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Saturday, November 30, 2019

5 Handy Travel Hacks For Seniors

Growing old can be a time to celebrate life with some much-needed leisure time during our retirement years. Of course, we tend to take things a little slower when we get older, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still have some adventures! For those senior citizens who are getting ready for a holiday jaunt, here come a few tips to get organised.

1 . Look out for senior discounts

When it comes to travel, there are plenty of discounts to access- from senior discount airfare to reduced prices on cruises or trains. Of course, you’ll want to save all the money that you can to buy yourself some lovely souvenirs of your trip. Have a shop around for the best discounts online before making a decision. Discounts will vary significantly between each airline, so price comparison websites may come in handy. You can always get your family to help you if you’re unsure.

2. Keep medications with you

Remember, keep your medications in your hand luggage as opposed to any baggage that you are checking in. Should the worst happen and your checked baggage gets lost, you won’t want to go without the medication. It might be the case that you end up needing the medication during a longer flight. Before you leave for your trip, it can be a good idea to ask your doctor for some extra medication. In the event of flights being delayed, you’ll want to have extra just in case. Before you leave, write down all of your medications incase you do need a trip to the doctor while you’re away.

3. Keep it relaxed

When you’re travelling, of course, you’ll have lots of sights that you want to see and experience. Yet, remember to keep things relaxed and take it easy. If you have a busy sight-seeing day, make the next day as relaxing as you can to balance things out. It’s great to get exercise on a vacation, but you’ll need to rest too. When the weather is hot, ensure to drink plenty of water and take enough breaks to rest. Know your limits, and take cabs instead of walking when you feel tired.

4. Travel with family 

Sometimes, senior citizens will need a little support when travelling. Whether it’s your itinerary, money, or carrying luggage; travelling with family members can be a great idea to provide you with that support.  Cruises, in particular, can be a great choice for all the family. On a cruise, you don’t have to worry too much about the planning as the destinations and activities are usually pre-planned for you. With this in mind, cruises can be an excellent option for senior citizens.

5. Be Vigilant 

Of course, whether you’re a senior or not, you always have to be vigilant when you’re travelling. Unfortunately, tourists will be a target for theft in some destinations. Some tourists like the option of buying money belts that are close to their body to deter thieves. Keep a charged mobile phone with you at all times and pre-plan your journeys so that you are always clued up on your whereabouts.

Getting older doesn't have to mean slowing down or staying home. Travel can be just as fun and still budget-friendly. Do you have a travel wish list for when  you retire?

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Holiday Travel Gift List 2019

Can you believe it's already Thanksgiving-time? I can't. These last few months have snuck up on me and I'm nowhere near ready for the holidays. Luckily, we don't do big dinner at our house and we go out, and Eric and I do things instead of buying things, so I really only have to worry about others. I know you probably have travelers to buy for, or need to give your list to others, so I've got a whole (mostly) new list for you, no matter your budget.

Stocking Stuffers - Budget Items - $50 or Less

1. FaceCradle

There are so many travel pillows to choose from, but one of the best I've tried is the FaceCradle. Not only is it perfect for the ever-diminishing airplane space, but it's great for tall people, and for using on trains and in cars as well. It has a bunch of different ways to use it. We have the regular version and the lite version, and we sleep like babies on the plane. You can see my review here$49.99 on Amazon
2. Airplane Pockets
So, I hate the airplane seat pocket. It's never big enough, it already has stuff in it that isn't mine, and usually there's trash in there from the previous flyer. When I saw these on Kickstarter, I immediately wanted them. We ordered enough for our family traveling from Portland to Scotland and I love them. Airplane Pockets fit over your tray table, making it antibacterial, and give you four pockets - one large one and three smaller ones - to fit everything you need for a flight. After you land, slip it off, fold it up, and toss it in your bag. $23.90 on Amazon
3. Travel Anywhere (and Avoid Being a Tourist)
If you have a newer traveler on your list, then this is a great book for them. They can learn about how to blend in anywhere they go and avoid looking and feeling like a tourist. Because you know, I always suggest trying to be a better traveler, so maybe you'll want this for your own list. It's on mine.
"The travel editors at Fathom have spent years gathering a treasure trove of recommendations and stories from a network of interesting people who travel well (chefs, novelists, designers, innkeepers, musicians) in places both well-known and off the beaten path. " 
$13.38 on Amazon
4. Q2 Power Travel Adapter
Anyone who travels outside of the country needs an adapter for their electronics. Most US electronics are dual voltage, so you don't have to worry about a converter. This adapter from Bracketron can be used in a bunch of countries, and has a built-in USB outlet for your phone. This was my favorite adapter on my last trip. It charges your phone quickly, and I was able to plug my laptop into the main outlet. It worked perfectly. I only wished I had a second one. $19.95 on Amazon
5. Lewis N Clark Compression Packing Cubes
Sometimes you want to pack more, but in the same small bag. I love a good packing cube, and these expandable ones from Lewis N Clark are fantastic for cramming more in that carry-on. Pack them expanded, then compress them to give yourself more space. I love these for the added room in my bag, but also because they help keep your bag organized, which is nice if you pack just for you or you share a bag like we do. $23.99 for a 2-pc set on Amazon
6. Bracketron Roadtripper
The Roadtripper is a multifunctional travel tool. It is a phone stand, but you can unfold it to also hold your tablet and your phone for viewing videos on the tray table latch, so it's at eye level. If you're on the road and need to use your phone as a GPS, this also works for that...and it's certainly not flimsy like a lot of those other phone holders you buy elsewhere. The roadtripper folds up small and unfolds in different ways for what you need to use it for. $50 on Bracketron, but it is on sale now for $29.99. You can also find it at Best Buy and other stores.
7. Happyluxe Wayfarer Travel Wrap 
I love this oversized wrap. It's so soft and comfortable, I can wear it as a shawl or a blanket or a big scarf, or it can be used as a picnic blanket. It packs up small, so I can stuff it in my purse with my snacks. Everyone needs one, in my opinion. $34+ on Amazon.
8. Travelon Convertible Crossbody Duffel
I always travel with a back-up bag, which can be annoying when you need that extra space to begin with. This back-up duffel is both a crossbody purse that converts into a duffel when you head home. I love this bag. It has a removable, adjustable strap, and two sturdy handles. I've used it several times on trips and it's the perfect take-along for your carry-on. $20 on Amazon or $28 on Travelon (get 20% off with code SHEREENTRAVELS20%)
9. Don't Go There
The next best thing to travel is reading about travel. I love reading about people's cool travel stories, and I like weird destinations, so this book is on my own gift list. Adam Fletcher seems to be my type of human:
 "I'm particularly interested in:

1. The weird things humans do to each other when they think no-one else is looking.
2. Travelling places everyone is trying to get away from.
3. Technology and how it's changing everything (mostly too quickly, I feel).
4. Googling myself."
This is book one of two. $10.55 on Amazon, book 2 called Don't Come Back is $9.99 on Amazon

10. Hydaway Collapsible Water Bottle
It's always important to stay hydrated (or bring along your favorite wine to the picnic). Get your mom something she can really use that also won't weigh her down. This amazing bottle is collapsible when empty, and can slip right in your bag or pocket. Not only is this bottle cool, but it's also BPA-free, can go in the dishwasher, is leak-proof, can go in the freezer, and can hold alcohol. It fits in your car cupholders, too! $21.95 on Amazon.

Moderate Items - $50-100

1. Travelon's new Heritage Weekender
This bag is so beautiful and unisex and user-friendly. It unzips on top and has a phenomenal wide mouth opening, because they know what we all want and need in our bags! It can easily hold a week's worth of clothing with spare shoes and toiletries. The Heritage collection is lovely and wears so we'll. The longer you use it, the more worn and fantastic the fabric looks. $105 on Travelon (get 20% off if you use code SHEREENTRAVELS20%)
2. Uber gift cards 
Sometimes renting a car isn't worth the money and sometimes public transportation isn't an option (like late at night). Make sure they get there safely and easily with gift cards they can add to their Uber account for a cheaper trip. You can buy these at Target or other big box stores. Any denomination on Uber website 
3. The Barrier Method Winged Travel Mask
Okay, I feel like travel is one of those things that can be simultaneously awesome and awful. You get to go to cool new places and you can also get some disgusting sicknesses from all the germs everywhere, especially on the plane. This anti-bacterial mask is both healthy and pretty and can be used to stay well, reduce your allergens, keep your neck warm, among other things. Gift your traveler with gift of health and wellness with one of these. $60 from The Barrier Method (you can read my review here.)
4. Airbnb gift cards
Accommodations can get spendy, so give them something they can really use no matter where they go. Let them choose where to go and where to stay to make them happy whenever they travel. You can purchase any denomination either at a local store that sells gift cards or Amazon
5. Walter + Ray TAB
Getting on the plane and then having to contort your body uncomfortably to get items you want to use in-flight out of the bag under the seat in front of you is crazy! Walter + Ray invented the TAB in response to allow you to pack everything you need for your flight in a slim pocket that has a tab that slides into the seat pocket or a strap that fits over the tray table, even closed, so you always have access to all your goodies and you don't have to hurry to shove them all in the seat pocket and then realize you've forgotten something after you've deplaned. $65 on Walter + Ray's website
6. Benjilock
Regular TSA-accepted locks usually suck, and are easy to forget the combination to, especially if you only travel a few times a year. If that's a problem your recipient has too, so he just doesn't use a lock on her luggage, a Benjilock might just be what he needs. Instead of a combination or a key, it opens with a fingerprint. And if he's traveling with several people who are using the same carry-on/suitcase, it can hold up to 10 fingerprints. $70 on Amazon, but can also be found at The Home Depot and QVC and Ace Hardware.
7. Timbuk2 Swig Backpack
I go on at least one trip alone each year, or a short getaway, where I don't take a lot. I have this bag, which perfectly fits my giant laptop, a few changes of clothes and my toiletries. It's got a very slim profile, so it sits against your body very comfortably. I hate bringing more than I need, but I also like to use this as a personal item on longer trips, so I can keep my necessities under the seat in front of me. $64 on Amazon
8. Herschel Winslow Garment Bag
If a more streamlined garment bag is something they're looking for, look no further than the Winslow Garment Bag that looks like a funky softside briefcase. It comes in cool colors and patterns and has mesh zippered pockets inside for all their accessories. It even has a trolley sleeve to slip it over your rolling bag, but can also be used as a pocket when you don't need that feature. $119, but on sale for $47.99 right now on Herschel website
9. Tropicfeel shoes
I backed these as a kickstarter, because they sounded amazing. They are pretty much Spring and Summer shoes (though if the fall isn't cold, you could wear them then too). We travel to Vegas a lot and do a ton of theme parks, which have plenty of water activities. These shoes are like your best sneakers and water shoes in one. I backed them hoping they would be as good as they sounded, and they were. We both have a pair and they are super lightweight, can be worn with or without socks, and look fantastic. They are perfect for all the walking your giftee will do on their travels. $78 on TropicFeel 
10. Cashmere travel blanket
Sure, you could buy them any number of other travel blankets, but add a bit of luxe to their travels, especially those college kids staying in super cheap accommodations, and to make their economy seat a little less awful. I like this one that's a wool/cashmere blend, making it a bit more affordable for your wallet, too. $81 on Amazon

Splurge Items - $100 or More

1. Priority Pass
Hanging out in the airport can be fun, but after a while, you wish it could be better. Buy them access to all the airport lounges, so they can get some peace and quiet, free snacks and maybe get some work done or catch a shower. You can purchase them a standard pass for $99/year, or upgrade him to the plus for $299, which includes 10 free visits (generally member visits are $32). 
2. Arcopedico L8 Booties
I love these. While they aren't waterproof, they are water resistant, look great with everything, have an open toe box, so you aren't squashed into them, even with fat socks on. These booties are a bit stretchy and have dual arch support, giving your body the stance it needs to keep your feet, legs and back from hurting, even if you're walking all day long. Find them on Amazon for $122+.
3. A Great Hardside Carry-On 
Everyone needs a great carry-on, and if overpacking is an issue, a hardside is just what is called for. I have several go-to bags for different trips. I love my Lojel Nimbus, but I also have another Lojel bag I like. Check out the Alto Small. Ebags also makes awesome bags, including the Fortis Pro. It even has a USB port, so you can charge while traveling. Fortis Pro $179 on Amazon
4. iPad Mini
I take my iPad Mini everywhere I go. It does everything and I love reading on it, since it's so lightweight. If you know someone who needs a tablet, this is a great one to get for travel, so they can read, watch videos, stream movies/tv, play games, write emails, take notes, and more. I even do work on mine sometimes. $280 on Amazon
5. Skyroll Garment Bag
For business travelers, or those who go on cruises, or a lot of special occasions, the Skyroll is an awesome addition to a trip, as it is a high capacity garment bag with a built in shoe compartment and toiletry bag. Arrive at destinations with all your formal clothes in perfect condition, no ironing needed. There's also zipper compartments for smaller items like socks, ties, and underwear. $150 at Men's Warehouse or on Skyroll
6. GoPro Hero 8
Got an adventurous sort on your list? Perhaps they want to take video of everything they experience everywhere they go. You've seen people with GoPros doing extreme sports, but they are just as good at Disneyland or walking around cities. Let them record it all. $399 on Amazon
7. Pivo Camera Stand
If a GoPro isn't in your budget, or you have a blogger or social media star on your list, then let them turn their phone into an amazing photo and video studio. I backed Pivo on Kickstarter, because it can be difficult to take a bunch of pics in a row without having to stop and reset after each one, even with the timer on your phone. Pivo, basically, gives you a photo studio in a compact phone holder. It comes with a tiny remote as well. I love it and I'm learning all its capabilities slowly. $99+ on Pivo website

Hopefully this list will give you a good starting (and maybe an ending point) for your gift recipients. I've found so many great new travel items this year and I can't wait until next year's Travel Goods Show to see even more that I can bring you in 2020. 

Have a wonderful holiday and good luck with your travels and the travelers on your list.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links that will result in monetary compensation should you make a purchase through them. Thanks in advance.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

How to Exercise on Vacation

I don't pretend that I like to exercise. I don't. I don't go to the gym, but I walk as much as possible and eat as best as I can when I don't go out. It's no different when I travel. I know that eating more veggies and walking a ton will help offset all those calories I'm eating. Here are some other ways to exercise on vacation.

Walk Whenever Possible

Instead of driving or taking public transit, try walking. Some destinations are more walkable than others, but you can easily walk 4-10 miles in a day (or more if you're going to a theme park) without even noticing. On our last trip, we walked over 60 miles in two weeks, even taking public transportation. If you look at the map and think "that's not that far away", then you will find yourself walking a lot more than expected. Maybe plan some things that are close to each other and strap on our walking shoes. 

At a slow pace, you can walk a mile in 15 minutes, which isn't that long or that far. Of course, if you're like me, you're more likely to want to walk in the morning when your feet are fresh, so give yourself some motivation to get up and stretch your legs. You can take the subway later in the day. You may face lots of stairs with this option, too. 

Besides the obvious benefits of walking, you will be able to slow down and see more of your destination, possibly finding some hidden gems along the way. We saw a really good portion of London by just wandering around. Just remember to stay aware of where you are and what's around you to stay safe. 

Get Up Early and Use the Gym

Lots of hotels we've stayed in have had workout rooms that are free for all to use. Now we stay in vacation rentals or timeshares, but many of them have gyms included as well. The same goes for cruise ships. Now, I find that I never actually make it to the gym, even though I say I will, but if I made more of an effort, I would at least make it down to get on the elliptical for a bit. If you're on a business trip, this may be the only exercise you get, so make sure to pack suitable clothes. My pajamas are generally a pair of running shorts and t-shirt, so I am set. (I also do laundry when I travel.)

Or Exercise in Your Room

This is easier to do when you have a vacation rental or a suite, where there is actual room for you to move around, but even if you only have a little free space and a chair, you can get in some extra calorie-burning:
  • Chair crunches - I love the fact that if you have a chair, you pretty much have a low-impact gym. Sit on the edge and pull legs up or do the bicycle or other ab exercises like these
  • Work your triceps - These also use a chair, though you can use anything flat and sturdy. At home, I use my coffee table, but you can also use a park bench. 
  • Planks - Work your core! They hurt, but I assume when I see results, they will be all worth it!
  • Squats - Work your butt. You can do these outside, too, but people might you funny looks. If you want to get more advanced, go find yourself a bench and do some step-ups.
  • Calf raises - Do these anywhere, like brushing your teeth, watching the news or waiting in line to get into the Louvre.
  • Arm curls - You can do these just about everywhere. Buy a couple of water bottles and use them as make-shift weights. If these aren't doing the trick and you don't have anything heavier around that could work, check out these traveling dumbbells called AquaBells that you fill with water for your workouts. 
  • Resist! Pack a resistance band (or set) in your carry-on and do more strenuous workouts in the time you have available. There are also these fancy loop bands you can use to strengthen your legs/thighs 

Get In the Pool

Eric prefers to get his extra workout in the form of swimming. If there's a pool, he's going to get in it and do some laps. I'm not a swimmer, but I'll come sit for moral support. Usually, this is when I do laundry. Lugging a laundry basket to and from my room counts as exercise, right?

Rent a Bike

The only thing better than walking your destination is getting around by bike. Lots of destinations now have city bikes you can rent by the hour or the day. See the city in a totally different way by riding around and moving those legs. Bonus is that many of them have baskets, so you have a place to put purchases and/or your day bag. 

Drink More Water

This isn't strictly helpful in exercising, but it will give you more energy if you stay hydrated, meaning you won't want to just be a lump (anymore than usual) when you could be exploring the city on foot or checking out another museum. It also helps if you don't overeat. If you're hungry, but not starving, remember that most places will serve you at least 1.5 times as much as you should eat. Sharing a plate is a way to satisfy your hunger without loading you down with carbs and other foods, so you won't feel like a nap in the middle of the day and drag, because walking is more beneficial when you do it at a brisk pace.

Do you exercise when you travel? What's your favorite way to burn all those calories you ingested over the course of each day?

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Getting Ready For a Holiday Road Trip

It's been a few years since I've done a real road trip, but I'm always up for a good one, and a good one has some good rules, so you don't get bored and you don't spend all your money before you get to your destination. 

get ready for your holiday road trip

In two years, I road tripped solo to Las Vegas and back, and then with my mom and dog to Montana. We jumped in the car for trips to save money the majority of the time when I was a kid, and we always had a great time, so if I don't know how to do it by now, that might be a problem. A majority of travelers over Thanksgiving go by car, so you're going to want to take some notes if you're one of them.

Don't drive straight through! The number one rule of road trips is we don't talk about road trips! Wait. No. That's another post for another blog maybe. The real golden rule of road trips is that you stop along the way and stop often. Driving for 4+ hours straight is BORING. Even if you play games or sleep, people will get grumpy, your legs will get stiff and you won't be happy. Plan a route that has interesting stops - a funky diner, a cool cave, the largest ball of twine. Something. Your stops don't have to be expensive, just fun and memorable.

Find everything from gas and rest areas to museums and food on your way by downloading the free app called iExit. Find out what at every exit along the highway wherever you go.

Dress comfortably. It is so easy to dress comfortably and still look like a person nowadays with fabrics like jersey, bamboo and rayon. Just because you've been in the car for 10 hours, doesn't mean you have to look like a slob. Not only are these fabrics comfy, but they also resist wrinkles and breathe well, too. If you can't live without your trusty jeans, invest in some nice ones with stretch. I have three pair that I paid a pretty penny for, but they are some of the best ones I own for travel.

photo credit
Bring foods! Eating out frequently is really going to take a bite out of your budget and totally ruin your diet. I don't know about you, but I also don't want to come back from vacation hating chicken strips or cheeseburgers either. Sure, eating out is fun, but choose your stops wisely and bring a cooler stocked with homemade stuffs – like fried chicken, potato salad and muffins – along with fixings for sandwiches, sides, drinks and snacks to nibble on in between stops.

Bring tunes from home. Don't rely on just the radio, otherwise you'll have times were the only thing you get are Christian and deep country music, if you can pick up anything. I swear there must be radio towers built into the mountains for these stations. If you're a fan of either, you are probably okay, but I still suggest loading up your iPod with some good road tunes, podcasts or e-books. That way you have a variety of things to listen to and aren't forced to listen to Jesus Rock in between static if you don't want to. On my solo trip, I listened to Harry Potter as read by Stephen Fry in between bouts of music. Yer a [road trip] wizard!

A paper map is a must. Yes, you have a smarty phone and your fancy GPS, but batteries die and not all roads show up on satellites. (Just ask those kids from Cabin in the Woods - "This road isn't even worthy of global positioning.") You never know what might happen, so an old-fashioned map is great for those unforeseen circumstances. If you don’t buy one before you leave home, pick one up at a gas station, convenience store or rest areas.

Coupons, coupons, coupons! Along the road you're bound to stop at a few rest stops or greasy spoons (including Denny's) and when you do, grab one of those highway magazines that is full of coupons for dining and lodging. You can.save a ton off already affordable necessities. Sometimes, you may find discounts for roadside attractions. If not, make sure to browse that rack in your hotel/motel lobby before you do anything nearby.

Don't forget to get your car ready before you hit the road, so you don't end up stranded on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere, because that'll suck.

Are you headed on a road trip? What are your favorite tips?

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Where to Travel In December For Less

While other people are using their vacation days to visit or host family over the holidays, you could be heading on a winter getaway and doing away with all that stressful mess. In fact, I love to give myself the gift of a trip, because I don't need more stuff (despite wanting it), and awesome memories last forever. Here are 10 places to go on a budget next month:


After the fall of the Berlin Wall, Germany has become a wonderful tourist destination. The whole country is rich with culture and cool things to see and do. Save on ticket prices by purchasing airfare to Berlin via Reykjavik on Iceland Air. Add Iceland as a stopover for as long as you want for no extra cost! With the Oktoberfest crowds gone, you can visit this cosmopolitan city full of awesome museums, restaurants, and historical landmarks. The Christmas markets will be open, so if you're looking for street food, holiday spirit, and/or last-minute gifts, this is the place to do it. Purchase a city pass and save big on attractions on your trip. Get discounts on museums, gardens, transportation, restaurants and more.

Buenos Aires, Argentina

South America is always a great money-saving destination. Buenos Aires – "The Paris of South America" – is a hotspot for culture, nightlife and food. Take your time lingering over amazing dining experiences, learn to tango and explore historic neighborhoods and museums. You'll find plenty of affordable wine sipping opportunities, plus you can save on accommodations. Find suites for as little as $60 per night and bask in the lovely weather this winter.

Cancun (and Mexico in general)

If you can handle some of the crowds in the touristy parts of the country, like Cancun and Puerto Vallarta, you can find some really great hotel rates. It's no secret why a lot of people flock south when they go on vacation. Look at resorts along the Yucatan Peninsula for more scenic views or search for places that have all the things you enjoy doing on your trips, because Mexico has it all, and at better rates than many other countries. You just want to make sure you do your research so you aren't stuck in a million-room resort with a bunch of stuff you'll never do or use. Check into cottages, bungalows or boutique hotels instead.


Known mostly for producing the majority of country music superstars, Nashville might surprise you as being a metropolitan city with so much more to offer besides Taylor Swift and the Dixie Chicks. Did you know that it is also the hometown of Kesha? It’s true! You’ll find amazing southern history around Nashville, including Civil War plantations. These grandiose homes are both awe-inspiring and educational. There’s no better way to learn about significant times in American history than to go right to the source. You can top off your days with down-home southern meals out and a vibrant nightlife full of all types of music.

New Orleans

I've traveled to New Orleans and have written several posts about it, and I'm planning another visit in March. With the big festivals over and Mardi Gras months away, December is a wonderful time to visit. Not only do you still get warm weather, but you also aren't wading through hoards of tourists.  Save on your trip to New Orleans with the Power Pass. Starting as low as $28 per day, gain entry to the must-see attractions of the city. Choose from places like the Musee Conti Wax Museum, Audubon Zoo, Cajun Pride Swamp Tour and much more! Available in 1, 2, 3 and 5 day durations. Add a 1-3 day MealTicket to eat at awesome restaurants for one low price. If you know you’ll be stuffing your face with étouffée, jambalaya and other Cajun deliciousness, this is definitely the way to go!


Do you want to visit a destination that's warm this winter? Orlando has been having some wicked hot weather lately. It was in the 90s on Halloween, so you definitely don't need a coat. In December, Orlando sees a drop in visitors, since most of them are coming for the theme parks and it’s hard to do that when your kids are in school. If you can get away, you'll be able to enjoy that warm weather, while also getting bargains on hotels and finding shorter lines for park rides (except on Christmas party nights at Magic Kingdom). Be aware though, if you are relying on hotel shuttles, they will be few and far between for theme parks. I’d recommend renting a car or using Uber/Lyft.

Palm Springs

While not as exotic as much of the rest of this list, and known mostly for their golfing, Palm Springs is a nature-lovers’ desert oasis. From hiking, horseback riding and swimming, there is something for everyone who loves to be outside. Steeped in Native American and Mexican culture, the city is now a resort paradise that draws regular travelers and celebrities alike. You can find great deals on accommodations, entertainment and even dining and spa services. Whatever you’re looking for, you can find it – and find it for less – in the desert of Palm Springs.

St. Thomas (US Virgin Islands)

I'm still a bit bitter that I never made it to St. Thomas due to the hurricanes a few years ago, but hurricane season is over in December, so you're going to have a lot better luck than I did (though I won't complain about having to go to San Diego instead). There's so much to see and do and eat here, or you can just lay on the beach if you want. Here's a post I did on all the cool stuff there is to do.

photo credit


The Phi Phi islands are where you want to go when you have a tropical locale on the brain. Thailand is notoriously budget-friendly, but most recreational travelers don’t know much about the islands. Ko Phi Phi is becoming a more widely known secret, because it offers everything one could want from an island getaway: beautiful beaches, crystal clear waters and perfect for diving and snorkeling. Tourism plays a big part in the economy of Ko Phi Phi and they have rebuilt a more luxurious island experience since the devastation of 2004’s tsunami. You’ll find resorts and restaurants that cater specifically to those looking for a true island experience – in between kayaking and laying out, that is.


I grew up in Tucson and I know I wasn't appreciative of it when I lived there. I don't love cactus and I don't love the heat, but if you're looking for a destination that's affordable, interesting, and rarely makes it below the 60s in the winter, then you may want to check it out. Here's a post I wrote on how to spend 2 days in the city. If you have longer, then you can definitely cram in a lot more delicious food, awesome shopping, and outdoor activities, and not have to wear a giant coat during your trip.

Where's everyone going for the holiday season?
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