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Travel

Move over Cuba, Clearwater stole my Heart

July 15, 2013

You all know how much I love Cuba. Heck, I even wrote a post about it, so imagine my surprise when I found something cheaper with just as nice of a beach in the States.

Where would this fantastic place be? Well, it’s Clearwater , Florida. A quaint town for Canadian retirees and family vacations. It’s not the sort of place one would go to party,  yet with it being less than 20 minutes south of Tampa, you have the best of both worlds.

Two of my girlfriends and I decided to head down to Clearwater, Florida about 2 months ago, and not a single rainy day goes by that I don’t miss it.  Like I mentioned above, it’s certainly not a party town, so you won’t find the crazy drunks at 3 AM.  Heck! you won’t find too many people out at 3 AM at all. But the town is alive during the day and evening.

We were lucky enough to be down there for the Sugar Sands Festival, (which happens once a year) but the great thing about Clearwater is that there is something going on ALL the time. As with most tourist towns, they go out of their way to make it entertaining for tourists. We wandered through the Pier 60 festival and the weeknight movie.

The thing that I love about Cuba is the beaches. The sand, the sun, and the people automatically make it one of my favorite places in world. Clearwater, it seems, is very similar. The sand, oh the sand, is like sugar. The white sand beaches, and the bluest ocean you’ve ever seen.

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Pros and Cons of Renting a Car while Travelling

March 20, 2013

How do you feel about renting cars when you’re going on vacation? I, personally, like relying on public transit because you get to know the city better that way, but will rent a car when I’m travelling for work. You’re in a different mood when on vacation compared to travelling for business. When planning your vacation a common thing that people often wrestle with is the decision whether or not to rent a car while travelling. Obviously, this is based heavily on where you are going and what you plan on doing while on vacation, but there are some travel destinations where it can be difficult to decide which option is best. Do you spend the extra money and get the car? Or do you wait and see once you get to your travel destination to make a decision?

 

 

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On Too Many Vacations in a Year

February 27, 2013

I know, I know. Its not a “real” problem, but one of the perks of doing what I do is being able to make my schedule; or so I thought. The reality is quite different. I love my clients, and have a really hard time not taking a contract. I blessed to work in a field where I am growing professionally, and personally every day. The problem is that at the beginning of the year I mapped out a few conferences, and perhaps 2 vacations. All was fine and dandy until 2 nights ago when I sat down, looked at my schedule and started panicking.

Let me be clear, I’m not panicking because I’m working too much, but panicking because I’m under contract to work on some pretty awesome projects in the next 5 months, and vacations will get in the way of that. The thought of having to cancel some of those vacations makes me ill. Some of your might attest to the self-imposed pressure that you feel when you work for yourself. I’m not sleeping more than 5 hours a night, I have tons of grey hair, the messy bun is my hairstyle of choice, and I feel isolated since I work from different offices each week.

As you might remember, I love travelling. Travelling has a way or re-energizing my soul, and allowing me to tackle challenges with more vigor, and determination. I’m also a huge fan of wandering the world and getting lost by myself. It is the truly the best way of figuring out whats more important to you.

 

 

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London’s Best Cheap Eats

February 16, 2013

The British food scene might be a joke around the world, but now the UK is laughing because London, and indeed the whole UK, is glittering with Michelin stars. This also means, however, that good food can attract a hefty price tag. If you’re in the capital to see a West End show and looking for a pre-show dinner, or are enjoying the sights on a London break, a fancy restaurant may be beyond your price-range.

But you don’t always have to sacrifice taste when you opt for cheaper meals. We explore the UK capital to find the best-kept eatery secrets so that you can enjoy fine food at backpacker prices.

 

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Why I love All Inclusive Vacations.

December 12, 2012

I love travelling. Part of the reason that I resigned my old job and started working as a Business Operations Consultant was because I wanted to be able to travel more. They say be careful what you wish for because it might come true. Well, it did come true. For the first 6 months of my new role I was home a total of 35 days. I spent the rest of the time on the road.

 

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love flying, and airports and visiting new places, but visiting for work is different than visiting somewhere for fun. Back in 2009, my friend, Anita and I took off for Europe for 6 months. We backpacked our way through most of it. That was an adventure. Not knowing what hostel we were going to stay at when we got off the train in any given city was both exciting and nerve-wracking. But we had fun. We met some of the most amazing people on our journey, and I can say that I was altered by it. Europe, also, took a bit of planning, and we needed the time to create our adventure. Having a week off work isn’t the same thing. I can’t fly over to Germany and hang out for a week, it doesn’t work like that, and quite frankly isn’t in my nature. I need/want to explore the city, live with the locals, learn their ways. This is one of the reasons behind interviewing for roles in Argentina. I wanted to live there and feel settled.

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A Different Type of Hotel Stay

June 20, 2012

I spent most of yesterday sitting on a patio and talking about my travels. The friend who I was talking to mentioned that instead of  the normal hostel/hotel options, she normally looks at staying in people’s houses when she travels abroad. The idea sounded fantastic mostly because when you travel as much as I do for work, hotels get really boring, and you start to feel lonely and isolated. So I spent the night looking at different options for lodging for my upcoming trips.  Keep in mind that these trips are not for work, but for fun. The one that I am really looking forward to is for BlogHer12 in NYC.

Having been to New York many many times over the last few years (both work and play), I can tell you first hand how insanely expensive hotels get downtown. And with BlogHer12 being downtown this year, the hotel prices had me a bit worried so being the good (sometimes lazy) PF blogger that I am, I decided to look for different options out there.

 

 

There are tons of options out there such as Airbnb and VRBO, etc. I wanted to focus on New york.  Living in New York has always been a fantasy of mine (its #19 on my bucket list) and I wanted something a little different than flying to a fun city and staying in a fancy hotel. I am going with 2 friends and we wanted to local experience, and not so much the touristy  as one for my friends has never visited.

There is a new type of hotel stay starting in London and New York, but spreading everywhere, and it’s called the unhotel.  The idea of the unhotel is that you can stay in someone else’s home while they’re out of town.  It’s an idea being championed by onefinestay, a company that was founded on the principal of living like a local.  While this sounds similar to AirBnb, there is a key difference. These homes are upscale places located in the heart of both cities. I am looking at booking a place for my upcoming trip to New York for BlogHer12. I also sent the link to friends travelling to London for the Olympics.

Is It For You?

Onefinestay gives you the chance to stay in someone else’s place while they’re out of town.  You get all the advantages of a hotel – like toiletries and comfort, as well as personalized service if you want it.  But you avoid the downsides of a hotel stay as well, like being bothered by housekeeping and feeling like, no matter where you go, every hotel is basically the same.

A really fun thing is that every home you stay in is truly personalized.  Each stay, there will be recommendations waiting for you from the people who live there – like where to eat, things to do, and places to be.  That way, you feel more like a local and less like a tourist.

Still want to be pampered?  Every guest receives an iPhone for calls and getting guest services.  Using your phone, you can request a maid, a florist, or even a private chef to suite your desires!

 

 What About Hosting Your Home?

But the concept isn’t just for those looking to travel.  You can offer your home up for short stay accommodations as well.  Onefinestay will handle all the details, such as insurance, marketing, and even cleaning your home.  They will also look after your home when you’re not there to make sure it stays safe and sound.

The perk, you can get an income that is comparable to renting out your home full time, while letting it be rented on a schedule that suites your individual needs.  That way you can balance your personal needs with a little extra income on the side!