What To Pack For A Cruise

So you’ve booked your cruise holiday – exciting, right? Your itinerary could be a tempting mix of cities, islands and beaches. Maybe even fjords and glaciers depending where in the world you are going. But it all begs the question: what on earth am I going to wear?!

what to pack for a cruise

Image by cocoate.com, used under Creative Commons license 2.0

Fabulous evening wear

Most cruise lines provide information for their guests about what to bring with them when it comes to clothes, so this is the first place to start before you start packing. You’ll probably find they’ll outline how many formal nights there are, and the type of thing you should bring.

Some of the more upscale liners will expect black tie attire for men and cocktail dresses for ladies. On these nights, be prepared to be dazzled by ladies in their finest gowns and men in smart tuxes. Depending on the length of your cruise, there might be just one formal night, or even three or four.

Sensible shoes

The chances are, you’ll be exploring some world-class cities as part of your cruise holiday. Don’t let a bad pair of shoes slow you down during your day in port. Make sure your footwear is up to the job, as you’ll want to cram in as much as possible. So comfy footwear is absolutely essential for days in port.

Lots of layers

Part of the joy of a cruise is the sheer variety, moving from one enticing destination to the next. But that doesn’t mean that the weather moves with you, which means you should plan for chillier times, just in case.

The best way to pack efficiently is to bring light layers, allowing you to slowly build them up on cooler days and evenings. When the sun comes out, you’ll also be appropriately dressed appropriately underneath. You may find that on a cruise to the Arctic or similarly cold places, special coats are provided for these extreme temperatures. Best check with your cruise liner before you buy expensive outerwear.


Maybe your cruise is taking you on a whistle-stop tour of the Caribbean? In which case, you’ll need to bring swimwear for lazy island days on some beautiful beaches, if you aren’t tempted by the shopping and scenery these islands offer.

Of course, it’s not just beach days you’ll need your swimmers for – cruise ships have fantastic swimming pools for your days at sea when you’re travelling between ports. And you might even be lucky enough to have a spa on-board, where your bathing suit will come in handy too.

what to pack for a cruise

Image by jared422_80, used under Creative Commons license 2.0

These tips will help you pack the right gear for your cruise and, whatever the weather, enjoy the utmost comfort while you explore. Have a good trip!

Finding A Travel Agency


Before you go on your next trip, think about consulting with a travel agency to make the most of your experience. Travel agents plan excursions for a living, so they are better equipped to find the best deals for your perfect vacation. Especially if you want to go on an extensive vacation with multiple individuals, a travel agency can help you make a workable itinerary and travel schedule, which will eliminate stress from your vacation time.


Why Should You Get an Agent?

Hiring a travel agency, comes with a myriad of benefits. First of all you save an abundant amount of time and money. If you were to plan a trip yourself, you would spend a large amount of time vetting hotels and flights as you try to find a balance between price and value. However, agents already know which hotels and airlines are best in a given area.

Plus with a travel agent, you get the added bonus of your agent’s connections and guidance. Many travelers often have a vague idea of what they want for their vacation. An agent can guide you towards fun outings and bustling nightlife. Additionally, agents have existing contacts that can lead to more exclusive packages or better prices. Overall, hiring an agent will ease the process of planning an extravagant vacation, so you can focus on having fun on your own or with your family.

Make a List of Your Needs

As you begin to search for agencies, make a list of all the agencies in your area and then make a list of what you need from your agent. If you have any agency recommendations from friends or family, start with these enterprises first. Vet the firm to ensure that it is properly licensed and has quality reviews. Use websites and customer testimonials to narrow your list of potential hires. If they don’t mention or cover a service you need on the company website, feel free to call the agency but be ready to move on.

Ask Good Questions

When you meet with an agent in person, he or she will begin the session with a series of questions. At this point, the professional wants to understand what you need, so he or she can better cater to you. However, before you walk into the agency, you should already have a list of questions ready. Be prepared to ask about things like special services, customer service hours, and agent fees.

Wait Before You Sign

Do not rush into signing up for a vacation or agreeing to work with a travel agent. Remember, just because you are in the office, doesn’t mean that you have made a commitment to work with that particular agent or agency. A vacation can be a costly commitment, so only make moves when you are ready to do so.

Finding a quality travel agent will require a bit of research on your part, but the pay-offs are worth it. You can truly relax during your vacation when you’ve had your days professional planned and brokered. Count on your local agent to get you the best deal available no matter where you want to go or what you want to do.

How To Get Around In Major Cities When You Don't Have A Car

Navigating the streets of a major city can be a challenge for tourists and visitors. When on a business trip, business people don’t have time to wait for public transportation such as buses and metro trains. Fortunately, there are private transportation services available for hire in large cities. Rent a limo in NYC is an example of a private luxurious transport service in the largest city of the United States.

There are plenty of advantages of using private limousine services when navigating an urban metropolis. First of all, a limousine has luxurious amenities such as leather trimmed interiors with seating for large groups of people. In fact, productive business conferences and meetings can take place in the back of a limousine. Interior tables and desks make it possible to write and present documents while riding through busy city streets. Limousines also have multimedia amenities such as flat screen TVs and DVD players. Additionally, mobile hotspots are available right inside a limousine. Passengers can enjoy high speed internet access while riding in comfort through heavy city traffic.

In addition to catering to business trips, limo services can also accommodate tourism, special events and party rides. For example, stretched out hummers are popular choices for special occasions such as bachelor or bachelorette parties for a night. Surround sound systems may be included in such large limousines. Additionally, special lighting effects with disco balls and other decorations may be included in limos that are hired for party rides.

Professional drivers provide reliable transportation service in any limousine company of a big city in the United States. Courteous and uniformed drivers help passengers with loading and unloading bags. Additionally, a personal chauffeur can act as a private concierge by offering valuable advice about enjoying a major city such as New York. Additionally, limo drivers are trained to use the latest GPS navigation technology to take passengers exactly where they need to go. Limo reservations should be booked well in advance before arriving at a major city. Nevertheless, limousines can still pick up passengers for extra fees at major landmarks such as airports, hotels, museums and stadiums.

For a single passenger, a limousine company may offer a town car instead of a large stretched out limo. Town cars are luxurious sedans that offer a comfortable ride between any major landmarks in a big city. Tinted windows and leather trimmings are common features of town cars.

Guest Post At Hotelcoupons.com

Have you ever been to Imperial Beach, California? In 2004, we went on a family vacation and really had a wonderful time! You can read about it in my guest post over at Hotelcoupons.com.

That lobster was almost as big as MIchael!

A Trip To The Big City

When our friend, “Polly”, who lives in Miami, found out she had to go to a meeting in Atlanta last week, she called and asked if we’d like to meet her there. And you know us, we said “Heck Yeah!”. So, off to Atlanta we went.

hotel indigo

We could see the Fox Theatre out the window!

It was just for one night, and we never left the hotel, but we had such fun!

675 w peachtree st

yeah, I used to work on the 36th floor there!

We stayed at the Hotel Indigo, which is right across Peachtree Street from the Fox Theatre! I love the Fox! And I used to work in that huge building right behind the Fox, when it used to be BellSouth. It seems like forever ago.

hotel indigo

gorgeous rooms!

Our room was gorgeous! It was not at all what I expected to see in such an old hotel building (built in 1925). It was very modern, very clean, and so nice! Because it is such an old building, the bathrooms were very small, but did all that they were supposed to do.

The bathroom was tiny, but it was so cute!

We chose this hotel because our friend has dogs, and the Hotel Indigo is pet friendly. It was also surprisingly inexpensive to be in downtown Atlanta. We have paid almost as much to stay in a motel chain in Douglasville.

hotel indigo

The lobby

I loved the chandelier in the lobby, and the modern decor. They were very gracious, and called me by my name whenever I had a reason to be in the lobby, asking if they could be of assistance. They even called us in the room after we got settled in to tell us to let them know if we forgot anything. Polly forgot the dogfood, and they were very helpful in giving directions to the closest place where she could buy some.

Look at this decor in the cafe:

hotel indigo cafe 683

very modern!

And look over there:

hotel indigo

Very comfy, too!

And of course Fabgrandpa and I enjoyed every minute of it!

dinner at hotel indigo

Me and Fabgrandpa at Hotel Indigo Cafe 683

Oh, and the food! delicious and beautiful! There wasn’t a lot of stuff on the menu that was gluten free, but I did notice that they had a fresh mozzarella, tomato, and basil flatbread, and after a discussion with the waitress, she asked the chef if he could make me a caprese salad, which he did. I felt so special, and was very thankful that they would work with me like that.We had this for an appetizer:

hotel indigo cafe 683

made especially for me!

Fabgrandpa had the Fried Chicken Tacos with blackeyed pea relish and jalapeno slaw:

cafe 683

Fried Chicken Tacos

Polly ordered a Steak and Roasted Beet Salad:

hotel indigo cafe 683 atlanta ga

Roasted Beet Salad

And I had the grilled salmon:

cafe 683

Grilled salmon with roasted peruvian potatoes

After dinner we all went up to our room, and talked and laughed until time to go to bed. We ordered dessert via room service! Fabgrandpa and Polly had Chocolate Cake with Strawberries and Cream, and I had plain vanilla ice cream. My ice cream tasted sooo good! I forgot to get pictures of the desserts, but trust me when I say they were delicious!

Too soon, it was time to go home, and say goodbye again to our friend, Polly. I know it won’t be the last time we see her, but it is always sad to leave.  We are hoping to go back to Atlanta in April to see the Aretha Franklin concert at the Fox, and if we do, we’ll stay at the Hotel Indigo again!


Another Road Trip

It seems like we just got here to Alabama, but it was time to jump in the truck and leave again. This time, we went to Georgia to visit some of our family. We drove about 100 miles through the Alabama countryside before we got to I-20:

Across the road from our campsite at Payne Lake

Hwy 25 in Hale County

along Hwy 25 in central Alabama

Between Calera and Pell City, Alabama

We saw this chemical lime plant in Calera, Alabama–everything in the area was covered with a thick layer of white dust. I wouldn’t want to live nearby to that:

the lime quarry

We made it up to I-20 for the next 100 miles. The fall colors were still hanging on to the trees up there:

Somewhere in Alabama on I-20 headed east

We crossed the Georgia state line:

Welcome to Georgia

Then into the Eastern Time Zone:

Yet another time zone!

and finally to our hometown:

My old stomping grounds

I grew up in Douglasville–my family moved there when I was 13. I lived there until we sold our house in August of 2000. The town is nothing like it was back when I was a kid–there are so many people, so many cars, new businesses and a mall. You can’t get out of people’s way in the stores or on the road. If we didn’t have friends and family there we wouldn’t go there at all.

The first night in town, we met up with my daughter Emily, son-in-law Thomas, and grandson, Spencer at Longhorn Steakhouse. Mmmm, we used to go there about once a month. After dinner we went to the mall to walk around and look at stuff. I bought a couple of sweatshirts that I wound up taking back the next day. Emily got some bar stools for her new house that she also wound up taking back.

On Sunday, we went over to Emily’s new house:

Emily's barn

A real tire swing for Spencer

Spencer with one of the kittens

They bought this house a few months ago–it has three bedrooms, 2 baths, a huge kitchen and dining room, front porch across the entire front of it, on six acres, with a barn, for $110,000. They got a great deal on it. Spencer loves the big yard and tire swing.

From Emily’s house, we met our daughter, Becky, at her beauty shop and got our hair cut. Then, FabGrandpa and Becky went to a movie, and Emily and I went to my mother’s house. Then, we all met up at Red Lobster for dinner–there was me and FabGrandpa, Emily, Thomas, Spencer, Becky, and our nephew Daniel and his family–Alicia, Brodie, and baby Katherin. We were so glad to see Daniel–we haven’t seen him since before Brodie was born and he is 3 now. Spencer and Brodie got along so well, and the baby was passed around and loved on by all of us!

Becky and Katherin

Daniel, Brodie, Spencer

Becky, Brodie and Alicia

FabGrandpa lovin up on Katherin

Seems like all we did was eat eat eat, but that is not really true. We drove, ate, visited, slept, and did it all over again for four days. On Monday, we drove up to Cleveland, Georgia to visit FabGrandpa’s Mom and Dad.  They live a hundred miles from Douglasville. We had a very nice visit with them–didn’t get any photos there though. We spent the night at the Days Inn in town, then went back for a second short visit before heading back to Douglasville for one last night there.

And it always surprises me that even though I lived there for so many years, went to high school there, and was the service unit director for the Girl Scouts there, I NEVER run into anyone I know anymore. Except–FabGrandpa and I went to dinner on the last night there at our favorite barbecue restaurant. It was very crowded, so we squeezed into a booth. When I sat down, the man sitting at the next table reached over and put his hand on my thigh. I was mortified and couldn’t speak for a moment!! It turned out that he was one of our friends we used to hang out with when we lived in Douglasville, and haven’t seen in 10 years.

Wednesday morning, we finally loaded up all our stuff and headed west, back to Payne Lake in Alabama. It was a whirlwind trip, four days and nights of rush rush rush–I am glad it is over and we are back home to sleep in our own beds. And the only traffic we see is this, right outside our door:

young deer in the front yard