Here are a few things I’ve learned from my travel experiences:
1. Old sun tan lotion really DOESN’T work. Don’t be a cheap skate, like me, and buy yourself some fresh lotion. Your skin will thank you.
2. When you travel, splurge and buy yourself a carry-on bag that has wheels. Your back, shoulder and arm will thank you.
3. When you travel and one stop is the beach, don’t forget to pack a beach bag – something you can cram your (fresh) suntan lotion, camera, change of clothes, towel, etc. in and take with you. Also make sure that beach bag has a zippered compartment for your important things like cash, cards, keys, etc. Your sanity will thank you.
4. Don’t forget about the home front when you’re gone. Be sure you set up some timers and set up a few lamps around your house so that it looks like you’re home in the evening. Also, don’t forget to hold your mail and any newspaper deliveries — thieves actively look for houses that have a lot of unread newspapers lying in the driveway. Also, don’t forget to turn your thermostat up, or down, and unplug computers and other appliances to save on utilities while you’re gone. Oh, and don’t forget to put a little baking soda down your kitchen sink and empty your trash bins – nothing kills a homecoming like the smell of warm garbage.
And don’t leave dirty dishes in the dishwasher – either run it, or empty it. Trust me on this one. 🙂
5. It’s always a good idea to get into decent shape before you go on a cruise, especially if you want to participate in any physical-type shore excursions (which most of them require a fair amount of walking). It’s also a good idea to get out in the sun, or tan at a tanning salon, and get a base tan before leaving so you will be less likely to get a sun burn on your trip.
6. Keep your makeup to a bare minimum. Wearing foundation is fruitless when you’re visiting islands with high humidity. I applied eye makeup and that was it. Hence the reason my face looked like one big freckle, but at least I didn’t stress about smearing makeup all over the place.
7. I used to want to book a cabin with a balcony, not so anymore! I have learned that the best cabin is on the lower deck in the middle of the ship – the boat sways a lot less and I don’t get sea sick down below. (Not to mention, it’s cheaper!)
8. Taking a cruise is really not all that expensive – the killer expense is the flight out there. We’ve always used American Airlines in the past due to our AA credit card. We should have enough points for all four of us to cash in for a cheap flight next year, (that is if the Obama administration doesn’t penalize credit card companies so much so that AA revokes the benefit in order to compensate) but when it comes time to pay full price for a flight again, we will shop around this time and not automatically assume we’re going with American Airlines. Big mistake this go-around.
9. Taking a trip really doesn’t require a travel agent. If you’re willing to do a lot of research, be patient, plan and read the fine print, you can book yourself an awesome vacation for pennies — save yourself the expense of using a travel agent, utilize the destination’s website whenever you can.
10. We took way too many bags this go-around. Next time, we’re going to buy two of those HUGE (not over 50 pounds) cases and use one for me and Kevin and one for the boys in order to save ourselves the expense of having to pay for our checked bags – both ways.
From American Airline website: Customers who purchase domestic economy class tickets will be charged $15 each way for the first checked bag and $25 each way for the second checked bag.
We had six bags to check this time around and the extra $200 + charge on our credit card was an unexpected, and unwelcome, surprise. I just hate it that airlines are charging for checked bags now.
11. Taking an e-reader device along with you is an absolute must. You can pack several books into one device and you don’t have to worry about the bulk. I took my Kindle and read two books while waiting to board and while on the flight. LOVED. IT.
12. I’m going to pack (of course, I’ll have to buy them first and there’s another drama) sundresses next time. I saw a lot of cute sundresses on the cruise and I felt a bit dowdy in my shorts and t-shirts.
13. If you take a cruise, you MUST be willing to sweat and to deal with physical discomfort. It’s simply impossible to look cute and fresh on islands that have 98% humidity. You WILL sweat, and you WILL wilt – chock it up to yet another experience and enjoy it while you can.
BONUS: 14. Roll with the punches. Sometimes, things don’t go according to plan and getting upset, or stressed, won’t help the situation. It also doesn’t make you very much fun to travel with. Trust me, I know. 😉
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