Eight Hour Layover at the Philadelphia International Airport

Check back for updates! 

So my family and I are traveling to Germany this summer and already I have plenty to blog about. I won’t even get started about buying a brand-new iPhone so I can have the best camera only to forget it in the seats of my in-laws car. I’ll save that for another time…


Originally we had bought American Airlines tickets that left Houston at a very reasonable 12 o’clock in the afternoon with an hour and a half layover in Philadelphia. Lucky us our flight was rescheduled to leave at 6 AM! Living with a nervous flyer I already knew how early we would be heading to the airport…

Lesson one: get there as early as they want you to so you don’t have to feel rushed when you get there.


So what do you do at an airport for eight hours? If you like my family you weigh the options for the first hour.

Where should we eat?

Considering there are six terminals with more than 170 restaurants and shops there’s plenty to look up, Google, read reviews. For that length of time you might also start to wonder:

Should we leave the airport?

Of course in my mind the answer is yes but for a nervous flyer that compose additional concerns.

What will we do with the luggage? Will we have enough time to get there and back? If I stay here with the luggage will my family get back in time?

So then you start googling what are the travel options?

can we take an Uber? Or come to the airport? What about the train situation with that be easier? How far away are these places? And what places we go to?

I won’t keep you in suspense any longer before letting you know that we did go get a Philly cheese steak at Geno’s Steak. Right across the street from Pat.


Lesson number two: if I had it to do over I would’ve gotten one Philly cheesesteak from Pat’s and one from Gino’s. And if you want to be like the locals you gotta order the sandwich the right way quickly.

Cheesesteak equals “one”.

+ “provolone” or “American” or “Whiz”

+ “With” friend onions

For example: one provolone with is the same as ordering a Philly cheese steak with provolone cheese and grilled onions.

You’re welcome — cash only.

The trip to the steak stand Will take about 30 minutes there and 30 minutes back. In the middle of the day in the middle of the week traffic wasn’t bad but I’m not a local and I don’t know.

The actual ordering and eating of the cheesesteak is about 20 minutes depending on the line. We got there when there was no line and got a cheesesteak in about a minute. Then you go to the next window and order your soda and the crispest fries you’ll ever eat. We got with cheese.


We had a wonderful tour guide/Uber driver on the way back to the airport who played relaxing spa music on the radio and regaled us with tourist sites including the Naval shipyard, stadiums for the professional basketball, hockey, football, and baseball, and many other interesting facts about the city including the weather.


Now you arrive back at the airport and it’s about 1:30 PM. And so you think well for once it won’t be so bad for a long TSA line.


Except you’ll find there is no line. Which is beautiful and I will note note that as we left earlier there was no line either in a different terminal.

As an American Express card holder you might think joyfully “hey I’ll go to the American airlines lounge and kill some time there in the lap of luxury”. But then you’ll realize you didn’t fly business or first and American Airlines no longer allows American Express. And after paying for the unexpected Philly cheesesteak excursion you don’t want to pay more money to get into the club.

Did you see that there’s a place called the minute suites? Feeling tired after waking up at four? Well for $40 an hour you can check in and have use of a desk and a bed.

Do you like art?

The Philadelphia international Airport has an exhibition program that is nationally recognized as an award-winning since it’s found in a 1998 there had been more than 300 exhibits from artists and cultural Institute throughout the greater Philadelphia area. On the day that we were here in terminal A and while walking on the walking escalator we noticed these beautiful birds hanging from the ceiling. The little 2 inch birds were hanging to create the shape of the original bird for example an albatross. And also made up the bigger bird shadow. You could seabird after bird delicately flying above the check in counters.


Now it’s about 2:30 PM. Your family is starting to droop so you said it’s a good time to charge all of the electronics, the ones you still have in your possession anyways.

Around 2:50 PM you realize your phone is charged about 4% in 20 minutes. With three more hours to go in your layover you decide you can do an informal power test. There are over 900 complementary charging outlets across all of the terminals. You realize some might be better than others. Where little nooks that used to house payphones that people actually use their power outlets. You might think it’s comfortable and private but find a wall outlet or one in the charging tables in the hallway much better performance. (No formal measurements used in this test.)

About an hour into charging and there’s no way you’re going to get your family to move. With battery at a healthy 65% and battery saver mode turned on you pack on the gear with the goal of exploring the remaining terminals. B through F.

Seaworld Texas: Discovery Point

Seaworld Texas: Discovery Point

DISCLAIMER: Although SeaWorld San Antonio let me play with the dolphins for free, the delight elicited from the interactive experience is my own.

After thirteen months, Discovery Point at Seaworld Texas opens Saturday, May 21, 2016 @ 10am!  I had the incredible opportunity for a one on one behind the scenes tour of not only the new Discovery Point area but also swim with two dolphins which was a lifelong goal! (and got to meet three super star bloggers: @AFrugalFriend  )

Guests are invited to observe dolphins from all-new underwater viewing areas, and can also easily connect to the newly renovated Explorer’s Reef aquarium. Discovery Point can be explored by all guests as part of their admission. For a deeper interactive experience, signature swims with Atlantic bottlenose dolphins, belugas and sea lions are available with a paid reservation.

Discovery Point can be explored by all guests as part of their SeaWorld San Antonio park admission.  I’ll be updating this blog post with more content, pictures, and video soon too!

Swim with Dolphins

Guests can also make reservations for an additional fee to swim with dolphins, belugas, and sea lions.

  • Swim participants must be at least 6 years old and children ages 6 to 12 must be accompanied by a paying adult who is also participating in the swim experience.
  • Prices range from $125 to $155 per person.
  • 600,000-gallon Dolphin Lagoon is twice the size of the previous dolphin habitat.

SeaWorld San Antonio is home to:

  • 21 Atlantic Bottlenose dolphins – 15 females and six males, ranging in age from 1 to 43 years old.
  • Most of the dolphins were born at SeaWorld, four made SeaWorld their home after being rescued by the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network and deemed non-releasable by the National Marine Fisheries Service.
  • More than 7,100 plants comprised of 80 different species ranging from native trees and palms to tropical ferns and bamboo create Discovery Point’s tropical oasis.
  • A variety of shells, natural materials, recycled glass and stone were used as building materials throughout Discovery Point, including the rockwork shapes created to resemble dolphins.

Explorer’s Reef is home to more than 350 species of fish, invertebrates and amphibians, as well as five different species of sharks, ranging in age from seven to 27 years old – all of which are considered vulnerable and well on their way toward endangered status.

The majority of Caribbean coral on display in Explorer’s Reef was grown by SeaWorld San Antonio’s Aquarium Department.

Visit www.seaworlddiscoverypoint.com, and be sure to follow SeaWorld on Facebook or @SeaWorld on Twitter and Instagram @SeaWorldTexas, using #DiscoveryPoint like I did.here.

Best Asian Market Houston: H Mart

H Mart is a fantastic Asian shopping market that specializes in Korean foods that my Houston foodie friends turned me onto. Angela, the first, recommended when my family was driving back home from a visit to Florida on 1-10. We wanted something good, not too far from the highway. Not only is this huge super market but the right side is lined with little restaurants, food court style. Each one looks fantastic but we beelined to the last one. You’ll want to make time to eat there, everything comes out on sizzling hot pots that permeate the flavor and crisp the meal.    

    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
 

Schlitterbahn Galveston Island

Schlitterbahn Galveston Island

Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Waterpark is a 26-acre oasis of thrilling waterpark adventures. The third waterpark in the Schlitterbahn family of parks features more than 30 attractions designed in the Schlitterbahn tradition of ride innovation. The park also features the next generation of the award-winning Transportainment® river system that combines three unique rivers into one endless floating adventure. And an award winning Heated-Indoor Waterpark section open in early Spring and through December.

 

Address: 2026 Lockheed Street, Galveston, Texas 77554

General Park Phone: (409) 770-928

Schlitterbahn saves families budget by offering free parking, free life jackets, and families can bring in an ice chest of food! To me that is unheard of!  Other amusement parks treat park food as their cash cow! Schlitterbahn lets you pack a fabulous picnic and eat it too!

Schlitterbahn, which was born on the banks of a river, has always been a steward of the water in the park. 98% of the water is recaptured, filtered, and reused all season. HOW GREAT IS THAT?? The beautiful South Padre Schlitterbahn resort is built out of wood reclaimed from the wildfires that took place in Austin (more on our sustainability efforts here).

Where else can you grab a drink and float around the lazy river with it in hand?

Working in Innovation I can appreciate that Schlitterbahn has been the birthplace of nearly every waterpark ride innovation including the world’s first uphill water coaster and the inland surfing ride, the Boogie Bahn.

Each waterpark is known for something and Galveston is famous for being the World’s favorite indoor park!

Did you know?

2015 Galveston Schlitterbahn 2015 Galveston Schlitterbahn 2015 Galveston Schlitterbahn 2015 Galveston Schlitterbahn 2015 Galveston Schlitterbahn 2015 Galveston Schlitterbahn 2015 Galveston Schlitterbahn 2015 Galveston Schlitterbahn

Summer Schedule: Schlitterbahn Galveston Island entire park is open weekends beginning April 18, 2015 and daily beginning May 14, 2015 to Labor Day. The park returns to weekend operations with various attractions available form September 12, 2015 to October 11, 2015. Park opens at 10 a.m. and closing times vary from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

2015 Galveston Schlitterbahn Broll from Schlitterbahn Waterparks on Vimeo.

2015 Visit New Orleans

2015 Visit New Orleans

Make sure you check out the other posts that I have made about visiting New Orleans including Things to Do in New Orleans and where to stay like the amazing Ritz Carlton New Orleans.

UPCOMING EVENTS AND FESTIVALS

For a full list of festivals, click here.

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Recent Reasons to Come to New Orleans

  • Readers of Condé Nast Traveler voted New Orleans the number one “U.S. City for Business Travelers” in the February issue of the magazine based on friendliness, value, walkability and its 1,400 restaurants.
  • In March, New Orleans was named one of TripAdvisor.com’s “2015 Traveler’s Choice Destinations U.S.” based on the quantity and quality of reviews and ratings for hotels, restaurants and attractions.
  • Men’s Journal magazine named New Orleans one of the “10 Best Places to Live Now” in its April issue for its post-Katrina renaissance and generous hospitality.
  • New Orleans was named one of the “Top Vacation Spots in the U.S.” by ListsForAll.com in March 2015 for its lively nightlife, unique cuisine and charm.
  • New Orleans was named one of the “Friendliest Cities in America” in Travel + Leisure’s April issue for its friendly nightlife, vivid people-watching and quirky locals.
  • New Orleans was named one of “America’s Best Cities for Food Snobs” in Travel + Leisure’s March issue for both its fine dining and casual culinary culture.
  • New Orleans was named one of the “America’s Best Cities for Music Scenes” in Travel + Leisure’s April issue based on the accessibility of and passion for a variety of music styles .
  • Travel + Leisure named New Orleans the number one “Quirkiest City in America” in its March issue based on its celebratory culture and history of voodoo.
  • Travel + Leisure named New Orleans one of “America’s Best Cities for Sweet Tooths” in its April issue based on its many unique sweet treats, from Bananas Foster to Baked Alaska.
  • New Orleans was named the number one “Best Drinking City in America” by Thrillist.com in March 2015 for its superior cocktail culture, a hearty craft brewing scene and the invention of many classic cocktails.
  • SmartAsset.com, an online financial planning tool, named New Orleans one of the “Most Interesting Cities in America” based on diversity, concentration of bars, population growth and the ratio of creatives to professionals.
  • The Louisiana Children’s Museum has been announced as a 2015 recipient of the National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the nation’s highest museum and library honor given to institutions that address community needs.

Learn all about New Orleans’ Tourism Season in 2014:

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Explore Cascade Caverns in Boerne, TX

See Texas Downunder! Cascade Caverns has been declared a Texas Historical Site for its combination of history, geology & archaeological significance.

Website:
http://www.cascadecaverns.com/

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/caveguide

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Cascadecavernstexas


Your guided 45 minute to one hour tour takes you through corridor after corridor of timeless beauty. The tour leaves continuously throughout the day but check seasonal schedules for specific times during the year. Wear comfortable walking shoes and bring a camera!


The cavern is a cool, living cavern with millions of glistening drops of pure water reluctantly falling on spectacular rock formations, a comfortable 64 degrees year round.

Bring your picnic to enjoy on our 105 acre park before or after your tour. There are nature trails and a playground to explore as well as our unique gift shop. Cascade Caverns is a fun and educational experience for adults, teens, and kids.

Party!
We also have the ideal setup for parties, rallies, musical events, or corporate retreats. Give us a call to see what we can do for you.


Coupon:
Save:

  • $1 Off Child
  • $2 OFF Adult Admission
  • $5 Off Camping at Cascade Caverns

Present this coupon and receive $1 Off Child OR $2 OFF Adult Admission OR $5 Off Camping at Cascade Caverns. One coupon per family visit – not valid with other offers.

Code: SanAntonioKidsGuide.com

2015 Free Entrance Days in the National Parks

2015 Free Entrance Days in the National Parks

Only 133 of our country’s 401 national parks usually charge an entrance fee. So start Planning Your Visit!

If you’re planning a trip that includes multiple national parks, you might consider the $80 annual pass that provides entrance to all national parks, national wildlife refuges, national forests, and many other Federal lands-more than 2,000 in all. The America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass is offered free to all active duty military members and their dependents. Information on these and other pass options is available online.

2015 Free Entrance Days in the National Parks

Website:

  1. January 19 – Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  2. February 14-16 – Presidents Day weekend
  3. April 18-19 – opening weekend of National Park Week
  4. August 25 – National Park Service Birthday
  5. September 26 – National Public Lands Day
  6. November 11 – Veterans Day

Social Media Channels for National Parks:

National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass Series

There’s a National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass Series is your ticket to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites. Each pass covers entrance fees at national parks and national wildlife refuges as well as standard amenity fees at national forests and grasslands, and at lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Reclamation. A pass covers entrance and standard amenity fees for a driver and all passengers in a personal vehicle at per vehicle fee areas (or up to four adults at sites that charge per person). Children age 15 or under are admitted free.

Annual Pass

  • $80 annual pass
  • Can be obtained in person at a federal recreation site, or by calling 1-888-ASK USGS (1-888-275-8747), Ext. 3 (Hours of operation are: 8:00 am to 4:00 pm Mountain time), or online. Buy Now

Free Annual Pass for U.S. Military

  • Available to U.S. military members and dependents in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard and also, Reserve and National Guard members.
  • Must be obtained in person at a Federal recreation site by showing a Common Access Card (CAC) or Military ID (Form 1173).

Senior Pass

  • $10 Lifetime pass
  • For U.S. citizens or permanent residents age 62 or over.
  • May be obtained in person at a federal recreation site or through the mail using this application form. The cost of obtaining a Senior Pass through the mail is twenty dollars ($20). Ten ($10) for the Senior Pass and ten ($10) for processing the application. Applicants must provide documentation of age and residency or citizenship.
  • May provide a 50 percent discount on some amenity fees charged for facilities and services such as camping, swimming, boat launch, and specialized interpretive services.

Volunteer Pass

  • Free
  • For volunteers with 250 service hours with federal agencies that participate in the Interagency Pass Program.
  • Contact your local federal recreation site for more information about volunteer opportunities or visit Volunteer.gov.

The five agencies that participate in the Interagency Pass Program are:

2015 Free Entrance Days in the National Parks

National Parks Offering FREE Entrance

There are 133 National Parks that normally charge an entrance fee that are waiving their fees on the six days listed above.  Here are are with direct links to their websites, organized by state.

Alaska
Denali National Park and Preserve

Arizona
Casa Grande Ruins National Monument
Chiricahua National Monument
Glen Canyon National Recreation Area
Grand Canyon National Park
Lake Mead National Recreation Area
Montezuma Castle National Monument
Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument
Petrified Forest National Park
Pipe Spring National Monument
Saguaro National Park
Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument
Tonto National Monument
Tumacacori National Historical Park
Tuzigoot National Monument
Walnut Canyon National Monument
Wupatki National Monument

Arkansas
Fort Smith National Historic Site
Pea Ridge National Military Park

California
Cabrillo National Monument
Death Valley National Park
Joshua Tree National Park
Lassen Volcanic National Park
Lava Beds National Monument
Muir Woods National Monument
Pinnacles National Monument
Sequoia National Park
Whiskeytown National Recreation Area
Yosemite National Park

Colorado
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
Colorado National Monument
Dinosaur National Monument
Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument
Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve
Hovenweep National Monument
Mesa Verde National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park

Florida
Canaveral National Seashore
Castillo de San Marcos National Monument
Dry Tortugas National Park
Everglades National Park
Gulf Islands National Seashore

Georgia
Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area
Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park
Cumberland Island National Seashore
Fort Frederica National Monument
Fort Pulaski National Monument

Hawaii
Haleakal? National Park
Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park
Pu’uhonua o H?naunau National Historical Park

Idaho
Craters of the Moon National Monument
Yellowstone National Park

Indiana
Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial

Maine
Acadia National Park

Maryland
Antietam National Battlefield
Assateague Island National Seashore
Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park
Fort McHenry NM and Historic Shrine National Monument
Fort Washington Park
Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

Massachusetts
Adams National Historical Park
Cape Cod National Seashore

Michigan

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Minnesota
Pipestone National Monument

Mississippi
Gulf Islands National Seashore
Vicksburg National Military Park

Missouri
Harry S Truman National Historic Site
Jefferson National Expansion Memorial
Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield

Montana
Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area
Glacier National Park
Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument
Yellowstone National Park

Nebraska
Scotts Bluff National Monument

Nevada
Death Valley National Park
Lake Mead National Recreation Area

New Hampshire
Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site

New Jersey
Thomas Edison National Historical Park
Morristown National Historical Park

New Mexico
Aztec Ruins National Monument
Bandelier National Monument
Capulin Volcano National Monument
Carlsbad Caverns National Park
Chaco Culture National Historical Park
El Morro National Monument
Fort Union National Monument
Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument
Pecos National Historical Park
White Sands National Monument

New York
Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site
Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site
Martin Van Buren National Historic Site
Sagamore Hill National Historic Site
Saratoga National Historical Park
Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site

North Carolina
Wright Brothers National Memorial

North Dakota
Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Ohio
James A. Garfield National Historic Site
Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial National Memorial

Oklahoma
Fort Smith National Historic Site

Oregon
Crater Lake National Park
Lewis & Clark National Historical Park

Pennsylvania
Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site
Fort Necessity National Battlefield
Johnstown Flood National Memorial
Steamtown National Historic Site

Puerto Rico
San Juan National Historic Site

South Carolina
Fort Sumter National Monument

South Dakota
Badlands National Park
Jewel Cave National Monument

Tennessee
Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park

Texas

Big Bend National Park
Fort Davis National Historic Site
Guadalupe Mountains National Park
Padre Island National Seashore

Utah
Arches National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Canyonlands National Park
Capitol Reef National Park
Cedar Breaks National Monument
Dinosaur National Monument
Glen Canyon National Recreation Area
Golden Spike National Historic Site
Hovenweep National Monument
Natural Bridges National Monument
Zion National Park

Virgin Islands
Christiansted National Historic Site

Virginia
Appomattox Court House National Historical Park
Assateague Island National Seashore
Colonial National Historical Park
George Washington Memorial Parkway’s Great Falls Park
Manassas National Battlefield Park
Petersburg National Battlefield
Prince William Forest Park
Shenandoah National Park

Washington
Fort Vancouver National Historic Site
Lewis & Clark National Historical Park
Mount Rainier National Park
Olympic National Park
Whitman Mission National Historic Site

West Virginia
Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

Wyoming
Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area
Devils Tower National Monument
Fort Laramie National Historic Site
Grand Teton National Park
Yellowstone National Park

 

Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Ferrari Package

If you’re planning an ultra-luxurious vacation with a car loving partner or friend, consider checking out the Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain’s Ferrari package which allows you to bypass the $229,000 car payment and go directly to their rental program which allows you to drive along Route 66 for a much more conservative price.

Ferrari Casita Package

The Ferrari Casita Package is a great gift idea which includes 20% off a two-night stay, half-day rental of a Ferrari California, and a delicious picnic from the award winning Element’s restaurant.

To book the Ferrari Casita Package, guests can call 844-463-4830.

A la carte, guests can rent a Ferrari, pre-tax:

  • $299 for 2 hours (100 mile limit)
  • $699 for 6 hours (200 mile limit)
  • $1,400 for All Day (head to Sedona, 8 hours, 288 miles or Flagstaff 8 hours, 375 miles)
    • Full-day trips, available from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., are limited to 400 miles, with each additional mile at $2.50.

They can be booked between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m.

(Photo courtesy of Sanctuary at Camelback Mountain.)

Those eligible to rent the Ferrari must be a Sanctuary guest, 25 years or older, with a valid driver’s license and major credit card in the same name as the license. They must also have proof of full coverage auto insurance. One additional driver is permitted with the same criteria applying. A security deposit of $1,000 will be required along with the rental fee.

    

Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain

(Disclaimer:  I was given the opportunity to take advantage of the Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain with a media discount that I received.  Everything is based on my own experience.)

Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain

After Attending the Grace Hopper Women in Computing Conference for work (and the MONTHS of planning before that), I decided that it would be great to have my husband and daughter fly out at the end of the week and enjoy the luxurious backdrop that the Camelback Mountains in Scottsdale, Arizona offers. Since we love to travel and don’t always go back to the same spots, we put in a lot of effort to find getaways that are different from anything else that we could experience. The last time we were in Scottsdale, a little over a year ago, we celebrated my husband’s Global MBA graduation from Thunderbird School of Global Management with his parents and sister. We had a glorious stay at The Phoenician but wanted to try something different this time.

Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain

Website:  http://www.sanctuaryoncamelback.com/index.html

Address:  5700 East McDonald Drive, Paradise Valley, AZ 85253

Phone Number:  (480) 948-2100

Check In

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As soon as pull into the resort you realize you’re in for a new treat. You’re ushered out of your car so that you can check in at the front desk, a couple feet below. When you come back to your car, you’re asked to follow an attendant in a golf cart who gives you ice cold water and drives you to your parking spot.

 

Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain

Casitas

There are 105 Casitas that give you a chance for private relaxation in with a beautiful backdrop. They range from 500 sqft to 1500 sqft and some include a separate seating area with a huge fireplace and private balcony (with doors leading from the living room and bedroom):

Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain

Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain

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Our Mountain Vista Suite included a huge spa tub with bath salts and a separate mosaic tiled shower as well as a kitchen alcove in the front with burners, a dishwasher, and bar area.

After parking, our attendant loaded us and our luggage into the golf cart and quickly whisked us to the front-door of our casita. It was dark when we arrived but we could see the city of Scottsdale illuminated with lights across. He opened our door and gave us a quick tour of the votive lit rooms softly flickering across the rooms. There was a bedroom (some casitas have two bedrooms) and he let us know we could contact the front-desk for turn down service for our 11 year old daughter. While we went to dinner we asked for the service and were pleased to come home to a neatly tucked away, plush bed, robe, and slippers in her size.

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Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain

 

Infinity and Satellite Pool Options

We stayed for three nights which was wonderful to really have enough time to unwind and enjoy the resort and city. Although the website mentioned kids being able to use the main infinity edge pool on Mondays through Thursdays, we were relegated to one of the satellite pools for guests with children under 15 years old. It was handled politely and we enjoyed the pools just as much, if not more. They were stocked with coolers of ice cold water, plush towels, and pool lounge mats and other floaties. We were able to get drinks from the bar that were golf carted up to us (15 minutes to 25 minutes wait time.) They also called for a golf cart to whisk us up the hill and the pool was maybe 50 feet from our casita. There are two satellite pools in addition to the infinity pool by the main resort and spa. We had great views from our pool too, no complaints.

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Spa

Ranked “Top 5 Hotel Spas in Continental U.S.” and “Top Spas Overall” in 2014 by Travel + Leisure’s World Best Awards, I was not disappointed during my fabulous spa experience. Always enjoying trying something new, I poured over the spa menu with a lot of deliberation. A lot of the treatments were Asian-inspired and took place in twelve indoor and outdoor treatment rooms. There is also a zen meditation garden where you can lay outside on loungers and listen to a babbling fountain. I received the following treatment which was amazing, especially after standing and greeting 8,000 women at the conference.

luk pra kope

Meaning “to massage with medicinal herbs,” luk pra kope begins with soaking your feet in a fresh lime and essential-oil bath. After your feet are cooled and exfoliated with fine, white Thai clay and fresh lime, a blend of steamy, organically grown herbs is rolled, massaged and pressed into tight muscles and onto problem areas and energy pathways. Along with Thai massage, the heated compress soothes sore and aching muscles, enhances circulation, reduces joint stiffness and refreshes the skin.

After my relaxation I soaked in their hot tub and sauna. In addition to their spa, there is also a fitness center, lap pool, tennis courts.

Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain

Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain

Dining Options

Taste the excitement of elements’ award-winning cuisine by Food Network star Chef Beau MacMillan. Savor the sunset at jade bar or on elements dining deck, and enjoy The Pour – raising the bar for Scottsdale happy hour. More details in a future blog post.

Special Offers

The Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain offers a range of deals to enjoy their luxurious package deals. I definitely recommend checking them out before you book.

Social Media

Connect with Sanctuary on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Loews Atlanta Hotel Romantic Getaway

Loews Atlanta Hotel Romantic Getaway

This beautiful, modern hotel founded in 2010 in the middle of the Midtown – Piedmont Hotlanta area boasts 414 spacious rooms and 44 suites where southern comfort meets style and decadence.  Southwest recently started offering a direct flight from SAT to ATL and we got a great deal for a romantic weekend getaway.

Some of the hotel’s accolades include:

  • 2014 Forbes Travel Guide Four Star
  • Expedia Insider Select
  • Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence
  • 2013 Orbitz Best in Stay
  • Forbes Four Star Award
  • AAA Four Diamond Award
  • Atlanta Business Chronicle Best Places to Work
  • Where Atlanta Magazine
  • Fenuxe Magazine
  • Master Chef of France

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VIP Concierge Service

Before we even arrived at the beautiful Loews Atlanta Hotel for one of my friend’s weddings this month, VIP Concierge Manager Jonathan Vendrick and his team welcomed us through email:

Happy Thursday!

Hopefully you are having a great week so far!

My name is Jonathan and I am the VIP/Concierge Manager for the Loews Atlanta Hotel.

We are very excited to have you with us for your upcoming weekend here in “Hotlanta”.

I’m reaching out to see if there is anything that you may need before your arrival in with us, if there is anything that I can do for you please don’t hesitate to let me know and I will be glad to make it happen.

Also I heard that you have a special occasion that you are celebrating.. Happy Anniversary!

I am looking forward to meeting you and was wondering what time you will arrive into the hotel so I can welcome you in person.

and then personally at the front desk.  If you look at the Loews Atlanta Hotel reviews on Trip Advisor you’ll see his name mentioned throughout, thanking him for helping to make their stay so special.  I mentioned this to Jonathan who said that wherever he worked whether Atlanta (or the 14 years in New York and Philadelphia) his goal was to help the guests fall in love with the city.  T

Check out the beautiful anniversary surprises we were greeted with in our modern, spacious, and luxurious room.

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LOEWS ATLANTA HOTEL

1065 Peachtree Street NE
Atlanta, GA, 30309

Phone:404-745-5000
Reservations:1-888-563-9736

  • Website:  http://www.loewshotels.com/atlanta-hotel/default
  • Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/LoewsAtlanta
  • Twitter:  https://twitter.com/Loews_Hotels 
  • Instagram:  http://instagram.com/loewshotels
  • Google+:  https://plus.google.com/+loewshotels/posts
  • LinkedIn:  https://www.linkedin.com/company/loews-hotels
  • YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/user/LoewsHotels
  • Blog:  http://loewshotelsblog.com/?city=atlanta

Atlanta Itinerary

The hotel is located in an ideal location, although it was in the middle of summer, it had rained recently and the slightly cooler weather allowed us to quickly sightsee some great spots including:

We didn’t go but other popular places include: Piedmont ParkFox Theatre and more are all steps from our door.  A little further is the World of Coca-Cola museum which I went to another time that’s worth it, Georgia Aquarium, Museum of Design Atlanta, the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatr, or tickets to see the Braves, Hawks, Falcons or Thrashers.

NOTE:  The College Hall of Fame opened this summer in August in Atlanta and my husband was sorely disappointed to miss being able to go.  If you’re traveling with a sports fanatic like my husband is, consider adding as a surprise to your itinerary.  You have no idea the joy you can bring.

Less than 5 minutes away by car:

  • Bacchanalia (most amazing tasting menu — splurge for caviar tasting menu!)
  • JCT Kitchen (the menu looked fantastic — we just had time for cocktails before our amazing dinner at Bacchanalia)

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Uber San Antonio Ice Cream

Uber San Antonio Ice Cream

No matter where you are in the world, nothing captures the sweetness of a sunny afternoon better than ice cream. Friday, July 18th, Uber San Antonio will be serving up cold treats on demand in 144 cities, in 38 countries, on 6 continents. You can use the Uber mobile app to either order a delivery of ice cream or a ride or both! I have personally used the Uber car service in San Deigo, CA and Chicago, IL and both times have been a very easy experience. Within the app you select or enter your pick up location and Uber will let you know how long it will take for your ride to arrive and how much it will cost to take you to your destination. Make sure you use my promotional code below!

Uber San Antonio Ice Cream

Who: Uber

When: Friday, July 18th, 11am- 5pm

How: Download the iPhone app here and the Android app here. You can use the promotional code for $20 off your first discounted ride: IceCreamSA

What: Classic ice cream trucks and uberX partner vehicles will be delivering ice cream on-demand across San Antonio

Delivery Includes:

  • (5) icy treats + Uber swag to users for just $25

Additional Discount:

We have a special promo code ‘IceCreamSA’ which provides new users $20 off their first uberX ride

Uber San Antonio Ice Cream

THE INSIDE SCOOP

  • Ice Cream will be available on Friday, July 18th.
  • To request, choose the Ice Cream option in the app. If a vehicle is available, you’ll be enjoying your desserts in minutes.
  • No cash needed—your order will be billed to your Uber account.

See what everyone is saying about #UberIceCream on Twitter (@Uber_SanAntonio) and Instagram.

World Peace:

Uber will also be doing a few special drop-offs and surprising some kiddos at the Ronald McDonald House with ice cream, as well as a special visit by Miss San Antonio 2014, Deidra Angulo. Very sweet indeed Uber, thanks for sharing!

Uber

Uber is evolving the way the world moves. By seamlessly connecting riders to drivers through our apps, we make cities more accessible, opening up more possibilities for riders and more business for drivers. From our founding in 2009 to our launches in over 70 cities today, Uber’s rapidly expanding global presence continues to bring people and their cities closer.

For more details about Uber’s insurance policy, check it out here.

Uber San Antonio Ice Cream

Uber San Antonio Ice Cream

 

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2014 FIFA World Cup Germany versus France

2014 FIFA World Cup Germany versus France

2014 FIFA World Cup Germany versus France

2014 FIFA World Cup Germany versus France match up details here. I lived on Germany for 8 years and they play in the World Cup on Friday!  Since 1996, France has won four of their last six matches against Germany.  France take on Germany in the first quarter-final of the 2014 FIFA World Cup at the historic Estadio Maracana in Rio de Janeiro. Both teams are undefeated in the tournament so far.

Previous Germany matches:
Mon, Jun 16, 11:00 AM
vs
Portugal
W 4 – 0
Full-time
Sat, Jun 21, 2:00 PM
vs
Ghana
2 – 2
Full-time
Thu, Jun 26, 11:00 AM
vs
United States
W 1 – 0
Full-time
Mon, Jun 30, 3:00 PM
vs
Algeria
W 2 – 1

2014 FIFA World Cup Germany versus France

2014 FIFA World Cup Germany versus France

 

Germany lie third in the all-time world football ranking with three FIFA World Cup triumphs, behind only Brazil on five and Italy on four.

2014 FIFA World Cup Germany versus France

Bereavement and Compassion Flight Discounts

First off, if you’re looking for bereavement flight discounts, I am sorry for your loss. My amazing grandmother just passed away, at the age of 97 years old, and it is never easy, no matter what the circumstances. I am writing this blog post because I am sure that there are a lot of people who don’t even know these airline discounts exist.

Please make sure that you check flight discounts (hipmunk.com or other flight discount websites) to make sure that there is not a lower flight without the bereavement discount, even for the same airline. You’re also incurring costs for the flexibility of the flight.

Bereavement Flights

What does this mean?

bereavement / compassion airfares policy for flights to travel to funerals or family emergencies (imminent death / terminal illness).

  • American Airlines will no longer offer bereavement of compassion discounts after 2/18/2014.

bereavement / compassion airfares policy for flights to travel to funerals or family emergencies (imminent death / terminal illness).

  • United Airlines offers 5% discount on fares (roundtrip or one-way) in the event of a death or serious illness
    • 1-800-UNITED-1 (1-800-864-8331)
    • Customers who do not possess the required documentation at the time of travel or who become aware of the compassion fare after completion of eligible travel may apply to receive a refund for the difference between the purchased fare and the applicable compassion fare.
    • Be prepared to provide the following information:
      • Name of the relative
      • Relationship to the customer
      • Name, address and telephone number of the funeral home, hospice, or hospital
      • Name of the doctor (if applicable)

bereavement / compassion airfares policy for flights to travel to funerals or family emergencies (imminent death / terminal illness).

  • Delta Airlines offers additional flexibility may be beneficial to accommodate unexpected changes in your travel plans, must call for discounts.
    • Call 1-800-221-1212
    • Be prepared to provide the following information:
      • Deceased person’s name
      • Customer’s relationship to the deceased
      • Name and phone number of funeral home, hospital, or hospice
      • Name of doctor (if applicable)

bereavement / compassion airfares policy for flights to travel to funerals or family emergencies (imminent death / terminal illness).

  • Hawaiian Airlines doesn’t offer bereavement fares but for new bookings, will waive the two day advance purchase requirement and offer the lowest available fare at the time of booking to the immediate family member(s).

Hotwire offered a nice bereavement airfare search option here.

Immediate Family:

  • Spouse
  • Domestic partner
  • Child
  • Parent
  • Sister
  • Brother
  • Stepparent
  • Stepchild
  • Grandparent
  • Grandchild
  • Aunt
  • Uncle
  • Niece
  • Nephew
  • Stepbrother
  • Mother-in-law
  • Father-in-law
  • Son-in-law
  • Daughter-in-law
  • Brother-in-law
  • Sister-in-law
  • Stepsister

Discounted Airlines

Many airlines that already offer very discounted rates don’t offer bereavement discounts that I saw. These airlines include:

Best Gifts for Travelers

For the jetsetter in your life, here’s a list of Amazon Prime gifts (still time to order!!) in time to surprise your loved one for Christmas.

Click on the link or image for a direct affiliate link for an instant Amazon purchase!

Munchkin Light My Way Nightlight

  • Owl light provides a comforting friend at bedtime
  • Easy-grasp handle and one-button operation are perfect for toddlers
  • 20 minute timer automatically shuts off to conserve batteries
  • LED technology is cool to the touch
  • Includes 3 AAA batteries

Best Gifts for Travelers

The New York Times 36 Hours: 150 Weekends in the USA & Canada

The New York Times has been offering up dream weekends with practical itineraries in its popular weekly “36 Hours” column since 2002.

Best Gifts for Travelers

VinniBag Inflatable Travel Bag

  • Reusable, Recyclable, Made in the USA
  • Protects single or multiple items by suspending them in an air cushion.
  • Can accommodate wine & spirits, olive oil, gourmet treats, breakable keepsakes, perfumes, camera lenses, toiletries, and more.

Best Gifts for Travelers

 

Lewis N. Clark 4-In-1 Adapter Plug

  • For use in more than 175 countries, including most parts of Africa, Europe, the Middle East, New Zealand, North America, and Russia
  • Surge indicator light
  • Includes travel pouch

Best Gifts for Travelers

AUDIO TECHNICA Noise-Canceling Headphones

  • QuietPoint active noise reduction up to 18 dB
  • 40mm driver diameter
  • 106 dB sensitivity; Max. input power 500 mW
  • 20-20,000 Hz frequency response

Best Gifts for Travelers

Alfie Pet by Petoga Couture – Set of 3 Ros Silicone Pet Expandable/Collapsible Travel Bowl

  • Collapsible travel bowl ready to store or take anywhere.
  • Easily fits in a pocket, great for travel, parks and walks.
  • Made from durable non-porous silicone and dishwasher safe.

Best Gifts for Travelers

Bucky Shades Sleep Mask With Earplugs

  • 100% Light Blocking For Deep Sleep Or Relaxation Soft Sculpted Cotton Lining No Pressure On Eyes Adjustable Straps Built In Pocket Stores Reusable Ear Plugs Earplugs Included

\Best Gifts for Travelers

 

Buena Vista Palace Downtown Disney Orlando Hotel

Disclaimer:  Although I received three complimentary nights at the Buena Vista Palace, I was not asked to write any posts and all opinions are definitely my own.

Last week my family and I visited Orlando, Florida to celebrate my grandmother’s 90th birthday! (Happy birthday Gigi!) During this time we had the incredible opportunity to stay at the beautiful Buena Vista Palace, an official Downtown Disney Hotel. Recently awarded Trip Advisor’s “2013 Certificate of Excellence” I could easily see why.

Just 20 minutes from downtown Orlando and the Orlando International Airport (MCO), Buena Vista Palace is situated on 27 beautifully landscaped acres in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, it’s literally across the street from Downtown Disney. We didn’t even have time to take a refreshing dip in one of three outdoor pools. A little bird also told me the entire pool area is about to undergo a renovation at the end of 2013 and can only imagine how incredible it will look afterwards! If you’re overwhelmed by all the Disney adventures and need a quick break you can also schedule a soothing treatment at their full-service Kay Casperson Spa & Boutique.

Websitehttp://www.buenavistapalace.com

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/BVPalaceorlando

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/BuenaVistaPalace

Buena Vista Palace Downtown Disney Orlando Hotel

Buena Vista Palace Downtown Disney Orlando Hotel

Buena Vista Palace Downtown Disney Orlando Hotel

Buena Vista Palace Downtown Disney Orlando Hotel

Buena Vista Palace Downtown Disney Orlando Hotel

When you’re ready to book your trip make sure you check out all their current specials and packages! I saw a lot of great deals when I was looking at Orlando hotels. At check-in I received an exclusive guide for hotel guests, with discounts and specials for area dining, shopping and entertainment including the LEGO store, Wolfgang Puck’s restaurants, and hotel Disney character buffet! What’s also convenient is the Disney store located in the hotel that allows you to purchase your tickets before heading to the park (avoiding additional lines…look for a post on Disney coming soon!)

Buena Vista Palace Downtown Disney Orlando Hotel

Buena Vista Palace Downtown Disney Orlando Hotel

Buena Vista Palace Downtown Disney Orlando Hotel

Buena Vista Palace Downtown Disney Orlando Hotel

Buena Vista Palace Downtown Disney Orlando Hotel

Buena Vista Palace Downtown Disney Orlando Hotel

Family Suite 2 Queens

Located adjacent to the main tower of the resort, we stayed in a beautiful one-bedroom suite with two private balconies, two bathrooms, and plenty of room for a family on the go!