Have a Wonderful Trip

Always be prepared

By June 21, 2016 Our travel adventures

Embarrassing things happen even on a trip.  I think the worse one for me was when we moved to Germany to live.  Because we were taking a military flight there was dress codes that had to be followed, not only for Dave (who had to wear the dress uniform) but also the family had to follow certain rules of dress.  I bought a new outfit for myself and for each of the children.   I made sure that the children’s outfits were stretchy and comfortable for the long trip.   In hindsight, I should have bought more for comfort than for style for myself as well, instead opting for a dress pant that did not have much give to it.   Imagine a flight that left in the morning on one day and you did not arrive until the next morning after having flown,disembarked and re-boarded four times before reaching your final destination.

It was a hot summer day, after flying all night when we landed in England, which was our last stop, we had flown all night and then had a breakfast……scrambled eggs I still recall it well.   Anyway on the approach the pilot overshot the runway and had to pull up suddenly…..not so good on the stomach.   Our 8 year old got sick…..he was sitting with his father in the row behind me. I felt so bad for him but his father had to look after him.

When we landed we had to leave the plane.   We had a briefcase that carried all the important papers, like bank account information, health and dental records for myself and the two children as well as our passports, birth certificates etc.   So of course we had to carry the briefcase with us at all times.   Here we were in the Gatwick airport, in an isolated area early in the morning while they refueled and got ready for the next leg.

We were sitting in the terminal, I had the briefcase wedged lengthwise between my knees for safety,  I looked over and our son was very pale, I went to move to see if he was ok, forgot about the briefcase and somehow made the awkward move which resulted in me hearing a loud rip…….my pants ripped.   Luckily I had taken a coat sweater with me, so I tied it around my waist and went to the washroom……the  seat of the pants was ripped open almost to the waistband of the pants.   Of course I did not have a sewing kit or pins with me.   I asked a couple of ladies in the washroom and none had anything. I went out in search of a store, nothing was open, found a janitor and she did not have anything either, so could not help.   So here I am walking around with a sweater tied around my waist on a hot day…… embarrassed to death.   Could not do anything at that point, so when we boarded I got one of the stewardesses aside and explained my predicament.  She told me she had a sewing kit in her purse with the exact color of my pants in it, what luck……I would not have to start my life there looking like an idiot with a sweater around my waist on a blistering hot day.  She told me that once we were airborne and the pilot turns off the seatbelt sign to come back and she would give it to me.  Still feeling awkward, I went to my seat and sat with the sweater still around my waist,……… how obvious that something was wrong……was I ever embarrassed and red in the face.

The flight takes off on our last leg to our new home…….trouble is there was turbulence…….the pilot did not turn off the light.   After a while, I could not stand it any longer and so I got up, went back and found her.    I pleaded so she took pity on me, gave me her sewing kit and I went to the washroom.

So here I am in the cramped washroom, my pants down around my ankles, on a rough ride, trying to sew this seam so that it will hold….not an easy feat.   When all of a sudden the door swings open, and I see a set of military dress shoes and uniform pants, I did not even look up……just kept my head down, embarrassed to death. Whomever it was, sputtered their apology and shut the door……I reached out and locked it again and kept on sewing.  I finished up and then comes the worse moment of my life, I realized that I had to walk through the aisles to my seat not knowing whose feet I had seen, but they would know me, especially since the pants I was sewing were purple, I was bound to stick out.  Not only was I embarrassed for this person, and whomever he had told, to see me;  but also remember that I had walked to the bathroom on this extremely hot day with the sweater tied around my waist.  I tried to decide the best way to handle this so I figured that I would wear it on the way back as well so maybe it would not be as noticeable, then when I got to my seat I simply took it off and folded it on my lap.

I will never forget that moment in my life….felt like the longest walk ever and Dave told me how red in the face I was as well which would only make you more noticeable.  I never did find out who it was in the doorway but I learned a great lesson and still to this day I never travel without a sewing kit in my purse.

You can’t let life’s unexpected twists get you down, you just need to take things as they come, learn to get over it and have a wonderful trip.

 

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The fascination with toilets

By June 20, 2016 Our travel adventures

In the early years of our marriage, Dave was on peacekeeping duty in Cyprus for six months.   During that time I had the opportunity to travel to West Germany to meet up with him then we spent two weeks vacationing.   It was my first trip overseas having only travelled twice within Canada on an airplane.

What an adventure I had, 19 years old, travelling alone to a foreign country. The military operated their own 707 aircraft; they had specific stops where you must disembark.   I left from Halifax in the late morning, with touchdowns in Ottawa and Trenton Ontario before the night flight to Gatwick England.  Then we flew onto Germany arriving around noon hour.   I made it with all the stops without incident.  Dave arrived the next morning and we began our journey.

Our trip was a whirlwind, had some family and friends from back home who lived there who we stayed with a couple of days and they took us to some of the great tourist sites during our time. We also did a 4 day bus tour to Paris.   My whole life I had wanted to go there, how exciting, Dave had planned the trip and set it up.   We went on a bus from the base with other Canadians, had a great time.  So interesting to see everything and be in different countries.  We did all the typical tourist things, the Eifel Tower, the palace of Versailles, the Louvre and countless more things.

During the trip I became fascinated with all the styles of toilets…….yes you read it right……toilets.   They may be called by different names depending on where you are but the toilets are all different.   It got so that I made sure before I went in how you would flush the latest ones.   Besides the normal one with a flush, there were ones with a tank up in the air and a chain that you pulled, ones that had a button that you either pulled up on or pushed down on.   There was one with a button on the floor that you stepped on in the rear of the toilet.   There was even one that would not seem to flush until you actually opened the stall door, it was triggered by the door lock.  When going to the rest stops along the highways you would go into the public washrooms and had to pay for toilet paper, they were extremely clean and there was even a cleaning person stationed inside that was continually cleaning, people would tip her.   Dave tells a story of trying to go to a urinal and this older woman coming in behind him and starting to clean the walls and urinals while he was there…..the way he tells it he would try to move a bit sideways and she would just move right by him.    When we were in Paris I even saw my first bidet…….coming from a small town neither of us had ever seen or heard of one before, interesting trying to figure it out and how it would work……..tried all the guesses…..is it a foot bath, a urinal????  Who knows?    But by far the most interesting came when we were on the bus ride back to Lahr from Paris.    There was a lady on the trip who had over indulged with the alcohol and was a bit tipsy……she was quite a character and we all enjoyed the trip listening to her.   She convinced the bus driver to stop at a rest place along the way that was not planned because she had to go.   She got out of the bus and went in, and then a few moments later came back saying……I can’t go here someone stole the toilets.   The bus driver laughed and then told us that along the highways, for cleanliness  they have done this…..we all got off to have a look……….inside the stall was a hole in the ground and around the edge it was cement with two footprints, there was a rope hanging down from the ceiling as well.  Just try to picture this……you put your feet into the footprints, and hold onto the rope hanging your rear over the hole.   Imagine doing that when you are not steady on your feet.  French Squat Toilet  Years later when in France, we saw another more modern one like the one pictured here.  They call them squat toilets.

If you take some time now on a computer you can likely see a lot of different types but remember this trip was a while ago and we had never seen anything like this before so I have told the story about all the toilets for years now.     Our trips are certainly interesting and we always have a wonderful trip.

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Now viewable on Bloglovin

By June 20, 2016 General

You can now follow our blog on Bloglovin.com by following the link below

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Bloglovin is a site where you are able to organize and follow all kinds of Blogs easily. Check out the site.

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Common Sense Tips for Airports

By June 19, 2016 Airplanes, Making Plans, Packing tips, The basics of travel

Airports are not anyone’s choice of a fun time. Whether it is long lines, cranky travelers or expensive not so great food, there are some ways to help make your airport time pass by with the least hassle possible.  With a bit of common sense and some pre-trip planning you can get through your airport stay a bit easier.

  • Whenever possible travel when you are rested and have eaten, it makes your outlook better and you deal with the stresses of travel easier.
  • Always download airport maps for any of the airports you will be using in case you need them and bring them with you.   For instructions and link click here
  • Wear comfortable clothes for travelling in, something you feel good about and that allows you to move easily.
  • Review the rules of what you can’t take onboard.   Every airline has them posted on their website.   If it is prohibited don’t take it, otherwise you will lose it.
  • We always carry a change of clothes in our carry on just in case luggage is delayed or lost.
  • Whenever possible do your check in ahead of time online….this equals less time in lineups.
  • luggage strap
  • Customize your luggage in some way. I have bought luggage straps that hook around the luggage. It serves two purposes, if the luggage should happen to get damaged it may help to keep it closed and keep your things inside.   I have bought distinctive ones, one is lime green and the other is rainbow striped.   This helps to make my luggage easy to spot on the belts.
  • Electronic Luggage ScaleWeigh your checked luggage prior to entering the lines.   Either weigh at home or purchase a digital hand scale.
  • Wear shoes you can easily slip on and off for the security lines.
  • liquids in bagMake sure you have your liquids in a one liter bag and your electronics handy. I pack them in a side pocket of my carry on or just on top of it so that you don’t hold up the line while you dig them out. Once I clear the security line I pack them where I feel they need to be for the travel.
  • If you are checking in at the airport always take the line that is handiest to business class…..sometimes if they are not busy they will take the next person in the line handiest them, which makes that line move faster.
  • When picking a line for passing through security , if you have a choice, it is helpful to pick to the left, since most people are right handed their natural instinct is to go right so the left lanes are often not as busy.
  • To make it quicker when you head to the security line, remove any coat, blazer or sweater so you are ready to put them in the bins quicker.   I also have our id and boarding pass ready to show. Having it out ahead of time avoids delaying the line.
  • We always try to make sure we are carrying very little in our pockets and when you get to the security line empty your pockets and put in the bins with your coats.
  • Remember you can’t take drinks through security, if you need a coffee or drink wait until you are through the checkpoint to make any purchase.
  • Bring along a mini power bar with surge protection, there are not a ton of outlets at the airport and you could ask someone else if you could share theirs using the power bar or be the popular one who offers it to another.
  • snack foodsEat before you go or bring snacks with you to avoid the high priced airport food.

 

 

Hope these little hints help you to have a wonderful trip.

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10 Great Travel Accessories

By June 18, 2016 General, Packing tips, Trip Planning

There are some things that can make your life easier on trips. Some are relatively inexpensive and can come in handy. Here are ten popular accessories and a click on the blue writing will show where you can purchase them.

ShampooLaundry Soap

 

Packs easily, you just need to add water and the sheet will dissolve instantly. The packs also come in shaving, body wash, and hand soap versions.

 

Chat SIM

For around $18  you can purchase a SIM card, which works on all unlocked phones.  It allows travelers to send unlimited texts in over 150 countries for any instant messaging apps, including WhatsApp, WeChat, Facebook Messenger, Viber, and QQ.  You can send multimedia (like photos, videos, and voice messages) for an additional fee.

 

Stretch Laces

 

 

Make your next airport security stop faster with these stretchy laces. Every shoe becomes a slip-on!

 

sound enhancer

 

This enhancer is a great alternative to Bluetooth speakers and is great when an iPad is your only source of car/hotel entertainment for you and/or your kids.     This audio-boosting attachment is for for iPads 2 through 4.    A magnet secures the enhancer onto the iPad while it bends the sound toward you.

 

Charge Packs

 

These mobile charge packs fit snuggly in a pocket or purse.   Carry your own back up battery

 

 

 Travel Door Alarm

 

Attach this pocket alarm to your door for peace of mind. There’s also an LED flashlight built-in!

 

Electronic Luggage Scale

 

 

Don’t be caught with an overweight bag causing additional cost or having to repack in the airport.

 

Micro Umbrella

 

Not much larger than your iphone it is easy to carry

 

 

Power Bar

 

Hotel rooms and cruise rooms do not always have an abundance of electrical outlets and the built in USB connectors will allow additional items to all be charged at once.

 

Bag Organizer

 

This is handy to keep a large bag organized while travelling.

 

Hope these neat accessories help you have a wonderful trip.

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Choosing your seat on an aircraft

By June 17, 2016 Airplanes, Making Plans, Travel websites

airplane seatsOnce you have decided on a flight you should then think about choosing your seat.   Not all seats are created equal.  Once you check out the seats you want, you might want to pay any additional cost, if is one, and book the seat you want right away.   It may be worth it in the end to pay a fee and get exactly what you want.

If you don’t book ahead you may just be playing roulette with the seats that are left when you arrive at the airport.   And I don’t just mean that you may get a middle seat.   Different seats have features that are or are not desirable for various reasons.   Say for instance you really want a window seat so that you can look out and take photos.   You could get stuck with one of the off centered seats where the window is not lined up with your seat.   Also knowing that some seats do not recline or that some have more leg room than others is useful.

To order to help reduce any effect from turbulence, aim for as close to the wing as possible. This is helpful because the wing is the pivotal point of the plane.

Bulkhead seats (those immediately after the division between first class and economy) have advantages like a bit more leg room, and earlier exit when you land. Sitting in front of the exit rows can be good as well.  Since people have more legroom on the exit rows they are less likely to be digging their knees into your seat. You may want to avoid the exit row itself, in some airplanes there are more disadvantages than perks to being there.   Although you have more leg room you may not be able to recline and you can’t keep your hand luggage with you.

Sit on the left hand side of plane for night flights because on most airplanes the seats on the left are offset from the window by a few inches which could give you a bit of extra head room if you are in a window seat and want to lay your head there.

Avoid the last two rows if possible.   Most aircraft are narrower at the rear so you may have a bit less elbow room, plus you have the washrooms in the rear which are usually busy.   Also airlines tend to sit families together near the rear when they can so it may be a bit noisier.  Another point is that the crew luggage is sometimes using the overhead bins at the rear.

When booking as a single traveler try to plan for an empty middle seat.   This is done by booking the window seat if the aisle one is taken and vice versa leaving an empty middle seat.   For a couple, book the aisle and the window leaving the middle empty.   Most people will avoid booking that middle seat if they can help it so if the flight is not full this could end up with an empty seat in the middle.   It is worth the chance.   For a couple, if the seat does end up taken usually the person is more than happy to trade out for either the window or aisle one.

There are a couple of good websites that can give you an idea of the best seats or those to avoid on certain aircraft.   Try these out……Seat Guru and Seat Expert.

Enjoy your flight and have a wonderful trip!

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Great tips to keep from being bored on a road trip

By June 17, 2016 General, Trip Planning

When travelling in a vehicle, there are times when everyone may be a bit bored.   To help alleviate some of the boredom we have some suggestions for you.

  • Bring a deck of cards and play popular card games or try some new ones. 10 card games with how to play are found by clicking this link…. 10 family card games  card games
  • Ahead of time make recipes cards with trivia questions ( downloadable trivia questions ) and some with words to use for a spelling bee.    Players earn stickers or you can develop a scorecard for each person so you can track points.   Each days winner can earn things such as the ability to stay up later, chose the next restaurant, or extra time in the swimming pool.  trivia cards
  • Each family member can use a journal book to write down things they found interesting each day. They could collect a seashell or rock from each stop, be sure to bring some way to number them so they can distinguish where each was found by making a note in the back of the journal.
  • Download music cd’s with upbeat, sing along music.  You can also play name that tune with these CD’s.
  • Download audio books, great way to get a story about the area you are going to. free ebooks
  • Play family trivia with questions on your family tree…….. templates for family trivia
  • Create a travel binder prior to leaving with information and photos of each planned stop and use time while travelling to review and learn about your next destination.
  • Play a game where you select topics and the next person has to talk for one minute on that topic.
  • Play magazine scavenger hunt.  Using magazines make a list of 20 objects found in each individual magazine.  To play  give each person a different magazine with their unique list and a blank piece of paper, then time how long it takes them to find all the items….when they find the object just write down the page number.   You can then switch magazines and try another, then compare the total times at the end. Winner gets to pick the next restaurant or gets to pick the next TV show.scavenger hunt
  • Learn a new language……..    French travel phrases and words  learn a new language

No need to get bored, use some of these tips to help you have a wonderful trip!

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Finding Your Way Around Walt Disney World Resorts

By June 16, 2016 Disney

The Disney resorts are huge and getting around may be confusing, whether you are staying there or may be going for a special dinner, spa treatment or event that is being held at a resort it is helpful to have a map of the resort so that you can find your way around.

For links to the maps for the various Walt Disney Resorts please click the name of the resort

art of animation

 

 

Art of Animation

   

all star movies 2

 

 

All Star Movie Resort

 

pop resorts

 

All Star Music Resorts

 

 

all-star-sports-resort-00-full

All Star Sports Resort

 

animal kingdom

 

 

Animal Kingdom Lodge

 

 

 

beach club resort

 

Disney Beach Club Resort

 

 

 

boardwalk inn

 

Boardwalk Inn Resort

 

 

caribbean beach resort

 

Caribbean Beach Resort

 

contemporary resory

 

Contemporary Resort

 

 

coronado springs

 

 

Coronado Springs Resort

 

 

 

Disney's_Fort_Wilderness_Resort_and_Campground_sign_at_night

 

Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground

 

 

250px-Disneygrandfloridian

 

Grand Floridian Resort

 

old key west

 

Old Key West

 

polynesian resort

 

Polynesian Resort

 

 

port orleans french quarter

 

 

Port Orleans French Quarter

 

 

port orleans riverside

 

Port Orleans Riverside

 

 

pop century

 

Disney’s Pop Century Resort

 

 

saratoga springs

 

Saratoga Springs and Resort

 

 

Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort

 

Disney’s Swan & Dolphin Hotels

 

wilderness lodge

 

Wilderness Lodge Resort

 

 

DisneyYacht1

 

Disney’s Yacht Club

 

 

Hope you have a wonderful trip!

 

 

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Walt Disney World Theme Park Maps

By June 15, 2016 Disney, Trip Planning

When visiting Walt Disney world it is helpful to have a map of the various parks that you can download and use.

Attached are some links you can use to help

Magic Kingdom photo

Magic Kingdom

 

 

Epcot photo

EPCOT

 

 

animal kingdom photo

 

Animal Kingdom

 

Hollywood studios photo

 

Hollywood Studios

 

disney springs photo

Disney Springs

 

 

blizzard beach photo

 

Blizzard Beach

 

 

typhoon lagoon

Thyphoon Lagoon

 

 

Have a wonderful trip!

 

 

 

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Transportation at Walt Disney World

By June 15, 2016 Disney, Trip Planning

Walt Disney World is over 42 square miles in size. With over 52 million visitors annually, as you can imagine, transportation to and from the various parks and resorts needed a great deal of planning.   For someone on their first trip it could be a bit confusing to know how to navigate the area efficiently.

If you are staying at one of the Walt Disney Resorts they offer a free shuttle from the airport to your hotel.  This is a great benefits but you are not obligated to take this and are welcome to bring your own vehicle or rent a vehicle as well.

disney ferry boatOnce at the resorts, there are a number of ways to get around Disney.   Each of the parks have parking facilities and they offer tram rides from the parking lot to the entrances as it can be quite a distance.  There are fees unless you are a resort guest or season pass holder.   When parking be sure to take note of the area in which you parked so that you know how to get back to your vehicle.

Another option is the use of taxi services or Uber drivers.  These will have costs associated with them but some may prefer this option.

 

disney world monorailWDW monorail systemYour choice to use the Disney complimentary transportation allows you to either walk, use ferryboats, monorail or buses depending on the destinations.

Transportation will have heavy times so you will need to plan accordingly.   For instance after the park closes the line ups will be very long.  Some tips for avoiding the long waits include, leaving early, positioning yourself near the entrance/ exits at the final show or perhaps watching the fireworks from outside near the transportation stations.

For more information on the transportation schedule and routes for the buses click the link Bus Transportation around Walt Disney World  .

The cast members and staff at the resorts are more than happy to assist you with directions.  If you are staying at one of the resorts it might be nice for the family to have the opportunity to travel by monorail and ferryboat as you do not necessarily get that chance every day.

Have a wonderful trip!

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