My family recently returned from a vacation in Thailand. While Bangkok wasn’t our main destination, we made the most of the twenty four hours in this incredible city. Our kids were such sports as we dragged them all over the place! If you’re ever in Bangkok for a day, here are some ideas for a glimpse into this bustling city.
1. Chatuchak Weekend Market otherwise known as Jatujak Market. After our week in Koh Chang, we arrived into Bangkok on Sunday around 4, meaning we had two hours to get to Chatuchak and shop before it closed at 6. We dropped our bags and rushed out, because even a whole day in this 27 acre market is not enough time to see all of it. You can eat, get a back massage, buy a new wardrobe, and outfit your home with fancy one-of-a-kind souvenirs for cheap cheap. My favorite item purchased here was a pair of harem pants for the equivalent of about $7.
Tip: Thailand, as a whole, is a very safe country. However, in crowded markets like this one, you have to beware of pickpockets. I was here fifteen years ago and my friend’s passport was pickpocketed right out of her … >> find out more...
A trip to Redfish Lake is every wonderful thing a lake vacation should be. My little family recently spent 4 days camping in this Idaho wilderness, and it was bliss. For 4 solid days we didn’t think at all about politics, highlighting-and-contouring, calories, or Pokemon. Instead, we soaked up towering mountain peaks, a sparkling lake, and the sweet sweet smell of campfire.
Redfish Lake, just outside Stanley, Idaho, is a beloved gem of a place, for both native Idahoans and long distance visitors. The kind of place families return to year after year. Nestled within the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho, and cloaked in it’s own special kind of magic. These aptly named jagged peaks are brimming with pine trees, creeks, waterfalls, meadows, and crystal clear lakes with sandy shores. Breathtaking views and wonders big and small around every corner.
Our little campsite sat right along the beach at Redifsh, beneath a canopy of fragrant lodgepole pines and blue blue sky. The morning sunrise beamed right across the glassy lake into our tent–a glorious way to wake up each morning. The days warmed up quickly, and the nights cooled to a lovely light chill–perfect for roaring bonfires, tinfoil dinners and s’mores. Nothing compares to the combination … >> find out more...
A yearly family vacation is essential to building family bonds and memories. At least, I think it’s essential. We picked Koh Chang, Thailand for this year’s family fun, and what fun we had! If you’re contemplating a trip to Southeast Asia, Thailand is a great choice, and Koh Chang should be first on your list.
All sorts of adventures were to be had on Koh Chang, otherwise known as Elephant Island. A mere five hours from Bangkok (our AirBNB hosts happily arranged shuttle service for us) and accessible only by ferry, its lush mountains and warm waters refresh your soul like a steaming cup of soup on a cold day. Northern Hemisphere Summer equals rainy season on Koh Chang, but we found it a perfect time to go as the island was less crowded with tourists. Seven days wasn’t enough, but it was enough for some amazing island adventuring with kids aged six to thirty nine!
1. THE BEACH. Of course you can’t go to the island without getting your fill of several days sitting beachside. We spent many days enjoying the Gulf of Thailand waters which proved to be warm with waves just the perfect amount of fun without … >> find out more...
When I was kid in elementary school, I remember hearing talks about El Niño. Although I didn’t quite know what it was, I thought it was some once-off thing that got blamed if the weather wasn’t just right. Now I’m an adult, and El Niño has reared its ugly head once again. The results are much more catastrophic than I ever knew as a youth.
In South Africa, the country I call home, we were not prepared for what El Niño would bring or actually what it wouldn’t bring. Rain was scarce during our named rainy season months of January and February earlier this year. Now that we’re in the dry Winter season, the drought is felt more than ever. How, you might ask?
We get our water supply from the local river. About two months back, they started closing down access to the river every other week. That means that we have water for a week and then no water for a week. Can you imagine turning the tap on and nothing coming out? Now, before I paint too dramatic of a picture, let me say that we do pay to haul in water so that we don’t go a … >> find out more...
image credit Tom McGovern used with permission
There were many things I came to love during my nearly five year stint in New Haven, Connecticut. The blooming cherry blossoms in the Spring, the local restaurants (you won’t find a chain restaurant anywhere in the city limits), the outdoor life once Winter decided it was time to go, and then there was the pizza. Oh, my, I never knew pie could taste so good. The thin crust baked just right in a wood fired oven, well, it’s kiss your mama delicious. Check out my opinion of the three best New Haven pizza eats and a recipe for a one-of-a-kind pie!
If you want a good eat AND a chance to dine in the same seats as past Presidents, then Pepe’s is your place. The chances of having to stand outside in a queue waiting to be seated are quite high, but they are pretty fast and the pizza is worth it.
The name just rolls off your tongue like you’re really Italian which should indicate the authenticity of this dive. The traditional pizzas (like pepperoni and cheese) are to die for. When we wanted to grab a quick … >> find out more...
Traveling to Hawaii has been on my Bucket List for about, well, EVER. And I did get to Hawaii, a little over 3 years ago, for a media trip that lasted about 72 hours; and while it was lovely, it wasn’t even remotely the same thing as taking a vacation with my family to some tropical isles for major downtime and big fun adventures.
So this Summer when my son qualified for the Western U.S. championships of swimming, to be held in Maui, Hawaii, I grabbed on tight and didn’t let go. We decided to be awesome and support our son (and brother) by traveling to Hawaii with him for the swim meet.
We’re definitely the most supportive kind of people in the Czarnecki family.
We also decided that if we were going to pay for a family of 4 to fly to Hawaii, we might as well stay and make an actual vacation-vacation out of it. The swim meet took up a solid week of our time, 7 a.m. – 9 p.m. so we extended by an extra week to have some work free, hang-out-do-nothing-all-day or do-all-the-adventre-things-we-can-think-of vacation time. So we did. And it was marvelous.
… >> find out more...
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico holds a special place in my heart. I’ve visited three times, and each visit is better than the last. In fact, I love Puerto Vallarta so much I wanted to honeymoon there, but we were young and broke and ended up going somewhere closer to home (read: cheaper) instead. But a year ago, my husband and I decided it was time for a romantic getaway to Mexico, 17+ years and two kids later. It was magnificent, like I knew it would be, and I cannot wait to go back.
What’s so great about Puerto Vallarta? Well, besides everything, I’ve made a list of my top 5 favorite reasons to head to Mexico as fast as your little feet can carry you.
Top 5 reasons to visit Puerto Vallarta, Mexico:
- The beach
- The cost
- The food
- The ocean
- The people
- The beach
Mexican beaches are absolutely breathtaking. I mean, the sunsets alone are worth the trip. Beautiful sand, great waves, shell collecting, snorkeling, surfing, warm water, you name it; the beaches in Mexico are wonderful. We laid around and played on the beach for a solid week, and found the whole experience to be nothing … >> find out more...
Traveling internationally can be a bit daunting, especially if you’re a first timer. Don’t worry. This continent hopping extraordinaire has you covered with an international travel checklist. I don’t necessarily pretend that this is an exhaustive list, but the ten questions below should help create some peace of mind as you prepare for that excursion to a different land.
1. Did I update myself on travel laws and do I have the appropriate documents? Laws are always changing. Don’t make the mistake of thinking, “I’ve been there before. I know how it works.” Last year I scrambled to get a Kenyan visa, because they changed the system from getting them at the airport to an online process. South Africa (the country I currently choose to call home) drastically changed their laws last year regarding travel with kids. I have seen people turned away at the airport because they didn’t have the right documents. There is no amount of sweet talking that will get you past sticky situations like these. The best source I’ve found to double check laws for the particular country you are traveling to is U.S. Department of State Consular Affairs site. If you are not American, I’m sure the consular … >> find out more...
The PG version of explaining jet lag is that it’s a bear. I’ve never experienced an alcohol induced hangover, but I imagine morning hangovers have similar characteristics as jet lag…foggy brain, headache, blurry vision, slurred speech. If you’ve flown over multiple time zones and have the above symptoms along with the inability to form coherent thoughts, then you’re probably deep in the trenches of jet lag.
I recently flew over seven time zones. As if 23 total hours trapped with over 300 other passengers in a tin can wasn’t enough to kick the old noggin into a state of disorientation, skipping through different continents sealed the deal. Upon arriving in the good ole US of A, I didn’t know whether to tell the immigration officer thank you, siyabonga, or danke when he stamped my entry into my country of birth. I went with a slight head nod and methodically followed the herd to find my baggage.
Although there’s no way to avoid the somewhat debilitating effects of jet lag, there is hope. With concentrated effort on your part, you will be back on track in no time. I follow these three easy steps and find that my sleep patterns return to a … >> find out more...