All Posts By

Brett B.

3-4 Day Weekend Trip!

By | Travel Tips | One Comment

Do you know Labor day (Sep 2), Columbus Day (Oct 14), and Veterans Day (Nov 11) are on Mondays? Which means you can easily have a three-day weekend vacation. If you think three days are not enough…Thanksgiving this year is on a Thursday, if you get Friday off, it can be a four-day weekend trip with your loved one.

1. Chicago, Illinois

Have you stood above the 103rd floor before? Skydeck Chicago at Willis tower will provide you with an experience of standing above a prosperous city. Chicago style hot dog, Deep Dish Pizza, etc. are another reason that you should visit.

2. San Francisco, California

If you are a foodie you might want to visit San Francisco, there are more than 90 types of cuisine. You can get a taste of all the different cuisines by just visiting a city in California.

3. Miami Beach, Florida

Want a warm and relaxing winter vacation and escape the cold and busy work schedule for a little bit? No problem, Miami Beach got your back. Especially with the warm and crystal-clear Atlantic waters.

4. Seattle, Washington

What would you think of when you heard Seattle? Coffee shop? Hippies? Rain? Well, not quite, there is more to that. Seattle has lots of live band shows during the year.

5. Austin, Texas

Are you bat fans? Who knows, 9 months out of the year, Congress Bridget has around 1.5 million bats pepper the sky at night. If I’m on the Bridget at that time, I might scream the whole way out.

6 Things To Remember Before Going to Europe For The First Time

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1- Don’t forget a Voltage Converter.

Purchasing a travel adapter is a necessary evil. We suggest getting a universal travel adapter so you only need to purchase one and can have it conveniently for all future trips.  The other thing that we HIGHLY suggest is that you get one that is not only an adapter but also a voltage converter. Double check when you are purchasing one that it specifically says it is a voltage or power converter otherwise you could have some unexpected surprises like your wires short circuiting or your blow dryer blowing up.

2- Bring a Scarf or a Coverup. 

Especially if you are going in the summer.  Bring a scarf or something that you can cover up your shoulders with if you are planning on visiting any touristy sites.  There are many churches or other religiously owned hotspots that require you to follow a more modest dress code.

3- Call Your Bank Before You Go.

It’s important to call your bank before you go to let them know you are going to be out of the country.  If your bank catches suspicious activity in another country without giving them a heads up they will more than likely put a block on your account.  Getting stuck in a foreign country with no access to your money is not the type of memories you’re looking for.

4- Always Pack Less.

I know, I know.  You’re going to a new place and you want to look cute for all the pictures you’re going to take.  But trust me! You think you need more than you really do. Half your backpack if possible. This leaves more room for souvenirs and will also help you to avoid problems with the airlines.  Many european airlines have stricter weight limits on your baggage. Better to avoid those unexpected $100+ expenses.

5- Check for Packages with your Phone Provider.

While it’s always an option to find a fast food place or a cafe that has wifi while you’re out exploring. The peace of mind that you get with having constant access to data in this foreign place is definitely worth paying a little extra.  Call your phone provider before you go to see if they offer any data deals with foreign travel. You may be surprised at how affordable some of them are!

6- The Best Trips are the Ones Less Structured

It’s so hard the first time that you visit a new place.  You want to fit every possible thing into your tight schedule.  Our advice is to pick a few top priority’s and make sure you visit those one first but then be more flexible with everything else.  Transportation always takes longer than you expected, lines are longer than you planned, you accidentally sleep in, etc. It’s important not to overbook yourself or you might run out of time or miss some of the spots you were most excited about!

Live Like A Local

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When people travel, they all want to see the famous sites and popular tourist attractions. After all, you wouldn’t go to Paris without visiting the Eiffel Tower, would you? These famous attractions are often frequented for good reason. They are beautiful, historically significant monuments everyone should strive to see in their lifetime. However, every country offers more than just their most well-known monuments. To truly experience what a country has to offer, you must live like a local.

Locals always know the ins and outs of a city. They may know the little hole-in-the-wall restaurant that has the best version of a traditional dish. Locals will know the back-alley shops with the most unique trinkets, and all the back routes around town that avoid the irritating bustling tourists. They know all the little spots the traditional tourists will never discover. So walk around the town for a while, wander in alleys, go on back roads, and make friends with a local so you can ask them for advice.

In a new country, never rely on your guide book for everything, because there is a lot you will miss. If you go to Paris just to visit the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame, you will get to see beautiful, marvelous things. However, the things that truly give Paris its soul will be hidden in little shops, in little restaurants, not out on the main streets. So next time you visit somewhere new, ditch the guide book and live like a local.

Why Traveling Makes You a Better Person

By | Travel Motivation | No Comments

Imagine you grew up in a small town and you never traveled farther than a couple of hours away. Your world has only a few hundred-mile radii, but that is all you know. Everyone knows everyone, there’s a Christian church on every corner, and only one Chinese restaurant can be found within miles of the city limits. You only know the traditions your parents taught you as you grew up. You know the world is bigger than what surrounds you, but it seems strange, frightening, and foreign.

That is where travel comes in. Imagine you grew up in rural Arkansas, but then you take a trip to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. On your trip, you will see new skin colors, hear new languages, and smell new smells. Imagine you grew up on a ranch in Montana, but then you take a trip to Tokyo, Japan. You encounter new religions, taste new foods, and discover different cultures. Suddenly the world has grown bigger than what you could have ever imagined.

Traveling is exhilarating! As you adventure across different landscapes, see new monuments, and eat new delicious food, you grow as a person. However, the real benefit is the knowledge you can gain from the rest of the world. Every new interaction with another person teaches you to be more accepting. New things can no longer seem strange, just different than what you grew up with. When you travel, your world grows bigger and you become an open-minded, kind-hearted person. So what are you waiting for? Stop being scared, jump in with two feet, and take your future into your own hands. Go travel to the place you have always dreamed of. Don’t let your dream die away; live them.

Vacation Time is Family Time

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The best childhood memories usually are those spent as a family. No one reminisces about punching the clock and fighting traffic. Think of your childhood memories and chances are there’s something that makes everyone in your family laugh and more than likely its related to a vacation.  Who hasn’t watched Chevy Case as Clark W. Griswold and failed to see the ironic humor?

There’s something magical about a trip as a kid. Everything is bigger, better, scarier, and much more memorable than everyday life.  Virtually everyone can remember a family trip or two that makes you laugh or cry. It’s there forever. It brings back a carefree time when imagination was bigger than life.

Plan your family trip today. Make the memories that your family will recall for years to come. Want help getting started, just let me know.

Make Your Personal Adventure “Bucket List” Trips Happen

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Are you an adventure nut?  Like to simply sit back and relax?  Maybe a little of both?  Whatever the case, anyone can come up with a personal Top 5 Bucket List.  Did you know that if you write a goal down you are exponentially more likely to achieve it?  A Harvard study says so therefore it must be true.  In a few years, you’ll have a collection of photos, videos, experiences and memories that are priceless.  Having a hard time getting started?  Here’s a sample of how easy it is to create your list:

  1. Everest Base Camp – Base Camp at 19,000 feet would be close enough to be really cool.
  2. River Raft The Grand Canyon – Class 5 rapids make most people test their comfort zone. Maybe that’s part of the thrill.
  3. Hike to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro – You have to go through Africa to get there which is also part of the appeal to me.
  4. Swim with the Sharks – Off the Great Barrier Reef, in a cage, of course. Australia is another bonus of this trip. I love Australia.
  5. Hang Glide Rio de Janeiro – Jumping off the mountain side over the city of Rio de Janeiro flying over the jungle down to the city below would be glorious.

These are mine, what are yours?

Never Pay Full Price

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Smart people know that saving a dollar is as good as making a dollar. They know how to get things for less. Not cheap imitations. Not ‘look-a-likes’. But real, genuine goods and services for less than the average consumer. Their secret is, they never pay full price.

Travel is one of those areas where deals are hard to determine. Confusion in the marketplace makes it difficult to know if you’re getting the best price for your trip. Even the discounted travel sites are misleading when it comes to price and value.

There is a secret in the travel industry, JIFU. JIFU is a travel club that offers its members wholesale prices with no mark-up. Let me say that again, no mark-up. For a small annual fee, members get access to their entire network of hotels, airlines, rental cars, cruises, vacation homes and condos. Major brands, world-wide.

Members can and have saved 40%, 50%, even 60% and more. If you save 50% on your travel that means you’re halfway to your next trip. Remember, saving is just like earning.

If you’re interested in saving hundreds on your next trip, it’s easier than you think.

Specialty Trips Are, Well Special

By | Travel Motivation | No Comments

Not all vacations need to end up around a pool with a cool drink in your hand. Don’t get me wrong, that scenario is just fine with me, most of the time. But when was the last time you took a vacation that catered to your special interest or hobby?

Are you a wine lover? Why not plan a week touring the vineyards in the Napa Valley or the south of Tuscany?

Are you a river rafter or a kayaker? There are literally hundreds of options that can take you down the river of your choice.

Is fitness your thing? How about a yoga experience in Greece?

Did someone say adventure? Skydiving? Scuba diving? Zip-lining? Cliff jumping? Hiking? Spelunking?

If you have a passion for history, how about a trip across Europe or a tour up the east coast visiting ancient historical sites in Europe, the Americas or Asia?

The options are as varied as you can imagine. If you have never taken a specialty trip, now is the time to look into planning one. Alone, with that significant other, or a group. This is the place to get started.

Take Some Time Off

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There is nothing wrong with working hard, but as the saying goes, all work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy.  Taking some time to sharpen the saw not only makes you happier but studies prove it also makes you healthier and more productive.

Here’s the JIFU challenge … get moving and take some time off.  Studies show that people outside the United States are twice as likely to travel away from home than Americans. The average American vacation is less than 4 days while Europeans average is nearly two weeks. How can you really give your body, mind, and soul the relaxation necessary to rejuvenate when after the first day or so you’re already thinking of what you need to do when you get back to work. It’s like like running down your iPhone battery to zero and trying to recharge it in just a few minutes. It might work for a little while, but not for long.

Take a minute and look at the calendar, mark out a 7-10 day period, write in big red letters “VACATION” then make it happen.

Put a Little Sunshine in Your Winter

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Winter seems to go on forever. Cold, rainy, snowy, dark, it’s a little depressing. Have you ever been talking to a friend when they say something like, “Oh ya, we’re heading to Hawaii for a few days. I can’t wait.” and not seen a smile fill their face? Me neither.

Why aren’t you that person? It’s not as hard or as expensive as you might think. Here are the top 5 destinations just to get you thinking:

  1. Hawaii – The Big Island has something for everyone whether you want to relax, sightsee, golf, or something more adventurous like scuba diving.
  2. Rome – Off season can make this a great place to visit. Avoid the crowds, take in the sites, and enjoy that legendary Italian sun.
  3. U.S. Virgin Islands – Think 75 – 80 degrees, white sand beaches, and the sound of waves crashing. That makes it pretty easy to forget the cold.
  4. Rio de Janeiro – Not too far away and yet worlds apart. Maybe a jungle tour or catch a football (soccer) match one night.
  5. Costa Rica – A place to get up and go hiking, zip-line through the rainforest, mountain bike, or enjoy a leisurely day horseback riding.

It’s easier and less expensive than you may think. Get going.