Welcoming 2018

Welcoming 2018

2017 has officially passed and 2018 is now here. Every year people make New Year’s Resolutions in hopes of bettering themselves for the new year. This year I have made a couple that I will make a conscious effort to achieve.

  1. Be a better mother. – Now this isn’t because I think I’m a bad mother, in fact I think I’m a pretty good mother, but there are things I can do differently. I can be more patient, I can give my child more of my attention, and I can improve myself as a mother overall.
  2. Travel more. – 2017 was a rough year for my travels. My son started Pre-K making it hard to travel because now he can’t miss school. I will have to make more of an effort to travel whenever he’s off from school.
  3. Don’t stress every little thing. – I often find myself over thinking situations, and really letting them eat at me. I let people’s actions affect me instead of brushing them off. This year I plan to stop over analyzing everything.

What are your New Year’s Resolutions this year? I’d love to hear them in the comments section below.

I hope everyone has a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year. I hope the world becomes more kind. Lastly, I hope everyone gets the opportunities to travel, and discover the world.

Until Next Time,

Ela

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Get money to visit the US Virgin Islands!

Get money to visit the US Virgin Islands!


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In 2017 the US Virgin Islands are paying tourists to come visit! Every visitor who goes to one of the US Virgin Islands in the year 2017 will get $300 spending cash. You may be saying to yourself, why would they do this? The answer is simple, they are doing this to celebrate their 100th year Anniversary of being a US Territory, and they want to help you learn about their beautiful islands.

How do you get the $300? Let me break it down for you!  You must stay at least 3 nights at a participating hotel on one of their islands: St. Croix, St. John, or St. Thomas.  You will have to book your stay through the island’s department of tourism (-click here-). Enter code “CP1” at time of booking. After your trip is booked, the department of tourism will send you vouchers for $300 which can be redeemed like cash.

Now just like everything in life, there’s a bit of a catch (but in my opinion, it’s still worth it). The US Virgin Islands department of tourism is giving you this money so you can learn more about their islands, therefore, you must spend this money at your destination.  Also, this money is meant to be used for cultural attractions on the islands.  Cultural attractions can range from tours (including food tours), museums, hiking, kayaking, etc. Basically it can be redeemed for anything that will help you learn about and appreciate their culture (that doesn’t include bar hopping, haha.)

Oh wait, there’s one more thing. If you go during their actual centennial month, which is March, you will receive another free surprise gift!

I mean I don’t know about you, but I know one place I’ll be visiting in 2017.

Screenshot from the official US Virgin Island’s department of tourism website

What are your thoughts on this deal?  I want to hear opinions! Let me know below in the comments!

Until Our Next Adventure,

-Ela

Image on this entry is from xtns

I’ve been absent

I’ve been absent

IMG_1624.JPGLet me start by saying Happy Holidays! I feel like I’ve been an absent parent and everyone has no clue as to where I went. There’s a reason I promise. I’ve just been doing so much that it’s been hard to sit down and update you guys. Ok, I’m still not sitting down, I’m writing this from my phone as I walk on a treadmill, haha. (Sorry for any typos in advance).

Basically the reason I have not updated my blog lately is because I’ve been injured so I haven’t been able to travel. Having to go to physical therapy 3 times a week doesn’t leave much time for traveling the world.

I hurt my neck and shoulder, from what I’ve been told I tore a ligament in my rotator cuff, and also, I have two displaced discs in my cerebral spine (?). I will require surgery one day for my rotator cuff, but doctors decided they want to hold off since I’m still so young. Some good news, this week is my last week of physical therapy, so you guys will get to hear from me real soon!

I know I have a cruise coming up in March, but I’m hoping to do some other things before then!

Incase I don’t come back and give you guys another update soon, I wish everyone a happy and healthy new year!!! Any one have any travel related New Years resolutions?! Or any interesting resolutions?! Comment below and let me know, I’d love to hear from you!
Until Our Next Adventure,

-Ela

Thrifty Car Rental (you’ve been warned)

Just had the absolute worst experience with Thrifty Car Rental and I thought I would share to forewarn any of you that were debating renting from them in the future. I usually rent from Alamo because they tell you all their fees upfront, don’t usually charge an underage fee, and they don’t put a hold on your card for a deposit. I saw Thrifty charging almost $100 less through a car rental website so I decided to give them a try. I had put my age in on their direct website so I figured my underage fee was already accounted for in the price. I was wrong. When I got there they tried charging me $300 additional to what I had already paid them, for underage fees, then another additional $100 for fees, and another $200 deposit.  I have never been smacked with so many hidden fees. I told them I would not rent. When I called to get a refund I was originally told I’ll get no refund, so I asked to speak to a manager, the manager said he will file a claim for me but administrative fees would be taken out of my refund (oh great, yet another fee).
This was a big eye opener for me. I will be sticking with Alamo for now on (National & Enterprise are pretty good too, just usually more expensive than Alamo).
Until Next Time

-Ela

Our Own Backyards

Our Own Backyards

I think as avid travelers we seem to want to see the whole world, but forget to discover whats in “our own backyard” first.  My own backyard would be The United States. Yes of course, I want to see Europe, Asia, Africa, and more; but I have so many wonders here that I haven’t discovered yet.  I decided for the upcoming year I’m going to try to visit 10 national parks.  I did a bit of research and found out some pretty interesting information.

Like – did you know you can buy a yearly pass to US National Parks?  That means for $80 a year (free for military members and military dependents) you can visit all the national parks as many times as you’d like.  The $80 a year covers your family too (that’s right when you go into national parks you just have to pay a fee per vehicle – or up to 5 adults per vehicle).  That’s an awesome deal. National Park Pass Official Website.

I decided to research state parks and make a list of at least the top parks I’d like to visit within the upcoming year.  I’ll share them with you too.

1. Yosemite, CA

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This park is best known for its waterfall, but has so many other wonderful attributes. Yosemite Official Website.

 

2. Grand Canyon, AZ

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Well known for its geological significance. (I’m a little nervous about this one with a 2 year old, but we’ll make it happen). Grand Canyon Official Website.

 

3. Arches, UT

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It’s a “Red Rock Wonderland” which of course features many arches. Arches Official Website.

 

4. Channel Islands, CA

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Known for its unique animals, plants, and archaeological resources. Channel Islands Official Website.

 

5. Zion, UT

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This is Utah’s first National Park, filled with history and visual treasures. Zion Official Website.

 

6. Yellowstone, WY

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Yellowstone National Park is most famous for “Old Faithful” a famous geyser. Yellowstone Official Website.

 

7. Rocky Mountain, CO

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Rocky Mountains is obviously known for its mountains. Rocky Mountain Official Website.

 

I don’t want to give too much information since I haven’t visited these parks in my adult life yet.  I will be sure to write a more in-depth review of each of these parks as I cross them off the list. Stay tuned 😉

Making Travel Affordable

Making Travel Affordable

For my first blog post I wanted to discuss ways to make travel affordable for everyone.  Looking up costs of plane tickets and hotel rooms online could be downright overwhelming.  I know it may sound cliche but take advantage of loyalty and rewards programs, there really are so many AWESOME benefits.

1. LOYALTY PROGRAMS

There are so many ways to take advantage of loyalty programs.  I am a member of every one I could get my hands on.  Expedia.com and Hotels.com are two of my favorites.  The best part is, loyalty and reward programs are FREE for the consumer – they are to help encourage customers to return back to their company.

With Expedia.com every purchase on their website (whether it is for hotel rooms, flights, vacation packages, or even renting a car) earns you points, points you can redeem for free stuff!  You can even get up to 3x the rewards points for booking through their mobile app!  The more points you get the higher you move up in their loyalty program.  The higher you move up in their loyalty program, the more points you earn per purchase.  IT PAYS TO BE LOYAL, seriously.  To earn additional points I even book for my friends and family.  Yes ladies and gentlemen that’s right, you don’t have to be the one traveling – just have to book it under your account to earn the travel.  Become a friends and family “travel agent”, or if your friends and family don’t travel often just ask if they can book it under your account to help you earn points.

With Hotels.com just for signing up you earn additional discounts on select hotels!  One of the best perks with Hotels.com is that for every 10 nights you purchase you get 1 free.  These nights don’t have to be consecutive, and just like Expedia.com they don’t have to be booked for you, just booked under your account.  You can accumulate nights until you eventually earn yourself enough for a free hotel stay for the duration of your desired vacation.

Also signing up for loyalty and rewards programs with individual hotel chains could earn you free nights at hotel chains nationwide.  I sign up for every hotel that I stay that.  When you book through Expedia.com or Hotels.com they will allow you to put in your loyalty number for that hotel.  Guess what? THAT’S AWESOME. Not only are you getting points through the website you booked through, but you’re also getting points with that hotel for free stays and upgrades.

2. CREDIT CARDS

YES, that’s right. Credit cards. Look for credit cards that help with travel expenses like the Delta American Express Card.  This is only one of the many options (research which card best fits your travel needs).

The Delta Amex Card earns you miles for EVERY purchase you make.  You don’t have to be flying on Delta to use the card.  You can be buying gas, at the grocery store, buying clothes, etc.  Every purchase earns you miles.  With every purchase you are closer to earning a free flight.  We all know that airlines now charge baggage fees.  With the Delta Amex card your first bag is free (as long as its associated with your Frequent Flyer number), and not only if YOUR first bag free, but the first bag of everyone traveling with you is also free (up to 6 people(?))

**For a LIMITED TIME (until November 17, 2015) Delta is offering 50,000 bonus miles and a $50 statement credit just for getting approved** You can only receive this special offer by clicking here and applying today.

The Bank of America Travel Credit Card boasts that is has NO ANNUAL FEE. Also this card has no foreign transaction fee and it’s EMV chip enabled. It earns 1.5 points on every $1 spent; these points can be redeemed for travel in the form of hotels, flights, rental cars and more by calling or going online and requesting a statement credit.

**Sign Up Bonus: 20,000 online bonus points if you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days — that can be a $200 statement credit toward travel purchases**

There are so many things you can do to earn free hotels and flights.  You just have to pick the method that best works for YOU.