When it comes to traveling, most of us want to get to our destination as hassle-free and quickly as possible. Often times our destination dictates what mode of transportation we use. If we are traveling overseas, the quickest and best option is to fly. You could take a boat, but the travel time for that is often more than what most people can reasonably fit into their trip.
If you are traveling an hour or two away, most people will drive. It’s cheap, easy and the best option for most nearby trips. But what about if you are traveling 5 hours away? Or maybe a great deal farther, but would like to see the scenery along the way? There are definitely some instances when traveling by car, plane or even train can become a difficult decision. In order to help you make the best of your vacation, we will give you some pros and cons to each form of transportation.
Travel by Car
- Cost – Typically speaking traveling by car is the cheapest way to travel, especially if you have a vehicle that is relatively decent on gas. Trips that are within the 5-6 hour range are usually much less expensive when taken by car. These savings in relation to flying or train are compounded when you consider families with 3 or more individuals.
- Space – When you take your car on a trip, you can bring many things with you that you might not be able to if traveling by air or rail. Space is still limited, but nearly as much.
- Kids – No need to worry about your kids bothering any other passengers like when you are on a plane or train. You can also travel at your own leisure; many parents travel during the night when their children are asleep to make the experience easier on everyone.
- Pets – As with kids, coordinating travel with pets can be difficult. Kids can stay with adults on planes and trains, whereas many times pets cannot. They need to be underneath the plane with luggage, and can become scared and sick. Traveling by car is easiest when a pet is taken along.
- Flexibility – When traveling by car, you can change your plans as you go. If you are taking a road trip, you can pull off the road at any time and sight-see.
- Time – Traveling by car often takes more time than traveling by plane or train. Of course you have to add in the time it takes to go through security and such when traveling other ways, but often driving takes many hours longer.
- Someone Needs to Drive – In a plane or train, everyone on board can relax and read, sleep or converse. In a car, someone always needs to be driving. People get tired, people get car-sick and people get bored.
Travel by Planes or Trains
- Time Efficient – Flying is typically the fastest way to get many places, even short distances. If you live near a smaller airport especially and security moves along quickly, this is your best bet if you are limited on time.
- Productive – While flying or traveling by rail, you can work, read, sleep and do a number of other things that you would not be able to do while driving. Even in airports you can be productive while waiting for your next connection.
- Cost-Effective – Given the less time spent traveling, the money spent gets you to your destination faster and allows you to use more of your vacation time seeing the things you want to see or experiencing new things.
- Sight-Seeing by Train – If you decide to take a train, you can take advantage of many of the pros for both cars and planes. You can relax, be productive and see the sights of the country.
- Expense – Traveling by plane to close locations is often more expensive than driving. Also, train tickets can be costly as well, whether traveling near or far.
- Delays – If you are flying or taking a train, there are of course delays and cancellations. These can leave you stuck for hours, and sometimes even days, especially in areas where there is inclement weather.
- Limited Carry-On Items – As we mentioned earlier, in planes and trains you are limited on what you can take with you, both as a carry-on and checked bags. You can choose to check more luggage, but it will cost you.
We hope that these pros and cons help you decide which mode of transportation suites you and your family best. If you keep in mind your needs, timeframe and take-a-long necessities, you will be able to choose the best way to get to your next vacation destination.
What Is The Best Season To Travel?
Among family and friends, there is always debate about when is the best season to travel. The fact is, the answer depends on a number of things. Where are you traveling to, what activities do you plan to do while there, and even when airline tickets are cheapest. Of course there are logistics as well that come into play, like when do the kids have time off from school, or work deadlines. If you are thinking of going on holiday soon, and need some ideas on what time of year is best for you, consider this article a great starting point.
If you are planning a vacation to an area that is in the northern hemisphere and has all four seasons, the summer months are likely the most comfortable to go. No need to pack heavy clothing (Learn how to pack light!), which makes flying all that much easier. You can enjoy attractions in comfort, and take pictures in the sun.
Fewer Travel Delays
If you are flying or driving, the summer is the best time to avoid storms and airport delays. Typically the worst parts of driving in the summer are rain storms, and airports are usually on schedule. This can save you precious time when often holiday time is limited, and allow you to get in more sights that otherwise might be missed.
If you’re a parent and plan to bring the kids along on holiday, one of the easiest times to go is during their summer break. More time can be taken off (a few weeks if wanted versus no more than a week during the school year) and no need to take along books or other school items for projects or homework.
There are some downfalls to traveling in the summer. One major one is that everyone else is also traveling. Hotels are often jam packed, restaurants are harder to get into, and attractions are full of tourists. The trick here is to plan ahead as best as possible, and have a patient, relaxed outlook. Keep in mind that in any new place, the people who live there and travel there are attractions in and of themselves. Appreciate the local culture, and learn about tourists’ background as well.
Southern Areas Will Be Hot
Traveling to the south during the summer can be a bit difficult when temperatures can rise into the triple digits. Consider going in the winter months if possible, when temps will be much milder. Or travel to warm destinations that are dryer, like Arizona or California.
In the winter months, especially in cooler climates, attractions and tourist areas are much quieter and less traveled. Hotels are less expensive and easier to book, and area sights are often vacant. You might need to bring a bit more clothing with you to stay warm, but the places you really want to see will be all that much easier to get into.
Mild Weather in the South
If you travel down south during the winter, you’ll enjoy a break from the cold and some fun in the sun. Often temperatures range from the 60s to the 80s, but the humidity is a great deal less. You won’t have to worry as much about getting burned, although sunscreen is still a good idea. Keep in mind that hurricane season goes from about September to late November in the southern US, so avoiding the gulf coast during that time is usually a good idea.
More Travel Delays
Unfortunately, roads and airports experience more delays and cancellations during the winter months. Storms can cause roads to be shut down, and planes to be grounded, sometimes for many hours or even days. Even though airport staff and local municipalities do their best to keep things clear and moving, make sure to give yourself a day or so on each end of your trip in case a big storm hampers your plans.
For many that work in school related fields, or who have children, you know how difficult it can be to plan a trip during the school year. Breaks are rarely more than a week at best, and destinations are overloaded with other parents and children. Flights are the most expensive around Thanksgiving and Christmas, as are hotels. If you plan to travel during these times, plan far in advance in order to get cheaper tickets, and look for areas that are not as highly advertised.
Traveling during the winter and summer each has their own pros and cons. Weigh them each against your intended destination, budget and lifestyle. There really is no wrong choice, but rather better choices based on many different factors. Doing your research beforehand and proper planning will make your next holiday that much more enjoyable and fun!
Ways to Stay Fit While on Vacation
For many people vacation is the time to get away from the routine of every-day life. Most of us leave town to explore new places, immerse ourselves in a different culture and even enjoy the local cuisine. But what about exercise, which for many of us is a daily occurrence? Should we skip the workouts and indulge in whatever foods we want? A lot of people, whether consciously or not, say yes. During vacation, this isn’t a problem, as it is hard to find good places to work-out, and even tougher to eat healthy. The downside to this is that it makes for an even harder return to normal life once we return home.
Of course, sticking to your daily regimen will be difficult. But compromise is the key. It may not be possible to exercise every day while on vacation, or eat healthy at every meal. Especially when traveling to and from your destination. But if you would like to keep up your fitness, and make life easier once you return home, we think finding some unique ways to exercise and ordering healthy when you can actually be easy and fun!
Running and Walking
If you are an avid runner, or even run at the gym, doing so while on vacation is one of the easiest ways to stay fit. You can run just about anywhere, outside your hotel, at the beach, through the woods or even amidst a suburban neighborhood. Packing to run is also easy, all you need are some shorts, a t-shirt and sneakers. Especially if you are only away for a short time, running will keep your stamina up and your heart healthy. If you are not a runner, you can always walk. Often walking is incorporated into your vacation as you explore, but sometimes to get your heart rate up, a power walk on the beach or on your hotel treadmill can do an even better job.
In many tourist areas, in the US and beyond, pedal bikes are for rent to explore and navigate your way through new areas. Not only does this form of exercise increase the amount you can see in a day, but it also keeps you in shape. Whether you are biking through on trails or pavement, this is a great way to stay in shape while far from home.
Tennis and Golf
If you happen to be at a resort, it is most likely that tennis courts and golfing greens are easily accessible. Often times renting equipment is included in your resort fee (or at a small cost) so there is no need to bring special equipment with you. These sports are also a great way to bond with family or friends who are with you on vacation.
Swimming and Snorkeling
If you are anywhere near water, swimming is a great way to exercise, soak up the sun and enjoy beautiful views. If you snorkel (or want to learn) you can take in gorgeous underwater views and learn about the local aquatic life. Take care to wear sunscreen and watch out for any fish of the toothed variety.
Hiking and Rock Climbing
Depending on your skill level, you can seek out local hiking and climbing trails. Some areas will have guides to take you up and back down, or you can go it alone. More so than a brisk walk, hiking and climbing will get your heart rate up and allow you to explore the terrain and wildlife. If you are in unknown areas, be sure to bring plenty of water and a map.
In addition to exercise, eating healthy is also often difficult to do while on vacation. Here are some tips for adding in some healthy meals and even spending less money while away.
It sounds silly, but if you rent a timeshare, house or anywhere there is a fridge and stovetop, it might be worthwhile to buy groceries. Meals are always cheaper when made at home, and it is much easier to eat right. Make a small list and make it part of your exploration of a new place. Seek out a grocery store you’ve never heard of (in many countries this will be easy) and buy a few items that are only local to the area. You can even ask someone locally how to make a meal with these new items. By even incorporating one meal per day that is made at home (or your home away from home) you can save money and keep calories down.
While at restaurants at home and abroad, drinks can often add up quickly, especially for families. Depending on the area, try drinking water at one meal per day. Not only will this keep you more hydrated, but it will also keep your dinner bill down.
Pack a Lunch
While you are exploring on your rented bike or hiking through waterfalls, you can easily carry a small pack with items for a quick lunch. This will deter you from buying expensive food from vendors or restaurants and give you more time to see new things.
Even though vacation is a time for relaxing and living it up, it can also be a time to stay fit and eat healthy. These things do not have to be forgotten nor do they need to be a burden. Adding in just a few of these tips can keep you feeling refreshed and energized while on vacation, and make the transition back to home life that much easier!
What to Expect at a Bed and Breakfast
A bed and breakfast sounds pretty self-explanatory; a house or cottage that gives you a bed to sleep in, and breakfast in the morning. But as many of us who have stayed in B&Bs, or owned them, we know that there is so much more to them. More private than a hotel and often with more amenities, a B&B is always catering to the specific wants and needs of each visitor.
If you are an avid hotel-goer, and have never stayed at a bed and breakfast, this article is for you! There are a few differences if you stay in a B&B in the US, versus in Europe or other countries, but many are quite similar. Here is just a short list of what you will expect in many, but obviously not all, bed and breakfasts.
The most obvious amenity you can expect is breakfast! Most B&Bs have quite elaborate menus for breakfast, with chefs on site to provide you with a variety of items that change from day to day. In some B&Bs, breakfast is served in one area where everyone eats together. In others, you can eat privately in your room, on a patio or balcony. Make sure to ask about dining arrangements when you make reservations.
Fresh Cooked, Diet Oriented
Because B&Bs have a chef and use fresh ingredients in their meals, it is much easier for them to cater to your dietary needs. Maybe you are a vegan, or you can’t have glucose. If this is the case, let the B&B owner know when you call, and often times meals can be designed specific to those needs. And don’t be afraid to ask; this is one of the defining characteristics that separate a B&B from a hotel.
Wifi and TV
Like most hotels and resorts, B&Bs almost always have wifi and cable TV. Make sure to ask if the wifi is complimentary or an additional fee.
Not as common in older B&Bs, but today’s newer establishments often have outdoor amenities, like pools, hot-tubs, patios, decks, and balconies. Although hotels often have these amenities as well, at a B&B they are much more private because there are fewer rooms and therefore fewer guests. Also expect indoor amenities such as zoned A/C and heat, on demand hot water and ironed linens.
With fewer guests and one on one contact with B&B owners, you can expect to be pampered during your stay. With each B&B having its own unique perspective on what makes each guest feel special, you can see things that range from unique bathroom soaps, to warmed towels for the pool or shower. This is really where a B&B shines; feel free to ask about extras before your stay.
In years past, many B&B establishments did not have private bathrooms dedicated to each room. Often visitors shared baths with other guests, typically having one bathroom per floor. Today, most B&Bs have either renovated their buildings or constructed new ones where each room has its own private bath. Some differences can include a shower versus tub, whirlpool tubs and particular daily items, such as hair dryers and clothes irons.
B&Bs can be located in busy tourist areas or nestled in more quiet small towns. Usually in either setting, local attractions are often a walk away. Fine dining, city sites, museums and other attractions are often close by.
Knowledge of the Area by Owners
It is often the case that B&B owners open their establishments in their own city or town. Due to this, most have extensive knowledge of the area. Whether you are looking for a place to eat dinner, or fun things to do during the day, your inn-keeper can almost always give you advice.
Most B&Bs do not have lunch or dinner for their guests (although a few do) but many will have afternoon snacks, vending machines, or even wine and cheese tastings to choose from. These items are perfect if you’ve been out site-seeing and come back to the B&B for an afternoon siesta. Often dinner during a trip doesn’t happen until late evening, so make sure to take advantage of whatever your B&B offers.
It is becoming more and more common for B&Bs to have bars or at least cocktails available for guests. With outdoor pools and patios becoming more and more common, especially in the south, owners have realized that offering adult beverages is a must. Often this is something that will be listed on the B&B’s website, but if not always feel free to ask the owner.
Lastly, but possibly most importantly, rooms at B&Bs cost close to, or even less, than local hotels. One might think that B&Bs would be more expensive, as the guest list is so small, but keep in mind that the costs of a B&B are much less than a hotel. Fewer guests, fewer employees and smaller buildings all add to the affordability of staying at a B&B.
In our eyes, as owners of the Inn on the Drive, we believe that everyone should take the opportunity to stay at a bed and breakfast. We are certain you will appreciate the private ambience, excellent food, and pampering that come with your stay. It is our hope that afterwards, you will enjoy your stay so much that you will seek out B&Bs for all of your future trips!
How To Pack Light
Packing light is an art form that most experienced travelers excel at. Whether you are trekking across Europe or honeymooning in Hawaii, it is far less stressful to carry a small twenty pound carry-on than 2 large wheeled suitcases. Paying for checked bags, risking losing them, managing them in and out of taxis, around unknown areas and just the effects on the body are all reasons to learn how to pack light.
Think Of The Environment and Save Some Money
Some other reasons to pack light that you may not have thought of: it’s better for the environment, and for most it gives a feeling of freedom. In the States, we tend to accumulate a wealth of things as we move along in life. But talk to anyone who keeps their life, and belongings, simple and the answer is usually the same “Less is more.” Having fewer things creates a feeling of freedom for most and helps them focus on more important things.
The environment also takes a hit when we travel heavy. Millions of people all over the world traveling day in and day out use an enormous amount of fuel, in both planes and cars. Packing light cuts back on the weight in each vehicle, and therefore decreases fuel used. You might not think that your smaller carry-on will make a difference, but together millions of them definitely do.
Still need another reason to carry less on your trip? How about security? With fewer items to carry, not only will you know what you have and keep it close to you, but you’ll be less likely to forget something along your way. We all can recall the time we left an item in a hotel, or unknowingly dropped an item out of a bag or suitcase while traveling. Keeping your item list short and your bags small will decrease the likelihood that you lose or forget anything.
Choose The Right Bag
In order to start packing light, begin by selecting an appropriate bag. Take into account your trip of course. If you’ll be walking a lot, you might want to stick with a bag that is easily carried on your back, and is fairly lightweight. Multiple compartments can help you organize your things, and using baggies to keep items from leaking or spilling will also help with a smaller bag. If you plan to stay in a hotel, and do not plan to carry your bag around with you, a small carry-on suitcase might be a better option. Clothes are easier to keep folded and wrinkle free in a hard suitcase, and it leaves a bit more room if your trip is a lengthy one.
Once you’ve decided on a bag (which really needs to happen first, so that you don’t over-pack and fit your suitcase to your item list) you can start selecting appropriate items. Go through your normal day and begin collecting items that you use EVERY DAY. Do your best to leave items that are not used often. Depending on where you are going, you can most likely buy anything you run out of or forget, so try not to stress much about that. Also keep in mind that you won’t need most emergency items. A few Band-Aids might come in handy, but otherwise keep most other items at home. As long as you have spare cash in hand, you can typically buy whatever you need wherever you are.
Only Take What You Will Wear
When picking out clothes, think for the weather, but plan for the norm in that area at that time. Bring a few layers instead of a big coat, and pack clothes with the thought in mind that they can be washed. One pair of shorts, one pair of jeans, etc. All can be worn more than once and then washed. Try to stay away from big sweaters, many pairs of shoes and such. Both are heavy and take up a great deal of space. Also keep in mind that you want a little bit of extra space on your way to your destination. Many people enjoy picking up a few trinkets or gifts to bring home with them, so a bit of free space is always handy later.
Once you have all of your items together, analyze each and every one. Do you use it every day? Is it something you can live without for a short time? Or is it something you can buy there? If you really have to think about your answer, leave it home. Organizing bags or boards can come in handy for easily finding things in your bag, and keeping clothes free of wrinkles.
While all of this might seem a bit over-analytical, after packing light a few times, you’ll think less and less. You’ll also travel quicker and with less stress. You might even begin to implement these practices for at home life. De-clutter your work area, bedroom or kitchen and easily find everything you need and give to charity the things you don’t. All in all, learning to pack light will most certainly help you while traveling, but can also become a part of your lifestyle.
A staycation is exactly what it sounds like; a vacation where you stay at or around your home. Many people choose to stay overnight in their own homes during a staycation. Others specifically stay overnight at a hotel to get away from home, but still stay within close driving distance. In the US, the staycation came about between 2007 and 2010, when the economy took a significant downturn and many people were spending less money.
- Save Money – A staycation can save a family hundreds of dollars. For the most part, travel is minimal, so expenses such as gas for the car, or airplane tickets, are mostly non-existent.
- Bring Revenue to the Local Economy – Local shops, restaurants and hotels reap the benefits of their citizens visiting them rather than traveling out of town.
- No Need to Take Time off from Work – A staycation can often be done over a weekend, as travel is minimal. Many parents can affordably go away for Saturday and Sunday with only the expense of a hotel room and babysitter.
- Easier to Plan – Since most people know the area in which they live, planning a staycation can be a great deal less stress and take a lot less time than a vacation that is far away. Which hotels are clean and safe, which restaurants are reasonably priced and so forth, are either already known or easily researched when you live in the area you are staycationing in.
- More Time to Actually Relax – Many vacations require a great deal of traveling, whether it be by car of plane. During a staycation, that time is basically cut down to zero, leaving people more time to actually relax during their time off.
In addition to saving money and reducing planning stress, staycations are a great way to unwind. If planned and done properly, a staycation can leave you feeling just as rejuvenated and refreshed as a normal vacation.
How To Staycation – Get the most out of your vacation:
- Turn off your electronic devices. – Of course most of us will need to check our phones periodically, as we would do on any vacation, but checking email, Facebook and such should be kept to a minimum. Remember you are trying to unwind and not think about work and your daily life. A great way to do this is to spend some time disconnected from your everyday life.
- Pack light – Since many staycations are kept short, there is little need to pack too many things. It is often reported that people who have fewer possessions feel freer and less stressed, so try it while on your staycation. Only bring the necessities, and remember if you absolutely need something you forgot, you are still close to home!
- Plan, but don’t over-plan – Don’t overwhelm yourself with an itinerary. Choose a few local places to visit, or maybe even a spa day. But keep some time open to do what you feel in the moment. Whether that be taking a nap, or reading a book, time to just be can be extremely rewarding.
If you decide to stay at home or get a hotel during your staycation, there are many different options for what to do in your own town during the day.
- Go to a local festival or free concert. Many cities and towns have events going on every weekend, so check online for them. Often they are free and don’t require time constraints; you can stay for as long or as short a time as you like.
- Rent bikes and go for a ride. If you have a river, canal or beach near you, there are often places to rent bikes and tour the area (that is if you don’t already have your own). If you enjoy being active, this can be a great way to sight see in your own town and burn some calories.
- Take a nap. With the stress of most people’s lives, naps are a rarity. If you like them take advantage and get one or two in while you can.
- Go to the drive in theater. Maybe your town has a drive in and you’ve never been. This can be the perfect time to try something new, and check out a good movie.
- Go shopping. This may seem like a funny idea, but if you are parents and try to shop with kids, you know how hard it can be. Book a sitter and a hotel near a mall or local outlet and spend time specifically to shop. Maybe you need some new summer shorts or prefer to look for antiques. Whatever you choose to buy, taking a day or two just to shop can be relaxing in itself.
- Go to the beach or pool. In the summer this is a great way to relax, get some sun and even read. Many people live near the ocean or a lake where they can take advantage of the beach for free. If you don’t, try finding a local pool that you can visit. They are often low cost and you won’t have to travel far.
- Read a book. If you are an avid reader and find it hard to fit it in during the week, this is a good time to catch up. Bring something that has good reviews, maybe even two!
- Visit the local zoo. Especially for a family staycation, the zoo is a great place to spend an afternoon that is affordable, fun and educational.
- Play sports. Go bowling, play tennis or any other sport your family enjoys.
- Visit a museum or see a show. Depending on what your family likes and whether you have kids, try to pick something that everyone will enjoy.
Staycations are a great way to not only save money, but also discover new places in your own town. Ask your friends for local recommendations and search the web. Many people are surprised by the hidden places right in their own home towns.
At Inn On The Drive, we are really happy to help you with all of your special requests. We built our bed and breakfast with you in mind. As seasoned travelers, we know what exactly is needed for a convenient and a fun vacation. We have it all! Great location and full accommodations.
We are so excited to have a Bed and Breakfast that is just a few short steps to the Wilton Manors drive that we all love. Great food and fun shopping are just a two of the reasons that we love our community. This part of South Florida is a growing community and we are happy to be a part of it. Welcome! We hope to see you soon!