A couple weeks ago someone I know went on a ski vacation in Colorado at a resort called Steamboat Ski & Resort. I had never really wanted to go on a ski vacation before, but, after seeing his pictures, I have been doing some research on where the best ski resorts are for beginners like me. This research is in hopes that next winter Matt and I will be able to take a true ski vacation.
Below I have listed some of the ski resorts that I found that are said to be good for beginners, some of which may be luxury ski resorts. Now, I will fully admit that I have not done thorough research just yet, but I thought I would put out the list on CourtneyMara.com and next year do some follow-up research. So, without further ado, below is a list of ski resorts that I found through research I conducted through Google that are said to be good for beginners. Please let me know in the comments section if you are familiar with any of these destinations!
Heavenly Mountain Resort
Mont Sainte Anne
Keystone Ski Resort
Steamboat Ski Resort
Stratton Mountain Ski Resort
Do you have a recommendation for a great ski resort for beginners? Please share your tips on CourtneyMara.com!
If you like to travel abroad, I highly recommend getting a travel credit card that does not have any foreign transaction fees. This is so important for trips abroad because foreign transaction fees add up! FoxBusiness.com states that “the average foreign transaction fee is 3% for banks and 1% for credit unions, according to the Pew Safe Credit Cards Project.” If you are spending $3000 on a trip abroad, those fees could add up to $90 if using a bank card. Let’s say you do two trips abroad every year for 10 years, that figure adds up to $1,800 that you will have spent on foreign transaction fees. You could instead save that money with a no foreign transaction fee credit card. I LOVE Bank of America’s travel rewards card because there are no annual fees. You can find a list of other credit cards that do not have foreign transaction fees on Huffington Post’s website (click here).
Hopefully I don’t jinx myself by saying this, but I rarely, if ever, get jet lag. The way I get around it is by traveling with a watch (I never use my U.S. cell phone – or even turn it on – while I am traveling abroad) and I always set it as soon as I get on the plane to the time of the country that I am visiting. I then do NOT think or discuss what time it is in my home country. I change my sleep and eating times to the country I am visiting starting on the plane. And, I make sure to bring sleep medicine so that I can more easily change my sleep habits.
For example, on the way to Italy, Matt and I had a red eye. I made us sleep as soon as we got on the plane so that we would be wide awake for Italy. On our flights home (three to be exact), the flights started at 7 am in Italy and had us home around 10pm in DC. I tried to have us stay awake for as much of the flights as possible so we would be tired when we got to DC and went straight to bed. Neither of us had any trouble with jet leg in Italy or upon return from Italy.
Hopefully this helps someone who has issues with jet lag! What other solutions do you have for jet lag?
Because I think this could help others who, like myself, take forever to pack, the following was my packing list for my one-week trip to Italy in November:
- 2 pairs of jeans (1 going out jeans, 1 casual jean)
- 1 black pants
- 1 casual dress
- 1 black work out pants
- 2 workout shirts
- 2 black shirts
- 1 black cardigan
- 4 sweaters (thin, not thick)
- 2 sets of pajamas
- Black boots
- Nice winter boots
- The appropriate amount of intimates
- 1 book and multiple magazines
- Pens (super helpful for customs forms)
- Makeup (concealer, blush, mascara, lip stick, and gloss)
- Glasses with case
- Contacts, solution, and case
- Travel size shampoo, conditioner and body wash (this ended up not being necessary since we had these at each of the hotels)
- Ipod with sports armband
- Phone and charger (although I don’t use this abroad)
- Head phones
- Camera with camera charger and plenty of space on the memory card
- Passport and visa, if needed
- Money and credit cards
- Tooth brush and travel-sized tooth paste
- Sleeping medicine (I like ZQuil)
- Emergen C
- Motion sickness medicine
- Advil cold & sinus (in case you get a cold)
- Nasal spray (this helps if you end up getting a cold – use it on the plane so you don’t get a headache)
All of these items fit into my carry on luggage so I did not need to check baggage. Below is a picture of Matt with our luggage (we each had one rolling carry on and a backpack/purse).
What do you recommend packing?
Here are some DOs for Jamaica travelers:
- Take only a red plate cab. They are licensed to drive on the road.
- If you want to go shopping, change your US dollars for Jamaican money. Hotels will change the money for you, but you can get more for your US dollar at a place called a Cambio. You can ask to see if the hotel has a shuttle to take you to a Cambio where you would get more for your dollar (e.g., 1 US dollar in Jamaica is worth from 82.00 to 83.00 or 84.00 Jamaican dollars depending on where you go). You can also change your cash at the airport in Jamaica when you arrive.
- DO go to Margueritaville Sports Bar & Grill and enjoy a lovely glass of margarita
- DO go to Half Moon Shopping Center or other duty free shops where you get can get some of the best coffee in the world, “Blue Mountain Coffee,” perfumes, souvenirs and boutique clothing.
- DO try our jelly coconut water
- DO try our jerk chicken or jerk pork (very tasty; finger licking good)
- DO try our curry goat with white rice
- DO go see Rose Hall Great House (It’s a museum that has existed since the 18th century)
- If you rent a car, DO remember to drive on the left.
- DO learn a little patois (a dialect that everyone speaks).
- If you rent a car, make sure your insurance company will cover you driving in Jamaica.
- People will come up to you to try to sell you crafts or other stuff. If you are not interested, just say no thank you.
Jamaica is really a beautiful place. And, as a final note, DO stay at an all inclusive resort.
I met the Travel Channel’s Samantha Brown at the Travel & Adventure Show
in Washington, DC, on March 17, 2012. She is a personable entertainer. She signed autographs, took pictures and spoke individually to her fans. When I had the chance to meet her, I asked her about honeymoon destinations. She helped reaffirm Matt and I’s decision to go to South Africa for our honeymoon. When I asked her about honeymoon spots and told her that we were thinking of South Africa, she said that she had wanted to go to South Africa on her honeymoon, but they went to Key West instead. She indicated that we made a good decision. Patricia Schultz (author of “1,000 Places to See Before You Die”) also said during her speech that if there is only one thing you do in life, you need to go on a African safari (she said it a lot more eloquently). Yesterday was a very productive day for Matt and I – South Africa, here we come (in 1 1/2 years…)!
The Travel & Adventure Show is in Washington, DC, THIS weekend, March 17-18, 2012. There is to be presentations by Samantha Brown, Patricia Schultz (Author of “1,000 Places to See Before You Dies”), and other travel authors and agents; exhibitors featuring many countries and experiences; culinary and dance shows; giveaways, door prizes, and travel specials; and other adventure activities (e.g., rock climbing, scuba diving and more).
If interested in attending, TravelZoo has a deal until Thursday, March 15, for admission for 2 persons for only $9. Click here for the deal.
In July 2010 I made a 2 day climb along peaks of the White Mountain chain in New Hampshire. Here is the route we took and some tips we learned along the way:
1. Parked the car at the base of the Cog RR – We took a route that would spit us out here so after parking the car we geared up and hitched a ride over to the entrance to Valley Way.
2. Valley Way was a great trail to begin. We started our trip spotting some true New England wildlife and were steps away from a moose! Along the way we had some excellent views and were only 3.75 miles from our overnight spot.
3. The Valley Way trail took us about 4 hours. We traveled at a moderate pace with a couple quick stops for a snack or a drink of water. To give you a good estimate of how long the trip might take you here are the details of our group:
a. Age ranged from 21-65
b. Backpacks weighed between 5 and 35 lbs. (Just a note, there is no reason for your bag to be this heavy for a 1 night trip! Especially if you do what we did and stayed in the hut overnight)
c. We were all in a little better than average physical condition but had a couple injuries to baby.
4. Stopping at the hut at the top of Mt. Madison was a great decision. It was comfortable and everyone was ready for a break. It was $90 per person per night, which seems on first glance like a lot for the type of accommodations. But, it was well worth it. We had an excellent dinner and breakfast which was included and had a fun relaxing evening with card games and chatting with other hikers. Things to expect at the hut:
a. There were bathrooms with toilet paper. Though packing extra napkins or toilet paper is never a bad idea.
b. Bring a towel if you expect to shower or dry your hands.
c. There are blankets and a small pillow on the beds, we were there in the summer and wearing long clothes to bed was enough to be warm. On this note though make sure to bring something warm to layer for the nights and early mornings, it is the top of a mountain in New Hampshire…it gets cold up there!
d. There were hot and cold drinks for purchase and small snack such as granola bars and oatmeal. Although you are just hiking it could be a good idea to keep a small amount of cash on you in case you run out of supplies and stop at one of these huts for a snack.
e. If you are a light sleeper bring earplugs. The hut we were in had 2 rooms with about 50 beds in each room.
f. The bunks are 4 beds high and do not have enough room between them to sit up on your bed. If you do not want to be at the top, or want to sleep near your group, get to the hut early to claim your spot.
g. There were some card games at the hut. A light book or game could be good to bring but they do have a few things to entertain you in the evening.
h. Click here to make reservations.
Working out while traveling is important in order to fight jet leg and to feel well both mentally and physically. There is a way to work out in most every location, even on the plane. On long flights, you could take some laps around the plane and do some stretches. If you are strategic with utilizing your space, you can even do sit-ups. If you are gym person and your hotel does not have a gym, check out the local gyms online. Some gyms offer a free trial or reduced fee trials. For example, Crunch Fitness in DC offers a free guest pass on their website. Or, if you are staying longer in DC, Washington Sports Clubs offer a 30 day trial membership for as low as $30. You can save money, workout, and explore the town by running/jogging the neighborhood. Matt and I do this every single morning when we are traveling. We run different streets to find out where we would like to explore later on in the day. Additionally, fitness travel is becoming more popular (Google: “fitness travel”). You can find groups online that are traveling the world with their bikes, by running, or just by being active daily during their vacation. Finally, you do not need to do a formal workout if you have active activities during the day. For example, on the road I have biked the Golden Gate Bridge, jumped on large dominoes in Philadelphia, sandboarded in New Zealand, climbed a large rock in Texas, 4wheeled in Belize, swam in the ocean in Tahiti, walked across the Brooklyn Bridge, golfed at the Chelsea Pier, and fished in Colorado (see photos below). All in all, staying active during your holiday will allow for you to come home and not only feel more relaxed, but feel better about yourself and all the food you got to eat.