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Why You Should Visit Cuba ASAP

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With the recent news that the US trade embargo is to be lifted and the embassy re-opened following a 50 year stand-off, the world is waiting to see how Cuba will change over the coming months. Famous for its turbulent political history and the Cold War, outside the US, the island is also known as a wonderful holiday destination. Full of sun, sea, and salsa, find out how to see Cuba and its unique charm before it’s gone.


They say that the best index of culture is food – so Cubans know how to show off. It’s worth noting that state-owned restaurants are more expensive, so to get a real taste of Cuban cuisine, head to a nearby palade – a privately-owned eatery usually in somebody’s house or garden. Meat lovers will be very happy here, with lots of pork and chicken on the menu, often marinated in citrus fruits and garlic. That said, vegetarian specialities do exist, including a delicious cheesy corn-on-the-cob. Be sure to grab some churros and chocolate sauce to enjoy with a yummy cuban coffee in the afternoon.



As a result of the US trade embargo, one of the characteristic features of Cuba today (to outsiders) is the abundance of classic cars on the roads. It’s easy to take a tour or a taxi ride in a souped-up 1950s chevy, and many tourists look forward to this unique experience. Another big part of Cuban culture to soak up while it lasts is the homegrown music scene, as the origin of salsa and jazz music elsewhere. An evening in Havana allows plenty of opportunity to grab a drink and join some salsa dancers in a club to get the full experience, or even try a locally crafted cigar.



Part of the appeal of Cuba is the country’s eclectic history, with aspects of indigenous, African, and Spanish colonial artefacts a part of daily life. Old Havana’s gorgeous architecture holds plenty of museums to learn more about the country, including the Museum of the Revolution, putting the current affairs of the country in context. For a taste of 19th century life, you can spend a night or two in Trinidad, formerly the sugar capital of the country and almost untouched since 1850.


Natural Beauty

Home to some of the best preserved coral reefs in the world, Cuba’s beaches are a reason in themselves to visit. The Isle of Youth and Maria la Gorda, on the western coast, are some of the best spots for scuba diving and snorkelling. Otherwise, the Viñales Valley national park is an ideal spot for hiking, climbing the famous mogotes mountain formations, or even going caving.


Enjoying a 12 Hour Adventure with Caribou Coffee

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Life is busy, we all lead hectic lives and there are times when I am sure you might think, I need an adventure.  Well, every day of my life is an adventure and thanks to Caribou Coffee for sponsoring me I get to tell you of a fun adventure we do often.  We love to ride motorcycle and in the summer, which isn’t long enough here in Minnesota, we take every chance we get to take off for an adventure on the motorcycle.  Not every ride we take means we will be actually exploring or traveling far, but every ride we take is an adventure on it’s own.

Our 12 hour adventure started out early on Friday, getting all geared up for a day of motorcycle riding.   Even though it’s hot out, we never leave our driveway without our helmets, sunglasses, and jackets.  We ride smart, which is also riding safe.    We took off from our home and headed out to see where the road might take us that day.


Our first stop was to check out some beautiful scenery on the road.  Cool tunnels, the lake, and a neat bridge.  It was very warm and so we had to pull over and put our jackets in the saddle bags.   I love being on the motorcycle because it gives me some much needed sunshine, and I can sit back and relax and take in the sights.  Living on Lake Superior always offers great views, and we have a couple scenic roads that have beautiful views.  There are many times we take off on a ride with no goal in mind, except to spend time together.  That, can be an adventure all in it’s own.  Being together for 21 years and we can still enjoy each other… now that says adventure.

After being on the motorcycle for some time we both figured it was time to cool off.  We know that in the summer the days are longer and people like us live a more relaxed routine.  Caribou Coffee knows that consumers like us are in summer mode and they offer a wide variety of premium cold drinks to explore, discover and enjoy.   Being that it was hot out, and we were quiet warm, we decided to try a new beverage to us.  I have never had a Crafted Press and Caribou Coffee created them to be the perfect fuel for every day adventures so we thought, perfect!  A bold coffee to keep you awake and a touch of sweetness to keep you refreshed.   Yup.. that is exactly what we need and we each got one.   They were exactly what we needed!  Cold, refreshing, and perfect our 12 Hour Adventure.


After enjoying our Caribou Coffee Crafted Press drinks, we were back on the road to see what else was out there for us to do or see for the day.  We had a great day, enjoying each other, the open road, the weather, and our crafted press coffee.

Want to enjoy a crafted press? Fill out this survey for a complimentary medium beverage.



Disclosure ~ This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Caribou Coffee.

Rock Fest Vacation Fun


Another Rock Fest has come and gone.  Hard to believe we have been going for 11 years now.  Great friends, fun times, food, music and more.  See all the smiling faces ~  :)

Was so excited this year to have my son and his girlfriend join us.  We paid for a portion of their one day ticket so they could see Hinder, Adelitas Way and Breaking Benjamin.  We also gave them our pit passes for Breaking Benjamin.. and they were so excited.   That is one of my son’s favorite bands currently.

Rock Fest 2015 was fun, and you can read more about our vacation at That Traveling Chick.


Limited Offer: 2 for 1 Luxury Sandals Resorts


You’ve probably heard about Sandals resorts. Synonymous with quality, sheer luxury, and far flung exotic destinations, Sandals offer unrivalled award winning holidays exclusively to adults. Popular with honeymooners, these lavish escapes are the perfect place for romance, with holidays catering to loved up couples. You can fall in love all over again while drinking cocktails on fine sugar sand beaches, snorkelling in blue lagoons and enjoying fine cuisine.

Christmas seems to have come early this year, with letsgo2 offering a tantalising 2 for 1 offer on seven night holidays in club rooms and suites (date dependent), for a limited period when you book before the 26th May 2015. That means you can enjoy the luxurious all inclusive holiday you would expect from Sandals, but at an incredible 50% off. This may just be the best value holiday of the year!

The only problem you might have is deciding on a location, as this offer includes Sandals resorts in the Bahamas, Barbados, St Lucia, Jamaica, Grenada and Antigua. Each resort has a range of activities included in the price, a huge number of restaurants and bars, and serene settings.

Sandals Ochi Beach Resort, Jamaica

Opt for Jamaica to experience a holiday that you’ll never forget. For seven night and costing just £1,529 ($2,375) per person (with flights included), you can enjoy the life of luxury with a butler to cater to your every need. Wake up to views over picture-perfect beaches, play a round of golf at the resort’s Country Club, or languish and be pampered at the on-site spa. If you prefer to keep active, spend the day sailing, diving or attend a yoga class, then follow with a romantic candlelit dinner for two at one of the resort’s fifteen restaurants.

Sandals Halcyon Beach Resort, Caribbean

Or if you long to visit the Caribbean, then let the sophisticated Halcyon Resort tempt you. This resort was designed to replicate a traditional Caribbean village with beautiful wooden structures and hundreds upon hundreds of coconut trees. Swim in the vibrant turquoise ocean, lay on the white sandy beach, dine on delicious cuisine and return to your romantic Luxury Poolside Club boudoir. Priced from £1,349 ($2,095) per person, this seven day holiday offers the ultimate escape from hectic daily life and a true piece of tropical paradise.
Are you dreaming of long days soaking up the sunshine, opulent five star luxury and stunning settings? Then you’d better book quickly to avoid disappointment!

How to Live the High Life in the Maldives on a Budget


The Maldives is practically synonymous with expensive, with its white sands, blue waters, and endless sun. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. You too can enjoy the luxury of the Maldives without having to spend lots of money.

Cheap Accommodation

Because the Maldives have only recently become a tourist destination (as late as the seventies), there isn’t much in the way of super cheap accommodation like hostels. However, if you look there are a few options. AirBnB is a viable option that offers around 150 guesthouses.

Cheap Transport

Getting around the islands can be done really cheaply. Local ferries run on a very laid back schedule and they are really cheap, we’re talking $2-5 for hours of ferrying. If you want to visit lots of islands, then you have to sing to the tune of the ferries. They run infrequently, they don’t run at all on Fridays, so island hopping can be frustrating. If you want to go to a resort island, then you will have to get a speedboat, and that’s where you can really spend some money, with trips at $200.

Cheap Food

If you’re staying in a guesthouse, you will likely have a big breakfast included in the price of your accommodation, which means that you probably won’t even need lunch. Meal options will probably be limited, depending on the size of your island – you’re likely to be eating at your guesthouse if your island is small. Food will work out at around $5-10.

When it comes to drinks, you will need to be careful. As it is a Muslim country, alcohol is banned. So if you’re not staying on a resort, you won’t be able to drink – you’ll have to stick to bottles of water instead.

Taxes and Fees

Be aware of the taxes and fees that the Maldivian government charge you. for every night that you spend in the Maldives, you have to pay $8 bed tax, 8% GST for the room, and a 10% service charge. You may also struggle to find an ATM to get cash out – so make sure that you either pay for your accommodation in advance or you have enough cash on you to last your trip.

The Alternative

On the other end of the spectrum, you can travel to the Maldives, have someone take care of all the details for you and not have to worry about over spending by booking a tour instead. These shoestring tours are perfect as you’ll have paid for the bulk of the activities before you even get there.






How to Plan the Perfect Honeymoon: 8 Ways to Keep it Stress Free


There’s nothing more romantic than jetting off to a faraway destination with your newlywed husband. He’s the love of your life and this is the vacation of a lifetime, the one that seals the marriage with a beautiful setting away from everyone else. But like any trip away, travelling can be stressful, especially if you come across common travel bloopers such as getting lost, losing your luggage, missing a bus/train/plane, or simple forgetting to pack something essential.


If you want to keep your honeymoon as stress-free as possible, plan smart and follow these tips:


  1. Plan Ahead

Don’t leave your honeymoon plans until the last minute. Plan far in advance to make sure that you have plenty of time for everything else.

  1. Book a Tropical Wedding

Get married abroad and you won’t have very far to go for your honeymoon. Book a luxury wedding package with a trusted company such as Tropical Sky and you won’t have to worry about flights times the morning after.

  1. Get Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is essential for everyone. But when it’s your honeymoon, it’s even more vital if you want to have a stress-free time. Make sure you are covered wherever you go and always read the small print.

  1. Consider Hiring a Car

Although public transport can be handy, it can sometimes be stressful when trains or buses are late (or if you miss your alarm and sleep in!). Why not hire a car so you can go about your honeymoon at your own leisurely pace? The freedom of driving may even inspire some spontaneity during your trip.

  1. Get a Guide Book

Even if you aren’t generally a guide book user, you should definitely consider buying a book for your honeymoon. Time is precious so it’s important to organize your time wisely. Some of the best guide books include Lonely Planet and Rough Guides.

  1. Research Restaurants

Food is such a huge part of taking a vacation. It can make or break an entire travel experience so researching restaurants before you travel is definitely recommended. Read up on travel guides and travel books for the hidden gems that no-one else has discovered yet.

  1. Leave Time for Beauty

Before you jet off, it’s important to leave some time for beauty treatments. Every girl wants to look and feel perfect on her honeymoon – so make sure you book yourself in for a manicure, eyebrow wax, bikini wax or hair appointment the week before you fly.


  1. Plan Your Budget

Never leave home without enough money to cover your vacation. If your cash flow is tight, a great way to pay for the honeymoon is to add elements of the trip to your wedding gift list.

The Best Holidays to Clear Your Mind


Getting away from the hustle and bustle of everyday stressful life is something everyone looks forward to at least once a year. The opportunity to relax and enjoy yourself in a new environment is a great way to clear one’s mind, especially when work is taxing or the demands of family life are taking their toll. However, it’s often the case that many of us often end up returning from a holiday more wound up and exhausted than before, whether because of the company you were with, how you traveled or where you stayed. Just looking at natural scenery on a computer has been shown to reduce tension, so taking a vacation in an area with beautiful scenery really can help clear your mind.

Beach Holidays

When booking a beach holiday, the main mistake people tend to make is mis-aligning the location and time of year: spending two weeks in August alongside thousands of fellow tourists in Mallorca is never going to be relaxing. If you’re worried your chilled-out couple vacation is going to be ruined by hordes of family holidays then choose an out of season period, a less popular destination, or combination of the two.

If heat isn’t a factor in your destination choice then visiting the Outer Hebrides guarantees a quiet time with plenty of stunning beaches, hills and wildlife. For warmth, Pelješac in Croatia boasts soft shingle beaches and glorious coves while being two hours from the capital Dubrovnik, making it relatively quiet even at the height of summer.

Rail Getaways

Whether traveling through Africa, Asia or Europe, a luxury rail holiday allows plenty of comforts in your own cabin and the ability to see far more of the countries than a cruise provides. There’s no stress of driving in a foreign land, exhaustion from walking all day or struggles reading a map either.

Organising a holiday can be stressful at the best of times, let alone when you’re feeling vulnerable from the pressures of work and home life, so opting for a getaway with everything organised by a travel company takes a load off your mind. ITC Luxury Travel offer a range of rail holidays which do this as well as allowing you to take in some stunning scenery across the world.

Ski Trips

Active vacations such as ski trips may sound tiring, but a physically demanding break can actually provide a refreshing few days or weeks away from the mental exhaustion of the office. Avoid going to busy resorts at peak times and get out on the slopes – gorgeous, snow-capped surroundings and the thrill of speeding downhill will blast any worries from your mind. You can decide how much or little you ski depending on your mood – the fantastic scenery provides a calming atmosphere whether you’re skiing or not, and you can always sit back and enjoy a hot chocolate whilst watching your companions

How to Tailor A Vacation to Your Family’s Interests

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Planning a family vacation can be stressful. Every family is different, so it stands to reason that a standard family trip won’t be right for everyone. While your friends take their kids to a villa every year and your neighbours consistently choose a beach side holiday, that doesn’t mean you have to follow suit.

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Embrace your family’s flaws and quirks. Plan a family holiday that’s a little bit different and visit unusual attractions, like these ones listed by Here are some ideas to help you plan a holiday that’s perfect for your family.

Volunteer and Help Wildlife

This is a great and unusual idea for a family vacation. Whether your child is a budding zoologist or simply loves animals, there are sanctuaries and animal centres across the globes where you can spend part or all of your vacation. Choose from sloth sanctuaries in Peru, helping turtles in Costa Rica or assisting elephant conservationists in Thailand. There’s nothing as therapeutic as a week cuddling adorable animals; plus, it’s hands on, so your kids will never be bored!

Get Some Exercise

While some families love to splash in the pool or lounge on the beach, others prefer to be active. If you’re one of these families, then bring your passion into your holiday. If you’re cyclists, then bike along Croatia’s Dalmatian coast or through Loire France, also known as the Valley of Castles. If you enjoy the aquatic life, then consider river rafting in California or a yachting holiday in Greece, where you can explore many of the country’s islands.

Be Eco Conscious

With the climate change issues our planet is currently facing, being eco conscious is one of the greatest lessons you can teach your kids. So why not help them learn about safeguarding the Earth while on holiday? There are eco lodges in tranquil locations all over the world, including England, Sweden and Gambia. Follow these eco friendly vacation tips to have a relaxing and rejuvenating family vacation.

Live and Experience History

When you go on holiday, you probably visit tourist attractions, especially if you’re staying in a vibrant city. But if you consider yourselves a history buff, or you have kids that are obsessed with ancient Roman warriors, then plan a vacation with history at its heart. Choose an archaeology trip in Greece, a history tour of Italy, or experience India’s fascinating culture and history.

Top Reasons For Seniors To Include Peru In Their Travel Plans

The nation of Peru is famous for its rich culture, stunning natural beauty and friendly people. For seniors who are looking to achieve a fun-filled vacation minus the hassle, it would be best if they would book their trip through Saga Holiday and other trusted travel companies. Here are some of the elements that are waiting to be enjoyed by visitors to Peru.

Wildlife Spotting
Peru is home to a diverse range of wildlife that includes jaguars, primates and thousands of different species of duck. Taking a safari is the perfect way to see the country’s wildlife in comfort and style. Visitors can also take a relaxing boat trip to see aquatic creations such as pink dolphins and charming giant river otters.

Beautiful Beaches
The Peruvian Coast is scattered with stunning sandy beaches that are just waiting to be enjoyed. These are great places to simply unwind for a while. Lovers of luxury can choose to stay in one of the country’s impressive beach resorts. This is an excellent way to enjoy plenty of pampering and really unwind while experiencing the holiday of a lifetime.

Delicious Cuisine
No trip to Peru would be complete without sampling some of the nation’s unique dishes. While some Peruvian dishes have a strong Spanish influence, others are influenced by other parts of the world such as Mexico, Brazil, Chile and Argentina. Some of the Peruvian staple dishes that are waiting to be sampled by food loving travelers include raw seafood in a tangy lime marinade known as ceviche, alpaca steak and Peruvian snacks such as tamales, juanes and humitas.

Affordable Accommodation
Taking a trip to Peru doesn’t have to break the bank. A large number of hotels and guesthouses throughout the country offer clean and comfortable rooms that are also very reasonably priced. For just a few pounds a night it is possible to stay in style in Peru and enjoy the famous warm Peruvian hospitality.

You don’t need to be extremely active to get the most out of a trip to Peru. All of the above options and more are just waiting to be enjoyed by seniors. A number of travel companies such as Saga Holiday also offer special group trips and package tours for seniors that make enjoying an interesting yet relaxing holiday a breeze.

Vacationing or Living is Affordable at Carefree RV Resorts


Disclosure  ~ This article is sponsored by Carefree RV Resorts.  All opinions expressed are that of Living Smart Girl’s.

Sometimes I sit and think, I can’t believe I never really had a vacation up until I was in my 30’s.  Yes, growing up we went camping, went to visit relatives, and had a few day outings, but my parents just never had the money to travel which meant us kids didn’t see much outside of Finland, MN.   We went to Wisconsin a couple times with our Grandma, and took a trip up into Canada and around Lake Superior, coming down thru Michigan, when I was about 12, but I don’t remember much of that.  I then went to North Dakota a couple times with my boyfriend when I was 16, but it was dead of winter so there was no sights to see.   Until I met my husband and our son was almost grown the word vacation just never came up much.   I think if I had taken a trip to Florida in my 20’s, I would never have come back.  That means I never would have met my husband or be doing what I am doing now, so that might be a good thing.  LOL!    I went to Florida the first time in 2007, after the loss of my Mom.   I fell in love!   I finally got hubby to go down 2 years ago, and he fell in love.  All we talk about now is Florida, and retirement.

I was so excited to learn about Carefree RV Resorts.   Hubby and I are going to check out staying at one of them for our next Florida vacation.   Hubby can retire in 6 years, and our goal is to live in Florida part time and Carefree RV Resorts would be a great place to call home for us.  Offering Affordable Florida Vacation Homes with 34 locations in Florida, makes it easy to find one that will fit our lifestyle.  I am not at retirement age, but we have talked about buying a home in one of the any age communities so we have a place to get away to before retirement.  Park Models for Sale are reasonable, and there are many to choose from.   I have my eye on a couple already!!

Carefree RV Resorts is a family of 101 RV parks and Manufactured Home Communities across the United States and Canada.
Carefree offers a wide selection of new and used Park Model homes for sale in their RV Resorts, and mobile homes in their Mobile Home Communities.
   With 34 RV Resorts in Florida, Carefree RV Resorts have something to suit any budget or need. They have homes ranging from under 20K for pre-owned to 50K for brand new, fully customized homes. There is an additional lot rent paid either seasonally or annually.

The park models for sale are all so cute, and would be perfect for anyone looking to vacation or live part time or even year round.  I know the older we get, the more time we would spend in Florida.  Even though we think 6 years is a long way off, we need to start planning now.  A Park Model is a smaller, single-wide home that is considered a recreational vehicle. Park Models are designed for placement in RV resorts, campgrounds, or locations where smaller trailers are an acceptable living environment.   A typical Park Model is a single structure and is shorter and narrower than a Manufactured Home. They typically have one bedroom, one bath, an eat-in kitchen and living room. Park Models are typically eight to thirteen feet wide and have one or two bedrooms. They are under 500 sq ft.  This is perfect for what we are looking for, how about you?  

Not into Florida?  Well no worries as Carefree RV Resorts has resorts in Florida, Texas, New Jersey, California, Massachusetts, North Carolina and Ontario Canada.  So, you have no excuses to not enjoy Carefree RV Resorts.  Check out some of these great pictures and tell me how you could pass up a life like this, the Carefree way! 😉    Such cute park model homes, all done up so nicely.


Carefree is currently running a special called “Your Passport to Paradise – You stay we pay!”
With the help of a Carefree sales advisor, your visit will be planned at prime Florida destinations based on your interests and preferences. We’ll select properties that have everything you are looking for to preview during your personalized visit. Accommodations include up to 4 nights for 2 guests in a Carefree Resort Home.  Flexible dates. Subject to availability.  Arrive by car or RV and simply commit to a guided tour of the Carefree property of your choice.  Availability varies by property.  Plan your visit before April 30, 2015. Every home buyer will receive a $1,500 check within 15 days after close of their resort home.
For more information call Sheri at 855-999-9812
En français Nicole et 1-450-775-1760


I can’t wait to start researching and finding the perfect home for us.   This has been a huge eye opener as to what is available for us, and for you.  So, maybe we can be friends if we all live by each other.  How fun!!   See you at the Carefree RV Resorts!

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