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7 simple ways to put the fun back into corporate travel

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Are you someone that has to travel for business sometimes? If you are, you might have heard your friends saying things like “oh my gosh you’re so lucky to be able to travel and get paid for it”, or “that must be such an exciting part of your job!”  While these friends are partly right, sometimes it’s not all fun and excitement, as you may well know. Sure, it’s exciting to take your first business trip and stay in luxurious serviced apartments all around the world, but once you get down to your fifteenth or even twentieth business trip, things can lose some of their sheen.

 

Traveling for business sounds exotic but here are some of the biggest challenges that you can face:

 

  • Jet lag (and the subsequent recovery time) can take a few days off your routine when you come home or arrive. If you live in a place like Australia, it’s not so easy to just do a short flight from the United States or Europe.
  • When you travel a lot you can miss hanging out with friends and family. While some time away from family can be a great chance to get some alone time and to reset, the alone time doesn’t always happen if you’re heading to a busy conference.
  • Keeping your work flow going can often be difficult. While people travel with the best of intentions to keep working, the travel bug or jet lag can kick in. You want to spend your time overseas or in your new destination doing as much as you can while you’re there. This can be tricky to manage and requires discipline.
  • Making sure that you are eating well and getting enough exercise when you’re away can be difficult in some locations depending on where you stay, and what is around.

 

So with these in mind let’s look at the top seven ways to make corporate travel fun again.

 

Plan your trip like an adventure

While you might be traveling for business, your free time is always going to be your own. With that in mind make sure you plan your free time accordingly to make the most of it. There are plenty of guides and other websites like travel blogs available which can tell you the best things to do in pretty much every place in the world. As a result, it won’t be too difficult for you to pre-plan the activities that you’re going to spend your time on. This can be a great thing to do ahead of time, especially if you’re going to be pressed for minutes otherwise. Create an agenda and go for it.

 

Get some sunshine to reset your body

Part of getting over your jet lag is ensuring that you get some vitamin D from the sun once you’re on the ground in the new place. Well it might seem appealing to go and sleep for as long as you can, one of the best and most natural things that you can do for your body is to get outside and get some rays. Even if it’s only for 15 minutes, you’ll be sure to see the benefits of having some natural light on your body.

 

Use apps for planning

A wonderful part of traveling for business in this modern day and age is that there’s a huge range of apps available which can tell you what to do and how to plan your trip in a new city. Be sure to download a translation app (if that’s something you’ll need to use for where you’re going), and maximize the apps available, as they leave you free to enjoy your city with your device at your fingertips. Plus some might not even chew through your data – a fact which is often a bugbear of travelers.

 

Manage your flying like a champ

Do you have a squishy neck pillow? If you don’t, you need to get one. When you’re traveling on planes, there’s nothing worse than being uncomfortable. A quick way to get around this is to ensure that you have a bit of a travel kit packed up and ready to go which will ensure your comfort. Make sure you have a good moisturizer, that you drink plenty of water, you pack your squishy neck pillow, and possibly invest in some noise cancelling headphones or earplugs if noise is something that’s a problem for you. A good night’s sleep is a great way to enjoy a new city

 

Be kind to your jet lag

If you are jet lagged and are really feeling it then perhaps take it very easy. The only thing that you’re going to do is exhaust yourself, which may lead to you getting sick. This is not a great way to enjoy your trip. Plan little, rest often and eat well.

 

Meet your mates in the middle

If you’re looking to take a trip with friends, why not get them to meet you halfway to your destination. That way you all get to take a trip that’s exciting!

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Hotdish and Hops Festival Fun at Valleyfair

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“Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Cedar Fair Entertainment Company in conjunction with Blog Meets Brand, and I have been compensated for my participation. All opinions are my own.”
#VFFirstTimer, #VF40 #VFBestDayEver #Ad

 

This past weekend my family and I had the opportunity to visit Valleyfair for the Hotdish and Hops Festival. It was a hot one but a good one. We loved our time at the theme park and all it had to offer, including the special festival.

Because it was 90 degrees when we arrived at Valleyfair, we knew we needed to cool off right in the gate so we did what anyone else in our position would have done and that was ride The Wave.
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My poor husband. Our 15 year old told him that he wouldn’t get “that” wet.
I think that his sneakers might still be damp.
We don’t get to Valleyfair very often. In fact, the last time we did was nearly four years ago. Every time we’re there I realize how much it has changed and new things have been added but it still has some of our favorites.
New to us this visit was:
Dinosaurs Alive!
I also was again so impressed by Planet Snoopy. It was there when we visited four years ago but it was just perfect for our three year old, barely any wait for any of the rides and just such a fun part of the theme park so that she felt as though she had her own exciting rides to ride.
Of course, the older kids loved Mouse Trap, Wild Thing, Power Tower, Thunder Canyon and Monster.
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We tried to time our visit to the Hotdish and Hops Festival around lunchtime so we’d have worked up an appetite to sample a few different hot dishes.
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My favorite: the good ol’ tator tot hot dish.
Our 17 year old loved the Chicken Wild Rice hot dish.
My husband loved the spaghetti hot dish.
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There were a lot of options and each sample was good sized. Sample cards were available for purchase or if you had a meal plan, included.
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We timed it perfectly because as we arrived, the Chris Hawkey band was just getting ready to head on stage.
What a performer. Chris Hawkey was walking around with the audience, letting audience members snap selfies and thoroughly enjoying the show. It’s always so entertaining to see an entertainer really enjoying their performance versus just performing.
Once we had a chance to sit in the shade enjoying some music and food, we decided it was time to get wet in Soak City Waterpark.
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Isn’t it awesome that there is a full size water park INSIDE Valleyfair?
My girls and I enjoyed several runs around the lazy river and the wave pool. My fearless 7 year old also enjoyed a few slides.
It was busy but not too busy and there were plenty of places to seek shade and cool air too.
Of course, for me, no trip to Valleyfair is complete without some Dippin’ Dots Ice Cream, which we enjoyed before we hit up a few more rides on the way out.
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There are a lot of other festivals happening this summer at Valleyfair that you can take advantage of right here. https://www.valleyfair.com/things-to-do/special-events
 Have you been to Valleyfair? What’s your must do, ride, eat?
Living Smart Girl (Sheila) was not able to attend this great event so we sent an awesome blogger to cover it for us.  Her name is Samara and she lives in the Twin Cities and blogs about life as a family of seven.  You can find her at ~ simplicityinthesuburbs.com
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Join us at the Valleyfair Hotdish & Hops Festival June 18 & 19

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 “Disclosure:  This post is sponsored by Cedar Fair Entertainment Company in conjunction with Blog Meets Brand,
and I have been compensated for my participation. All opinions are my own.”
#VFFirstTimer, #VF40

Are you a lover of hotdishes and coasters?  Well what a better way to enjoy them both, than by visiting Valleyfair on June 18th or 19th, or both.  Maybe you are also a lover of great music?  You can do so much at Valleyfair, like go on coasters, eat till you burst, and catch Kat Perkins or Chris Hawkey.

Kat Perkins will be performing during the event on Saturday at 3:00, 4:30, and 6:00 and Chris Hawkey will be performing during the event on Sunday at 2:00, 3:30, and 5:00.

You can RSVP to the event on the Facebook Event page here.

While you are there you can ride all the fun Roller Coaster Rides too.  My favorite, Wild Thing.  What is your’s?

Grab your tickets before going to the park, and check out all the fun things you can do while you are there.

Follow Valleyfair on social media ~
Facebook: www.facebook.com/valleyfair/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/valleyfairmn/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ValleyfairMN

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Living Smart Girl (Sheila) is not able to attend this great event so we are sending an awesome blogger to cover it for us.  Her name is Samara and she lives in the Twin Cities and blogs about life as a family of seven.  You can find her at ~ simplicityinthesuburbs.com

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Quick hacks for packing like a pro

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Packing…it’s something we all need to do if we’ve booked a trip, but dread doing. If you’re looking for some quick hacks to turn your packing nightmare into a very simple task, then look no further.

Check Out What You Can Check-In

You’ve made it to the airport, case full to the brim with all your travel “essentials”. Just as you’re finally about to relax, you’re told that your bag is over the weight limit or there are banned items inside it. Disaster, right? Avoid any unnecessary, last minute, embarrassing airport repacking, or expensive airline charges, by checking the airline restrictions ahead of time. It’s a small amount of effort that will make your check-in experience much less stressful.

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Forget Folding

Ladies, let’s face it, we don’t do ‘light packing’. This year, save yourself some room and ditch your folding ways. Roll your clothes individually and you’ll find that you can fit almost double into your suitcase.

If you’re worried about creasing, then try bundle wrapping, which involves combining your clothes into neat packages using tactical folding methods. Our final space-saving packing tip is: invest in travel vacuum bags, which help keep everything as compact as possible. Be sure to make use of all the empty spaces too, and that includes inside your shoes – the perfect spot for storing socks, jewellery, or phone chargers. Et voila, you’re a suitcase-space-maximising expert – time to play Tetris with that extra room in your stylish carry on luggage with legs (just be careful not to add too much extra weight inside that trendy travel accessory)!

Is It Really Necessary?

A lighter case makes travelling so much easier, so try to minimise the number of unnecessary items you pack into your case. Try making a list ahead of packing and plan out your outfits for each day, so that you avoid packing too many clothes. Those ‘just in case’ items normally end up returning from your travels unworn or unused, so save yourself some backache by packing only the necessities.

Wear the Weight

Walking boots, thick jumpers and big coats will all add considerable weight to your case, and if you’re packing with a restricted weight limit, then the kilos are super valuable. Opt to wear your heaviest or bulkiest items on the plane and this problem will be no more. Don’t worry about being too warm, as once you’re on the plane, you will be able to remove your layers and store them in the overhead compartment while you travel.

Pack the Scales

If you’re planning on a spot of retail therapy while you travel, or maybe just buying gifts to take home for friends and family, don’t forget that this will increase the weight of your luggage when you return home. Pack a luggage scale and you’ll be able to keep track of whether your souvenirs will tip the scale when you make it to the airport, or whether those extra shoes will make it back to your house. Happy shopping!

If you still need more inspiration, check out what these travel experts have to say about packing light.

As your escape from reality draws ever nearer your packing worries will no longer hold you down. Room for one more in that suitcase?

 

Images by City Caucus and Joel Kramer used under Creative Commons license.

Join Me at the Valleyfair Food Truck Festival

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Disclosure ~ This post is sponsored by Cedar Fair Entertainment Company in conjunction with Blog Meets Brand,
and I have been compensated for my participation.  All opinion are my own.  #VFFirstTimer #VF40

 

Have you heard of Valleyfair?  Well if you live in Minnesota I am sure you, like me, have been there a time or 10.  I have visited many places and I have to say Valleyfair is one of my fav’s, and they have the BEST rides one can find!

I am so excited because I get to head there next weekend.  I was asked to be one of the lucky peeps to cover the Valleyfair Food Truck Festival being held May 21st.   Wanna join me ?   If you are going to be at Valleyfair that day, and wanna say  hi, get a selfie with me (Living Smart Girl), and chat food and fun.. reach out to me.

Keep an eye here sometime next week for my post sharing how much fun I had and all the food I ate.  Make sure to check out Valleyfair.com and get your park passes for the day, or season.  Check out their things to do and their special events.

Did you know it’s Valleyfair’s 40th Anniversary.  That blows me away!!   Just another reason to visit the park, right!?

Follow along with them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

 

 

How to Save Money While on Vacation

How to Save Money While on Vacation

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After working all year or a few stressful weeks on the job, it’s good to be able to take some time to relax. From soaking up the sun on a tropical beach somewhere to hitting the slopes on the fresh powder, going on a vacation can help you recharge, refuel, and get ready for a new work year or quarter. However, planning and budgeting for a dream vacation can bring on even more stress. If you’re struggling to make your dream vacay fit into your budget, take a look at how you can save money on a vacation.

Purchase Airline Tickets in Advance

Even though sometimes a trip may be spur of the moment, for the most part, they can take months or even a year to plan. If you already have your dates and location finalized, make purchasing your airline tickets the first thing you do. Not only will you get better rates for purchasing in advance, but it allows you more time to be eligible for upgrades, seat changes, and luggage check-in. Waiting until the last few weeks or few days before a trip to purchase your airline tickets can cost you thousands more than you would be paying for advance buying. If you have reward miles or are using a coupon code, see if the airline will honor it ahead of schedule, or ask about promotions going on to help you save even more.

Create a Spending Budget

The biggest expenses after the hotel, flights, and ground transportation are food and drinks. For a large family, three meals a day for a week-long vacation can end up costing almost the equivalent to a plane ticket. Don’t be blindsided with a $100 dinner bill and have to rearrange the big plans you have the next day. Create a spending budget months before you leave. Take a look online for the average costs for dining in the area you’re traveling to, and plan accordingly. Not only will you get a feel for what restaurants your locale has to offer, but you can set aside a little every week to help cover the costs. Once you arrive on vacation, use your spending plan to stay on track and avoid any messy and unexpected charges.

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Utilize a Rewards Credit Card

If you’re struggling to find it in your budget to visit all the places and sights on you vacation list, a rewards credit card can be a great option. Not only do reward cards offer a way to help pay for any costly expenses like flights, hotels, and other activities, but they also help to eliminate some of the costs. Check on the requirements for most reward cards. With many offering bonus points or miles for purchases, you may be able to cancel out some of the major purchases on your vacation after using the card during the year. With reward points or cash back on travel, you can reduce the cost of your flights. Work with your credit card company to see what special rewards are available for travel. If you are using a card just for vacation, use the budget you have in place to pay it off quickly while still racking up rewards.

Make It a Road Trip If Possible

Even though flying may be easier, it is not always the most cost efficient. If you have a large family or many pieces of luggage to transport, plane tickets can set you back double the cost of your actual vacation. If you are traveling to somewhere close by or within a day’s drive, opt for making it a road trip. Not only will you have more room for luggage, but even with stops along the way and gas fill ups, you’ll be saving thousands on your vacation budget. This leaves you more money for tickets to shows, amusement parks, or to spend on souvenirs!

Plan Your Recreation Ahead of Time

Going on vacation should be spontaneous and fun, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few things you can plan ahead. If you know which shoes or recreational activities you plan on going to, purchase tickets before you leave. Not only will this guarantee you can get a tickets for your entire family, but it also lets you search for the best coupon deals and promo codes. Look for bundle packages to reduce your ticket costs and allow you to visit more than one show or museum. Skip the lines and the hassle by printing your tickets out and having them packed along with your travel documents.

Most commonly overlooked benefits to going on a cruise holiday

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Most commonly overlooked benefits to going on a cruise holiday

So many people dismiss cruise holidays without even giving them a chance. Often it’s the old ‘cruises are only for old people’, ‘cruises are boring’ excuses that we hear time and time again. But, a cruising holiday can be one of the best adventures of a lifetime if you get the right one. Here are the most common benefits to cruising that people overlook:

The amazing places

Perhaps the very best thing about cruising is the amazing places you get to see. Whether you want to visit exotic Caribbean islands, see the Mediterranean, explore the beauty of Greece or head out to the Baltics, there are so many different cruises calling at some of the best locations in the world. A cruise means you get to explore so many different countries and experience a variety of different cultures in such a short space of time, it’s the perfect way to see the world in style.

 

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The fantastic food

What with calling at some of the best destinations in the world and experiencing all the local cuisine there’s also tons of amazing food and drink on board. With some world famous chefs having restaurants on board certain ships, foodies will definitely love a cruising holiday. Spend your days at sea indulging in all the wonderful treats on board and then try out all the amazing delicacies and drinks of the fabulous places you visit while in port.

The variety

Sometimes it can be hard to decide what kind of holiday you’d like to go on. Whether you fancy a city break or a sunbathing or exploring holiday can be tricky. With a cruise you can combine them all in to one. Planet Cruise has cruises which call at some of the most amazing destinations in the world, so you can spend one day pounding the streets of Barcelona seeing the Sagrada Familia and the next day laid out on the deck catching the rays. Cruises are now so advanced there’s so much to do on board that you can even rock climb and go on a surf simulator, so there’s no reason to ever feel bored on a cruise holiday again.

What with so many benefits to going on a cruising holiday, it’s certain that once you take the plunge and book your first cruising holiday you’ll be so impressed you’ll definitely go cruising time and time again.

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The best places to explore on a Caribbean cruise

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There are so many reasons to go on an exotic Caribbean cruise. Endless white sandy beaches, beautiful islands, crystal clear waters and tropical conditions all year round are just the start. So which are the best places to visit? Below is a quick guide to the most exciting places to explore on a Cruise Deals Caribbean adventure:

Falmouth, Jamaica

Forget about Kingstone, situated in the North of Jamaica is Falmouth, one of Jamaica’s most amazing Georgian towns. Falmouth was once one of the busiest ports in Jamaica and has a very authentic Jamaican feel. Once you’ve passed through the man made port, inspired by Georgian replica buildings then you’ll be on the streets of a bustling Jamaican town. Why not enjoy some street side jerk chicken whilst you perch on a bench watching the lazy Jamaican days pass by.

Bridgetown, Barbados

Barbados is more than just stunning beaches. Visit Bridgetown, Barbados’ most vibrant city. An eclectic mix of all that is traditional in Caribbean culture juxtaposed against the new shopping malls and eateries of Barbados, making this city a hybrid that is not to be missed. Street vendors line the streets selling ice cold snow cones and if you really want to enjoy some Barbadian culture, head to Cheapside Market. You’ll find the best fresh produce, including meats and vegetables at shockingly low prices.

Isla Cozumel

The Mexican island is a paradise for divers thanks to its beautiful coral reefs. On the east side of the island there is an amazing 7 miles of gorgeous coastline made up of both deserted beaches and popular tourist spots. Whether you want to swim out to a hidden water cave and wonder at the sea turtles or drink cocktails at a bustling beach bar, you won’t be disappointed. If you prefer cultural excursions make sure you head to the hidden Mayan ruins. The site is supposedly home to the goddess of fertility, Ixchel and an important part of Cozumel’s history.

Road Town, Tortola  

Experience the delights of Road Town, one of the British Virgin Islands. Road Town is the place for the explorer in you, with acres upon acres of ancient rainforest. Be sure to visit Sage National Park where you can appreciate all the beautiful forestry and botanical plants on horseback. If you fancy a more cosmopolitan experience, head to Main Street where you’ll find museums and monuments galore.

So, what are you waiting for? See all the amazing natural wonders the world has to offer and book a Caribbean cruise now.

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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.

Food

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.

 

Culture

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.

 

History

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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