Tag Archives: vacation

How to Make Your Vacation Last Longer


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 concluded¬†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.

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!


  • 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…. ūüėČ


Source: Rachel Wilkerson


Weekend Trip Ideas from Paris, France


Are you about to travel to or study abroad in France? After studying in Paris for almost four months and experiencing a Trafalgar tour of France a few years ago, I can tell you some of my favorite weekend trips to help spark ideas for your travel planning. I limited each recommendation to a couple sentences Рif you have questions, feel free to comment and I can share more ideas with you!

  • Giverny: My absolute favorite place slightly outside of Paris, where you can tour Monet’s¬†home. Explore the water lily ponds, luscious gardens, and quaint home where Monet and his family resided.

Giverny with my mom in August 2011

  • Palace of Versailles: Learn why the French revolution occurred based on the extraordinary, ornate palace from the French royal families. I can almost guarantee that you will likely never see so much gold in one building at one time.

Palace of Versailles with my mom in August 2011

  • Bordeaux: Enjoy the best wine in the world with a Bordeaux wine country tour. I enjoyed Medoc which has stronger red wines. If you prefer lighter red wines, go to St. Emilion. The Bordeaux Tourism Office offers excellent city walking tours for affordable prices, great views, and interesting history.
  • Normandy: Visit Deauville, the home of Coco Chanel, and Honfleur where you will find artsy neighborhoods and sailboats. While I did not have the opportunity to see the World War II battle fields, I would also highly recommend going there to see one of the most emotional historical¬†sites.
  • Brittany: Visit St. Malo for a medieval experience along the sea. Try both sweet and savory crepes, which are originally from Brittany. Tour Mont St. Michel to see one of the wonders of the world. The cathedral and castle are incredible.

Mont St. Michel in January 2016

  • Strasbourg: Go on the Happy Tour to learn the city’s history of the city, including political control issues¬†between Germany and France and one of the most beautiful cathedrals in the world. ¬†Admire the fairytale-like buildings and enjoy¬†a mix of German and French cuisine.
  • French Riviera:Explore some of the most beautiful cliff-dwelling beaches of France and posh shopping in Nice and St. Tropez. Explore the playground of the rich and famous in Monaco.
  • Arles: Enjoy Vincent Van Gogh’s home where he painted over 300 pieces of artwork and explore ancient Roman ruins.
  • Lyon: Experience¬†the third largest city in France that has become a gastronomical¬†capital and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • London: Take the 2-hour EuroStar trip (underwater!) from Paris to London. Sandemann‚Äôs walking tour provides a great overview of the highlights of London, including Big Ben, Westminister Abbey, and the changing of the guards. Also take advantage of excellent theatre options – I enjoyed Phantom of the Opera! Consider a day trip ‚Äď I had an amazing time in Stonehenge, where I saw the famous rocks. I visited Salisbury where I saw the Magna Carta and Western Europe‚Äôs tallest cathedral. I ended the day trip in Bath, where I enjoyed learning about the Roman baths and tried cr√®me tea at an Alice in Wonderland inspired caf√©.

London in January 2016

Check out my Spanish Adventures Revealed blog posts to learn more specifics about France (Paris, Paris cont’d.,¬†Giverny and Versailles,¬†Avignon, Arles, French Riviera, French Riviera cont’d., Dijon, and¬†Lyon).¬†Do you have other favorite weekend trips from Paris? Help out your fellow inspirNational readers and comment below :).


How to Make the Most of a Staycation


When we think of travel, many of us think that means we must go to a new or different place. Over the past year, though, I have learned that a staycation (where you stay home, or vacation where you live) can be equally rewarding. Staycations can be more budget-friendly and help us be more appreciative of everything that our local surroundings offer, whether that relates to the culture, nature, food, or community events.

Source: Tamarack Swim Club

Source: Tamarack Swim Club

When we want to vacation but do not want to leave the local area, how can we make the most of a staycation?

Try new restaurants. Major cities often have restaurants guides that help you experience international cuisines without leaving the comforts of your home. Something interesting in Cleveland is the independent restaurant guide, which promotes locally owned restaurants. You can often try new restaurants during the popular trend of Restaurant Week, which encourages people to try new restaurants and new entrees for affordable prices.

Search for exciting community events, such as concerts, plays, or sporting events. Many cities and downtown areas have regular events that they promote in the local newspaper, city website, or through museum or public venue websites. The events will help you stay festive and broaden your perspective of your local community or the world around you. You can also seek out visiting musicians, artists, etc. who may be in town to make you feel like you are traveling even when you are home.

Challenge yourself to not make any plans and “go with the flow.” I like¬†to say “go where the wind takes you,” based on how you feel, the weather, and news of last minute opportunities that may come your way. As a planner, I know how easy it is to get wrapped up in planning for the next day. But with too many plans, we may miss out on¬†opportunities that cannot be planned. With staycations, we have the opportunity to let go and¬†just experience each day as it comes.

Create a theme for your staycation. Perhaps you are craving a tropical vacation, so you can go to the zoo to see tropical animals, eat at tropical restaurants, go salsa dancing, and wear bright clothing to feel like you’re in your dream destination. Or if you are looking to go back in time, you could take a horse-and-buggy ride through your local park and watch old movies. With a little imagination, the potential themes for staycations are endless.

I hope these insights help you make the most of your staycation, regardless of where you live. Whether you are vacationing, staycationing, or continuing your daily routine, you can still live every day like a traveler. Check out my post, How to Live Everyday Like a Traveler, to learn more!

If you like pi√Īa coladas…


…and getting caught in the rain! With a little bit of cabin fever as the winter ends,¬†we can at least sing beach songs and pretend that¬†we are¬†on a Caribbean island!

For those of us in the Northern hemisphere, we are in the heart of spring break season. Many of us are ready for a spring break vacation and beaches come to mind. Known for some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, below I am sharing five of my favorite places in the Caribbean:

Saint-Martin / Sint Maarten: On one island, imagine being able to see a French colony in the north (Saint-Martin) and a Dutch colony in the south (Sint Maarten). While there is no physical border between the colonies and goods/people can travel freely, the cultural influence between the two colonies is distinct. As the island of turquoise waters, you will find great opportunities to snorkel and participate in water sports. You will also find island paradise when shopping for luxury or fashion items duty-free!

Barbados: Famous for good swimming, and the birthplace of rum and Rihanna, I was amazed by the beautiful white sandy beaches in Barbados. With English, African, and West Indian Roots, Barbados has a distinct identity, interesting history, and rich cuisine. You can go on sightseeing tours to see the rum production process and Rihanna’s first home!

Puerto Rico: With a mix of¬†Ta√≠no, African, and Spanish influences, Puerto Rico¬†provides¬†rich cuisine, colorful arts and crafts, vibrant music, and traditional festivals as a United States territory. I attended my brother’s wedding in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and have to say that it is the ideal location for a beach wedding, with beautiful beaches, fun cultural activities for guests, and a safe atmosphere. I will never forget the unique sound of the coqu√≠, the frog that is a national symbol in Puerto Rico.

Grand Cayman: Famous for Stingray City, Grand Cayman is the largest of the three Cayman islands. You will have the thrilling experience of swimming with stingrays, if you are brave. Grand Cayman was my first time visiting a Caribbean island while growing up, and I will never forget how many (and how large) stringrays there were. Grand Cayman is also known for the relaxing spa services on the beaches.

St. Lucia: With miles of rainforests, natural waterfalls, beaches, and the Piton Mountains, you will find adventure, natural beauty, and relaxation bundled in one place. I had my first ziplining experience in St. Lucia and highly recommend it when you explore the rainforests!

While we are all dreaming  about our next beach vacation, I hope these insights inspire you to explore the Caribbean islands. It is common to see many of the Caribbean islands in one cruise, so if you would like to see more than one island, I suggest that you research cruise options. Feel free to reach out to me on my inspirNational Facebook page or on Twitter @brittanyvb with any questions.

Source: viajesme.com

Source: viajesme.com

Check out my original post on One World 365! My writer profile shares all my posts over the past several months. Enjoy!