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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Theme Park Halloween and Other Scary Travel

Who's afraid of the Big Bad Wolf? Not me, but there are so many other things I am afraid of. Halloween is the time where you can face your fears and put a little scare into others. Why not spend this October hitting up places that have good old fashioned ghosts and goblins? The past few years we attended the Halloween events at Disneyland and Disneyland Paris. This year, we'll be back to Walt Disney World.

halloween travel tips


Many park days at the Magic Kingdom and Disneyland in Sept-Nov are cut short for this party that requires a special ticket to get in. From 7pm to midnight, many of the park guests come dressed in costume to enjoy 5 hours of trick-or-treating, dancing, nighttime thrill rides (only specific rides will be open during that time, not the whole park), Hall-o-wishes fireworks display, an all-villain musical show in front of the castle, villain meet and greets, amazing park decorations and, best of all, a special parade opened with the Headless Horseman on horseback. It’s all totally Disney and so out of their normal festivities that it’s worth putting off your vacation until that time of year.


Knott's presents Knott's Scary Farm. Save on your tickets by buying them online instead of at the gate. We've not actually gone to this event, but we have been there when the decorations are up. Let's just say that I hope the scare actors are better than the decor.


Universal puts on Halloween Horror Nights. While ticket prices don't waver, you're sure to get your money's worth while riding select rides and being scared out of your wits with roaming creeps, themed haunted houses and scare zones. It's like being in your very own horror movie. Get a better deal by buying the Frequent Fear Pass. It gets you into the park during all HHN nights and for less than buying the pass for just one night. We'll be checking it out this year, so stay tuned for a recap of how many times I peed myself. (Sorry)


Busch Gardens in Tampa offers up Howl-o-Scream. Much like Universal, they have scare zones, haunted houses and themed entertainment. You can't get cheaper tickets for this event either, but it'll scare your pants off, which you maybe can't put a price on. The event is included with your regular ticket when you go to Busch Gardens Williamsburg. We took advantage of this last year, so we could check out the shows, which were pretty fun. 

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If you've got little ones and are in Southern California or Florida, head to Legoland's Brick-or-Treat, where they can dress up, visit with their favorite Legoland characters and also go home with a bag full of candy. Each weekend will feature a different collectible brick for them to commemorate their visit. The event requires a separate ticket, but it's a great family-friendly evening.

Around The World
    Now, that's just the major theme parks that have fun activities. There are plenty of other activities the world over that you can get in on. Here are some inexpensive things you can do during the fall season or any other time of the year.

    The Dungeons are on my list of kitchy and kinda scary (if you're afraid of the dark and mirror mazes where you might be followed) and must-do attractions. The site offers best price guarantee and you can get discounted deals if you purchase a combination ticket with Madame Tussaud's and/or the London Eye. If you plan to visit off-peak hours, you can save up to 50%! You must purchase your tickets online though. Each dungeon (located in London, Blackpool, Warwick Castle, York, Hamburg, Edinburgh, Berlin, Amsterdam and now San Francisco) walks you through the "streets" of history and winds you through creepy stories and rides that take you from one area of the dungeon to another.


    In France? Check out the Paris Catacombs. There are miles of underground tunnels underneath Paris full of human bones that were put there when the cemeteries became overcrowded. Even now they are still crowded, but with tourists. Get there right at opening and beat the crowds. Lines can stretch up to 2 hours long and with prices at only 5 Euros per person, it's one of the cheaper things you can do in France.


    Plenty of creepy things have come out of London. One of the most famous? Jack the Ripper. He was never caught and you can walk the same streets on a London night with a small group for around $15 per person. Feel some of the fear those women must have felt while standing in a dark alley and hearing about the gruesome and brutal murders that happened on the very spot. 

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    New Orleans has always claimed to have a rich history in the occult and creepy myths. For an hour and a half walk among the darkened streets on the New Orleans Vampire Tour for only $20 per person. Many other walks are available, but who wouldn't want to believe in the undead and the horrible things that happen in the shadows of the city?
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      New England always seems to be the backdrop for creepy and bizarre happenings. Stephen King loves to write about New England in his scary novels, too. One such story, which happens to be true, is the tale of Lizzie Borden in Massachusetts. Not only can you stay in the very house both her parents were murdered in (whether she did it or not, as she was never convicted, but moved to live outside of town where she was shunned for the rest of her life), you can also take a tour of the Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast. As cheerful as a B&B sounds, this one claims to be haunted. People have said to have had many encounters with ghosts while staying there, but if you can't get in to sleep there or are too scared, take the tour. They are only $12.50 per person and occur only during daylight hours, so there's (mostly) nothing to be afraid of, but what happened to the real murderer?


      Portland's Shanghai Tunnels are quite a tourist attraction. There is a whole city of tunnels under the Oregon town's downtown area. For $19 per person you take a flashlight tour of the tunnels and learn about how people would be pulled into the tunnels (often drunk), have their shoes stolen and forced into slave labor. If you missed my blog post on underground sightseeing, find it here.

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      Winchester Mystery House. Tour 110 of the 160 rooms of the house that took 38 years to build and has stairs that lead to nowhere and doors that open into walls. There are several tours to choose from, including a flashlight tour special for specific October dates. Tours range from $22 to $50 per person and should be purchased online.



      Almost anywhere you go that has open land will have a corn maze. You can go during the day or the evening and enjoy getting lost in a labyrinth of corn! The daytime maze will be fairly tame and the maze at night is dark and may have several spooky surprises. Though you may not be able to take advantage of pumpkin picking, you CAN stop at the general store they have set up and get some local foods to take home, like pumpkin butter and huckleberry candy (okay, that's probably just what we have here in Oregon). 

      Check out some fun musicals for Halloween season. Search for discounts on great theater in London, New York, Las Vegas and Orlando on Theater.co.uk. Two musicals that might be of particular interest to you are Thriller Live and Wicked. 


      I look forward to finding out all the new fun Halloween activities for the this season. What are the cool things to do in your town that are fun and affordable?

      Saturday, September 26, 2015

      See the City Like Never Before

      A few weeks ago we had family in town and wanted to do something fun and different for Eric's cousin's birthday. I suggested taking a tour of the city, but with a twist. Instead of just tromping around the city, I purchased a scavenger hunt that worked via your smartphone WiFi signal, you could go at your own pace and didn't need to wait for anyone to take you on the tour. I purchased our city hunt through Urban Adventure Quest, which I found through a quick internet search. Though it wasn't super cheap, it wasn't too bad considering five of us were entertained for a good two hours and saw a lot of Portland that we hadn't seen previously, even though three of us live here.

      city tours // scavenger hunt

      For $49 (less if you find a promo code online), you can take five people on a totally cool tour. To be fair, there is no way to regulate who goes on a hunt, so if you have more people who want to work together, there's really no stopping you. Of course, maybe you want to compete with another group of friends to see who can finish the hunt first. Then you'll want to purchase more than one.


      So, what do you get? Each city hunt has an average finish time of about two hours, but if you don't care about time, you may want to take a lot longer to check out the places you end up. You'll get around 20 puzzles or instructions to find answers to get you to your next destination. Ours took us from one side of downtown to the other, stopping off at popular Portland landmarks and ones that we didn't even know existed. 


      Make sure to wear good walking shoes, bring your camera (or use your phone) to take pics of your progress and fun, plus the more people who have a smartphone, the better. Though you can only run the hunt on one phone, the others may need theirs to look up answers, take notes or check out a map. You'll also want to bring a few pieces of paper and a pen, water to keep hydrated, a few bucks for public transportation (will be specified on the UAQ website) and don't forget the sunscreen.


      You can't go downtown without eating at one of our many awesome restaurants, but we wanted to continue our adventure with an adventurous meal and popped into Brunch Box for lunch. If you've never heard of it, you can order a cheeseburger with bacon, spam and all the fixings in between two grilled cheese sandwiches made with Texas toast. That's what you're looking at there (the Redonkadonk).

      With Urban Adventure Quest, you can see your city in a whole new light or learn a ton of stuff about a totally new city. I look forward to trying it on one of my future travels. Another similar company that runs these sorts of scavenger hunts is Stray Boots.

      Have you ever taken a unique tour of your own or any other city? If so, tell us what you liked about it!

      Disclaimer: I was not paid to write this post. I just genuinely thought the hunt was fun and wanted to share my experience.

      Friday, September 25, 2015

      Super Useful Travel Posts

      Happy Friday, All! I hope you've been having a great week. If not, at least the weekend is here! As I write this, I'm listening to a group of birds singing in my yard, celebrating the sunny day and it seriously sounds like a Disney movie. Can't ask for a better day than that, but let's try with some fun, useful or interesting links I've found lately, shall we? I know it's been a long time since SUTP has been a thing, but I'm hoping to bring it back regularly.

      super useful travel tips
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      Do you travel with your pet, or want to, or have to? It can be difficult and expensive, especially if you have several dogs or an exotic pet that needs special consideration. What should you pack? Who should you call? (I promise, it's not Ghostbusters.) When should you start preparing for your trip? Fathom answers all these questions for you. 


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      I don't know about you, but I love to watch airplanes take off and land, so the airport is kind of a fun place for me. If you've got an overnight layover in a city, sometimes it just makes sense to stay at a hotel attached to or near the airport, especially if your flight is reeeeeeally early in the morning. USA Today has a list of 15 airports that have views of the runway.



      People aren't getting smaller, yet the airlines don't seem to care, do they? Seats and legroom appear to be shrinking and, since the airlines are private companies, there's not much we can do about it. Right now, there's no protection for passengers regarding personal space or overcrowding, but petitions are being put up to the Department of Transportation to hopefully change this. The Washington Post talks about the most recent one.


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      From tiny airplane seats to tiny hotel rooms. Micro and pod hotels are becoming more and more popular, especially in destinations where rooms can cost hundreds of dollars a night, like New York City. How much time do you actually spend in your room anyway? These new little hotels make up for cramped rooms with awesome shared spaces. They have large, comfortable lobbies and rooftop lounges. These appeal to those who love to be social and connect with others when they travel, and really just view their room as a place to lay their head and keep their stuff.



      Food. I love it. I always try to find local dishes when I travel and often research what to eat where I go. CNN put it to social media to ask what people called their country's best dish. This is great, because it puts it to the people who actually eat the food everyday. 


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      Computer problems aren't just an issue at your job, but it can also be an huge issue for you at someone else's job. There have been some problems with the airlines' networks, apps and more, including American Airlines and United. I've been at the airport when a glitch has occurred on another airline and it's been packed with disgruntled travelers stuck at the airport until the problem is resolved. The NY Times takes a look at the most recent issue.


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      Were you planning on a ski vacation this year? If so, you know how much flights into those great ski hubs can be. Instead, check out the new bargain skiing destination: Las Vegas. Yup, it's true. You can take a trip to Sin City in the winter and enjoy the slopes at the same time. Everyone in your travel party can enjoy this trip, because there's not just skiing in Vegas. There's something for everybody. Forbes tells you more.

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      Does it feel like you just charged your phone, but it's dead already? Battery life is the single biggest complaints about phones, but it might be your own fault that your battery sucks. Brit + Co talks about how you're ruining your phone. 

      That's all I got for you this week. If you've come across anything awesome and travel-related that you'd like to share, I'd like to see it. Leave a link and a little comment below, so I can check it out too! Have a great weekend and I'll "see" you tomorrow.

      Wednesday, September 23, 2015

      Free Museum Tickets For You!

      On Saturday over 1,400 museums in America (and Puerto Rico) will be offering free admission all day. This is a great promotion and can save you big bucks whether you are on vacation or at home. It’s also the perfect time to get your kiddos some culture without having to dish out the cash when they may or may not let you stay long enough to get your entry money’s worth.

      free museum tickets

      We almost always visit at least one museum on any trip we take. From the Museums de la Mitad del Mundo in Ecuador to the Queen's House in Greenwich, London, we have seen some very interesting bits of history indeed. I know not all museums are fascinating for children, but there are plenty that are educational and fun for them. In Oregon alone, I found several that would keep their attention: ScienceWorks Hands-on Museum (Ashland), World Forestry Center Discovery Museum (Portland) and the Antique Powerland Museum (Salem).

      World Forestry Center - Portland, Oregon


      If you don’t have kids and just want to see some fantastic art, that’s great too, and you will have plenty more to choose from. Museums of history, art and sculptures fill the list in each state, so you will find something that will fit your mood. All you have to do is go to the website, choose your preferred museum and submit your information. You’ll get an email to print out your free ticket and gain admission for two people. It’s that easy! You can get a free ticket for two per email address/household. If there are more people in your group, use your husband’s email address or a friend’s. I don’t think you’ll need to go so far as to pretend you don’t know each other when you enter, but use your own judgment.


      Cape Henry Lighthouse - Virginia City, Virginia

      The majority of the free entries are September 26, but a select few aren’t open on Saturdays and are offering it on Sunday, September 27. You MUST have your printed ticket to get free entry.


      Will YOU be attending Museum Day Live! organized by Smithsonian Magazine?

      Saturday, September 19, 2015

      How To Pick the Right Carry-On Bag

      You've probably been on a summer vacation and realized the bag you have is not really the best bag you could own. I know a lot of people bought a suitcase or carry-on (or both) years ago and have never replaced it because "it works". I'm a big bag collector. Not all bags work for all trips and I feel like I need to be prepared for most situations, so if you came to my house, you'd notice I have at least five regular sized carry-on bags and more than 10 personal-sized ones. Now, I'm not saying that everyone needs to have a closet full of luggage, but a few different bags can't hurt, and an update to your decades-old one is probably in order at least.

      finding the right carry-on bag

      Usually I'm talking to you about how to pack your bag and what to put in it for any given trip, but having the right bag for your travel needs is just as important. 


      photo credit | Will  your roller bag survive this terrain?


      Think about your destination
      It's not just about what you're putting in your bag, but where you're taking your bag. You'll obviously need a different bag for going to Greece than going to Disneyland. Why? Well, I don't know if you noticed all those deliciously blue and white pics of those Grecian seaside towns, but they are 90% steps. Good luck getting your roller bag up those. This is where I suggest taking a bag that can be hefted onto your shoulder, like a convertible backpack carry-on or a duffel bag. The Skyroll would be perfect. 

      A city getaway is fine for a roller bag, because it's easy to go from airport to rental car to front desk, but if you're headed to a quaint European city, you might be faced with cobblestones. If you are, you'll want some extra rugged wheels, because nothing sucks worse on vacation than a broken carry-on wheel. 

      Another reason to take a look at your destination is because of carry-on rules. Many airlines have their own special rules that may be strictly enforced, like Ryanair and Air France. If your carry-on doesn't comply with dimensions and weight restrictions, you will have to check your bag and shell out money you may not have in order to comply with rules and regulations. 



      Are you packing for more than one?
      I always pack for two of us in one bag, which means I pretty much need a full-size carry-on, but I do have one that is a bit smaller that we use for shorter domestic trips. It's a sweet little hardsided carry-on that makes overpacking impossible. It has compartments that can be customized to make them suitable for however you want to pack them. Do you want to be organized? Do you like a lot of pockets? Are you just going alone? If I pack for just myself (for a solo trip), I take a smaller bag that fits my clothes, laptop and toiletries, plus has room for a few purchases. Then just bring my purse for snacks and tablet. 

      Obviously, your needs will change if you're just worried about yourself or packing for you and another or you and a child/baby. 



      How organized do you want to be?
      I like to stay organized and know where all my stuff is in a bag, therefore, I enjoy a bag with tons of pockets. Of course, you can also use packing cubes/envelopes, but sometimes it's just nice to have different compartments to put different stuff. I have another bag that has one large compartment on one side and the other side has four-five small mesh pockets for underwear, socks, etc, and one large mesh compartment with a loop for a hanger if you want to pack something flat, like a suit jacket. There are two zipper pockets on the outside for a book, travel docs or tickets. 

      The bag helps me keep everything in its place, but it also can be hard to not overpack and make it hard (or impossible) to get it in the overhead of the plane. More than once we've had to take things out of the outside pockets to get it up there, but it also has a zipper expansion to the main compartment if you buy too much stuff and are cool with checking the bag back home (which I will sometimes do if it's cheaper than shipping those purchases through the post office).

      Make sure you know what you like and what you want before buying a bag and tossing all your stuff into it.

      Can you guess which bag is mine?
      Being different is important to you
      There are so many black bags out there. I have a few, but only because the bag I loved didn't come in a different color. If given the choice, I will pick a bright color or pattern. As you've seen, I have a red carry-on, a Hawaiian floral carry-on and a bright yellow carry-on. I like to know which bag is mine without having to scrutinize it. I want other people to know immediately that my bag is not their bag. If you're like me, you may find you'll be paying a little more for uniqueness, but if it makes you happier when you travel, then it's worth it.
      Do you want to buy another bag in a few years?
      I may like to buy new clothes to pack my bag with every few years, but I'm very attached to my bags and want them to last. It may take a little bit of practice to pack each bag perfectly, but once you know how to do it, it's comfortable feeling every time you pull it out for a trip. I'm also willing to spend a bit more to get a bag that I love and is also super well made and meant to last for a long time. 

      If you find you're paying to replace a crappily made bag every few years, then you may not be saving any money by carry-on packing. Look for bags that are made by great companies that stand behind their products. They should have a guarantee, warranty and give you a run-down of all their features and how they are made well. Unbreakable zippers are important to me. When your zipper teeth don't quite meet and make a gap, sometimes that's just the end of it. Throw that bag in the garbage. If you can find a bag that has self-repairing zippers, you have dodged the biggest bag malfunction. 

      I like in-line skate wheels, because they're more rugged. I've had a wheel break on me in the middle of a trip. It wasn't fun. I also like a handle that pulls out smoothly and doesn't take a strong man to get it back into the bag. Side and bottom handles need to be well made and well attached. If you've ever had a bag handle just break off, you know why this is something I want. So, paying more for a well made bag is something I'm willing to do and suggest to everyone. Unless you know you get bored easily and will want to replace your bag sooner rather than later, you'll want to really check out the construction and reviews. 


      If you need suggestions on the best carry-ons on the market, check out Luggage on Tour, where you can find reviews of bags you might be interested in. I always look at reviews before I make a luggage purchase (the more photos the better, too) if I can't find a bag at a store nearby for me to handle. The holidays are coming, so now's the time to get your new bag or purchase one for the traveler in your life.

      When you look for a carry-on, what are your must-have features?

      Disclaimer: This post has been sponsored by Luggage on Tour.

      Wednesday, September 16, 2015

      Traveling America's Haunted Sites

      Halloween is on its way and that means yummy treats and scary tricks or a combination of them both. Not all the scares are unjustified. If you get excited about a good ghost story (or sighting!) then there's a chance you're within driving distance of a fantastic haunted destination. We took a fun ghost walk last year when we visited Colonial Williamsburg and may have even caught a spirit on camera, plus we've gone to some other haunted locations where we haven't actually glimpsed or felt a ghost. If you want the chance to maybe meet a ghost yourself, check out these haunted destinations around the country.

      haunted America
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      Have you visited any of these haunts? If so, did you have a paranormal experience?

      Saturday, September 12, 2015

      Be a Traveler, Not a Tourist

      When I vacation, I like to immerse myself as much as possible in my destination. I know a lot of people find it hard t get into the swing of how things work when they go somewhere new, but it can be the best way to really feel where you are. If you're constantly in your home state of mind, you're never going to get the most of your destination. There's quite a difference from embracing a new place and being a traveler and trying to hit everything on your must-do list as a tourist. Doing your research before you leave can certainly help you make the leap.

      traveler vs tourist
      Pioneer Catholic Cemetery: St. George, UT

      Go Off the Beaten Path
      I love seeing tourist attractions, even in my own city, but I don't want to fill my whole itinerary with them. I enjoy research, so I will spend quite a bit of time looking at all my options. If you aren't into that, keep space in your trip plan to go interesting places. I have asked waiters at restaurants, the renter of my Airbnb, people I've met in line, hotel staff, employees at museums and tour guides. Sometimes I ask which I should do if I could only do one of a few things, sometimes I ask where they like to eat and sometimes I just ask for tips in general. If nothing else, get out of the touristy areas and see new neighborhoods, cafes and shops.


      Learn the Language
      You don't have to learn everything and be completely fluent, but it helps to learn key phrases that might help you if you're out to eat, shopping or at a museum. People will be impressed you try and want to help you. You have to remember, even though much of the world can speak at least a little English, it doesn't mean you should assume they do. You're in their country, so they aren't there to make you comfortable, just as they wouldn't expect you to know their language if they came to visit America, Canada or the UK. Get a phrase book, a set of Pimsleur CDs or an app on your phone to learn things like "Please", "Thank you", "Where is the bathroom?" "How much?" and "I would like..."

      Airbnb rental in Paris

      Get a Vacation Rental
      Instead of staying a in a hotel with hundreds of other tourists, stay in neighborhoods in apartments, condos and homes. Not only will you get more of a sense of what it's like to live where you visit, but you'll even feel more at home and save money, because you'll have a place that is more lived in and probably has a kitchen and possibly laundry. There's nothing better to me than coming back from a long day of sightseeing and making a snack to eat while watching a movie and doing a bit of laundry. Am I weird? Maybe, but I love feeling like I really live somewhere for a week or two. This leads me to...


      Shop the Farmers' Markets and/or Grocery Stores
      Because we often stay in rentals and have a kitchen, we plan to make our own breakfasts when we travel. This gives us an excuse to hit up the local grocers for necessities. We've found some unexpected things when we shop and also things we love and bring back home with us. Before we head off anywhere, I check out local markets in the area where I'll be staying or sightseeing. Getting produce that's grown nearby is always awesome, plus you can get handmade goods, foods and even an affordable meal. It's a perfect way to interact with locals and ask them questions about things they make and grow.

      Holland Park: London

      Don't Forget to Be Flexible
      Not everything is going to go as planned whenever you travel, but don't let those times get you down. You might also find that someone gives you a suggestion that is too awesome to not take. Sure, maybe you were going to go to that Michelin-starred restaurant and then that famous landmark, but instead have the chance to go see some local ruins or go ice skating with new friends and try food from the nearby night market. I like to make daily schedules, so we can get to things we definitely must do, but we aren't so locked in that we can't skip things or move stuff around to do something else instead.


      Eat Local
      Dining venues near tourist attractions are going to cost more than other restaurants and are generally not that good. There are exceptions, of course, but it's always smart to wander about a little further from your sightseeing. You never know what you might find if you just walk a few blocks away. Look for restaurants that serve up local favorites and you'll save money, but also will probably find some new yummy foods. Not sure how to pick a good place? I go by two rules: If there's a line, you know it's good. Food trucks/carts = win! Some of the best foods I've had in Paris have come from a cart. Some of the worst foods I've had anywhere were because I was too hungry to do any research and ate at the first place that served something edible. This also leads me to a different tip: Always keep snacks on your person, so you don't make a bad decision based on necessity.


      Vancouver, BC
      Ask Facebook Friends
      Chances are you have some international friends on social media you may not have met in real life, but can give you great tips for your upcoming trips. I have done this several times, asking for suggestions from my friend in Vancouver BC for my 12-hour layover or sending questions about a friend's recent trip to a place I'm headed to. This can also be a good chance for you to meet up with your previously unmet friends and you can let them show you around their favorite places when you get there. Not only will it be fun, but you'll see something less touristy than you would if you just went by our guide book.


      Get Lost
      I'm fantastic at getting lost, but instead of seeing it as a curse, I use it as an opportunity. Some of the coolest things we've done are because we stumbled upon them when making a wrong turn or getting off at the incorrect stop. Just as many times as we rent cars, we rely on walking and public transportation. Going at your own pace can afford you the chance to see things you wouldn't if you took a cab and stayed on the main thoroughfares. It also lets you meet people when you have to stop and ask for directions or pop into a cute little cafe for a bite or a cup of coffee. 

      What are some of your best tips to being a traveler instead of a tourist?

      Wednesday, September 9, 2015

      Easily Packable Costumes for Halloween Travel

      This year is just flying by, isn't it? I'm in the midst of packing for my Orlando trip later this month and I am making space for our Halloween costumes with our other clothes. One of the fun parts of heading to Disney in September or October is that you can dress up for Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halłween Party (other parks have something similar too), but you have to make sure your costume is travel-friendly. In my experience, finding something creative, but without a bunch of pieces is key. I try to pick something that will use items I'm already bringing (pants, shirts, a dress, etc.), so I'm not overloading my carry-on or am forced to check a bag. That means no extra shoes or hats if it can be avoided.

      travel halloween costumes

      In the past we have gone as people on safari, an ice cream man, a sports fan, a pilot and a burglar. This year we're keeping it fun by going as Wayne and Garth from Wayne's World. We're skipping the jeans, because Florida, and packing wigs instead. Their dress is pretty simple and easily recognizable, plus any chance I have to wear a wig is a win to me. I can wear the plaid shirt as a layer on the plane (and in the hotel room) and the shirt to sleep in. Score. Eric will just be donning a cap with hair attached and a black t-shirt. I might make him an Alice Cooper backstage pass, but otherwise, done! If you're traveling for the holiday and are looking for an easy, but fun costume, here are some ideas for you.
      Wednesday Addams
      Wherever you go, you're likely to bring a little black dress. Choose one that has a short sleeve, pack a white shirt with a collar (or one of those Peter Pan collar necklaces) and a pair of black tights, put your hair in braids and a scowl on your face and you're done!
      Raccoons
      This is my plan for our next trip to Halloween at Disney, but I'll let you use it. Purchase the ears and tail sets wear black and/or grey and add a black eye mask or heavy black eye makeup. If I'm feeling creative, I was thinking of adding an accessory that looks like a garbage can to complete this look.

      photo credit
      Robber
      This is so simple, I'm surprised more people don't do this. Dress in head-to-toe black (or a black and white striped shirt) a black knit cap and/or a black mask (or heavy makeup) and make yourself a money bag and you're good to go and have a place to put your candy!
      Bat
      It's a classic! You can easily do this with your LBD (so versatile, right?) by adding some flats that you brought already, some ears and a fancy no-sew cape or a cheap one you have in your costume loser or you pick up at the Halloween store. Pop in some fake fangs for pics.
      Vampire
      Another classic that can be done as above, without the ears, and a regular cape.
      Mavis Dracula
      I love this one, which also uses a LBD. You will also need some black or purple lipstick, a short black wig, black and red striped stockings and red shoes. If you aren't familiar with Mavis, she's the cutie pie daughter of Drac in Hotel Transylvania.
      Rosie the Riveter
      As popular as this costume is online, I never actually see anyone wearing it. Start with a pair or jeans or jean shorts, add a chambray top that everyone seems to have, roll up the sleeves, put your hair up, tie a red bandanna around your head and add some red lipstick. Flex your muscles every once in a while to show your girl power.
      Where's Waldo
      This one is pretty popular, but always fun. Pair a red and white striped shirt with jeans, a striped or red knit cap and some round black glasses (those cheap Harry Potter ones work). Carry a map if you really want to sell it. And if you're a girl, you can put your hair in pigtails and be Wanda.
      Sports Fan
      If you have a favorite team, this should be easy for you. Pick your favorite pieces, paint your face and you're set. I was an Angels fan one year as a last-minute change, because it was crazy hot in LA that fall, and I was a hit with all the Disney cast members. I wore a cap instead of painting my face.
      Scarecrow
      Though I never remember that I want to dress up as a scarecrow, it's always on my list. Start with jeans or denim shorts, add a plaid shirt and a floppy hat. This requires a little bit of makeup art to pull off, but if you can do it, this is an easily packable outfit.
      Big Bad Wolf
      I saw a guy do this one year and was really impressed. All you need is a nightgown, wolf tail and nose (or makeup nose and whiskers) and a bonnet or scarf. Really clever.
      Little Red Riding Hood
      Perfect with the wolf who is masquerading as your grandmother. You can pretty much wear anything as long as you throw on a red cape. Get a little basket purse and you effort will be appreciated. 

      photo credit
      Identity Thief
      I just stumbled across this clever costume, which uses any clothing you want and a package of stick-on name tags on which you've written a bunch of different names. Ha!


      Be sure to check the weather for where you're traveling so you make the right decision on your costume. You don't want to wear something where you'll sweat or freeze, so planning is key. If you'll be riding rides, you'll want something that is still comfortable climbing in and out of cars and won't fly away when it starts to go (think bobby pins for head stuff). For more costume ideas, check out my other Halloween post. Wherever you'll be for Halloween, remember to "Party on, Wayne!"

      Now that you've got your costume down, check out the other key pieces you'll want to pack to look stylish outside of the Halloween parties that Krizstina Williams wrote for us.

      If you've traveled over the Halloween holiday before, what have been your winning costumes?
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