Empty Nest Travel Tips

Friday September 12, 2014 at 7:07 AM | 2 Comments

empty nest

Empty nest travel

As our daughter graduated from college this summer and our son traveled to Oxford, Mississippi to begin college, it has occurred to me that my husband and I are now empty nest. Our young adult children have flown the coop and we are free to travel at our leisure. No more worries about teenagers hosting house parties while the parents are away or having to pay outrageous prices for airline tickets and hotel stays when everyone with children is on vacation from school. We are looking forward to empty nest travel! Here are 5 travel tips for empty nest baby boomers!

 

 

Tips for empty nest travel

1. Take advantage of off peak pricing.

Airlines, hotels, resorts and cruise ships are all looking to capture the baby boomer traveler who is no longer tied to travel during school holidays.

2. Financial freedom

Depending on the amount of children in your family, empty nesters no longer need to worry about reserving multiple hotel rooms, family-friendly villas, requesting adjoining hotel rooms or renting houses large enough to accommodate kids and friends.
 

traveling with teens

Dining with teens

 

3. Dining decisions

I don’t know about you, but often times our dining decisions during travel were based on where the kids wanted to eat. Traveling with teens often boiled down to fast food drive-ins or chain restaurants. Dining out as empty nest travelers gives us flexibility to choose where we spend our dining dollars.

4. Travel discounts

When it comes to travel tips, I’m all about discovering the discount. I’m not entitled to senior citizen discounts yet, but there are organizations such as AARP (a non-profit organization that helps people over 50 improve the quality of their lives) and AAA ( a North American based not-for-profit motor club that offers emergency road service, insurance & travel assistance)  that offer travel discounts for hotels, tours, cruises and such.

 

"empty nest travel tips" mini cooper

Travel tips: downsize the car


 

5. Automotive downsize

Ditch the mini van or sport utility vehicle that carries children and a dog. Instead, downsize to a sporty Mini Cooper or electric car. You’ll get better gas mileage driving a two-seater coupe and a smaller vehicle forces you to pack more efficiently.

Are you an empty nest parent or getting ready to enter this stage of life? What empty nest travel tips do you have to share?

Article and photos by empty nest baby boomer Nancy D. Brown.

Tips for Traveling with Teens

Friday September 5, 2014 at 7:07 AM | 0 Comments

While my young adult children may call me a fire breathing dragon behind my back, they have thanked me for teaching them how to pack a suitcase and instilling a sense of confidence in them when they travel solo. I’m the first to admit that I don’t know what to do in many travel situations, but I do know how to handle drunk teenagers or wayward explorers. Be warned, this isn’t a blog post on tips for traveling with children; instead I give you my best tips for traveling with teens and surviving!

I knew I had an independent traveler on my hands when I got a call from the third grade counselor at summer camp. My daughter’s friend was homesick and had left camp after the first night. The counselor felt the need to notify me of this situation. Here’s how the phone conversation with my daughter played out. “How do you like camp?” I asked. “It’s great, but Robyn didn’t like it that much. Please tell me that I don’t have to come home?”

dragon

Tips for traveling with a dragon, aka Mom

Pack snacks

Picture yourself traveling in a Honda minivan for 10 hours with six teenagers. I know, not a pretty sight now, is it? If you want a car load of happy campers remember to pack the snacks for your road trip. While choosy mothers chose jif, I chose a balance of healthy snacks and snacks that taste good – if they happen to be on sale at the grocery store, that’s even better!

Don’t forget to pack water bottles for everyone. I have a boat load of branded water bottles in my cupboards because I’m a travel writer who specializes in equine travel – in other words, I review a lot of dude ranches and cowgirls need their own water bottle. I come off like a hero when I give every kid in the car their own water bottle to keep. It’s also helpful that each water bottle is unique so each teen is able to remember what their bottle looks like.

 

cardboard car, trailer

How to travel with teenagers & survive

 

Medical waivers

If you are traveling with other people’s children, make sure to have a copy of their insurance card and have the parent’s sign a medical waiver giving you permission to treat their child at a doctor’s office or hospital if necessary. If you’ll be staying in one location, look up the nearest hospital, urgent care center and dental office in the area. Silly me, I had to call my California dentist to get a recommendation for an Oregon dentist when my kids collided with one another on their bikes – one broke her collar bone, the other had a concussion and chipped a front tooth! Ya, sh!t happens when you are on vacation. Be prepared.

Weed Welcome500x375

 

Pack your sense of humor

Kids keep us young, teenagers give us gray hair. Always keep your guard up when chaperoning a group of teenagers. Keep your mouth shut and your ears open when you have teenagers trapped in a cabin, car, hotel room or on a houseboat. Eventually, these self-centered young adults will forget that you are in the room – they might be discussing members of the opposite sex, how to purchase alcohol while on vacation or the benefits of vaping over bong hits. For you parents sleeping with blindfolds, electronic cigarettes are the two-to-one favorite of teenagers because the room doesn’t smell like marijuana when they blaze, that’s code for “light up” for us old folks.

Now don’t go crazy in the comments section telling me what a bad parent I am. I don’t support underage drinking or drug use, but I do recommend that some parent’s pull their head out of the sand and get real about teenagers and their recreational choices. Let’s be honest, my husband and I went to college where Animal House was filmed. Nuff said.

luggage, travel,

Have passport, will travel

 

Have passport, will travel

If you can afford it, get your kid a passport. Even if you have no intention of international travel, your teenager may be presented with an opportunity to participate in a mission trip, join a friend on vacation, sail with Semester at Sea, or travel abroad for school or summer employment. Once teenagers reach the age of 16 and older, passports are valid for 10 years. A passport is a gift you give your child, setting them on a path with no boundaries. What a trip!

What are your insider tips for traveling with teens? Please leave a comment below.

Article and photos by travel writer, empty nester and baby boomer Nancy D. Brown. No teenagers were harmed in the writing of this blog post.

Ride The Ducks San Francisco: San Francisco Duck Tours

Wednesday September 3, 2014 at 7:07 AM | 0 Comments

The bus/boat of the San Francisco Ridte the Ducks tour.

The bus/boat of San Francisco Ride the Ducks tour.

If you live in the city of San Francisco or Boston or Philadelphia or Seattle, you’ve probably noticed them. It’s hard not to. Amphibious vehicles tooling around the neighborhoods with the music cranked up and the passengers blasting kazoos shaped like duck bills.

My family and I took the San Francisco ‘Splashtastic Sunset’ Ride the Ducks land and water tour on a recent Friday night. When we boarded, we were each handed  a “quacker” (the duck-shaped kazoo). I tucked mine away, sure that I wouldn’t be joining that party. But it wasn’t long before Captain Jeff rallied the half-full bus of revelers (including myself) into humming along with Sinatra, the Village People and Tony Bennett as we traversed Fisherman’s Wharf and the neighborhoods of North Beach and Chinatown.

Quacking up on the San Francisco Ride the Duck Tour

Quacking up on the San Francisco Ride the Duck Tour

Corny, scripted jokes aside, Jeff was an entertaining and informative host, bus driver and boat captain. We cruised through Union Square, the Fi Di and SOMA and entered the water just south of AT&T Park. By then it was dark, and the bay cruise was definitely “splashtastic” as we watched the light show on the Bay Bridge twinkle, creating psychedelic patterns.

We dipped into McCovey Cove, next to the Giants ballpark and the Captain turned over the reigns to anyone who wanted to drive the boat. My kids (and I) jumped at the opportunity.

We emerged from the water via the same boat ramp and returned to Jefferson and Taylor Sts. in Fisherman’s Wharf via the Embarcadero where we quacked and waved at pedestrians along the way.

 

The nightly  light show on the Bay Bridge.

Nightly light show on San Francisco Bay Bridge

Ride the Ducks San Francisco
450 Bay St, San Francisco, California 94133
(415) 922-2425

This post was contributed by Lisa Crovo Dion of Friscomama.com. Photos by Dan Dion. We were guests of the Ride the Ducks tour.