Posts Tagged ‘Travel’

Cruising Alaska: Active Adventure Travel

Friday October 3, 2014 at 7:07 AM | 4 Comments

“I’m not the cruise ship type.” I heard this statement over and over during my trip to Alaska with Un-Cruise Adventures. I met an 18 year old traveling with her aunt; celebrating her high school graduation and an 80 year old retired teacher from New Zealand sailing solo. Both guests were cruising Alaska with active adventure travel in mind.
 

“Last year I cruised Antarctica in a small ship,” said Barbara deCastro of New Zealand. “I had to try Alaska. I wanted to compare our fjords with Alaska. They are totally different. Ours are beautiful, but so are these. Alaska’s glaciers are much bigger.”

Two active adventure travelers; yet two unique Alaskan experiences were had on the same ship. What keeps people coming back? “The sort of people who sail on small ships are nice people,” deCastro noted with a smile.

 

"Safari Endeavour" Alaska, cruise

Guests aboard Safari Endeavour are all smiles. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown

 

Small ship cruise benefits

One of the benefits of small ship cruising is the flexibility the captain has with itineraries. Our original itinerary had Safari Endeavour sailing to George Island and Elfin Cove. At 25 knot winds Captain Barrett Whitten determined that it was too windy for this destination, instead, he would steer our 232 foot ship to Idaho Inlet. Once here, our expedition guides re-grouped and we were offered “Plan B.”

 

Itinerary change to Alaska's Idaho Inlet. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown

Itinerary change to Alaska’s Idaho Inlet. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown

 

Tracking bears in Alaska

I signed up for the “Skiff and beach walk” adventure on Chichagof Island.  I pulled on my Kamik rubber, waterproof boots, rain gear and personal flotation device (PFD) and headed downstairs to the EZ dock boat launch.

Insider Tip

For those of you who don’t own foul weather gear, Un-Cruise Adventures had plenty of travel gear stocked in their lending library. I also packed my own healthy travel snacks, a water bottle and binoculars – all unnecessary, as Un-Cruise had all of these items ready and waiting for every guest.

With the smell of Sitka Spruce hanging heavy in the air, we walked the beach in search of animals. Armed with bear spray and a camera, our Expedition Guide Kenneth O’Brien led us into the Alaskan rain forest. Chichagof Island is known for housing a dense brown bear population. We saw evidence of the bears in the form of bear scat, claw marks on trees and moss covered bear tracks, but no bears were actually sighted on this particular outing.

Upon return from our bushwacking adventure, passengers were greeted with hot chocolate or coffee – with or without alcohol. Ahh, the benefits of sailing on an all-inclusive small ship. Another benefit of sailing with Un-Cruise Adventures is a complimentary massage offered to every guest. Two of the first floor staterooms were converted to spa rooms. Did I mention that Safari Endeavour also boasts a sauna and not one, but two hot tubs on the 3rd floor deck? Soaking in a hot tub while cruising by glaciers – now that’s a conversation starter for your next cocktail party!

 

"Chichagof Island" mushroom

Colorful mushroom on Chichagof Island. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


 

Alaska" bear tracks

Tracking bears in Alaska. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown

Does cruising Alaska on a small ship appeal to your sense of active adventure?
 
For additional insider tips follow Luxury Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown on Twitter @Nancydbrown and follow @UnCruise on Twitter.

If You Go:

Un-Cruise Adventures (888) 862-8881
3826 18th Ave
W. Seattle, Washington 98119

Article written by and photos courtesy of Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown of What a Trip, Travels from Northern California. I was a guest of Un-Cruise Adventures. All opinions are my own.

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.

Inspirational Travel Blogs

Tuesday August 12, 2014 at 7:07 AM | 2 Comments

blogger awardWith travel blogs multiplying as fast as rabbits, it is an honor to have my writing recognized as inspirational and receive a blog award from my travel blogging peers. Laura and Cipri from Travelocafe have inspired me to travel to unique destinations and their photography makes me feel like I am on the travel road with them. Thank you for the vote of confidence Laura and Cipri. Now it is my turn to nominate fellow bloggers who offer unique, inspirational travel content. What a trip!

Versatile blogger award guidelines

Thank the blogger who selected you for the award & link back to their blog
Select 15 bloggers and nominate them for the Versatile Blogger Award
Share 7 unique things about yourself

"Alaska" sunrise

Inspiration found in travel

7 unique things about travel blogger Nancy D. Brown

1. I specialize in luxury and equine travel
2. I met my husband and travel buddy in college. Prior to meeting him, I had traveled to Wengen, Switzerland and vowed to return to this romantic spot with my future husband – whomever that might be. We celebrated our first year wedding anniversary in Switzerland – one of my favorite travel destinations.
3. I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in journalism after a high school internship at the Contra Costa Times newspaper.
4. I prefer luxury travel and five star resorts. My husband prefers camping and sleeping under the stars.
5. I had to take a typing test to be admitted to the University of Oregon Journalism School.
6. I am a wife, mother, sister, active adventure loving baby boomer with a hip replacement.
7. I inhaled frequently…

Inspirational travel blogs

Hole in the Donut
My Itchy Travel Feet
GypsyNester
Ottsworld
Equitrekking
Camels & Chocolate
Hecktic Travels
The Vacation Gals
Heather on her travels
Traveling with Sweeney
Around the World L
Wanderlust and Lipstick
The Planet D
Uncornered Market
Ordinary Traveler

What travel blogs inspire you?