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Make more memories & keep warm

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This time of year, a lot of families are dreaming of snow! Even a simple ski trip can change due to Mother Nature. You always want to be prepared. We have some winter tips to help you always be prepared during your winter vacation. Winter Travel Tips

Start with the Right Suitcase I normally pride myself in being an expert, minimalist luggage packer. However, winter trips I throw out the need to have minimal luggage and pull out the big suitcases. Just those ski pants alone can fill half the suitcase. With luggage, I love the IT luggage. These suitcases are super light. Even packed to the gills, this suitcase is still around 35 lbs. I never have to worry about not making the airline weight requirements with this luggage. This type suitcase is perfect for a winter vacation.

Check the Weather This probably seems like a no-brainer. However, I hear travelers all of the time arrive to a destination unprepared. They always end up buying shoes or a jacket or gloves. You are spending 10 times more buying these items at a destination vs bringing or even buying from home. One of my favorite apps is Weather Bug. I use it all of the time. It is a great way to track the weather in all of your travels (even before your trip).

Pack in Layers With winter travel, I pack in layers (just like you should dress). Be sure you have the long underwear. Then start adding outfits around that. With winter travel, I do not have an “outfit” each day. I mix and match sweaters with pants with jackets. You do not need to pack a new outfit each day. Just pack a few basics and layers.

Pack Ziploc Bags Just like going to a tropical destination, winter travel usually means a lot of wet or damp clothes, gloves, hats, and jackets. I like to pack a lot of ziploc bags. I can pack all of those wet things, so they do not get the other things in my luggage wet or stinky.

Emergency Kit You should always be prepared, especially during winter travel. If you are renting a car and driving to a winter destination, be sure you have an emergency kit. Just in case anything happens, you want to be prepared. What you pack in an emergency kit varies by how much driving you’ll be doing and your destination(s). Just a few suggested items include emergency space blankets for the whole family, a flashlight, a lighter, and first aid kit.

Don’t Forget Your Face & Nose When visiting winter destinations, you do not always think of your face and nose. However, winter destinations are very similar to tropical destinations. Be sure you have your sunblock, moisturizer, and chapstick. The sun reflects off the snow, so your chances of getting sunburn is even stronger than at the beach. Your lips also get super chapped due to the sun, cold weather, and wind. I also pack petroleum jelly and put a little bit insider our noses. This was a fun tip I got from the locals in Minnesota. It works great! It keeps your nose moist and prevents any cold weather nose bleeds. With winter travel, it is always about being over prepared. Think about your trip and possible scenarios. Then, plan your packing and traveling around all potential outcomes. Just a little pre-planning will help you have a wonderful visit with Frosty the Snowman.

If you need help planning your next family vacation, contact me at 804-585-3143 or

We love cruising in our family! Cruising is one of the easiest ways to travel the world. You have a floating hotel, a chef to prepare all of your meals, a stateroom host to clean your room, and a built in babysitter. For most parents, it is the best vacation ever!

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However, it can be tough to figure out what cruise line is best for your family. We share some of our insider tips on how to select the cruise line, best for your family. Bon Voyage!

Kid’s Club When looking at a cruise line, check to see if they offer children programming. If they do, what are the hours and are there any extra fees? Most of the cruise lines do offer children programming. Some cruise lines offer programming from early morning to late nights. Others may offer morning, afternoon, and evening sessions. Check to see the schedules and if there are any extra fees. If you have little ones, check to see the fees for babysitting. Most cruise lines charge a fee for babysitting. In addition, some cruise lines also limit the number of hours you can leave your little ones for babysitting. For example, for a 3-Night Cruise; you may be limited to only 10 hours of babysitting during your cruise. This certainly could make a difference on which cruise line you book.

Dining When considering your cruise line, you will want to review dining and restaurants. Do these restaurants fit your family? For families, we love Disney Cruise Line. The Disney Cruise Ships have something called Rotational Dining. You move from restaurant to restaurant each night, but your servers come with you. Each restaurant is themed and a lot of fun for the whole family. Some restaurants include Disney Characters like Mickey Mouse, Rapunzel, Crush from Finding Dory, and even Tiana. These are perfect restaurants for kids.

Entertainment and Recreation Cruise lines have amazing entertainment for the whole family. Before booking your cruise, check to see which cruise line has the best entertainment for your kids. Royal Caribbean has broadway shows like Jersey Boys and Grease. However, these shows are great for teens, but may not be family friendly for the younger ones. You also want to check the recreational activities on board the cruise ships. Cruise lines like Norwegian have incredible activities like go-carts at sea and laser tag. These activities are perfect for older kids, but may not be a good fit for your elementary aged kids. On the other hand, Disney Cruise is perfect for younger kids with all of the Disney Characters; but may not be the best for the teens. Spend some time with the family looking at the different entertainment and recreation.

Staterooms Your hotel room is called a stateroom. You will be spending 3 nights to 15 nights (or more) in your stateroom, so finding a good room for your family is key. You will still spend a lot of time during your vacation in your stateroom. Many cruise lines have staterooms, just for families. One of my favorites is on board Carnival Cruise Line. They have a stateroom category with different views called a Family Harbor Stateroom. These rooms are all on the same deck. They have fun themes and all of these rooms have access to a private lounge area, just for families. You can get unlimited ice cream and snacks. They also have gaming consoles and couches to just relax with the family. Since you will spend a lot of time in your stateroom, find one that is best for your family vacation.

These are a few insider tips to help you find a cruise ship, best for your family vacation. If you need more guidance, I am happy to help you plan your cruise vacation. contact me at 804-585-3143 or

The holidays are almost here! Are you traveling during the holiday season?

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You may be heading to see you family or flying to the Caribbean to escape the cold. You are not alone. This is the busiest time of year for traveling. I wanted to share some holiday travel tips to make your travels merry and bright. Reservations, Reservations, and More Reservations

During the holiday season, you want to make sure you have reservations for everything. Be sure you book your reservations, before you leave home. This can include your hotel, car rental, airport parking, dining reservations, shuttles, and more. Something as simple as making a reservation for airport parking, will save you time and stress.

Leave Lots of Extra Time

You are not the only one traveling this time of year, so plan ahead. Leave lots of extra time to get to the airport or to get from your hotel to your dinner reservation. Everything is super busy this time of year, so plan ahead and leave lots of extra travel time.

Pack Light

We know this is a tough one during normal travels. Over the holiday season, you have the added Christmas presents. Ship your presents and toys, before you leave home. It actually may be less expensive than luggage fees. In addition, packing light means you can carry on your luggage vs checking it. This can save you a lot of time, before and after your flight. Plus, you are guaranteed to have your luggage once you arrive to your destination.

If you do bring any presents in your carry on luggage, be sure you do not wrap them. TSA security may unwrap them for you. Plan on having unwrapped presents and wrap them when you arrive.

Online Check In

Take advantage of online check in for everything. You can check in online for your airline or your hotel. The online check in is especially important for your flights this holiday season. The lines at the airline counters are going to be long. If you take a few minutes and check in online, before you arrive to the airport could save you a lot of stress.

Follow the Rules

If you are flying, double check the current TSA requirements in your airport. Each airport is slightly different with their rules. At least, this is what we have found during our travels. Double check the requirements for your airport. The security lines will be super long. I have seen travelers get through the long line to find out they left a water bottle in their bag or they have a shampoo larger then the required amount. The TSA removed the item and then made them get in line to go through the scanner again. This does happen all of the time and can be super stressful. Be sure you follow the TSA rules, before heading to the airport.

Get Up Early I know this is your vacation and you want to sleep in. On your travel days, get up early. Most travelers are on the road during the day. Get up early to get a head start on all of the other travelers.

Finally, one of my best holiday travel tips is “go with the flow!” Things will happen during any travels. Just remember whatever happens will be something that you will laugh about during future holiday dinners. Contact me at 804-585-3143 or

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