Thanksgiving Travel – Where Will You Go?

Thanksgiving Travel – Where Will You Go?


Is it me or does it seem that once we hit Halloween the rest of the year seems to become a blur of rapidly changing seasons and holidays?  It seems that once the spooky fun and games of Halloween is over, it’s time to think about the next Fall holiday, Thanksgiving.  Then it just rolls into Black Friday, Christmas, and continues on until the New Year.  It’s one of the busiest times of year for me, I love it!

Every year on November 1 I toy with the idea of chucking tradition out the window and engage in some Thanksgiving Travel.  No cooking, no baking, and no family dinner.

I actually go on line and research family friendly Thanksgiving travel destinations where I can enjoy a great Thanksgiving meal that I didn’t have to prepare. We actually packed the kids up a few years ago and took ourselves off to the Big Island of Hawaii to spend a relaxing Thanksgiving weekend at the Hilton Waikaloa Resort.  It was great, we went horseback riding, snorkeling, and relaxed at the pool.  Thanksgiving dinner was at the bountiful buffet in one of the hotel restaurants.

It was a memorable holiday, but it just wasn’t the same!  I actually missed my yearly ritual of planning, cooking, baking, and serving this wonderful Thanksgiving dinner.  My family complained as well, they wanted their home cooked turkey that they look forward to every year. We’ve never left home for Thanksgiving again.

I guess we all hold this holiday tradition close to our hearts.  But never the less, it’s November again and I find myself looking for that get away.  I probably won’t go, but it’s fun to look just the same. Here are some Thanksgiving Travel ideas I found this year.  You might just want to start a new Thanksgiving tradition!

Once great tip on Thanksgiving travel, or any holiday travel for that matter, is to head to our great cities!  Most folks overlook this idea thinking that big cities means big bucks for hotel rooms.  But the holidays is a great time to visit one of our cities to take advantage of bargain priced hotel rooms.  Most city folks leave the city during the holidays.  You’ll be surprised to find that many high end hotels in the city center drop prices on holiday weekends just to fill hotel rooms.

So head to the Big Apple for the annual Macy’s Parade.  Entertaining kids and adults since 1924 it just wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without watching this parade.

After the parade you can shop til you drop, or just wander the city to admire department store windows, they put on a great show for the holiday season.  Of course there are museums and parks to explore, lots of Broadway shows to choose from, and great restaurants for your dining pleasure.

Find great Thanksgiving travel deals here!

Our nation’s Capital Washington, D.C. is truly the place to soak up American history on this real American holiday.

Wander the Mall, explore the museums, and just enjoy the season in this great city.

Find hotel bargain on DC hotels here!

Big cities not your thing?  No worries, here are some other Thanksgiving Travel ideas.

Spend the day with Pilgrims at the Plimoth Plantation in Plymouth, Mass.

Located just 45 minutes south of Boston you will learn how the pilgrims lived in the 17th. Century, see the Mayflower II a replica of the original Mayflower.  You can also have Thanksgiving dinner there!  Check their website for seasonal events.

Enjoy the beautiful foliage of New England then stop by Billings Farm & Museum in Woodstock, Vermont for a wagon ride or to learn how Thanksgiving is observed in this 1890 Farmhouse.

There’s lots of seasonal events happening in Vermont.  Click here for more events.

Board the Polar Express in Woonsocket, Rhode Island for a magical 90 minute train excursion inspired by the Christmas classic by Chris Van Allsburg.

It’s a great way to kick off your holiday season.

Disney World kicks off their Christmas parties in November.

The kids will love the holiday themed parades in all the parks.  Thanksgiving dinner is served at many of the resort’s restaurants.



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13 Ghost Tours in America

13 Ghost Tours in America

Ghost Tour
Image by Carmina Ahmed

Halloween is around the corner and just about everyone is thinking ghost, goblins, and things that go bump in the night. Admit it or not most of us have thought about supernatural and paranormal things.  Many of us jump at the sound of creaking floors when we’re alone late at night, I know I do!

Whether you’re a true believer or a skeptic we all want to be just a bit “spooked” during the Halloween season.  We visit haunted houses, watch scary movies, dress up as our favorite ghoul, and in the back of our minds wonder if there really are haunted places.  So why not go on a ghost tour this year?

My family and I did the Birdcage Theater Ghost Tour in Tombstone, Arizona the other year.  I can’t tell you that we actually saw any ghosts nor can I say that the experience made me a true believer; but I can say we had a great time and learned some of the local history as well.

It seems that there are ghost tours in just about all the states.  Here are some that have been touted as the “Best Ghost Tours in American” by Haunted America Tours and America’s Best Online.  Maybe there’s a tour by you, if not I’m sure you’ll find a tour in your area by doing a internet search.

Ghost TourGhost Tours of St. Augustine in Florida offers several types of ghost tours.

Their award winning “Ghostly Experience” with a guide is a nightly 75 minute tour.  To book your tickets on line click here!

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Ghost TourChicago Hauntings’ guides have been featured on many TV shows including those on the History and Discovery Channels.

They offer several different tours including private ones.
To reserve your tour click here! [spacer height=”-20px”]

 

 

 

“On this haunted ghost hunt, you will be given ghost hunting equipment…..you’ll get to participate in an interactive paranormal investigation.”  Haunted Vegas Ghost Tour and Hunt

Enough said, for tickets click here!

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Ghost TourHaunted Heartland Tours operates in 4 states:  Ohio, W. Virginia, Tennessee, and Kentucky.

They were voted one of the top 10 ghost tours in the US.

Click here for more info![spacer height=”-20px”]

 

Ghost TourAppalachian Ghost Walks offer walking ghost tours in Tennessee.

They also offer Bigfoot Tours.

To book a tour click here![spacer height=”-20px”]

 

 

 

Ghost tourGo on this walking tour and learn about San Francisco’s macabre history and the ghosts and hauntings in Haight-Ashbury.

For reservations click here![spacer height=”-20px”]

 

Ghost tourVoted #1 in the Top Ten Ghost Tours of America, Haunted America Tours is a “haunted ghost tour like no other”.

They offer several tours on Galveston Island, some of which are led by Dash Beardsly the company founder dubbed as “the ghost man of Galveston”.. He’s the local expert and has been featured in various magazines and TV shows.  For more info and booking click here![spacer height=”-20px”]

 

 

 

 

French Quarter Phantoms in New Orleans offers several tours of one of the most haunted cities in the US.  Buy tickets here!

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Ghost Tour of Philadelphia offers several tours including a Haunted Trolley tour.

For info and tickets click here!

Ghost tour

A nightly walking tour in Key West that ends in the only “haunted Hard Rock Cafe in the world!

 Click here for info and tickets![spacer height=”-20px”]

 

 

 

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Featured on the History Channel the Charleston Ghost Tour is a Walking Tour in South Carolina.

Licensed tour guides recount tales of area hauntings.

Click here to book![spacer height=”-20px”]

 

 

 

This ghost tour in Alton, Illinois has public and private walking and bus tours.

Most tours are 3 hours long and lets you experience the real haunted side of Alton.

Click here to reserve![spacer height=”-20px”]

 

 

 

Ghost tour

A list of ghost tours in the US wouldn’t be complete without a tour in Salem.  Nothing screams Halloween more than the town of Salem, Massachusetts, home of the infamous witch trials in 1692 – 1693.

Halloween doesn’t come once a year to this town, it’s year round!  There are many museums and tours dedicated to Salem’s “spooky” history.  Our family visited this town many years ago, it’s a lot of fun!
Featured on the History Channel Salem Night Tour leaves on a nightly tour of Salem’s famous places.
To book click here!

Keeping Essentials Safe While Traveling

Keeping Essentials Safe While Traveling

When heading out on your travels, you’re focused more on the shining sun, the fun activities, and the awesome memories you and your family will make. But while you want to spend the whole time enjoying yourself, you must make sure that all your belongings are protected, too.

Losing or damaging your essentials while on the move can throw a spanner in the works and adds unnecessary stress and bother. Your vacation is supposed to be one where you forget all the worries of the world, so make sure you know how to look after your things to ensure smooth sailing.

Suitcase

Everyone’s greatest fear is losing their suitcase after getting off the plane. When this happens, you need to follow the proper channels to retrieve your belongings, which are hopefully still in excellent condition.

There’s a chance they were damaged, though, and your luggage may have been opened. To minimize the possibility of this, find suitcases with TSA-approved locks to save airport workers needing to break in.

You’ve also got to worry about missing clothes. You can pack two days’ worth of a change of clothes in your carry on so you’ll have something fresh to change into while you wait for your suitcase to show up.

Electronics

Taking your e-reader or tablet along with you helps to kill time waiting for connecting flights or just lounging by the pool. But if you’re close to water, they suddenly become much more fragile than you ever realized. You can find protective covers that allow you to lounge in the pool with your devices, but it might be better for your anxiety if you just left it in the room and stuck with a paperback.

Likewise, there are also medical electronics such as hearing aids to protect from moisture. These can be difficult to replace or repair while on your travels if water-damaged, so you can learn more about how to deal with them if you’re traveling with someone who uses a hearing aid.

Passports and Cash

Losing passports and cash while away is arguably the worst thing that could happen to you. However, it need not be the end of the world as long as you take precautions.

Before leaving, look for the consulate office and embassy of your home country, which can help you deal with theft or lost or damaged passports, and also find waterproof pouches to protect your passport from the elements.

As for your money, carry it on you at all times, so you know where it is. You might feel nervous walking around with so much, but at least you know where it is, which will prevent any theft back at your accommodation.

Insurance

Whether you’re heading for a week-long vacation or embarking on a globetrotting extravaganza, investing in travel insurance before you leave is crucial for protecting your belongings in the event of an accident. While you can do all you can to keep them safe, there’s always the chance for loss or theft. Travel insurance will soften that blow considerably.

Safe Travels

Keeping your items safe during your travels will help you enjoy every minute away from the responsibilities of work and school, but if you don’t adequately prepare for accidents, they could end up damaged and ruin the vacation.

America’s Most Haunted Hotels

America’s Most Haunted Hotels

My cousin recently told me that the only thing his 7 year old daughter wanted for her birthday was to stay at a haunted hotel.  Ever the indulgent father and avid fan of the paranormal,  he and his wife packed up and took their only child for a stay at the Jerome Grand Hotel.

Reportedly a haunted hotel in Jerome, Arizona, a historic artist community that really plays up the “haunted town” theme as reflected in area businesses such as The Haunted Hamburger, Asylum Restaurant, and the Spirit Room Bar.

They didn’t have a ghostly experience but had a great time exploring the town, browsing the art galleries, and dining at the various restaurants.

There are many “haunted” hotels across the country.  Here’s a list of the top haunted hotels in America according to the Travel Channel and Haunted America Tours.   Are you brave enough to book a stay at one of them this Halloween? Let Savvy Nana Travel help you book your spooky vacation this year!

The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel was built in 1926 and is located on Hollywood Boulevard.

Over the years many Hollywood greats stayed there.  Its Blossom Ballroom was the venue for the first Academy Awards Ceremony and many movies and TV shows were filmed in various areas of the hotel.

And Marilyn Monroe is said to haunt this famous Hollywood hotel.

 

 

Located in Estes Park, haunted hotelsColorado’s Stanley Hotel inspired Stephen King to write his novel “The Shinning”.  The hotel offers a 5 hour ghost hunt as one of their activities.

New York’s Hotel Chelsea is rumored to have many famous ghosts, including that of Dylan Thomas who fell into a fatal coma there in 1953.

Unfortunately it’s currently closed for renovation.  The new owners hope to open in 2018.

 

 

haunted hotels

Old West spirits are said to hang out at Santa Fe’s La Fonda Hotel.

 

 

 

 

 

Guests staying in room 6, Emily’s Room,  of the Logan Inn in New Hope, Pennsylvania reported hear the soft crying and smell the lavender scent of Emily, the former owner of the building.

 

 haunted hotelsMary Todd Lincoln is said to haunt Vermont’s
Equinox Resort.

haunted hotelsDocked in Long Beach, California the Queen Mary is touted as the “haunted ship”.  They have various ghost hunting tours and also offer accommodations.

Guests report strange occurrences and sightings at the Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs. AR.

The Myrtles Plantation, located in the heart of Louisiana’s Voodoo land, is said to be one of America’s most haunted houses.

The most famous haunt is Chloe, a green turbaned former slave.  She joins over a dozen more ghosts rumored to haunt this plantation.[spacer height=”-20px”]

 

 

A former Confederate hospital in New Orleans in now Hotel Provincial.

Guests have reported ghostly sightings and blood stains mysteriously appearing and disappearing on the linens in some rooms.

Located on Coronado Island in San Diego the Hotel del Coronado is a historic luxury hotel.

It said to be haunted by a lonely jilted lady, Kate Morgan, who checked in to the hotel in 1892.  She was there to meet her estranged husband who never showed up.  She was found dead on the beach from a gunshot wound.

Le Pavilion Hotel in New Orleans is said be the hotel with “real” ghosts.

Employees and guests have reported many strange happenings, voices, and sightings.

Room 703 in The Heathman Hotel in Portland, Oregon,  is said to be a hotspot for paranormal activity.

The Carolina Inn in Chapel Hill, NC.

Paranormal investigators, guests, and staff report many strange happenings in a particular room on the second floor.

The Sagamore Hotel in Bolton Landing, NY is very haunted.

Golfers report that a ghost steals their golf balls and flings it at them.

Rumor has it that it’s owner Walter Schoreder was murdered in the Ramada Plaza Hotel.  He is said to haunt this Fond du Lac, Wisconsin hotel.

Still looking for more haunted hotels?  Listverse.com has a list of the top 10 Haunted Hotels in the world.  Or check out The Telegraph’s list of 30 of the most haunted hotels.

 

 

Ready to book your Spooky Vacation yet?  Let Savvy Nana Travel help you plan your dream vacation.  We specialize in custom itineraries for everyone!  And we love, love, love Halloween!

 

For more Halloween fun check out Savvy Nana’s Corner or follow my You’ve Been Booed board on Pinterest.

Shop Halloween Party Supplies on Zazzle.com

Going On Long Trips With Hearing Concerns?

Going On Long Trips With Hearing Concerns?

Going on long travel trips when you have hearing problems pours water on your parade. You want to have fun and see the world just like everybody else, but the sounds of large crowds, traffic and winds are all too much for some people. In the home you have a controlled environment so you can control the level of noise. When you’re out in public and especially tourist traps, you have to find new ways of coping. Having hearing problems while in large crowds, can result in headaches, orientation issues and sometimes anxiety attacks. It’s best that you plan for whatever may come on your trip rather than giving up on the idea altogether. Here are a few ways you can protect your ears and enjoy crowded spaces and other great sight locations.

The thicker the better

If you have really sensitive ears, not even basic ear plugs will be enough sometimes. However, you can utilize technology from the sport shooting world to help you adjust the level of sound that goes into your ear. With electronic headphones you have lightweight sound protection from even the loudest noises. These headphones are used in shooting competitions and various competitive firearms tournaments. You set the db rating on your headphones and when a sound goes higher than those levels the headphones will automatically block that sound out. For example, if you don’t want to hear a noise louder than 85db, the headphones will allow any noise below that level to be heard. But if it’s over that level, you’ll hear very little of that sound or none at all.

The longer the better

The one thing you don’t want to be without when on long trips is your hearing aid. It’s the least amount of ear protection you can get and still have your ears and head feel normal. So you never want to be out of batteries while you’re out seeing them world. Instead of taking lots of batteries with you if you click here you’ll find some of the best batteries for modern hearing aids. There are four different types to choose from and each of them are color coded. The blue is a zinc-air battery and designed to work for behind-the-ear hearing aids. These batteries can last up to 20 days at a time while the others hover around the 10-13 days mark. If your trip is for 2 to 3 weeks, these blue (BTE) batteries are the type that you should pack; if you have the right kind of hearing aid, of course.

Avoid the crowd

With just a little planning you can avoid the large crowds at the most popular tourist attractions. Plan to go on the trip not during the holiday season, go during the weekdays and get their early. Whatever kinds of locations you’re planning on visiting, always try to avoid the crowds and not put yourself in a situation where your hearing condition will cause you trouble.

Don’t confine yourself within your home when you have a hearing condition. You can wear electronic headphones that can shut out sounds that are very loud so you’re always within your safe range.

6 Reasons to Take a Transatlantic or Transpacific Cruise

6 Reasons to Take a Transatlantic or Transpacific Cruise

You might be wondering what exactly are Transatlantic and Transpacific cruises and why should you even consider taking one.  Both cruises are essentially ocean crossings done when cruise ships are repositioning from one route to another.

Transatlantic and Transpacific cruises are usually offered in the early spring and late fall.  The early spring cruises are done when ships are moving from their winter routes to their summer routes; late fall cruises are when the ships return to their summer routes.

Transatlantic cruises are generally from North American ports that serve as  gateways for Caribbean cruises in the winter to European ports that are gateways to Baltic and Mediterranean cruises in the summer.

Transpacific cruises are generally from Asian and Southern Hemisphere ports that serve as gateways to Asian and Australian/New Zealand cruises in the winter to ports located in North America’s western ports that are the debarkation ports to Alaska in the summer months.

transatlanticGot that?  Ok now you should know that there are basically 2 transatlantic routes.

The northern route  take ships from Florida to Northern Europe with ports of call in Greenland, Iceland, Ireland, and Scotland before ending up in either South Hampton, England or Copenhagen, Denmark.  These ships ply the Baltic route during the summer months.  Their late fall return usually includes stops along eastern Canada and the US eastern seaboard to view the colorful autumn foliage.

The southern route takes ships from Florida to ports in Spain, Greece, or Italy with stops at the Canary Islands, Azores, and possibly the Spain’s Costa del Sol.  These ships travel the Eastern and Western Mediterranean routes during the summer.  Their late fall return usually follows the same route they take in the spring.  [spacer height=”-20px”]

Transpacific routes generally travel from Asia, Australia, and New Zealand to San Fransico, Seattle, or Vancouver.  They usually make stops in Mexico and Southern youCalifornia.

Having said all this there of course will be exceptions such as ships moving from their winter routes in South America and those that travel around the Middle East.  For the purpose of this article we’ll stick to the Transatlantic and Transpacific routes.

Alright, now you sort of know what transatlantic and traspacific cruise are, so let me give you six reasons why you should consider taking one or perhaps why you shouldn’t.

transatlanticThe Price is Right!

Transatlantic and transpacific cruises are generally a good value.  The ships have to sail to their seasonal routes anyway so it makes good business sense to fill them up on those crossings.  I’ve paid as little as $1200 per person for a 14 day transatlantic cruise in a balcony stateroom.  That’s less than $100 a day!  They also included perks such as paid gratuity and drink package!

 

Restful and Relaxing!

Cruises with many ports of call are exciting, but they can also be exhausting.  It’s go, go, go almost everyday!  Some cruises are so hectic you hardly get a chance to enjoy all the things the ship has to offer, not to mention you might need a vacation after your vacation!

Well that is not a problem on a transatlantic or transpacific cruise.  You will have plenty of days at sea to rest, relax, and enjoy everything the ship has to offer.  Most crossings have about 5-7 consecutive days at sea, plenty of time to catch up on your reading, learn a new dance step, or just catch up on your sleep.

No Cooking for 2 Weeks!

This is one of my favorite reasons to go on a transatlantic cruise, or any cruise for that matter.

From breakfast to dinner and everything in between your meals are prepared by someone other than yourself, and you don’t have to clean up either!

You can indulge at the buffet, dine in the main dining room, grab a burger at the grill, or sample the different specialty restaurants.  Whatever you’ve a yen for you’ll probably be able to satisfy it at one of the ship’s dining venues.

Best of all you’ll have the time and the appetite to try everything because you won’t be filling up on local foods on shore!

Interesting Ports of Call

Transatlantic and transpacific cruises make stops at some interesting ports that they don’t normally visit on their regular routes.  Ports like Tenerife, the Azores, Greenland, and Iceland are not on Baltic or Med routes.  Ships only stop there during their crossings about twice a year.

On our transatlantic cruise last year we stopped in Malaga, Cartagena, and the Canary Islands.  All very nice cities!

 

 

 

 

 

 

transatlanticLearn something new or try something different or silly

Cruise staff really work overtime during these crossings.  They must come up with new and innovative ways to keep cruisers entertained.  They offer lectures, games, lessons, live shows, movies, and activities for just about everyone.

Last year I really enjoyed the free water color painting classes on the cruise.  Learned some new techniques and came home with a few pretty paintings.

We also enjoyed watching the Egg Drop event. It was amusing to see the contraptions cruisers came up with to save their raw eggs from getting smashed when dropped 6 decks down! [spacer height=”-20px”]

 

 

 

 

transatlanticMeet new people and make new friends

On many cruises you’re too busy running around to really meet anyone, much less have a conversation with them.  On ocean crossings this is not a problem.

It’s easy to be sociable when you see the same people everyday for 2 or more weeks!  Unless you prefer to keep to yourself you will find many opportunities to meet new and interesting people.  We’ve met many cruisers who’ve become great friends![spacer height=”-20px”]

 

Ready to book your transatlantic cruise?  Contact us at Savvy Nana Travel, we’ll help you plan your dream vacation!

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