Excited4journey https://excited4journey.com A journey around the world for less Wed, 11 Mar 2020 20:46:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 147604330 Where to Visit and Go In Puerto Rico https://excited4journey.com/where-to-visit-and-go-in-puerto-rico/ https://excited4journey.com/where-to-visit-and-go-in-puerto-rico/#respond Thu, 05 Mar 2020 18:01:02 +0000 https://excited4journey.com/?p=30123 Today we are going to write about where to visit and go in Puerto Rico on our post. We visited Puerto Rico a couple of weeks ago before going to our Cruise. We used to live there and we still have family there. We went to visit Puerto Rico during Christmas week in 2019. While […]

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Today we are going to write about where to visit and go in Puerto Rico on our post. We visited Puerto Rico a couple of weeks ago before going to our Cruise. We used to live there and we still have family there. We went to visit Puerto Rico during Christmas week in 2019. While we were there we went to a few places we have been to before and a few new places. We took advantage to visit a few places in Puerto Rico then boarded a cruise to the Carribean. Then we came back to Puerto Rico and enjoyed the island some more.

Now you must be wondering. Where should I visit and go in Puerto Rico? We will go in detail about where to visit and go in Puerto Rico. I will also share with you addresses or points of reference or other things you may need to know. So these are the places to go and visit in Puerto Rico

  • Estatua de Cristobal Colon (Christopher Columbus Statue)
  • Cueva del Indio
  • Cueva Ventana
  • Arecibo Observatory
  • Castillo San Felipe del Morro
  • Old San Juan
  • Ponce
  • El Yunque National Forest

Estatua de Cristobal Colon (Christopher Columbus Statue)

This statue is located in Arecibo. It is located on Islote, Arecibo 00612, Puerto Rico. I added a picture below so you would know where it’s at. You will not spend more than about 15 min while you are here.  It is really to take a picture and you cannot get close to the statue. You can only take pictures from a distance and parking is $3. I know it may not be worth just going to this so while you are here but there are a few other places you can go that are worth on the same trip.

Estatua de Cristobal Colon

Cueva del Indio

We lived there for a few years and didn’t know about this place. Cueva del Indio is located in Arecibo. This place was beautiful. The price to enter is $5 cash. There is no credit card machine or debit or anything like that.  If you need to use the restroom there are some porta potties outside before you go in.  There is some walking to be done when you are there and worth it. After you pay you will get to a point where there is left and right side. Make sure to visit both. For the right side. You will have to climb over some rocks. I would do this carefully because you can get hurt if you fall. The rocks are hard and sharp. If you have kids I would keep an eye out for them or hold their hand.  The view from the top is amazing and great for taking pictures. Below we will add the pictures we took so you have an idea. On this right side, my son and his wife walked all the way to the top arch. I will share the photos below. As for the left side. If you are a climber then when you get to the left side there is an area where you can climb down to the cave. There used to be a large wooden latter but it’s not there anymore. I would also be careful as there was a spot with a big whole and you can easily fall down if you are not paying attention. After you pass that whole then you can climb down a few rocks and walk to the ledge and take more pictures.  How back to the climbing part. If you want you can climb down to the bottom. This area is not the same as the few rocks you climb to take a few pictures.  This area is another area that you see when you climb the few rocks.  This is not for everyone.  We saw a couple that had the right shoes and was climbing out as we were there. They were helping each other. One mistake and you can get hurt. I would say that it was about 50-75 feet down.  Now that we talked about that part take pictures as you are there.  There was a nice wind when we were there that help us stay cool.  After you finish will seeing all the area right before you leave there is an entrance to the beach. the water is a little rough. I wouldn’t go too far into the water for a swim because the waves were very large. Seems that the area has a lot of wins that cause the water to be rough. We added a picture of the location to help you find it. After visiting here we went to our next destination.

Click on the images to show full screen

Cueva del Indio 1

Cueva Ventana

One thing about Puerto Rico that I know is that they have a lot of places you can visit caves. Cueva Ventana is also located in PR 10 Km. 75, Arecibo, Puerto Rico 00612. This is another place we didn’t know was here on the island. We were glad my sister in law took us here.  It’s a great place to visit and see. Tickets are about $20 and it includes the tour. Just in case you didn’t want a tour you still need it as that’s how it is there. For safety reasons, they are the ones that take you with a group about 15 to go inside the caves. They did our tour in English and Spanish since we had some people who only knew one or the other. It all depends on the visitors that day. They explain a lot about the caves and the animals in the caves and so on. The tours are about every 1 and a half hour. It was a great experience and we would definitely go again. For more information, you can visit their website at https://www.cuevaventanapr.com from here we went to Arecibo Observatory.

Arecibo Observatory

Since we lived in Puerto Rico before we have visited Arecibo Observatory.  It is quite a remarkable place to visit. When you start out in the visitor center there are a lot of things that you can see and read about that have to do with space and radio frequencies. Admission is $12 and Children (5-12 years) and Seniors $8.00. Hours are usually 10:00 am – 3:00 pm every day but it depends on the time of year. For the latest please visit their website here. There is a cool area that is the Observation Deck where you can see the giant radio telescope. Unfortunately, since we started our day late when we arrived they were closed. If I remember correctly we missed it by 30 min. If you are planning to visit the list of places we talked about for Arecibo I would say start early. One thing I would also hint is that coming to the Observatory is not a flat surface. The observatory is high up on a mountain and you will be driving around curves and hills to get there. Just be prepared. They are located at Route 625 Bo. Esperanza Arecibo, PR 00612

Castillo San Felipe del Morro

We just love coming here when we visit or when we used to live in Puerto Rico. What we usually do when we come here is visit the guy outside in the corner selling ice cream.  We eat there all the time when we are here or even driving by. Ok, now that I got that out. Usually we when come here there are people flying kites.  It’s like the place to come to fly a kite.  We also did this when our kids were small. When you get here there is an underground parking garage nearby. You will have to pay. From the parking, you will need to walk to el Morro. Now the distance from the parking to the start of the walkway to el morro is not long.  Whats long is the entrance by the street and walking all the way to the entrance to the fort. It’s a long walk.  So I recommend bringing water and comfortable shoes. The address you can find easily with google maps. When we were there this time we didn’t go inside. But the tickets according to their website is $10 and kids under 15 are free. Let me tell you that it is historic to be inside and see all of the old fort.

 

OLD San Juan

Since you are visiting El morro.  It makes only sense you visit Old San Juan since el Morro is in Old San Juan. Walking through the old city is great. You get to see old buildings, churches and old roads.  While you walk around you will see so many different stores of every kind. From fast food to Coach you will see throughout.  If you started your walk from El Morro towards down (you can see you are going down since you would have started on a hill) you will start to see the ocean and you may even see cruise ships if they are docked on the Old San Juan side. As you can see if the pictures below you can walk in front of the governor’s home. As you walk around ao ahead and grab an ice cream or piragua. Especially if you are there during the summer. There are so many places to grab lunch or dinner. Old San Juan is one of the places to see when you are in Puerto Rico.

 

Ponce

Ponce is located south of the middle of Puerto Rico.  Every time we get to Puerto Rico we have to go here.  There are a few things to see and visit while you are in Ponce. The Parque de Bombas is in the Pueblo of Ponce. Located at Plaza las Delicias, Ponce, 00731, Puerto Rico. It was established in 1883.  While you are there you can see other historical buildings.

Since you are already in the Pueblo. Right across from the Parque de Bombas you will see an ice cream shop.  It’s the best there is.  When we lived on the island we would drive the 45-55 min just to get this ice cream. The name is the Place is Kings Cream Helados. They are located at 9223 Marina, Ponce, 00730, Puerto Rico.

While you are there you can drive to the Museo Castillo Serrallés.  This is an old Mansion built-in 1930. You are able to go inside and view the place.  Please be careful at visiting times for this place because it was closed when we arrived at 3pm.  Maybe they had a special function, but it was supposed to be open until 5pm. Entrance is $10 unless you have a student ID its $5. Prices can change at any time. They are located at 17 Calle El Vigia, Ponce 00730-2926, Puerto Rico and their website is http://www.museocastilloserralles.com/

El Yunque National Forest

The El Yunque National Forest is the only tropical rain forest in the national forest system in the United States. You can easily do a google search and find this one on google maps. I can tell you this to make sure to dedicate time to visiting here. When the weather is ok you will be able to do a lot.  If it’s raining a lot there isn’t much to do because they close certain areas for safety reasons. Here is something many people will not tell you or choose to leave out.  On your way to El Yunque, you will go up some roads that are a little crazy and scary. But don’t let that stop you. Just let someone else drive and take it slow. There are a lot of walking trails and things to see while you are there. On your way up you will see a small waterfall.  It’s Beautiful and if it was raining recently which it usually always is. You will see a little or a lot of water. See the picture below. Like we said earlier there are a few trails to walk on. Depending on what trail you take is where you will end up.  There is a trail that leads to a large waterfall that you can get in the water.  There is another waterfall that leads to a high part of the rainforest. So be careful which one you take. I can tell you from experience. There is a lot of walking. Depending on if it rained recently the ground may be a little slippery. So make sure to put the right kind of shoes on. There isn’t much to eat when you are up there. There are a few small places to buy a snack or water. So if you are planning to spend a lot of time int he rainforest prepare for it. This last time we went it was raining a lot a few hours before and that week.  We were not able to go all the way up to walk any of the trails because of safety.  Even though we didn’t we still had a nice time with what we were able to do. As you can see from the picture below we went to the small waterfall that you see on your way up and to the tower. To get to the El Yunque its about 45 min from San Juan. For more information, you can go to their website here.

 

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Things to KNOW about Santorini https://excited4journey.com/things-to-know-about-santorini/ https://excited4journey.com/things-to-know-about-santorini/#respond Thu, 07 Nov 2019 20:42:50 +0000 https://excited4journey.com/?p=29774 Today we are going to go over the top things to KNOW about Santorini. We are going to share our tips and what to know before and while you are there in Santorini. We will be talking about our experience of going there 2 times in 2 years and what you should know if you […]

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Today we are going to go over the top things to KNOW about Santorini. We are going to share our tips and what to know before and while you are there in Santorini. We will be talking about our experience of going there 2 times in 2 years and what you should know if you are planning to visit with a cruise ship, ferry, or by Plane.

Not only Santorini is a beautiful place on a high cliff with its blue domes and whitewashed walls. Most people know Santorini from pictures of white walls with blue domes. The views from up top and from below are just spectacular. Santorini is the place where so many people want to go for their honeymoon or to get married.  Not many people get to go there since it’s very expensive. The tips below will help you plan and know what you can do once you are there so you are not surprised when you arrive.

This is what we will cover in detail

  • Travel
  • Where you can go
  • How to get to the top of the cliff and back down
  • Transportation
  • Weather and clothing

How and when to travel to Santorini

The best way to get to Santorini’s in our opinion is by cruise. Getting there by Cruise is the easiest way and without breaking the bank. We will talk more about that later. When you arrive you have a few ways to get to the top of the mountain. There are 2 main cities when you get there. Oia and Fira. The spot where you want to is Oia where the whitewashed walls and blue domes are at.

Traveling to Santorini can happen in a few ways.  You can fly, ferry or cruise ship. So if you are coming from the United States there are no direct flights to the Island. In order to get to Santorini, you will have to take a couple of flights.  Depending on the time of year matters as well.  Most flights to Santorini come from Major Cities like London or Athens. Depending on the time of year you are traveling to Santorini matters. Why? Because during peak season you will be able to get into the island easier from major cities then if you travel off-peak. During the off-peak season, you most likely travel to Athens then take a ferry from Athens or fly from Athens. You are limited on how you can get to Santorini during the low seasons. When you arrive on the island you can get anywhere within 30 min since Santorini is not a big island.

When is best to visit (low – high season)

January – April (Low season) Flights are limited
May (midseason)
June – September (very high season)
October – December (Low Season) Flights are limited

 

Should you Fly or Cruise to Santorini

SantoriniSantorini

Cruise Information

Getting to Santorini we think by cruise ship is the best bang for your buck.  All you need to do is hop on your cruise ship and arrive. The Cruise ships usually have about 8-12 hours on the island.  Time does fly so planning before you go there will help you a lot. Getting to Santorini on a cruise ship in our opinion is not expensive. Why because with cruise ships they are your transportation on and off the island. Not only will you visit one of the most famous and beautiful places on earth that so many people would want to visit but you are able to do it while visiting other places as well.

We paid about $1000 (Includes Taxes and port fees) for 11 days when we visited Santorini. Not only did we visit Santorini we also visited other Greek islands and Italy as well for the amount we spent.

Below is an example of cost at the time we posted this. We searched the prices you would pay to if you were to fly and stay in Santorini. Depending on the time of year will make a difference.

Hotel and Flight Price Estimates

Below are some examples of what I found if you were going to travel to Santorini.

Flights from 800-1450€  ($888.72-$1610.81) each from the United States with a minimum of 2 Stops.

Hotels from March 2 people cost from $100 a night.  June $92-$1366. It all depends on where the hotel is at.  Hotels that are on the Cliff are more expensive then if it was away from the cliff.

We wrote a post on avoiding baggage fees which you can find here. You may find this post useful when traveling anyplace.

Stunning View – Sunset at Oia

When we went to Santorini our second time our cruise ship arrived at 12pm in the afternoon. So that we could see the sunset at around 9pm. The best place to watch the sunset in Santorini would be in the city of Oia. They are the famous blue dome tops and whitewashed houses you see in pictures.

Gaze the caldera – From Oia

Once you are in the top cliff of Santorini and you look out on the water and see the view. You will be looking out from the caldera. The caldera basically what you see looking at of the water and seeing the active volcano. Not only do you see the volcano from a distance but you also see a view that you will not forget.

 

Boat trip to the volcano

You can book a 3hr trip to the active volcano in Santorini for about 20-30€ Euro per person. You can find places that take you to visit the volcano as soon as you arrive. There are other trips there for about half a day but it all depends on how long you are on the island.  If you are only there during your cruise then think and plan wisely before you arrive to know what you are going to go and visit so you have enough time. Now if you are there for a couple of days and you don’t mind going to a volcano and spending about 20-30€ Euro if that’s in your budget then go ahead and do it. I would suggest to make sure you have enough time and maybe not do it during a high peak and there are so many visitors on the island. On our first trip to Santorini, there were 12,000 visitors visiting that day with 4 Cruise ships docked at the same time. The local person that we talked to the day was telling us there were more visitors on the island that day than residents.

 

Food

Many if not all places are closed during the low season. But during the midseason to the high season, you can find places to eat. Once you find your way to Oia where the whitewashed walls and blue domes are at. You can walk the marble streets that are there while looking at the shops and looking for a place to eat. There are many places to choose from. Just be smart about where you go since it will be expensive. But since you are there you might as well try some Greek food if you haven’t already done it.

 

Visit the archaeological site of Akrotiri

Akrotiri is an archaeological site located in the south part of Santorini. From the 17th century B.C. It is an excavation preserved from the bronze age. This was destroyed in the Theran eruption and buried in volcanic ash. For more information about this City check here. This was a place I wanted to visit when I was here last but I didn’t have enough time. Based on the research I saw it looks a lot like Pompeii. Which we did visit. We love visiting Archaeological sites like this. If you are in Santorini for more then a day or just have been here a few times take a moment and visit this place. You can reach this place by car or bus in about 30 min. All depending on the time of day. But since the island isn’t that big it won’t take that long.

For information on prices and what days are free, you can visit their website. Here

How to get around – Transportation

Santorini Santorini

Picture of us on the speedboat and of the cable car on our way down.

If you did not know you can get to the island by Cruise, Airplane or Ferry. (Don’t expect to see a ferry from the United States. Ferries are coming from Greece or other European counties.) If you arrive by plane then you can take a cab or whichever way you like to whatever destination you want.  Since the island isn’t, that big it doesn’t take more than 30 min to get where you need. Except for those times that the tour buses are around and there is a lot of buses around that may take a little longer.

Santorini

This was us walking to get the bus after the Speedboat

Watch for ATV while you are there. They are all over the place and a lot of tourists using them are not the greatest drivers.

If you are arriving at the port near Fia you will need to choose 1 of 4 options to get to the top of the Cliff. (Cruise ships cannot dock so they tender bring everyone to shore.) Where they leave you is where you need to decide where to go next.

  1. You can choose to go up the Cable car which costs about 6€ euro per person. (Lines can be long since everyone is using the cable car.
  2. Go up with a Donkey to Fia is about 20€ per person. This is one way.
  3. You can walk up the same stairs that are used by the Donkeys. The walk up and down is not easy and is at times slippery. (We did this our first time in Santorini and we almost slipped while walking down and a Donkey almost hit us. We did this option because we love to walk and wanted to try it)
  4. Take a speed boat to Oia. We paid about 12€ each person which included The speed boat to the port of Oia about 15-20 min Ride. The view of the top cliff was amazing. Then they take us to the top and we hop on the bus that takes us to Oia (15 min) Then after we arrived they let us know the times the buses will be back. The bus then takes us to Fira. (Which is where the cruise ships locations are at) Once we are in Fira we need to find our way down. Either walking down or taking the cable car or by Donkey. So the price you pay doesn’t include the way back down. So remember to give yourself enough time to see Fira once you are done in Oia.

Santorini

We saw Fira as a shopping place. Fira has lots of stores and small shops where you can shop on your way down.

Weather and clothing

The weather both times we visited was hot and sunny. Make sure to take water and stay hydrated. You will wind up drinking a lot when you are there. If you have a sun hat or a fishing hat you might as well bring it since it will help you a lot. I know since I brought mine before the trip because I knew we were visiting Europe in July and all the places were hot and sunny. Put some sunblock on to make sure you don’t get a sunburn. During the summer months, the weather is very hot. You will feel the heat all throughout the day. To avoid getting headaches and dehydration is best to wear protective items like sunglasses and a hat. Drink plenty of water.

 

Summarizing

Santorini Santorini

Our opinion is you just want to visit and not spend a lot go on a cruise and at the same time you can see other places as well. If you want to spend more then a day and see all of Santorini then fly there and stay a few days. Visit during the low to midseason to avoid all the large crowds of tourists.
If you are only there for half a day or 1 full day. Plan ahead to make the most of your trip.
Example
  • Watch the sunset
  • Take a walk in the city of Oia
  • Visit the site of Akrotiri
  • Visit the active volcano in Santorini
  • Enjoy the views from the top of Oia (They are breathtaking)
  • Find a place to eat.
  • Decide how to get to Oia
  • Wear comfortable shoes. There will be a lot of walking.
Santorini is known for relaxation and to just relax.  It is a place you want to visit at least once. It’s not a place were you go partying or staying up all night to drink. Maybe you were thinking about why I did not mention any beaches. That’s because they have very few beaches in Santorini. It’s not known for beaches. Beaches are located on the east side of the island.
I hope you enjoyed this post on Things to KNOW about Santorini. If there are any questions or comments please let us know. We will do our best to answer them.
You can visit our other Greece posts here.
If you like to know about some travel tips you can read this post here.

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10 Top things to know about Athens, Greece https://excited4journey.com/10-top-things-to-know-about-athens-greece/ https://excited4journey.com/10-top-things-to-know-about-athens-greece/#respond Thu, 24 Oct 2019 13:18:55 +0000 https://excited4journey.com/?p=29868 Visiting Greece has been a dream come true, just the thought we were able to visit for a lot less is still very surprising to us.  Yes, we have been traveling using points and miles since 2015 but looking back we are still so blessed to try something new and gather wonderful memories. Well back […]

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Visiting Greece has been a dream come true, just the thought we were able to visit for a lot less is still very surprising to us.  Yes, we have been traveling using points and miles since 2015 but looking back we are still so blessed to try something new and gather wonderful memories.

Well back to this trip this was our first time visiting Athens and we knew there were some great places to visit but many things we had no idea about for that reason we wanted to include those things you should know when visiting Athens, Greece.

On this trip, we booked an 11-day cruise, one of the stops was Athens, Greece it can be a challenge to enjoy it in just one day but we did.  As the day was finishing we knew this was a place we would like to go back and visit.  I hope you enjoy our tips and things to know.

Start early 

This is one of the places that it can get very hot so visiting the island early is beneficial. We started our self-tour at 8:30 am and the weather was cool but in the sun you can feel the heat a little. It gets hot as the day continues. Luckily that day it was cloudy so helped keep your day feel much cooler. If your first stop is to visit the Acropolis start early this location is about 30 min away from the port.

Dress comfortably 

Just thinking how hot it feels when walking in areas under the sun with no protection is why this is a must. Wearing an outfit that feels comfortable to protect you from the heat will make your visit more pleasurable. Wear comfortable shoes nonslip shoes. There is a lot to see in Athens so you want to be comfortable walking. There is a lot of walking once inside to see all the historical places Athens has to offer as well. If you are not used to walking. Now would be a good time to start walking before the trip.

Stay hydrated 

Living in Florida I could go without drinking water for a while and not feel a thing. But on this trip being under the sun for many hours, it did affect me a bit so I recommend staying hydrated. The sun is right on top of you while you are walking. One way to guarantee to get cold water is taking a double insulated water bottle (artic or yeti) with ice so the water stays nice and cold.

Visiting from the Cruise Port 

It is very easy to visit the city from the port. The distance is not far at all as soon as you come out of the port. Right away you will be approached by taxi drivers in our case they offer about 20€ euro per person but if you walk ahead you will see other options like the hop on and bus tours. The stops on each vary but the prices are pretty much the same (at least during our visit). If you know the areas you would like to visit you can choose that specific bus tour. There were about 2-3 Hop-on hop-off companies out there after you pass the taxis. You can check with them and find out what routes they take and how much they charge. They pretty much go to the same places, but maybe in a different order. Like I mentioned earlier the Acropolis which is the hottest place to visit was our first stop early in the morning and it was about 30 min away. Getting there early will not only save you with the sun but also crowds of people.

Know a little bit of the history of Athens 

While walking into the entrance we had a couple asking us if is worth getting the tour the reason they asked is due to the price, in addition, they had to pay for the tour which was over $150 or 150€ (can’t remember) is what they told us. If they knew a little bit about the history they would cancel the tour. For that reason, you can save on taking a tour since learning the history will help you enjoy the ruins. Google and youtube is your friend.

Visit Acropolis 

All that comes to mind is temples, mythology, and Zeus. Both of my sons couldn’t stop talking about Greek mythology when they were younger so visiting the Acropolis is a must at least for us.  Acropolis entrance prices vary in the areas you like to visit. Acropolis is one price and other smaller sections are a different price. But you can pay to visit all for not much of a difference. During our time there Acropolis was 20€ Euro per person just to see Acropolis with the North and South Slopes. 30€ per person was for everything else. For example, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, with other archaeological sites such as Hadrians Library, Ancient Agora, the Roman Agora, Archaeological Site of Lykeion were not included in the regular 30€ Euro admission of Acropolis. Getting there early will help you avoid lines. Of course, you can send more money to skip the line and get a tour but if you plan your day right you can save that money to see more of Greece.

Personal Tours are offered before the ticket purchase but you can go in on your own. Please, know it gets very hot even early on in the day. Take plenty of water and wear comfortable shoes since the floor is not level and at times it gets slippery. There are steps you need to go up and down so make sure you are able to do that in your current health.

Before entering Acropolis make sure you have plenty of water. During our tour on top of the Acropolis, we didn’t see any shops where you can buy water and only saw one bathroom called WC and one small water fountain. If visiting Acropolis is beneficial to plan ahead in case.

Visit the National Archeological Museum 

It is a few steps away from Acropolis if you are doing a Hop on Hop off tour. Most places to visit in Athens aren’t free. The museum is about 20-25 mins on the bus depending on traffic. The tickets are either 5€ April 1 until October 31 and 10€ from November 1 until March 31. Depending on the time of year you will be there is what you will pay. There is a 3-day pass that’s 15€ that includes the National Archaeological Museum, Epigraphic Museum, Numismatic Museum, and Byzantine and Christian Museum of Athens. This museum is full of artifacts and greek sculptures. Of course, you cannot see and visit all these places in one day. So pick and choose the ones you want to see while are you there. There is a lot to see in the museums which take a lot of time so remember that when you are there. That way you have enough time.

Food

As we were walking around and taking the hop-on-hop-off bus you can bus there are a lot of places you can choose from to eat at.  We usually take a look at TripAdvisor and find places that have the best reviews. Then after that check the location and price. Usually all the places in Europe are expensive. Some more than others. Eating out can get expensive so don’t go crazy so that you still have money to see all you can in Athens. There are also plenty of dessert places to eat your greek yogurt or gelato.  We didn’t have any problems asking for a sample of flavors before purchasing. So pick the one you want.

Visit an Antique Market 

While we were on the Hop-on hop-off bus we were able to see an Antique Market. Not only was it an Antique market but they also had modern things.  We walked around this place and were able to see many different Greek items for sale. We also were able to stop at an authentic Green pastry shop.  All I can was wow. They had a lot to choose from and the people who worked there were very nice. Now thinking about it all the people we saw in Greece were nice to use. I do believe they are very welcoming to visitors. After buying what we wanted we then waited for the next Hop-on hop-off bus.

Transportation

No matter if you are visiting for a day or a few days.  There is not a need for a car.  All the places you want to see you can see if a Hop-on hop-off bus, walking, trolley or metro. It’s not expensive to pay for public transportation in Athens, Greece or in our European countries. All the trips we have taken to Europe countries we rented a car once and that was in London. It will also be the last time in London especially. Traffic is horrible in all the tourist areas. When we were there this year we use the metro for everything. So don’t worry about renting a car in European countries.  Their public transit system is way better than the US.

 

 

All of these tips were what we notice that can help others be more prepared when visiting Athens, Greece.

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Check In Baggage Fees and how to avoid them https://excited4journey.com/check-in-baggage-fees-and-how-to-avoid-them/ https://excited4journey.com/check-in-baggage-fees-and-how-to-avoid-them/#respond Sun, 28 Jul 2019 15:06:04 +0000 https://excited4journey.com/?p=29637 On our last trip July 2019 we were a bit surprised about the changes made by the airlines. Up to a year ago bringing one carry on, one personal item and one luggage were allowed at no extra charge (at least with most airlines).  Traveling with a few airlines recently we realized how much bringing […]

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On our last trip July 2019 we were a bit surprised about the changes made by the airlines. Up to a year ago bringing one carry on, one personal item and one luggage were allowed at no extra charge (at least with most airlines).  Traveling with a few airlines recently we realized how much bringing a personal and carry on bag has changed.

Before the new changes, even most international flights allowed a suitcase at no extra cost the only restriction was the weight on the bag. After new changes made less than a year ago, I want to share based on our experience how you can save and avoid some extra expenses.

Things you should about luggage fees

First I will share based on our experience the things you should know when packing for a trip including your carry on.

2 items are allowed Free

  • So far most airlines are not charging for a personal and carry on item.  Even with the new fees when traveling this could be a great way to travel with no extra charges, just make sure you follow the requirements with TSA and airline personal item height and weight.

Check your Personal items requirements

  • Most airlines are checking the weight of both items (for example the airport in France (CDG) separated the passengers based on how big both items looked together.) Both items lets say a backpack and a small carry on (22 in) was put on a scale together and if they weight passed the limit of 23 kg then you will have to put one as a piece of luggage paying the charge for the airline you are traveling with.
  • In another airport they would look at the bag and would ask us to weight them in the counter scale, just to avoid any extra charges is best to read on the airline requirements.

Check-in Luggage Fee

  • We actually thought international travel was exempt with this new charge, but once we started to check in and read we had to pay for all check-in bags we knew we were in trouble since we had a few flights.  So, one thing to know that most airlines are charging for a suitcase a check-in bag.  If you plan ahead there will be some ways you can avoid this fee altogether (i share a few tips below).  Before booking your flight  (check the airline you are planning to travel with since the charges can go up to $60 for the first bag alone)

Roundtrip Luggage Fee Not Covered?

  • I know I keep using our last trip from July 2019 as an example but traveling to about 5 airports we were able to pick up a few things to know.  At first International flight are not exempt like I mentioned earlier, sadly to say Roundtrip is not cover as 2 for 1.  In other words, most airlines will charge you for each flight travel but there might be some exemption with a layover. It all depends on the airline so knowing the requirements would be so helpful especially if making a few stops.

Layover might not be covered

  • Some airlines like we were told by British Airways in Venice Italy that for layover flights they would charge if we take the luggage with us and check-in again for the next flight.  So to avoid the extra charge we decided to let the bag stay and we placed the items we needed on our carry on bag.
  • This may vary by airline and even talking on the counter with another passenger they said it is allowed to take your check-in bag with you and bring it back for your next flight at no extra cost but you must show them your boarding pass from both flights.  As you can see we were told very different information for the same flight so to be safe just double check the rules with the airline.

What is the cost of check-in bags

  • Domestic Flights from most known airlines start at $30 for the first bag, an additional $40 for the second bag and $150 for the third bag.  But keep in mind the bag should not weigh more then 50 lbs, if it does an additional fee will be added.  Just on this alone, you can see how expensive it can get on top of the airline ticket price.

Airline with free check-in bags

  • Southwest Airline continues to offer up to 2 free check-in bags on each flight.

Tips on how to avoid check-in bag fees

 

Avoid Check-in Bags

  • Avoid check-in bags if you can.  A great way to travel and avoid any luggage fees would be to pack a carry on bag and a backpack (make sure to meet the size and weight requirement based on the airline you are traveling with).  Traveling with family and friends a few of us were sent to separate line where we had to weight both items, so is best if you are traveling with just check-in bags verify the requirements to avoid paying the check-in bag fee if the weight is more then allowed.

 

Buy a baggage scale

  • Traveling a few flights on just one trip and dealing with the new changes having a baggage scale surely came in handy for us.  It doesn’t take much space and is very light to carry.  One of our check-in bag weight was exactly 50 lbs so we were able to remove some items to make we didn’t have to make adjustment while on the airline counter. (find out more information here)

 

Use reward points to pay for the luggage

  • Signing up to an airline account comes with some rewards.  All airlines come with rewards programs they are called different but work pretty much the same.  You can sign up to the ones you use the most for free and as you travel earn some mile travel points.  Once you have accumulated some points you can redeem them to pay for your check-in bag.  Just know on the airline counter they might say you can’t use your points right then and there but online paying with your points worked perfectly fine.

 

Sign up with airline bonus credit card 

  • There are many great credit cards that offer bonus or travel points such as Chase Sapphire (which is the one we used to book our airline tickets with).  But a great tip would be to consider the airline you travel with the most and apply for there bonus credit card. For example, American Airlines has a few options to choose from in that card you will get the bonus points to use when traveling with that airline but another benefit to getting the credit card is check baggage fees are waived.  Before signing up with the bonus credit card make sure it offers the bonus, read what the benefits are and always check the annual fee.

Sign up with elite bonus credit card 

  • If you rather not sign up with a specific airline credit card another option would be signing up with an elite credit card.  Just hear me out, jejej.. these cards come with a heavy annual fee in most cases $450 at the same time it comes with some nice incentives, for example, bonus travel points, priority pass (many free airport lounges), global or Pre-TSA application paid for and some include travel credit of about $200.
  • So if you are planning a future trip or will use those points on a current trip you can use those incentives while taking advantage of the travel credit by paying for travel expenses such as luggage fees using that elite credit card.

Upgrade your travel seat

  • Upgrading your seat from economy to Premium Economy might have you skip on this tip but in some cases, it might be a great option.  On our last trip as we were checking in on the airline counter, we knew our luggage total would be $50 for each check-in bag.  Right then we check how much it would be to upgrade our seat to Premium Economy the amount was $150 for each person but the upgrade included up to 2 free bags. The employee from this airline let us know that is always good to check because the difference in some cases may be less than the cost of the bag.  Even though we didn’t upgrade to Premium Economy but is a tip we will consider in the future.

Sealed bag for more room

  • Another way you can take a carry on bag with a lot more clothes is with this tip.  On our recent trip, we purchased a sealed bag, we bought 2 medium sizes and it was easy to add some of our clothes, roll to push the air out and it helped for us to have more room inside our luggage. It was easy to use and we didn’t need a vacuum or any other product to remove the air inside the bag. (here you can find out more)

 

 

 

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Cruise Saving Tips and Packing List (25 tips) https://excited4journey.com/cruise-saving-tips-and-packing-list/ https://excited4journey.com/cruise-saving-tips-and-packing-list/#respond Fri, 26 Jul 2019 13:26:49 +0000 https://excited4journey.com/?p=29340 Traveling and preparing for a Cruise can bring some challenges and surprises, every trip we have taken has prepared us for the next one but it is safe to say we continue to learn from each Cruise Trip.  Today I want to share some great saving tips, some things to know when preparing for a […]

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Traveling and preparing for a Cruise can bring some challenges and surprises, every trip we have taken has prepared us for the next one but it is safe to say we continue to learn from each Cruise Trip.  Today I want to share some great saving tips, some things to know when preparing for a Cruise, some things to avoid and things to keep in mind for a better cruise.

We just got back from our last cruise we took In July 2019 and even on this cruise we picked up some new things that I will share below.  I hope these tips are helpful so you can make the best of your next vacation trip.

1. Book your cruise early – for better savings 

Search as early as you can but don’t limit to one source.  You can compare prices by using Booking.com, a Travel Agency, and each direct Cruise Line site. You can start to see what the prices are going for depending on the date and destinations. In some cases, you will see the prices are a lot cheaper if booking way ahead of time.

 

2. Get an upgrade or a credit

Once you reserve your trip, you can get a credit or even an upgrade if the price is from then the time you booked it. If you book your trip early on you will have a few months to pay it off during that time and even after is paid you can call to get an incentive if the price change.  Depending on the cruise line if an upgrade is offered it can be done once for that trip.

3. Early on check interior and oceanview prices

Checking your cruise trip early on has many advantages, this is why I want to share this tip with you.  One of our cruises had almost the same price from Oceanview to Balcony the only difference was $1 (isn’t that crazy) Once we saw Interior was $50 difference from Oceanview and $51 difference with Balcony.  We decided to book our cruise Balcony and it was very much worth it. If you travel off-peak you can find many great deals booking your trip early and don’t forget to check out the other room options.

4. Don’t book during the holidays

We booked a trip during the holidays (Christmas time to be exact) we checked that same cruise with the same destinations and cruise ship. We notice the price was a few hundred dollars less for each person.  We knew it was right for us during that time but we prefer to save that money and book a much longer cruise at a later time.

 

5. Cruise app

Downloading the Shipmate App.  will allow you to see all of the information needed for your upcoming trip.  The app offers many features including alerts when price changes.  One important information we all need is the itinerary and that will also be included in the app.  In addition here are some of the other features found in the app

  • Cruise Countdown
  • Itinerary Roll Call
  • Deck Plans and Ship Info
  • Port Info (reviews, tips, & photos)
  • Deck Cams
  • Cruise Price Alerts
  • Port Excursion Booking
  • And much more

6. Transportation to Cruise Port

Driving To Port 

You cannot forget how you will get to your cruise port. After you book your cruise and you know what port you are coming out from now you can check on where you will park your car if you are driving to the port. The closer you are to the ship the more expensive it will be. Find a place a little further from the port. You can check in google to see areas that offer cruise parking. Sometimes it’s a hotel or a place that is only to park cars for people who are going on a cruise. Many places have transportation from where you leave the car to the ship and its less expensive.

Airport Transfer by Taxi

If you are flying into the port then all you need to do it catch a taxi, Uber or some other form of transportation to get to the cruise ship. We usually are a group of about 6 or more. We have used Suntransfers. They are a private transportation service that takes you where you need to go from the airport or cruise terminal. Usually, we have them waiting at the airport so that they then can take us to the cruise port. I have used this service a few times. When you arrive you find your driver. They usually have a person having a name for you. You also get the instructions in an email to what to expect and what number to call if you needed to. I have not had to call them since we can find the driver holding a sign. It’s much cheaper than going through the cruise transportation.

Airport Transfer by Bus and Train

Another option for example in Rome, Italy we used a train that took us from the airport close to the port, from there we took a bus that took us straight to the port.  Since the entrance to the port is a bit further away we made a line passing the gates that had a bus provided by our cruise that took us straight to the ship.  It does seem like a lot when traveling from airline to the port but in this case, the port in Rome was about an hour away from the airport.

7. 5 Port USB Wall Charger and Converter

How many of us have phones and other electronic devices like smartwatches we need to change at night? Cruise cabins do not have a lot of outlets. Sure you can bring a big power strip but this 5 port USB charger we use is much better. So bring one with you. We use this one when we are on a cruise or traveling in general. Here is the one we use. Anker 40W 5-Port USB Wall Charger. With this, you can attach 5 USB cables to one outlet. If you are staying in a hotel before or after your cruise trip then you will need a travel plug adaptor.  We use this one here. But there are a few other ones you can buy like these here.

8. Portable USB Charger

A lot of times you are on port and will be out most of the day. Some places arrive in port at 8 am and then the ships leave at 8 pm. That’s a lot of hours without having your phone charged. Using your phone and taking pictures while on your trip can use your phone battery to drain. Especially if taking videos and maybe using other apps on your phone.

The best thing to do is to take a Portable USB Charger with you to charge your phone or keep it charged. Here is one we have used. Here is the portable charger we use and are happy with. 10000mAh Portable Power Bank with Dual USB Ports 3.1A Output and 2A Input

9. Clothes

Since you are not allowed to bring an Iron on the ship you will not be able to iron your clothes. You can always pay to get your clothes done but why spend so much on that when you can spend that money on something else you can enjoy.

Roll your clothes, skip on Ironing

Rolling your clothes instead of folding them will help keep prevent your clothes from wrinkling and it will take up less space in your luggage. Verify with your current cruise if requesting an Iron is available.  On our last Norwegian Cruise, it was available, my sister requested the iron ahead of time and it never showed up.

Sealed bag for more room

On our recent trip, we purchased a sealed bag, we bought 2 medium sizes and it was easy to add some of our clothes, roll to push the air out and it helped for us to have more room inside our luggage. It was easy to use and we didn’t need a vacuum or any other product to remove the air inside the bag. (here you can find out more)

Repeat some outfits

Check your cruise dress code, some cruises request a few formal nights while others are more casual.  This can be so helpful when packing for your trip.  Sometimes we overpack and realized we took more things then what was needed, instead, you can take a blouse/shirt or pants/skirt you can use in 2 different occasions. I normally don’t like to wear 2 of the same items but in some cruises when you are at sea it can be best to wear one item again.

Take a picture of your outfits

Sometimes we can forget the outfits we had in mind to wear with a top and a bottom. So before I place my clothes in my luggage I place them on top of my bed by pairing them how I planned on wearing them.  So when I’m on the cruise I just go over my picture and know exactly what I would be wearing.  This is something I started to do with my husband as well, and it has helped us save so much time on our cruise.

10. When to book your cruise

Book when its off-peak season. Everyone is traveling when the kids are off from school.  If you can take a vacation when everyone is at school then you will pay less.  Off-peak is usually during fall or spring. You will not only pay less but the places you visit will not be as crowded.

11. Sign up with the cruise line to earn points for future advantages

I love this tip, sometimes I realized how many people are missing out on keeping track of there past cruise trips.  For every cruise, we have taken we always sign up with each cruise line and keep track of our cruises.  Every Cruise line offers different rewards for the amount of points/days taken with them.

Our last cruise in July 2019 was with Norwegian and just for cruising with them before we usually get a bottled of Sparkling Wine.  Last year since we had a Balcony room we got some chocolate covered strawberries with the wine.

Don’t miss out on possible great discounts and offers for each cruise taken.  Know the points are added after the end of your cruise trip.

12. If you enjoyed a specific dish ask for another one (ex dessert)

Every cruise line is different but one thing I have been able to do on each is asking for double on any dish when dining out.  From my kids to my husband they sometimes ask for double on Main Dish to Desserts.  On one cruise our Maitred knew us so well that she would sometimes bring extra desserts without even asking.

13. tips on how to deal with motion sickness

Most of our European Cruises have been pretty smooth sailing throughout but on our last one, it got rocky on every floor.  Luckily since we were on the fourth floor it didn’t affect us as much since our room was in the middle of the ship. But my sister and mother were on the front of the ship and they felt the rocky weather we went through.. Since our room was a few feet away from the medical center we asked for seasick pills and they gave it to us, they also let us know you can get them from customer service or even a vending machine.

Another tip a cruise crew member shared was to eat a green apple, she mentioned this has helped sooth the stomach when feeling the motion sickness on the cruise. She also mentioned anything acidic can irritate the stomach so my sister tried the green apple and the pill given by the medical crew.  The pill given was good for 12 hours but it can cause some drowsiness, which my sister felt so sleepy on the island we went to.  Also, the pill is given after a few questions were answered to make sure you are okay to take it.

14. If celebrating request a room decor

If traveling with a loved one whos is celebrating a happy event you can call, book online or request the service when traveling at customer service.  For example, you can request your stateroom to get decorated for Anniversary or Birthday with a small fee. The crew will come to your room at the time requested so when you get back is all done for you.  There are separate options and amount on each cruise line website.

We also received a formal card that mentioned the birthday celebration, they asked for us to give it to our dining crew and before our dessert order was taken the crew came in sang happy birthday and brought a nice birthday cake.

15. Reserve activities-shows (if applies)

Not all cruises are the same and we learned this tip really quickly on our Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Sea Cruise.  In order for you to see some shows, you need to book the day and time ahead of time.  Most of the shows have limited seating and is important to book them early on so you won’t miss any of them.  Most Cruise lines we have traveled this option is not needed but I wanted to share this tip if your cruise requires for you to reserve your seating for some shows.

16. Reserve dining time (if applies)

Most cruise lines are changing how the dining experience is.  On some cruises, your dining table is assigned to you during your cruise time, while others are offering come and dine as you please.  If a dining table is not assigned to you then is best to reserve your party at the time you please.  For example, the Norwegian Cruise Line has Dine when you like, so we would call or book our party in our app so all we have to do is show up at the reserved time.

17. Stay away from Gangway Stateroom

This tip might be helpful or good to know before starting your trip.  We usually don’t hear much that goes on in the hallway but on our last cruise, our room was a few feet away from the gangway exit (which is the door used to go out and in on each port).  If the itinerary was mainly during the day this wouldn’t be an issue but one of the port we visited we left at 10:30 pm and the noise in the hallway was pretty extreme.

Our stateroom was on the fourth floor and in the middle of the ship.  But keep in mind there are usually 2 sections that are open on each port. The door used the most was the one by our room but the other door also open was in the front section of the ship.  If this could be an issue for you is best to stay away from this section and floor but know the gangway might be at a different floor depending on the cruise ship.

18.  Special discount on future trips

Most cruises offer a package or special deal if booking your next cruise with them.  But the catch is you can only take advantage of that offer while on the cruise.  Some Cruise Line may offer a great price on a specific cruise while others might offer a deposit incentive.  The only way to know is on your current cruise trip, so keep your eyes open for these offers given on a form, on tv or on a specific info activity.

Norwegian was offering a deposit of at least $250 which you can add to your account that will last up to 4 years and it can be transferred to any family member.  In addition, they will add an incentive to your deposit amount. for example on $250 they will add $100 to your account.

19. Register and check-in as early as you can

The most cruise line will have a check-in process you can complete online.  You can start early since a lot of information is required on each person traveling including your passport (if applies).  Once you completed your check-in you will get your cruise ticket with a barcode, luggage tags and everything else you may need to know before your cruise begins.

You can print your luggage tags, write the information on top, like your name and room number, so once you arrive at the port is staple right on top and ready to be taken to your room.  This process is optional but we usually leave our luggage in the entrance so once we finish with check-in and start to go inside the ship we can see our luggage later on in that day.

20. Protect Luggage from Rain

Each port is different at least from how each luggage handles, last year our cruise port was in Barcelona, Spain when we arrived it was raining and we saw many bags getting wet, some were under a tent but others weren’t.  This tip is optional but good to keep in mind when traveling.  You can add a plastic bag or laundry large bag right on top to make sure your luggage doesn’t get wet inside.  Another way to prevent this from happening is to buy a suitcase that is hardcover.

21. Book your trip with a credit card that offers travel insurance

Some Credit Cards offers some advantages from travel protection to car protection.  Is important to go over the offers before signing up with a specific credit card.  For that reason, I put to the side the credit cards we have that offer many travel advantages and protection.  So before booking our trip and making payments with that specific credit card, we call to double-check that our trip is covered with the credit card we are using to pay for the trip.

22. Ship Tour vs Other Services

Comparing other times we been on a cruise visiting the port location has changed in a good way.  For example more then 10 years ago when our kids were small the only option we had to visit the island or city was taxi or cruise tour.  But now I was impressed on my last trip in July 2019 how each location offered Ship Tour (which was too expensive for us) Taxi, Car Rental and Hop on Hop off tour companies.

My advice is to check your budget, verify the activities offered by the Cruise Line Tour Package, check the location you would like to visit and then decide which service will work best for you.. Know that each service is different for each port you will visit on your cruise.

23. Need extra chargers?

On previous cruises we were limited on the plugs available in a stateroom for 3 to 4 people, in some cases, we would bring an extension cord to make sure we can charge all of our electronics at the same time.  But I notice on our last cruise there were more plugs available from 2 separate counter section to the lamps in the room surely made it more convenient for us.  Like we mentioned earlier if traveling to other continents the plugs are very different and is best to bring an adapter in the case we only needed 2 for our family.

24. Gratuity different Option

Each cruise gratuity is divided differently, there is an option you can control how to divide gratuities as you may wish.  Visit the Customer Service or Relations and ask for the Service Fee (gratuity) to be removed that you prefer to give it in cash.  Know there is a form you will have to sign but before you do read the fine print before making this decision.  Know each cruise is different like I mentioned at the beginning, some may offer envelopes on the last night while others won’t offer it.  You can now include your gratuity as you wish to keep in mind is by per person in your stateroom.

25. Checklist

Its always good to have a checklist of items to bring just so you don’t forget.  We have a post we created with a checklist that is free to download. Download it here.

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14 Tips How to Sleep on a long flight https://excited4journey.com/14-tips-how-to-sleep-on-a-long-flight/ https://excited4journey.com/14-tips-how-to-sleep-on-a-long-flight/#respond Wed, 08 May 2019 19:20:58 +0000 https://excited4journey.com/?p=29266 My first flight was 6 hours long, it felt like an eternity, I was uncomfortable and this was done 2 times in one day.  To give you more detail of my first long flight we booked our anniversary trip to Hawaii.  Since its harder to get a direct flight from Florida to Hawaii the only […]

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My first flight was 6 hours long, it felt like an eternity, I was uncomfortable and this was done 2 times in one day.  To give you more detail of my first long flight we booked our anniversary trip to Hawaii.  Since its harder to get a direct flight from Florida to Hawaii the only options available had one stop and a long layover.

I normally don’t sleep on most flights but in this case, we were extremely tired.  Each flight was about 5 – 6 hours long and in between the layover was another 5 hours, so it was a pretty long day.

In the end, once we arrived in Hawaii it was so worth it.  This was the first trip we use miles and points and we saved over $3000, right after we planned another trip but this time to Europe (we traveled to Venice, Santorini, and Croatia).

This meant I needed to plan ahead since the flights would be much longer.  I started to think about our Hawaii trip and how we could make it a lot better, we purchase the items we needed, worked on other tips which I will share with you, that will help you find ways how to sleep in a long flight.

A few months later on our first Venice trip, we applied these tips and I was surprised how much smoother and shorter the flight seemed.

Selecting your seat can be an advantage,

is always a good idea to look at the seating of the plane, in some cases sitting a lot closer to the entrance will have sits that are a bit bigger or wider.  Each airline will differ but always checking the seating can be a great hidden bonus when traveling on long flights. If traveling alone choosing the aisle or window seat might be a lot more comfortable when trying to sleep and enjoy the long flight.

Bring what you need

I tend to get very cold in any flight, so I notice bringing socks, an extra blanket, Poncho, and pillow for head support do help, the flight will provide the pillow and blanket but for me, it wasn’t enough.

Need help to fall asleep?

If you need a little help and take something natural, melatonin is a very good one to take.  We buy them early on to make sure we take it with us.  Make sure you take it early on so you can enjoy the flight, and once you arrive you are well rested.

Elevate your legs

for some reason making my legs elevated kind of gives me that sleeping position which makes it more comfortable for me to sleep, depending on the area you rest your feet is in the flight you can place a small bag and add a pillow.  I also remove my shoes and wear some socks to make it cozier.

Dr.Jart+ Dermask Foot Smoothing Mask

Relax with a foot mask

Want a more spa feel to help you relax more in the flight, why not start out wearing a foot mask, they are so affordable and relaxing too or you can try one a lot simpler from Sephora brand.

Listen to soothing Music

another way that can help anyone including a child is listening to soothing or nature music, you can download it before your flight so can be set for the trip.

Extra Travel pillow

one pillow is not one size fits all, for some round pillow works great while others may not like it.  In Amazon, you will find a great selection of pillows that might be a great fit for you. I like to use one as I shared earlier to help elevate my feet while in some cases I use one in my back it all depends how the sits are for some reason they don’t feel the same jejej.  Having an extra pillow surely does help.  (The prices can range from $20 – $30)

MAXROCK (TM) Unique Total Soft Silicon Sleeping Headphones Earplugs Earbuds with Mic for Cellphones,Tablets and 3.5 mm Jack Plug (Black)

Earbuds to cancel noise

if the noise is too much for you or for even a child this is a great item to take with you.  Earbuds are key for not only sleeping but to watch movies, listen to music during the flight too.

Onshine Unicorn Sleeping Mask 4Pack Soft Plush Blindfold Cute Unicorn Horn Sleep Mask Eye Mask for Girls Women Kids

Wear an eye mask

an eye mask can eliminate any light, provide great sleep and if you don’t want to be bothered during the flight this is a great way of letting others know.

Natural way to relax

drink chamomile tea before getting ready for a nap or you can apply some essential oils like lavender on an item you will use to fall asleep.  My oldest son is in the Army and sometimes is hard for him to fall asleep I added some oils like lavender, rose and orange and I was happy to hear this helped him fall asleep.

Wear comfortable clothes

if you wear something too tight it can be very uncomfortable or you might need to go to the restroom too often, wearing comfortable clothes can help to move around more pleasurable.

Install a relaxing app

turbulence can be very scary, my sister was not happy on our first Venice trip, luckily the tv offered a relaxing coach that helps you feel better during turbulence or for sleeping. This feature wasn’t available on other flights so is best to be prepared and install a relaxing app before your flight.

Find more room

after everyone is seated down, you can check spots in the back that are empty, we sometimes have seen the back part of the plane may have just one person on a few rows.  You can ask the flight attendant if anyone is sitting there in the case is reserved for them, otherwise, ask to change your sit.  Once you do you will have more space to sleep on.

Travel Toothbrush and Toothpaste

on our carry on bag we also bring toothpaste and toothbrush.  After taking a long nap we usually land the next day in the am, it feels so refreshing being able to brush our teeth right before breakfast is served.

  

Traveling is something so special to me and being able to travel to places I only dreamed about is truly a blessing.  Flights can seem long and sometimes too tight but I hope these tips can help you make your next travel a pleasant one throughout. 

Happy Travels.. 

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Carry On Bags Makeup Essentials approved by TSA https://excited4journey.com/carry-on-bags-makeup-essentials-approved-by-tsa/ https://excited4journey.com/carry-on-bags-makeup-essentials-approved-by-tsa/#respond Fri, 03 May 2019 11:27:18 +0000 https://excited4journey.com/?p=29156 When traveling is hard to pick the best makeup items you will need, keeping in mind you can only bring a few.  Before making my selection I think of the place I will go on vacation and how the weather it will be. Since I have oily skin selecting foundations that work great for hot […]

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When traveling is hard to pick the best makeup items you will need, keeping in mind you can only bring a few.  Before making my selection I think of the place I will go on vacation and how the weather it will be.

Since I have oily skin selecting foundations that work great for hot weather with SPF is usually my best option.  But when traveling during the winter I pack those items that will help hydrate my skin since it does get a bit dry.

I love packing some makeup items in my purse or carry on since I will be using it to apply my makeup during the flight.  I notice applying makeup during the flight is so relaxing, I’m in no hurry and I don’t have to worry about applying my makeup before heading to the airport.

Now is key to know the items you can pack, the last thing you will want is to lose a makeup item just because it wasn’t approved by TSA. I was stopped a few times and notice even international airports check things a bit differently.

Due to those experiences, I have been able to select those items and pack them accordingly.

TSA approved makeup carry on items that are essential when traveling are as follow; foundation, concealer, bronzer, lipstick, mascara, eyeshadow palette, travel eye brushes and a beauty sponge.  Let’s look at the items you need and how to pack for a smoother trip. 

What are TSA rules for Liquid Makeup?

First of all, let’s start by going over the TSA rules when it comes to liquid makeup.  Liquid makeup is not considered any different than any other liquid when packing on a carry on bag.

Keep in mind there is no limit or size requirement when packing on the checked bag.  To avoid losing an item especially makeup liquid item when is not approved can be avoided by following these simple rules.

Liquid makeup is allowed on your carry on bag as long as, is inside a travel-sized container that is 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less per item.

Any other item that is in a form of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams, and pastes also applies to the ounces mentioned. Which means it is allowed just verified that the size in the container is following the size approved by TSA.

How many quart size bags are allowed in my carry on?

Most airports do provide a quart size plastic bag, which makes it very easy to travel but if you want to plan ahead you can include all liquids, gels, aerosols, creams and paste inside 1 sealed zip-top plastic bag.

Based on TSA rules one-quart size bag is allowed inside carrying on that includes liquids, gels, aerosols, creams and paste.  For an easier way to know the rule just remember the 3-1-1 rule.

What is the TSA 3-1-1 rule? Here is a quick way that can help you learn it and apply it when packing;

  • 3 – not to exceed 3.4 oz on liquids, gels, aerosols, creams, and paste (5)

  • 1 – 1 sealed zip-top plastic bag

  • 1 – 1 allowed per traveler/per passenger

Can I take my makeup bag on the plane (carry on)?

Thank God the answer is yes, traveling for more than a few hours up to 9 at some point you can quickly run out of things to do.  Applying your makeup in the plane can make time go faster but it can also give you more time at your destination.

Just remember the 3-1-1 rule the makeup bag can be inside your carry on as long as the items you packed is approved by TSA.  If you are not sure which are the makeup items that qualify inside the carry on bag I provide a list below to help you pack more confident.

Carry on Makeup Items List approved by TSA 

To know exactly what is allowed focusing on makeup items here is the list which I went through from TSA site to help you make your packing a lot easier.  You can also view the complete list here which will take you to TSA.gov – what can I bring list.

  • Chapsticks – yes

  • Cologne – yes less than 3.4 oz

  • Concealer – yes less than 3.4 oz

  • Conditioner – yes less than 3.4 oz

  • Dry Shampoo – yes less than 3.4 oz

  • Electric Toothbrush – yes

  • Eyeliner Liquid – yes less than 3.4 oz

  • Foundation – yes less than 3.4 oz

  • Hair Clippers – yes

  • Hair Dryer – yes

  • Hair Gel – yes less than 3.4 oz

  • Hair Texturizer – yes less than 3.4 oz

  • Hairspray – yes less than 3.4 oz

  • Lipstick – yes

  • Makeup Remover – yes less than 3.4 oz

  • Makeup Wipes – yes

  • Mascara – yes less than 3.4 oz

  • Mirrors – yes

  • Nail Polish – yes less than 3.4 oz

  • Nail Polish Remover – yes less than 3.4 oz

  • Perfume – yes less than 3.4 oz

  • Powder Makeup – yes

  • Shampoo – yes less than 3.4 oz

  • Soap Liquid – yes less than 3.4 oz

  • Solid Makeup – yes

  • Sunscreen Sprays – yes less than 3.4 oz

  • Toothpaste – yes less than 3.4 oz

8 Essential Makeup Carry on items (approved by TSA)

Now for the fun part, what are those essential makeup items that anyone can travel with and not feel you are missing out on the other items. The list I am including with the suggestions of products is based on makeup items only, skincare is essential on any makeup routine but that would be a very different list.

Depending on the time you are traveling is best to have completed your skincare routine before leaving your house or hotel.

A skincare routine should also finish with a great moisturizer, sunscreen if needed and ended with a great primer. Once that is completed you are set to apply your makeup with these essential items.

  • (1) Beauty Blender or Beauty Sponge – Is a must to carry with you when applying makeup, I suggest bringing items that are cream based that will make the applying much easier with no need of a bag just for brushes.

  • (2) Foundation – Is the base needed to make the skin look more uniform. Foundation powder or liquid can be used (when packing consider if the foundation should be medium to full coverage, long lasting, with sunscreen, with hydrating benefits)

  • Foundation in carry-on bag cant be a large bottle but most foundations do meet the TSA requirement. (My recommendation, CoverFx, Neutrogena Hydro Boost, Estee Lauder, Too Faced Born this Way, Maybelline Super Stay)

  • (3) Concealer – is a life saver especially when traveling, most concealers come with an applicator.  Full coverage Concealer can work best but keep in mind if setting powder is not in your carry on and you are applying the makeup in the plane, do pack a concealer that can work great without setting powders. (My recommendation; Maybelline Age Rewind, Tarte, Makeup Revolution, Too Faced)

  • (4) Bronzer – Contour – great pigmentation with the right tone for your skin can make any bronzer show those nice features in your face.  You will need one brush for this makeup routine, around fluffy brush that can blend well contour as well as any other powders will work best.

  • If you want to omit the brush taking a cream contour palette can work great with the beauty sponge. (My recommendation; Benefits Hoola, Butter Bronzer, UD Naked Flushed, Fenty Beauty Rihanna

  • Blush (optional) – some contour palettes offer a blush shade and a highlighter powder this would be perfect when traveling since you will get 3 items in one.

  • (5 & 6) Eyeshadow Makeup & Eyeshadow Brushes – lately subscription boxes offer travel brushes, in addition, they offer many sample size items which at this time is best to go over the boxes you received to see which one will fit perfect for your trip.

  • If you don’t have any travel brushes any size will do, eyeshadow palette should offer all of the shades you need that is travel size and it comes with a mirror. This could be tricky since it also depends on the size of your travel bag.

  • Boxycharm is a $21 monthly beauty box subscription that offers 4 – 5 full-size good brand items.  Most months they include eyeshadow palettes and some I received has the perfect size with great pigmentation.  Ulta has a nice selection of beautiful palettes that travel well but some don’t come with a mirror…

  • (7 & 8) Mascara & Lipstick – these are the easiest things to get and each person has there preference.  For example, you can get a matte or shiny lipstick.  Mascara is a great item to pack as well… but remember both items need to be inside the plastic bag.

Which makeup bag will work best for my carry on items?

A makeup bag doesn’t have to be expensive, in fact, you may have some that probably been put away. Some beauty box subscriptions will send their products on nice makeup bag, they might not seem large enough but they are for placing different items.

You can divide products by bag and it will make it a lot easier and more room for you to bring other items.  In case you need a bag that is affordable Amazon has a nice selection from clear material to cuter designs.

(this cute purse I got from my Ipsy Subscription last year) I thought it was perfect since it shows the word ticket, inside I kept my passport and other documents when traveling.

Vacation Packing List Printable

Preparing your bag, luggage and/or Carry On can sometimes happen at the last minute, just to make sure I am taking everything I need is the reason why I made this list.

In reference to the checklist, some items will show optional next to it since it all depends on the weather and the type of travel packing you need. I use this list for summer and winter vacations which helps when traveling for different seasons. (You can print a free copy clicking on the picture below)

These are the essential makeup item I take with me when traveling, I would love to hear which brand is your favorite makeup item.  Hope these tips can help you with your future trip… Happy Travels…

         

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Save $5000 in a 52 week Challenge (free printable) https://excited4journey.com/save-5000-in-a-52-week-challenge-free-printable/ https://excited4journey.com/save-5000-in-a-52-week-challenge-free-printable/#respond Thu, 02 May 2019 17:57:32 +0000 https://excited4journey.com/?p=29164 Saving is key when making your dreams possible.  Of course is hard to hear the word budget, savings or cutting back in expenses but when it comes to making a dream a reality some of us need to work on our finances in order to reach that goal. That was our story, back in 2012 […]

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Saving is key when making your dreams possible.  Of course is hard to hear the word budget, savings or cutting back in expenses but when it comes to making a dream a reality some of us need to work on our finances in order to reach that goal.

That was our story, back in 2012 when I took over the finances I saw how we were over $31,000 in debt not pleasant to see fast forward to 2016 we were able to get back on track and started to travel for almost free.

  • November 2016 – Our first trip was to Hawaii for our 20th Anniversary we saved over $3000 and the total in expenses was $500 (you can see more here)

  • July 2018 – Our last trip was to Venice Italy, Amsterdam & Ireland we saved over $23,000 and paid $300 (you can see more here)

On those 2 trips alone you can see we have saved over $23,000 and paid $800, in reality, most of our flights, hotels and car rentals were FREE thanks to using points but everything else does come with a little price that is when this spreadsheet comes in handy.

When we started applying for our first credit card we waited until it was the right time for us to explore this new world of travel hacking but in the meantime, we were using the Dave Ramsey envelope system.

We created an envelope where we added an amount each month so we can have travel money without affecting our finances.  The envelope system was so efficient that we were able to use that money on a few trips even one that we are planning for the summer of 2019.

I hope you can use this spreadsheet which is easy to follow, start saving weekly and before you know it your travel spending money will be pretty comfortable for any trip.

Here you can print this free spreadsheet to help you keep track (Save $5000 Starting with $50 a week)

Here you can print this free spreadsheet to help you keep track (Save $3000 Starting with $25 a week)

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30 Things to Know before Visiting Venice (video included) https://excited4journey.com/going-to-italy-30-things-to-know-before-visiting-venice/ https://excited4journey.com/going-to-italy-30-things-to-know-before-visiting-venice/#respond Tue, 30 Apr 2019 00:59:03 +0000 https://excited4journey.com/?p=28852 Going to Italy?! 30 Things to Know before Visiting Venice How exciting the thought of planning a trip to Rome.. But before making that happen here are some advice on things to know when visiting Italy. Have you planned out your trip from hotels, places to go, airline ticket to what to pack and then […]

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Going to Italy?! 30 Things to Know before Visiting Venice

How exciting the thought of planning a trip to Rome.. But before making that happen here are some advice on things to know when visiting Italy.

Have you planned out your trip from hotels, places to go, airline ticket to what to pack and then you visit a place and find out there are things that would have helped if you knew ahead of time?

At first, you would think most places in Italy would be the same but that is so far from the truth.  Every place from Florence to Rome are so different and Venice is not the exception.  Here are a few tips or things to know before visiting Venice.

1. Take the Bus – I was surprised how easy it was to find buses that travel from cities far away and the airport.  The bus takes you directly to the entrance in Venice.

2. Get tickets to skip the line – the line to go inside is usually long for some places like the Doges Palace, if you purchase tickets to skip the line you might get a deal that may include other places too. You can download an app on your phone called Headout. There you can purchase your skip the line tickets.  There are a few apps like this but this is one we use.

3. Cash is key – exchange to get Euro to pay in cash when a card is not accepted. This is key and necessary, especially when using tip #4 using the restrooms.

4. Pay for Bathroom Use – some places you will need to pay to use the bathrooms but if you are dining in local restaurants you don’t need to pay for restroom use.

5. Google Maps is key – if you don’t have wifi while in Venice you can download the map and it will be easy to find your way around the city.  Downloading the app in your phone will help you get around which is key when visiting Venice.

6. Gelato try it before buying it – you can ask for samples before selecting the flavors, Some locations will provide a list of the items used to make the gelato to know it is authentic

7. Wear comfortable shoes – Walking around the city, standing in the long line and visiting nearby islands is a lot of walking, if you are wearing comfortable shoes this will make your trip more pleasurable.

8. Enjoy night view  – seeing Venice in a different light could be at night, is less crowded and more romantic.  This is something we are looking forward to doing on our next trip.

9. Visit Bridge of Sigh –  If you book a tour or you are visiting Doge’s Palace you will be able to walk through the bridge as they take you to see the prison.

10. Visit during Spring or Fall – Visiting in the spring is truly more pleasurable then during the Summer.  The weather is a lot cooler, there are fewer crowds and you are able to enjoy more of the city.

11. Take Jacket or Shawl – this might seem unusual for summer weather but some locations you may plan to visit requires for certain areas to be cover. If you are wearing shorts or a tank top (at least the ladies) you will need to cover those areas in order to

12. Take Water Bottle you can bring your own, purchase at convenient locations or refill in water fountains throughout the city

13. Pizza is one Size – if traveling with kids most restaurants don’t offer a kids menu, the size for the pizza is the same for everyone. Even the toppings are a bit different we cant order pepperoni instead order Salami Pizza.

14. Plan your mealtime – some locations may close in the afternoon and reopen for dinner.  We learned the hard way when visiting a nearby city.  Most restaurants are open all day in the center of Venice but we learned the hard way when visiting a nearby city when they close in the afternoon.

15. Burger King in Venice? – if you are traveling with kids or want to grab something quickly, you can find Burger King in the center of Venice

16. Some places you can visit for Free – there are museums and churches that are free to see.

17. Validate your ticket – If you are traveling using the metro, you will see a machine which is there for you to validate your ticket before getting inside the metro

18. Visiting from the Cruise – The port is about 20 minutes away walking, you can board early and come out to enjoy Venice

19. Pictures not allowed? – Some locations like a church might not allow cameras, you can go inside, they are still open meaning the locals do go in.

20. Use Vaporetto to get around – water taxi is a convenient way to get around, the tickets can be good for all day or for days you choose for

21. Ride the Gondola  – riding the gondola feels like a dream but it can come at a cost, look around for deals since there are 2 different options

22. Visit Burano and/or Murano – If you have an extra day you can visit these island using the Vaporetto.

23. Bridge to carry your luggage – If you book a hotel in Venice be mindful of the amount of steps/bridges you will have to carry your luggage through.

24. Drink some Spritz – If you don’t mind drinking a nice refreshing type of wine this drink would be it.  enjoy Italy’s drink – Spritz

25. Drink some Coffee – I love my iced coffee but in Venice or Padova (a city near Venice) that is almost impossible to get, so getting standard coffee is as rewarding, the coffee is so much stronger and better.

26. Experience Regatta Storica  –  rowing parade on the first Sunday of September, you can see it while walking near the Rialto Bridge

27. Experience Regatta Vogalonga  –  rowing competition early in June, you can many people rowing in the canal

28. in winter wear rubber boots  – in a tour the lady let us know how much it rains during the winter season, the water can make it hard to walk around, wearing rubber boots might make the trip more enjoyable or skip traveling during this time

29. Experience Carnavale  –  once in Venice all of the shops sell nice mask, the reason is for a Costume Mask Carnival held 40 days before Easter

30. Get ACTV or Venezia Unica pass –  riding the bus and water taxi (Vaporetto) is best to get an ACTV card which helps you save a lot more if you are staying a lot longer then getting Venezia Unica Card will be more beneficial. (airport transportation is not included read on both options to see which one will work best for you).

You can also check out the video as I talk about the things to know about Venice here

 

If you enjoyed these tips you can share it and Pin it with this picture below.

 

 

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7 Best Travel Cruise Hacks, Tips and Tricks https://excited4journey.com/7-best-travel-cruise-hacks-tips-and-tricks/ https://excited4journey.com/7-best-travel-cruise-hacks-tips-and-tricks/#respond Fri, 15 Mar 2019 20:08:42 +0000 https://excited4journey.com/?p=28901 The post 7 Best Travel Cruise Hacks, Tips and Tricks appeared first on Excited4journey.

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Today we are going to show you 7 Best Travel Cruise Hacks, Tips, and Tricks that we use all the time. We have been traveling a lot since 2015. Over these years we have learned things that will help us make our trips easier on us. From taking extra booking early to how to set up transportation to save money. Below we have added things we believe will help make your trip less stressful or easier.

1. Book your cruise early

Search for your cruise. Book your cruise early. Way early. After you book your cruise keep an eye out for changes in price. If the price goes down you can call in and request the new pricing that is being offered. You can check on each company website or try one of the other websites that have all cruise in one.

2. Find out when prices change

So after you book your cruise you might think you received a good price or thought you could have gotten a better price. Well, something you didn’t know is that of the price goes down companies will not tell you or notify you. It’s your job to keep an eye out to see if the price changed. If it did then call them up and ask them to honor the new price they have posted. Download the Shipmate App. Website to download the app is https://shipmateapp.com/
This is the app you can select the Cruise you are going to and select alerts for price changes. You can also see your itinerary for the cruise you are on. Here are some of the other features of what the app can help with.

  • Cruise Countdown
  • Itinerary Roll Call
  • Deck Plans and Ship Info
  • Port Info (reviews, tips, & photos)
  • Deck Cams
  • Cruise Price Alerts
  • Port Excursion Booking
  • And much more

3. Transportation to Cruise Port

You cannot forget how you will get to your cruise port. After you book your cruise and you know what port you are coming out from now you can check on where you will park your car if you are driving to the port. The closer you are to the ship the more expensive it will be. Find a place a little further from the port. You can check in google to see areas that offer cruise parking. Sometimes it’s a hotel or a place that is only to park cars for people who are going on a cruise. Many places have transportation from where you leave the car to the ship and its less expensive.
If you are flying into the port then all you need to do it catch a taxi, Uber or some other form of transportation to get to the cruise ship. We usually are a group of about 6 or more. We have used Suntransfers. They are a private transportation service that takes you where you need to go from the airport or cruise terminal. Usually, we have them waiting at the airport so that they then can take us to the cruise port. I have used this service a few times. When you arrive you find your driver. They usually have a person having a name for you. You also get the instructions in an email to what to expect and what number to call if you needed to. I have not had to call them since we can find the driver holding a sign. It’s much cheaper than going through the cruise transportation

4. 5 Port USB Wall Charger and Converter

How many of us have phones and other electronic devices like smartwatches we need to change at night? Cruise cabins do not have a lot of outlets. Sure you can bring a big power strip but this 5 port USB charger we use is much better. So bring one with you. We use this one when we are on a cruise or traveling in general. Here is the one we use. Anker 40W 5-Port USB Wall Charger. With this, you can attach 5 USB cables to one outlet. If you are staying in a hotel before or after your cruise trip then you will need a travel plug adaptor.  We use this one here. But there are a few other ones you can buy like these here.

5. Portable USB Charger

A lot of times you are on port and will be out most of the day. Some places arrive in port at 8am and then the ships leave at 8pm. That’s a lot of hours without having your phone charged. Using your phone and taking pictures while on your trip can use your phone battery to drain. Especially if taking videos and maybe using other apps on your phone. The best thing to do is to take a Portable USB Charger with you to charge your phone or keep it charged. Here is one we have used. Here is the portable charger we use and are happy with. 10000mAh Portable Power Bank with Dual USB Ports 3.1A Output and 2A Input

6. Clothes

Since you are not allowed to bring an Iron on the ship you will not be able to iron your clothes. You can always pay to get your clothes done but why spend so much on that when you can spend that money on something else you can enjoy.
Rolling your clothes instead of folding them will help keep prevent your clothes from wrinkling and it will take up less space in your luggage.

7. When to book your cruise

 

Book when its off-peak season. Everyone is traveling when the kids are off from school.  If you can take a vacation when everyone is at school then you will pay less.  Off-peak is usually during fall or spring. You will not only pay less but the places you visit will not be as crowded.

8. Checklist

Its always good to have a checklist of items to bring just so you don’t forget.  We have a post we created with a checklist that is free to download. Download it here.

Here are a couple of photos of us on our last cruise.

 

 

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