Island Travel Interviews- European Islands, Take 2

Have you gotten a sense that there is very little rhyme or reason to the course we are traveling on this island interview journey? This week, we are headed back to the European Islands with Wayfaring with Wagner and Finding Upendi for the Island Travel Interviews focusing on the Croatian Island of Hvar and the Spanish Canary Islands (La Palma to be specific).

Let’s Begin with fellow native Michigander, Jordan fromWayfaring with Wagner, as she assists us in discovering Hvar.

Name and Blog Name/URL

Hi! My name is Jordan and I curate the blog “Wayfaring With Wagner.” Like Marta, I’m from Michigan (Traverse City) but now live full time in Hamburg, Germany.

What Island Will You Be Talking About and Why Did You Choose This Island?

When I think of paradise, I think of the island of Hvar. This island off the coast of Croatia is my favorite island in the entire world. Hvar is great because although it is a bit more remote (2+ hour ferry ride), it is not impossible to get there. I find that the island has the perfect mix of culture, history, relaxation, beaches, and delicious food!

Photo Credit- Wayfaring with Wagner

How Many Days Would You Recommend Staying on This Island?

To properly see the island, I’d recommend at least 4-5 days. I stayed on the island for only 3 days and really regret not having a bit more time in order to see everything!

Photo Credit- Wayfaring with Wagner

What is Your Favorite Thing About/Memory From Your Trip to This Island?

My favorite memory from Hvar was the road trip I did one day around the entire island. This allowed me to see the old fishing villages, lavender fields, vineyards, agricultural fields (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), rolling hills, tucked away churches, and an immense amount of beauty. Definitely rent a car, go out exploring, and purposely get lost!

Photo Credit- Wayfaring with Wagner

“Can’t Miss” Activity on the Island? What activities/opportunities does this island provide?

It is hard to choose just one “can’t miss” activity but if you have the time, drive (or climb) up Fortress Fortica Španjola at sunset. You will get the most amazing view of Hvar Town (yes, the main town is named “Hvar Town”), the harbor, and the Adriatic Sea.

Best Restaurant/Place to Eat?

To be honest, I mostly ate at small, locally owned restaurants. Nothing really stood out to me because I also don’t eat seafood (the island’s staple food) so I can’t be a good resource! Definitely try some of the local wine grown and produced on Hvar. Croatian wine is cheap, yummy, and totally underrated!

Photo Credit- Wayfaring with Wagner

What Surprised You About this Island?

I was most surprised by how much there is to do on the island and the history surrounding the island. Although Hvar is now part of present-day Croatia, the first inhabitants arrived on the island around 3,500 BC! The island was initially colonized by the Greeks around 400 BC but passed between the Roman Empire, Byzantine Empire, Slavic tribes, Republic of Venice, Kingdom of Hungary, Habsburg Monarchy, French Empire under Napoleon, Italy, Kingdom of Yugoslavia, Communist Yugoslavia, and finally modern-day Croatia. Like I mentioned above, the agricultural fields are a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to the formation of them and water collection system devised by the Greeks thousands of years ago. This system is still used today! I am amazed by how much culture and history fits on one island and the legacies, architecture, traditions, food, crops, and techniques left behind from each subsequent era.

Photo Credit- Wayfaring with Wagner

Any Travel Advice for those considering this island as a destination (e.g., where to stay, ease of getting there, how best to get around, language, money)?

In terms of getting to the island, ferries leave multiple times a day from Split, Croatia (a great city that I recommend spending a few days visiting either before or after your trip to Hvar). Make sure to check the schedule because ferries are VERY limited in the low season (high season starts in May and ends in either September or October).

Photo Credit- Wayfaring with Wagner

Deciding where to stay really depends on what type of traveler you are. I wanted a relaxing environment and opted for the quiet but gorgeous town of Stari Grad (literally translates to “Old Town”). However, if you want more of a party scene, head to Hvar Town.

It is imperative that you rent a car on the island (don’t bring a car over, just rent it on the island!). The bus connections only run a few times a day and you’re really missing a lot of the island if you only stick to bus routes. Car rentals are really cheap and easily available. If coming during the high season, book a car ahead of time.

While Croatia is part of the EU, it is not yet part of Schengen which means that it doesn’t count towards your 90 visa-free Schengen days (this is relevant for Americans, Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders, Japanese, etc. Really any country that is allowed 90 visa-free days in the Schengen zone). Because it doesn’t count towards your 90 days in Schengen, you get an additional 90 days just for Croatia. However, Croatia is expected to join Schengen soon so make sure to check ahead of time. Also, Croatia hasn’t adopted the Euro yet. The local Croatian currency is the Croatian kuna (1 USD = 7 kuna, 1 Euro = 7.5 kuna, 1 CAD = 5.25 kuna).

Just a small fact about the beaches on Hvar – most of the beaches are stony/rocky. There are still plenty of places to sunbathe and relax! However, if you’re expecting sandy beaches, they’re quite sparse (I think there is only one or two located on Hvar) so don’t be disappointed.

Photo Credit- Wayfaring with Wagner

If my readers want to hear more about your island, do you have a link to your full article?

Here is my photo diary of Stari Grad:

Next Up… the Canary Islands with Silvia from Finding Upendi.

What is Your Name and Blog Name/URL?

Silvia Galvan – Finding Upendi (

What Island Will You Be Talking About and Why Did You Choose This Island?

I’ll be talking about La Palma, one of the seven Canary Islands. I feel like everybody knows the Canary Islands as a sunny cheap destination full of resorts, but most people are completely unaware there is a lot of unspoiled natural beauty as well, especially in the western islands, which include La Palma. In fact, the whole island is a UNESCO Biosphere reserve.

European Islands La Palma
Photo Credit- Finding Upendi

How Many Days Would You Recommend Staying on This Island?

That depends on what you are interested in doing. There are two types of visits: for those that are willing to rent a car and go roadtripping, or for those interested in hiking around the island. If you are roadtripping you can easily make it a daytrip from Tenerife and get a feel for the island, but to actually get to see the island properly I’d say a minimum of three days is required. If on the other hand you are interested in hiking, I’d recommend a mimum of four days, up to seven.

What Is Your Favorite Thing About/Memory From Your Travels to This Island?

That would definitely have to be our visit to Los Tilos. Stopping at Los Tilos wasn’t part of our plan, but we had some spare time before driving to the airport and decided to make a quick stop, which turned out to be the best decision we made during the whole trip. A sub-tropical laurel forest, it is a representation of what makes La Palma such a beautiful island – the steep and abrupt mountains covered in a very dense green. We spent less than an hour there, but after wandering into a small tunnel found ourselves admiring a waterfall in the middle of the forest all alone. That’s the thing about La Palma – it’s full of hidden surprises around every corner! I can only imagine what some of the areas only accessible on foot could be hiding…

European Islands La Palma
Photo Credit- Finding Upendi

What Is Your “Can’t Miss” Activity on the Island? What activities/opportunities does this island provide?


I’d have to say that a visit to the National Park of La Caldera de Taburiente is a must. This National Park protects what’s basically a 10-km wide crater, with it’s highest point at 2000 metres. The landscape as well as the views are absolutely breathtaking. It is at this highest point that you will also find the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory, which containes some of the world’s biggest telescopes, as well as being the best observatory on the northern hemisphere after Hawaii. This is precisely why stargazing is a very popular activity in La Palma, and astronomy-tourism is on the rise. The best activity though is hiking – the landscapes are just begging to be explored on foot, and there are hiking routes across the whole island that have recently been revamped and are all properly sign-posted. If you are neither into star-gazing nor hiking, there are also some pretty good swimming spots, as well as whale and dolphin-watching opportunities.

Best Restaurant/Place to Eat?


The local food is absolutely delicious and I’ve never had a bad experience so I’d say anywhere is good. The only thing would be that there are extensive areas of the island without any towns, so it’d be wise to plan ahead. The capital, as well as some of the biggest towns, like Los Llanos, would be the ones with the biggest amount of places to eat. Tazacorte as well, although not very big, has a nice promenade lined up with loads of restaurants by the sea.

What Surprised You About this Island?


The absolute and sheer beauty – it is simply amazing, and very different from the other islands! Even though it is volcanic, it is not as dry as the other islands but rather covered in a beautiful layer of green forests, as well as natural volcanic pools. It is heaven for nature-lovers!

European Islands La Palma
Photo Credit- Finding Upendi

Any Travel Advice for those considering this island as a destination (e.g.,where to stay, ease of getting there, how best to get around, language, money)?

 The island remains relatively untouched by tourism (although hiking tourism is booming at the moment), which means it might not be the easiest of islands to visit and might require a little bit of planning! For starters, the airport is very small (and hard to access actually, so it is not uncommon for flights to get delayed due to bad weather) and there aren’t a lot of flights with the exception of flights from Tenerife. There’s a new direct flight from London with Easyjet, so it has recently become a lot easier to visit! Also, the local language is Spanish and I would not expect the locals to be able to speak English, with the exception of restaurants and hotel staff. If anything, you might stand a better chance of finding German-speaking people, given that most of the tourists they receive are German. As for moving around, as I previously mentioned, you really only have two choices – either rent a car or do it on foot.

The best advice I could give is to just go for it, get out and explore the island – no matter where you decide to go or do, I haven’t met a single person yet who hasn’t loved La Palma!

If my readers want to hear more about your island, do you have a link to your full article?

I wrote an article last year covering a one-day roadtrip itinerary of the island which can be found at:

Many thanks to Wayfaring with Wagner and Finding Upendi! 

Here is a pin so you have these beautiful islands at your fingertips.

European Islands
Photo Credit Pixabay

Did you miss the other European Islands we have explored? Check them out here.

Interested in Caribbean or USA or Philippine Islands? I have you covered there too.

**Please note that this post may contain affiliate links meaning that, at no cost to you, I may receive some compensation.

Top 5 Travel Hacks

Hi all! I feel like it’s been awhile. It’s just incredibly wonderful to feel the spring sun and watch the beautiful flowers in bloom. Also, we’ve been out traveling twice in the last month… that along with birthdays, school plays, soccer, yard work, shooting hoops in the driveway too late past bedtime… you know how the springtime awakening goes… Since packing (and unpacking) have been fresh on my mind lately, I thought that a few travel hacks were in order.

I try to be a no stress traveler. The whole point of going on a trip is to relax and explore. That said there are a few travel hacks that make life easier and don’t require too much planning ahead.  I have also narrowed it down to my top five. While there are plenty of travel hack articles out there,  most of them have lost me at “top 25.” Who has time to read 25 hacks when you are trying to get ready for a trip?

#1  Take a photo of the information plaques while out sightseeing.  This hack came from my sister-in-law and is my favorite hack of them all. We all think we are going to remember our pictures in the details (or even where we took the picture), but there is so much to see that the details often get lost. Having a picture of the info from a historic monument or the name of the restaurant you loved helps when you are sharing pictures with family and friends. Or perhaps, you are just in awe of the architecture (or chasing down your energetic young ones) and don’t have time to read all of the history behind the site. Your picture allows you to read the plaque later that day in the quiet of your hotel room.

#2  Plastic Gallon Bags. Not good for the environment (so obviously try to reuse them as much as possible) but great for packing. This hack is especially useful if you are sharing a suitcase with your children. I put an outfit for each day in a plastic bag and also have one for toiletries, pajamas, and swimsuits. This helps alleviate the drama of them tearing through the suit case to choose an outfit or find a swimsuit and disrupting the order with which I so carefully (most of the time) packed it.

#3  Blue Apron. I love it. I would use it every week if I were able to. However, Blue Apron is a once-a-month kind of thing at our house. As such, I always reserve an order for the week we return.  We will undoubtedly be making several trips to the grocery store, but it is nice to avoid having to plan at least one meal a day until the bags are unpacked and the laundry is done.

#4 An Empty Stainless Steel Water Bottle. (My redemption for using plastic bags.)  The water bottles are great for filling up at the airport once you have passed through security. This can save you quite a bit of money in the long run. I also like having the water bottle at our hotel. If the water tastes funny or we are not supposed to drink it, I can always take my water bottle down to the fitness center to fill it up for the day.

#5 Take a Photo of Your Row/Level at the Airport Parking Garage. Haha- yes, our phones are full of random signs. However, this again is extremely helpful. When in a rush to make our flight (as we undoubtedly always are), we always take  a quick snap and are grateful we have when we return from our trips with our heads in the clouds and sleepy children. 

There you have it- 5 quick, no-stress, no-plan travel hacks. What about you? Do you have any travel hacks that you implement regularly? Planning to stay put and enjoy all that spring and summer have to offer? Me too… but here’s the pin for next February 😉


**This post may contain affiliate links, meaning that, at no cost to you, I may receive some compensation. Thank you!



What to Wear on a Plane- Keeping it Classy

Plane Outfit #1

I’m sure you all heard the hulaboo (someone recently used this word and I have since adopted it and use it every chance I get- sorry) about the girls who wore leggings on the United flight. Honestly. Once again, our family debates are ahead of their time. Every time before we are leaving for a longer plane trip, there is discussion about what we will be wearing, which inevitably ends with me assuring everyone…not my yoga pants… even though stylish comfy clothes are my forte. But I get it. We are in public, we are going on a nice trip, and it really isn’t too much to ask that I not look like I am about to hop into bed… I mean, workout… 

That said, with much reservation (well, not that much since I was able to shop), I put together a few ensembles to check out… (Oh, and probably no on the shoes but they would add a nice element to change into once you arrive at your destination.)

If you want to keep it somewhat formal, this is a nice option, and I guarantee you will be able to wear most of this outfit again once you reach your destination. Versatility is always key for me.

Plane Outfit #2

This would be my trendy option-(yes, in my classic wardrobe, the bomber jacket qualifies as trendy- ha!). Maybe not the purse for the plane. Or maybe yes and just stick it in this bag? Can you tell that I may have a thing for scallops? I find it difficult to say no to scallops and ruffles. 

Plane Outfit #3
Plane Outfit #4

I love this cozy outfit. Maybe just add some pearls to make it just a tad fancy. And a t-shirt (perhaps one of these?) underneath to add an extra ounce of comfort.

What do you think? Are any of these combos your style? What do you wear on flights? Does distance/length of flight make a difference?

The PIN:


Travel Outfit #1

Ann Taylor Navy Blazer- (I couldn’t find this online but if you head to the store, I found it in the sale section and then got another 40% on top of that.) If you don’t have a store nearby, here is equally classy option with a splash of spring…

Ann Taylor Petite Striped Cutout Ruffle Shell-

Banana Republic Jeans- Again, I couldn’t find the exact match to these jeans but I really have had good luck with any and all BR jeans. The pair that probably gives the closest vibe to the ones in the photo are these-

Lariat Necklace- I love this necklace. It is especially nice for travel as it can be worn 3 ways. Check it out at


Travel Outfit #2

White House Black Market White Blazer with Black Pinstripe- Again, I purchased this awhile ago and it is no longer available. I do love WHBM for more dressy pieces like blazers, so it’s always worth a quick look. I also found this jacket at Nordstrom’s that keeps it classy and would pair well with the mock sweater in the picture-

Ann Taylor Ruffle Sleeve Mock Neck Sweater-  I’m a huge fan of higher cut tops and ruffles and this one checks both boxes-

Silver Bracelet-


Plane Outfit #3

Scalloped Shirt-

Bomber Jacket-

Plane Outfit #4

Fleece- Unfortunately, the last time I looked, this was sold out. However, there are still some good, cozy-looking options available. or seem like good options.

Bracelet- (Also no longer available-ahhh! Sorry- I don’t go shopping that often.) Again, this would make a good pairing, though…

** This post contains affiliate links meaning that, at no cost to you, I may receive some compensation. Thank you!




Island Travel Interviews, USA Islands- Take 1

Photo Credit- Pixabay

It’s spring break around our town, which means that traffic is pretty light around here.  I’m loving looking at all of the lovely island photos popping up on Facebook and Instagram. When one thinks of US Islands, Hawaii without a doubt comes immediately to mind. This week, bloggers Valerie from Maple Leopard and Sam from The Manini Experience a help us explore two beautiful Hawaiian islands.

Let’s start with Oahu and Maple Leopard…

What is Your Name and Blog Name/URL?

Valerie from MapleLeopard

Which Island Will You Be Talking About and Why Did You Choose This Island?

Oahu. I chose it because it is the most dreamy place in the world. It is truly a paradise you never want to leave after you set foot on this beautiful island.

Photo Credit- Maple Leopard

How Many Days Would You Recommend Staying on This Island?

As many as possible! At least 14 to see it all. I have only ever stayed a week, and it is by far not enough time!

Favorite Thing About/Memory From Your Trip to This Island?

My favorite memory was when my whole family went two years in a row. My kids were younger then, so bittersweet memories. I did go again in 2015 for my daughters graduation present…special memories then too!

Photo Credit- Maple Leopard

What is Your “Can’t Miss” Activity on the Island? What activities/opportunities does this island provide?

Swimming and doing water activities at Waikiki Beach. It is the ultimate Hawaiian experience. There are too many activities to name. The island of course, is rich in Hawaiian culture, and there is much of that to be explored. The Polynesian Cultural Center and Hiking Diamond Head are very popular tourist experiences..don’t miss them!

Best Restaurant/Place to Eat?

Dicks is definitely the place you want to try out! Gorgeous ocean views and delicious food!

What Surprised You About this Island?

The water in the world famous place for Snorkeling: Hanauma Bay..was absolutely freezing!

Photo Credit- Maple Leopard

Any Travel Advice for those considering this island as a destination (e.g., where to stay, ease of getting there, how best to get around, language, money)?

If you are on a budget, (Like I always am) I suggest you stay at the Aqua Oasis by Aston Hotels..on Lewers Street. It is conveniently located 3 blocks from the beach and is beautifully remodeled.

If you stay in Waikiki beach, everything is in walking distance. If you want to explore the island, there are city buses, tour buses, and of course car rentals. Everyone mostly speaks English and the money is US Dollars.

If my readers want to hear more about your island, do you have a link to your full article?

I have 2 or 3 articles about Oahu. Here are the links…


And now for Lana’i Island from The Manini Experience…

What is your name and blog/URL?

 Sam | The Manini Experience (

IG: @themaniniexperience

FB: The Manini Experience

Which Island Will You Be Talking About and Why Did You Choose This Island?

Lana’i Island, Hawaii

Photo Credit- The Manini Experience


How Many Days Would You Recommend Staying on This Island?


What is Your Favorite Thing About/Memory From Your Travels to This Island? Swimming with 100+ dolphins in the wild. They were incredibly majestic, curious, and playful. To them we were just another part of the sea.

Photo Credit- The Manini Experience

What is Your “Can’t Miss” Activity on the Island? What activities/opportunities does this island provide?

While this island isn’t bustling with activity, there are three big attractions to be seen. 1. Manele Bay and the Four Seasons resort – The resort sits atop a large cliff overlooking the bay which harbors a marine sanctuary. This is a sight to see! 2. Shipwreck Beach – A moderate off-rode drive in a jeep will get you to this destination where you can observe an old US Navy vessel that was purposefully grounded and used for training before it was left to be broken down and turned into reef by the ocean and its inhabitants. 3. Garden of the Gods – While not quite as impressive as the one in Colorado Springs, this is still a really cool place to see inexplicably large and unique rock formations that some would agree could only have been placed there by a higher being.

Photo Credit- The Manini Experience

Best Restaurant/Place to Eat?

The Blue Ginger Cafe – A small local joint in Lana’i City that is far from the tourism area of Manele Bay. The food is delicious but the bakery “take’s the cake.” (Sorry for the cheesy joke!) Here is the link to their website:

What Surprised You About this Island?

How small town it is. We saw the same people day after day and started to know the local residents by name. It was refreshing after living in Honolulu where you can go months without running into someone you know! 

Photo Credit- The Manini Experience

Any Travel Advice for those considering this island as a destination (e.g., where to stay, ease of getting there, how best to get around, language, money)?

1. Don’t make it your entire vacation unless all you want to do is lay at the beach because there isn’t much to do, just make it a side trip from your main vacation to one of the bigger islands.

2. You cannot take a boat, you have to fly there with one of only two airlines that operates to this island. They also have limited flights per day so I would recommend planning ahead although the flight are usually far from full.  

3. If the Four Seasons is too steep for your pocketbook, there are a couple of airbnb’s that you can rent but book early!

4. Places to eat, ATM’s and other general amenities (such as 24 hr convenience stores) either don’t exist or are scarce so plan ahead and have cash on you before going. Also either eat dinner very early if you want to eat out or buy groceries because the restaurants don’t keep very long hours.

5. There is no hospital on this island and you would have to be airlifted if something happened so be careful you don’t get yourself into some trouble 🙂

 If my readers want to hear more about your island, do you have a link to your full article?

No link to an article about Lana’i but have a link to our Christmas on Big Island.

Want to save this info for your next holiday break? Here is a pin for that…

Photo Credit- Pixabay

Want to check out some other great islands that we’ve covered? I have a link for that…

Island Travel Interviews

**Please note that this post contains affiliate links, meaning that, at no cost to you, I may receive some compensation. Thank you!


007 in the Bahamas

Are there any other Sean Connery fans out there? Let me tell you a story about my childhood… I was raised on James Bond. Now, I was not allowed to watch Jem or Growing Pains, but for whatever reason, 007 was a-okay. And what’s not to love about this spy series? There is mystery, intrigue, action, and beautiful scenery. I’m not sure how many James Bond movies were filmed in the Bahamas; I’ll have to ask my brother the next time we talk and get back to you on that one. However, I do know that, being the super fans that my parents are, his name came up just a few times during our last visit to Nassau and Paradise Island. Here are the 3 places we visited and the corresponding movies…

The British Colonial Hilton in Nassau is the site of the Never Say Never bar… you know, the one where there is flirting and water skiing… all of the things good island banter is made of. Unfortunately, the bar is no longer there. I remember when it was. Yes, my family may have gone on a little James Bond escapade when I was younger. Maybe even stopping out at Lyford Cay and taking a picture in front of Sean Connery’s gate. Moving on…

Another Bond movie great, Thunderball, was also filmed at the Hilton in the lobby; apparently, a few things were rearranged for the movie, so this doesn’t look exactly as it did in the movie. Coincidently, this lobby is also where we all sat in the lobby during our vacation because the 4 year old got a little ambitious “just sticking his toes” in the water and ended up drenched (there are air hand dryers in the bathrooms and the gift shop does sell size 4 swim trunks, in case anyone needs to know).

I’ve saved the best for last… The One and Only Ocean Club on Paradise IslandHaving never had the opportunity to stay here, I’d love to roll my eyes or make some snide remark, but, wow, this place is everything it claims to be. It is gorgeous and immaculate and the staff is spectacular. I have so many memories here. My brother taking lessons from the pro, Leo, who still remembers my family and greets us with his warm smile. Or, my mom taking me to The Courtyard Terrace for dinner and my first official drink (White Zin, of course… it was the 90s) . Pictures of my parents on dates there while my grandmother watched us. The first time my husband and I went there for drinks or when we left our kids with their grandparents for our date nights at Dune. Ahhh… just so.many.memories. But, I guess we aren’t really supposed to be talking about me…oops! Back to the handsome man in the suit. While he’s not Sean Connery, Daniel Craig is a close second. And, he fits in well at The One and Only in Casino Royale. Here are some more pictures because it’s hard not to just keep snapping. It is beautiful!

Want to save this for your very own future 007 self-guided tour? I have a pin for that…

*This post may contain affiliate links, meaning that, at no cost to you, I may receive some compensation. Thank you!

To Plan or Not to Plan

To Plan or Not to Plan? This is obviously a personal question and depends on, well, your personality. Before I share what we do, please understand, I honestly do not believe that there is a right or wrong way. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below, too.

I think I may have mentioned this before… I love lists. So, you might think I am a huge planner for trips. I’m not. Maybe I used to be? Then, we had kids… Kids can either make you a crazy planner or a non-planner. After trying to plan with kids and having my husband and I disappointed because we couldn’t go to our favorite restaurant that we had been so-looking forward to because there was an hour wait, I knew I needed to change my thinking. We often don’t even plan whether we are going to check into our hotel or go somewhere else in the city until we see the city’s skyline (which is super annoying, I’m sure, for anyone who may be meeting us). We are now flexible, meaning, we may eat lunch at 11am or we may eat lunch at 2pm… a lot of it depends on our kids. But, I actually think this is a positive thing, at least for this ex-crazy planner. It has helped me relax. We have discovered all kinds of new places just because we sometimes hit a wall and are thinking, “get these kids some monkey bars, asap.” (Does anyone else have kids that start climbing when they are tired? What?!) Granted, phones and google maps, lend themselves well to this and help me loosen the reigns a bit too. It’s easier than ever to find restaurants and nearby parks, and this is comforting.

That said, we do plan a bit… we always buy our plane tickets at least a couple of months in advance for domestic flights and 6 months in advance for international flights. We also do have hotels rooms booked at least a week in advance for weekend trips and usually a month or so in advance for longer trips. I remember driving out to the east coast with my family one summer. Now, keep in mind, these were the days before cell phones and Mapquest.  We weren’t really in a hurry, but around 5pm, my parents decided that we should start to look for a hotel for the night. They were all booked. We finally found one at 10 at night. My brother and I knew not to ask if there was a pool. I don’t know why that memory has stuck with me (clearly, I had a very nice childhood if that stands out as a struggle- ha!) but it has and I make certain that we have hotels booked for road trips. There are some things that I just need and knowing that we are going to be at a decent hotel at the end of the day is one of them. Food is another item I like to plan for… Not necessarily restaurants but just food. Breakfast to be specific. Clearly, there aren’t any full breakfasts had in hotel rooms unless you think ahead and fill out those door-handle room menus or can wait 45 minutes (we don’t and can’t) but a few of us (me and the 4 year old to be specific) need to eat the second we wake up, so I definitely plan to have some Clif bars on hand. I also tend to carry some Smokehouse almonds with us at all times- we all love them and they help us make it through until the next meal. Activities are items we half plan for… we think, “hey, it might be fun to drag our kids on an architecture tour,” but if it is sold out or the weather isn’t great, we don’t stress about it. It’s just always a good idea to have a backup plan should, say, my husband’s business meeting go longer than expected. Having activities in the back of my mind is a must.  We also recently discovered that our children like lists too (yay!). If we do have an agenda, it always helps to draw out what we are going to do or even make a Home Alone-ish map. Another way that we plan is through friends. It is so much fun to ask friends what they would recommend; these are always the best recommendations.

So, in summary, this is what we plan for: food, hotels, plane tickets. We wing it with: activities and restaurants.  Somewhat embarrassingly, I think it has taken us years to get to this point. My husband, the non-planner, and I, the crazy planner, have finally met in the middle and found the sweet spot in planning our trips together where neither of us is stressed out by the other (we just stress other people out now).

Being Americans, I do feel that I have to address this Disney planning business. It is a planner’s dream come true. So. Many. Ways.To.Plan. There is something thrilling to me knowing that we need to book the Belle Breakfast exactly 180 days before we plan to dine with the princess. Or, when I discovered Fast Passes… oh the fun to be had with those. And, maps, how fun would it be to highlight and number those so as to maximize our time. But, in the end, guess what we did? We showed up. I’ll admit, I felt a little cheated out of all of the fun planning. But guess who didn’t feel cheated? Our kids. And that made everything just fine and just as magical. Maybe they didn’t get to meet Anna and Elsa, but just look at how much fun the then 2-year old had sneaking in a hug with Cinderella! And maybe we criss-crossed the park and wasted all kinds of precious time, but then we had time to just wander and take in all there was to see (and there was plenty off good people watching, too). I should add, though, that we went on a 92 degree day in June, so the park wasn’t terribly crowded, but still… I guess my point is that if you plan, it works out great and if you don’t, that’s great too. It’s finding what works for you and your traveling companions.

I want to know… do you tend toward the planning or non-planning end of the spectrum?

If you found this amusing if not a bit helpful and feel like pinning it, here you are 🙂


Island Travel Interviews-Philippines, Take 1


Photo Credit- Pixabay

This week we are headed to the Philippines with our Island Travel Interviews! I have to admit that I am pretty excited about this, mostly because I really don’t know anything about the Philippines. I will be learning right along with you this time. Fortunately, we have Chel Inumerable from Hey, It’s Chel to take us to Borocay and Roneth from The Fickle Feet to help us learn about Siargao. Let’s get started!

First Stop… Borocay!

Name and Blog Name/URL

Chel Inumerable of Hey, it’s Chel

Which Island Will You Be Talking About and Why Did You Choose This Island?

Boracay! My favourite island in the Philippines where the water is clear and the sand is pure and white.

Photo Credit- Hey, It’s Chel

How Many Days Would You Recommend Staying on This Island?

As many as you could…But if you really, really need to leave, 1 week is enough.

What is Your Favorite Thing About/Memory From Your Trip to This Island?

I met one of my bestfriends here and we instantly clicked, we backpacked around Asia after that. Also, just recently, I brought my boyfriend here and we had a wonderful time!

What is Your “Can’t Miss” Activity on the Island? What activities/opportunities does this island provide?

A good massage by the beach (US$7) by licensed and trained therapists, cliff jumping, scuba diving, sunset watching. There’s a lot of water activities actually that you can do here.

Photo Credit- Hey, It’s Chel

Best Restaurant/Place to Eat?

Spider House, it has the best sunset view. Sea Breeze Café for a delicious dinner buffet for only US$15, by 8pm watch out for the dancing chefs, Hoy Panga Boracay offers the first smoothie bowls in the island and Jonah’s Fruit Shake for their yummy fresh fruit shakes.

What Surprised You About this Island?

There’s always a new restaurant or establishment popping up.

Photo Credit- Hey, It’s Chel

Any Travel Advice for those considering this island as a destination (e.g., where to stay, ease of getting there, how best to get around, language, money)?

Everyone speaks English so language won’t be a problem. The best way to get there is via Caticlan airport. You can also fly via Kalibo airport which most of the time has a cheaper airfare prices but you need 2 more hours to get to the island (by land and water). There are many hostels and traveller’s inn if you are on a budget, always check the accommodation away from the beach (it will be like a 3-5 minute walk to the beach so it isn’t that bad). If you are a spender, then a nice hotel facing the beach won’t be a problem for you. There are ATMs around the island too.

If my readers want to hear more about your island, do you have a link to your full article?

Yes I do have a couple, feel free to visit my blog or DM me on Instagram @chelinumerable

And, Next Up… Siargao!

Name and Blog Name/URL

Name: Roneth Politud

Blog:    The Fickle Feet (

Photo Credit- The Fickle Feet

Which Island Will You Be Talking About and Why Did You Choose This Island?
The Philippines is composed of 7107 islands. Each islands has a different kind of beauty but Siargao Island stole my heart. Siargao is the surfing capital of the Philippines. It faces the Pacific Ocean, that’s why it has beautiful big waves that surfers all over the world visit. Even non surfers will enjoy the island as it offers a lot more than waves.

How Many Days Would You Recommend Staying on This Island?

During our visit we stayed there for four days, but it was never enough! If someone really like to visit the Island, I suggest at least a week is better.

Photo Credit- The Fickle Feet

What was Your Favorite Thing About/Memory From Your Trip to This Island?

My favorite thing in the islands is the easy and chill vibe it has. Surfing in the morning, going to the beach and even ride a bike in the afternoon. Also, they have a night life where you can just chill and enjoy a good set music while sipping on your margarita!

What is Your “Can’t Miss” Activity on the Island? What activities/opportunities does this island provide?

Of course I will say surfing! But if you don’t want to surf there’s a lot of option. Like what we did, we went island hoping for whole day. We explore the nearby islands like Naked Island, Guyam Island and Daku Island. Even visited the farther island, it took us almost 3 hours to get the Sohoton cove. Other than island hopping Magpopongko Tidal Pool is a must visit!

(Sohoton) Photo Credit- The Fickle Feet

Best Restaurant/Place to Eat?

One of the must try is in Kermit’s. We were able to dine-in here. They serve Filipino-Italian Food. Which is authentic I must say. You can make your own pizza, and the pasta was beyond my Filipino taste buds that’s why I can say that it’s authentic on the Italian side. Haha. Also, the restaurant is always full, they have reservations, but if you are not able to make any reservations like we did, just wait. It’s also quite pricey here. Ready your cash for the good food you are willing to spend on!

Of course, if you don’t like to spend much, I have a place in mind. Go to Mama’s Grill. It was actually popular. A lot of travelers were in the place. No wonder, they serve delicious grilled food with affordable price.

What Surprised You About this Island?

I was expecting that it will be so touristy since it is very popular. And on our way to the island, our group of five is the only Filipinos in the plane. All are tourists, mostly are from Spain. The moment we arrived in the island, as I expect more foreigners are there, actually they’re everywhere. It doesn’t feel like I’m in the Philippines. But the surroundings are not crowded, it just like a simple island. Many foreigners but not touristy and crowded, I hope you get what I mean.

Any Travel Advice for those considering this island as a destination (e.g., where to stay, ease of getting there, how best to get around, language, money)?

Accommodation: There’s a lot of hostel in the island! If travelling alone, it is best just to stay in hostels like Paglaom. . But during our stay we just rented in Airbnb. It is good when travelling with a group since we can divide the cost. We got ours at $20 (Php1000) per night.

How to get around: A motorcycle ride will cost $0.40 (Php20) per ride. It is cheaper to rent a motorbike for $7-8 (Php350) for whole day. You can also rent a bike for $2 (Php100) a day.


  • Reserved a surfing lesson for the next day.
    • Surfing Board: $4 (Php200) per hour
    • Surfing Instructor: $6 (Php300) per hour
  • For night life events in the island. On Mondays chill night at Rumbar and on Tuesdays dance party at Jungle

If my readers want to hear more about your island, do you have a link to your full article?

Yes! I actually made a 4 days complete guide in the island.


Thank you so much to Chel and Roneth for sharing their experiences and traveling tips to these two remarkable Philippines Islands!

Want to put a pin on it? Here you go!

Photo Credit- Pixabay


**Nope, I didn’t forget… This post may contain affiliate links, meaning that, at no cost to you, I may receive some compensation. Thank you!






Top 4 Best Spring Break Beaches

Well, we are in our home stretch! Spring is almost here, and to be quite honest, this winter wasn’t even that bad (I think I may be scarred for life from the Polar Vortexes we had a few years back). You may have noticed that I have been posting quite a few beach pictures over on my Instagram lately, just to get in the mood.  So, let’s talk Spring Break Beaches. Specifically, let’s look at 4 super doable beach vacations. No 8-hour flights for our crew this year!

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina- This island is incredibly easy to get to and could even involve a quick road trip if you live on the eastern half of the US. There is something for everyone here. The beaches are beautiful for running, playing, sunbathing, and, yes, especially biking… they go for miles and miles! Just don’t get overzealous like we did and remember that you do have to ride back to the hotel. If you are wondering what else there is to do, I wrote about it here.

Naples, Florida- Another beach town that is quite easy to get to. A quick flight or a longer drive, but, nonetheless, doable. The beach is beautiful and again goes for miles and miles (can you tell this is a major requirement for me?). The sand is soft and easy to nap on or go for a long stroll. There are several different hotels, with hotel bars, along the way, so if you get thirsty, you will have options. 

Dana Point/Laguna Beach, California- Ahhhh… one of my favorites. Even if you don’t surf, it is amazing to watch all of the surfers getting their waves on (is that a phrase?) early in the morning. Our hotel overlooked the beach with gorgeous cliffs in the background- it almost felt as though we were in a different county. To the right on the beach, was an expanse of sand leading to some rocks and cliffs. To the left were extraordinary homes all stacked one on top of the other and fabulous nonetheless. Just as I was picturing our family living in one of these modern beach homes, we discovered the also-extraordinary pricing. I guess we will just have to look forward to hotel stays at this West Coast “must.”

Paradise Island, Bahamas- My happy place. I’ve been walking this beach since I was about 8 years old and will never, ever tire of it. It exudes calm and peace and a sense of timelessness. The water is so clear that you can see to the bottom and the sand is so white and powdery that even if you are one of those “no sand on my toes” kind of people, you won’t mind it. Everything is so clean and bright that you need sunglasses but really don’t want to wear them because you don’t want to dim all of that brilliant color. Again, you can walk forever on this beach and lose yourself in thought without much effort at all. This is my forever beach and I really hope you are able to experience it because it is much too beautiful not to share. 

I want to know…Do you have a US/Caribbean beach that you love? What is your favorite beach activity? Are you a solo or company beach walker?

Already have Spring Break plans but want to save these suggestions for next year? I have a pin for that 🙂

*Please note that this post may contain affiliate links, meaning that, at no cost to you, I may receive some compensation… Thank you!


Friday Finds (Take 2)


Our Crazy Buddy

Welcome back to my randomness… with Friday Finds, Take 2….Hope you all had a great week! We made it to almost-Friady. Yay! And I made it through February without a broken bone- double Yay! Our only February hick-up was that our dog ate sand at the beach and had to spend the night at the Emergency Animal Hospital. Fortunately, he is back to his crazy, jumping, kissing 10-year old self. 

Brunch Bowl @ Donkey

Donkey Taqueria- If you are visiting Grand Rapids, Michigan, or live within an hour radius of Grand Rapids, this restaurant is a must. It is my favorite restaurant. So much so that I always have fabulous intentions of trying one of the new eateries that keep popping up around the city but just cannot tear myself away from Donkey. I love being guaranteed great service, a delicious Paloma, and top-notch food. Every. Single. Time. Making it feel even more special is the fact that it forces you to just relax. You cannot call ahead (there isn’t a listed phone number), making you come to terms with the fact that you are just going to have to show up and go with the flow. If the wait is too long, we have always had good luck going across the street to Winchester for a pre-dinner drink. Donkey will just text you when your table is ready.

Lee and Birch– Looking for a different activity while you wait for your table? Just head up the street to Lee and Birch. I went in to just “check it out” and pretty much could have seen myself in all of the clothes in the store. It is small, which feels cozy and not too overwhelming. The sales people are pretty chill, helpful but not at all pushy.

Zing Zangs- This is an oldie but goodie. One of my brothers-in-law is our designated Bloody Mary guy and this is a favorite. Whenever he and my sister-in-law ask what they can bring, I always want them to bring the Bloody Mary’s. He did, however, share his secret, so now we can all make delicious Bloody’s. Zing Zangs has just the right amount of spice and thickness. It’s as much a staple at our family gatherings as ice cream cake, maybe even more so!

Barre 3 via You Tube- With all of this eating and drinking going on, I thought it only “fitting” that I throw in a workout too. I just discovered this tonight, and it is great! It is perfect for when, say, your stairclimber is covered in plastic and every item in your storage room is now in the family hangout room because you had/have a “vision” for your laundry/mudroom (insert teeth-clenched emoji here). Moving on… the You Tube sequence is about 40 minutes long and would actually be perfect for when you are traveling too (there are small weights involved, but, let’s be honest, I’m not using those at home either). I really found the instructors to be encouraging and saying everything I needed to hear throughout the workout. The sequences are really easy to follow, and since repetition is key, it’s fairly easy to stay on track.

Well, there you have it, my barely-travel-related Friday Finds. I’ll be back next week with the Island Interviews Series. You may have also noticed all of the beautiful beaches lately on my Instagram account.. stay tuned, a related post is coming next week too. 

**I have no more fun ways to say this, so just know… this post may contain affiliate links, meaning that, at no cost to you, I may be compensated. Thank you!