MEVANS, for all your travel needs...

So...I like to travel..a lot! These are my stories.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

So Sorry

Nope, I didn't forget you guys, I just have been EXTREMELY busy. You know life, snow, etc. Expedition Evans was on the move again, and just got back from sunny California. Yup! You know I like to keep you guys guessing about my whereabouts.

But I am back, and semi-well rested. Although we did run around like crazy people! Stay tuned for some more details on our trip! I have a lot of good material coming up!

xoxo mevans

Thursday, January 20, 2011

What's the Deal-io Wednesday: Let's Make A Deal

The task of planning a trip can be pretty overwhelming. I even shudder at the thought sometimes. You know I consult a lot of guides before I actually book a trip. Even deciding where to start, and which website to start with, is a daunting task.

Commuter Justine gave me some insight on a new way to book. She actually got a great deal for her honeymoon (yay! wedding!) from You know those chat boxes that pop up asking if you need help (which makes you second guess yourself and ask, DO I NEED HELP???)? She figured talking to an agent might help her through the process. Well my friends, it resulted in a great deal of savings, and the agent was apparently wonderful. She was able to customize her vacation package and walk away spending less than she originally planned.

I checked out the website and it is very user friendly and with a little time, and perhaps the right agent, you could build a great trip. Who'd a thunk, right?  Congratulations to Commuter Justine! 

xoxo mevans

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Delayed Pic(k) of the Week: ATV Adventure

OK, so I'm making up from last week. Let me tell you, I was having a panic attack that I couldn't post my pic(k) on Friday. I feel better now. Thanks for caring! 

When we visited St. Lucia, Bud kidnapped me and against my will signed us up for the "ATV Adventure" through St. Lucia. I almost died. Twice. Not exactly my idea, but it was something Bud wanted to do. Aren't I sweet? He does have to put with a lot, so I guess it's the least I could do. This is the view from one of the hills we rode up to. 

My brand new kicks (love my K Swiss) were ruined in the process. I was not happy. 

We did have fun though!

Thanks everyone!

xoxo mevans

Monday, January 17, 2011

Pack it up, Pack it in

Let me begin (I'm sorry, I had to). 

I had some problematic posting issues last week...Sorry guys! My Internet was down the last few days, and as you can imagine, I was devastated. I'm sure all of you were too. Apparently I can't access my pic(ks) at the moment either, so you will just have to deal with my post for this week. *Sigh*, technology. 

I've come to believe that packing is a scientific process. There are so many variables involved in packing for your trip, you literally  have to come up with a scientific equation to make every inch of your suitcase or travel bag count. I can definitely over-pack (you know how much I like to be prepared for EVERY situation). Due to all the limitations the airlines and TSA has now, I'm getting better at figuring out what my essentials are.  

The airlines certainly do not make it easy either. The airlines usually charge for any extra bags (first checked bag flies free). If it's a short trip (like 5 days or less) I try to pack me and Bud separately in two carry-ons. Trust me, it can be done!

Bringing only one carry-on per person has its perks, since you don't have to mess with baggage claim. Besides, even the THOUGHT that my bag might not come down the conveyor belt absolutely terrifies me.  Side note; next time you are at the airport and happen to be by the baggage claim, be sure to people watch. I think you can tell a person's personality just by seeing them fight their way through the crowd and haul their bags begrudgingly off to side. It's great. Really. 

Oh, and another piece of advice if you do plan on checking. Never assume that yours is going to be the only electric blue or bright orange bag. There's usually about a dozen others. Wanna be creative? Cover yours in duct tape and write your last name all over the tape with magic marker. You'll be able to spot it no problem. 

xoxo  mevans

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

What's the Deal-io Wednesday: Blog-gy London-town

So you guys know how much I love Travel Zoo (really, it gets me through the week). This deal-io is the very reason why I love it so much. Pretty much every deal that I've taken advantage of so far on Travel Zoo has been a good one (including my spa evening this week). This deal is no exception.

My deal-io for this week takes us on a six night jaunt across the pond to foggy London-town. The city of red telephone booths, mediocre food (so I hear), Big Ben, Peter Pan (kind of), and Royal weddings. I've been pricing solely airfare to London. Let me tell you, it's outrageous. For the same amount of money per person to fly to London, with this package you could fly there, have accommodations for 6 nights, and get a daily breakfast included. No brain-er there. 

Check out the reviews on the "Go Today" touring company before booking. Sometimes you have to be careful with these tour groups. You'll get a good feel once you scope them out a little bit more. 

For about $700 you could be sipping tea with the Queen. Or maybe not (shrug). Fun fact: Buckingham Palace is only open for tours during limited times July through September every year.

Cheerio everyone! Does that mean hello, or goodbye? 

xoxo mevans

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Rest, Relaxation, and Rail Road

Sometimes it's nice to do something you don't normally do. It breaks up the week. Last night after work, I ventured into NYC for a spa evening with my friend that works in the City. We call her Commuter Justine by day when she's in work mode, and well, Justine by night. She writes an awesome blog about her life experiences and her take on the world. She was the one that actually inspired me to start my own blog, which brings me to this post. 

OK, enough mushy stuff. I am fortunate enough to have a pretty easy work day commute. I wake up late and literally roll myself out of bed, put on my pair of fake Uggs and walk out the door. I drive twenty minutes and I'm at work. I rarely go into the City by myself, so last night was a pretty apprehensive night for me. I had never ridden the subway system by myself, and have no idea sense of direction. Those of you who know me can imagine my nausea. Hey, I like to worry, it's how I do.  

I embarked on my hour and twenty minute train ride into the City at around 5:00 pm. Dressed for the City cold, I had on my boots, my "Cali Love" Scarf (see pic below) and my boots. It might has well have been Alaska. No doubt about it, I was ready for a journey.

I was buying my train ticket/metro card combo (I felt sooo commuter savvy), when a guy with a camera came up and said he was taking pictures for the train company. I must have looked overall perplexed, because he had this "don't look at me like I'm a weirdo" look on his face. Does that seriously happen? I politely declined using good judgement, and proceeded to board the train. 


I must really look like I know where I'm going, because upon settling in, the older gentleman sitting next to me asked if the train went directly to Penn Station. Without hesitation I was able to answer "yes", for I knew the answer. Little did I know that I had just started a very long conversation on world travel. Yes, I am one of these people. As I don't commute very often, and apparently neither did this other gentleman, my train and stranger etiquette is not what it should be. I guess I just have a nice face. We chatted a bit and I learned more about Dubai and the Maldives Islands than I really ever wanted to know...I don't even know where the Maldives Islands are (but I went with it).

We quickly parted ways as we pulled into Penn and it was facing me: the subway. I survived the rush hour of Penn Station - have you every seen hundreds of people running like maniacs to catch a train after an exhausting day? Try Penn Station at 6:30 pm on a weekday. Long story short, I made it to the spa and enjoyed a relaxing night of pampering with Commuter Justine. I was pretty satisfied with my overall travel ease, as I had battled one of my biggest fears: traveling in NYC by myself (well, partly, we rode the train back together). I guess I can cross that off my travel bucket list!

xoxo mevans

Friday, January 7, 2011

Pic(k) of the Week: Sky's the Limit

I know I've definitely used these pic(k)s in other posts, but they are so awesome (OK maybe awesome is pushing it), I had to use them again. I'm working on my photography skills and also trips for 2011.

The first is the Statue of Christ the Redeemer, which overlooks the whole city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (one of my favorite cities). This is considered one of the "new" wonders of the world.  A fun fact for you reading pleasure, this statue is a Brazilian icon, and can be seen from ANYWHERE in the city of Rio. Kind of cool, but kind of creepy at the same time.

To get to the top viewing area of the statue, you take a cable car up through a forest. The second pic(k) is the vantage point from the main viewing area.

Have a good weekend everyone!

xoxo mevans

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

What's the Deal-io Wednesday: Last Minute Luxuries

Very rarely do I advocate the "last minute deals" that so many of the travel websites advertise. This is for two reasons. The first, the only reason that these trips are so cheap is because you literally book at the last minute - I would never be able to get off of work that quickly. The second, there's usually other costs entailed with this "last minute" excursion, unless of course, you plan on staying within a drivable distance. For example, a five star boutique hotel in Miami is advertising 60% off per night on a weekend? Sign me up! Oh, wait, I have to fork over AT LEAST $500 for Bud and I to fly there (remember, last minute deals rarely apply for airfare), not including cost of food and incidentals. 

OK, I've ranted enough for today. Let me get to the point!

 My deal-io this week is a close-to-home trip, but not really at the same time. I think it's a nice compromise of getting out of NY for a bit, but also minimizing costs. Norwegian Cruise Line is offering one of those good ol' "cruise to nowhere" deals the port of NYC. You can get away fairly cheap with one of these bad boys. Food, entertainment, and lodging are all-inclusive. All the while you are drinking in the lovely seaside sights of New York! Not a bad night out on the town without breaking the bank!

I called NCL and the outdoor pools are even heated! How cool is that? 

All the rooms are priced accordingly. Just to give you an idea, on a Friday in February you can get away with an inside stateroom for $99 for the first two people, and then $69 per person thereafter. Upgrade to an ocean view room for about $20 more. Park your car at a garage near the port and you can literally call it day! The boat departs at 4pm (you can board earlier though) and arrives back at the port at 8am the next day (you need to be off by 10am). You can't have it any easier than that my friends!

Happy cruising!

xoxo mevans

Monday, January 3, 2011

Missing America: There's No Place Like Home

First 2011 post!

Have you ever gotten to that breaking point on a trip, where you are like, enough is enough, I'm ready to go home? No matter what the reason is (i.e. being gone for a really long amount of time, sick of your fellow travel partner, or simply missing home), I think we all suffer from this during some point in our trip. Especially if it's a long one.

The reason I bring this is up is because my friend James has been touring Australia the last few weeks. We were just talking about length of trips and how long is too long. While there is no doubt that it's an AMAZING time (hello, Great Barrier Reef? Sydney Opera House? Koalas - although I would probably die if I held one), it must be an exhausting-ly  long time away from HOME in general, not to mention A LOT of travel.

My trip breaking point is about 9-10 days. My longest trips were my trip to St. Lucia/Florida (12 days) and my trip to South America (13 days). When I was in St. Lucia, I actually think I said out loud at one point, "I miss America"....I really just wanted the general familiarity of my normal surroundings, and of course my family and friends.

There's something to be said about disappearing for a bit and then coming back to your normal routine. It's like you almost appreciate the routine more. It's nice to come back to some degree of normalcy, and of course, your own bed and pillow. I love that feeling!

Plus, the sooner you get home, the sooner you can start planning your next trip! That travel "bug" sure is infectious!

Welcome home James! 

What's YOUR breaking point?

xoxo mevans