By Jen Campbell of Escape Destinations Travel
I get it, I truly do. Working out IS a lot of work, takes time, consistency and the last thing you want to do is workout while you’re on vacation. Sometimes it's necessary to keep up your consistent workout schedule. Or, when you’re in the "zone" and want to keep those workouts in while on your vacation, I say go...for it!
One of my most favorite things to do, while cruising, is jogging around the outdoor track on the ship. Some of my most favorite memories are running as we entered the ports of both Jamaica and The Caymans. It was a gorgeous thing to see the ocean turn into beautiful islands!
Another one of my favorite runs/walks involved running the streets and small hills in Landstuhl, Germany. Imagine running up the hillside and looking down onto the beautiful, quaint sites of Landstuhl. If you’ve not been here, it’s quite picturesque. Or, the ability to say good morning to the locals as you’re walking by. Talk about immersing yourself into the local culture.
This past Christmas I was blessed with a wonderful treadmill (Thank You Santa) that allows me the
option (should I choose) to run/walk in different, beautiful places all over the world...but remotely. Just this past week I've re-visited Germany (my favorite destination) all from the comforts of my own home. While it’s not “quite” like being there, it is pretty darn close. Imagine running up the side of the small mountain to gorgeous Neuschwanstein Castle up front, walking and running the Christmas Markets in Nurnberg and running through the quaint, romantic Rothenburg ob der Tauber is pretty spectacular.
So go for it. Talk a journey on your next vacation, whether it’s running along the shoreline in Bora Bora, or hiking up an old volcano in Hawaii…just get out there and enjoy the beauty of the outdoors! Your body will thank you for it and you can eat that dessert- guilt free.
I know on my next vacation, I’ll be doing just this. Time for a Jog!
Travel Memories- By Jen Campbell
This morning started out as a brisk one. It's about a week before Christmas, and the temperatures here in NC have finally started to slowly resemble winter-like conditions. I pulled out a warm, cashmere, teal sweater from my closet and nearly instantly the wonderful memories flooded back to me.
This sweater, was a special one that I picked up, on an amazing vacation in Germany, with my parents. My dad had recently passed away (a few months prior) and it was an especially difficult time in my life. This trip had been a dream of mine since I'd last visited around 1996, so at the time it was close to 20 years that I had been back. So back to the memorable sweater!
Mom, my step-dad Kevin, and I were headed to Garmisch-Partenkirchen for a trip to the Alps and a couple days stay at this gorgeous location, the Edelweiss Lodge & Resort, which was located at the foot of the enormous, idyllic, mountainous location. I knew it would be colder there, and I didn't have an adequate sweater for the incredible journey to Garmisch. So we stopped along one of the pretty, cobble-stone streets in a village, that I have long remembered the name of. My point: I remember this re-sale shop in this small charming town, with wonderful prices and great clothes. Every time I pull out this sweater to put it on my body, I remember where I purchased it from, and where I wore it. It doesn't have to be some expensive item to have such great value, but that it holds a very special memory in your heart and you cherish it each and every time you take it out. For me, it's this cashmere teal sweater, purchased in Germany, at a small boutique that I treasure.
What travel memory items have you collected, that you have such fond memories of, each time you take them out?
Please share with us below!
By Jen Campbell
As I think of the upcoming New Year 2020, I can’t help but reflect on the past year, which was full of some ups and downs on a personal level, but on a travel level I was soooo very blessed.
Spring Break was a time for the ultimate relaxation on a 7 Night Cruise on board one of Royal Caribbean’s Top Ships: Allure of the Seas for both myself and my teenage son. We spent 7 glorious days visiting St. Maarten, Puerto Rico and Royal Caribbean’s private island in Haiti, Labadee. We enjoyed the warm balmy tropical breezes. As my son was off meeting new friends all over this glorious ship, I took in some much needed rest in the hot sun, on a raft, with a nice, fruity, tropical drink in my hand. Allure of the Seas was a phenomenal ship and one I won’t forget many of their Top Must-Do’s on this ship like: ice-skating, surfing at sea, the fun themed carnival ambiance (think carousel and yummy food), gorgeous gardens in the center of the ship (called Central Park), many of the wonderful on board pool's, the captivating cantilevered hot tubs, a 3-d theater, amphitheater complete with water acrobatics, the numerous live shows/entertainment and always the funny family friendly and slightly risqué late night adult comedy on board. It seems this ship's party never stops. For me, it was never a dull moment on board this simply incredible ship! I can't wait to get back on board one day.
This Fall came an Amazing trip to Italy for me and 16 other lucky, small group travelers! This trip had been in the making and planning stages for 2 long years, so you can imagine my own anticipation of this European Vacation finally arriving. We all began our trip in the middle of September beginning in the bustling, ever so busy fashion capital of Milan, wove slowly down near the oh so quaint seaside shores of Italy (Cinque Terre and Portovenere), on to ancient, historical Assisi, the small, idyllic village of Gubbio, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Venice and few other small villas. At the end of the journey, we finally ended up in incredible Rome. The town of Rome was where ancient civilization began and it was full of many crowds, bustling museums, ancient columnar ruins, old cathedrals, gorgeous gardens and finally the Coliseum. We enjoyed 10 Days spent in Italy…where wonderful memories were made by all. We started out as friends, but by the end of the tour, it felt more like a great big, fun, rowdy family!! The wine was delicious, the food was spectacular and the scenery was absolutely breath taking! I can't wait to go back again to Italy one day.
This year (2019) has been a great blessing for me: travel wise. I was able to see wondrous new places, meet awesome new friends and enjoy parts of this Great Big World that we live in. I'm not sure what 2020 may bring (and I'm in complete anticipation) but I've already planned part of the Summer of 2021, with an incredible 9 night small group trip to tour England and Scotland on the books.
Want to join us? MORE DETAILS CAN BE FOUND HERE! This trip is bound to fill up quickly, so sign up today! Call us today to Book this Private, Small Group Tour: 910-379-4033,
Incredible Italy Small Group Tour!
By Jen Campbell of Escape Destinations Travel
As you soak up the Italian scenery, the always delicious cuisine, amazing wines, the rich history and priceless art, you can see why Italy is considered one of the Top Destinations in Europe!
There was zero hassle and stress of having to plan each day, as our 2 Tour Guides had it ALL laid out for us in advance. We were able to relax, unwind, have fun and enjoy our guided tour through this majestic land.
We spent 9 days there and it didn’t seem quite enough to experience all the wonders that this country has to offer. La dolce vita (the sweet life) was surely had exploring the small towns and big cities of Italy. Our tour was a focus on simply amazing cuisine, local wines and authentic cultural experiences.
We began our amazing adventure in Milan, where we spent half a day seeing this bustling mecca with its impeccable fashion and financial powerhouses all over this great city. Milan is considered by many Italians as it’s most ‘continental’ city. We were all a bit enthralled with our first taste of Italy and mesmerized with the hustle of Italian culture with it's people, scenery, scooters, bikes and cars galore.
After a bit of a rest that evening (of course we had a wine and cheese welcome reception at a local park) and a huge breakfast buffet (which we enjoyed daily) we then headed on to the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Many of us decided to climb all 294 of the ancient spiraling stair case (around the leaning historic building) to the top to admire the beautiful panoramic view of the area. That lovely afternoon we took a leisurely stroll through Lucca, a typical rustic Tuscan Village, surrounded by an old, medieval looking town wall. The smells of the local food were delectable.
We took a beautiful ride through La Spezia along the way to the beautiful, coastal town of Portovenere, whereby we caught a beautiful, relaxing boat ride along the coast and a few local islands, which helped us see the colorful villages up close and personal. We went by the seas to see Cinque Terre. We drove past and stopped at villages in the Classic Italian countryside of Tuscany.
If you were to imagine a quaint Italian village, it would be another Tuscan village, sensational Siena. What a beauty this town was to stroll leisurely through the souvenir and clothing shops, drink espresso outside a lovely sidewalk café, or stop for a local glass of the local wine.
One entire day was spent exploring the town of Florence. Known as the home of the Renaissance and birthplace of our modern world today, Florence has the best Renaissance art in Europe. In a single day, you can look Michelangelo's David in the eyes, fall under the sway of Botticelli's Birth of Venus, and walk the entire amazing Uffizi Gallery.
Gubbio (in the far Northeastern Part of the Italian Providence of Perugia) was a charming little area where we were able to stop for lunch and explore the quaint little village. I think this was one of my favorite little villages. The historical center of Gubbio is a great medieval town with its dark grey stone, very narrow streets, and incredible Gothic architecture.
Assisi was yet another amazing stop on our tour through Italy. We were able to go to the large church where St. Francis of Assisi was laid to rest. There was always time for a nice class of wine and cheese plate, along one of the many quaint restaurants on the streets of Assisi.
Our final days were visited in Rome within it’s ancient town center, where we spent a relaxing yet very full day in Rome’s historic town center. A few (on our tour) had walked until they could walk no more, so they jumped on the hop-on-hop-off bus tour throughout the enchanting city of Rome, visiting all the major attractions (by a rooftop bus). A few of the lucky travelers (including myself) were able to visit the amazing Trevi Fountain and marvel at the amazing Coliseum with an intimate walking tour of the inside. And who could forget the scenery unfolding behind us, as the majestic sun was beginning to set behind the Coliseum on our last full day in this incredible country.
Experience a delightful journey off the beaten path…discover why our intimate Small Group Tours are like no other!
Discover our next Small Group Tour Adventure HERE
HOW Did You Miss Your Flight, Again?
By Jen Campbell of Escape Destinations Travel
You got to the airport in time (At least 90 minutes prior) – Check
You worked out how to do the self-check in (after peeking at the guy ahead of you complete the process first) – Check
You printed out your own baggage tags and actually put them on properly (Wow-this is incredible) – Check
You took out all the coins from your pockets, took off your belt, took out your computer, your kindle, put your liquids in little plastic bags, took off your shoes (why did I wear sandals…and no socks…Gross!) and eventually got through the TSA security – Check
You put your belt back on, your shoes back on, packed your computer and kindle away, whew, put your boarding pass in your purse so you wouldn’t lose it – Check
Found the Starbucks ….. Sayyyy Whaaat!!!!
Oh…My…Stars…THE LONG LINE! It’s longer than the one you JUST got through with TSA security. In fact…this line doesn’t seem to ever end. Sheesh!
It’s ok, I have about 45 minutes 'til my flight and they never leave on time (right?). Can I possibly make it through the line so I can get my Venti Flat White, with a double shot of expresso? Or…do I board the plane and drink their crappy coffee? (ok, ok…it’s true, I have been called a "coffee snob" and this time is no different). No crappy coffee on the plane for me…I will WAIT for My Starbucks!
So I guess you can say I like to gamble (hey…I once got married in Vegas-Baby)! So I waited, and waited and waited. Would I miss my flight for a Starbucks latte? You- Betcha!! I can’t imagine the plane would leave without announcing my name once…or twice “Jenifer Campbell…report to Gate B-6 immediately. Your flight is about to depart for Raleigh-Durham International!”
Would they leave without me? Nah…or, would they?
Finally, I reach the front of the line, quickly spout out my coffee order to the cashier, then begin to pace back and forth at the pick-up stand…waiting for My Venti (Extra Shots) Flat White from the coffee barista…looking at my watch, and hoping time might slow down temporarily…After all- who actually would pay ($5+) for their Starbucks and then leave without grabbing it? Also, I don’t want to be that last person boarding the plane with my “5-Bucks” (as I dearly nickname it) with Everyone on the Plane knowing the Real Reason I was late boarding (yup...Me and my COFFEE from Starbucks)! Finally my name is called from the barista (Thank God), I grab My Venti (Extra Shots) Flat White Coffee, a stir stick and shove one organic sugar in the raw, quickly into my Flat White (hey the sugar should melt a little as I book it to my terminal and can always stir it later)…and then I RUN LIKE HELL to get to my awaiting plane.
After all, I really don’t want to be “THAT GIRL” with the Starbucks, who kept the entire plane waiting! And guess what…I had plenty of time…even if I boarded nearly last in line.
Many of us in our small group will soon be traveling through the stunning, gorgeous, golden landscape of Tuscany, dotted with impeccably beautiful olive and fig trees. We will visit a typical Tuscan village in the rolling hills of the countryside and perhaps enjoy a glass of luscious, local Italian Wine. We will stroll through the iconic cobblestoned streets, where locals will greet us with a warm smile.
Doesn't this sound like a dream come true?
With ONLY 2 spaces left, hurry!
Details can be found on our Website.
I know, I said it before, but to me it bears repeating! I only have a little over a year left with my teenage son, Austin, so I want to maximize the amount of quality time we get to spend with each other. One way this Mom can capture his undivided attention, is to plan fun trips together where we get to see new countries, within Budget, having a BLAST!
Our next trip happens to be Spring Break 2019, taking a cruise together! We are flying out of Raleigh to Miami, stay in a hotel, then board the amazing Allure of the Seas, out of the Stunning Miami port, for an exotic 7 night trip to Puerto Rico, Labadee (Royal Caribbean's Private Island) and then on to very beautiful St. Maarten!
Neither of us have ever been on any of the Largest Ships at sea (Aside from Carnival's Vista last Christmas Break) so we are both super excited to see what this LARGE City at Sea has in store for us.
Some of our options we cannot wait to experience are: Aquatheater, Zip Lining across the highest ship decks, Ice Skating at Sea, Flow Rider Surfing at Sea, Dancing, Exciting Broadway Type Shows, Tons of Awesome Restaurants, Comedy Night, and soooo much more! With a little over 3 months away, we're already counting down til our Vacation at Sea.
Does this sound like fun and you'd like to JOIN US? This is our Special Group Cruise we've organized for our very own Friends and Family! Check it Out!
As I sit here pondering another amazing cruise quote for a new client, I was contemplating the wonderful options out of the Charleston, SC Cruise Port, for the next several months!! Since it's practically a hop, skip and a jump from NC, VA and GA, it makes it super convenient for any of us Southerners to leave out of this port, and definitely more cost effective for us local folks.
For My Family: We usually head down the night before, then rent a nice hotel room in the area to take advantage of the hotel's Special "Park and Cruise Package." Why pay for expensive parking at the port when you can get to Charleston, SC the night before, and take a wonderful stroll downtown to the historic areas and relax in your hotel room (without having to worry about making it to the ship in time). With the price of cruise port parking, it's well worth it to pay a tad bit more, to have a decent hotel room the night before (to ensure you get there on time for your cruise) and then snag a Cab, Shuttle or Uber to the port. Once your done with your cruise, you simply head back to your hotel (via a local Cab, Shuttle or Uber) to grab your vehicle and then head home. How easy can this be?
So...lets get back to my review of Carnival Ecstasy vs Carnival Sunshine.
Here's my Personal Input:
Out of the two ships (I have had the wonderful opportunity to sail on both of these) my personal opinion would be to ABSOLUTELY Sail on Carnival Sunshine!! It has an absolutely beautiful, relaxing waterfall cascading down into a Small Pool in the Quiet, Adult Only SERENITY AREA (this was where I spent the majority of my days relaxing and soaking up the sunshine and cool vibes). The ship is much newer (I hear Ecstasy is the oldest in the fleet, so unfortunately, its quite dated) and has wonderful amenities as well! In my humble opinion, it's worth paying a tad bit more to be on the Carnival Sunshine. I thoroughly enjoyed the Red Frog Pub Bar...where Every Evening I enjoyed the special beer brew on tap, for a fraction of the cost of those expensive Fruity Beverages! The bartenders got to know us, as we returned each day for a cold, frosty drink in a beer mug. We even enjoyed the frog balls....which were actually very lightly battered and deep fried chick peas (for free).
If I had to choose between both cruise ships, my choice would be Carnival Sunshine, all the way. But hey....as long as you're sailing on a cruise ship out to sea (to the destination of YOUR Choice) it's worth it's weight in gold.
Escape Destinations Travel has become one of the first agencies to introduce a unique and exciting Vacation Layaway Program. We know families are always looking for the best way to save money. Vacations and time together definitely deserve a place in your family's budget, which is why we offer our affordable, free, no interest Layaway Plans for your Vacation. In addition to saving you the most on your vacation package(s), you can hold your vacation and guarantee the lowest price for just $200 down!
How Does it Work?
Learning a New Language Travel Tip-
By Jen Campbell of Escape Destinations Travel
If you're trying to learn a new language, then download the amazing FREE Duolingo App. We've been using it to learn German for the past few months and it's been really great! We Just Love It!!!
There are lots of different, unique games to play, many fun ways to memorize words and phrases and the app tracks your progress and even grades you as you go. You can move further along if your skills are successful. It also has a fun robot chat room where you can chat with the app to practice your writing, as well as speak and listen functionality that ensures your language pronunciation is up to par.
Give it a try, we think you'll enjoy it!
Escape Destinations Travel Blog- Exploring our favorite travel places with You!