5 Important Travel Items you May Not Have Thought About

Vacationing is a time to relax and to be carefree and it can be if you do a little prep work before you head out especially if your travel includes a cruise or foreign travel. Here is a checklist of a few items you might want to consider. For documents, I made copies and put the copies in a travel binder. I organized my binder with tabs like excursions, travel insurance, ID, ect….Also, leave a copy with a trusted friend back home. Hopefully this will help you too!

  1. Passport– Not only bring your passport but also make a copy of the first page. One tip I would suggest is not to keep these 2 items together. For instance, if you leave your ship for the day, keep your original passport in your safe and just take the copy in case anything happens. Having a copy with your photo on it will make it easier to get another one.
Visa

2. Visas-Sometimes you may need a Visa to travel to a foreign country. It’s probably a good idea to check with that country’s embassy to get more information.

3. Medications-Another item you might want to check on is your medications. Some over the counter medications, prescription drugs and narcotics may be illegal in the country you want to travel to. Again, it might be advisable to check with the embassy of the country you want to visit to check about regulations and documentation that you might need.

Perscriptions

4. Consent to travel with minors– Will you be traveling alone with your children? At foreign borders you may have to show custody documents or notarized written consent from the other parent. If this is your situation, you may want to check with that countries embassy to see what might be required.

5. International Driving Permit-Did you know many countries do not recognize the U.S drivers licence? However, they will accept an International Driving Permit. You also might need supplemental auto insurance as well.

Drivers Licence

A very useful traveling website is Travel.State.Gov. This site covers everything from U.S passports, International Travel, Visas, current travel advisories and many other topics.

I feel like traveling in general is going to be kind-of different post COVID-19. It’s probably going to take a while for people to start traveling again, for airlines to start adding flights, etc…. For many people, they will probably postpone any travel until next year. We are still going to try to go to Puerto Vallarta in October but we’ll see. We’ll be staying at our beautiful Vidanta resort. It will be wonderful to see something beyond my front door!

If you want to start making travel plans, begin with a trip to Mexico at the Vidanta resorts. You won’t be sorry!

Vidanta
Room at Vidanta

Cruise Vacationing Defined in Just Two Words

You must be thinking….how can she describe cruising in just two words. As the number of people that cruise you will probably find that many words to describe their experiences. Some might say it’s relaxing, others might say trying new foods is what they enjoy, others might not enjoy the sea days while others look forward to it. These different likes and dislikes can really be put into 2 words: loose vs tight.

First, lets define loose vs tight in the context of cruising.

Hang Loose
Hang loose!

Loose: Not fixed in place, free from anything that binds or restrains.

Tight: fixed, not relaxed, unyielding

There are also loose personalities vs tight personalities. Neither is better than the other but it does help to know what kind of person you are and what kind of person you might be traveling with. Because under certain conditions a loose personality traveling with a tight personality will eventually be negotiating through some difficult moments while cruising.

The cruise industry itself is tight! They must stay on schedule for one thing, safety issues is a huge one, and now of course they are grappling with how to keep people from getting sick when they are on their vacation, which is not new, but is taking a more prominent position in the hierarchy of the things they have to deal with.

On the other hand, us passengers in general “want” to be loose! We want to unwind, not have to follow a lot of rules, do things on our own schedule and in our own way. Which the cruise lines have been listening too because they have made mealtimes more flexible for one thing.

Relaxing on the beach!
Relaxing in the sun

So a loose person might not like some of the structure and “rules” they might be expected to yield too. For instance, if you are absorbed in an excursion or activity off the ship, your not going to like being told that you have to stop and hurry back to your ship because it will leave with out you! Some loose types of people will really put this to the test. One of our favorite things to do before the ship leaves a port is to watch scurrying last minute runners trying to make it to the “front door” before the ship leaves! We’ve actually seen and heard stories about people literally “missing the boat”! I’m sure you have too!

On the other hand a tight person will probably get uncomfortable when something doesn’t happen that is on the schedule! I’m a tight personality most of the time and it bothers me when I want to keep a schedule but those in my traveling party do not! I’ve learned to just go with the flow! I can be tight when I need to be but I’ve also learned to loosen up as the situations warrants. Which I think most of us instinctively do anyway. We don’t even realize it sometimes.

It’s the same way when you are visiting certain countries. Some countries have a very “tight” feel to them and others are quite “loose”. It’s good to brush up on a countries “tourist etiquette” so that you can be courteous and honor the people that you are visiting. Especially when your dealing with time. When you are told to be somewhere at a certain time, is that a loose definition of when to meet someone or is that tight…..like if you are on time, you are considered late!

When visiting Hawaii for example, I feel it is an incredibly loose environment. When we were in Oahu one year, we stayed in an AirB&B but with the host there too. He was included! He made our meals, was our tourist guide, it was wonderful….but he was not on a schedule! We learned really quick that time is loosely defined as “later this afternoon”, “probably tomorrow sometime”, “maybe tonight, I guess…..” he even let us use his van when all of us wanted to go to the same place, but it was on his time not ours!

So here’s a trecky tip: Be loose when you need to be loose, be tight when you need to be tight!

And above all else come visit our wonderful Vidanta resorts in Mexico! Which can be as loose or as tight as you want it to be! We were supposed to go in May, but obviously, that is not going to happen so we asked if we could postpone until October, and they were very helpful in changing our reservation. So if you are ready to start planning a trip start here!

Elegant entry at Vidanta, Grand Mayan
Entry to Vidanta Grand Mayan

How to Helmet Dive Like a Pro

Helmet diving
The amazing world underwater

My adventure with Helmet Diving came during our trip to Bermuda while we were on a Norwegian cruise. I’m not a strong swimmer and I don’t like to be underwater. So I’ll probably never try scuba diving! I’ve tried snorkeling but haven’t had a lot of experience with that either. So when I was researching on ways to enjoy the ocean during our trip I was so excited to learn about this option. Here’s a few things you might find helpful!

What is Helmet Diving?

It is basically a guided, underwater walking tour designed for non-swimmers and non-divers. Participants wear a weighted dive helmet and walk under water along a pre-determined path. You do not need to take a certification class before enjoying this fun adventure. If you know how to breath and walk you can helmet dive!

What is the Helmet like?

The padded helmet works like a glass turned upside down in water. As long as the open end is held downward, the air is cupped underneath. 

Example of a Helmet
Example of a helmet

Where can you Helmet Dive?

There are so many places to choose from! Puerto Rico, Cozumel, Roatan….just to name a few! Of course, I’ve only been helmet diving in Bermuda so I guess I should travel to more places and try other companies so I really have some comparisons!

The company we used in Bermuda was Hartly’s Helmet Diving. They were located conveniently just past where our cruise ship docked. The excursion was easy to set up and was competitively priced. They have developed a “working relationship” with the fish and have “trained” the fish in the area to trust them. Because they always bring food, we enjoyed a menagerie of underwater sea life.

Some of the varieties of fish you will see have been given names as they are the “regulars”! You will meet George the Grunt, Herb the Hind, Gollum the Squirrelfish, Diana the Angel fish and Leroy the Snapper!

What was my experience?

Our Helmet dive boat parked next to our cruise ship
I’m standing next to our boat ride out to do the helmet dive which is parked next to our cruise ship!

Well, I’ll tell you! I was a little nervous (ok, maybe more like freaked out!) because I don’t enjoy being underwater but I really wanted to conquer this fear. We were given a tutorial as we traveled by boat out from the shore several miles. The view was stunning, blue water, azure sky, warm temps, everything was set up for a perfect day. There were 6 of us in our group and we were able to all go down together. My heart was pounding as I put one foot out onto the ladder that would eventually take me down about 10 feet. As I continued to step down one foot at a time a million thoughts were going through my head….what if I can’t breath?….what if the fish bite!…..what if……but I kept going, finally completely submerged in the warm water. As I tried to get my bearings, I noticed my ears were really starting to hurt. Just 10 feet down, there was a lot of pressure! The guide had told us this might happen but he didn’t make a big deal about it. He said the pressure would subside pretty quickly. But my ears hurt for what felt like forever! After awhile, the pain subsided but I still felt the pressure. Also, you can’t talk! Yes, your head is stuck in a fishbowl! You can only point to things, shrug your shoulders or shake your head (very slowly!) Our guide had pre-printed underwater sticks with the names of the fish on them so when one of the locals came to greet us he would pull out the appropriate stick that had that fish’s name on it. Pretty clever I thought!

Bermuda waters, heading to our dive site
Standing in the boat headed out to our dive site. And yes, it was windy!

We were told to hold onto a rope and walk along together as a group. Also, we were tethered to the boat by our oxygen hoses. How did we not get tangled up? Anyway, more and more fish began to congregate around us and no joke, I started feeling stirrings around my legs. I shouldn’t have been surprised of course, that’s what we were told would happen, but I was startled the first time!

Our underwater tour lasted about 30-40min but the whole trip can last up to 4 hrs depending on how many divers there are. Here’s a tip for you: If you are prone to seasickness definitely prepare for the possibility of becoming sick. I was fine getting out to our dive spot but for some reason I experienced some seasickness on the way back. And I wasn’t the only one. Several in our group also experienced nauseousness way worse than me!

The whole experience really was wonderful. I didn’t really conquer my “underwater” fear, but I now I know I can do it!

Waiting for our boat to arrive to take us to our dive spot
This is where we waited to catch our ride out to the dive sight. Literally right off the cruise ship dock!

Where to travel to next (when we can again!)

May I suggest (besides a trip to Bermuda where you can get the best fish sandwiches) but a trip to Mexico might be in your future! We are members of a company called Vidanta and they have 6 amazing resorts sprinkled throughout Mexico. We invite you to visit these wonderful resorts by reserving one of our rooms! Start your search HERE