Croatia – Any Advice Is Welcome!!!

Sometimes a break is in order and I found that the case this October.  I got caught up in planning a dream vacation which is almost as much fun as the vacation. Next summer we will take a 2+ week vacation to Croatia and I am so excited. We have been talking about this destination for a few years now and finally all our stars aligned.

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Our traveling companions are 3 other couples that we normally camp with so finding accommodations was a challenge. Villas for 8 with 4 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms is not common place in this historic country but after many hours on the various booking sites we found it. Who knew how complicated it would be to book trips outside of Expedia. Wire transfers and PayPal are new to us but I think we have managed.

I can now get back to my blog but not before asking if any of you have visited or live in Croatia, I would love to hear from you. Any tips, tricks or recommendations are very welcome. We will only be there a short time and want to see as much as possible.

I hope to hear from you but for now back to camping!

Spring Break For A Canadian!

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For your average Canadian spring break does not include camping, unless you are hard core. Since I have already admitted to being a “rural camper” there was never a time I even considered camping in March. As a family we will usually head to a sunny destination and this year it was Los Cabos, Mexico. Us along with 3 of our fellow camping families headed to an all inclusive resort for a great family get away.

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Los Cabos suffered a terrible hurricane in September 2014 but they have done an amazing job cleaning up their town. We had been to Cabo several years back and were drawn back due to the great weather and as expected the weather was fantastic. What we didn’t expect was we were also traveling during whale watching season. Now being from British Columbia you might think we would not be impressed but I can tell you we were totally amazed. The sheer number of whales far exceeded anything we had seen in BC.IMG_1317

We were staying at the Sandos Finesterra Resort which is located on the top of a hill overlooking both the marina and the Pacific Ocean. There were several view points within the hotel that allowed us to watch the whales breaching in the distance. In fact we could sit at the pool and see numerous whales just off the shore. There were so many whales that while we were there a snorkelling tour had a whale breech up and onto their boat. It was terrible reminder of just how dangerous these large mammals can be.

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Lately areas of Mexico have been getting some bad press due to the drug problems in certain provinces but I can assure you we all felt safe our entire time in Los Cabos. There were 13 of us in total and at no time did we hesitate to walk into town or have the kids (ages 16 and 17) stay alone at the resort or in their rooms. The staff in the resort and the surrounding restaurants and shops were friendly and aside for a rip off fishing tour, our experiences were memorable. We will be back and I hope it is during whale season again.

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T – Travel: the three stages of travel

TBoth my husband and I love to travel so when we got to “T” in the A to Z Challenge, travel seemed like the obvious topic. Keeping with my previous themes, here are the The 3 Stages of Travel  that we have been through since we met.

Stage 1 – Pre-children or as our friends called us back then, DINK’s (double income no kids). This seemed like simple times. We had no children, no mortgages, no pets and no worries.  Travel was easy and helped cement our relationship.

Our first trip was Texas and Louisanna which involved the French Quarter Festival in New Orleans and a road trip through Texas. We followed that up the next year with a 21 day tour of Europe and the year after that a river cruise down the Nile in Egypt and a backpacking trip through Greece where we got engaged and shortly there after married.

My hope for my children is they have the opportunity to visit parts of the world before they settle into the responsibilities of life. Travel makes you understand the bigger picture of life and appreciate what you have at home.

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Chania, Greece

Venice

Chania was built by the Venitians.

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Luxor, Egypt

Stage 2 – Travel with Children.  This stage involved: the happiest place on earth a couple of times, Mexico a couple of times, and then our many camping trips. Each trip was very different in content, cost and level of relaxation but equal in quality time and memories.

DisneylandWe did Disneyland when the kids were 1&2 and again when they were 7&8. People told us the first trip would be a waste of money but I can tell you it was one of the best memories for us, as parents. It was a chance to see a child’s imagination while it is still innocent: they thought it really was Tinkerbell flying over the castle. They absolutely loved that trip!  No they don’t remember it now, but we do so I would recommend it to all parents. The 2nd trip was more memorable for the kids and was still fun for us parents.

Our 2 trips to Mexico were both to all Inclusive resorts and they truly were vacations for the entire family. These were our most costly holidays but sometimes we all need time to relax and not worry about meals, cleaning or organizing activities. All inclusives are the perfect solution for a busy family,  and the planning was simple even with endless options for kids clubs, resort amenities and tourist attractions. Plus, their buffets enable everyone to eat exactly what they want, whenever they want.

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Then there were our early camping trips. These were by far the most work but worth it in memories and experiences. When the kids were really young we stayed in BC opting for lake trips with sunshine and swimming.  As they got older we ventured out on longer road trips through the Alberta Badlands, Oregon Coast and Yellowstone National Park. These trips gave us many great memories while providing some educational opportunities.

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Stage 3 – Travel with Teens.  As the kids got older we got busier.  3 more Mexico’s all inclusive called out. We headed back to Disney for an older take on that experience.  And added a trip to New York & Washington, DC in for good measure. In between all that we continued to camp; enjoying new areas and returning to our familiar favourites.

With teens travel is easier. As parents we could relax and enjoy the sights, pools, beaches and activities more. It was fun to watch our children become more independent and opinionated. They knew what they wanted to see and had ideas for where they wanted to go. One of our Mexico trips was planned almost entirely by our then 16 year old daughter… and she did a great job!

Camping became more about the company. We joined other families for trips and stayed closer to home trying to balance the kids’ work and sports schedules. We selected campgrounds with great beaches, lakes, weather and which had electricity & WiFi.  We organized group games and  activities that got everyone involved. We also started a yearly camping trip with a large group of families in hopes of keeping the kids coming back for years to come.

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iPhone camping

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iPhone at campfire

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iPhone after campfire

Each stage has been very different in organization, destination and content but they consistently provide memories and quality time that bring families together.

CampThatSite has provided a great place to document and share all these great memories.

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