympics comes to town, the buildings and infrastructure of the town needs to improve and change. Many new buildings and sporting venues were constructed before the 1980 games, and many of them are still open for public viewing today! The cross country ski center, the ice skating rink, the ski jump complex...you can even take a ride in a bobsled! If you are a fan of watching the Winter Olympics on TV, then this should be right up your alley.

You can't plan a trip to Lake Placid and not plan on spending at least one day skiing or snowboarding Whiteface Mountain. With nice, easy trails for any beginner to much more complex Diamond trails for the expert, Whiteface has something for everyone. Cold and tired from a long day on the mountain? Head on in to one of the lodges for a nice hot cup of cocoa by one of the fireplaces. This is one activity you will not want to miss. Don't worry if you don't own skis or a snowboard, Whiteface also offers daily rentals. They even offer lessons for those that have no experience! There is no excuse!

For the less adventurous traveler, Main Street in Lake Placid is the perfect place to take a few hours to leisurely stroll through the many shops. They have everything from name brand stores that you will be familiar with, to more unique boutiques where you can purchase items that can only be found in Lake Placid. It's a great place to find a keepsake to bring home to remember your trip! There are also many shops leading in to and out of the village of Lake Placid, so make sure to hop in your car to visit those!

If you are a die hard winter sports enthusiast, there is truly a huge number of things you can do in Lake Placid. We have already mentioned the skiing and snowboarding on Whiteface, but you can also go snowshoeing, cross country skiing, snowmobiling, ice skating, tubing and fat tire biking. For some extra excitement for the whole family, take a dog sled ride on Mirror Lake. This is a unique activity that many people never have the chance to experience. Hop on the sled next to the musher and away you go!  


(Photo from lakeplacid.com)

Looking for something to fill your down time? Lake Placid may be known for its winter activities, but they also have some of the best spa experiences in the state. Two of our favorite spas are located at the Mirror Lake Inn and Whiteface Lodge. There is nothing quite like a relaxing massage after a full day of exhilarating outdoor activities!

We hope you get the chance to visit Lake Placid this winter! They already have a ton of snow so now is the perfect time to go and make memories with your family and friends.


Local Fall Activities

Kelly McCombs - Saturday, October 01, 2016

With the start of October brings all of the fun outdoor Fall activates that are plentiful in the Capital region! We are lucky enough to usually have beautiful weather and colorful changes in the leaves, which makes this season one of our favorites! We have put together a list of some of the best local Fall activities for this year!


Topping the list is apple picking, of course! There are numerous apple orchards in the Saratoga area, many of them offering pick-your-own, which means you get to pick which apples you want right from the trees! My favorite orchard, and the one I go to every year, is Bowman Orchards. They boast 46 different varieties of apples on almost 100 acres! On top of the apple picking, they have hay rides, apple cider donuts, and plenty of fun activities for everyone in the family. They even have a plethora of different farm animals for you to pet. Bowman Orchards is quintessential “Fall” to me and a must see!


On October 29th this year, is the much loved 15th Annual Saratoga Fall Festival. The event runs from 11am-4pm and is free to attend! There is live music, trick-or-treating, food vendors, a petting zoo, and even a magic show! This is one of my favorites because it’s fun to see everyone out in Downtown Saratoga Springs enjoying the cool weather and Fall activities!


Along with apple picking, one of my other favorite Fall things to do is go pumpkin picking! We always go to Liberty Ridge Farm in Schaghticoke. It is very easy to spend the whole day here, exploring the Farm and all it has to offer. They are known for having the Capital Area’s original and largest corn maze. It is huge! There are two phases of the maze; Phase 1 for the younger crowd and Phase 2 for the more adventurous folks. They offer a game at the start of the maze that gives you hints and clues to help you find your way through. Liberty Ridge Farm also has a General Store where you can purchase things like homemade pies, apple cider donuts, and many other souvenirs. They have pig races, a giant pumpkin cannon, and a live band…there is so much to do! In addition to all of this fun family-friendly stuff, every Friday and Saturday night in October, Liberty Ridge turns into Nightmares at Liberty Ridge. If you are feeling brave and like terrifying things, than this is a must-see. Nightmares boasts 7 different haunted attractions that are all sure to have you quaking in your boots. Liberty Ridge Farm is the perfect Fall destination for the young and old alike!


If you are up for a little physical activity and are wanting to see all of the beautifully changing leaves, I recommend hiking up Prospect Mountain in the Adirondacks. The hike is approximately 4 miles in length round trip and is great for experienced hikers and those with no experience. The summit offers spectacular panoramic views of Lake George and the Adirondack region and is the perfect place to hike during the Fall to take part in leaf peeping. Before I head out to Prospect Mountain, I always check the foliage report here. This great website lets you know when to expect to see the best colors in various areas in the state.


Our final favorite Fall activity is visiting our local Farmer’s Market. With the change in the season comes a change in the many different kinds of produce that are available. Now is the perfect time to visit the Saratoga Farmer’s Market before it moves inside for the winter. Not only do they have a huge selection of different fruits, vegetables, and flowers, but they also offer many vendors that sell local meats, cheeses, jams, and even crafts and other various items. The Saratoga Farmer’s Market runs every Wednesday from 3-6pm and every Saturday from 9am-1pm at the High Rock Park Pavilion in downtown Saratoga Springs.


We hope you take some time this Autumn to get out and explore the many fun and exciting things to do in our area. We are lucky enough to have many wonderful events, so take advantage of the cooler weather and get out there!


Our Favorite Seattle Eateries

Kelly McCombs - Friday, August 26, 2016

                                                          (Photo Credit: Jennifer Richard, thestranger.com)

Seattle is known for is incredibly diverse and unique restaurant scene. Whether you are in the mood for deliciously fresh seafood, an incredible Cuban cured meat sandwich, or some of the best bakery treats around, Seattle is the place to be. Let’s continue our adventure and go over some of our favorites!


Topping the list today is one of the most unique and extravagant dining options. Altura, located on Broadway East in Seattle, strives to make your dining experience one that you will remember. No two nights at Altura will be the same, as the chef prepares a different menu every day. Each meal is between five and seven courses with “small bites” in between. While this restaurant is on the pricey side at $137 per person, the delicious food and atmosphere is certainly worth it. Sitting at the bar while watching the chef cook is one of the best seats in all of Seattle!


Next up is one of my personal favorite restaurants, Lark, on East Seneca St. Lark is popularly known as one of the premier artisan-focused restaurants in all of Seattle. They only use locally grown, organic ingredients, and only those that are currently in season. In the mood for something a little less fancy, but in keeping with the Lark philosophy of fresh, organic and in season? The owners also own a beautiful bar named Bitter/Raw and a delicious sandwich and coffee counter called Slab. Each of these locations comes highly recommended. You are sure to have a delicious meal and a wonderful experience here!


If I am in Seattle and feeling like a nice, juicy burger, my go-to stop is Red Mill Burgers! There are two locations of this delicious eatery available to you, and both of them will have a line out the door if you hit the timing right. Red Mill Burgers offers a large variety of flame-grilled burgers with every topping imaginable. They even offer vegetarian options and a few different chicken sandwich options. Family owned and operated, Red Mill is a friendly and vibrant burger joint. They were even named on the list of the Top 20 Burgers You Must Eat Before You Die on the Oprah Show and in GQ magazine! Sounds like eating here is a necessity!


Heading in a completely different direction, one of the most raved about bakeries in all of Seattle is Bakery Nouveau. Chef William Leaman has won numerous prestigious awards and been feature in so many dining publications that there are too many to count. Bakery Nouveau offers two locations, one in West Seattle and one on Capitol Hill, with the decadent smells traveling outside the bakery for blocks. Each location offers a large variety of breads, chocolates and other delicious sweets such as French macarons, cookies and even sweet and savory breakfast pastries. If you have a sweet tooth, this is a must-see place for you!


Looking for something a little different? While Dough Zone Dumpling House is a small chain of restaurants, they serve some of the best Chinese comfort food in all of Washington State. Offering a large variety of dumplings and noodle dishes, this unique eatery will have you craving more locations so that you can go anytime!


This is only a small selection of our favorite restaurants in Seattle. There are literally hundreds of wonderful places to eat anywhere you go. The thing about Seattle is there is a beautiful mix of cultures and flavors all over the city. If you ever get the chance to visit, we hope that you find our lists useful on your travels!


Things To Do in Seattle

Kelly McCombs - Friday, August 19, 2016


The last city we visited on our travel adventures was San Francisco. We thought, why not head on up the coast and check out Seattle? Located on Puget Sound in Washington State, Seattle is surrounded by thousands of acres of parkland, which is why it is dubbed the “Emerald City”. It has an eclectic and cultured scene with a variety of things to see and do, perfect for everyone in the family.


The most iconic image of Seattle has to be the Space Needle. Originally built for the 1962 World’s Fair, the Space Needle is an observation tower that overlooks the Seattle skyline and the Olympic and Cascade Mountain ranges, including Mount Rainier. Visitors reach the top of the needle by elevators and can stand out on the observation deck to take in the breathtaking views. The Space Needle also has a restaurant at the top, called SkyCity Restaurant. If you want to impress someone, take them here. The views are some of the best on the West Coast!


If you are looking to get away from the hub-bub of the city, take a stroll through Seattle’s Arboretum. This is an absolutely gorgeous place to take a break from the world. Nooks and crannies abound in this delightful mix of gardens, pathways, streams and bridges. Your mind is sure to relax and forget your troubles in a place like this! The Arboretum is gorgeous at any time of year, as new and different plants will be blooming, the leaves will be changing, and the snow will make it look like a fairytale. One of my personal favorite places!


If you happen to be in Seattle on a hot, sunny day (sometimes a rarity in rainy Seattle), head on over to the International Fountain. Located in Seattle Center, this is another piece of architecture that was built for the 1962 World’s Fair. It was completely remodeled in 1995 to make it much safer and child-friendly. Now, children (and adults!) can play in the bowl of the fountain and even walk right up to it. Make sure to bring your bathing suit to enjoy this Seattle mainstay!


If you’re in the mood to peruse fresh veggies, beautiful flowers and other unique handmade and grown items, Pike Place Market is a must-see. This market boasts being the longest continually operating public market in the entire country! If you are looking for some fresh fish, there is no better place to buy some. Watch your head as you go through the fish market. You might see fish flying above it! Even if you don’t want to buy any fish, it is still worth the trip to the fish market to see the fish mongers throw huge fish in the air to one another. The entertainment factor alone is worth it! You could spend hours at this market looking at the thousands and thousands of different items. There are even a few restaurants if you wanted a break from walking.


Our final stop on our tour of Seattle is the Woodland Park Zoo. Originally a private collection of animals on the estate of Guy C. Phinney in the late 1800’s, the city took over the collection and estate upon his death. The zoo has a vast array of exhibits and ranks second to New York’s Bronx Zoo in the number of exhibit awards received from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. There are over 300 different animal species on the 92 acres that the zoo encompasses. It is open to the public every day of the year except Christmas. If you have children, this would be a fun place to explore. Fun and educational, all at the same time!


These are just a few of the wonderful places to see on your visit to Seattle. This city is so full of life and culture, it is one that everyone should take some time to see. Stay tuned next week, when we talk about some of our favorite eateries in Seattle!


Local Outdoor Activities

Kelly McCombs - Friday, July 29, 2016

                                                         Photo Credit: Leah Carter

Now that summer is in full swing, why not take full advantage of the beautiful weather and get outside for some fun summer activities? We have compiled a list of some local attractions that are best visited during the warm summer months!


First on the list is Six Flags Great Escape! This has always been one of my very favorite places to go during the summer, ever since I was a kid. You can’t beat all of the fun roller coasters and other rides. They even have a water park which is perfect for those hot summer days. Great Escape is fun for all ages! Located just a few miles north of Saratoga in Queensbury, this theme park has over 135 rides, shows and attractions. Make sure to take a ride on The Comet, the wooden roller coaster towards the back of the park. This is my personal favorite! Great Escape is the perfect place to make memories with your family and friends!


If you will be in the Lake George area around September 8th-11th and you love classic cars, make sure to check out the Adirondack Nationals Car Show. This show is the highlight of the season for all of the regular car show guys and gals and is known for showcasing some of the best classic cars and hot rods in the area. There is nothing quite like walking through the aisles of cars and imagining the good old days. They sure don’t make them like they used to! This show features food vendors, automotive vendors, and a nightly cruise in, just to name a few of the exciting things that you'll see!


If you are in the mood to take in some beautiful sights, head on down to Thatcher State Park for some hiking. There are different difficulty levels on the various trails, so don’t worry if you are not an experienced hiker. Thatcher Park provides some of the most splendid views of the Hudson-Mohawk valleys and the Adirondack and Greene Mountains, so this is one place that you will not want to miss. The park also offers picnic areas, volleyball courts, baseball fields and playgrounds. Perfect for the whole family!


If you are more on the daring and adventurous side, you should check out Adirondack Extreme in Bolton Landing. This adventure course offers 1.5 miles of aerial adventures such as rope swings, zip lines, and bridges. Not for the faint of heart, however they do offer different course levels and you can exit the courses at any time. They are open from April through November and reservation are strongly recommended. If you are looking to add some adventure into your life, this is certainly the place to find it!


This is just a small taste of some of the fun, outdoor activities that the Saratoga area has to offer. Take some time this weekend, get outside, and enjoy this beautiful summer!


Things To Do in Saratoga!

Kelly McCombs - Friday, July 22, 2016



Today marks the beginning of the busy season in Saratoga Springs, with Saratoga Race Course opening for the 2016 meet! So we thought, what better time to pool together some fun Saratoga “must-see” sites into a blog post? If you’re planning to travel to the area this summer, or even if you’re a local, keep reading!


Of course, the main event of the summer in Saratoga is attending the races at the track. The hub bub of the town revolves around the goings-on there! Watching the races is perfect for everyone, whether you want to rent a picnic table and hang out with your friends and family, get grandstand tickets to watch the action in person, you can even get a table at one of the restaurants to view the racing while having a delicious meal. My favorite thing is to stand right up against the fence to the track when the horses fly by to the finish line. There is nothing quite as exhilarating as seeing them speed by. A little known fact is that you can tour the stable area for free. Get to the track early and have breakfast at the Clubhouse Porch, then take the tram over to the stable area to see where the horses are kept! This is perfect for the horse lover or anyone who loves the history of the track.


If you are a fan of wine, then you must head over to the Saratoga Winery and Tasting Room.  You can do wine tastings every day that they are open, with no reservation required! They also have live music and wood fired pizza every weekend. They have an extensive wine list and even have numerous beers on tap. Only 4 miles from downtown Saratoga, this is a great place to relax and socialize!


One of the most beautiful places in Saratoga is Congress Park. Located right downtown, this park is perfect for a quick afternoon stroll. There are fountains, a stream, the usual family of ducks, even a beautiful wooden carousel. In the center of the park is Canfield Casino, a historic gambling casino named a National Historic Landmark. Though the building is no longer used as a casino, it currently houses the Saratoga Springs History Museum. If you have an interest in learning about the rich history of our town, this is a wonderful place to visit.


Speaking of parks, if you like Congress Park, you will love the Saratoga Spa State Park. This one is much larger that Congress Park with a plethora of things to do. There are pavilions that you can rent for barbecues and get-togethers, there is an 18 hole golf course, numerous swimming pools, along with some of the most beautiful architecture you will see in all of Saratoga. There are beautiful trails for running, walking, and even riding your horse. I personally love to go here a few days a week to take my dogs for a walk. There are nice shady spots to lounge and a beautiful babbling creek. It is one of my favorite places in Saratoga!


If you’re like me and love a good farmer’s market, you are in luck! Saratoga Springs offers up two great ones! First is the Saratoga Farmers Market, located on High Rock Avenue downtown. This one is open year round on Wednesdays 3pm-6pm and on Saturdays 9am-1pm. From November to April, this market moves inside to the Lincoln Baths Building in the Saratoga Spa State Park. The second farmer’s market is the Spa City Farmers Market, located in front of the Lincoln Baths at the State Park, on the lawn. They are open every Sunday from 10am-3pm. Both of these markets offer a large variety of local, farm fresh goodies. I try to go once a week to pick up some beautiful fresh cut flowers to put into arrangements for my house. I also purchase my veggies for the week. I love how everything is seasonal so as the seasons change, my choice in vegetables will change as well.


These are just a select few of our favorite things to do in Saratoga.  Make sure you take advantage of everything offered by walking down Broadway. There are so many delicious restaurants, bakeries, beautiful shops, not to mention the vibrant night life down Caroline Street. Saratoga is the perfect place to spend some time during the summer and we hope you will visit soon!


Road Trip Essentials

Kelly McCombs - Friday, July 15, 2016


With summer comes the urge to get out and explore! Whether you hop in the car to head to the beach, the mountains, somewhere close by or somewhere a few hours away, you should always make sure you have a few essentials with you, because you never know what unexpected things will happen! We have come up with a list of some important things to make any road trip fun and successful.


One of the most important things to bring along with you are maps of the area where you will be traveling. I know almost all of us have smart phones now, but some areas will have spotty cell phone service and you’ll need an additional way to find where you are going. I usually keep a New York State map in my car at all times anyway, but make sure to pack any others that you may need.


An essential thing that I constantly have to remind myself to bring is a cell phone charger. No matter the length of your road trip, your phone will inevitably die. You’ll be using it for GPS, music, to take pictures along with numerous other things like social media. All of these things will drain your battery’s life, and nobody likes a dead cell phone! I’ve gotten into the habit of keeping an extra charger in my car’s center console so that it is always there and I don’t forget it!


One of the things that will be draining that cell phone battery is playing music. It is essential to have a good road trip playlist! I keep a variety on my phone depending on my mood. It is smart to have standalone playlists instead of just a music streaming app, because if you are in an area with questionable cell phone service, you will still want some music to play!


I usually keep a small cooler filled with ice and water and various other soft drinks in my back seat, within easy reaching distance of the front seat. This saves me time and money because then I don’t have to stop at rest stops or gas stations to buy beverages. I also usually make a few peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, slip them into a plastic baggie and put them on top of the ice in the cooler for a little snack along the way. Part of the fun of road tripping is stopping along the way at random little eateries and restaurants to sample the local cuisine, but this doesn’t mean that we can’t bring snacks along!


I also tend to keep a little pouch filled with first aid essentials in my purse or the backseat when I go on road trips. It will hold everything from hand sanitizer to headache medicine to chewing gum, along with normal first aid kit products like band aids and triple antibiotic ointment. You never know when you will need one of these things on the road in the middle of nowhere with no gas station in sight.


The finally thing that we think you should bring along with you is a spare blanket and pillow. These come in handy for your passenger during the long drive or you, if you have the unfortunate opportunity to get stuck somewhere. Sleeping in the car is never a fun thing, but if worse comes to worst, at least you’ll be prepared!


We hope these travel essentials will be useful along your road trip. The main thing to always remember is have fun and make memories! 


Summer Travel Tips

Kelly McCombs - Friday, June 17, 2016


Now that the summer weather is upon us and the kids are out of school, many of you might be planning to book a nice summer vacation. While taking time off of work and going out of town can be relaxing, sometimes things come up and unplanned events happen. This can make what was once a fun, relaxing vacation into an overwhelming one. We have compiled a list of simple travel tips to help make your vacation a smooth one!


One helpful tip that we have found to ease some stress during the travel planning process is reading traveler reviews. Sites like TravelAdvisor.com offer traveler’s reviews on everything from restaurants and hotels to tourist attractions. They can help you decide where you would like to go or what sites you would like to see on your travels. While these reviews are helpful, you should still read them with an open mind. Pay attention to how recent the post was made. Many establishments pay attention to these reviews too and are quick to change anything that might have prompted a negative review. It is also helpful to look at the reviews that contain pictures. You can sometimes learn more from the pictures than you can the actual review.


A hugely important travel tip is to purchase travel insurance. This is an absolute must for big-ticket vacations that are non-refundable. Travel insurance covers things like lost baggage, emergency medical expenses, and it will help you recover some, if not all, of the cost of your trip if it has to be canceled or shortened. Always pay attention to whether your vacation is refundable or not. For example, my family is planning on going to Disney World this year. I did not purchase travel insurance for the actual Disney vacation package because it is completely refundable. I did, however, purchase travel insurance for my flights because this is 100% non-refundable without the insurance. You can save a little bit of money here and there by knowing the facts about your trip.


When it comes to packing, it is best to try to keep it to one suitcase. This will depend on the length of your vacation, of course. Packing light may not be easy for some, but it is essential to staying organized and avoiding too many baggage fees at the airport. I typically use a large rolling suitcase for a 7 day vacation. I have also invested in a packing cube system which keeps the suitcase space organized and makes it super easy once I get to the hotel. I will usually pack one outfit per packing cube, which makes it so I don’t have to dig around my suitcase or riffle through the closet trying to find the shirt I want to wear that day. Packing cubes also help cut way down on the wrinkles that my clothes will get, which saves me time because I don’t have to pull out the iron! The less stress first thing in the morning, the better.


Another important travel tip is to keep cash in a few different places. If you keep all of your cash and credit cards in your wallet and then you lose it, what do you do? I tend to keep some extra cash in a toiletry bag or under the insert in one of my shoes. This has saved me a few times in the past and it is something I will continue to do in the future. This is especially helpful if you are traveling out of the country. Cash is king and it is often easier to exchange and use than some credit cards. Banks often offer better exchange rates than those available to individuals, so exchange with them instead.


Our final travel tip is a simple one. Don’t sweat the small stuff! Sometimes, unplanned things happen that you have no control over, but you can’t spend your entire trip angry and in a bad mood because of it. Try to look at the bright side of every situation. If you stayed organized and pre-planned your trip well, you will know what to do. Did you miss the bus? Well, there will be another one. It pays to have a sense of humor in situations like these. Just think, you are making memories! Sometimes, the unplanned and hectic situations make for the funniest stories to tell to your friends and family down the road.


Wherever you are traveling this summer, even if you’re staying local, we hope you find some of these tips useful and have a wonderful, stress-free vacation!



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