What Disney Princess Matches Your Travel Personality?

Every girl has a princess inside her. Which one matches your travel personality?

 

Belize:the perfect destination for a Girlfriend Getaway

When it comes to getting away with your friends, nothing sounds better in the middle of winter than a warm destination South of the border.  But when it comes to you and your friends, you  are looking for a little more than an “all-inclusive drunken debauchery long weekend away.” Enter Belize. 

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The ultimate welcome to your resort

Belize has absolutely everything you could want in an ideal girlfriend  getaway:

-Excellent Spas [check]

-Comfortable accommodations with great common areas [check]

-Great food [check]

-Safe Environment [check]

-A beach [check]

-Exciting excursion activities [check check]

Whatever you are looking for Belize has got it.

Depending on what you are looking for in your Girlfriend Getaway, this is what I recommend:

Active/Adventure

Start your vacation off in the jungle at San Ignacio, and stay at Chaa Creek – enough rustic adventure options from glamping, to little cottage rooms, amazing staff, extensive spa, butterfly garden, culinary classes, and guided activities from canoeing to hiking to the more adventurous excursions like canyoning. 

Making the most of your stay you can start the day off with a short guided excursion to a Mayan Ruin. In the afternoon enjoy a quiet massage out on the deck. Then partake in some of the fun beverages at the bar and restaurant at the Lodge.  

Chill and Mature

You want to go to Placencia – Stay at Chabil Mar if you are looking to stay closer to town. Their cute little villas can sleep 6 comfortably, with living room common areas to sit and relax.  For a little more luxury, spring for the three bedroom villas at Naia with the largest Spa Center in Belize. At Naia you’ll also find the only yoga studio in Belize offering aerial yoga, ashtanga, among others. Be sure to head down to the boardwalk for some fun shopping. 

 

Fun and Sun

For a more fun and beach vibe atmosphere – head over to San Pedro. Stay at the Victoria House to get everything you need: beautiful infinity pool, great spa, beach access, excellent food and excellent service.  

Head into town for a little dancing and fun, watch the chicken drop, eat at Elvis’ Kitchen, and, if you are feeling really adventurous, head on over tot he Truck Stop for rotating events each night from Trivia to family movie night. Take a day trip to ATM caves or snorkeling at Mexico Rocks. Diving adventures can also be found here.  

A little of both? Via a short, twenty minute plane ride, you can split your stay for two different experiences. Want to start in the Jungle, and finish your stay by the beach? Start off in San Ignacio and then slide into a different atmosphere and experience in San Pedro.  

Whichever you decide to do, Belize has you covered. 

And if I can help you get there, you’d know I would love to!

Until next time, happy wanderlusting!

XO Krystal

10 Rules for a Successful Girls Weekend

When it comes to getting away for the weekend, there’s a lot that goes into it. It takes a lot to plan, coordinate and get several busy women to take a break and make the time for each other. Yet, we know – and study after study shows – that when we do we are happier, healthier, people!

But if you are going to finally bring the girls together, here are a few rules to make it a successful getaway:

Rule #1 – Pick a date and stick to it.

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It’s hard to sync up multiple family schedules. Especially when you don’t live local to your girlfriends.  School activities and breaks rarely match up perfectly.  If you have to factor in a spouse’s work schedule it makes it doubly hard. But if you don’t control your calendar, your calendar will control you. Pick a date, make it sacred and stick to it. This is your weekend and you deserve the break.

Rule #2 – Set your budget ahead of time

This may seem silly, but the older I get the more apparent it has become to me that not everyone operates on the same budget.  Every person has their own set of personal considerations to deal with. So to be transparent and head off awkward conversations later on- set the budget. These are your friends! They are nothing but supportive and considerate of your situation. That way your friend doesn’t suffer from sticker shock when you suggest the tasting menu at the hot new restaurant you just heard about.

Rule #3 Make reservations.

It seems silly, and there are more and more places getting away from this, but when possible make reservations for dinner at least one night while you are out.  You aren’t used to traveling in a large group, and those are most easily accommodated with reservations ahead of time.  Especially if you DO decide to indulge in that tasting menu.

Rule #4 Have a plan.

Travel Advisors in Action

No I don’t mean schedule every activity down to the minute. But have a general game day plan in mind ahead of time so everyone knows what to expect. Getting 6-10 people to make a decision in the moment is like pulling teeth. Then you have to run 6-10 people through showers to get ready. No thanks. But if everyone generally knows that you plan to head to the outlets when it opens up at 10, or that you have brunch reservations at 10:30, everyone can plan out their morning accordingly.

Rule #5 Book as far in advance as your schedule allows

This goes back to the “Pick a day and stick with it rule.” It’s even easier if you have an annual long weekend/week like Labor Day or Memorial Day that you always plan for. But the further out you plan, the more time you have to budget/save accordingly and to hash out a plan with your friends.

Rule #6 Rotate planning responsibilities

It is exhausting year after  year coming up with something to do, somewhere to go. It takes a lot of effort to do the research, make a plan, pitch the proposal, and make the necessary bookings and reservations. This often falls on the shoulders of one person. Spread the responsibility (and stress).  Take turns planning and being in charge of the event. This gives you more variety to the types of trips you have, and makes it easier to have it annually.

Rule #7 – Not everyone is going to make it, and that’s ok

Not so much a rule as a handy reminder. It’s hard to get 10 people together every year. Life happens. Baptisms, weddings, funerals, school plays.  Take the time to acknowledge the chapter of your life that you are in and honor that. It’s impossible to make every event every time. But don’t give up on the opportunity for everyone to get together if one or two people can’t make it. There’s always next year!

Rule #8 Don’t cover down for every little thing prior to you leaving

This was particularly hard for me when I first started taking annual girls trips. I would go out of my way to make it as easy on my partner as possible while I was gone. I would meal prep, lay out kids clothes, color code a calendar, do all the laundry, clean the house, etc etc etc.  Then I remembered – my spouse is my PARTNER, not my EMPLOYER.  I don’t have to do everything for him because he is in this WITH me. And totally and completely capable of cooking, cleaning, and clothing kids while I’m gone. Which leads me to…..

Rule #9 Bless and release what happens while you are gone

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So what if your kids eat mac and cheese for five days straight and wear mismatched clothing? There are worse things (like never taking a vacation and having to be responsible for everything 24/7). And work will absolutely survive while you are gone.  Partner with a trusted colleague to handle emergent cases while you are traveling and agree to do the same for her when she is gone. Then bless and release. This is your time. You have earned it. Don’t waste it by stressing about things beyond your control.

Finally,

Rule #10 Someone always pack a wine key

Nothing worse than being in your hotel or your rented villa, you are ready to toast the start of vacation with your girls and you can’t find the wine key. Someone always pack a wine key (just not if you plan on bringing a carry on).

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The bottom line: you deserve a weekend away with your girlfriends. Why not make it the best it can be?  And if I can help, you know I want to!

Until next time, happy wanderlusting!

XO

They say your vibe attracts your tribe, and at Serendipitous Traveler we 100% agree. Do you have wanderlust? Do you want to connect with like minded people? Are you looking for a tribe? Look no further! Join our Serendipitous Squad Travel Community on Facebook and keep in touch! We are a tribe of women who believe in community over competition, love travel, suffer from FOMO, and want to be kept in the loop of #allthethings. Join us!

 

The Scariest Thing About Traveling……

Traveling is the one thing found on everyone’s bucket list, yet there are so many people who don’t travel because of a fear they have. Today I thought we’d pick apart a few of these fears and tackle them head on.

Fear #1 – Afraid to travel alone.

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Solo travel, especially solo travel among women, is on the rise, but there are still so many people worried about trekking out on their own.  Women have a special subset of issues to work through on this set – fear of unwanted attention from men being the #1 feedback that I get from my female clientele.  So what’s a girl to do? Fortunately she has a couple of options.

  1. Join a group tour.  There are several amazing small group tours out there that are doing amazing things.  Many, like G Adventures, cap tours at around 10-15 people so you don’t feel like you are being shuttle herded with the masses.  There are a growing number of options for women only groups as well.  Check out our private facebook page The Serendipitous Travel Squad or sign up for our newsletter to keep in touch on Serendipitous Traveler’s upcoming group trips.
  2. Work with a travel advisor to map out your itinerary. Most importantly –  do your research.  The fact remains that some places are more friendly for solo travelers than not. A travel advisor can help you work through the best ideas, safe places to stay, and help set you up with a solid itinerary so you are never out in the wind.  As long as you use a travel advisor, you always have someone that knows where you are and you have someone to check in with as you go.  

Fear #2 – Afraid of something bad happening

I get this fear from solo travelers, groups, couples….basically everyone.  And I get it. Especially if you re traveling somewhere foreign and you don’t speak the language. And there’s always a litany of things that can go wrong. And was anyone else scarred by the movie Taken? Well even if your dad isn’t Liam Neeson, there are plenty of things you can do to mitigate disasters while traveling. Here are some of our favorites.

  • Be cognizant of your surroundings.  Pickpockets are there and they like to take advantage of crowded tourist spots. Because tourists are always carrying money and are distracted by the sights around them. So many people get pickpocketed and don’t even realize it until it’s too late. But if you are on guard and cognizant of where you are, you can easily avoid being a target. That means, guys, put your wallets in your front pocket. Girls, travel with a purse that zips up and is in front of you.  If you need a backpack, know that you are walking with a bit of a target on your back and keep it close by. Invest in a brand that is slash proof (we like these from ebags), and again, be aware of your surroundings.  If someone is begging from the front, make sure their partner isn’t digging through your pack from the back.
  • Invest in RFID blocking sleeve, wallet or ID holder.  I was shocked last year when I attended a trade show and a supplier showed me how easy it was to swipe credit card information using an app on her phone. Anyone sitting in a public place can gain access to hundreds of credit card numbers and have something purchased and charged up before you even get back to check the balance in your hotel room.  RFID blocking sleeves, wallets, etc are a cheap investment that can save you a lot of time and headache while traveling.
  • Be wary of public wifi.  In a world where we are always connected, it’s tempting to take advantage of a cafe pit stop and check up on your social channels. When you are traveling, you are probably spending more, so it’s natural that you’d want to check in on your finances or your credit card statement.  Unfortunately, public places are traps for mining your data.  It’s too easy to set up a hot spot and call it “Whatever Establishment You Are Sitting At Free Wifi” and dupe unsuspecting folks.  If you much check your wifi, be sure to ask someone if there is free wifi before linking up. Better yet, wait until you are back in your hotel or spring the few bucks and pay for the data. It will save you more money in the long run.

Fear #3 – Afraid of the unknown

 

You just don’t know what you don’t know.

  • How to get from point A to point B.
  • How to use the subway system.
  • Where to go for dinner.
  • What museum should you visit. Do you need to purchase tickets in advance.
  • What do you pack.
  • How to read your train tickets.

And this is where a good travel advisor comes in. They arm you with information so that not only are you adequately prepared to travel, you are armed with enough information to really enjoy and be wowed by your travel.  After all, if you understand what you are looking at you are getting twice the value. At the very least be sure to arm yourself with a good guide book to get you started.

Travel can be an intimidating experience, but fortunately with the right preparation, anyone and everyone can have an enjoyable travel experience.

Face your fears and get out there!

Until next time, happy wanderlusting!

XO Krystal

 

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Disclaimer: In the name of full transparency, please be aware that this blog post contains affiliate links and any purchases made through such links will result in a small commission for me (at no extra cost for you). I only recommend items that I personally use and gift to my own clients and just want to share the love with you!

Global Entry…is it worth it?

Applying for Global Entry is an easy process, and once you do you can bypass a lot of hassle by using expedited lanes at the U.S. airports, and when crossing international borders.  You can also combine it with TSA pre-check, making your travel experiences easier.

A lot of clients ask me, “Is it worth it to get Global Entry or TSA pre-check?” And my answer is always this: If your time is worth anything to you, yes!

It’s a relatively easy process, makes going through security at airports a breeze.  Children 12 and under can accompany you through the expedited lanes, making family travel easier.  And (BONUS) most major credit companies* will give you credit reimbursement for Global Entry making it a win/win!

It’s easy. Just follow these steps:

  1. Create a Trusted Traveler Programs (TTP) account. Regardless of your age, you must have your own TTP account.
  2. Log in to your TTP account and complete the application. A $100 non-refundable fee is required with each completed application.
  3. After accepting your completed application and fee, CBP will review your application. If your application is conditionally approved, then your TTP account will instruct you to schedule an interview at a Global Entry Enrollment Center. Each applicant must schedule a separate interview.
  4. You will need to bring your valid passport(s) and one other form of identification, such as a driver’s license or ID card to the interview. If you are a lawful permanent resident, you must present your machine readable permanent resident card.
FAQ’s
How long does it take to process global entry?
Processing times vary by applicant, but anticipate up to 11 weeks to process your application.
How long after my application is approved do I have to schedule my interview with a Global Entry Enrollment Center?
You have 365 days from the date of online approval notice to schedule your interview. If you do not complete your interview within 365 days your application will be voided and no refunds will be given. Should you wish to resume application, you will have to start the application process over.
What do I need to bring with me to my interview?
A valid passport, and one other form of identification (Drivers License or ID card)
How long is Global Entry Valid?
Global Entry is Valid for 5 years. You pass can be revoked for criminal offense charges, or if you are charge with a customs and immigration violation.
How do I schedule my interview with a Global Entry Enrollment Center/find a center near me?
Log in to your Trusted Traveler Program (TTP) account and from the dashboard select “schedule an interview” button. From there you can select a date and time from a list of available slots.  You will also be shown alternative centers that may have availability sooner. Please be advised that appointments are REQUIRED for all locations.
As always, if you have any questions regarding the process, please do not hesitate to reach out.
*Obligatory disclaimer that you must check with your individual credit card company to see if they offer reimbursement for Global Entry and/or TSA Precheck, and what steps must be taken in order to file for reimbursement.