Tag Archives: photos

How to Make Your Vacation Last Longer

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With spring break recently past for many of us, it is easy to experience the post vacation blues. We may stop and think, “I wish I could go back” or “why can’t vacation last longer?” During my spring break, I spent a week visiting family in Detroit and Northern Michigan and concludedĀ the break with a trip to Savannah with my boyfriend. It was the perfect combination of a family vacation and romantic getaway. 12 days later, and it felt like the trips were like a blink of an eye. Back to reality, back to school, and no more trips until graduation. Fortunately, though, a walking tour of Savannah inspired me to make my vacation continue. While outside the Mercer House, I learned about the book, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, which made Savannah famous. I decided I would purchase the book when I returned home to see how Savannah became a popular tourist destination.

Flash forward and I am now a quarter of the way through the book. I am so glad that I purchased it, not only because it has an interesting story line, but also because it helps me relive the memories from my trip to Savannah. I realized that it is possible to make our vacations last longer! Below are a few tips I have to make you feel like you are still on vacation:

  • Buy books, both fiction and non-fiction, about your travel destination! As I mentioned with Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, it is so fun to relive the memories of your vacation through books. After visiting a place, you feel much more engaged by reading a book about it because you have more context about the story setting. You can easily imagine where the plot is taking place and perhaps learn more about the destination’s history and charm.
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Source: Pixabay

  • Give yourself time to reflect. Don’t over-plan your schedule when you return from vacation. You will need time to readjust to working again and to living your daily routine. With more free time when you return, you will be able to process your travel experiences and help them be properly minted in your memory. You may choose to write a travel diary or blog, to call friends to share your travel stories, or to create digital photo albums. I often jump to my next task when I return from vacation, which delays my personal reflection process. I have been actively working to not over-plan so that I can spend more time reflecting and reliving the exciting travel memories.
  • Contribute to travel forums such as Trip Advisor or Yelp, giving feedback based on your experience at hotels, restaurants, and on excursions. You will engage in dialogue about your travel destination and will be able to share your favorite stories. You may notice comments and questions long after you make your original post, which helps you relive your vacation each time. I have had this experience based on my Trip Advisor review of a Costa Rica horseback riding adventure. Three years later, I am still receiving messages about the number of “likes” or “comments” on my post. It is so fun to be able to talk about Costa Rica again and again!

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  • Make a photo book through Shutterfly or Apple. It is easy to post photos on social media, but there’s nothing like a photo book that combines digital convenience with old fashioned memories in an actual book. A photo book provides a tangible memory of your vacation and you can easily place it on your coffee table for guests to read. Every time you have guests over, they can look through the photo book with you, and you will be reminded of your trip and feel like you are on vacation again.

What other tips do you have that help you make your vacation last longer? As we all return from spring break vacations and are going on the home stretch of spring before the start of summer vacations, may we relive the memories of our great vacations past. And make yourself a promise…. šŸ˜‰

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Source: Rachel Wilkerson

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Guilt-Free Souvenir Shopping

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Over the weekend, I shopped at the Cleveland Flea MarketĀ where I found vintage clothing and house ware, artisan jewelry and gifts, local food trucks, and great toys made from recycled materials for my nieces (can’t spoil the birthday gifts just yet :)! I alsoĀ strolled through the local shops in Tremont (a neighborhood of Cleveland) and came across the sign below, which reminded me of the importance of shopping locally.

Sign outside of April Snow, one of my favorite boutiques in Tremont

By going to local stores, we are supporting the local economy and sustainable business by reducing distribution and transportation costs. Shopping locally and supporting the local economy is one of the many ways I justify my purchases and leave stores feeling “guilt-free.” Mirroring habitsĀ of my generation (Millennials), I also aim to support causes with my purchases, such as shoes fromĀ TOMS, an inspiring company thatĀ donates a pair of shoes for every pair of shoes you purchase.

Thinking more about it, as I have traveled over the past several years, I have found ways to purchase souvenirs without feeling guilty. I have to admit that growing up, I wanted to purchase every trinket in sight. Now that I have moved every year for the past six years, I am realizing the hassle of collecting trinkets everywhere I go. I’m only in my 20s, and as a travel enthusiast, it’s scary to think how much I could collect in a lifetime if I purchase trinkets every new place I visit. Recently, I have gotten into the habit of buying souvenirs that are in the following “guilt-free” categories:

  • Artwork: Paintings, drawings, etc. are a great way to decorate your home while remembering your adventures. Over the past couple years, I’ve purchased several small paintings/plaques/drawings that I have now turned into collages in my new apartment. Art is a good souvenir, as long as you are selective (i.e., only purchase items that will fit will in your home) and there is a general theme (i.e., I’ve noticed that many of my pieces have a red tone, which has been convenient for decorating).
  • Jewelry: Unlike souvenir t-shirts or even most clothing items, jewelry can be timeless. It is wearable, and therefore useful, so that it doesn’t just collect dust on your shelf. I’ve now purchased jewelry (casual jewelry…it doesn’t have to be diamonds!) in almost every place I’ve visited, especially if it is native to the location. For example, I purchased butterfly wing earrings and a necklace from the Monteverde Cloud Forest in Costa Rica as a memory of my cloud forest hikes and to support butterfly conversation efforts.
  • Photos: What better way to capture all of your experiences? More than saying a thousand words, pictures tell a story and trigger thoughts, emotions, and memories of your best and worst experiences while traveling. Now with smart phones, social media, and the cloud, you can share, organize, and store photos instantly!

I came across the following quote that perfectly summarizes guilt-free souvenirĀ shopping (if only I came up with a quote for my categories before William Morris :))!

“Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” ā€“ William Morris

And better yet, I came across The Top 5 Most Valuable Souvenirs and I absolutely agree with each one. If you want to purchase something tangible during your travels, my guilt-free recommendations are above. But, as Sarah Vedomske highlights, the most valuableĀ souvenirs are intangible and will inspire you to live with an inspirNational mindset.