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Saturday, December 8, 2018

Tips for Surviving Family Travels

The holidays are here and people will be taking to the skies and roads and spending way more time than they might like with their significant other and family. We travel as a couple and it's not always smooth sailing. The same goes for traveling with your family. Sometimes you get mad at each other. Sometimes you are crabby and snappy and sometimes things just don't go as planned. 

vacation rage

How can you be around each other 24/7 without wanting to murder each other on a one- or two-week vacation? It's not always easy, but with a little planning you can minimize ruffled feathers and maximize quality time on your trip.


Eat! 

My number one rule is to make sure you eat when you're hungry. If you don't and your partner is notorious for getting hangry (angry when hungry) as I am, then everyday is going to end up with snappish or yelled "conversations". Find somewhere to eat when one of you is hungry or pack snacks in your bag for those times between meals or when you have to wait a little longer than you want to eat. I can't even tell you how many mean things pour out of my mouth when I get too hungry, and snacks will only last so long before a real meal is needed. Luckily, Eric knows it and will quickly steer me into a food place even if he's not hungry. Eating a balanced diet when you travel can help you feel better and less stressed as well.

Compromise your travel styles

No one is the same, which is good, because that would make the world a very boring place. Unfortunately, this probably means you and your spouse don't travel exactly the same. Understand your differences and understand what the other wants. Meet in the middle when things differ and you'll enjoy your trip a lot more if you're not butting heads at every turn.


Take some alone time

I understand that you are on vacation together. I do, but if you don't take some time to just go off and do your own thing, you will start to stress out and hate the other person's face before long. This doesn't mean that you have to spend a whole day all alone. Maybe go do a little shopping or even just make time to have your own space. We often have a vacation rental and will just go into different rooms for a while each day or he'll go swimming while I just lay on the couch and watch the news or a cartoon. Even 30 minutes of privacy can be helpful.

Do something you don't want to do

You aren't always going to want to do the same stuff. That's life. But this vacation is both of yours, so if you don't want to do all the same things, make a promise to do something the other wants and vice versa. You might find you have fun, but if nothing else, you'll know you made each other happy and that goes a long way, especially when you at least act like you are enjoying yourself. (If you don't, it really doesn't count as being nice.) Just remember, if your significant other refused to do the one thing you wanted to do most at your destination, you'd be pretty pissed, so keep that in mind when you're doing the thing they truly want to do.


Get enough sleep

Sleep is important, and when you don't get enough of it, it's like operating on only partial power. This is going to make you moody, crabby and probably mean. Make sure you get enough winks in, so you aren't close to snapping at any moment. It's better to miss out on something than to not enjoy doing it because you didn't sleep enough and hate everything.

Communicate

If you don't talk to each other, then it's inevitable that something will cause an unnecessary fight between you. If you have questions about something or aren't sure how to get somewhere, communicate it. If you aren't having a good time, let them know. Maybe just voicing it will make things just a little bit better. Also, you can't fix something if you don't know there's a problem.


Be open to change

I can't even tell you how many times things didn't work out as planned on our trips. Nothing is going to go smoothly 100% of the time. Expect and accept things may change/go wrong/come up and be willing to adapt and roll with it. It'll all work out in the end.

If you can just learn to be a little flexible and selfless, then you can have much better vacations that are filled with fun and excitement instead of stress and crying. Not everyone is going to travel well together, but it can really test the limits of your relationship(s) sometimes. If you can get through a whole trip without tears or sniping, I consider that a success, but it almost never happens over the course of two weeks, I'll take the little victories.

What are your best travel tips for not stabbing your significant other or family member?

Friday, December 7, 2018

Earn BIG with Coupons on Swagbucks!

We're all looking for ways to save big at the register. Well, I've found a way to make every coupon I use at my local grocery store worth an extra 25¢! 




How you ask? It's as easy as 1, 2, 3! 

1) Sign up at Swagbucks.com 
2) Head over to the Grocery Coupons page and start clipping coupons for your upcoming shopping trip  
3) Use the coupons the next time you shop at your local grocery store. You'll earn 25 points (25¢) for every coupon you use.  
That's it!  

But, that's not all... Today through Monday, December 12th, you can earn 2 points (2¢) for every coupon you print, up to 50 prints per day. That's an extra dollar every day just for printing coupons that will save you a ton on your next grocery store haul!

Woot! Now you'll be on your way to a great little start to your next vacay!

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Exploring Philadelphia's Suburbs

Though Philadelphia is a sprawling city with enough to keep you busy for more than a week, there's more to see nearby and a little further afield. We indulged in culture and history and art and fun, and then we went outside the city to explore a bit more and see things most tourists don't get to. 


On our way to actually stay in the city, we drove to Kennett Square, outside of Philadelphia, where Longwood Gardens lives. It's over 1,000 acres of plants, flowers, paths, and fountains. Started by a Quaker, the land was purchased by Pierre du Pont, who had a great love of horticulture. He wasn't sure it was a fantastic purchase, but he had a small house built on the property. Over the years, as he became wealthier, he added to the property and its features.


The coolest thing by far on the property is the Greenhouse, which is huge. You'll find everything from tropical plants to a bonsai trees inside In fact, it's a bit like a maze inside and we probably didn't see every corner that was open. 


On each end of the massive greenhouse are lawns with different plants, many you may not have seen before. 


There are lots of photo opportunities, even when it's freezing outside, like it was when we were visiting. Inside felt like Spring, while we had to bundle up outside on the grounds. 


If you enjoy Chrysanthemums, you'll love the hallways lined with different colored ones. We were there as they were putting up decorations for a light-up event happening after dark. I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of plants all in one place and interested in how many gardeners it takes to maintain the property.   


du Pont had a great love of fountains and added a huge group of dancing fountains to his property, where people would come from all over every year to see them and special shows put on by entertainers hired by the du Ponts.  


I can see how the warmer weather would make the gardens a great romantic day out. W skipped some parts, because the fountain garden was shut down for the season and I doubted the wildflower field would have been in bloom. 


There is a large lawn full of topiaries. Unfortunately, they were also closed for the season, so we  could only see them from the walkways around them. 


On the property is the original du Pont home, with additions. Inside you can see the ground floor and learn more about the family that lived there. 


In between the buildings is an adorable courtyard and you can ask questions at the information booth and then go inside and sit in the library to watch a video about the du Pont family. 


Pierre du Pont loved to travel, and his modest home turned into a bit of a mansion, despite his wondering if he made the right choice in buying the property in the beginning. 


When I learned we were going to visit Longwood Gardens, I looked at dining options and found that aside from the cafe and outdoor dining options (open in the warmer months) that include a beer garden with woodfired pizza and outdoor seating, there is a fancier option called 1906. We decided to make lunch our splurge meal for the day.


1906 is gorgeous with forestgreen velvet banquets, a living wall and a bright, open feel. It's wonderful to have an upscale restaurant in the middle of all the beauty of nature. The menu has three parts. You can choose from Past, Present, and Future dishes. Your meal starts with an adorable dinner roll baked in a terra cotta flower pot. You can also order starters, like their popular mushroom soup, which is always on the menu. 
 

Eric ordered a veggie goulash and I got a duck ragout with carrot noodles. It was all amazing. I was just sad that I couldn't fit in a dessert, but luckily, they brought us some chocolate bark served on a tree stump. Even that was fab.


1906 isn't cheap, but it's not too expensive. You'll also be fed so well, that you don't need a big dinner later. Of course, you can split up your visit with a meal here and walk off those extra calories...and then double back for dessert. If you're going to Longwood during a busy time, because it sees one million visitors a year, make sure to make reservations so you can actually get in for one of the best meals you'll have on your trip.

Longwood Gardens, besides being beautiful and educational, also has walking tours and an educational program. and make sure to learn more about the sustainability of their restaurant and stop by their large gift shop on your way back to the car. The gardens are only about 30 minutes outside of Philadelphia, so if you have the time to get out of the city for half a day, you should definitely make the trip. Bring your walking shoes and a camera with a full battery.

Do you have a favorite gardens from your travels?


Disclosure: I was provided with a VIP Media Pass from VisitPhilly in order to visit Longwood Gardens for this review, but all opinions are 100% my own.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Christmas Travel Trends

Every year, millions of people pack up their bags and head to visit family and friends. Some, like me in the past, have opted to go somewhere to get away from all that and have a less stressful holiday instead. Want to know where everyone's going, according to Christmas travel trends, so you know how crowded your destination will be? 



That's a lot of travel! We'll be staying home for Christmas this year. Where will you be going? If you need a little airport help, check out this post.
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