It’s Valentines Day are you empty handed? You may need Romance Travel

Romance is in Traveling. On Valentines Day give the gift of travel.

Valentines Day has arrived and you are looking at the last remnants of cards, and chocolates available in the stores.  The shelf’s are bare.  There are only tired picked over items.  It’s the same old gimmicky items available every year.   Why not give a gift and experience that will last a lifetime and is filled with meaning?  Romance Travel if it is not on your radar it should be.

Why not reignite the passion for your relationship in a whole new way?  Why not experience romance in a whole new way on Valentines Day? Why not discover the Romance of Travel?

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As I have traveled the world with the love of my life, one thing I notice is travel always brings us closer.  In a distant city we laughing, sharing, and just enjoying each other.  We look up and we are lost.  We laugh as we try to find directions in a language we don’t understand.  It is not only entertaining but brings a story to your life.  A story you will have and can share.  A story of Romance.   This is what Romance Travel is all about.   It’s a memory you will take with you and share forever.    To travel together is definitely to live a very special existence.  Traveling together is an amazing journey of romance.

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There is an incredible joy when you experience the first Christmas Market in Europe.  The sweet aromas of fresh baked delicacies is wonderful shared with your love.  The brisk air as you walk through the legendary cities in search of your next hot drink to erase the chill in the air.  These are moments that inspire romance and create closeness.  This is what it is when you enjoy Romance Travel.

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To watch the sunset on a Luxury River Cruise along the Mekong Delta as you sip on a wonderful concoction the bartender has delivered to your chase lounge.  These are times that shared with your loved one that are irreplaceable.  This is what it is to discover Romance Travel.

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To drift by castles as you cruise along the Rhine with a glass of wine in one hand and your partners hand in another.  This is traveling as a couple.  This is a journey that you share together.   This is your time.  This is your Valentines Day Gift to each other.

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This is what romance is made of the experiences you create together.  I find couples who travel together often happier.  I think that has to do with taking time out for just you both.  Enjoying each other as you learn about a new culture.   Or just relaxing in the sands of the Caribbean enjoying a cocktail.   There is nothing like travel for romance.  There is nothing like the joy of creating memories with the one you love.  There is nothing like Romance Travel.

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So with Valentines day around the corner why not give the gift of romance?  Why not share a getaway with your love?  You don’t need to show up empty handed.  Experience a night in Paris, an evening in Vienna, a cruise on the Danube, or an all inclusive getaway to the Caribbean.

I would love to help you find your couple experience.  Your own experience to share and make memories to last a lifetime.  Your own Romance travel.  Go on celebrate you!  Celebrate Valentines Day with a gift of Romance Travel.

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I would love to help you experience those special moments with your Amor di tu vida contact me below.  If you care to see my Meaningful Travel you tube video just click the link.

River Cruising the Art of Luxury

The art of luxury river cruising

River Cruising
River Cruising

River Cruising and the Art of Luxury

Picture gliding down an ancient river with a gentle breeze just sweeping across face as you sit sipping a glass of wine from the local region you are visiting.   You’re escorted down the river with picturesque countryside and you never worry about unpacking and packing, you never worry how you are going to get from one destination to the next, you never worry about paying for anything on board, you never worry about making a bed, or even what you are going to eat.  

 

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You dine on regional specialties and traditional fare that is not only delicious but a feast for the eyes as well.  All the while in casual comfort.

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A casual yet refined style of travel known as river cruising is blooming into a new style of travel for most.   The value for the lifestyle is enough to make the luxury minimalist drool a little.   Try pricing out everything you do and see on a river cruise individually and your head will spin as the dollar signs start to rise.   It appears almost exponentially as you start adding things like transfers, comfortable hotels, and exquisite meals.   Yes, I guess you could go really budget and stay in a hostel but why?

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Travel is meant to be a journey, not rushed, not hurried but a wonderful journey into life.   It is not only the destination you discover but the culture and the people.  It’s meant to be smooth, it’s meant to be lived.  It’s meant to be EXPERIENCED.  I captured these moments with my love Nikon 3300 SR I can’t tell you how many times I have dropped it and it still works amazing.

 

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Daily Life along the Mekong Delta

 

 

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Floating Markets in Cambodia

 

The only thing I regret is I hadn’t discovered it sooner.  For those with a passion to travel and experience river cruising provides a wonderful venue for you.  Your back drop is the world and your mode of transport is a vessel that glides along the most beautiful rivers.   If you are lucky to choose the correct line you may be presented with a panoramic view and more than likely you will settle for no less later on.  Yet for the budget minded you can also experience everything a river cruise has to offer in a room with slightly different set up that still will provide you all the experience and wonder you desire.

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There she is my girl Nikon 3300 SR

 

From the Castles of Europe to the exotic venues of Asia you will not be disappointed.  If there is a navigable waterway there is likely a river cruise company that will carry you on your journey.  Gone is the hustle and bustle of the larger lines here you find the destination is the experience.  Everything glides along in a river pace.  Not to be confused with nothing to do and boring because as I mentioned earlier the destination is the discovery and the experience.   You are free to relax and enjoy on your own or join the group as they go out and explore each new stop.  Discover River Cruising and the Art of Luxury you will not be disappointed.dsc_0289

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Contact Travel with T @ TravelwithTtoday.com to discover your next destination discovery

The best time to plan your vacation

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SW Colorado Photo Credit Travel with T

I have to admit every time I see those statistics of people not using their vacation it just makes me cringe.  I actually feel the chalk board nails grinding across the board and I quiver as that feeling creeps up my spine.  I want to run out the door as if it might be catching and scream in horror.  What if I too am infected and I also waste my coveted golden vacation days.  The thought itself is enough to send me into an all out search for my next travel adventure or faith journey.

As I person who travels but also plans travel I often get the question when is the best time to plan my vacation?   My answer today!  Why?  Because why not?  If you don’t start  now when?   Will you too leave your vacation hours sitting there unused and hold on!  Stop the presses!  Or, Gasp! you may lose or for that matter waste them if you have not used them.  I cringe at the thought.

 

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Puerto Rico Photo Credit Travel with T

So the reality is if you want to take a vacation and you want to go somewhere it takes planning.  You just have to get out there and do it.  There is no time that is better than today for making those plans.  Why?  The reason is if you want to go somewhere that takes just a little planning.  Lets just say Europe as in example.  Do you need visas?   Where do you want to go?  How long can you stay?  How are you going to get there and get around?   Lots of planning but that should never stop you even if it’s seems overwhelming.  The earlier the better I say.  Also get the help of a travel planner early on they can save you a ton of time and headache and also some cash.

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Princess Cruises Photo Credit Travel with T

It’s to your advantage say to book a cruise or a tour in advance and one of the reasons why is PAYMENTS for those who can’t spend the total right off the back and maybe don’t want to pay interest if you charged it.   For instance, most cruise lines allow you to book a year or more in advance and your small deposit holds your room until final payment date usually a few months out.  So that gives you plenty of time during the year to put money towards your vacation.  I can hear the words now, I don’t want to cruise or what if I can’t go at the time I think.    Cruise lines are incredible at that and most of them are flexible.  Even when you book a year out with them and a couple of months before something happens and you can’t go.  No worries as long as you are within 60 days out or so just move your cruise out to a more suitable time.   Especially if you purchase insurance than you really have flexibility.   The whole idea of a time share is so that you GO on vacation.  I say skip the time share and plan your vacation.   That simple..

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Assisi Italy photo credit Travel with T

For those not wanting a cruise a land based vacation at an all-inclusive resort can pretty much be done the same way.  Decide where you want to go.   You place a deposit which is usually more than the cruise deposit but still not the total price of the package.   Then you can pay it as the months go by. You can also wait until final payment usually 60 days out or so and pay it off then also.  Then as the months go by you dream.    This gives you ample time to enjoy the vacation before the vacation as you dream and do some research on your choice.    Many companies that a travel agent can find you will even let you move it to a different date if you need to.

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Mazatlán Mexico Photo Credit Travel with T

So again why are you waiting?   Why aren’t you traveling?  Really there are no excuses you have the time, you can spread your financial obligation out with no interest for up to sometimes over a year.  There are many who get a tax refund and it’s gone on nothing a vacation will give you a lifetime of memories worth much more than a new TV.   You have vacation it has been proven to help people deal better, handle stress easier, and relax more.   So if the beach, ocean, mountains, or some far away country beckons get on it.  Time and VACATION are a wasting.

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Bahamas Photo Credit Travel with T

Cruising it’s all about Princess or maybe “The Princess”

 

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Puerto Vallarta on Princess Cruises

We have been cruising for several years now and have quite a number under our belt. Our choice being Princess for there superb service, classically beautiful design, destinations, and military friendliness.   For the ultimate experience and pampering you really can’t beat it.  For instance I am a Elite member and this includes yup a free mini bar set up.

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For the luxury minimalist it is a very nice room especially if you book a balcony.   I get to bring two YES two bottles of wine on board and I really love my wine.   I have a room steward who comes to take care of my room twice a day.  I can order room service to be served on my balcony if I booked one over looking that big beautiful ocean.   Or I can have them open my wine as I just sit and relax in ultimate comfort.  It really has a lot of featured comforts that can’t be beat.

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On the Ruby Princess Ocean View with obstruction ok ok it’s a little messy.

 

For this cruise we chose a ocean view obstructed room on the Ruby Princess and it was cabin E632.   We had a great window and there was hardly any obstruction at all.   A little noise in the morning from the opening of the storage door below but really nothing.  When you book an ocean view obstructed you can just about get anything.  It can be completely obstructed to really nothing to speak of.  I try to usually go on line and make sure I am getting a room that is not totally blocked.   This is always a great value and is comparable to a interior room and less than a full ocean view in price.   It’s a great deal if you are not spending a lot of time in the room.

E532 Ocean View Obstructed on the Ruby Princess Can you see the obstruction?
E632 Ocean View Obstructed on the Ruby Princess Can you see the obstruction?

I chose the ocean view obstructed because we were traveling with a group this time and was pretty sure I would not be in the room too much.  I was not disappointed as this view was great!  The cabin fantastic.

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E 632 Ruby Princess Ocean view with Obstruction

Our cruise this time was to the Mexican Rivera our stops were Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, and Cabo San Lucas.   I have to say my favorite used to be Puerto Vallarta but I really enjoyed Mazatlan this time.  We chose a self guided taxi ride that took us throughout the city and out to the beach area to somewhere called Playa Bruja area.   We stopped and had lunch at a little place right on the beach.

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Matzatlan, Mexico Playa Bruha

The food was classic seafood style Mexican.  I chose grilled lobster which was very good.  Now I have to say that is was not as good as the little lobster village down in Baja California called Puerto Nuevo but it was close.  I was serenaded upon request of course as I enjoyed my lunch with great company.

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Cruising with Friends is always good

If you have never taken a cruise it is wonderful and one of my husbands favorite vacations.  He really enjoys the idea of unpacking once yet seeing multiple places.  It’s great if you just want to step your foot into various places before you make a longer trip.  In the United States our vacation time is some of the shortest in the working world so most try to make the most of the short time.   A cruise is perfect in this aspect because you can see a lot in a relatively small time frame.

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Puerto Vallarta, Mexico Photo Credit Travel with T

For those who just want to enjoy the sea it’s perfect.  You can stroll upon the decks or sit in the International Café and enjoy a cup of freshly brewed coffee or a nice cup of loose leaf tea.  There is no better place on ship for my favorite past time people watching then the Piazza.

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Wine is better on a Cruise Photo Credit Travel with T
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Piazza on the Ruby Princess Photo Credit Teresa Halsey Hollar TravelwithT.net
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Piazza on the Ruby Princess Photo Credit Teresa Halsey Hollar

As always if you enjoyed my review of Princess and would like more information please contact me.  I would love to help you book your destination discovery.

 

 

Europe with a carry on for a wannabe fashionista

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Traveling to Europe in the winter for two weeks can be a challenge for a 50 plus  lovenly plump wannabe fashionista with only a carry on.  It doesn’t have to be though. I am about to board with just that. One carry on and one personal item.   A rather large personal item yet a peronal item non the less.

Having a Delta Amex card grants me zone one boarding meaning I can get on before everyone else and this guarantees my bags make it on with me.   We opted for a upgrade on this flight due to the length and the orginal cost was only 5.60.  So our upgrade to Delta Comfort was 119.00 and this not only gives us better seating but can you guess?  Free WINE, beer, and spirits on international flights you get free booz anyway but my husband enjoys the leg room.  On domestic flights my 6’1 husband gets more leg room and I get free wine.  Fits well into my luxury minimalist lifestyle.  We booked the flight on points and paid a small amount to be upgraded to a little more luxury.  Not bad for me.

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I chose Europe over Thanksgiving for the German Christmas Markets and we did it on points.  We only had a quick  51 minute plane change  and I did not want to take a chance on luggage not making it.  Also with a luxury minimalist less is more right?

Except I did bring on an extra bag which my purse fits in for boarding and then I remove my purse and have another bag.   You never know I might want to bring wine home too.  So that extra bag I carry in my bag for the way home might come in handy.  On the way home I don’t really care if I check a bag as I have free checked bags.  Also if I lose them they are shipped to many at home and it does not interupt my trip.

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I managed to get all my outfits including electronics and extra bag in my carry on and one personal item.  Not too bad and I have several cute mix and match items and accessories.

I did not even attempt the standard tennis shoe or the classic Amercan  pair of sweats or jogging ware.  My style focused on classic, comfortable with a blend of colors that are mixed and matched easily.  For Paris I am choosing greys and blacks.  This classic color combination fits well for a 50 plus woman.  It is easly managed and can be made into many different outfits.

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I myself enjoy dressing yet when I ocean cruise I tend to be a little more casual in style still avoiding tennis shoes most of the time in favor of a nice sandel.  I have always enjoyed my own moms style from a bygone era and she would never be caught dead in the store in sweat pants.   Bring on  Donna Reed from Father Knows Best that was my mom.  Classically beautiful.

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So somehow that must have worn off and I don’t mind one bit.   I actually prefer it.  To each his own though and if sweatpants are your thing wear them proudly.

So I shall arrive in one of the best dressed cities for woman and here is how I did it.

My packing list is as follows

5 pairs of tights various colors for mixing

4 Sweater tops or dresses that can be worn either way

1 pair of jeans not for Paris but maybe for Amsterdam and or Germany

Scarfs at last 4

Knit caps 3 of different colors

Undergarments

Long sleeve tops 2 to wear under my dresses or shirts in case itis too cold

Socks at least 3 pair that I can wash

2 pair of boots one black one brown that is it for my foot wear.  Takes up too much room in winter.

Now I have to admit cramming all this into a carry on is a feet untoo itself.  All in all I am happy with my selection.   It works well and has the abiliy to give me multiple items throughout my trip.

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Of course you will need a little bag for your electronics and such.   I opted for my tablet with my little keyboard instead of my small latop due to the weight of both.   Tablet gets me by for my blogging post but makes it harder to upload pictures.

 

I  recommend pinterest for choosing your wardrobe items it gives a lot help in choosing items for you to wear.  Guidence on what is popular and help choosing the style you wish.

Europe is great in Winter and don’t ever hesitate to go.   The crowds are way down and there is a magical beauty surrounding each

country, especially if you make it at the start of Advent for the Christmas Markets.

As always feel free to use my site to book travel as this is how I support myself.  Or if you would like me to book your travel give me a call or email and I would love to help.  www.travelwithT.mtravel.com

Gotta run time for Gluhwein!

My 5.60 cent Flight to Paris for two.

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Europe Christmas Markets Photo Credit Travel with T do not use without permission.

In my post about the German Christmas Markets I touched on points and travel.   Today I am going to delve a little deeper into the actual world of free and almost free travel.  So my husband “the man way guy” and I are catching a plane out of Salt Lake City on Wednesday and we are flying into Paris for a 2 week European trip which will include stops in France, Belgium, Amsterdam, Germany, and Switzerland, and a quick stop in London for an overnight stay.

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Most of our trip has been paid by points.  The first portion of our trip was procured using Delta points.  We booked it using 30,000 points total for two and of course the fee for taxes which came out to 5.60 when it was all said and done.  I used two 15,000 one way options on points when they were up for grab in July for a Thanksgiving trip to Paris to see some of Europe’s Christmas Markets.  So how did I earn those points?   Most are saying well I don’t fly that much how can I earn that many points it will take me a lifetime.

 

I earned the points with a little thing called a credit card bonus sign up.  Meaning I applied for a Delta Credit card which offered me a sign up bonus.  I received 30,000 points just for signing up for the program.  This gave me one flight to Europe round trip or as I used it two one way tickets to Paris.   The best thing was I did not have to fly anywhere to accumulate these miles I received them for signing up for American Express Credit card and then spending 1,000 dollars in one month on the card.  Which was easy for me being I used it to pay for my daily expenditures like food, gas, utilities and such.

There are plenty of blogs out there on how to do this and on how to do it to maximize it to fly basically free.  I am not here to go into all of that.  I can say if you email me though I can send you a link where you too can apply for a Delta Amex and you get 30,000 for doing it and I can earn a few miles if you are approved.  So if you are thinking about a Delta Amex at all and enjoyed my article just email me and I will send you a link.  This is called a friend referral.  It earns me about 5000 points for a referral.   Not too bad but they do cap it.  I am ok with that though.

The Delta Amex also gives me a luggage allowance which would normally cost 25.00 per checked bag.  I have used this for up to 4 people flying with me and it saved us 100.00 in checked bag fees.  So the yearly fee so far has paid for itself.  I am not sure how long I will carry it though being it has to be worth it.  If I don’t continue to fly Delta it won’t pay for itself.

A couple of tricks if you are not using points and trying to get the best fare.  Book on Tuesdays and checking in the afternoon is best.   For some reason the sales go out during this time.    Off season times are sometimes cheaper but not always.

Airline points programs and rewards change often so it is best to use them.  After all you applied so you could get them not just sit on them.  The longer you sit on them the easier it is for them to devalue.   The sky is the limit here folks.  Decide where you want to go make a plan and pick up a new card.  You will be on your way in no time at all.

Where will I be staying at?  Well I booked us a room at the Paris Opera Marriott!  Great property and if you are ever interested in booking a hotel please use my site as this is how I make a living in the blog world.   Travelwitht.mtravel.com    That is if you are not traveling on points.

All in all for my luxury minimalist lifestyle this option for travel appeals to me a lot.  I enjoy paying less but also experiencing more.  Let’s see a trip to Paris for 5.60 well I am pretty sure you can’t beat that for luxury on a minimalistic budget.  It also means I will have more money for wine and I always can use more money for wine.  I managed to learn one French phrase too “Une Bouteille de vin rouge sil vous plait”  A bottle of red wine please.

DSC_0026 Photo Credit TravelwithT.net

Affordable travel is it a myth?

 

pexels-photo-269583.jpegAffordable Travel is it a myth?

I hear it all the time, how do you travel like you do?   Isn’t it expensive? Aren’t you afraid? I heard on the news that ….. Don’t you work? How do you take all that time off? I heard about that free travel but isn’t that just a scam?  I can’t afford to travel.

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These are the most common stumbling blocks for people who want to travel but never make it out the door. I will try to address them in a little depth in my post this month.

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My answer to these, yes sometimes it is expensive.   Yet it is so worth it.  I have found it is worth so much more than I ever pay.   No I am not usually afraid, and I find if I use common sense I have no issues.    I am more afraid of not being able to see the things I want to see.   Yes, I heard all the stuff the news reports and I am usually not interested.   I might not ever leave my door if I paid attention to the news.   Yes, I work and I maximize my vacation time.   I do everything from long weekends to adding my vacation on to Holiday’s to extend it a little longer.

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So I will try to break down how I actually travel so much and how I do it as a luxury minimalist.  I will try and show you that YOU can do it too.  I am going to answer the most important questions first and I am going to stress what you need to do right away to make it happen.   MINDSET.

First Step: Make Travel a Priority again MAKE TRAVEL A PRIORTY

Ok, so how do I do it? First of all I make it a priority.   Above everything else I like to do travel is number one on my list.    So it’s what I focus on to make happen before anything else.   I CHOOSE to travel.    When other people might have toys, coffees, concerts, clothes, shoes, hobbies, ect I choose travel.   It’s my priority.   We all have them little things we spend money on daily and things we like to buy.    I choose to make mine travel. I get that not everyone likes it as much as I do and others may choose something else.   I choose travel over buying stuff and things.  Including a lot of dinners out of the house.

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I did a quick stint at Starbucks to see what it was about. I was actually surprised at how many people came in daily for a cup of coffee, latte, Macchiato ect.  At times there were lines of people waiting for coffee. I thought to myself its coffee people.   What I learned is you can’t mess with people and their coffee.

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So, instead I did the math and averaged out if you bought a latte at Starbucks 5-7 days a week (Although I had seen people in there twice daily) at an average of 5 bucks a day, over the course of the year you could spend 1,500 to 1,700 just on your daily coffee habit.   To some this might be quite worth it and they are not willing to give it up for anything.  To me in my book that is one trip.    For me that is going someplace I have never been and sitting there sipping coffee enjoying a new experience.  For some traveler’s, that would be a budget of one month for someplace like Thailand.   This is why it is so important to establish YOUR priorities.  What do you want?

This is what I mean when I say for you to prioritize.   If travel is something you want to do and don’t have the funds but maybe have a daily coffee habit, is travel or coffee more important?   Some might say coffee and I understand I love my coffee too.   I just love to travel more.    So I make mine at home.   I can make a mean cup of coffee too!    I want to experience life outside of my cup of coffee.   I want to experience that cup of coffee in Morocco or even maybe two hours away at that little roadside coffee place just outside of my next weekend adventure.    That to me is more important.   You have to decide what is more important to you. Only you can do that.

So next step: Dream and Plan

So if you are like me and decide that you need to prioritize travel, what happens?   The moment you decide to do this your dreams start to become reality.   So from the priority comes the plan or the action that has to happen to make the priority come alive.   I start looking at fares and places I want to go.   What do I want to do?   How much will it cost?   Then how can a spread it out over my timeframe so that I have to make small little payments?

I start to turn what started as a dream into reality.   You can too it’s really not hard.  Most motivational people will often talk about this and goal setting.   If it is weight, money, or travel, it’s all about goal setting.

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I actually started doing this at first with cruising  I picked place and looked at pricing  Then I discovered Cruise Layaway.

I love telling people about cruise layaway. I hear people all the time tell me I would love to go on a cruise.  I will always ask, “well why don’t you?”   Their response is always, because isn’t’ it expensive?   My first response is “what if I told you that you can plan it and lay it away?”   They are like what?  If you need help let me know.   I would love to help you do this and you can always take a look at my booking site.  There is a link on this site.   That is part of what I do to help me afford to travel.

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Not everyone’s choice is cruising but we have done it and love it.   You place a small deposit down sometimes 100 to 200 per person and you can do this a year in advance.   Then monthly you pay on it. There is no set amount you just need to have it completely paid usually 60-75 days out.   So you break up that 600 per person fee into small manageable increments.

After you have done this  70 to 80 percent of your vacation cost is paid for even before you go. What you do in addition is completely up to you and your budget.   If you do nothing else but cruise around the port areas you will owe nothing more but your tips.   Everything including entertainment is included.   Perfect for those trying to see things but not spend too much.   There is not anything better for more bang for your buck than cruising. Multiple places, various countries, in one trip for one cost.

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So now you have prioritized, then you have turned your dream into a goal.  You have placed a deposit down or you have paid your balance on your trip because you took the step.  For most people this is the first step and they just have to get through that step to open up a new world.

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It’s all about that first step.  If you never take it and keep putting it off it won’t happen.  There will always be something ahead of it.  Something scary, something that will stop you from taking that step.  I am telling you take it anyway.  Open the door.  JUMP!!!!  What are you waiting for?pexels-photo-753626.jpeg

 

I will be looking at some other ways you can travel using points, rewards, and such in some of my next post on affordable travel.  So, keep following for additional information on our you can continue to turn your dreams into reality.  As always if you have any questions or I can help you don’t hesitate to call me.  If you like this post by all means please share it.

Contact me if I can help you plan your destination discovery.  Remember Travel with T

Alta Lakes Destination: Ghost Towns

High in a mystical alpine setting reminiscent of the book “The Mist of Avalon” you will find Alta Lakes and Alta Ghost Town.   This peaceful, quiet, and serene area is located on the back side of Telluride Ski Resort and Palmyra Peak.  On an easy day trip from Telluride, Dolores, or Cortez, you are able to enjoy camping, fly fishing, hiking, and a little history on a visit to this incredible Lake in the summertime   I have never been in the winter but they say it’s one of the prettiest places to go snowmobiling in the Telluride area.

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Your journey begins as you detour off the highway 145 towards a clearly marked sign that says Alta.  You might want to have a 4 wheel drive or at least a high profile vehicle as the roads up to the lake are pretty rough. We did not have to place our vehicle in 4 wheel drive but the high profile helped.   The lakes are past Alta’s Ghost town which is an old mining town with many buildings still standing. It’s is said the first place alternating current was used. (Think Tesla)   There are many old historic buildings you can not only photograph but get really close too.  The have reinforced the boarding house but many others are in various stages of dilapidation.   There has been an ongoing battle on whether or not to let the buildings be destroyed for residential purposes or try and save them for a beautiful piece of Colorado’s mining history.  Right now the town is on the side of Alta and it looks like they will be kept. 

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Travel a little farther up the mountain at the elevation of 10,000 plus you will find Alta Lakes. These are alpine mountain lakes at their finest.    It is here Colorado shines as its ruggedness and pristine beauty will capture your imagination with the sensation of time standing still.   The awe inspiring 10,000 feet views are some of the best the world has to offer.   We arrived when a fine mist was falling over the lake and the water was as still as glass.  There was a slight chill in the air as this mist fell upon us.  It seem to create a surreal feeling that while we were in this Mountain Alpine forest we were in a world of the past and present all at the same time.

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Alta Lakes and Ghost town provides you much in the way of things to do.  You can pitch a tent, and spend the time exploring this area as there is plenty of camping.  For the budget minded camping spots are free and some even have grills next to them and they are all surrounding the Lake.   This is a great visit if you are in the area.  Something slightly out of the way but well worth the detour.   Alta Lakes where you can camp, fly fish, paddle board, and hike and experience the pristine beauty in the incredible Colorado mountains.

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Travel with T
Travel with T
Travel with T

A Year with Marriott Gold destination: JW Scottsdale Camelback Inn and Resort

May 22, 2015 We are traveling through the Southwest today on our way to Phoenix. The desert is filled with wildflowers from the recent rains to our area. We are booked at the JW Marriott Scottsdale/Camelback Resort. It’s a AAA 5 Five Diamond Resort and has been for 25 consecutive years.   This is a significant achievement for a hotel.

We made a reservation using our military government rate. Which came in at 113.00 plus taxes and resort fees and or course parking. A great rate for this property and not often found.  They do make it up with all the other fees built in after you arrive though.  The resort is at summer rates which are very economical due to the temps being pretty warm in Phoenix at this time of year. I have never stayed at this JW so it will be interesting to learn what they offer.

There own description of the property is “Vibrant and serene, bold and enchanting, the JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa embraces the future and welcomes the next generation of guests into its harmonious blend of creature comforts with a storied history.”

From my research it looks like they have a hiking trail right off the resort, a golf course near the property, a spa and several pools.

As we arrive in Scottsdale it’s absolutely beautiful weather.  It’s May but it’s about 81 degrees.  It’s typically well into the 90’s and 100’s.  Coming from Colorado where it’s in the 30’s to 40’s in the morning, I really don’t mind.   When you walk into the JW, Marriott or Ritz you are given a welcome and a thanks for being a gold member this simple little touch is nice.

The Marriott is at the base of the Scottsdale Mountains it is a fantastic property. The property features separate bungalows and they are by no means little bungalows. Each with it’s own private entrance.

The landscape is desert influenced with water features and simulated dry creek beds. It is definitely a little oasis in the desert. Our room is spacious and has it’s own outdoor patio. We arrived using our Gold status and military rate versus travel agent benefits. They were very busy and we were given a standard room, no upgrade that we can see. We did ask for a different room on Sunday evening as we will be having our children join us. We were offered a one bedroom suite at no rate increase. Being a Gold Member has it’s perks but it takes 50 stays to do it. So far this is our second amazing upgrade, the first being the fantastic JW Miami.

We settled into our room.  The bungalows seem very large, almost similar to stay a larger studio apartment.  The bathroom is in a separate area and features beautiful tile work in a modern updated style including a glass shower enclosure.  A separate area is adjacent with a make up area and a large closet.  The room features large southwestern style furniture.

We arrived later in the afternoon, so by the time we got settled, it was close to dinner.  We opted for drinks and dinner at the outdoor venue adjacent to the lobby and restaurants. It was very crowded and took us a while to be served. Having been in the industry it was definitely justified as the place was completely packed. Everything just seemed to take a little longer. Once we were served the food was excellent.  We had their appetizer Queso Fundido and a signature Blood Orange Margarita brought in a bucket style glass. Both were delicious. Paul enjoyed their Signature Fajitas and the grand kids pizza.

After dinner, we opted for a trip to the pool.   It was late so it was pretty empty.  The area is very large yet had an intimate setting.   It’s perfectly designed with rock features complementing the desert scenery.  The pool has views of the surrounding mountains which are stunning in the evening.  After the pool it was off to sleep after our long day.

I was up before 6:00 A.M. and went back to the courtyard area to watch the early the morning sun rising over what I presume is Camelback Mountain. They have the standard Starbucks on site so I sat as I waited for it to open at 6 am. Only one other gentleman besides myself waiting to feel up our senses with the aroma and taste of coffee.   The wait staff were good and the coffee was just what I needed to continue on with my blogging for the morning.

JW does it right again with this Southwestern property. It’s absolutely gorgeous with just the right amount and balance of eco friendly zeroscaping and a touch of the oasis in the center of the property with it’s delightful water features.

It’s definitely family friendly with much to do in the way of children, putt-putt golf, a pool that provides water toys such as floating pads and noodles, and a small park. For the adults it has romantic southwestern style large rooms with adjacent outdoor patios. A large ample outdoor seating area to imbibe in some wonderful spirits such as signature margaritas, a steakhouse, a casual dining experience, and the jack rabbit pool bar.

My overall impression is…. I loved it.  The property is fantastic and the description of being serene hits the mark.   I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it and I will be going back.  Also, thanks for the Sunday upgrade to the one bedroom loft, it was just what we needed for the grandkids to join us for the evening.

A Year with Marriott Gold destination: JW Marriott Houston Galleria

My year of Marriott Gold, destination: JW Marriot Houston Galleria

It’s April and we’re in Houston for one evening.  We’re getting ready to board the Emerald Princess for our voyage to the beautiful western Caribbean and some of my favorite islands (Belize, Cozumel, and Rotan Honduras).  For this Gold journey we chose the Marriott’s JW Houston Galleria.  Newly renovated, 23 stories, and reported to have luxurious accommodations.  Our anticipation is always heightened at the opportunity for Gold upgrades,  we are hoping not to be disappointed with just a standard room.  We really never know if we are going to be upgraded and usually just book a standard room and wait and see.  So far our best upgrade has been the JW Miami.  We were placed in a suite with wall to wall windows overlooking the incredible bay.  It reminded us of a penthouse on the top floor complete with a marble tiled bathroom. It will be hard for anyone else to compete with that but we are in Houston waiting to see.  Does Houston have what it takes to outdo Miami?

JW Marriot Houston Galleria is placed in one of the most famous shopping districts in the world only minutes to attractions like Minute Maid Park.  You can walk to more than 200 exclusive stores that surround it.  Fine dining and entertainment are only minutes away and we even managed to find a Catholic Church right around the corner for Easter Sunday Mass.

For our upgrade we were placed in a higher floor on the concierge level.   We were too late in the evening to enjoy any of what they had to offer.  The hotel features a state of the art fitness center with a view of the city.  It was definitely nice and I enjoyed my elliptical program while gazing out into the city.  The additional amenities we used were Starbucks in the morning. The barista was pleasant and enjoyable to talk with.  Breakfast was the buffet restaurant where the management and hostess were outgoing and friendly.  In the lobby lounge bar the service was sub-par and we eventually got our drinks from the bar.  It was the only area I found of the hotel to be lacking.

Our room itself was spacious but not noticeably different or luxurious, it was on a higher floor.  I have to say I didn’t pay too much attention to the down comforters, custom duvets or the rich cotton linens.  All in all I enjoyed my stay but they really didn’t exceed my expectations or deliver the type of service we experienced in Miami.  It is a great hotel in a great area.   Perfect location for our Easter Day visit to Saint Michaels Catholic Church.

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JW Houston Bedroom