(TRAVEL) Where Mom Has Been

Seems like many people would really love to know all the places that Mom has visited.  She recently had to fill out some government-type form which required a complete list of countries she has been in, so we thought we would share the list with you.  In just a couple of weeks she will be able to add India and the United Arab Emirates (Dubai and Abu Dhabi), but for now, here is the list:

  • Antigua
  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belgium
  • Belize
  • Bermuda
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Cayman Islands
  • Chile
  • China
  • Columbia
  • Costa Rica
  • Croatia
  • Curacao
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • England
  • Estonia
  • Fiji
  • Finland
  • France
  • French Guiana
  • French Polynesia
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Granada
  • Guernsey
  • Hong Kong
  • Hungary
  • Ireland
  • Isle Of Man
  • Italy
  • Jamaica
  • Kenya
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Martinique
  • Mexico
  • Monaco
  • Morocco
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Panama
  • Peru
  • Portugal
  • Puerto Rico
  • Russia
  • Scotland
  • Slovakia
  • St. Lucia
  • St. Martin
  • Seychelles
  • St. Maarten
  • South Africa
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Tanzania
  • Turkey
  • USA (all but N. Dakota)
  • Venezuela
  • Virgin Islands
  • Wales
  • West Indies

(Travel) Tip on Organizing Paperwork

Mom loves being organized.  It gives her a peace of mind and assurance that she hasn’t forgotten anything.  She has many different ways of keeping organized.  Here is her tip for organizing paperwork when planning a trip.

As soon as Mom has decided to go on a trip, the first thing she does is get a large manila envelope to start a “file” for that specific trip.  On the outside of the envelope she writes the names of who is going (sometimes she goes with more people than just Dad), the date, and the name of her trip (ex: Alaskan Cruise, or East Coast Tour).

Every time she acquires any paper relating to that trip, she puts it in the envelope.  This includes: to-do lists, itineraries, hotel information, travel arrangements, confirmations, and local information.  By keeping everything in one place, she knows right where it is when she needs it.  Although Mom makes computer files for each trip, she still prints the information and keeps it in the envelope.  She finds it helpful to have hard copies, just in case she can’t access her computer, and so that she can take the paperwork with her on the trip.  She also likes the fact that in an envelope, papers don’t slip out, like they might in a file folder.

(TRAVEL) The Carry-on Bag

There have been many times that Mom’s luggage has been lost (one time for five days), and she has had to make do with the few things she happened to have with her. But the catalyst that finally prompted Mom to rethink her carry-on bag came in an unexpected way.

Believing that they were on a non-stop flight to their destination, Mom and Dad had minimal supplies with them, having checked the majority of their luggage.  However, things did not go as planned.  Due to extremely bad weather, they were diverted to a nearby airport where they had to stay the night.  Fortunately, it was only one night, but even having to wear ALL the same clothes the next day, and heaven forbid, no makeup for Mom, she quickly started making a list of things she would always keep with her in her future travels.

Here are some of the things Mom now carries with her:

Blow-up Pillow.  You never know when you might want to snag a little nap, and the pillow makes it much easier than battling with the bobbing head syndrome.

Cards and/or Games.  Mom keeps a baggie filled with travel games.  Even if traveling alone, a fun game can make the time go much faster if stuck waiting for a delayed plane, or on a long flight.  (Mom does need to learn to shuffle cards more quietly, however, to avoid getting dirty looks from tired passengers!).

Reading Material.  Sometimes Mom will take a paperback book that she intends to give away when through reading, but mostly she makes sure her Kindle is charged.

Travel Journal.  Mom not only records memories and activities, but she also keeps a record of her purchases.  That way she not only knows where she bought various souvenirs, but she also has a convenient log to refer to when filling out her customs forms.

Headset/Earplugs.  Mom usually takes a high-quality noise-canceling headset with her so that she can block out irritating noises around her.  She also makes sure that she has extra batteries for the headset.

First Aid Kit.  Just a small kit with the absolute basics (like band aids) is handy to have with you.

Basic Toiletry Kit.  Just the basics here…toothbrush and paste, floss, cleansing cloths, and a little makeup.

Spare Clothes.  Mom takes a spare blouse, and sometimes pants, but always takes spare undergarments.  That way, even if she is stuck overnight somewhere, she can feel fresh and clean the next morning.

Mini-Umbrella.  Mom doesn’t like to get her hair wet, so she always makes sure she’s prepared for rainy weather.

Walkie-Talkies.  Mom and Dad always take these with them and then when they separate for whatever reason, they can easily communicate with each other without worrying about expensive cell charges when they are out of country.

Food.  Mom likes to buy a small pre-packaged lunch, which is sealed and has liquids less than 3 ounces.  That way if she is unable to buy food, or doesn’t like the food the airplane is serving, she’s got a backup.