Bags are great, and I am obsessed. I love totes, reusable grocery bags, toiletry bags, make up bags...the list goes on and on. I am not into purses though - go figure.
For the globetrotter in your life, here are bags of all shapes and varieties...for when you aren't required the less-than-fancy clear bag for TSA checks. Click on each link below to be routed to the listing on Etsy.
Since the tender age of nine and my first memorable vacation (to New Symrna Beach, Florida and Walt Disney World), I have been an avid journal keeper during my travels. From Mead notebooks purchased from the local drugstore that held my pasted mementos and childhood memories to the more sophisticated books of my adulthood, I have left a great deal of scribbled pages in the wake of my travels.
Journals make a great gift for many reasons...
1.) who doesn't like to remember their vacations around the world?
2.) writing is good for the mind and good for the soul
3.) it is a personal, thoughtful gift - particularly if you purchase one themed to your loved-one's upcoming trip
4.) children can build all sorts of great skills through journal-keeping (this is the former teacher in me coming out)
These journals are all available through Etsy, one of my favorite sites for gift-buying. Truly, the items below represent just a small sampling of all of the awesome journals you can find on the site, so I would encourage you to do some exploring on your own as well. Click on the images below to be routed to the listing for that particular item.
Etsy, that crafty rabbit hole of jewelry, home goods, and more has become the go-to destination on the Internet for cleverly creative gifts, and I often window shop to see the wares sellers are peddling. From now through the holiday season, I will be featuring some of my favorite travel-themed finds for the globetrotter in your life.
Please click on the images below to be directed to the item's listing on Etsy.
Passports are the ultimate form of identification when traveling - many people don't realize how meaningless a driver's license is once you are outside of our borders.
If you're planning a vacation outside of the United States and its territories (such as Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands) you must have a valid passport.
Here is what you need to know:
- Passports are valid for ten years, so it is a good investment!
- It generally takes about five weeks to have your passport processed. During busier times, it can take about eight weeks, so plan accordingly.
- You can download passport forms right from your computer (see link at the end of this post) or pick them up at post offices, county clerk offices, or passport agencies.
- Many local drug stores will help you with the required 2x2 passport photos. Fees vary depending on location.
- Your passport must not expire within six months of your return date or you might not be permitted to board your aircraft and fly home.
- Yes, you need passports for the Caribbean, Canada, and Mexico.
- While you are not required to have a passport for a cruise itinerary departing and returning to a U.S. port, we strongly encourage our clients to have them anyway. It takes a great deal of stress away from travelers when they have this ultimate form of identification on hand, otherwise, several very specific documents are needed to board the ship. If you make a mistake with even one of them, your cruise vacation ends before it even begins - you will not be permitted to sail. (Avid cruisers can tell you tales of the many potential travelers hanging out around the cruise terminals not able to board the ship.) Further, in the event of an emergency and a need to return home sooner, a passport would be needed to depart any other countries for the United States. (Yes, the Bahamas are another country!)
Your airline tickets, travel reservations, etc. must all match the name on the passport, so book your travel and obtain your passport in your maiden name. When you return from your honeymoon and have your marriage certificate, you can have your passport changed to reflect your new last name. If it is within twelve months of original issue there are no fees for this. If the original passport was issued more than twelve months prior, you will pay a fee with your application.
For more information on passports, please visit the U.S. Department of State.
What an amazing summer it has been. We've had great weather, sunny skies, and lots of fun in and around the Cleveland area. Thank you to you, all of my fantastic clients, for allowing me my weekends during this season so I can spend time with family and friends.
Now the leaves are starting to change colors, and the mornings are crisp...autumn is upon us, and it is time to extend my business hours. It's busy season for travel professionals - northerners are scrambling to make winter vacation plans to escape brutal temperatures and that horrid frozen precipitation I will not even refer to by name. Caribbean cruises, all-inclusive resort packages, and planning for Alaska cruises in 2015 reign for the next several months, not to mention destination wedding planning and other assorted vacations. For best rates and availability, contact me as soon as possible so we can begin working together to explore options for your travel plans.
Sundays by appointment based on availability
In the past year, I have stayed at six all-inclusive resorts, so I have had some decent recent practice in the area of suitcase/carry-on packing, and I have learned that packing for an all-inclusive resort vacation is, in fact, the easiest sort of packing there is to do. For my most recent vacation, I consulted my coworker Ruth Ann - the queen of carry-ons - and decided one bag would be my new path to stress-free vacation preparations. (For my agent trip in the fall I checked a bag, and for my May vacation my husband and I shared one checked bag.) I still slightly overpacked (but only by very little) and I thought I would share with the ladies what exactly I used and needed while in paradise for four nights. Spoiler alert: not much.
In addition to my carry-on bag, I carted along my beloved tote from Bath and Body Works (circa 2008?) as my personal item. It was my first time taking it on my travels, and it proved to be an excellent item for the plane. With its many storage pockets and removable compartments, I was able to pack quite a bit in a small amount of space.
4 nights of stuff...
(what I used from my packed items...not a comprehensive list of my bag's contents!)
Tips for Making a Carry-On Only Work at an All-Inclusive:
1.) Wear your sundress to dinner in the evening and then recycle it for breakfast/lunch time/day wear the following day...then, to the laundry bag it goes. This has become my ultimate packing strategy for resort vacations. Since I am not a fan of shorts, I am quite content in sundresses and I find they pack easily when rolled.
2.) Pack one pair of sandals that work with all of your dresses.
3.) Be sure to have one pair of shoes/sandals that are okay around water.
4.) Don't skimp on the sunscreen. Mexico is hot, closer to the equator, and therefore has a stronger sun. I can't tell you how many red (miserable) bodies I see when I am visiting. We pour our larger bottle of sunscreen into a few smaller travel-sized containers so they make it through security.
5.) If you don't care to exercise on vacation or you don't plan excursions off-property, you might not need workout wear or tennis shoes...especially if you are staying at a smaller resort. On the flip side, if you plan on being active or participating in excursions, you might need to pack more of this sort of thing. Remember to consider the Mexico "sweat factor," especially if you're traveling June-August.
6.) One thing I wished I would have had was a second cover-up for the pool and beach. By day four, my simple white cover-up was a disgusting, sweaty mess that I never wanted to put on. I wish I had a second so I could have alternated them throughout our stay. On our last trip, I took a bikini and a one-piece, but I was fine with just the bikini on this trip. If you're a fan of two swimsuits, go for it! You'll always have a dry one to put on.
To my clients -
Now that the warmth of summer is upon us, my office and phone hours have slightly changed for the season.
Monday through Friday - 9:00a-7:00p
Saturdays and Sundays - by appointment only
*For my brides - during the booking window, my phone hours are extended until 9:00p on weekdays, with weekend availability 9:00a-9:00p
Thank you for your understanding! I look forward to assisting you with your travel plans!
Get your daily fix of travel photography when you follow travelbystephanie on Instagram! Each day I post one or two photographs I have taken during both personal vacations and business trips (which I will admit, are pretty incredible in my line of work!)
Leave a comment and give my photos a "like" - don't forget to share my page with friends and family!
As of Tuesday, September 10...
...travel by stephanie is now part of the Twitter community!
Follow @TravelBySteph for the latest and greatest in travel news, general information, stunning photography, and industry specials.
As always, I am excited to continue expanding to best serve my clients!
My husband and I are all about having fun and being silly, so when my mom gifted us with a miniature sock monkey during the Christmas festivities of 2009, we decided he would begin to accompany us on our travel adventures. We named him Ernesto, and his initiation into sightseeing began in 2010 with a spring visit to Walt Disney World. Since then, Ernesto has visited Dallas, Niagara Falls, Austria, and Italy. Poor Ernesto was left behind on our trip to Las Vegas and our most recent cruise to the Caribbean, but I think all has been forgiven.
Posing Ernesto for silly photos throughout our travels has become a fun tradition for us, and one we know will be even more fun when we bring children into the mix. If you haven’t created a fun and silly travel tradition, it’s time to go for it and start making memories in an entirely new way when you’re away from home.
If you do have a fun and silly travel tradition, I would love to hear about it, particularly if it involves photography. Please share below in the comments section!
A few photos from Ernesto's vacations:
The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealy Plaza
This museum is one of the most powerful and emotional experiences I have ever had while traveling. The audio tour was really interesting, and I had tears in my eyes as I walked through the book depository.
pictured: the infamous grassy knoll
Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada
Ernesto joined us as we walked from the Maid of the Mist (Canadian side) to the Cave of the Winds (New York side) - I don't recommend this...it is a very long walk! (We logged about 8 miles on our pedometer!) Ernesto rode along crammed into my purse.
pictured: The American Falls as photographed from the Rainbow Bridge
outside of Straden, Austria
A visit to the beautifully lush Austrian countryside was marked with a photograph of Ernesto in the vineyards that ran up and down the hills.