• Top 10 Family Vacations that kids will love this Summer

    Family-friendly resorts provide a multitude of options. The modern day family resorts are now offering the bonus of fantastic swimming pools, activities like swimming with dolphins, water sports and supervised kiddie clubs for the young ones, plus spas, fine dining and adult entertainment for their parents. Below I've selected my top picks for resorts, destinations and resort companies that make time off with the kids an experience to remember.

    1. Atlantis Resort and Casino (Nassau Bahamas)

    This $850-million Atlantis Resort recreates the infamous lost continent. This mecca of family fun features over 20,000 guest rooms, 38 restaurants and countless activities, including 11 exhibit lagoons and over 50,000 animals such as sharks, lionfish and stingrays.

    Those water lovers can visit miles of beaches, take a dip in one of 11 pool areas, or play on 7 different water slides. Especially the Mayan Temple's Leap of Faith slide featuring a 60-foot drop into an acrylic tunnel submerged in a shark-infested lagoon.

    2. Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

    Families experience the thrills of an African safari without ever leaving their resort. If a trip to the Serengeti is out of your price range, a visit to this wild lodge will more than suffice. Strolling throughout the property's 33-acres, guests will see over 200 animals representing more than 100 different species, including antelopes and gazelles.

    Rooms are decorated with a traditional African ambience: earth-tone walls, handcrafted furniture, tapestries and mosquito nets will make you feel like you are in the country itself. When it's time to dine, experience the tastes of Africa at one of the resort's 2 inspired restaurants, Jiko or Boma, which feature wood-burning ovens and thatched roofs.

    3. Beaches Resorts

    With its 3 family-focused properties in Jamaica and 1 in Turks and Caicos, all-inclusive Beaches cater to everyone in the family. An exclusive deal with Sesame Street means lots of opportunities to eat and play with the kids' favorite furry friends. Beaches properties also offer Crayola Art camps, water parks (at Beaches Negril and Boscobel in Jamaica, with 1 coming soon to Beaches Turks and Caicos), water sports, multiple swimming pools (including kids-only pools), kids camps run by certified "ultra nannies," luxury family suites that sleep up to 5 people (Beaches Boscobel and Turks and Caicos) and a "Rockin' teen disco" (Beaches Boscobel), plus the usual -- sun, sand, surf and lots of food -- that you'd expect at a resort.

    4. FDR Pebbles

    All-suite FDR Pebbles promises the usual appeal of sun, sand and sea. Every arriving family is assigned their own personal vacation nanny. The nanny is on duty all day to take over kid patrol in your suite or accompany your youngsters to the kids club, where they'll have their pick of games, books and activities. Teens and pre-teens have their own activities, including supervised trips to an outdoor campsite, beach parties, fishing, sailing, windsurfing, hiking, all-terrain bicycle trips and other field trips. This leaves Mom and Dad plenty of time to get a massage, read a book, tackle an adventure of their own or just enjoy a quiet meal -- in an adults-only restaurant -- without the constant chorus of little voices clamoring for attention.

    5. Nickelodeon Suites Resort

    You know when you stay at a hotel with “Nickelodeon” in its name that you’re in for a kid-tastic treat. Dedicated entirely to children’s comfort and entertainment, “Nick Hotel,” as it jokingly refers to itself, is literally made for families. Accommodations are configured to give parents and children separate bedrooms, with plenty of shared living space and the convenience of kitchenettes. The entertainment and on-site amenities are unmatched outside of Disney and include 2 water parks, a mall, and — during the busiest seasons — activities like live entertainment at the pool and Studio Nick.

    6. The Mirage

    The Mirage in Las Vega has endless ways to keep kids entertained, including the nightly eruptions of the hotel’s signature man-made volcano and the lions and dolphins at Siefried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat. The entertainment options, like Cirque du Soleil shows are relatively wholesome compared to some of Vegas’ other offerings. And there’s a kids’ menu at California Pizza Kitchen and kid-friendly fare at Carnegie Delicatessen and Paradise Cafe.

    7. Walt Disney World (Orlando)

    There's no other city in the United States — the world, even — that celebrates childhood quite like Orlando. The feeling that you get when you catch the light off Epcot Center's Spaceship Earth (found in Walt Disney World, of course) is one to truly remember; or when you witness the soaring heights of Shamu's flips (during the "Believe" water show at SeaWorld) — just a couple to prove that being a kid is about state of mind, not age. The notion that only young ones will enjoy this city's charms is just that — a notion. In reality, Orlando has a little of this and a little of that to appeal to all ages, and there's more to do here than visit theme parks. The subtropical climate is great for golfing and the downtown city landscape is too attractive not to explore.

    8. Washington DC

    Washington, D.C., has long been known with a reputation as a stuffy government-driven town, with its marbled monuments. Our nation's capital has a new energy, transforming itself into an exciting, faster-paced East Coast vacation destination. Although government is still the “main attraction”, the District also offers a host of renowned museums and interesting neighborhoods. And with a recent explosion of restaurants, cafes, boutique shops and clubs, D.C. is transitioning into a thriving cultural hub. This definitely isn't the Washington you remember from your middle school field trip — it's much hipper than that.
    You can choose a traditional D.C. adventure, filled with tours of classic attractions like the White House, the Washington Monument, and the Smithsonian's Natural History Museum. And there's no better way to experience iconic D.C. than with a stroll around the Tidal Basin. While you'll only need a few days to see the city as you know it from your history book, it could take months to experience the Washington that today's locals know and love.

    9. Myrtle Beach

    The clean beaches are the main draw in Myrtle Beach, but there's more to her than miles of brown sand. One of the best East Coast family vacation destinations, Myrtle Beach, S.C. boasts hundreds of golf courses at all levels; amusement parks that fling the kiddies around on water rides, roller coasters and race tracks; and Ripley's Aquarium, which dares visitors to commune with the sharks. It might not be the ritziest vacation, but the casual capital of South Carolina's 60-mile long waterfront, the Grand Strand, is a rambunctious smorgasbord of family fun.

    10. Aulani in Oahu Hawaii

    Aulani, the only Disney resort not affiliated with a theme park, opened a few years ago with gorgeous grounds and an impressive roster of family-friendly activities. Water play areas, two pools, spas for 'tweens, teens, and adults, a kids' club, Disney character experiences, and two signature restaurants are all impressive, but it's the beauty of the local landscape that will truly take your breath away.

    So Diapers? Check. Endless supply of Goldfish crackers and juice boxes? Check. Puzzles, Barbie dolls and tiny plastic dinosaurs? Check, check, check.
    Any parent knows that traveling with kids is an exercise in logistical planning. Now let’s get planning so you won’t miss what this summer has in store for you and your family this year!

    Happy Traveling from Nibor!

  • Tips for the Solo Traveler

    Here’s a quick guideline for the now trendy “Solo Traveler”. In recent years there has been an astounding number of women traveling unaccompanied…something to the tune of over 30 million. As this movement continue to grow, everyone in the travel industry from the online suppliers, to the mom and pop travel agencies, to the Big tour operators have started tailoring services to this dynamic demographic. Below are some travel tips to make your solo travel experience a safer and more gratifying one.

       •   Before you go learn about and read up on the geographical area of where you are going. Make sure you research some of the cultural belief systems…especially the ones that pertain to women.

       •   When packing your bags, less is always best. This way you can move around easier and decrease your chances of being a target for thieves and/or pickpockets.

       •   Once you arrive at your destination, check in with the consulate. As a safety precaution, you may need to be contacted by your country’s consulate in the event of a crisis or if your family has to be notified of your whereabouts.

       •   Make sure that your cell phone will be working at your destination with your cell phone carrier. You can also look into getting a local prepaid phone.

       •   A money belt is imperative. If you plan on getting cash or staying in a remote area for an extended period of time, do yourself a favor and get one. As a single woman traveler, going to an ATM can be very dangerous, so make sure you have enough cash to get you around and to last for as long as you plan to stay.

       •   Make sure you write the name of your hotel down in your language as well as the main language spoken where you are visiting. In case you get into a pickle, like with a taxi cab driver, you can always show them what’s written down. Also, write down the closest landmark. Speaking of taxi’s get the taxi number or license plate before heading off, in case you encounter any troubles along the way. Agree on the fare ahead of time and having exact change will prevent you from getting swindled. Avoid traveling alone at night in a taxi unless it’s absolutely necessary.

       •   Keep your family and friends abreast of your travels and where abouts. You may want to blog about your findings and share your trip with them along the way. This will also aid in the event of loneliness.

       •   Make sure you choose a busy hotel in a central part of town. This will make you less noticeable and you will have the opportunity to meet other travelers.

       •   Again try to travel in the daytime, and when arriving try to time your trip so that you will arrive in the morning.

       •   Walk around with a confident attitude. This is the best way to avoid hassle and one of the best ways to stay safe. People tend to bother you less if you appear to be going somewhere. “Keep your head up”.

    Ultimately, as a lone woman traveler out in this world, no matter where you settle or how you arrive, keep in mind some basic truths… your wits and intuition are your guides. Now adventure is yours for the taking.

    Happy Traveling from Nibor!

  • 15 Must Haves When Traveling

    Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, here’s 15 things that a woman must bring along.

       1.    Digital Luggage Scale - With this you can plan accordingly. If you need to move some of your things around, or put them in your carry on, you will know ahead of time and save yourself the embarrassment of having to do it at the counter. Say goodbye to excess baggage fees. It’s usually the size of a shoehorn and light enough to not affect your actual luggage weight.

       2.    Portable door Alarm – This one is new to me but it makes a lot of sense especially if you are traveling alone. It looks like a doorstopper. Just place it under your hotel door, making it harder to open and you’ll be alerted by an alarm if anyone tries to enter.

       3.    Chargers of course – We need these for all of our electronics for everything, but a newer source of power is the “Solar Charger”. If an electrical socket isn’t at hand when your phone or music source runs out of juice, this will “Save the Day”.

       4.    Trusty flat shoes - in order for you to get your sight seeing in, you must carry these and preferably in a color that matched everything in your luggage (to keep down on weight).

       5.    Bright Luggage Tags – Or something that stands out. I use a lei. These eye catchers will prevent baggage claim mishaps.

       6.    A thin cotton sweater is just the thing to keep you warm on a chilly plane, yet light enough to store in your carry on after landing.

       7.    Layer up with a lightweight scarf. It transitions well from a freezing plane to a scorching taxi line. It will work equally well with a sundress, cut off shorts, a suit or whatever your heart desires to wear that day.

       8.    All in one make-up palette – whether you’re in a rush throwing on your make up in a taxi on the way to a meeting, or in a plush hotel room, having your make up all in one easy to stash compact will help you out a lot.

       9.    Music – Whether it’s on your new android, apple product, or on a MP3 player, you will need this to help you get dressed, occupy your time on a plane or accompany you on the beach.

       10.    Tasty nutritional snacks – Use these as emergency food in case room service ends for the night or they take too long. Maybe even to curb your appetite in the event of an unexpected flight delay.

       11.    Cute Eye Shades – You need these for some well-deserved Z’s on the plane or if you’re rooming with someone else who still may be up gallivanting throughout the room.

       12.    Cute Sunglasses – A must have when traveling. You can go incognito or hide those tiring travel weary eyes in some fabulous flattering specs. Whether it’s Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall…. the sun doesn’t discriminate.

       13.    A great face moisturizer – for your face and one with SPF in it for the summertime. Gotta keep that skin up to par.

       14.    A super cute hat – Just in case you are having an unexpected “bad hair day”, you can still look cute, especially with the addition of the other accessories listed above.

       15.    Sanitizer – You need this for your hands in case of an emergency or just to keep them clean…especially with so many “thingies” going around. This is a must have in today’s world of travel.

    So as you see if you follow the plan above you won’t go wrong, even if you forget other things. With these must haves you will be cute and will be able to stay on top of your business at the same time.

    Happy Traveling from Nibor!

  • Worst Advice you can get on Travel

    Don’t travel alone, everything is included, you don’t need insurance…your regular insurance will cover you, travelers cheques will be all you need, everyone over there speaks English. It’s the broad advice like this that can get you into some real trouble.

       •    Everything is Included : Never assume anything. Get all details of your trip in writing. If it’s included, it will be on your documentation. Make sure to have a printed copy with you to not have any confusion.

       •    Travelers Cheques will be all that you need : This is advice from the 1990’s. Carry cash as well as the currency of the destination where you are going. Also carry a credit card and an ATM card for emergencies. However, remember credit cards are not accepted everywhere, and when using them out of the country, all types of fees will apply. Research which ones will give you the best rates and offer the best terms, and make sure they are apart of the rotation.

       •    Oh don’t worry, everybody speaks English : Everybody will probably not speak English where you are going. As a matter of fact, there will probably be more people speaking their native language than English. Try to learn a few key phrases if nothing else, and if you don’t have time to do that, download some of the apps that will translate whatever you say into your smartphone.

       •    Women should never travel alone : This is one of the most debated statements out there. It really depends on the person and the place. Bad things can happen to women or men, if you’re not being careful. A piece of advice that really makes sense is…don’t take any risks you wouldn’t take in your home country.

       •    Don’t eat street food : Now I am gonna have to say that I stayed true to this one when I was in Hong Kong, but others will say that this statement is a bit of a stretch and exaggeration. You must take precautions when choosing a street food vendor for sure but this can be the most inexpensive way to save money on your trip. You can also get some really authentic food from the culture of where you are.

       •    Your health insurance will cover you while abroad : Not sure if you know this but most health insurances are not covered or even recognized over seas. Find out from your health insurance provider what is covered and if need be, purchase a medical travel insurance policy before you go.

       •    Bring more clothing means less laundry while traveling : The more clothes you bring, the heavier your bag will be and this will cause all kinds of issues for a long journey…not to mention extra fees with your airline carrier. If need be, doing laundry on the road can be very inexpensive and may be a better option for you overall.

       •    It’s perfectly Safe : I suggest that you check out what the US Department of State has to say about that before you go. On their website will be up to date information on safety, crime, health and other information.

       •    No need to reserve a hotel room : You will more than likely not get the best rates if you take this route. You may also get set up with not getting any room at all, especially if it’s a major event, holiday or high season. Always research or have your travel agent to research for the lowest rates and secure them before you leave.

       •    It’s cheap to travel there : Hmmmm, well that depends. Research ahead of time the cost of a meal, public transportation (or in some cases, the cost of a cab), and attraction admission fees. Make sure you know the exchange rate too. Knowing these things ahead of time will give you a better sense of the total cost of the vacation.

    With a lot of these things addressed you won’t fall for these unfair myths. I can’t stress enough to research every facet of your trip and you will be just fine.

    Happy Traveling from Nibor!

  • The Importance of Vacationing!

    Many people don’t take vacations often enough. In fact, there is an alarming number of those who don’t take annual vacations; as a matter of fact, many people never take them! What’s even more alarming is, when most people do take vacations, they often take work along with them.

    Everyone needs a vacation once in a while.
    Some may face the burden of meeting tight deadlines, making urgent decisions, or managing the involvements of household demands. Our stress may also include the stress of being under- or unemployed.

    Most adults have lives that are filled with some form of stress. When you're stressed out and tired, you are more likely to become ill. Your sleep will suffer, and may not be able to digest your food as well. Mentally, not only do you become more annoyed, depressed, and anxious, but also your memory can become worse and you'll make inadequate decisions. You'll also be less fun to be around, causing you to become more withdrawn, empty, and depressed. Vacations have the potential to break into this stress cycle. You can emerge from a successful vacation feeling “Ready for the World” again. You can gain a positive perspective on your problems, get to relax with your families and friends, and get a break from your usual routines.

    A good vacation can help us to reconnect with ourselves, operating as a vehicle for self-discovery and helping us to get back to feeling our best.

    Spending time enjoying life with loved ones can keep relationships strong, helping us to enjoy the good times. People who take regular time off to relax are less likely to experience burnout, making them more creative and productive than their worn out, under-rested counterparts.
    They Can Keep Us Healthy… Taking regular time off to ‘recharge your batteries’, this keeps our stress levels lower, which will keep us healthier.

    Finally, they Can Strengthen Bonds… Spending time enjoying life with loved ones can keep relationships strong, helping you to enjoy the good times more.

    What can start off as taking frequent vacations will lead to an increased quality of life!

    Happy Traveling…from Nibor!

  • My View of The Grand Bahamas Island (2015)

    This island is very beautiful once you get out and see it for what it is. On the onset you may think that this is very very laid back, and it actually is. This is not the constant hustle and bustle that you get when going on vacation sometimes. A Vacation just need to be a vacation sometimes. There has been a many of times when I got back from a vacation and was so tired that I needed another vacation from the vacation. Well, this one had me feeling like I am very well rested, ready to take on what the rest of the week has to bring.

    The Bahamas is made up of over 700 islands, 39 of them, livable. The Grand Bahamas Island (Free Port) is one of them, it runs 17 miles wide at it's widest point. There are many different crystal clear watered powdery beaches, and come to find out, none of them are private, not even the ones at your plush hotel. I found that to be quit interesting.

    This island has much culture with not so much of a commercial feel. This trip I stayed at Memories Grand Bahama Beach and Casino Resort. Hmmmmmm, where do I start with this one. I'm just gonna make a long story short. It's decent and I mean, the rooms are average Holiday Inn looking rooms, with a tiny bathroom (I'm giving the room a 3 1/2) but the grounds are much better, very picturesque.......most pictures I took look like a post card. The only problem is the service is not so great. I had the VIP bracelet ( if you travel, you know what I mean), it was called "The Diamond Club"........well the Diamond Club upgrade wasn't worth it to me (example, there's only 1 waiter for that whole section on the beach)........about 50 chairs. That poor waiter running back and forth in that hot sun was so unacceptable to me. I'm giving the grounds a 4 star and the service throughout the resort a 3 star. At the end of the day, it's the best option for an All Inclusive Property.

    I went to several other resorts on the island, hoping to come back with a good list of options but the only 2 that I feel I can even speak about (meaning recommend) are The Grand Lucayan and The Old Bahama Bay Resort). Let's start with the Grand Lucayan. This resort has an All Inclusive option, but not mandatory....this way you can go out and enjoy the local restaurants and not feel guilty because you have prepaid for an All Inclusive package, but you can be confident to know that if you decided to eat at the resort, it will be tasty (unlike a lot of All Inclusive options). The rooms and bathrooms were a good size too and were much more updated than the other hotel. They had many areas where one can get married and feel confident that the wedding of their dreams will turn out like the dreams dreamt of. The grounds were lovely, "Senses spa" looked like your upscale options in the states, and the different restaurant choices were a plenty. I was very impressed with this resort (I'm giving it 4 1/2 overall). Now the Old Bahamas Bay Resort is a little different. It's very laid back and the grounds were very plush with the manicured greenery standing out, above all the rest. This resort has about 75 rooms (well mini suites). They have their own kitchenette, each with their own washers and dryers. It's situated off by itself, away from everything else and anybody else. It's right on a marina, where there's a lot of prestigious yachts to rent for your pleasures. This is where Solange (Beyoncé's little sister) got married and it's said that John Travolta owns all of the 2 bedrooms. Oh yeah this resort rents out these luxurious rooms. I would not feel right if I didn't mention the room looking a little Victorian, but that's what a lot of who's who like. This resort is very, very laid back and a lot more on the quieter side. If you are the type who don't want to have to have that Vacation from the Vacation, and you just want to relax, then this is the place for you.

    I also partook in an excursion......The Jeep Tour (I forgot I would be driving on the left side of the street though). I drove that jeep and we went from home base to seeing some of the favorite, unknown jewels (as they put it) in Freeport. We first went to Taino Beach (this is where all the locals hang out). We then went to The Garden of the Groves (and I would only suggest this if you are the garden lover type....maybe even a bird lover, and you're bored with nothing else to do). We then were led through some pine tree grove (I think he just made that up along the way) and ended up at the Lucayan National Park. Here you can kayak through creeks and mangroves exploring the flora and fauna. You will also enjoy Gold Rock Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches on the island. This definitely was the best beach we had seen so far. The water went from turquoise blue, to light green......and it was crystal clear, and I mean clear! Keep in mind, that beyond what I did, the island has a wealth of opportunities like banana boat excursion, jet ski tour, glass bottom boat ride, swimming with the dolphins, and so much more.

    Now let's talk food. If you know me, you know this is part of the adventure. For the most part I ate at the resort (and the best restaurant there was the Steak House where you don't need a reservation and it's included with your all inclusive package) (no surcharges). The other great restaurant on property was the Japanese restaurant where they prepare your food right in front of you. If you want a little something extra, ask for the manager Sonny, he's the manager of both restaurants. Now as far as off property.....I just had to go past Billy Joe which is in the cut, but next to Memories resort. This is where I had my first "Cracked Lobster" years prior to this visit, when visiting on a cruise. So I went past there and what do you know.....they were sold out, so across the street we went, going to Big Daddy's at Port Lucaya Marketplace (located in the middle of the square, across from the stage) (a small hut). The cracked lobster and conch salad were to die for. You can't leave the island without visiting a local conch stand and fish fry. So let's review, Billy Joe would be first and Big Daddy will be the second choice.

    As far as entertainment, Memories had live shows every night (seems like this particular week, Beyoncé was the feature), and a bar called Propeller that played music all night. We also ventured back across the street to Port Lucaya Marketplace to do a little karaoke. Neptune was a great club with a very colorful atmosphere. It's the only karaoke place where you sit down and sing. Standing up to sing was optional. The Las Vegas style casino was quit a surprise to me, it was much bigger than your usual resort casino. They had all of the usual gaming tables and hundreds of slot machines. This casino seemed newer too, maybe even the newest building on the island (at The Memories Resort).

    Oh and keep in mind that YES you do have to have a passport for this destination.

    Anyways, I'm gonna wrap this up now. It was a pleasure to finally be able to get back reacquainted with the lovely, pristine, island of Freeport. It did not disappoint.

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