Live a Little: 3 Small Ways to be a Travel Dare Devil

International travel is all about new experiences.  But if you don’t step outside your comfort zone then you aren’t really experiencing your destination.  When I say “dare devil” I don’t mean you need to bungie jump or sky dive your way in new experiences.  You simply need to embrace something that might scare you a little and go all-in.

Here are 3 ways to be a travel dare devil that will better immerse you in your chosen destination:

1. Rent a car and drive: This is an option I’ve been recommending to a lot of clients lately and, although they’re a bit dubious about it and recognize the need for a sense of adventure, they’ve found the freedom and access it grants them far outweighs any fears they had about driving in a foreign country.  Sure, signs may be

Driving on the left may take some getting used to, but the freedom to go where you want when you want is well worth it.

in a different language or you may be driving on the left side of the road; but, you’ll also have the freedom to reach those sightseeing gems that don’t have a train station or bus stop nearby.  Plus, if you bring the kids, you’ll be free to stop for the inevitable bathroom breaks.

2. Get lost and find your way WITHOUT your smartphone: In addition to being able to digitally detox, leave your smart phone in the hotel for a day, take a walk, and get lost in the city you’re visiting.  Rather than being tethered to your phone and all the distractions it brings, you’ll be free to take in the sites and interact with the locals when you need to ask for directions or a recommendation for lunch.  Allow yourself to be in your chosen destination without the crutch of your smart phone putting up an e-wall so you can truly experience some place new.

Try a different continent, like South America.

3. Up your destination game:  You’ve been to the great cities of western Europe?  Try eastern Europe or a river cruise.  Or try a new continent like South America.  If you’ve already done the “standard” international travel, then that has become your new normal and it’s time to push the envelope.  Try something truly unique like living for a week in a yurt in Mongolia, hiking Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, or visiting ancient cities of the Silk Road in Uzbekistan.

What’s your next great adventure?  Let GBFTravels help you find it!

-Chad

Spring Break for Families – 2 Ideas That Benefit Parents and Kids

Spring break is coming up and you need to figure out what to do with the kids.  The typical choices are either A.) take time off from your job to babysit them yourself, or B.) pay someone else to babysit them for you.  As much as you like at-home family time, that’s either burning precious work leave or shelling out $$ for a babysitter.  Since either option has you taking leave time and spending money, I present to you option C.) take a family vacation where everyone gets to have fun!

The next issue is how to have a family vacation where the parentals actually get to have some fun AND find a little time to rest.  Fear not, I have the solutions!

A family all-inclusive beach vacation is the way to go to maximize fun and value.

Solution 1 – All-Inclusive Beach Vacation:  Mexico, Dominican Republic, and Jamaica have some amazing beaches, amenity-filled all-inclusive resorts, and value-for-your-money that can’t be beat!  Add to that regular charted flights from major U.S. gateways like Baltimore-Washington, Denver, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Dallas, and the package savings and value are incredible.  There are a ton of family-friendly all-inclusive resorts in Mexico and the Caribbean that include activities for the kids so parents can spend time on their own to unwind and soak up some sun.  Everyone wins!

River cruises with Adventures By Disney take all the planning and guess work out of your overseas family vacation.

Solution 2 – Vacation Overseas with Adventures by Disney: Disney vacation options are so much more than Walt Disney World Resort in Florida or Disneyland in California.  And, let’s be honest, you don’t want to do the Disney parks scene during a major spring break when everyone and their cousin is there too.  Instead, take the family vacation overseas that you’ve always wanted but with none of the hassle.  Adventures by Disney include family-focused escorted tours all over the world and on the rivers of Europe.  Adventures by Disney takes care of all the details so the parentals can do their own thing and relax, the kids get some amazing culturally immersive activities, and the whole family will experience an international destination that will keep everyone smiling!

How are you going to spice up your family’s spring break?

-Chad

I Embraced the Cliché in Italy and Regretted it Like WHOA!

5 minutes.  5 whole minutes.

In that time I took one teensy little spin around a parking lot on the outskirts of Florence, Italy. This supposedly “qualified” me to operate a Vespa for the remainder of the day.  I rarely drive a car stateside let alone having ever operated a bulky “scooter” that doesn’t seem to want to turn except in wide arcs that take you into on-coming traffic.

All my images of looking cool while riding a Vespa, holding a cappuccino, and exclaiming “ciao” (Eddie Izzard fans can appreciate this) were pathetically shattered in the ensuing 5 minutes following my qualifying ride.  A hairpin turn (please recall my comment above about scooters and turning), a poorly kept Tuscan road, a vain attempt to avoid heading straight into an ancient Italian rock wall, and an unfortunate gust of gravity were enough to have me kissing the pavement.

My body was relatively unscathed, but my pride was hemorrhaging.  For a time I told the story as, “so I was expertly riding my Vespa and looking effortlessly Italian cool (ciao!) when TUSCAN NINJA TERRORISTS(!!!) jumped out from behind an ancient Italian rock wall and I was forced to single handedly battle them!”

It was, of course, a woefully transparent fabrication of my finesse-less Vespa operating skills, but who doesn’t use a little bit of self-deprecating humor to try to move past an exceedingly embarrassing point in a story?  For the remainder of the day, the gorgeous Tuscan country-side passed me by mostly unnoticed as I only had eyes for the road and an overwhelming desire to survive live.

Tuscany is GREAT when you're not riding a Vespa!
Tuscany is GREAT when you’re not riding a Vespa!

By the way, do you know what is HUGE when you’re driving a Vespa and fear for your life?  A SMART CAR!!!  A litany of curse words spewed forth from under my helmet when one of those bad boys passed me.

Tuscany is stunningly gorgeous (what little I remember seeing) and I recommend everyone visit if they have a chance.  JUST NOT ON A VESPA!  As I always like to say when something harrowing like this happens to me, as long as no one ended up in the hospital or jail, if a good story comes out of it, then all is well.  Of course, when I laid down to sleep that night, having thankfully survived the tour, all I could see when I closed my eyes were Tuscan roads and humongous smart-cars.  I needed two cappuccinos the next morning.

-Chad