Does the Midwest Have a Culture?

Now that I also write for a larger family travel website,, I've had the opportunity to take some fun press trips.  Recently I was invited to come visit Iowa to check out their whitewater parks (which are very cool... they've converted deadly dams in these free recreation areas).  My daughter accompanied me, and I was excited for her to see a new part of the country she wasn't familiar with. My 11 year old daughter is a Western Colorado girl, being raised in a high mountain desert terrain.  I wanted her to see some landscape more similar to what her Midwestern mom had been raised around.  Or at least, what I thought I had been raised around. But my, oh my!  The lovely, unending oceans of corn were unlike anything I had ever encountered.  The fields were dotted occasionally with massive, gorgeous barns.  And even without mountains on the horizon, the landscape was unique and beautiful (and in that regard, I'm admittedly biased!) But the corn fields aren't what … [Read more...]

Why You Need to See Colorado in the Fall

A year-round outdoor lover, I’d have to say that Fall is my absolute favorite season in Colorado.   The Fall colors in Colorado showcase a breathtaking mix of golds and greens, as the Aspen trees start to change color and contrast against the pines. There are numerous driving routes through the Colorado Rocky Mountains, available to behold this Fall splendor.  There's also an extensive trail system available for exploring, as the state is filled with outdoor lovers who love to go hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and 4x4 off roading. Here are some ideas on best bets for accommodations, keeping your kids excited about the adventure, my favorite Colorado scenic drive, and when to come visit. Colorado ~ Where To Stay First off, what are your options for accommodations?  Well, I say go native.  And by that I mean... embrace a nice cabin with a fireplace and hot tub, if  you can! If you’ve never staying a luxury lodge style cabin… you are in for a pleasant surprise.  … [Read more...]

Free Coffee & Carside-to-Curbside Service from Denver Canopy Airport Parking

Most Coloradans who travel on a budget, or just live near Denver, will likely find themselves flying out of DIA, the Denver International Airport.   For my family, much lower airfares are worth a little up front car travel time to book flights from this location. One thing I'm always sure to include in our vacation budget is airport parking.  Being on the uncrowded fringes of Denver has resulted in DIA having multiple options for long term parking of your vehicle.  Prices vary, but will generally be cheaper than parking in a DIA lot.  The short shuttle ride over to the airport is not a big deal, so this is the option we typically chose. I recently learned about a cool, affordable Denver airport parking option that I'm excited to try out the next time we depart from DIA.  Canopy Airport Parking offers three types of parking:  indoor valet, covered self-park, and open-air. They are a totally green facility which is: Green Garage Certified, LEED Gold … [Read more...]

Top Things To Do in San Diego, California

Heading to Southern California, and looking for family friendly ideas on what to do?  My family recently spent a week in the San Diego area, thanks to a generous Aventura Clothing Ambassador gift of a timeshare.  I did a fair amount of research prior to our trip, and also had a few of my own favorite places I wanted to see. Top Things To Do in San Diego This was my husband's first visit to the West Coast, it and was to be a grand adventure!  It would also be our first long road trip in some time, so we weren't sure what  to expect. Our trip was not without a surprise or two, but we had a great deal of fun.  I don't recommend our 14 hour road trip home through the southwestern states, in 108 degree temps with a broken A/C.  But here are the highlights I do recommend to your family, if you are headed to Southern California for vacation. 1.  San Diego Whale Watching San Diego Whale Watching offers the only year-round whale watching tour in San Diego.  Heading out on the … [Read more...]

2016 Best Summer Travel Destinations

Planning any summer travel this season, or still looking for some great destination ideas?  WalletHub has released its list of 2016's Best Summer Travel Destinations.  Their analysts compared the 80 largest metro areas across 30 key metrics to identify the most budget-friendly and fun-filled summer destinations. Whew!  They obviously didn't rule out any cities due to high temperatures (Las Vegas in summer?!)  But I do think they've used some smart criteria... such as “cost of the cheapest flight”, “number of attractions”, and “diversity of activities.” I can see where those elements would make for a fabulous trip.  What do you think of the cities that made the list? Best Summer Travel Destinations Las Vegas, NV Salt Lake City, UT Orlando, FL ~ Can't go wrong with a trip to Disney World! Los Angeles, CA ~ LA is Scary, but exciting in my opinion, after 1 week spent downtown... Atlanta, GA ~ World of Coke gets 2 thumbs up from me! Dallas, TX Greenville, … [Read more...]

Frights and Delights Found at Cocoa Beach, Florida

Being outdoor lovers from Colorado, we never pass up an opportunity to see the ocean.  So as much as we cherish our Disney World time, a visit to the beach always gets included during trips to Florida.  Cocoa Beach is the closest - a mere 45 minutes from MCO airport, or about 1 hr 15 minutes from Walt Disney World Resort. I think there are numerous benefits to adding an ocean stay to your Disney trip.  We've done so at the beginning, middle, and end of our vacation.  Middle is our favorite, as it provides a breather from the crowds and chaos of the parks.  But then you get to head back for a bit more excitement before you head home! Cocoa Beach Beach Delights Walking Right Out to the Sand I have one core requirement for selecting a hotel when we stay at Cocoa Beach.  I want an oceanfront property, so we can walk right out of our hotel room in our swimsuits and flip flops on to the beach. An ocean view is also nice, and recently when staying at the DoubleTree Cocoa … [Read more...]

6 Essential Accessories For Travel This Summer

  I'm leaving on a jet plane this weekend, and thought this was an excellent, affordable, and helpful list of travel accessories to bring along.  I just ordered an extra charger on Amazon this week, for my upcoming TravelingMom Disney Writers Retreat trip.  And I'm definitely adding cleansing wipes to my carry-on list!  What a great idea to wipe down your plane surroundings.  Because eww. 6 Essential Travel Accessories Here are 6 of the hottest summer travel accessories: Cleansing wipes. Use antibacterial wipes when sitting down on an airplane or entering a cruise ship stateroom. They will minimize the risks of getting germs that can make people sick and ruin their travel plans. On the airplane, use them for the armrest, overhead knobs, seat belt buckle, and tray table. On a cruise ship stateroom or in a hotel room, use wipes on the television remote control, door knobs, toilet handle, and light switches. Apps for your phone. Traveling with the right apps can make your … [Read more...]

5 Ways to Protect Jewelry While Traveling

Nothing can ruin a vacation more than a lost ring, watch, or that favorite pair of earrings.  I thought this information was helpful and interesting, so wanted to share it with my readers. Whether you’re getting ready for a spring break vacation or planning a summer getaway, don’t lose sight of your tiniest travel companions – namely your jewelry. “It’s no surprise that people bring their jewelry with them on vacation. Jewelry is part of who you are,” said Trina Woldt, chief marketing officer at Jewelers Mutual.   However, Woldt said travelers should take extra precautions when planning their next vacation and encourages them to keep five tips in mind. Here’s how to minimize risk of jewelry loss, theft or damage. 5 Ways to Protect Jewelry While Traveling 1. Choose wisely. Take only the jewelry you’ll actual wear while traveling. 2. Make a list. Document all the jewelry you’ll take with you, or take pictures or video. 3. Carry it on. Never put jewelry in checked bags. Instead, … [Read more...]

Affordable, Cultural Tour Guide During Your Vacation

Does adding a dash of cultural tourism to your next vacation sound appealing?  Incorporating some authentic, local experiences that immerse you in another country's culture can add so much to your vacation.  But oftentimes, that's only possible through expensive tour packages, or perhaps a months-long volunteering stint. Do you at times, like me, wistfully ponder what it would be like to travel the globe, and truly soak in diverse cultures?  Or wish you could have spent a couple of years living abroad, to truly get the authentic flavor of living in another part of the world? Well, how about a small taste of that during your next vacation - easily arranged, and affordable?  I recently learned about a new website offering affordable, cultural tours you can easily add to any trip, and thought it was an exciting concept. A new tech-startup company, VISIT.ORG, has coordinated a program to offer ordinary travelers a way to enjoy authentic, cultural tourism at a very affordable … [Read more...]

A Musical Weekend in Vienna

If you are looking for a bit of culture, the city of Vienna is a great option. This beautiful city has a long and rich history. It is a great city for music lovers, with a four hundred year history of being a centre of excellence for music and the arts. Here is our guide to some of the best Viennese destinations for music lovers. A Night at the Opera The history of opera is a long one. As far back as the 1500s, the Romans made song part of their fiestas, which is why the Italians are credited with being the father’s of opera. There is no doubt that without the Italians, we would not have opera, but it is also correct to call Vienna the home of opera. The Viennese people played a very important role in the development of opera. In 1762, the first modern operas were performed in Vienna. For the first time the songs were put together to tell a story rather than being just standalone songs. The format of modern opera was established then. Today, there are three great … [Read more...]