#TravelDiaries – Vacation’s Hottest New Trend

About to go on an amazing vacation and want a unique way to document it? Why not try to craft a travel diary? It’s more than a scrapbook or an envelope to store your odds and ends. These fun books can be found both online and in bookstores. With a little imagination and a few pens and pencils, you’ll be able to make a keepsake of your vacation that will last for years to come.

Amazon- Amazon.com : travel diary

If you have no idea where to start to purchase your travel diary, start here. Let’s face it, what doesn’t Amazon sell? They have all kinds of books and journals from which to choose, including all kinds of leather journals with handmade paper. The sky is the limit when purchasing your travel journal, and there are no rules. Buy journals with or without pockets, lined paper or clean, the choice is yours. Don’t forget to buy colored pencils, gel pens, black pens, and anything else you might want to journal your travels. Alternately, these books can also be found in a brick-and-mortar bookstore such as Barnes & Noble.

Pinterest Ideas- 65 Best DIY Travel Journal ideas | travel journal, journal, travel book (pinterest.com)

You might not have the foggiest idea how to get started with your travel journal. Don’t worry, here are some ideas from Pinterest. Since there are no rules, you are free to make your journal your own, with a beach or a mountain flair, depending on your vacation. Colors, pictures, and varying layouts are what make a travel journal unique and interesting, and these are the things to keep in your mind while creating one. Perhaps you might even think of your own questions to jot down before you leave on vacation to answer once you get there. Make it a family affair and dedicate different pages to different family members. Once everyone is involved in memory-making, crafting your travel journal will become a part of the vacation fun.

Keepsakes- 25 Items & Ideas To Include In Your Travel Journal — Roam + Go Lightly (roamandgolightly.com)

What are some things you should keep from your vacation to include in your travel journal? Here are some ideas. Menus, transit tickets, pressed flowers, receipts, photos from an instant camera, plane tickets, stickers, napkins, and other items from your time away. Souvenirs and keepsakes from your vacation are some of the best ways to preserve memories of your vacation. Why not include a fun little story to go with each, what you might remember at that restaurant, what you were doing when you took that photo. This keeps your travel diary interesting and personal.

Travel Diaries App- Create your own travel diary online | Travel Diaries (traveldiariesapp.com)

Perhaps you don’t want to lug a book and a bunch of colored pens and pencils with you on vacation. You can log all your adventures in an online app called the Travel Diaries App. Choose your layout, your pictures, your text, your fonts, and away you go! The app itself is free and you’ll be able to share your digital travel diaries with friends and family. For anyone who might not be imaginatively or artistically inclined, this is your answer.

Whether tactile or digital, you’ll have a great time making a memento to enjoy long after the vacation is over.

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Book a Haven Hideaway on Your #SummerVacation

Everyone wants to stay cool on their summer vacation, and where do they go more often than not? The beach. Temperatures might be cooler near the water and the scenery second to none, but sometimes you just want to get away and not have to worry about crowds of people and non-existent parking. Let’s take a look at some other more out-of-the-way and intimate summer vacation ideas that doesn’t involve the headache of massive crowds, long wait times, and gouges to your wallet.

A Cabin in the Woods

Who wouldn’t want to stay tucked away in the woods, secluded from the city, away from all the hustle and bustle? The only thing to wake you is the lilting tune of birdsong, and the only thing to do is read a book, play a game, or do a puzzle. The only decision you’ll have to make is what’s for dinner. Sounds like heaven. 

Camping in the Mountains

You can find a deluxe campground just about anywhere, but some of the best are hidden gems that are off the beaten path. Nature hikes, babbling brooks, and pine trees galore are the theme of the day, and the only worry you’ll have is raccoons stealing your burger buns. Enjoy a roaring campfire, some good ol’ s’mores, and sing a few songs with the family. It’s good to unplug and reconnect with nature, and the cooler mountain air will bring some relief to those hot summer nights. 

Vacation Home by the Lake

There are so many rental home websites these days, take your pick and rent a home by the lake! So much more convenient than crowded and noisy hotels, renting a home brings relaxation and a slower pace to your vacation, as you can enjoy your morning coffee on the deck overlooking the water. Take a shower when you like, take a nap as well. Forget your responsibilities back home and enjoy yourself. Save money by making your own meals and rent a boat for a day on the lake. You’ll stay cool near the water, yet enjoy the quiet of a private home.

Splurge on the Penthouse or Suite

Perhaps nature isn’t your thing, yet you love the idea of getting away in the quiet. Take the plunge and book the penthouse or a luxury suite of a hotel. Not only will you enjoy all the perks of being in the city, you’ll also love all the opulence a suite or penthouse can afford. Take advantage of room service and never leave your deluxe hideaway. Spend all day in bed and wear nothing but bathrobes. Unwind with the view and take advantage of all a penthouse has to offer.

Whether in a tent or in the penthouse, in a cabin or a private home, we’re sure you can find just what you’re looking for to have the perfect haven hideaway for your summer vacation. Get away from the crowds and keep your vacation an intimate affair. You will not regret it.

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What to Do on Your #Staycation

Sometimes the budget doesn’t allow for a big family vacation. Sometimes we just need time to decompress at home. A staycation is a perfect alternative to the vacation away, and while you don’t need to leave your home, you also don’t need to leave adventure behind.

But what can you do on a staycation that favors the wallet yet promotes fun for the whole family? Thankfully, we have some great suggestions for you.

Go on a Hike

Finding a nature trail and going on a hike does not put a dent in the pocketbook and if you pack a lunch and go for the day, your whole family can have fun in the great outdoors. Even if you’re in the big city and don’t want to drive to the mountains, there are plenty of walking trails and parks to explore within the urban jungle. Take a picnic with you and explore the sights and sounds of nature around your city.

Play Board Games/Do Puzzles

Want to stay in but don’t want to watch TV for your entire staycation? Gather up the family and pull out the old board games and puzzles. All too often we don’t spend quality time with our kids anymore. Thankfully there are so many more boardgames available these days than Sorry!, Monopoly, and the Game of Life. Head on down to your local game store and see what they have on the shelves. Let the kids pick their favorites and make a weekend of it! The best memories of all are when all of us are together.

Stay a Night or Two in a Local Hotel

Sure, you haven’t left town, but getting a new perspective on your city might be just the thing to make you feel like you’re on a vacation in another place. Getting you out of your house for a couple of nights might be just the thing to clear your head and energize you. If you live in the suburbs, booking a room in the middle of downtown, or vice versa, will give you that feeling of excitement of being in a new place, yet not actually leaving the area at all. Check out local restaurants in close proximity to your hotel, check out the shops, and wander your city as if seeing it again with new eyes.

Backyard Camping 

As many avid staycationers know, backyard camping can be the perfect choice to leave it all behind yet not actually go anywhere at all. The beauty of it is that if you have a large backyard, just set up the tent and camp out right next to your house! Gone are the worries of where to go to the bathroom or how to brew the morning coffee, because you haven’t left your home at all! Get yourself out under the stars, eat a burger off the grill, buy a firepit and eat some s’mores. Your kids will have the time of their lives. Backyard camping is a very inexpensive, yet extremely fun way to maximize your staycation without having to go anywhere fantastic or expensive. 

Imagination is key when choosing activities for your next family staycation.

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The Best Parks of #SanFran

Don’t have a lot of money but you want to get out of the house? See nature? Have fun? Go on a walk? Have a picnic? Let’s check out the best parks in San Francisco. This city is known for the Golden Gate Bridge and cable cars, however, there are also some gems of nature in this city and you’ll be happy to visit them all.

Golden Gate Park

If you’re in San Francisco for any length of time, it’s pretty much a given that you must come and see Golden Gate Park. This park is a staple and a landmark of San Francisco and is one of the most visited parks in the U.S. This park has several spectacular sights to see, such as the San Francisco Botanical Garden, the Conservatory of Flowers, the Japanese Tea Garden, the de Young Museum, or the California Academy of Sciences. You might also enjoy getting an eyeful of some American bison. Not to mention all the photo ops you’ll have with friends and family! You absolutely must visit the Golden Gate Park if you find yourself in the city.

The Presidio

This park is a huge expanse of green amid the hustle and bustle of city life. Located in the northwest corner of San Francisco, it used to be a U.S. Army base in 1846. In fact, the Golden Gate Bridge crosses through the Presidio in order to enter San Francisco. If you want to visit the Walt Disney Family Museum, it is located here within the Presidio. Crissy Field, a former military airstrip converted into a public square, is within the park as well. This park also boasts a beachfront, grassy fields, various paths for walking or biking, various cafes, and views guaranteed to take your breath away.

Washington Square Park

Washington Square Park is actually a rectangular-shaped park within San Francisco’s Italian district. Plenty of grass allows you and the family to come and have a picnic or fancy a game of tag on the lawn. It can get rather crowded at the park so you might want to arrive sooner rather than later. Summer evenings are often when movies are played to the delight of the locals and offered free of charge to one and all. You’ll also enjoy a huge statue of Benjamin Franklin smack-dab in the middle of the park!

Pioneer Park

If you find yourself on Filbert Street, you’ll eventually come to a dead end with a set of steps going up. This grand staircase ends at the glorious Pioneer Park. You will not be at a loss for photo ops and sweeping vistas with which to fill your eyes. Directly in the middle of this park is the famed Coit Tower, one of the most recognized buildings of San Francisco’s skyline. In the distance on a clear day, you’ll be able to see both the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz on Telegraph Hill. It is absolutely worth it to climb those stairs for the views alone! Make sure Pioneer Park is on the agenda when visiting San Fran!

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How to Have the Perfect #RoadTrip

If you’re planning a road trip in the near future, it doesn’t matter if you’re driving cross-country or only for the day. In order to arrange the perfect road trip, you should be willing to plan, but also willing to be spontaneous, to prepare, but also to remain pleasantly unprepared. Here are some tips we’ve compiled for going on a road trip to remember. 

Pack a Lunch

Even if you plan out all the places you’ll eat along the way, it is a good idea to take some food should the unforeseen happen, such as a break down or a flat tire. Snacks, drinks, and an easy meal are a good idea. Bring items to make it a picnic, or plan to eat on the go, it doesn’t matter. But be prepared should you get a little peckish while on the go. 

Do Your Research

It’s better to plan your route rather than just get in the car and drive. Planning your road trip ensures you can plan for rest stops as well as scenic vistas you might miss just tootling around the countryside willy-nilly. If you want to have a stunning adventure, you’ll need to plan it out, at least a day in advance to know how far you’ll need to go before stopping for the night and also how much fuel you’ll need as well. Be smart – don’t get stuck in the middle of nowhere. Make a plan.

Remember to Be Spontaneous

If, while you’re driving, a sign points to something amazing down a little dirt road, take the time to go explore. Little sidetracks are okay on your road trip, and in fact make it more full of adventure. Stop at the kitschy antique store, check out the dusty bookstore. These things are part of the fun and the charm of your time, just make sure they are the side dish and not the main course.

Take the Long Way Around

Whatever route is the most scenic and beautiful, take that route. Drive on the windy mountain road, the coastal road, the desert highway. Take the time to see parts of our country that not many people do. Enjoy all the sights, sounds, colors, and wildlife that might cross your path. Stop to watch the sunset and take the time to stargaze. Don’t be in a rush but take it all in and make the most of your memories.

Bring Something to Do 

Not every road trip is fantastic 100% of the time. Be sure to bring a book, make a music playlist, load some podcasts, listen to an audio book, buy some word finds, do crossword puzzles, watch some movies, or play fun road games with family. During the long stretch of highway between sights, you shouldn’t be bored at all.

Wherever your destination, sometimes the journey to get there can be more fun. Make the most of it by planning ahead to have the perfect road trip of a lifetime.

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The Best Parks of #Phoenix

Don’t have a lot of money but you want to get out of the house? See nature? Have fun? Go on a walk? Have a picnic? Let’s check out the best parks in Phoenix. This city is known as the Valley of the Sun, however, there are also some gems of nature in this city and you’ll be happy to visit them all.

Papago Park

This park boasts sweeping vistas of red sandstone formations all around, making it one of the must-see parks in all of the Phoenix area. If you’re in town, you’ll definitely want to visit this park at least once for the glory of it. This park is home to the Hole in the Rock as well as Hunt’s Tomb. If you climb the sandstone, you’ll get a glorious view of the downtown Phoenix skyline, as well as take in the beauty of a desert sunset. This park also houses the Phoenix Zoo as well as the Desert Botanical Gardens. Whatever your taste for visiting the sights of Phoenix, Papago Park is your one-stop shop.

Japanese Friendship Garden

The Japanese Friendship Garden is located in downtown Phoenix. This park is deliciously peaceful for anyone who is overwhelmed with the chaos of everyday life. Dedicated to bringing the beauty of Japan to the acrid desert, this garden is lush with Japanese flora native to Japan, and also boasts Japanese art and sculptures created by various Japanese artists. Of course, they have a pond dotted with koi fish and tea ceremonies on site. If you’re looking for a tranquil and lovely day in the city of Phoenix, the Japanese Friendship Garden is the perfect choice.

South Mountain Park

This park is massive, with over 17,000 acres, making it the largest park in the entire United States. If you’re looking for an adventurous hike, Camelback Mountain and Superstition Mountain are waiting for you to conquer them. If you take the time to climb South Mountain, you’ll enjoy amazing views of the city as well as the horizon, where you can sit and watch the sunset if you so choose. Petroglyphs are located on South Mountain, carved by the Hohokam Indians hundreds of years ago, as well as stone structures they built around the mountainside. Picnic tables and BBQ grills are available everywhere you look, making South Mountain Park the perfect place for that BBQ picnic. Come on down and have a blast in this park.

Dreamy Draw Recreation Area

If you want to experience the Arizona desert in all its beauty and fullness, look no further than Dreamy Draw. With its mountain peaks and hidden valleys, Dreamy Draw is the perfect place to experience the local wildlife, such as coyotes, lizards, snakes, and all kinds of sagebrush for miles. You’ll enjoy dirt trails for hiking or biking, as well as some paved trails for the less adventurous adventurers. Here and there you’ll find quiet picnic areas where you’ll be able to enjoy the stillness and serenity of the open desert. Phoenix is dry but delightful and you won’t regret exploring all of her local parks.  

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The Best Parks of #Philadelphia

Don’t have a lot of money but you want to get out of the house? See nature? Have fun? Go on a walk? Have a picnic? Let’s check out the best parks in Philadelphia. This city is known for its cheesesteaks and the Liberty Bell, however, there are also some gems of nature in this city and you’ll be happy to visit them all.

Dilworth Park

This park is the west-facing front yard of City Hall itself and brings a touch of nature in the midst of modern hustle and bustle. Trees and benches abound, and two cafes are sure to please when the kids work up a hunger playing in the grass. A programmable fountain is a focal point of the park, and it also becomes an ice rink in the winter. Be sure to check back to see when you might be able to go skating come winter!

Franklin Square

This park is 7.5 acres of green everywhere you look and boasts a carousel, a food stand, playgrounds dotted here and there, as well as a Philadelphia-themed miniature golf course. Franklin Square is also home to one of the country’s oldest fountains, and here the city puts on special seasonal water and light shows depending on whether it’s day or night. You’ll have to check back to see what shows and events they have planned while you’re in the park.

Logan Square

Logan Square used to be a public square but is now four parks all merged into one. The center of the park is the Swann Memorial Fountain in Logan’s Circle. Alexander Calder designed the fountain, born and raised in Philly, and he designed it to represent the waterways of the region, namely the Delaware, the Wissahickon, and the Schuylkill. You’ll have fun discovering the Children’s Discovery Garden, a café, a boat pond, yet another fountain, the Shakespeare Memorial and statues to commemorate World War I and soldiers from all wars. 

Washington Square

This park is home to the Tomb of the Unknown Revolutionary War Soldier and is now surrounded by residences on all sides. This area of town used to be nothing more than grazing pasture in the 1600’s, but soon became a burial ground for African Americans, victims of the yellow fever pandemic, and Revolutionary War soldiers. Now, however, this park is used for recreation and is a staple if you happen to be on a tour of the city.

Fairmount Park

If you want to get out a little way from the urban jungle, come and visit Fairmount Park, a 2,000-acre park which offers 43 sculptures to enjoy, miles upon miles of walking trails, two different performing arts centers, the Shofuso Japanese House and Gardens, as well as the Philadelphia Zoo. If you’d like to get some glorious views of the Philadelphia skyline, be sure to head to Belmont Plateau. You’ll have a great time exploring all the parks of this beloved and historical city!

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The Best Parks of #NewYorkCity

Don’t have a lot of money but you want to get out of the house? See nature? Have fun? Go on a walk? Have a picnic? Let’s check out the best parks in New York City. This city is known for its skyscrapers and miles and miles of concrete, however, there are also some gems of nature in this city and you’ll be happy to visit them all.

Central Park

First, what list of parks in New York City would be complete without Central Park at the top of the list? This park is iconic and has been featured in countless movies for its dazzling display of trees, water, flowers, and wildlife in the middle of the Big Apple. It is easily one of the most recognizable parks in the world. This park is smack-dab in the middle of Manhattan and boasts various fountains, a lake, a castle, and even a zoo. If you’re ever in New York City, visiting Central Park is an absolute must.

Riverside Park

Riverside Park stretches four miles and provides breathtaking views of the Hudson River. It was designed in the 1870’s by the same architect who designed Central Park and is home to famous landmarks such as Grant’s Tomb and the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument. You’ll also find various playgrounds for families as well as walking trails, trees, and various historical buildings.

Bryant Park

This park is located in Midtown Manhattan and is completely surrounded by skyscrapers. Within walking distance of the New York Public Library and Grand Central Station, this park is the perfect choice for anyone in the city who wants to have a respite on their lunchbreak or just while wandering around town. Entertainment of all kinds comes to Bryant Park at various times of the year, such as summer movies on the lawn or ice skating at Winter Village during the winter. Make sure you take the time to check what event might be going on in Bryant Park while you’re in NYC. 

Prospect Park

Prospect Park is a sprawling 585 acres and also designed by the same team which designed Central Park and also Riverside Park. Some might call Prospect Park the crown jewel of Brooklyn, as it is well-beloved by the locals. There are so many things to explore in this park from the impressive Long Meadow to the Grand Army Plaza, you’ll never want for sights to see in this nature oasis. You’ll also adore Prospect Park Lake, a haven of peace and quiet in the middle of chaotic and noisy Brooklyn. In fact, it might just be the most serene location in the area.

Brooklyn Bridge Park

With a grand view of Brooklyn Bridge in the background, New York City’s most famous (and oldest) suspension bridge, you’ll have a most beautiful day exploring this lush, green park. You’ll have a perfect vantage point to enjoy the waterfront and have yourself a picnic. Or if you prefer to wander, you’ll enjoy all the gardens, basketball courts, playgrounds, and at Pier 4, there is even a sandy beach to delight the children. As far as a park with amazing photo opportunities, this is the park to visit. You’ll have a wonderful time visiting New York City’s famous parks!

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The Best Parks of #Houston

Don’t have a lot of money but you want to get out of the house? See nature? Have fun? Go on a walk? Have a picnic? Let’s check out the best parks in Houston. This city is known as the world capital of space exploration, however, there are also some gems of nature in this city and you’ll be happy to visit them all.

Buffalo Bayou Park

This sprawling 160-acre park has something for everyone in Houston, whether local or tourist. From biking trails to running trails, playgrounds and play areas, art sculptures, canoe and kayak rentals, a two-acre dog park, a skatepark, and 18 amazing acres of prairies and wildflowers perfect for that picnic with the family. You might also enjoy The Dunlavy, the park’s resident restaurant. Whatever you’d like to do you can do at the Buffalo Bayou Park. Built along the main waterway in Houston, you’ll love the view as well. If you find yourself in town, definitely make a point to visit this park.

Smither Park

This park serves as an artistic venue for all your outdoor leisure time. On display in Smither Park is pieces fashioned by over 300 different artists, many of which are local to the area. There is an amphitheater to enjoy, as well as a meditation area, a covered pavilion, a memory wall, sculptures, and many recycled materials such as bottle caps to broken ceramic, to seashells to tiles, all designed into colorful and whimsical mosaics. If you’re artsy and looking for something a little different than your run-of-the-mill city park, come and enjoy Smither Park on your stay in Houston.

Memorial Park

This park covers a massive 1466 acres, and over 75 percent of this park is unmanicured. Step into the wilds while on your nature walk in Memorial Park and you’ll be sure to enjoy the local wildlife to your heart’s content. However, there is also many various activities to enjoy at the park as well, such as tennis, golf, softball, soccer, flag football, a public pool, croquet, and many more. For biking or hiking, over 30 miles of forest trails are available to explore, making Memorial Park one of the best parks for recreation in Houston. Come take a hike and have a picnic here. You’re guaranteed to have a fantastic day.

George Bush Park

George Bush Park is a colossal 7800 acres of land and boasts over 11 miles of various biking and hiking trails throughout its expanse. If you love park amenities, look no further than George Bush Park. Here, you’ll enjoy playgrounds, three picnic pavilions, various Little League baseball fields, an outdoor shooting range, a flying field for model airplanes, and a dog park all within one park. Benches dot the landscape throughout the park and you’ll be glad they do so you can rest and take in all the scenery. If you want to get away while in Houston, there is no better place than George Bush Park. Come and enjoy yourself here today!

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#BeachDay Getaway – What to Bring on Your Day Trip

A day at the beach certainly sounds magical – until you get to the beach and realize you’ve forgotten something. Here is a convenient list of must-have items that is sure to make your next day trip to the beach a certain success.

Sunscreen, Sunglasses, and Hats, Oh My!

First and foremost, let’s not forget the sunscreen, sunglasses, and hats. Even if your beach day is cool and overcast, you’ll still want to bring these items as harmful UV rays from the sun can penetrate even the thickest of clouds. You’ll get a sunburn regardless and you’ll be kicking yourself if you don’t bring a hat.

Beach Towel or a Blanket

Whether or not you actually plan on getting into the water, you’ll want a beach towel or a blanket to lay out on the sand. This will give you not only a place to sit, but protection from the sand getting into everything you own, especially if you bring food.

Snacks and Lunch

Make your beach day all the more special by packing snacks and a lunch so you don’t have to leave when you get hungry! Watch out for those sea gulls, however, as they’ll likely try to steak your PB & J right out of your hand.

Water and Drinks

Be sure to bring water and drinks, as a day on the beach is a thirsty affair, and adults, kids, and dogs will need to stay hydrated throughout the day.

Books or a Small Radio

Everyone reads on the beach, so don’t forget your perfect summer book. Or if you prefer, bring your little radio or Bluetooth speaker and play your favorite tunes while laying out on your blanket. Just don’t have your music too loud to avoid disturbing other people who might want to read.

Collapsing Lawn Chairs

If you don’t want to sit on your beach towels, make sure you bring folding chairs. These are easy to carry as they collapse to go into a special pouch with a shoulder strap to make transporting them all the easier. These chairs are a must for older beachgoers or anyone who doesn’t want to get sand all over themselves. Many of these chairs have drink holders, and some even come with convenient side tables. Do not forget these at home!

Light Jackets & Swimsuits

Even if it’s the height of summer, sometimes a day at the beach can be a bit chilly. Make sure you bring some kind of warm covering if the wind kicks up. Are you planning on swimming? Then obviously you’ll need to bring your swimsuit as well!

Toys

Don’t forget sandcastles, wave-riding, and kite-flying! Kids of all ages love beach toys of all kinds, so be sure to bring buckets and shovels for that masterpiece castle the kids will build, boogie boards for your older teens, surfboards for the young adults, and grab yourself a kite from the local souvenir shop. But above all else, be sure to have a great time!

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