Travel Has Given Me An Incurable Condition

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Currently, I’m planning four major trips in head. In fact, I’m almost always planning no less than 2 or 3 major trips at a time. If I have my way, we’ll be going to St. Martin in June, South Florida in July, Iceland next January, and Australia next summer. I’m sure I’ll try to throw in a few weekend trips, and I’ll definitely insist on going to New York for my birthday.

Y’all, after much thought and consideration, I’ve realized that over the years I’ve developed an incurable condition. The condition, you ask? Delusions of grandeur. I plan trips like my husband and I are Beyoncé and Jay Z, when in reality we are NO WHERE near millionaires. I mean, I’m a teacher, so you know I’m only a thousandaire on a good week!

While my wanderlust is definitely the chief cause, I partly put the blame on Bravo. You know, the channel that features casts of predominantly wealthy men and women. I watch Below Deck, and think to myself that maybe I, too, can charter a yacht in the Caribbean. Spoiler alert: I checked. I can’t. Not even if I brought along all my friends and split the cost. Andy Cohen, look at what you’re doing to me!

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The only “private plane” we’ll ever ride in

The problem is, somehow my crazy plans usually work out in some way… albeit a lot smaller and down to Earth. I’m a ceaseless planner and researcher. My husband has hobbies like running and fishing; whereas, my favorite hobby is spending hours on the internet searching for flight and hotel deals.

Through Priceline, we’ve been able to snag some really great hotel rooms that we wouldn’t ordinarily be able to afford. I personally love Priceline when booking hotels. If you’re okay with not knowing exactly what hotel you’re getting before booking, this can save you some money. Travelzoo is also another place I like to look. Every Wednesday they come out with their “Top 20”, which is the top 20 best deals they found searching across the internet. They do a lot of the legwork for you, and find deals that you wouldn’t find otherwise. Wednesday is always my favorite day of the week for this exact reason, and when the wheels in my brain usually start spinning.

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Perfect view of the Eiffel Tower from our hotel balcony in Paris

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Lower Manhattan from our room at the W Downtown

Taking advantage of Restaurant Week, we’ve been able to not only dine at some of the nicest local restaurants, but visit some in New York, as well. A few years ago, we joined a group of friends and went to a real fancy steakhouse *in my best southern voice* in the City during restaurant week and (shockingly) somehow ended up sitting at the chef’s table! The best part was that even though we were ordering off the restaurant week menu, and they knew our bill wouldn’t be as expensive as what they were used to, they treated us like we were Warren Buffet. If your trip doesn’t line up with restaurant week, check out sites like Groupon or Restaurant.com. Regardless of how you do it, it’s the experience that counts!

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Sometimes, though, the best experiences are the ones you stumble upon. One summer in the Amalfi Coast of Italy, we took a ferry over to the island of Capri. Along the docks were advertisements, so we took chance and set off. It was the tiniest little center console that barely had enough power to get on plane. We passed some truly impressive yachts in that little boat. That didn’t matter, we were on a boat in the Mediterranean!

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Our “yacht” for the day

So, that’s my prognosis, my friends. I have come to accept my fate as living with delusions of grandeur. And while my friends laugh as I tell them my latest plans for a safari in South Africa or a treehouse in Bali, I will continue to scour the internet for a way to actually make it happen. Fake it ’til ya make it.

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Don’t Take a Toddler to Disney World!!

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A few years ago my husband and I sat eating an ice cream in the Magic Kingdom’s Tommorowland while a little girl, I’m guessing around three, pitched an epic fit clad in full princess attire. Being pre-parents, we laughed at the irony of this little princess having a meltdown at the “Happiest Place on Earth.” As the crowds filled in, we zigged and zagged our way through the park like a giant maze made of slow moving strollers and families dragging small children who were distracted at every turn. We told ourselves that day that we would never be those parents and would save Disney until our future kids were around 7 or 8. Why would you bring a toddler to Disney anyway? They wouldn’t be able to ride anything. It would be a waste of money. There’s no way they would remember it!

Fast forward a few years and this Disney-loving mom was itching to go back and actually excited to share the experience with my two (almost 3) year old son. After a lot of convincing to get my not-so-Disney-loving husband on board, we had the trip set and planned… and even had one set of grandparents joining us for reinforcement.

When telling others about our upcoming trip, they echoed the same sentiments that we proclaimed on that trip several years back.

Toddlers are too small or too scared to ride anything. 

This is Disney. Have you ever seen any of their rides featured on those Travel Channel shows that spotlight the most extreme coasters? No. Disney does a great job of being inclusive, with plenty of rides even for your smallest traveler. They’ve also added “interactive” waiting areas to some rides which allow your child to freely run and play instead of standing in line. This. Is. Awesome! For this particular trip, we focused on the Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom because we felt it offered the most for toddlers. There’s SO MUCH for small children to enjoy at these parks, so listed below are the rides/attractions that our little one was NOT ABLE to ride and a few that we chose to skip because of the scare factor.

Animal Kingdom: Dinosaur, Expedition Everest, It’s Tough to Be a Bug *No height requirement for this one, but we decided to skip it because of the scare factor (glad we did because it turns out the kid hates 3D stuff!), Kali River Rapids, and Primeval Whirl.

Magic Kingdom: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, and Stitch’s Great Escape.

So, out of over 80 rides and attractions between the two parks, he wasn’t able to ride 10. Not bad. Every other ride he absolutely loved, and mom and dad were able to sneak in some of the “big kid” rides while the grandparents watched the little one! 😉

It would be a waste of money to bring a toddler to Disney.

Yes, Disney is very expensive! Between the several hundred dollars you’ll spend on park tickets, food, hotel, gas, and all the odds and ends, you’re looking at a trip that adds up fast. However, your toddler won’t be adding to any of that! Children under 3 get in Disney for free and can also share from adult plates at restaurants. Take advantage of that because it’s one of the few free things that Disney offers. Our timing for this trip wasn’t by accident. We planned around that perfect little window for him to be as old as possible while still free. 

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Real Talk: the waiting and down time can be hard, so some times you just have to let your little one run and jump in your lap… like, 500 times.

There’s no way he’ll remember it!

Ten years from now, that might be true. My first Disney trip was at age 4, and I honestly don’t remember anything. But right now, there’s not a week that goes by that Harrison doesn’t say something about our trip! He talks about seeing his “friends”, remembers watching the fireworks, asks to ride the horses. I know that won’t last, but I enjoy every conversation that we’re having in the present. Regardless, my husband and I, along with my parents, have memories that we’ll never forget. I’ve never had a better experience, never felt the magic of Disney more than seeing it through the eyes of my child.

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