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The Best Games To Bring Along On Your Next Vacation

Check out this short list of games that a great for any vacation.

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Those of us with kids know how important keeping our kids happy and occupied is. Sometimes we’ll do just about anything to avoid a tantrum and save our sanity. And this is especially true during a vacation! That’s why bringing along a game or two is always a good idea. So check out this short list of games that a great for any vacation.

BANANAGRAMS

Bananagrams is just a great game. Kind of like a kid-friendly Scrabble. You similarly create your own crossword puzzle as you go, but you’re not constricted to a boring old board. And it comes in a perfect little travel bag that you can practically fit in your pocket.

 

PASS THE PIGS

I’ve played this one and, trust me, it’s a blast! And like many other games on this list, it’s small and easy to pack. It’s a bit like Yahtzee as you literally “roll” two miniature pigs as if they were dice, and based on how they land you’re given points. First to 100 wins!

MAGNETIC GO! CHECKERS

If the picture and the name weren’t clear enough, this is basically just an easily collapsible and magnetic checkers board. So it can be busted out and enjoyed under just about any conditions. In the car, on a plane, or in the hotel. Checkers is still a great game and this is a great travel-friendly version.

FUNNYBONES

Funnybones is kind of like Jacks (does anyone even remember jacks anymore?!). But as old as jacks may seem, Funnybones was created years and years ago in Greece! It eventually spread around the world and has seen many iterations – all of them involving varies challenges of dexterity. But most importantly, it’s small and easy to pack!

CONNECT 4 GRAB AND GO

We all remember Connect 4. It’s a classic, simple, great game. This is just a compact version that can easily fit in a carry on bag. Great for delayed flights or rainy days in the hotel.

RACE ACROSS THE U.S.A.

What better game for a road trip than one about a race across the country?! What’s really fun about this board game is that you can get it customized! There’s a banner in the top left corner that you can have your family’s name put on. You can even personalize the player pieces to look like you and your family members! It’s also a simple and fun game that teaches kids a few things about this great country.

KURIO WATCH 2.0+

When it comes to distracting your kids and giving yourself a little peace and quiet it doesn’t get much better than the Kurio Watch 2.0+. It’s similar to your average smartwatch, but it has games on it! Some of them are even two-player games and watches can sync up if you want to get in on the fun. Plus they’re waterproof!

PROSECCO PONG

Ok, this one isn’t exactly kid-friendly. This game is definitely best suited for a girls trip! If you haven’t guessed by now, it’s exactly like beer pong but it involves 12 plastic recyclable champagne glasses and three pink ping pong balls. And, obviously, using Prosecco instead of beer is encouraged!

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Destinations

2017’s Newest Travel Trends Revealed

How exciting, a new year and 12 whole months of travel possibilities, I’m ready for the new travel trends. Where are we going to go and what the heck are we going to don once we get there?   We can say goodbye to eco-tourism as…

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How exciting, a new year and 12 whole months of travel possibilities, I’m ready for the new travel trends. Where are we going to go and what the heck are we going to don once we get there?   We can say goodbye to eco-tourism as the hottest trend on the travel block, 2017 has some interesting stuff in store for us.

 pantelleria

European Islands

It’s nice that the exotic, far-flung islands had their pinnacle in 2016, because those well-known hot spots are now over with. They aren’t over and done, they just aren’t the hottest spots anymore. If you want to go to Turks and Caicos, I won’t stop you, but you won’t be considered elite anymore. If you want that true baller experience in 2017, you will have to go to one of the small, unknown European islands, like Pantelleria or Naxos. Naxos is a Greek island, not Santorini or Mykonos, so its lesser known. Check it out if you are interested in divine local cuisine and a fresh take on island life. 

Meanwhile, also in the Mediterranean Sea, Pantelleria is in Italy, between Sicily and Tunisia. Made famous by Giorgio Armani who has a home there, this unknown island is going to be real hot this year. These future hot spots are favorable because of their anonymity and prestige.

 

bellmont farms 

Food Resorts

The clear-cut winner for travel trends this year is Food Resorts focusing on farm-to-table and ocean-to-plate menus. These resorts are hiring the best chefs, sourcing from the most local and fresh producers and satiating all their guests’ wildest cuisine dreams. This trend is following food trends all over the globe, where diners want the freshest and healthiest foods prepared by world-class chefs.

Check out Kittitian Hills in St. Kitts, for some top notch locally sourced cuisine. They have their own organic gardens, livestock and even use goats to cut their grass, talk about grass roots.

Another real winner at food resorts is Bellevue Hotel in Croatia, where the entire flat roof has been turned into a usable garden.

 sailing

I’m on a Boat

The comedy group Lonely Island said it best, “I’m on a boat, Bitch!” Everyone wants to go sailing or party on a yacht, but until now that kind of lifestyle has been unaffordable. Thanks to an adventure-travel company, Intrepid Travel, being on a boat is everyone’s business. They are offering affordable sailing adventures to amazing destinations for a fraction of the former price.   Live like the one percent with their weeklong sailing tours, through remote destinations like the Zanzibar archipelago.   Snorkel in exotic locals, sip champagne on yachts and ball out like Lebron James on your budget.  These trends are getting exciting and making me want to travel now.

 

finemerch 

Resorts simplified

Resorts are stripping down to the bare essentials and focusing more on relaxation and pampering instead of opulence and luxury. Gone are the clunky cluttered hotel rooms and instead rooms are adorned with just a huge comfortable bed. Expect restaurants to simplify their menus and only offer eth freshest and most delectable items. These new luxury standards should catch on and help with the enormous waste that these resorts create.

 

glacier 

Polar Excursions

People are tiring of the same old beach resort or mountain cabin; instead travelers in this New Year are opting for more extreme locals. Welcome the new polar adventures, where vacationers will face the harsher climates for a more rewarding excursion. Glaciers are a huge destination in 2017, as people realize that with global warming, many of these destinations won’t be around for long. Get those snow mobiles warmed up and make sure you have warm clothing, because 2017 just got interesting. Cruises are now setting course for the Arctic Circle, as adventurers want that polar ice cap experience.  Polar travel will include penguins, polar bears and the exquisite Northern Lights.

 

2017 is starting off with a bang, so set your travel destinations and make travel happen.

 

 

 

Photos courtesy of bellemontfarms, wikiwand, intrepidTravel, finemerch, MontanaVacationBlog, starchop

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Destinations

Lesser Known Wine Regions that you Must Visit

Everyone knows that Napa Valley or Burgundy France are wine traveler’s destinations of choice, but there are plenty of other fantastic regions.   A true wine connoisseur will tell you that the soil and environment are just as important as the type of grape used to…

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Everyone knows that Napa Valley or Burgundy France are wine traveler’s destinations of choice, but there are plenty of other fantastic regions.   A true wine connoisseur will tell you that the soil and environment are just as important as the type of grape used to make wine. The world has embraced wine making and excellent booze is now being produced all over the map. Let’s explore and see where these hidden wine gems are located and what makes them so special.

Wine producers are spreading their wings and growing some superior grapes in some unexpected places.

npr 

Kakheti, Georgia

I’m not talking about Georgia in America; I’m talking about the one that straddles Europe and Asia. This former Soviet country has excelled in producing some really interesting and delicious varieties of grapes. Wine production is nothing new to this region as archeologists have found winemaking equipment dating as far back as 6,000 BC.

One unique thing that wine makers in Georgia do is they ferment their wine in clay jars instead of the standard wooden or steel barrels. The clay gives Georgian wine a distinct sweet taste and earthy after tones.

 

Douro Valley, Portugal

Known as the birthplace of port wine, the Northernmost region in Portugal is a wine lover’s heaven. With panoramic views of the rolling hills and beautiful vineyards, wine has been produced in this region for over 2,000 years.   The golden colored hills and the divine port produced here will make this a favorite among port snobs from around the globe.

 chilled magazine

Finger Lakes Region, New York

White wines flourish in this Northern New York region, specifically Rieslings. The expansive landscape is dotted with waterfalls, 11 glacial lakes and one great lake, giving the region miles and miles of beautiful coastlines. With well over a 100 wineries, the Finger Lakes region is the largest wine-producing region East of California in the USA.

 tenerife

Tenerife, Canary Islands

Grown in rich nutrient volcanic soil, Tenerife produces exquisite reds and whites. The largest of the Canary Islands, Tenerife features grape varieties that were completely wiped out of the European mainland in a mid-1800s epidemic. The rare varieties create distinct flavor profiles and memorable aftertastes. The island views and abundant sea life compliments the island’s white wine collections.

 

Healdsburg, California

Avoid the rush that happens in Napa and head just an hour North to Healdsburg wine region. Producing similar quality wines, Healdsburg is Napa’s red headed stepchild. Born out of the need t have more wine tasting locations, Healdsburg boasts over 200 wineries and multiple award winning varieties. California has some of the best weather and soil combinations in the world, so it’s no surprise that he wine here is fantastic.

 pinterest

Door County, Wisconsin

If you are a fan of fruit wines, Door County should be your next stop. Located in the Midwest, Door County has eight wineries and is famous for their tart cherry wine. Specializing in fruit wines, Door County has plenty of grape varieties as well, so a little something for everyone.

 

Franschhoek, South Africa

Nestled just 45 short minutes from Cape Town, Franschhoek was originally known as Elephant’s Corner for the huge elephant population that roamed here. Now known for their impressive wine, the area is the best in South Africa and possibly all of Africa. Enjoy a hop-on hop-off style tour that stops at every winery and you can get a real taste of the region.

 

Enjoy these of the beaten path wine regions and taste some of their specialties, to see what all the hype is about.

 

 

Photos courtesy of Schug, NPR, chilled, New York Times, pinterest

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Travel

Renewing Your Passport May Take Longer This Year

If your United States passport comes up for renewal in 2017 or 2018 you should begin the process to renew it as soon as possible. The U.S. State Department has been warning travelers for more than a year now about the possibility of longer wait times for…

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If your United States passport comes up for renewal in 2017 or 2018 you should begin the process to renew it as soon as possible. The U.S. State Department has been warning travelers for more than a year now about the possibility of longer wait times for passport processing. The State Department recommends renewing your passport at least nine months before it expires, and routine passport processing can take up to six weeks. Additionally there are at least fifty countries that require U.S. citizens to have at least six more months left on their passport in order to travel there. 

The increase in demand for U.S. passports at this particular time is in large part due to the 2007 Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative which made it necessary for U.S. citizens returning from Mexico and Canada to show a passport. Now, ten years later, all of the passports acquired at that time will be expiring. The need for first time passports has also increased because of the Real ID Act, which requires residents of certain states to show an alternative form of identification for air travel, this goes into effect January 22, 2018. It is easy to renew your U.S. passport, current passport holders can renew by mail on the State Department website. 

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