Cheers Sippin Gypsy Team Rum! This post comes to you while enjoying my Sippin Gypsy Summer Sparkling Lemonade, a refreshing reminder of my recent trip to the beautiful city of Charleston South Carolina!
Charleston South Carolina is a delicious city packed full of historic gems to explore and incredible cuisine. The Holy City is easy to navigate and offers travelers several ways to enjoy the city based on your travel pace and preference. Come hungry to Charleston, some of the most influential restaurants in the Southern Cuisine realm are nestled along the historic streets. Charleston also offers some of the most enjoyable rooftop bars to lounge and savor the view!
You will want to give yourself no less than 3 full days to enjoy Charleston and all her offerings. After a lot of research and planning, I prepared an agenda that included a balance of early lunches and late dinners or late brunch and dinner and a mid day pause for an appetizer or light bite and cocktail each day, just to give us the option to taste and enjoy as much as possible! Charleston is a true Southern city, meaning it can get unbearably hot in the summer, so if your travels bring you to Charleston in July or August be certain to plan a slower pace, the heat can really drain you. Thankfully there is no shortage of charming shops and boutiques and have I mentioned the restaurants that are incredible to step in and take a break from the heat! So without further delay, her are my tips for some of the best restaurants and bars in Charleston South Carolina!
1. Gabrielle at Hotel Bennett
Sitting on the terrace overlooking Marion Square for a late afternoon cocktail and light bite was absolutely one of the highlights of my time in Charleston. The cocktails were so well crafted and delicious and the view was peaceful, I truly appreciated the art of presentation of each dish or cocktail, not only did everything wow me with every sip or bite, but it was so elegantly delivered. The staff at the Hotel Bennett and Gabrielle was beyond gracious and truly set the standard for the charm of Southern hospitality. Gabrielle also offers an elegant dining space inside which would certainly be an excellent choice for a celebration dinner while in Charleston.
Before I even set my agenda for Charleston, I knew I would have to try Husk. I truly appreciate restaurants and chefs who seek out true local offerings to prepare daily for guests and Husk takes this dedication one step further to really invest in not only what is currently offered locally, but research and cultivate menus that celebrate some of the original ingredients from when Charleston was first established. Everything I tasted at Husk was an absolute delight, from the cocktails to the shrimp and grits.
3. 82 Queen
Outdoor dining in an elegant Southern Courtyard with delicious food and cocktails! 82 Queen was the perfect way to step out of the heat and enjoy a truly delicious Southern lunch. Several of the items on their recipes have been on the menu since the restaurant first opened, and the She Crab Soup has chosen as the best in Charleston for years....and after trying several She Crab Soup options around Charleston, I agree!
4. Cane Rhum Bar
Step into a tropical oasis with delicious cocktails which feature rum options from around the world at Cane. The vibe is super chill but posh and the staff was friendly and knowledgeable. Cane is a great spot if traveling with a group, there are several pockets of spaces to relax and enjoy time together with well crafted creations.
Prohibition is nestled further up King Street but well worth the walk. Live music and some of the best cocktails I enjoyed in Charleston were crafted at Prohibition. The happy hour was also incredible for oysters and other light bites.
Cheers Sippin Gypsy Team Gin! This guest post comes to you while enjoying one of my favorite summertime cocktails, Sorbet Sparkler!
My guest author is my friend Amanda Turner. Amanda is a freelance writer and recent graduate who is exploring her passions through writing! Enjoy her perspective of what she has learned through travel! Cheers!
For most people, traveling is about way more than just having fun—it’s a chance to escape your day-to-day life, learn about yourself, challenge yourself, and experience new things. Traveling, especially for the first time, can a scary thrill that you’ll remember for a lifetime. It’s not easy to leave home when you don’t know what to expect. However, once you find the confidence to take that leap, there’s a so much waiting on the other side. You walk away with lessons that you’d never learn by staying at home. If you’re thinking about traveling, here are 8 lessons I learned after traveling for the first time.
No matter how much you plan for your trip, it’s important to remember to be flexible. There are so many things will not go as planned—flights can be delayed, reservations can be changed, and reality may not level up to your expectations. Being able to adjust to whatever gets thrown your way will make your trip much more enjoyable. The best thing you can do for yourself is to enjoy every moment and let unexpected issues slide off of your shoulders.
Research the Area(s) You Plan to Visit
Try to learn as much as you can about the places you plan on visiting before you leave. Proper research will let you know if there is anything you should be aware of at your destination. This can include things like customs and rules. If you’re headed to a place where you’ll have a language barrier, you should learn common words and phrases so you can communicate effectively. After my first trip, I realized that things could have gone a lot smoother if I’d taken the time to dig a little deeper into the ins and outs of the city I visited.
Keep an Open Mind
You’re going to be surrounded by lots of things you aren’t used to when you travel. Although it can be easy to shut down and try to stick with what you know, push yourself to take advantage of all of the unfamiliar things around you. The experience of traveling will be extremely fulfilling if you’re willing to try new things. Keep an open mind about different foods, customs, and styles so you’re able to make the most out of your trip.
Pack As Light As Possible
It can be tempting to overpack when you’re traveling. But the more you pack the sooner you’ll realize that it can be difficult to move around as freely when you’re weighed down with a lot of stuff. One thing you definitely don’t want to do is get stuck carrying a bunch of luggage around. Only pack the things you need and be mindful of how much many items you’re bringing. Packing light can also save you money on airline fees.
Remember Your Responsibilities at Home
Just because you’re traveling doesn’t mean you can forget about the things you need to take care of at home. I realized that I could’ve saved a lot of money by turning off my home appliances and finding someone to water my house plants. Consider asking a friend or family member to check up on your home while you’re away.
Like most people, I’m used to using my debit card for almost all of my purchases. But when you’re traveling, you’ll definitely want to have some cash on you just in case there is an issue with your card. Make note of the exchange rate if you’re traveling out of the country so you can understand how much your money is worth where you’re going.
Don’t Compare the Place You’re Visiting to the Place You’re From
When you’re traveling, especially for the first time, it can be easy to get caught up comparing the place you’re going to your home. It’s natural to notice similarities and differences between the two, but it’s important not to compare. Doing this can take away from fully appreciating your experience. Remember to accept and embrace the place you’re visiting for what it is—new to you.
You’re Capable of More Than You Know
Nothing will test your self-sufficiency like being lost in a new city and having to get yourself back on track. While on your trip, you’ll realize that you can handle all sorts of situations that may have scared you before. While traveling, I realized that I’m completely capable of handling myself in all sorts of different situations. This allowed me to feel confident throughout my travels and also carry this confidence with me back home.
In addition to these 8 lessons, your adventure will teach you whatever you let it. Keep an open mind and embrace every trip with open arms.
Sippin Gypsy has been nominated for the
SUNSHINE BLOGGER AWARD!
The Sunshine Blogger Award is a celebration of new bloggers who have been recognized by other bloggers that feel they inspire positivity, creativity and joy in the blogging community! Thank you so much Caitlyn of With Caitlyn for the nomination!!!
What happens as a recipient of the SUNSHINE BLOGGER AWARD?
Once nominated there are three simple rules to follow:
1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and link back to their blog.
2. Answer 11 questions on your own blog, nominate 11 new bloggers and create 11 new questions for your nominees to answer.
3. Display the rules of the Sunshine Blogger Award on your blog post as well as the logo.
1. What was your first trip alone?
I hadn't started blogging yet, but I was in my early twenties and working in a career in the fashion industry. Work sent me to St. Croix in the Virgin Islands for a month. The ladies I worked with there made sure I ventured out to explore the island to its fullest! From festivals in Frederiksted to charming shops and restaurants in Christiansted, I had an incredible time! This was also before cell phone services made it easy to travel internationally on a plan based out of the United States. So not only was this the first time I had left the United States. I was on my own and had to wait to use a land line to talk with my then boyfriend back home in Florida.
2. Are you a typical all-inclusive of an Airbnb traveler?
I have not yet stayed at an Airbnb property. I have considered several when looking at options, but my husband works for a large hotel and resort company, so often the lodging comes with a generous discount when he travels with me. I do love the idea of staying in a home right in the heart of where the locals play when visiting a city. Many of the cities on our bucket list don't have chain hotel options, so Airbnb will definitely be used in the future!
3. What was the reason you started blogging your adventures?
Two reasons I started blogging are: 1) I always thought Anthony Bourdain and Samantha Brown had the dream life traveling around the world and cataloging it to inspire others. 2) My friends and I would always create I Cloud shared photo albums so we could enjoy seeing photos in the moment of each others travels. I realized how much I enjoyed sharing photos and tips to what inspired me everyplace I went that I wanted to pass along the joy!
4. What was the best holiday you had till now?
Hands down, my 40th Birthday Celebration. My amazing husband turned my 40th birthday into a two week celebration that included an impromptu romantic getaway to Miami FL (though this was a dual purpose, a much needed getaway just the two of use and to order our passports. We needed to go to Miami so that we could get our passports right away because he also booked a surprise adventure to Costa Rica! We enjoyed zip lining and horseback riding through the rain forest, incredible food, a most beautiful ocean front resort and a spa day to relax and unwind. Costa Rica is a beautiful country with such friendly and hospitable people that exude pride for their country. I can't wait to visit again!
5. What are three destinations on your bucket list?
Because of challenges balancing a full time career I have a very very very long bucket list of places I want to travel, but sitting at the top of my list would be: 1) Norway my dads side of the family is from Norway and my grandmother often told me wonderful stories of Norway and the foods and traditions. I have always cherished these and look forward to visiting the lands of my heritage. 2) Italy because I love Italian Cuisine and have always been mesmerized by the architecture and landscape of the Italian countryside. 3) Basque because everything I have ever read of, researched and watched about Basque looks absolutely charming and delicious.
6. Which activities are at the top of your bucket list?
I am a self proclaimed lover of sippin and strollin as a way to explore new destinations, Sippin Gypsy must hold to her mantra and try local cocktails and spirits anywhere I travel. I also am a huge sucker for haunted history tours wherever I visit. I know it seems crazy gimmicky but to me this is a fun way to blend history and something a little spooky!! But as far as bucket list activities that require visiting a specific place to accomplish a specific goal: 1) Visit the Fjords in Norway by way of boat just like my viking ancestors might have. 2) Stay in a historic villa overlooking the serene Italian countryside. 3) Walk hand in hand with my husband through the medieval towns in Basque.
7. What is your favorite travel photo and why?
The below photo was captured from our hotel room at sunrise on my last day in Costa Rica. The colors were breathtaking and the whole experience in Costa Rica was an absolute surprise and such an incredible gift from my husband. This photo invokes a flood of emotions and celebrates the beauty of Costa Rica and feeling so cherished and loved.
8. What life lesson have you learned in your travels?
Travel has taught me that there is truly no reason to treat anyone different because of their race, nationality or ethnicity. A smile is the same in very language, we all want to enjoy time with the people we love and we all are citizens of this planet. It doesn't matter if any of us is from the a particular Continent, Country, State or 'part of town', just smile and celebrate the beauty our world offers.
9. How did traveling change your life?
I have been on the go even as a baby. Travel has always been part of my routine, so I don't have a particular moment where I feel travel changed my life, but I do feel travel has enriched my life in so many ways. Some of my happiest memories are time spent in the car on a road trip, singing at the top of our lungs, or playing silly travel games to pass the time. I cherish the memories of time with the people I love, uninterrupted by the routine of daily life, and just stepping into another world where there is nothing to do except explore new streets, taste new flavors and meet new people.
10. How do you balance work and blogging?
When you love what you do it doesn't feel like 'work', right? Being a full time career woman, my passion with travel and blogging fits in between shifts and with vacation time while traveling. With the company I work for offering generous paid time off and my husbands job offering great discounts for lodging around the world...we use vacation time for getaways and usually have a year or two planned out in advance! Technology has made it so easy to share content between devices and research for travel has always been something I enjoy doing. I let my posts evolve organically, I personally believe in quality over quantity regarding my own personal content, which helps keep the stress of "I need another post by tonight' off my shoulders and allows me to keep it fun!
11. Would you rather visit a city or beach destination?
Something with both!? I find water to be soothing and calming. So as long as there is a river running through a city, or a city built along a coast or waterway, I would most always pick 'city'. Living in Florida I can indulge in a beachy retreat easily, so when I am ready to travel and explore, I prefer a plethora of options and variety that cities most often provide.
There are several incredible bloggers that have been so inspirational to me. My list of nominations will be updating soon!
Cheers Sippin Gypsy Travelers! This post comes to you while enjoying one of my favorite cocktails of all time, my Sippin Gypsy Jalapeno Margarita. What a year this has been figuring out how to balance a full time career, motherhood and travel blogging! Dreams of being whisked away to a glamorous life of full time travel, experiencing new places every week were level set by the reality of understanding the root of building an audience, consistently conjuring up quality content and understanding a world that is very different as I go into my 40s then it was even just 20 years ago. While I understood that a travel lifestyle didn't need to be a National Geographic Reporter or the beloved Samantha Brown or Rick Steves, I certainly had a lot to learn regarding how to put what I discovered and loved out there for other travelers like me.
A quick recap of the start of Sippin Gypsy:
I remember sitting in the New Orleans airport at a bar, sipping my last Bloody Mary before the flight home, trying to come up with possible names for my new adventure....a travel blog. My husband and I would come up with a catchy name and quickly search to see if the name was taken already for a blog or business. I already had the nickname 'lil gypsy' given lovingly by a few friends and coworkers for my eclectic preference in fashion style, and constant need to be moving taking new job opportunities and up and moving with sometimes less than two or three months notice. Within our first five years together, my husband and I met, got married and had our first son together...we had already moved 6 times and changed cities 4 of those times. The 'sippin' was a give in. Between trips to Disney World when here in Orlando, New Orleans and Savannah, one of my self proclaimed favorite parts of visiting these places was the brilliant concept of sipping and strolling because of their open container laws enabling visitors to be able to walk around with a cocktail 'to go' and still be able to explore and experience things and not be cemented to a bar stool.
'Basic Training' and the start to wonderful new digital friendships and mentorships:
So how do you take a dream of traveling as a career and translate into today's format? Lots of reading and research quickly put me in front of this incredible group of ladies and gentlemen who were called "Travel Bloggers". Some of them were young single professionals that had figured out smart ways to work from their laptops around the world, others were couples or families who found jobs that enabled them to move to new countries with work (such as teachers or medical assistants) and others were like me...working that '9-5' and sneaking away on weekends off and paid holidays to soak in the new sights whenever they could. These fantastic individuals were wildly receptive to others in the travel blogging industry and offered support, suggestions and inspiration. So there I was...late 30s, staring at my phone and scared to death to download these apps and platforms called "Twitter", "Instagram" and "Snapchat". I was comfortable enough with Facebook and Pinterest I jumped right in and set up my Sippin Gypsy accounts....but I was 38 years old...was I allowed to "tweet" or post selfies on Instagram!!!??? I turned to the amazing family on Facebook, The Travel Bloggers Club and found the support I needed, and learned how to professionally use not only my social media platforms to share what I was proud of in my travels, but also I learned how to set up a professional blog, what this SEO concept is, and what to do to establish myself as a no name, middle aged family woman with a unique fashion style and lover of cocktails into a brand that connects with other amazing travelers and offers little tidbits of experience and excitement about exploring this incredible world we are all citizens of.
Taking it from a hobby to a lifestyle:
One fact that quickly stood out to me from many of the Facebook groups and new travel bloggers who popped up overnight was the difference between those with similar odd delusions that I had, that by creating a catchy blog name and posting pretty pictures of travel would translate to the perceived lifestyle of Anthony Bourdain or Samantha Brown. It became very clear how hard these travel bloggers worked at building quality content, spending time networking and promoting their information and really serious about managing themselves as a brand and working together to help build credibility in the digital realm so that their hard work would be more easily found by nonchalant browsers. The Facebook Group, The Travel Bloggers Club started some very helpful and interactive activities for members that helped us with networking together and promoting each other by sharing content on each others social media sights, commenting on each others blog and peer to peer coaching to writing better, posting more effectively in social media, and overall support in the industry! To this day I still revisit many of these blogs to gain inspiration and continue to support my digital friends and mentors:
Eliza is the host of The Travel Bloggers Club and created one of the most influential and inspirational blogs Digital Travel Guru Eliza and several other incredible ladies and gentlemen have been incredibly supportive to travel blogger newcomers and have demonstrated sincerity and diligence to helping others figure out how to navigate this digital world.
Alex and Lisa have been equally as inspirational and supportive. Their blog Career Gappers is so transparent and realistic. It gave me hope that even someone as inexperienced as myself can learn, grown and build my own blog. Last year, Alex and Lisa started cataloging their monthly business report, recapping efforts and successes to goals and opportunities as professional bloggers and how to grow their brand. This really helped things click for me. Their vulnerability to put their business out there helped me pace set and allowed me to set realistic goals.
Yeshira with her blog HelloYeshi has such a delicious way of captivating her readers. Her photos have such an artistic edge, and her love of travel and resonates through every post. Yeshi has been such an active member of our Travel Bloggers Club and helps newbies really settle into the group and feel welcomed. Last year Yeshi hosted a Travel Blogger Q & A where she invited many of us from the group to share more about ourselves on her blog! I was so inspired by this and loved getting to know my digital peers better through her posts!
Sometimes you encounter someone who really shifts your thinking and helps open door that were hidden to your comprehension of possibilities. Kemi of Musings and Adventures was just this sort of inspiration for me. Some of the first posts I encountered by Kemi were her recaps of day trips and weekend getaways. Since I was confined to travel on my days off or vacations, I was feeling discouraged that I couldn't contribute posts about 'my month in Spain'. Kemi has such a wonderful following of other women like us who find ways to add travel value even with just a day or two to explore. This gave me such relief and renewed hope for my own type of travel and posting!
Federica of A Stroll Around The World instantly caught my attention. I loved her style of writing and I really connected with this concept of slow travel, and taking your time to enjoy a location. For a while I was planning my trips to pack in as much content as I could, but the more I read by Federica I understood how much quality I could gain by slowing down a little and appreciating the small details that can often be missed in a fast paced travel. Federica is also very involved on Facebook and then a few months into reading her posts and I understood why I was so inspired...here was a fellow travel blogger over 20-something!! Yippee!! I was so glad to see another woman embarking in this journey!
Keep growing your network:
So now I find myself anxious to check in on Facebook and Instagram to see what my digital peers are doing daily. But I also really try to keep up with activities that continue to support each other. Our Facebook group committed to A Seven Day Challenge where a small group of us participate in a rapid fire of activity on each others blogs and social media sights to continue to build activity to our brands and improve authority in our domain name and other search tools and results. This recent Seven Day Challenge has introduced me to other truly inspirational travel bloggers:
Julie has created a most creative and attractive blog layout called Why Not Ju Her adventures across the globe are artistically cataloged on her blog and the overall energy is fantastic. My family heritage is from Norway, so I am excited to learn more about her suggestions for travel in Norway as we prepare to do a family vacation to see where my grandparents were from and explore more of such a beautiful country!
Diana and her blog Dianas Healthy Living is the perfect example of dedication and time spent building your brand and staying true to yourself. She has built a wonderful following and her fans are starting on her travel adventure as she includes not only reviews and posts from incredible restaurants and chefs, but her travels across the globe. What I found the most inspirational for me with Diana's site, is so many of her tips and growth come from her experiences right here in America! Since my current travels are keeping me Stateside as well, I found this refreshing that such a successful blog can flourish! (I have been a little jealous that life doesn't allow me to get to my bucketlist destinations worldwide...yet!!)
Mirela of The Travel Bunny is centered in one of my dream locations, Europe. She writes of her travels through many of the countries I have always found dreamy and right out of a fairy tale! Her blog offers great tips for getting the most out of your travel budget and really getting into the culture of the locations she visits!
Jayashree of Doibedouin has a wildly energetic blog and truly a beautiful way of looking at travel and bringing those she loves to be part of her travels. Like myself she has found the activities with the Travel Bloggers Club to be helpful to really growing her blog. She posted an article about our Seven Day Challenge that really explains how these activities boost your credibility within search engines.
Caitlyn with her blog With Caitlyn offers a wonderful concept to link food and travel: She litterally offers recipes inspired by her travels. Caitlyn's blog is beautifully real. You can find her review of a book she is reading, a new recipe and entertaining recaps of where she has visited. I've advised for my own boys who are interested in creating a lifestyle blog as we start traveling more to see how she balances what she enjoys doing at home and travel into an engaging blog!
Arunima of Nameste Solo Travel is one of the most brave and gracious ladies I have encountered in my blog research. Not only is she confident to venture into this world on her own and take in experiences independently, some of her travels have been met with challenges that she has written about most eloquently and handled respectfully. What really connected me to Arunima's blog was her post about her travel to Switzerland.
Lissa runs a blog about Family Travel called Roots Wings and Travel Things which I am so excited to have been introduced to! When I first created my own blog I thought it would be best to shield the world from my private life, specifically my children, But the way that Lissa catalogs her family adventures (and being another Midwest girl...) I am so anxious to learn more about how Lissa balances travel with children and shares their experiences.
Sydney created her blog A World In Reach to catalog her own travels in her quest to see as much of the world as possible. I love this about the travel blog lifestyle, and I know it is something my own children are aspiring to. I love that our world is be coming to accessible and that today's young professionals are showing us what they are learning as they explore. I never understood when people had never traveled from their hometown to see even more of their own country, but then you read the passion and insight that someone as bright as Sydney shares on her blog, and you just feel relief that our world just might be heading in the right direction!
Nina of Nina Out And About seems to have lived a life of travel. She explains that even her family traveled every chance they got and now she continues with that same diligence and passion to try exciting things in places many of have on bucket lists from decades ago! I am so excited to continue to network with Nina and gather ideas for what to do in some of the locations we are budgeting for in our own family adventures.
Alison is another wife and mother who runs a family travel blog called Five Family Adventurers I loved learning about her story uncovering how her and her husband were great travel companions and now are upholding that passion to explore together and bringing their children along. Her blog is really engaging and I truly connected with her experiences and seeing things through the eyes of her children.
So here we go! A Seven Day Challenge with digital peers that I feel like I have known my whole blogging life, and new friends that I am honored and excited to build partnerships with! Cheers to all of us and that you everyone for your support!
Cheers Sippin Gypsy Travelers! This post comes to you from my friend Allen Walker. Allen is sharing with us several great ways to indulge in the beauty and luxury of Dubai, but still be conscious of the environment. Allen highlights some of the many ways Dubai is choosing more responsible ways to delight tourists and locals alike. Enjoy!
Dubai is popular for its lavish malls and extravagant lifestyle. You can see man made wonders everywhere which stun the human eye and make you believe that it’s not a part of this world. However, it’s a fact that people often don’t consider Dubai when they plan to visit a bio diverse place full of natural beauty as they think Dubai offers just luxurious and engineering feats and has nothing to do with natural beauty. It’s not true at all. The city is an ideal place for ecotourism and has everything one desires. From striking deserts to beaches and from natural resorts to animal petting farms, nature is visible everywhere and this is another reason which makes Dubai the first choice of tourists.
Dubai has started several ambitious projects to explore and promote natural beauty and few of them have already completed. Curious to know more about the natural wonders the city has? Let’s discuss one by one.
Spending holiday in a resort with family or spouse is the dream of every individual. Dubai resorts & hotels promise to give an amazing combination of adventure, fun activities, glamour, and glitz. There are a number of resorts present in the city which are situated at the best locations. Some are present in the middle of the city while others are established in the desert. For the comfort of tourists, international level restaurants are present there where you can eat mouthwatering food and enjoy local cuisines. Paddle board, windsurf paddle boat, spa, and adventurous activities are available in these resorts. Here are five top resorts in Dubai which you must not forget to visit.
It’s not only a major eco-friendly project of Dubai, but also the entire country. The project aims to protect natural flora and fauna without involving lavish development so people can enjoy nature at its purest form. Taking breathe in the air of Al Maha is like inducing peace and eternity into your body while the beautiful scenery mesmerizes your eyes. After all, it’s Dubai so you can stay in a comfy room surrounded by the tropical environment.
If you are going to visit Dubai with kids, then petting farms would be worthy experience. You see different types of animals including exotic rescued, imported, and mundane. It’s allowed to touch and feel these animals and management also informs tourists how to take care of them. Learn about their food, habitats, and interesting information. Most of the petting farms run on donations and you can also give some money to provide better facilities to animals.
Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary is a small area near Dubai creek and known as a natural wetland area. The place is abounding of marsh harries, flamingos, and ospreys. The area is the perfect depiction of natural beauty and proves Dubai has much more to offer other than gigantic shopping malls and towering spires.
Masdar City – Zero Waste Production
Dubai is a place full of wonders so never expect less than the perfect from it even when it comes to ecotourism. A mega project is underway named Masdar City which would function and run on nature. It would be free from carbon that is a harmful gas for human beings and causes several diseases. Zero waste production is the ultimate goal of the city for that clean energy production technology is being used in the project. MIT and Masdar Institute of Science and Technology are working on the project and putting extreme efforts on the development of green technology.
Desert Safari Dubai
Desert is an intrinsic part of Dubai and it lets you explore nature at its best. Waling on the sand dunes and feeling the sand particles on your feet is an amazing experience. Youngsters cover these deserts on cycles while families prefer 4x4 jeeps. Experts drivers are required to ensure safety as driving on the ups and downs of sandy hills is not a child's play.
Morning and evening are the best times for a desert safari because enduring scorching heat isn’t possible for tourists who come from cold areas. Scrumptious food is available during your visit to the desert while belly dancers and traditional performances let you know the life of local people. If you want to explore and witness the desert life, then prefer cycling as you can stop and see the local animals and plants. Last but not the least, don’t forget ride in the desert because you can’t enjoy the real essence of a desert without it.
Parks and Aquariums
There are multiple parks and aquariums present in Dubai in which Al Bashra Pond Park, Creek Park, Mushrif Park, and Umme Suqueim parks are very popular where you see a lot of flora and fauna, enjoy picnics, take cycle rides, and observe the habitats of different birds. In winter season, you can visit the park any time, but visiting timings are specific for the summer season.
Educational aquariums are present in Dubai which are a great source of learning for children to know about the native marine life. The prominent aquariums in Dubai include Sharja Aquarium and Dubai Aquarium Underwater Zoo in Dubai Mall where you see different species and various types of marine life.
The Hatta Dam is closer to Dubai and known for the peaceful environment it offers away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The Heritage Village is surrounded by beautiful mountains where breathtaking beauty is spread everywhere. Kayak and paddle boats are the amazing and fun full activities in the area that also helps you to lose some weight and restore your energy level by taking bath in the cool water.
Isn’t it impressive? Hence, we can say with great confidence that Dubai is a second to none city that can host people of every taste and interest. It doesn't matter if you are a fan of lavish lifestyle or a nature lover, Dubai is ready to surprise and impress you with its striking entertainment opportunities.
Cheers Sippin Gypsy Travelers! This post comes to you while enjoying a Sippin Gypsy Chocolate and Mint Non Martini Protein Shake.
This post was written by my friend Adam Durnham who specializes in Mental Health and has some really great insights to the benefits of travel and your mental well being and balance. As a wife, mother and career woman, I know I was able to relate to many of his points and suggestions. Too often we get pulled into the stresses of life and we forget to take time to do things that enable us to 'reset' and rejuvenate ourselves. Enjoy!
The Mental Health Benefits of Travel
When you first think of traveling, what comes to your mind? Do you think of the ultimate family vacation? Do you think of a solo trip across the country? Maybe you think of going to that popular Caribbean destination you just saw on your internet search. You might think about meeting people from other cultures and exploring the world.
Traveling is one of the most fun things you can do. It is also a great way to create unforgettable memories as well. However, it is more than just having fun. Traveling can improve your overall well being. Whether you just got out of a dual diagnosis rehab or have an overly stressful job, Traveling can help to improve your mental health in the following ways.
Many people experience stress in their life. Some people have more stress than others. Those who are working 60 hours a week, taking care of someone else, or perhaps in recovery from some mental state may be overly stressed. If you have a lot of stress in your life, you should know that traveling can be one way to reduce that stress. Traveling gives you the break you need from the daily struggles that are causing you stress. It gives you the chance to relax, rest, and recharge, so you can lower your stress levels. A study done in 2013 shows that traveling reduced the stress level of 89% of people. That was only with one or two days of traveling as well.
One of the main reasons someone may have a decline in their mental health is because they don’t know who they are anymore. They can’t connect to their true feelings or experience happiness from things they used to be passionate about. If this is the case for you, it may be time to reinvent yourself. Traveling can help you with this. You might want to explore a foreign country or just travel the United States. By doing this, you are expanding your mind, experiencing new cultures, and taking on challenges. You can learn more about yourself, so you can invent the “new you”.
Feeling More Satisfaction and Happiness
Traveling can help you to feel more satisfaction in your life as well. Many people with mental health issues aren’t satisfied with the life they are living. They are tired of their job, exhausted from their responsibilities, and constantly feeling overwhelmed. When you are traveling, you can let all those things go for awhile. You can feel satisfaction through your explorations. This satisfaction can allow more happiness to flow into your life as well. Traveling allows you to feel more fulfilled. One study done by Cornell University shows that even thinking about an upcoming trip can bring you happiness.
Improved Mental Resilience
Traveling can improve your mental resilience as well. When you head off to a new place, you can feel both intimidated and excited. You might feel scared but thrilled. The trip can help you strengthen both your emotional and mental resilience. There might be some obstacles you need to overcome when traveling. For example, you may need to learn a new language or deal with a situation when your car breaks down across the country. Overcoming these obstacles allows you to become more emotionally stable and strong. You learn to give up control and have patience.
Expressing Your Creative Side
When you travel, you also get to express your creative side. Adam Galinksy, a Columbia Business School Professor , states that going to a foreign place and getting into their environment, raises your cognitive flexibility. Traveling gets you thinking outside of your normal perspective. It enhances your creative side. The more you engage in the culture of the place you are traveling to, the more you can expand your creativity.
Going on a trip can help to improve your productivity. One of the main reasons someone may need to go on a trip is because they need a break from the daily struggles. They may need a break from work, caring for a loved one, or to refresh their own body and mind. When someone gets in this run down state, they aren’t going to be very productive. However, taking a trip can help to reduce these overwhelming sensations and improve productivity.
Traveling can help to improve behaviors as well. For instance, people who are depressed typically go into isolation. They avoid interacting with people or doing things they once enjoyed. This worsens the depressive state. If you suffer from depression, going on a trip can increase your interactions with others. It can get you moving which also helps to reduce depression as well.
Connecting to Nature
According to some studies, natural surroundings are often the best for promoting a better mental health state. Traveling can provide you with many natural experiences and connections. You might visit a mountain, go camping in the woods, or visit a natural spring. By doing this, you are connecting yourself to the world, to nature. You are connecting with something bigger than yourself. This often helps to improve mental health symptoms.
Trying New Things
One way to improve your mental health state is by trying new things. It is normal for people to avoid things because they feel uncomfortable doing them. However, trying new things also helps you learn who you are and what you enjoy. It allows you to take part in opportunities and enjoy new experiences. By doing this, you can create more happiness in your life. You can feel better mentally and emotionally.
If you need to improve your mental health state, traveling could be one way for you to do that. There are so many places you could explore in this world. There are so many different experiences you could have. Traveling could help improve your mental health state in so many ways. It could help you feel more happiness, satisfaction, enjoyment, and contentment in your life as well.
Find that new travel opportunity today!
Adam Durnham is a freelance blogger that specializes in mental health, addiction, and recovery. Whenever he is not traveling, Adam lives in Detroit, Michigan with his travel buddy Beignet.
Cheers Sippin Gypsy Team Bourbon! This creamy cocktail comes inspired not only by my new found appreciation of bourbon after an amazing experience in Louisville Kentucky, but also my love of tropical gardens. I wanted to find a way to bring Louisville on vacation to my home in Florida. This cocktail relies on the bold warm flavors of bourbon and surrounds it in a light botanical veil. Green Chartreuse is a severely under utilized spirit that adds an herbal complexity to a cocktail's flavor profile.
I've had no 'formal training' as a bartender, but I know spirits and flavors and I know what I like. This is a great cocktail to play with your own pallet and customize the drink to have sweeter notes by increasing the pineapple juice and lessening the Green Chartreuse, or make the drink more 'boozy' or herbaceous by decreasing the amount of pineapple juice and increasing the Green Chartreuse. The art of cocktail crafting is more of a personal creation as opposed to a rigid recipe that must be followed. Play and have fun!
2 oz. Bourbon
1/4 oz. Green Chartreuse
1/2 oz. Coconut milk
1/2 oz. Pineapple Juice
1/4 oz. Lemon Juice
2 drops Orange Bitters
Combine all ingredients into a tin shaker with ice and shake vigorously until the tin is very cold to the touch. Fine strain into your glass and garnish with edible flowers and coconut crisps.
I'm excited to hear from my fellow Sippin Gypsies!! Tell me what you think of this wintery tropical cocktail and please let me know what variations you try!
Cheers Sippin Gypsy Travelers! This post comes to you from my friend Kayla of Our Start with some great tips for helping you prepare for flying with kids. As a mom and lover of travel, I really appreciated her suggestions, and have used several myself when traveling with my boys! Enjoy!
How to Survive an International Flight with Kids
Travel has so many benefits. Traveling exposes people to new cultures and new ways of seeing the world. Kids benefit from travel just as much if not more than adults. While traveling is fun and exciting, getting there requires a lot of steps. Flying is efficient and quick. At the same time, international flights with kids pose certain challenges. An international flight may take hours or even days to complete if there's a long layover. Parents need to think about ways they can help their kids relax and even enjoy long international flights with their children. There are many ways to help kids cope with the stress of leaving home and heading to another country. Careful, detailed advanced preparation along with an understanding of each child's precise needs is the best way to have a happy family trip from the very first moment it begins.
Ready and Rested
All kids need sleep. In fact, they need more sleep than adults. Teens also tend to have a clock that makes them stay up later at night and makes it harder for them to get up in the morning. Several days before the flight, push kids to get to bed earlier. Having enough sleep is one of the best ways for kids to feel at their best before boarding, during the flight and afterwards. Sleep also enables kids to communicate better with parents and reduces their feelings of being out of sorts.
While luggage restrictions make it hard to bring what children want when they're traveling by plane, it's possible to be thoughtful and work with such restrictions to help kids items they want with them as they travel internationally. Kids can participate in the act of packing. Let them do the investigating before boarding. Many airlines have a detailed list of what is allowed and what is not. Let the child do much of the packing of their own bags so they'll like what they have with them as they travel.
Interest Kids in the Route
International travel by air is incredibly exciting. During the course of the route, travelers can cross many bodies of water and many different countries. Kids should take the time to learn about where they're going. Kids can explore the exact route they're going to take in great detail. For example, if they are flying over parts of Europe, before the trip is the time to study the cultures of places like France and The Netherlands. Parents can encourage kids to study the history, culture and languages of each place and then point it out as they travel.
Flights between borders can take a lot of time. Now is the time to encourage kids to find clothing that lets them sit comfortably and move about freely. Little kids should have clothing that a parent can take off with ease if it gets dirty. Layers such as a jacket and a short sleeved shirt allow the child to respond to changes in temperatures as they leave and the flight continues. Older kids should be encouraged to look for fabrics like cotton that breathe and allow them to remove any stains fast.
Parents should remember that even international flights may not always much to eat or may offer food that kids find unpalatable. Provide kids with a small treat budget of their own. Spending time in an airport before the plane leaves typically means spending time in an area with lots of eating choices. Many airports have dozens of food choices from simple snacks to complete meals. Give kids the option of spending a small sum of money on food they like to eat.
Take Turns Parenting
In the course of leaving for a trip, boarding a plane and staying in the air, parent may be with their kids for hours at a time. Parents should set aside a designed time for each parent to supervise their kids and pay attention to their needs. The other parent can be the person who handles other details at this time such as interacting with airline officials, checking in baggage and staying on top of all necessary arrangements at their intended destination. One parent will make sure each child is adjusting to the plane ride and be there to answer any questions the child might have. This allows each parent some adult time during the flight and time to deal with their own personal needs.
Corresponding With Friends
Today's kids are more in touch with their friends than ever before. Many have updated social media accounts they use to share their experiences with the world. An international trip offers a way for kids to talk about their lives with their friends. Encourage kids to keep a flight journal they can share with friends. Let them share their excitement with their peer group. Many kids also have friends who live overseas. Kids should be reminded of the possibility of finally meeting with a friend for the first time. A long flight is easier to endure when they know someone's waiting for them at the other end.
Kayla Clough is the email specialist here at OurStart. Kayla is a recent graduate of Eastern University in PA where she majored in Marketing and Human Resources. Kayla loves all things fashion, her golden retriever Max, and coffee. When she is not working, you can find her binge watching Sex in the City and baking her latest find on Pinterest.
Cheers Sippin Gypsy Travelers! This post comes to you while enjoying my Sippin Gypsy Sorbet Sparklers! For this post my sparkler has gin and raspberry sorbet with fresh mint from my garden, while my sidekicks (my sons) are enjoying the nonalcoholic version of this tasty refresher.
This summer we piled in our Jeep and traversed the country from South to North by way of Atlanta GA, then onto Louisville KY and finally to Chicago IL for a family get together before trekking back home. My boys are turning 12 and 13, and this was their first ‘Road Trip’ vacation. We all had so much fun! To make the drive easier we purposely broke up the drive with overnight stays no more than a 6 hour distance from one city to the next, with time to stop for lunch/dinner after 2-3 hours in. This worked beautifully!
Atlanta was the first stop and a city I love dearly. This would end up being my forth time really enjoying the city. The boys loved the Aquarium and the chance to see all the different habitats and ecosystems influenced by oceans, lakes and rivers. The boys also really enjoyed finding some of the street art sprinkled around the city. They loved that people are allowed to paint pictures and murals on the outside of buildings! I loved watching their appreciation for all types of art and how it inspired them.
For more suggestions of what to do in Atlanta: Sippin Gypsy Quick Tips for Playin': Atlanta
For dinner we spent time at Ponce City Market trying a little bit of almost everything there. We all agreed that HOPS Chicken was one of the best fried chicken we had ever had. We stocked up on desert between my favorite, Batter and the new Five Daughters Bakery…we had enough sugar pumping through us to certainly keep us awake for another drive, but we wanted to enjoy the city, and Centennial Olympic Park is beautiful at night. Atlanta was only a one-night stay for us on the way up North. It is an easy drive from where we live and decided to give ourselves more time in cities that were a bit further away.
For more suggestions of where to eat and drink in Atlanta: Sippin Gypsy Quick Tips for Sippin': Atlanta
For suggestions of where to stay in Atlanta: 6 Cool Hotels in Atlanta and Sippin Gypsy Quick Tips for Restin': Atlanta
We woke up and started into the mountains of Northern Georgia and into Tennessee. I always find the mountains so majestic and humbling. We took turns picking songs on Spotify and sung our hearts out together as we wove through the countryside. Lunch was in Nashville. What a fun city! I am looking forward to spending a few days in this city soon. There were so many restaurant options. We ended up atThe Row which has seen several famous artists over the years.
Louisville Kentucky was our next stop for two nights on the way up, then again for a night on the way back home. One of my top priorities was to visit the Angels Envy Distillery, one my husband’s favorites bourbons. I have just begun to develop my pallet for bourbon, so this was an incredible way to truly understand the art and history of this dark spirit. Our tour guide Julie was fantastic. She not only has a passion for the Angel’s Envy brand, but also for the art of bourbon.
For more suggestions of what to do in Louisville: Sippin Gypsy Quick Tips for Playin': Louisville
The food in Louisville was incredible. I took my time and did a lot of research before our road trip. I had read that Louisville had some new farm to table restaurants and some really impressive bars. I couldn’t stop eating. Everything was so delicious. A few memorable favorites were Butchertown Grocery and Naïve, both with fresh local foods and delicious well crafted cocktails.
For more suggestions of where to eat and drink in Louisville: Sippin Gypsy Quick Tips for Sippin': Louisville
In a town packed with distilleries, it really raises the bar (no pun intended at all) for bar programs. Bartenders need to know their history of bourbon and respect the deep dedication to this spirit. Kevin and I used a booklet that also serves as a ‘passport’ to visit the bars and distilleries in Louisville proper, also known as The Urban Bourbon Trail. This guided us to some of the most amazing spots with passionate bartenders and mixologists and artistic and classic cockatils including Proof on Main and the Lobby Bar at the Brown Hotel and of course the Angel's Envy Distillery!
We spent one of the afternoons walking around historic Louisville, and the beautiful Victorian mansions. I picked up a book by local author, David Domine and we used his book to find out more about the haunted homes we walked past. We also really enjoyed The Big Four Bridge. What a great place to walk off dinner or pack a picnic and enjoy the river! Louisville definitely needed more than three nights. There was so much more we wanted to eat and explore. Kevin and I committed to coming back and bringing our bourbon loving friends along for a couples getaway.
The drive to Chicago from Louisville was so easy. The boys especially enjoyed the miles of windmills. We lost count, but it was hauntingly beautiful to drive through.
Then came the bridge into Chicago. What an experience. The boys hadn’t seen a city so big yet. It gave me chills to hear their excitement of the skyscrapers. This was Kevin and my second visit to Chicago. We opted to stay right in the River North neighborhood. We were close to everything.
Exploring Millennium Park was one of my boys favorite things to do in Chicago. We also spent a wonderful afternoon in the Art Institute. My cousin studied there, and has a passion for art, so having him as a tour guide was perfect. We also truly enjoyed the Architecture Tour from the boat. It was fun to ride through the city and sail past the concrete giants that adorn the city’s skyline.
For more suggestions of what to do in Chicago: Sippin Gypsy Quick Tips for Playin': Chicago
The cocktail and cuisine scene in Chicago is amazing. We had so much amazing food and beautiful cocktails it really was hard to pick favorites. I loved the view of the river and skyline from Raised Bar. The boys really loved the food from Green Street Smoked Meats. Kevin and I enjoyed the sultry ambiance of Bavette’s where we ventured down a candle lit staircase into a speakeasy style hidden bar with incredible cocktails.. We concluded we needed a lot more time in Chicago. We felt we could’ve spent a week there and still not experienced everything on our lists.
For more suggestions of where to eat and drink in Chicago: Sippin Gypsy Quick Tips for Sippin': Chicago
In the end, we loved our road trip. Time in the car was spent enjoying music or playing travel games. The boys had prepared for each city by doing a bit of their own research about the history of each city and at least one attraction they were interested in visiting. This kept their interest in each city as they were constantly on the look out for something they researched. The kids were also great at trying new flavors in each city. Kevin and I decided we will do another family road trip with the boys.
Cheers Sippin Gypsy Gypsy Travelers! This post comes to you while enjoying my Sippin Gypsy Jalapeno Margarita, one of my favorite cocktails from EPCOT at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando FL while reading a post from my friend Albion of AlbionGould after her recent trip to Disneyland Paris!
If you're a Disney parks fan, you can't leave Disneyland Paris off your list. Not only do you get some new Disney magic, it's located right next to one of the most beautiful cities in the world. This post will tell you all the details of what you need to know before you visit Disneyland Paris.
We've always flown into Charles de Gaulle Airport. There are multiple ways to get to Disneyland from the airport. Both of our preferred methods depart from Terminal Two. The high speed train option will get you to the Disneyland stop in a matter of minutes--quite literally. The Disney station is Marne-la-Vallée/ Chessy Station. However, we don't take it when our kids are with us because it can be rather chaotic, especially if there's luggage involved. Our most used option is the Magical Shuttle. You can pre-book your tickets online or buy them from the desk. It obviously takes longer than the train, but we've found it to be much easier with the kids. The shuttle stops at all of the Disneyland hotels, a small hub in town with hotels, and at Disneyland itself. The final stop is right next to the train station where you would have ended up had you chosen the train.
Where to Stay:
Like the other Disney parks, Disneyland Paris offers multiple on-site properties. The main hotel (and most expensive) is located right on top of the front gates. All of the hotels have different theming and are comparable to their hotels in the States. There's a large selection of off-site properties that are just a three minute train ride away to choose from as well. We have four kids, so for both pricing reasons and to be able to all be in the same room, our hotel of choice is Residhome Val d'Europe. The hotel is located fifty feet from the train entrance and it's just one stop away from the parks, which is actually much quicker than some of the official Disney hotels.
Getting into Disneyland:
Disneyland Paris is most similar in layout to Disneyland (Anaheim). There's a courtyard where you can choose to go into Disneyland, Walt Disney Studios, or Disney Village. The entrance to Disneyland is quite different from the American versions. The main queue is below the hotel, but I have a secret for you! Go to the right of the building (you'll go under a walkway).
The left luggage office will be in front of you but just off to the left is another entrance. It's never as busy as the main entrance and there's no signage to tell first time visitors that it's there.
When to Visit:
Just as with other Disney parks, there are good and bad times to visit Disneyland Paris due to crowd size, but the schedule you need to watch out for isn't what you'd think. When you're planning your visit, make sure it doesn't coincide with a school break in the U.K. In England, you can't take your kids out of school without getting a fine, which means that they travel only over their breaks. While other breaks will make a difference too, the U.K. is the the one that brings the biggest crowd. If your visit needs to be at the same time, be prepared for quite long lines and some difficulty in restaurant seating.
Disneyland Paris features many of the big name rides that we know and love from the American parks--Space Mountain, Small World, Pirates of the Caribbean, and more. They all have a bit of a twist on them, though. Space Mountain, for example, has more of a Jules Verne type theming. Pirates starts with the burning of the town and ends with the cave. There are also Paris specific rides, like Alice's Curious Labyrinth and Crush's Coaster.
I will be honest--I feel let down by the Disneyland Paris food. I love Disney food and was expecting a level above the American parks since Paris has such a great reputation. While the food in the parks is ok, it's really just ok. There are very few themed food options, all of the carts are basically the same, and the food just generally seems to be overpriced and rather blah. Disney Village has restaurant options and I would recommend those over the food actually in the parks.
Do I Need to Know French?
The short answer is no. We didn't encounter any cast members who didn't speak English. However, it is helpful (and polite!) to know how to say please and thank you at the very least. Also, at most rides the cast members will ask questions in French first, so if they're looking for a party of two to jump ahead, you can swoop on that if you can understand the question.
How Long Do I Need?
Disneyland Paris is on the small size (smaller than Anaheim). I would say that you don't need any more than two days to do both the parks and feel satisfied. Because of the proximity to Paris, I would highly recommend taking at least one day trip into the city while you're there.
I hope that this has given you a general overview of what you can expect from Disneyland Paris and that you're planning your own visit!
Lover of travel to charming places dusted with unique flavor. Join me as I explore the world sip by sip. Cheers!