Something To Think About!

 

It is incredible how nature give us the example that not everything that you see at first, it’s the real thing… These butterflies for example, when the wings are closed they are simple brown butterflies, probably won’t catch your attention but if you stay for a little longer it will share with you it’s true beauty!

The photos were taken at the National Museum of Natural History in the Live Butterfly Pavilion http://spotabutterfly.com/Museum in Washington, D.C., United States of America. By me 🙂

Until then,

xamlinnette 🙂

 

 

 

It Is Happening! Road Trip 2014

Finally we are on our way! We left Orlando around 2:30pm, we don’t want to drive today more than 7 hours. At this moment we are close to Jacksonville. Our rest destination today is Florence, South Carolina. After resting, tomorrow, Washington DC!

When planing the trip we were not sure what kind of car to rent, in my desire of not spending too much gas I wanted it a small car. Thanks God that we decided it a mini van! No matter the planning and how much I try to pack smart, we are 5 and everything seems to multiply by 10.

 

 

This is all for today!

Until then…

xamlinnette 🙂

 

Research, Research and more Research

I am at the second stage of my road trip planning. In my last post about this subject (Planning Road Trip 2014 – How you Plan a Road Trip), I mention my intentions of researching or knowing some apps that could help me to plan our itinerary. All the applications that I will be mentioning or using I found them at the apple store because I will be using my I pad. I am pretty sure that most of the apps also come for android users.

I love the fact of being able to have a device that you can carry around and it is multi-usable. I love the fact that you can have all the maps, attraction lists, metro maps and information, in other words your everything with you at all times y one same place! Amazing!

Ok, so I first started with Washington DC. I went to the App Store, look through the options. First I started exploring the free applications that have information about the city, maps and attractions. I got CityBot DC and City Walks for Washington DC. I found out later that this two apps comes for many major cities in US, including NY City. After playing with this applications for a while, my conclusion was:

CityBot – Gives you good information but constructing an itinerary is a little hard, at least was for me. I decided to used it as reference for prices of places and for research of places.
City Walks DC – I liked this application very much, but I have to confess that I upgraded for $4.99. At the beginning was a little hard to used but that is when I realized that if I wanted to used it the way I wanted, I had to upgraded. I didn’t fight it much. It really is a great tool to move around and have a step by step itinerary in a place that you never been. The app comes with some standard tours that covers pretty much everything that we or any other tourist will like to see from DC.

 

You can also make your own itinerary from scratch or use the standard tours that they suggested mixing them in a way that works for you. That is what I did, I created my own tours based on the ones that they suggest but accommodating it to our needs. It also will give a map, for you to arrange your tour and stops in the order that is more convenient for you. Here is one of the tours that I made for Saturday May 14.

Here is another App, this one I found for free (MX for Metro in DC). I think this one is great, comes with a metro map of the city and you can enter the metro station from where your departing and where you want to go, it will show you which metro to take and the time of your ride. For anyone that it’s not familiar with the metro system in DC its a good start. I eventually will let you know if it really works.

 

 

For New York I used the same applications for the City of NY. For the metro system in NY, I will be using the App NY Subway. This one is a little bit more confusing but basically works the same way as the DC one. Of course, the metro system in NY is a lot more complicated than in DC. Here is a pic so you can have an idea.

 

I got you a closer look, in this map you can touch one of the stations (round/square numbers or letters) and it will open asking if this is where you want to come from or go to. Then you pick up the other end of your trip and it will trace your route, giving you the information of how many stations you will pass and the time of your ride. I think it will be very helpful too.

 

Well this is all I found out on my research, I hope this will be helpful for you and me. 🙂

Now I am working on my options for coming back home and a plan B if we decided not to go up to the Niagara Falls.

Until then,

xamlinnette 🙂

 

 

 

Planning Road Trip 2014 – How you Plan a Road Trip?

This week I been doing all the hotels reservations for this trip. It's been crazy for me, it is my first time planning a road trip. First let me tell you where we plan to go and when. We live in Orlando FL, so we will be leaving from Orlando and my goal is to go up to the Niagara Falls in Canada. We will be starting our trip on June 12 around noon and we should be back in Florida around June 24.

Our major point of interest are Washington DC, New York and Niagara Falls. This will be a family trip with my two teenage kids, my mom and my fiancé Jorge (even though probably he wont be able to be with us all the time due to his work).

The Driving

This is my first time planning a road trip like I said before and I didn’t know where to start. So, giving some thinking I thought that I wanted to know first the amount of time I want to be on the road driving. I checked on the map how far we will get in a 8 to 10 hour drive. After studying my options, I decided that our first day we will be stopping in Florence, South Carolina. Because our first day we will be leaving around noon, I didn't want to drive more than 8 hours, I thought Florence will be a good stopping point, according to the map is about 7 hours.

 

On Friday we will leave early in the morning (whatever that means…) on our way to Washington DC. The plan is to be there for three nights, until June 16. Then that Monday morning of the 16, we will head out to NY!! We are also planning to stay 3 nights.

Now at this point of my future planning I decided to put it on hold. My desire is to continue our trip to Niagara Falls, Canada, but at that moment we have to evaluate our expenses, and other factors to see if is worth it to drive up there to stay for two nights.

If everything goes the way I want it, we will be heading back on June 21 from Niagara Falls. On our way back down I want to make our stops in different places than the original ones. My plan is that every day we travel for 8 to 10 hours and spend the evening and night somewhere and repeat until we get to Florida. I don’t know yet where we will be stopping, I am still studying the situation.


Hotels

At the beginning, when I tought about this trip, I wanted to be spontaneous and drive until we were tired and then at the moment check the hotels around the area and pick one for the night. But I can't help myself of trying to have everything under control and planned. So, I started the planning… I don't know what kind of websites or apps people use to do their reservations, but I always used Expedia.com . For this trip, I wanted to check all the possible options that could be out there. We are under a budget, for that reason I wanted to find something good and not expensive. I tried Hotels.com, Booking.com,and TripAdvisor.com to check ratings, reviews and more. It's funny how after all my research I ended up doing all my reservation through Expedia. One of the things I had to pay attention and I was looking for, was for hotels that would let me cancel my reservation for free or a small fee. Just in case something happens or we change plans, I wanted to have the option of canceling. Another thing I was looking for it was breakfast, wifi, free parking and access to metro stations, bus stops. Well I think I was successful on my search, I would really know that, once we get there.


For now, that’s all I have done, my next step is doing the list of things that we want to see in each place. I will be working on that this next week.

If you have any suggestion or website that could make the reservation of hotels a better process, let me know! Expedia works fantastic to me, but I would love to know if there is more options. I already know about some apps that could help me doing my itinerary for DC and NY but also I am open to suggestions.

So… until then

xamlinnette 🙂