Declare YOUR Independence!

I hope you had a fun and festive 4th of July! We are blessed to have great friends who invited us out to their home “in the country” to enjoy food, fireworks, pool time, and lots of laughs. Joe and I had a blast, as did our little firecracker, Chayce!


I love the freedom I feel when I travel (see what I did there?)—no major commitments, no phone ringing or emails I must respond to right that second…just time to savor another culture! We Americans have a few bad habits we tend to pack in our suitcases, though, so I want to encourage you to declare your independence from these vacation spoilers! **Oh, and at the end of this post, you’ll see my #TravelFree hashtag challenge—I hope you’ll participate!!

Online Booking Engines AND Vacation Planners (like me).

WAIT, WHAT?!?! Okay, here’s the deal. There are times when those online booking sites are probably not a bad thing. Like, when you need to book a flight to Indianapolis and want to find the cheapest fare. I like to use my Skyscanner app or sites like cheapoair for that. Or when you are looking for a cheap vacation deal to Vegas, in which case Southwest Vacations is a fantastic option. I’m not your girl for that.

Now, let’s look at the other side of this issue, shall we? Let’s say you want to visit a place in, I dunno, Europe, that is going to require (or be enhanced by) hours upon hours of research, insider knowledge, local contacts, extreme itinerary development, and expert opinions. You should call me. That’s what I do. You may want to visit a wine chateau in Bordeaux but have no clue how to get in since you don’t speak French. Maybe you want to take the train from country to country over a month’s time. Or possibly you need to figure out how to feed entertain shlep your kids along for the ride without losing your mind. I can do that job for you. I do it all day, everyday, and I do it very well. Can I tell you a secret? That’s why I can’t mess around with your weekend in Sheboygan. I’m too busy researching the crazy stuff you can’t do for yourself. #TopThatTravelocity

Vacation Shaming.

Whether it’s your boss, your friends, or your in-laws, vacation shaming is real and it is ugly. Look, Americans are already allotted fewer vacation days per year than most of the Western world. I admittedly have a little invested in this, but I gotta tell you that it makes me CrAzY that we aren’t even using the days we get! Enough with the guilt!! A good vacation will refresh your health, revive your energy, sprinkle some fairy dust on your marriage, enliven your relationships, and provide an incentive to be more productive at work when you return. #NoMoreVacationShaming

Your Diet Plan.

So. Real talk here. I started back on the diet train yesterday. It needed to happen. But, {more real talk} I’m going to be in New York later this month and Italy in October and who knows where else in-between. And mama’s gonna chow on all sorts of carbohydrates. I mean, you wouldn’t want me recommending great restaurants that I haven’t actually eaten at, right?? It’s kind of a public service. Vacations are no place for diets. Eating is part of the culture, the experience. Don’t defraud yourself by skipping the food! You just don’t go to Thailand and miss the Khanom Jeen Nam Ya Kati because you’re afraid the rice noodles will expand your hips, okay?!? #FlavorVacations

Grandma’s House.

Well, this is more like a call for *partial independence.* My hubby and I totally left the previously-mentioned firecracker with her Nana and Poppy when we visited the Dominican Republic in June. This is just necessary sometimes {can I get an amen, parents?}. And it’s really good for Chayce too! She needs a break from us. But you know what else is really good for her? Having her routine a little interrupted. Learning patience in security lines. Gaining respect for other countries/manners/people. Learning scraps of another language. Making friends on a German playground. Expanding her palate with other foods. Being responsible for her own gear. Practicing her penmanship on a postcard. Doing without Netflix for a week or two (I mean, I’m not a martyr here). So, while sometimes you need to get away and have some grown-up time, I think there’s a pretty good case here for taking your littles with you when you travel. I know it’s daunting, but that’s why you hire a travel expert to work out the kinks—and find you a nanny at your destination if needed (see above: #TopThatTravelocity). #KidsCanTravelToo


Other Noteworthy Mentions:

Price-matching every dang thing. There is so. much. truth. to William Buffett’s genius line:

“Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.”

I get asked about this a lot, so I  just made myself a note to address this issue in a later post. #VacationValue

American manners (or lack thereof). Again, this is a whole other post. Let me just summarize by saying that, when you visit another country and think everyone there is rude…well…#YouMightBeTheRudeOne

45-minute Lunch Breaks. Take your time! I’ve said it before and I will say it again: #ChewSlowly.

I know I have personally been guilty of each and every item on this list, but I can tell you that there is so much freedom to be had when you declare your independence from vacation spoilers!


Ciao Chow,