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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Hitting the Beach On a Budget

Got aspirations to go to the beach this summer? Well, you’re likely not the only one, especially since the kids are out of school and the sun is out and that makes people flock to beaches near and far. The problem with heading to the beach during the warmest months is that it is often quite expensive and crazy crowded. Considering most people are just lying on the beach on their trip, it makes no sense to spend a ton of money that you don’t have to. So, here are some tips on how to spend less than expected.

beach vacation

It’s summer, which means you don’t need to take much with you. Getting everything in a carry-on will save you checked bag fees and also get you on your vacation as soon as possible after your plane lands. Keep your travel wardrobe to a minimum by taking one nice outfit and then several tops and bottoms that mix and match. This way, even if you took only 3 tops and 3 bottoms, they could make two week’s worth of different outfits. I then suggest taking two pair of shoes that will work with your outfits as well. Normally, I take a nice pair of sandals that can also work with dress clothes and a good pair of walking shoes. This way, you will be prepared for anything. Throw in a pair of flip flops (which I don’t count as shoes, since they take up almost no space) and you’re set for bumming around on the beach or at the pool.

Change Location

Trade in the ocean for a nice lakeside location. Not only will it be a fraction of the price of an oceanfront property (or even an ocean “view” one), but you can do almost the same things you can otherwise. You can lay out on the beach, make sandcastles, go snorkeling, fishing, swimming, jet skiing and almost everything else you can do at the beach by the ocean.

Book a Rental 

Look for an apartment/condo/house rental instead of a hotel. I keep saying this, but it really can save you a lot of money. Many times you can find something for $300-400 per week, when most hotels you find are going to be well over $75/night, and that’s only for two people. On top of the savings per night and per person, you’ll also be able to shop for your own food and make as many meals as you like. I tend to like to buy breakfast fixings, because I don’t usually like to go out for breakfast and I don’t like to rush in the morning. I can eat a bowl of cereal or a bagel while I’m getting ready for the day and I’ve saved at least $8/day just for me alone. A lot of restaurants charge more than that. Heck, you could easily spend that much at Starbucks for a muffin and a coffee. And if you come back in the middle of the day for a nap or to rest your feet, you can make yourself a sandwich for lunch, too!

Go on a cruise

There are tons of deals going on right now, which means you can hang by the pool on the ship and then check out different beaches when you reach port. You also have the option of trying cool cuisines, saving money on food and accommodations while at sea and having a lot of shopping and sightseeing options.

Go South

Head to South and Central America where even during the summer, rates for hotels are pretty affordable. Places like Ecuador and Belize have wonderful beaches and budget-friendly food and lodging. Stay at a more luxury resort for a fraction of the price, which will help you stay on track with your travel budget and also give you more for your money. The beaches are just as good, plus you get to brush up on your Spanish or Portuguese.

Become Unpopular

Head to less-popular locations like Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and other beachfront locations that have late summer travel deals. Many of these are located in the Southeast and in smaller towns, like Daytona Beach. While they may not seem very exciting at first, there are plenty of things to fill your spare time with, yummy fresh seafood and cool day trips as well.

So, if you’re hoping to work on your tan and enjoy some sand between your toes, don’t forget to pack your swimsuit, your sunglasses and a bunch of sunscreen and start booking your flights, which will not be cheap this time of year. Where will you be headed this summer?

Monday, May 22, 2017

Review: Cabeau's Midnight Magic Sleep Mask

Have you ever been woken up at the crack of dawn on vacation  or even at home – because the curtains or blinds don't shut all the way and then you end up with that one slice of sunlight across your face that blinds you the moment you crack open an eye. Yeah, That's happened to me more than once. It's hard to feel rested when you don't get enough uninterrupted sleep.


travel sleep mask
It's because of mornings like this that I've taken to traveling with a sleep mask. And then I was so happy with how well I slept, I had one for home, too. The only problem is finding a good one. Sure, you can get a generic sleep mask, but why not spend a little more and get a really good one that will last and will give you the best sleep. Cabeau's Midnight Magic can do just that. 


A lot of people hate to have something against their eyes and, that's the reason they hate most sleep masks. I don't mind it, but Cabeau has made their sleep mask with an eye well that allows you to blink without your lashes getting crushed. It's great for those that don't enjoy having anything against their eyes and doesn't ruin your REM sleep.


One of the problems I have with maskes is getting a good fit. The whole point is to block out the light, wherever you might be and this has a black-out adjustability. The nose bridge is moldable, so you can get just the right fit around your nose and cheeks, blocking out all the light and making your body think it's night time, even if it's not. So, you can get a good night's sleep, or a good day's sleep if you're on the plane. 


Also hard to find is a sleep mask that doesn't wear out from putting it on and taking it off many times. Most just have an elastic strap, that is either too tight or too loose. I've actually had to tie a knot in one before, but Midnight Magic has a Velcro strap, so you can fit it to make it comfortable for you. It's got a low profile, making it easy to sleep on your back, because it doesn't dig into the back of your head. 


You got the darkness and the fab fit, but what if you can't sleep if it's too loud? I've been on the plane with loud talkers and crying babies, but I've also been in a hotel with kids running up and down the hall and near round-the-clock construction. That's fun, right? Well, Cabeau doesn't want you to be in the dark and still not be able to sleep, so Midnight Magic has a this nifty little built-in pouch with ear plugs. They are memory foam, allowing them to conform to your ears and block out more noises than regular ear plugs. These are my favorites and even my husband can sleep soundly while wearing these, and he's a pretty light sleeper. And I love that you can't lose your ear plugs, because they always have a home!  

Midnight Magic has just the right coverage for me, with a wide, comfortable head strap. It also lets your face breathe, which can be a whole different problem. It's hard to sleep when your face is hot . With minimal points of contact, it helps to keep you as cool as possible, but also feels secure. I didn't wake up in the night with it on top of my head, so that's a win in my book. 

Considering how well I slept at home with my Midnight Magic mask, I'm really looking forward to traveling with it. It's soft and comfortable and perfectly adjustable to make it ideal for relaxation and sleep, whether you're in a nice hotel room, bunking on the couch or traveling on the train. You'll want one of these if sleep is even a little problem for you, or you just want to enhance your rest.

Other Specs
Where to buy: On Cabeau website or Amazon 
How much: $19.99
Colors: Black
More Details: 100% polyester, with an 80% EVA foam/20% brass wire nose bridge, elastic-free adjustable strap

Like what Cabeau is up to? Learn more by following them online: 

Disclosure: I was provided with the Midnight Magic Sleep Mask for the purposes of this review. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.
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