25 Signs You Are a Travel Addict


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Eat. Sleep. Travel.

Is travel the first thing on your mind in the morning and the last thing on your mind before you lie down on your pillow?

Are you constantly planning where you are going next?

Does your bucket list keep getting longer and longer?

If so you may be a travel addict! Here are twenty signs that you may be a travel addict:

1.)  You are reading this post.

2.)  You have a seperate travel savings account. Let’s face it-traveling costs money! It doesn’t have to be super expensive, but if you want to travel you have to have some sort of funding. If you travel often enough to need a separate bank account designated for traveling you may just be a travel addict!

3.) You can get through security in a jiffy! You know exactly what to expect and are ready ahead of time, no one has to tell you what to do each step of the way. You’ve done it more times than you can count.

4.) Your bucket list is an ever growing, never ending list! Almost any place in the world looks appealing for you and you are up for anything!

5.) You watch travel documentaries more than anything else on TV. Your netflix lists and youtube account recommended videos are full of travel related shows.

6.) You have read more travel books than any other type of book. Your leisurely read of choice is anything travel related, not a romance, suspense, or any other type of novel.

7.) Your facebook timeline has more travel related posts than personal posts. You spend more time on travel blogs than social media.

8.) You have friends from all over the world and have no trouble making new friends across all cultures.

9.) You feel at home anywhere, except at home! Normal for you is being abroad, not in your hometown.

10.) You spend your current trip thinking about your next trip. Each and every trip you take gets you more and more excited about your next trip.

11.) The mention of travel sparks passion within you. Any time someone talks about traveling you perk up and can have never ending conversations with them.

12.) You can quickly recover from jetlag. You are so used to traveling across time zones that jetlag does not have a major effect on you and you are ready for adventures shortly after arrival.

13.) You subscribe to multiple travel magazines.

14.) The only reason you continue going to your day job is so you can afford to travel.

15.) Your living room coffee table is full of travel guides.

16.) You have more souveniers in your home than any other type of decor.

17.) Packing a suitcase takes you only a few minutes. You have become so used to packing and know exactly what you need that it takes you no time to fill up the suitcase.

18.) Layovers have become a means for adventure, not an inconvience.

19.) You are somewhat familiar with multiple foreign languages.

20.) Your walls are full of maps instead of paintings.

21.)The majority of your facebook photos are of your adventures and travels.

22.) You are a member of several frequent flier programs.

23.) You have more than one currency in your wallet, you never know when you may need it!

24.) You have thought about or have gotten a travel related tattoo.

25.) Your thirst for travel can never be quenched…no matter how many places you go! If you can never get enough travel, even if you spend week after week traveling, you may be a true travel addict!

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If you have one or many of these symptoms you may just be a travel addict! Unfourtanetly a cure has not been found…but who really wants a cure anyways? Enjoy your travels, fellow travel addicts!

Eight Tips for Making Your Vacation Stress Free

Eight Tips for Making Your Vacation Stress Free

1-Be flexible.

Everything you plan out is not always going to work out that way. Things happen that are outside of our control. Being flexible and not stressing about every little change that occurs to your initial plans will help create a more enjoyable vacation experience for you. Limiting the amount of pre-planned tours/tickets can also aide in lessening the disappointment from changed plans (although I realize some things have to be pre-purchased ahead of time).

2-Visit an underrated destination

If crowds, long lines, and long wait times cause you stress try choosing a less popular destination. Determine what kind of type you want to take (e.g. beach, city, country) and research destinations, avoiding the ones that pop up first that everyone tends to go for. Choosing a less popular destination can provide you with many of the same experiences with less crowds! A great example of this would be Myrtle Beach, SC. Instead of choosing this popular and crowded location choose one of the less popular beach areas along South Carolina’s shore that will give you a very similar beach experience with less people and thus less stress.

3-Don’t Over Schedule

It is very easy to get caught up in the excitement of visiting a new destination and understandable to want to fit in as much as possible. Doing so, however, could result in very stressful, long days with you running here and there without really getting to enjoy what you’re doing. Sometimes less is better. Enjoy the attractions and activities you do get to do and if needed plan a return trip. Don’t try to do it all at once if time does not allow.

4-Disconnect for technology.

Sometimes all we need for a stress free vacation is to disconnect from our cell phones and computers. When I am traveling I try to avoid social media and contact from my home life. This is not to say that I don’t want to talk to loved ones, but disconnecting for a couple days has proven to do wonders for my stress level.

5-Check-in Online

If online registration/check in is available for flights, tours, attractions, cruises, etc.  take advantage of it. Doing so will complete paperwork and information collection prior to arrival and will save you time and the stress of having to worry about it later on.

6-Start planning early.

Don’t wait until the last minute to start making reservations and creating an itinerary. Waiting until too close to departure time can result in missed opportunities and more expensive options than booking ahead of time would have. Having everything planned out early will also alleviate the stress of having to plan it in the days before the trip, giving you the time to relax and look forward to the upcoming vacation.

7-Make sure all your travel documents and identification are readily available. Keep them separated from your other luggage. Make sure you have everything you will need, including passports, airline tickets, tour tickets, hotel reservation information, car rental information, your itinerary, drivers’ licenses, and any other forms of identification you may need. Having all of these in one place will reduce the stress of guesswork or having to frantically search for a document upon arrival.

8-Get help!

One way to greatly reduce the stress of trip planning is to hire a travel agent! They will assist with the entire planning process, from initial booking to final payments. This will save you time on research and help to ensure that all your T’s are crossed. And the great thing about this option is that most travel agents are completely free!

Seven Must See Attractions in the Big Apple

The Big Apple, the city that never sleeps! New York City is bustling with attractions, activities, nightlife, shopping, and dining. There is bound to be something here for everyone, just try being bored! Here are some attractions that should be on your list when visiting this great city:

1- The Statue of Liberty

No trip to NYC will be complete without viewing the iconic landmark that sits in the New York Harbor and represents the life and liberty of the United States. Take a ferry out to Liberty Island where you can stand at the base of the Statue of Liberty and if you choose to climb to the crown. Most ferry tours also include a stop at Ellis Island, the point where immigrants were brought before being cleared to enter the US.

I have visited Liberty Island multiple times and one tip that I would give you is to visit early. The ferry and island can become quite crowded throughout the day, with ferries coming to the island from both NYC and New Jersey. I have found that earlier in the morning is the best time to go to avoid the crowds.

Please note that if planning on climbing to the Pedestal or Crown advanced reservations are required and space is limited-plan ahead.

2-The 911 Memorial and World Trade Center

During your visit to NYC be sure to stop by the site of the 911 memorial honoring those who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks on 9/11/2001. The memorial features two reflecting pools with the names of all of the lives lost in both the 2001 and 1993 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center inscribed on the outer walls.

You can also check out the museum which sits next to the reflecting pools. The grounds of the memorial are free to enter, however a fee is required to enter the museum. The museum features artifacts from the World Trade Center buildings destroyed in the attacks.

3-Visit Times Square

Whether to spend some time shopping or to just take in the sights Times Square is a must do! Times Square is a shopping district in the city well known for bright lights and entertainment. Spend some time shopping some of the famous shopping outlets featured in Times Square such as Sephora, Old Navy, Gap, American Eagle, Footlocker, Disney Store, and so on, take in the sight of the location of the famous New Year’s Eve ball drop, or see a broadway show. There is something for everyone here!

One of my favorite experiences I had with Times Square was the night that a couple friends of mine and I decided to explore late-night. While many of the shops are closed the streets are still bussing with street side vendors and the environment is much more relaxing than that of the mid day commotion.

4-The Empire State Building

Stand at the bottom of the Empire State Building and see it towering over you or walk inside and take a ride to the top and observe stunning 360 views of the city. If you are going to ride to the top be aware of the weather condition as fog will greatly reduce visibility and limit views of the city. If you want to avoid the crowds the best time to go would be early in the morning when the building is first opening for tours. Avoid weekends if possible as well as the attractions tends to be more crowded. A ride to the top is sure to give you an unforgettable experience.

5-Walk the Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge crosses over the East River connecting Manhattan and Brooklyn. The bridge offers walking and bike trails across the entirety of the bridge. Spend some time walking or bike riding on the bridge, even if you do not cross it completely. Enjoy some stunning views of Manhattan from on the bridge.

6-Spend some time soaking up the sun at Battery Park.

Walk along the paths of Battery Park alongside New York Harbor. The path will give you views of the harbor, the Statue of Liberty, and the city. During the day you will find vendors throughout the park and if lucky may find someone dressed up as the Statue of Liberty like we did on my last visit to the city.

7-The Chrysler Building

The Chrysler Building is another of NYC’s most famous skyscrapers and one not to miss on your trip to the Big Apple. View the building from the outside at the base, from afar, or step inside and view the lobby of this beautiful building. Please note at this time ride to the top tours are not available at the Chrysler Building.

Central Park is another must see attraction that should be on this list, but as I have not yet had the opportunity to explore it I will not get into details about it. Stay tuned for a Central Park Itinerary from my upcoming trip to Central Park!

Five Great Ways to View Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls is a stunning display of nature. Visiting the falls will leave you filled with awe and seeing the power of the water constantly pouring over the falls will help you put things into perspective. VIsiting the falls is a great trip, whether it be a day trip, a couple days, or a week long trip. There is no absence of options when it comes to viewing the falls. Check out these five great ways to the falls from Canada!

  1. Journey Behind the Falls

        Journey Behind the Falls is one tour option that takes you down 125 feet to tunnels through the bedrock behind the falls. The tunnels take you out to an observation deck, where you will be standing at the foot of the falls.

    The Journey Behind the Falls tour is $19.95 for adults and $13 for children age 6-12. If you are going to see multiple attractions I would recommend the Adventure Pass. For a single price of $65 you can get access to multiple attractions including Journey Behind the Falls, Niagara’s Fury, and access to the WeGo transportation buses. Check out https://www.niagaraparks.com/visit-niagara-parks/plan-your-visit/deals-packages/ for a complete list of pass options and included attractions.

    2.) Helicopter Ride

    Niagara Falls Helicopters offers daily sightseeing tours that take you above the mighty Niagara Falls and rapids of the Niagara River. This option for viewing the falls can get pricey, with costs over $100 per person, but the views it offers are a once in a lifetime opportunity.

    3.) Lunch at Skylon Tower

    Skylon Tower sits 775ft. above the falls and offers attractions and dining options for visitors as well as an observation deck. The tower has two dining options, one of which is a revolving dining room that rotates 360 degrees over an hour. Both dining options give you a stunning view of the Falls. After finishing your meal you can then go up to the observation deck, which gives you views of the Falls and the city. Prices for this attraction vary depending on which attractions you choose (ride to the top only, or the 4D movie access as well). When eating in one of the restaurants the ride to the top is free.

    4.) Niagara Falls Boat Tour: Voyage to the Falls

    Hop onboard a boat and get up close and personal with the mighty Niagara Falls. Warning: Be prepared to get wet! A poncho is provided for your convenience. The boat ride will take you past the American Falls and to the foot of the Horseshoe Falls. The cost for the tour is $25.95 CAD for adults and %15.95 CAD for children, with children under four being free. Be sure to check out the Falls Fireworks Cruise. This is the option that I chose and it was an absolutely amazing experience. You experience being at the foot of both the American and Horseshoe Falls as well as getting stunning views of the nightly color changing display of the falls, ending with a beautiful fireworks show over the falls. This option is more pricey, but worth the additional costs.

   5.) Stroll the Niagara Falls Parkway

A walkway along the falls in Ontario gives you the opportunity to stroll at your leisure along the Falls and the Niagara River, giving you views of both the American and Horseshoe Falls. Along the walkway are different vendors with souvenirs and food/drinks. The Table Rock Welcome Center sits just beside the Horseshoe falls and allows you to get very close to where the water begins to flow over the Falls. The visitor center also offers dining options, shops, and select attractions, such as Journey Behind the Falls. The Queen Victoria Park sits across the highway from the walkway and gives you some beautiful views of the Falls and gardens within the park.

15 Stress Free Packing Tips

15 Stress Free Packing Tips

Packing…you can’t vacation without it! But who really enjoys it? Some people, I suppose, but I think its safe to say that most of use do not particularly look forward to it.  Check out these tips that may make the process a little less daunting for you:

1-Always use a list: When packing for an upcoming trip my first recommendation would be to use a list. Using a list can help you narrow down what you need to prevent overpacking as well help ensure that you don’t forget anything. Make a list or use a premade list available online (there are plenty). Go over it once, go over it twice. Make sure that you have everything you need. If not purchase it early. This will prevent last minute shopping, something that is bound to cause you unnecessary stress.

2-Roll your clothing instead of folding it. Rolling your clothes will save you lots of space in your suitcase and will also allow you to pack more clothing items if necessary.

3-Familarize yourself with TSA regulations. Knowing the regulations beforehand will prevent you from packing something incorrectly and thus preventing having your items confiscated at the airport and prevent you from being held up.

4-Always bring a trash bag in your suit case. In the case that you are outside and unable to find cover or have to walk outside for whatever reason and the weather is less than optimal the trash bag can help protect your luggage and belongings by creating a water proof barrier.

5-Use zip lock bags for all toiletries.  If bringing items like shampoo, conditioner, lotion, etc. I always like to keep them in plastic bags. In the event that one of them leaks this will prevent damage to the other items in your luggage. You can also use zip lock bags for electronics. This will allow better organization and also offer some protection for the electronics.

6-Keep essentials in a carry-on bag. If there is something that you will need while traveling make sure it is readily available. This will prevent you from having to search through suit cases to find the item that you need and save you time and stress.

7-Shop when you get to your destination. There is likely to be some sort of store at your destination that you will be able to purchase essential items from. Do some research. Find out what options will be available. Grocery stores? Drug stores? And plan for it. If you are able to get items at your destination you will not need to pack them, thus saving you room. I would also recommend a little planning, making sure that you don’t overbuy there and end up with extra items that you didn’t use to have to either throw out or bring back with you, potentially costing you extra baggage fees.

8-Plan your outfits. Planning your outfits will give you an idea of exactly what you have for each day. This will prevent you from packing a given number of pants and given number of shirts that you may not need. I used to pack shirts and then pack pants, but I have found that it is much easier to do them as a set.

9-Bring some detergent and wash your own clothes. Pack a couple outfits, varying depending on how long the trip is. Maybe not ideal, but you can always handwash clothing pieces in the sink with soap and hang them to dry. This will prevent you from having to pack an outfit for each day, as you can wash and re-wear.

10-Keep a travel bag with essentials. To avoid having those last minute items to pack (such as a toothbrush), keep a travel toiletries bag that contains duplicates of those items. Everything will be all set for you and you won’t have to worry about forgetting one of those last minute items.

11-Pack and unpack. While it may be a pain to pack, and then unpack, and then repack, doing so may help you eliminate items you don’t really need as well as help you catch items that you may have forgotten. This is something that I do at least twice for every trip that I take. It takes some extra time, but it does save some stress later on.  

12-Use a dryer sheet to keep everything fresh! While this won’t save you space, it will keep everything smelling fresh and help you avoid that old suitcase smell.

13-Double up. Use bags for more than one purpose. For example if you have a purse and a backpack-combine them. If you have a child combine the diaper bag with your backpack. It will prevent extra fees and will give you less to carry onto the plane.

14-Keep all your travel documents and valuables in your carry on. This will make them readily available and also decrease the chance of them getting lost/stolen.

15- Always leave some space in your suit case for souvenirs. If you are like me, you will most likely be spending at least a little bit of money on souvenirs. Be sure to leave some space in your suitcase for them to prevent having to pay extra luggage fees to the airline on your return trip.

Check out our free printable packing lists here: https://navigationjunkieblog.wordpress.com/resources/packing-lists/

10 Creative Ways to Celebrate Your Child’s Birthday at Disney World

10 Creative Ways to Celebrate Your Child’s Birthday at Disney World!

Visiting Disney World is bound to be a memorable experience for all involved, despite the occasion. But why not make it even more memorable by planning a trip around your child’s birthday?

Disney offers many great options for celebrating a birthday. Check out these great ideas as well as tips for making this year’s birthday the birthday to remember!

1.)  Take a private fireworks birthday cruise. I will start with this one, as this is how we chose to celebrate my daughter’s forth birthday last year at the Magic Kingdom. Rent a pontoon or yacht to spend a private evening on the lake outside of the magic kingdom accompanied by a private captain. The boat will be decorated to honor the birthday boy/girl and drinks/snacks provided. Make the evening even more special by ordering specialty dining and a personalized birthday cake. (Please note that there are no tables on the boats so this limits the availability of dining options.) For my daughter’s birthday cruise we ordered pizza and a cake. Enjoy the Magic Kingdom’s end of the night firework show, Happily Ever After, from a unique viewing spot on the lake. It is truly a one of a kind experience. (Also note that the projections on the castle will be less visible, but the fireworks are perfectly visible).

2.) Take your prince/princess to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique for a make-over.  This option can be quite pricey, but it will without a doubt be a very memorable experience for your child. The boutique offers a few different packages ranging in price from $65 to $450 for princess and $20 to $80 for princes. Your child can enjoy getting their hair styled like their favorite princess, receive a princess sash and dress (should you choose), and have their faces painted with make-up or for your boy receive a sword and shield, and if you choose a prince costume.  Make this experience more memorable by stopping by the photo studio at Disney Springs for a photo session or reserving an elegant meal with your child’s favorite Disney characters.

closeup photography of two teal and three pink inflated balloons

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique has two locations within Walt Disney World, one at Disney Springs and the other inside Cinderella’s Castle in the Magic Kingdom. Please note that the age requirements for this option are between 3 and 12 years old.

3.) Have an in-room celebration. Disney offers many options for an in-room celebration. The most expensive options are approximately $400, but include a fully decorated room in the theme of your choosing (Royal Princess, Pirate Adventure, Minnie & Mickey’s birthday celebration), a cake, some snacks, balloons, and depending on the themes some gifts for the birthday child.

4.) Join a Dessert Party at the Magic Kingdom. This option includes a reserved viewing area for the fireworks show Happily Ever After as well as a dessert party featuring many specialty treats and drinks.

5.) Get your passport stamped at Epcot. Travel around the world at Epcot with your birthday boy/girl and have your child get birthday messages in 11 different languages. Pair this up with a character dining experience at the Akershus Royal Banquet Hall with cake delivery to the table. End the night viewing Illuminations fireworks show.

6.) Go on a horse drawn carriage ride. Jump aboard an elegant carriage and enjoy a 25 minute ride in Disney’s Port Orleans Resort area along the Sassagoula River or a 25 minute ride though Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort area. Pair this up with a trip to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and make him/her feel like a true prince/princess.

7.) Have a cake delivered to your table at one of Disney’s many restaurants. The majority of restaurants in the Walt Disney World Parks offer the ability to pre-order a personalized birthday cake and have it delivered to the restaurant of your choosing to celebrate your child’s birthday.

8.) Transform your prince (or princess) into a pirate or mermaid at The Pirates’ League, located inside the Magic Kingdom.  The Pirates’ League offers many different packages ranging in price from $25 to $85. After the transformation your child will listen to tales from Captain Jack Sparrow’s Pirate Masters teaching them how to survive as pirates, and then finally they will be sworn into the Pirate’s League. This is a great option for a pirate or mermaid loving child.

9.) Take the Pirates and Pals Fireworks Voyage. Start the evening with some drinks and snacks at Disney’s Contemporary Resort before being escorted to the docks to meet Captain Hook and Mr. Smee. You will then board the boat and enjoy a night of singing, trivia, story-telling, and fireworks. This is a great option for your pirate loving lad.

10.) Attend a Perfectly Princess Tea Party. Treat your princess to a tea party in the Grand Floridian’s Garden View Tea Room, where she will spend 90 minutes being treated like a real princess. She will be treated with tea and snacks, given some gifts, and will be able to listen to stories told by Princess Aurora.

white ceramic tea cup with saucer and spoon

Tips:

1-Always let the hotel know when booking that you are celebrating a birthday. When checking into the hotel, mention the birthday again. You may get lucky and receive a card or treat in your room.

2-Always tell your waiter/waitress about the birthday while dining. They will often times throw in a special treat for the birthday boy/girl.  

3-Don’t forget to get you Birthday Pin! Disney offers a number of different pins that highlight different occasions, including a birthday pin. Wearing the pin may result in special treats for the birthday boy/girl.

4-Speak with the front desk of the hotel and arrange for a phone call from your child’s favorite Disney character.

5-Let the characters know during meet and greets that it is your child’s birthday. They may get a special message in their autograph book.

6-Alert photo pass staff that your child is celebrating a birthday. They may add in special effects on your photos.

10 Useful Tips for Traveling with Young Children

10 Useful Tips for Traveling with Young Children

Traveling with young children can be a very rewarding, yet very stressful, experience for parents and the child. Exposing children at a young age to the vast diversity that this world has to offer is bound to have only useful effects on their development. However, young children add on stress to the trip. Here are some tips that I have found to be useful in creating a more pleasant experience for all when traveling with a young child.

Photo by Nubia Navarro (nubikini) on Pexels.com

1-Take it Slow.

When traveling you may have a list of what you want to do and experience, but in reality when you are traveling with a young child they are in charge. I learned this very quickly when I began my travels with my four year old (then much younger).

On our first trip to Disney World we wanted to see everything! My daughter wanted to see all the characters she knew from the movies and ride all the rides that featured her favorite movies. We quickly learned, though, that this was not going to happen. With many tears and temper tantrums it quickly became apparent that she would need frequent breaks and without a doubt a nap sometime during the day.

When planning a trip with a young child make sure that you are planning in time for your child to rest, whether this be an actual nap or just some quiet time. It will do wonders for your child and make the trip much more enjoyable for them and yourself.

2-Consider your child when booking a hotel/resort

When booking a hotel or resort be sure to explore what kid friendly/family friendly activities and amenities are available. Many hotels offer playgrounds, pools, arcades, and different activities  throughout the day that are great for families. Keeping in mind that small children need rest time and breaks finding a hotel or resort that offers many family friendly amenities and activities gives you a great option to spend the day at the hotel if needed.

When traveling to Disney we always choose one of the more kid friendly hotels, such as the All Star Movies Resort, that has many features the kids will love! My daughter and her cousin loved the dalmatian statues in particular!

3- Invest in a GPS tracking device or monkey leash.

Small children love to run off. You can talk until you’re blue in the face, telling them to stay with you, to do this or that. But in reality when they see something that excites them or when they’re just running off of that energy tank that never seems to deplete chances are they will take off.

One of the scariest feelings is looking around and not seeing your child beside you. I have had this experience on more than one occasion. The most notable one was having my young niece take off in the middle of a universal studios park. Leaving a show she decided to join another family and walk off with them. Park security was involved and eventually she was found. A GPS tracking device or monkey leash could have prevented this and is something that I always use for my daughter. There are many options for GPS devices that can be placed on their wrist, ankle, or backpack that will allow you to monitor your child’s whereabouts and some that notify you when your child goes out of a designated range.

Monkey leashes are also a great option. There are many different options available and you can allow your child to pick their favorite animal, character, etc. and get them excited about wearing it, all while being able to keep better tabs on your child in crowded situations.

4-Don’t Overpack, Shop When You Get There

Kids need a lot of items. Depending on age you may need diapers, wipes, pacifiers, baby food, bottles, and so on. I used to pack everything! Doing so results in unneeded luggage fees and extra baggage to carry around. When packing for your trip pack what you will need for the trip and maybe a day or two after arrival so you don’t have to rush right out after landing. However, the majority of what you will need for your child will be easily obtainable at a grocery or convenience store at your destination. Take advantage of this, save room in your baggage, and decrease fees you will pay to an airline. Also, remember when you get to your destination not to over buy-buy only what you need for the duration of the trip to prevent having extra items for the return trip.

5-Bring a stroller-even if the child is a little older

My daughter is four and is able to walk a reasonable amount of distance. However, she will inevitably become tired at some point and, believe me, carrying a 50 pound child around is not my idea of a fun vacation!

Fold up strollers are lightweight and easy to carry. It is a bit of a hassle to carry them on and off of `public transportation, but when your child gets tired they are more than handy. They also double as a grocery cart so to speak when your child is not sitting in them, giving you a place to put shopping bags and souvenirs. I highly recommend at least bringing a fold up stroller for any trip with young children.

6-Bring your car seat if you are renting a car

The daily fees for adding on a car seat to a rental car can be quite ridiculous and unnecessary. Rental car agencies vary in their pricing but charge up to $15 a day to rent a car seat. In the long run this adds up and adds another expense to your list. It can be a bit of a hassle to bring a car seat through baggage checks and another item to carry, but when you are traveling on a budget bringing your own car seat is definitely an option to consider.

7-Make sure you have entertainment for long drives, flights, and waits.

A long flight, drive, or wait time to get into a location/attraction without some source of entertainment for a small child can be disastrous. I would recommend always bringing along something that they enjoy, whether it be a book, a toy, or some sort of electronic. I have found that bringing along a tablet makes the long waits and travel times much more bearable for both myself and my daughter.

Photo by PhotoMIX Ltd. on Pexels.com

8-Plan your flights/driving time- Bedtime is best

Every trip I take I try to plan arrival and departure around nap time or bedtime. Overnight flights or drives always seem to work the best. It almost guarantees my daughter will sleep and and prevents the restlessness associated with long travel times. Overnight flights work especially well for me because I can sleep as well and avoid taking away time after arrival at the destination for sleep.

9-Leave plenty of time

It is undeniable that simply having a small child with you will increase the amount of time it takes to do essentially everything. You never know what may come up-another trip  to the bathroom, a spilled drink, temper tantrums, and so on. Although we hope these things don’t happen, plan time for them in case they do. Arrive to events/activities early. Give yourself plenty of time at the airport before departure time. Decrease your stress by avoiding the rush with a small child. It is better to be early than late!

Photo by Buenosia Carol on Pexels.com

10-Prepare the child for the trip

This part is fun. Get your child excited. One of the best parts of pre-trip planning for me is telling my daughter all the exciting things we will be doing and hearing her ask every morning “Are we going today?”

Explain to your child where you are going. Tell them how you are getting there. Tell them what you are going to be doing when you get there. Prepare them for long drives or plane rides. The more excited they are the more excited you will be and I have found that when she is excited the days go much smoother.

Exploring the Old Game Farm, Catskills, NY

Traveling and exploration gives us so many opportunities to open up our minds and experience the world as others do today and how they did in the past. Traveling to abandoned places allows us to take a step back in history, to see the world as it once was, or at least the remains. When the new owners of the Catskill Game Farm in Catskill, NY opened the doors of the previously closed Game Farm they gave visitors the opportunity to do just that.

The Catskill Game Farm opened in 1933 under the ownership of Roland Lindermann. When opened the farm housed deer, donkeys, and sheep. The farm was recognized officially as a zoo by the United States Department of Agriculture in 1958. From that time the zoo grew in size and variety, with roughly 2,000 animals and over 150 species on 914 acres of land at this time of it’s closing. In August of 2006 the Catskill Game Farm made the announcement that it would be closing on Columbus day that year due to financial reasons and declining attendance. When the zoo closed all animals, rides, and equipment. Today the property lies in desolation, while the new owners hope to restore some parts of the zoo and open it as a RV/camping site as well as event venue.

A rain storm had passed early in the morning on the day I decided to venture out to the Old Game Farm (as the new owners have decided to call it), making my trip through the Game Farm a wet, more challenging adventure. Many of the pathways appeared as small streams running through the grounds due to the excess rain.

When first entering the Game Farm you stumble upon on old cage that once housed Elk and a deteriorating building which once housed the Art Gallery. The cold air and raging winds made for a little bit of a creepy morning as the doors and shutters banged against the sides of the buildings.  Following the path leads you down near to the area the wild horses were housed and a large deteriorating stable. The building holds multiple stalls. The first stall I ventured in to contained the remains of some sort of animal. Walking through the stable you are surrounded by chipped paint and od food bowls in place where they were left over ten years ago. Continuing on you will come across multiple set back, broken down animal houses that were home to zebras, camels, wild cattle, buffalo, deer, and a number of other animal species.

(An old horse stable on the grounds)

Continue with your journey and you will shortly come to the lower feeding grounds, which were home to the animal nursery and the entrance to the African Section. Near the animal nursery you will come across an old play area with decaying story book houses. The African Section was home to rare antelope and rhinos.

  • After exploring the African Section head back away from the lower feeding grounds and up the hill towards the bird gardens and the recreation areas. Near the old bird gardens you will come across an old train station that back in the day would take visitors around the park. Continue on to the recreation area where you will see the animal show area with bleachers still in place and many locations that were once the location of amusement rides.

From here you will find yourself out near the old giaraffe house, which is currently being renovated with plans to turn it into an inn. In the future you will have the option of staying onsite at the inn and exploring this great location!

Please enjoy these photos of the Old Game Farm

If you find yourself with the opportunity to visit this site, there are a couple recommendations I would give you. The first is to make sure you look at your map before you go so that you have an idea of what you are looking it. Research some history of the place. Look at old photographs. The farm appears very different today than it did during the farm’s operating days and knowing what you are looking at and even seeing photos as it once was will make it far more intriguing for you. Another recommendation I would have for you for this location and any abandoned location is to dress appropriately, Be prepared for any type of weather as well as for any of the hazardous conditions you may come across in this type of environment. It is best to wear long clothing and sneakers/hiking boots. And of course…DON’T FORGET YOUR CAMERA!

Also note that while the owners do allow the public to visit the site, they do request a small donation in exchange for the opportunity to explore this site. All money goes towards the restoration of this beautiful location.

If anyone had the opportunity to visit the Catskill Game Farm in its prime days I would love to hear about your experiences and see any photos!

All images are original and copyrighted.


Lets Adventure Together!

Let’s Adventure Together

Hello fellow travelers!

I’m Melissa and my sidekick is Olivia, my four year old daughter. We have been on many adventures together with no plans to stop anytime soon. I have become quite accustomed to hearing her say “Where are we going today mama?”

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In short-I have a passion for travel, meeting new people, and experiencing life outside of my small circle. My philosophy-Life is not meant to be lived in one spot!

I grew up in a small town in CNY. Opportunities for travel and new experiences did not present themselves often. This, however, did not take away from the passion that was kindling within. In school I would learn about different places and their cultures and always thought it would be cool to see. However, as a young adult I was looking for stability. I enrolled in college for something I had always seen myself doing-nursing. I obtained my degree as a registered nurse and have been working in the field ever since.

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My passion for travel, however, still burned strong. It really began to pick up with my first big trip to Key West, Florida in 2012. The new experiences and beautiful scenery made it difficult to return home. Since then I have visited many different cities and my passion for travel has grown with each one.

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So putting this all together I decided to not only dive in deeper to the world of travel but to also share it with those who hold the same passion. Creating this blog is my way of journaling my experiences and sharing them with you. Through writing, photography, and videos I hope to inspire others to travel, meet new people, and dive into the many different cultures of the world. Also, as you can see, the majority of my traveling is done with my four year old by my side. Traveling with a small child can be a challenge in and of itself. I hope to be able to share the tips and tricks I have acquired and continue to acquire that will make family travel easier and more enjoyable.

One lesson I have learned in life is that when you step outside of your comfort zone you open yourself up to so many opportunities-you never know what awaits you!

Travel plans for 2019 include visiting at least 10 new states as I continue on my journey to conquer all 50 US states and at least four countries. I hope that you will join me and share in the experiences.

Capturing the human heart.

I look forward to sharing with you all and experiencing all that this great world has to offer. Let’s adventure together and share our successes, failures, experiences, tips, and tricks! Feel free to contact me with any questions or comments at admin@navigationjunkie.com.