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Paradise in Languedoc-Roussillon

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UNESCO Sights in the South of France
South of France Countryside

South of France Countryside

With over 300 days of sunshine, abundant gastronomy choices, rich culture, and some of the most beautiful countryside in the world, the Languedoc-Roussillon region is a must-see destination when visiting France. Frequently overlooked for ljaunts into metropolitan attractions, the south of France has much to offer.  In addition, for wine lovers,little-known yet, high-quality affordable wine can be easily found.


The region boasts six UNESCO World Heritage sites.

  1. City of Carcassonn
  2. The Canal du Midi
  3. The Pont du Gard
  4. The Vauban fortresses of Villefranche-de-Conflent and Mont-Louis
  5. The Saint-Jacques-de-Compostella Pilgrimage Routes
  6. The Causses and Cévennes

Although these names may be difficult to pronounce, it would be more difficult for you to miss out on visiting these extraordinary historical sites.   Do not return home from the south of France without enjoying the Languedoc-Roussillon region.

City of Carcassonn

Carcassonne is medieval walled city built between the 12th and 14th centuries. It provided a perfect backdrop for the movie Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves.  With 52 towers and two concentric walls,  it is an impressive fortress.

Your best photographic shots should include the Narbonne Gate, The Lists where the jousts took place and La Vade Tower.


The Canal du Midi

UNESCO labeled it, ” one of the modern era’s most extraordinary achievements and a work of art”. The Canal du Midi  is a series of 328 navigator waterways running through France that connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea.

Pierre-Paul Riquet is responsible for driving this vision that is comprised of locks, aqueducts, tunnels and bridges, spanning nearly 1,200 miles.  In 1662, at the age of 53 he embarked upon that challenging feat. It became his life work. Unfortunately, Riquet died a year prior to its completion in 1681.  Thomas Jefferson cruised the canal in 1787.


Pont du Gard


Pont du Gard is a Roman aqueduct that was used to transport drinking water to the residents of Nîme. This massive engineering structure is 48 ft across and rises more than 900 ft high. After spending an afternoon here, you’ll understand why it is France’s most visited ancient monument.

It is estimated over 50,000 tons of limestone, from the nearby quarry was used in its construction.  No mortar was used. Instead, blocks were expertly cut to join together perfectly using only friction.

The grounds include an exhibition that discusses the Roman civilization, the building of the bridge and aqueduct.  There’s a museum,  botanical garden and quarry.


Villefranche-de-Conflent and Mont-Louis

In 2008, these two Catalon sites were added to the UNESCO World Heritage Monument list. The Count of Cerdagne founded the medieval town of Villefranche-de-Conflent in 1090. The King of Aragon started a remodel in the 14th century. However, it was Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban, a prominent military engineer, who completed the fortress in the 17th century.

The citadel of Mont-Louis is the highest fortress in France. This mid-17th century  fortified town was also created by Vauban.  Surprisingly, many of the ramparts are still in tact.


Pilgrimage Routes

The final resting place of The Apostle St. James was discovered around the 813. Visitors enjoy taking this Pilgrimage walking tour  that is dotted with churches and religious landmarks. There are four routes across Europe that lead to Saint-Jacques-de-Compostella, located in northern Spain.  Two of these routes cross the Languedoc-Roussillon region.


Causses and Cévennes

The agri-pastoral region that has all four types of type of pastoral systems found around the Mediterranean:

  1. Agro-pastoralism
  2. Sedentary pastoralism
  3. Silvi-pastoralism
  4. Transhumance

The aim of the natural park system is to maintain century-old farming activities while addressing the environmental, economic and social issues of today. This cultural tradition, based on distinctive social structures and local breeds of sheep, is reflected in the structure of the landscape, especially the patterns of farms, settlements, fields and water management.


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Viking Cruises Sails the Mississippi

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Viking Cruises on the Mississipi
Viking Cruises will Sail from New Orleans on the Mississippi

Viking Cruises will Sail from New Orleans on the Mississippi

Viking River Cruises is coming to America. The European-based cruise line has revealed plans to base six river ships in New Orleans. Starting late 2017, the first ever sailings in North America will head up the Mississippi River. During the next three years, two ships per year will be deployed.





The Itinerary

Embarking from the New Orleans French Quarter, the itinerary will include stops in St. James, East Baton Rouge and West Feliciana parishes in Louisiana.  Then, depending on the season will continue upriver to Memphis and St. Louis, Missouri or further north to St. Paul, Minnesota. With stops in Missouri, it presents a great opportunity to listen to some great American jazz or blues music!


A Boast to the Economy

The move to the United States will create nearly 800 jobs for the Louisiana-based vessels.  The Viking River Cruise ships, costing upwards of $100 million will be built in US shipyards.


Viking Cruises on the High Seas

Viking River Cruises will launch the first of its ocean-going vessels this year. The line, formerly only sailed on the rivers of Europe but in recent years has expanded its fleet to other rivers of the world. Now, the all-veranda, ocean-going Viking Star will be christened on May 17, 2015. Then, on April 11th, the new ship will take her maiden voyage from Istanbul and sail through the Mediterranean Sea.


Source: TravelPulse


Mardi Gras FAQ

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Mardi Gras FAQ

Mardi Gras Masks and Beads

Mardi Gras Masks and Beads

It’s Mardi Gras! But do you know what all the hoopla is all about?  Here’s a Mardi Gras FAQ (Frequently Asked Question) Guide to help you understand the long-standing traditions and unique jargon behind all of the revelry!

With this cheat sheet, you will be up-to-date on the traditions of this grandest-party-of-them-all celebration.



What does Mardi Gras mean?

Mardi Gras means “Fat Tuesday” in French.


What is this Celebration?

Fat Tuesday precedes Ash Wednesday, which is the start of the Lenten season for Christians. Lent lasts for 40 days, ending on Easter. In prior centuries, believers were to fast, which means to abstain from eating for a period of time. The strict tradition of fasting is no longer observed by most Christian denominations, although many Orthodox still continue the practice. Today, a lot of Christians, especially Catholics and Episcopalians participate partial fasting by not eating meat on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and all Fridays during Lent.

Another practice that is still observed today is to give up or refrain from eating or drinking a particular favorite food or beverage.  For example, typically people will abstain from enjoying their beloved chocolate, coffee or beer until the end of Lent.


What’s with all the partying?
Krewe on a Mardi Gras Float

Krewe Members on a Mardi Gras Float

Since people were giving up a cherished food or drink in observance of Lent, they decided to go out with a bang by whooping it up the day prior. Many cities around the US hold Mardi Gras parties, but it is New Orleans that symbolizes what a Mardi Gras celebration is about.

In New Orleans, local clubs called Krewes, hold masked balls and parades throughout the city’s 50 parishes. More than 125,000 party goers line the streets to be entertained by 1,000 floats and 500 marching bands. They also jump and scream in order to catch as many “throws” as possible. (See below for Throws)



Why does the date for Mardi Gras change every year?

Mardi Gras is associated with Easter. Easter can fall any day between March 23th and April 25th. The exact day is determined by using the spring equinox. Easter is always the first Sunday following the spring equinox. It’s kind of interesting that Easter is tied to a pagan practice but that’s another post. Ash Wednesday is always held 47 days before Easter. So, although the date of the month varies from year to year, Mardi Gras is always the day before Ash Wednesday. In 2016, Mardi Gras will fall on February 9th.


What are the colors of Mardi Gras and what do they represent?

The  colors were selected in 1872 by a group of businessmen who wanted to honor a visitor to the city, Russian Grand Duke Alexis Romanoff. Romanoff’s family colors of purple, green and gold became the official colors of Mardi Gras. Purple stands for justice; green for faith and gold for power. These same businessmen created a King of the Carnival named Rex.


Is Carnival the same as Mardi Gras?

No, although the two are related to Easter. In Catholicism, the start of Carnival is January 6th, the Feast of the Epiphany. Carnival begins the day after the Twelfth Day of Christmas. Carnival starts 51 days prior to Easter, which is determined by the spring equinox.  Translated Carnival means “Farewell to Flesh”.

The tradition is believed to have started in Trinidad and Brazil, but spread to other Roman Catholic-practicing nations, including the Caribbean.


What’s a King cake?
Purple, Green & Gold King Cake

King Cake

According to the Bible, the three wise men brought gifts to baby Jesus on the Twelfth Day of Christmas, the Feast of the Epiphany. A special cake is baked in honor of the three kings.

A plastic figure representing the baby Jesus is cooked inside each King Cake. The lucky person who receives the slice of cake with this figurine is asked to bring the cake the following year or hold a King Cake Party.


What’s a “Throw”?

During a parade, people on the float, called krewe members throw Mardi Gras-colored beads into the crowds. Other throws include cups, trinkets and toys.


 Is Mardi Gras only for adults?

No. Although the TV news and written press show the most sensational aspects of the celebration, it is acceptable for children to attend. Due to the massive crowds you will need to maintain a careful rein on your kids, especially the younger ones. However, it is ill-advised to bring children into the French Quarter.  But that’s okay because all Mardi Gras festivities are held outside the Quarter.


Who are Mardi Gras Indians?

These people, of African-American heritage were part of a secret society. Due to the proliferation of racism, many African-Americans were not allowed to participate in the greater Mardi Gras celebrations. As a result, they formed their own celebrations.

Their krewe names are typically Native American, as a salute to the assistance slaves received from the various native tribes. Formerly, Mardi Gras was a day to settle scores but now, each krewe simply competes against one another based on best suits, the name for their costumes, songs and dances.


Leave a Comment

I hope you have enjoyed reading this Mardi Gras FAQ Guide and have learned a thing or two.  If so, let me know by leaving a comment.

Laissez le Bon Pain de Périodes! Let the Good Times Roll!




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Travel Deal of the Month – February

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Costa Rica, Central American Jewel

Need a Vacation?

Need a Vacation?

Andaz Resort has opened its first location in the eco-friendly Latin American tourism capital, Costa Rica. And, this location is second to none. Set against the backdrop of the Gulf of Papagayo and the sapphire blue waters of Culebra Bay.

The Andaz Peninsula Papagayo Resort has everything the discerning traveler desires. The resort captures that Pura Vida (pure life) philosophy. The spectacular design stimulates the senses, drawing inspiration from the organic forms and shapes of the native flora and fauna.

Andaz Peninsula Papagayo Resort, a member of Hyatt Hotels features 153 guestrooms, including 21 luxury suites. It boasts the following amenities:

  • 3 themed restaurants
  • 2 secluded beaches
  • A family swimming pool
  • An adults-only pool
  • An 11,000 square foot Spa experience
  • 8,200 square feet of flexible meeting space
  • A smoke-free environment
Book now through 2/28/15 for travel through 4/05/15


Book this Travel Deal and Receive an Early Booking Bonus Pricing:
  • 3 nights from $649 per person


What’s Included in this Travel Deal?
  • Qualifying Room Types: All
  • Minimum Night Stay: 3 Nights
  • A reduced room rate
  • Complimentary Station Breakfast for 2 in Rio Bhongo Restaurant


Important Dates:
  • Book from 01/05/2015 through 02/28/2015
  • Travel from 01/05/2015 through 04/05/2015
  • Blackout Dates: May Apply
  • Minimum Night Stay: 3 Nights


Travel Deal Terms & Conditions:

Offers valid on new bookings only. Prices shown are per person (p/p), land only based upon double occupancy, except if expressly noted otherwise. Offers are subject to availability at time of booking and may be changed or discontinued at any time without notice. Blackout dates, minimum night stays, minimum stay requirements on air, seasonal surcharges, resort fees (if any), and other restrictions may also apply. Individual offers may require purchase of Travel Smart Plan or travel waiver. Offers are not valid for Group Travel. Some booking and travel dates may vary.  Departure dates available, which may result in a different rate and/or hotel inclusion. Customer is responsible for hotel/resort fees and any costs on the free night offers, where applicable. For those properties where Classic Vacations has access to dynamic pricing rates, those rates will likely fluctuate from time to time based on conditions and other factors beyond Classic Vacations control. Classic Vacations CST# 2079429-20.


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Adventures in Africa

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Africa Awaits

Exotic Birds and Unique Flora

Exotic Birds and Unique Flora

Africa is truly like no other place in the world. The African continent is far larger than most people imagine. Its size combined exceeds the United States, China, India, Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Eastern Europe, the United Kingdom, Japan and a handful of other countries. It is far more diverse than North and South America, Australia, Asia, and Europe.


No Two Countries are the Same

Northern Africa is heavily influenced by the Middle East, which is evident in the culinary dishes, religion and politics. Western Africa is filled with an array of history, including painful reminders of European colonization, particularly the slave trade. Eastern Africa offers some of the best wildlife viewing in the world, along with wonderful beaches unknown to most Americans. Southern Africa is home to several UNESCO World Heritage sites, amazing safari game viewing, archaeological sites including the beginning of humankind, and cosmopolitan cuisine and award-winning wine from world-class cities.

In this five-part series on experiencing Africa, we will share with you why Africa delivers unbelievably beautiful, pristine and awe-inspiring vacation destinations.


Parade of Elephant

Parade of Elephant

Home to some of the most amazing natural wonders on the African continent, a visit to Tanzania is an unforgettable journey. It surely will be among the remarkable experiences you’ll ever have.

Mount Kilimanjaro

  • The snow-capped peaks of Mt Kilimanjaro are a sight to behold. It is Africa’s highest mountain. Ascending from the grassy, lush plains, its elevation exceeds 19,300 feet. For those brave enough to attempt a climb, they will travel through five different climatic zones during the 5- to 9-day trip. You might want to start planning because due to the influence of global warming, the ice may be extinct within 20 years.

Ngorongoro Crater

  • It is the world’s largest intact caldera. A geological wonder dating back nearly 3,000,000 years, it is home to a vast array of wildlife. Nearly 25,000 large mammals reside here including black-maned lions, cheetahs, leopards, flamingos, giant-tusked elephants, and a dwindling number of highly endangered black rhinos.

    Great Migration Plains

    Plains of The Great Migration

Serengeti National Park

  • The Serengeti region is most famous for The Great Migration. This is the annual occasion where hundreds of thousands of zebra, wildebeest, and other herbivores cross the plains and rivers, risking their lives as they try to avoid encounters with lions, crocodiles and other natural predators. The ecosystem here is one of the earth’s oldest and has nearly unchanged fauna, vegetation, and climate.


South Africa

Most people are familiar with South Africa because of its two Nobel Prize recipients Bishop Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela. With the dismantling of the oppressive apartheid system, this “Rainbow Nation” has quickly become a top travel destination. South Africa truly has it all. See why South Africa has been voted as a Bucket List vacation.

Three World-class Cities:

Johannesburg, dubbed the “City of Gold”, Joburg is the economic heartbeat of the African continent. It is also a great city for those with an interest in the arts and history.

Apartheid Museum

The Apartheid Museum, an Emotional Journey

Cultural opportunities include:

  • Journey to FreedomSoweto or South Western Township was command central for much of the apartheid struggle. Historic landmarks include Regina Mundi Church, a popular underground meeting place; Hector Pieterson Museum and Mandela House. Vilakazi Street is the only street in the world that can lay claim to being the former home of two Nobel Prize winners.
  • Museums Abound – The top choices include the Apartheid Museum, the Museum of Africa, the National Railway & Steam Museum, and the South African Museum of Military History
  • Art – Rosebank Rooftop Craft Market has over 600 clothing, craft, art and ceramic stalls with handmade African items.


Durban, with a tongue-in-cheek nickname “Durban the Turban”, is home to the greatest population of Indians outside of India.

  • Walking along the beachfront try to spot dolphins just offshore in the Indian Ocean or experience a rickshaw ride in Victoria Park.
  • Take in a slice of history in Shakaland, with authentic re-creations of the life and times of Shaka, the King of the Zulu tribe.
  • Enjoy authentic crafts, fabric and authentic cuisine at the Victoria Market.


Cape Town is referred to as the Mother City since it is South Africa’s oldest. It is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, with both unique beaches and splendid mountains.

  • Walk to Freedom – Her rich history includes Robben Island, the isolated home for political prisoners including Nelson Mandela; The District Six Museum; Langa, the oldest apartheid housing system and the Gold Museum.
  • Sightseeing abounds with visits to:
    • The V & A Waterfront, is a shopping and dining district set along a working harbor. You can purchase locally made beads and other arts and crafts at the Green Market Square, a short world from the V&A.
    • Table Mountain offers panoramic views of the entire city. It can be accessed via the world’s largest, rotating cable car or by strenuous hike for the adventure seeker.

      Baboons at the Cape of Good Horn

      Baboons at the Cape of Good Hope

    • Cape Point is the southwestern-most point on the continent. It’s also home to the Cape Floral Kingdom, a UNESCO World Heritage site that boasts more than 20% of Africa’s flora and comprises eight protected areas. Baboons still roam wild here.
    • Watching the colony of endangered African penguins at Boulders Beach will bring out the kid in everyone.
    • Chapman’s Peak is a 6-mile, picturesque drive that rivals California’s Big Sur.
  • Safari Game Drive & Wildlife Viewing
    • Searching for the Big-5

      Searching for the Big 5 on a Game Drive

      Kruger National Park – Enjoy outstanding wildlife viewing in the world’s oldest national park, as well as in the surrounding private, luxury game lodges.

    • Pilanesberg National Park – Located in a 1.2 billion-year-old extinct volcanic crater, it houses an extensive wildlife population including more than 300 bird species.
    • KwaZulu-Natal Province – Home of the popular walking safari, the Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve gained recognition for its conservation efforts in saving the white rhino from extinction.
    • Addo Elephant National Park – With prime-viewing opportunities for its 300 elephants, it’s also a great place for bird watchers to try and spot some of the 180 species.
  • Gourmet Food & Wine
    Cape Winelands are Surrounded by Mountains

    The Cape Winelands are Surrounded by Mountains

    • Evenings rich with mouthwatering cuisine and fine wine are abundant in this cosmopolitan city. Guided and self-drive tours of the Cape Winelands’ 13 wine routes are popular ways to experience the up-and-coming wine regions. Located within an hour’s drive of Cape Town are the most famous, Stellenbosch, Constantia, Franschhoek and Paarl. Better yet, stay in one of the well appointed B&B’s, hotels or inns with breathtaking mountain and vineyard vistas.

Return to TheTravelGospel.com for our five-part series. We’ll share more information on must-see points of interest and must-do attractions on the amazing African continent.

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Cruise Perks

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Celebrity Cruises Sailing in Alaska

Celebrity Cruises Sailing in Alaska

 Cruise Perks

If you are looking for a bargain, you’ll want to check into the great cruise perks from Celebrity Cruises. Called 1-2-3 Go, the perks package offers the opportunity to enjoy all of the popular amenities guests typically want while on a cruise. Celebrity Cruises must really know their customers. It seems as though someone back at the Celebrity headquarters actually is reading those comment cards they ask you to to complete at the end of the cruise.  Who knew?

The Celebrity Commitment

On select Celebrity departures, guests may select one of three popular cruise perks to enhance their vacation experience while on board:

  1. FREE Classic Beverage Package for 2
  2. FREE Gratuities for 2
  3. An on-board Credit up to $300


Tell Me More
Celebrity Cruises is Perfect for the Foodie

Celebrity Cruises is Perfect for the Foodie

The deal gets even better for European sailings.  Guests can choose from two of the above. If you book the upgraded Celebrity Cruises Concierge Class, then you get to enjoy all three amenities from the package. Concierge Class passengers also are entitled to priority check-in, a special pre-departure lounge, as well as on-board Concierge Service.


I’ll be enjoying a Celebrity Cruise within the next few months and we are taking advantage of the Beverage Package.  No surprise there right?  Celebrity understands that passengers want to know what their expenses will be before the end of the cruise and these programs ease some of the uncertainty of shipboard expenses. These offers allow passengers to not get the nickle and dime treatment by making the cruise pricing more inclusive.


Current Specials

For specific details and information on the terms and conditions on these great amenity cruise perks offers, contact your travel professional. Celebrity has more than 385 breathtaking itineraries from which to choose. Currently, you can plan and book a cruise through April 2016.


For a limited time, Fine Living Enthusiast has an exclusive offer of $200 on-board credit for you to use as you like. This is in addition to any of the above-mentioned offers. Call us for any 2014 Celebrity 7-night or more sailing. This exclusive offer ends December 5. So please call now.

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SeaDream Wine Programs

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SeaDream Wine Voyages

SeaDream Guests on the Sommelier Deck

SeaDream Guests on the Sommelier Deck

SeaDream Yacht Club is elevating its Wine Voyages program with a wine-focused back-to-school for adults.  British-based Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET) will offer its courses, exams and certifications on board the luxury cruise line.


From Cruise Passenger to Wine Expert

Guests will be able to begin their wine education by taking Levels 1 & 2 of the 4-course WSET certification program. Commencing April 18, 2015, on the 12-day, San Juan to Malaga departure, guests sailing on the Wine Education Voyage can enroll in the Level 2 course.

Level 1 focuses on basic wine knowledge, including wine and food pairing.  The 12-day Level 2 courses will cover the key grape-growing regions, primary grape varieties, as well as the influencing factors that contribute to a wine’s style.

On-board Wine Education Program

SeaDream’s On-board Wine Education Program

The wine itinerary is a popular theme on board cruise lines, especially for river cruise lines such as Viking and AmaWaterways. However, this is the first time a highly regarded wine education provider has offered their certification program on board for cruise line passengers.

SeaDream, has taken the lead on wine education for their wine enthusiasts guests. The small-ship, luxury yachting line offers upscale vacations to only 112 guests. Their all-inclusive, award-winning services are offered on all itineraries.

Photos: Courtesy of SeaDream

Beach Vacations

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Island Getaways

Caribbean Escape

Caribbean Vacation Escape

All too soon the season will change and you’ll begin wishing for dry, warm weather. You can’t change Mother Nature but you can change your situation. Plan now to get away from the winter doldrums. We have perfect escapes for warm-weather beach vacations to the tropical Caribbean or Hawaiian Islands.

And don’t worry. You can thank us later.


Dominican Republic

The sugar-white sand beaches of the Dominican Republic are calling your name. And they have beaches galore, with 250 miles of the world’s top beaches for you to enjoy. But what if you want to do more than lounge around?  You’re in luck. A rising Dominican gastronomy scene and a myriad eco-tourism adventures await. Rent a jeep and head to the mountains or a national park. Play on one of the championship golf courses. Then, return to a luxurious resort and relax at the spa.



We offer great packages from our friends at Classic Vacations.  Call us today to book your winter getaway.




$2,571 for four people**

A great getaway for two couples to scenic Oahu with an awesome deal from the Beach Villas at Ko Olina, 2-BDR Luxury Villa.  Reconnect, relax or hit the links. 

What’s Included:

  • Alamo Mid-Size Rental Car,
  • 6 Nights Accommodation with 5th & 6th Nights FREE
  • All Applicable Taxes
  • No internet fee, no resort fee and no additional fee for parking

*New bookings made 10/21-10/22/14. **Prices are based on FOUR people for 6 nights in a 2-bedroom.

Travel must be between these dates: 10/21/14-12/15/14*

Can’t decide?  No worries. We have plenty of vacations from which to choose.  Give us a call for more beach vacations and pricing information.

Click here for more information on this trip or to book now.




Deluxe Ocean Club $1,1185 p/p dbl occup

Grand Ocean Club $,1407 p/p ddbl occup

5 Days

Vacation in the Graneur of Grand Hyatt Kauai

Vacation in the Grandeur of Grand Hyatt Kauai

Enjoy your slice of paradise with a luxurious stay at one of the top hotels on the island. The 4-diamond Grand Hyatt has a river-like pool, revitalizing spa treatments, a lagoon for kayaking, and of course ocean breezes. This is an unbelievable deal!

Price Includes:

  • 5 Nights Accommodations
  • 5 Days Alamo Rental Car
  • All Applicable Taxes

Excludes: Airfare


You don’t have to freeze.  A balmy beach vacation is only a phone call away.

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Top 5 Travel Apps

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Phone Travel Apps

Travel Apps

I’m not much of a techie, however I do like gadgets that improve the quality of my life. I really enjoy using travel apps. So with fall pretty much in full swing, people without school-age children are hitting the road and the air. I thought I should share some of the travel apps I’ve used that helped me navigate airports and TSA, as well as to get around a city. These are my top five travel apps:


Fine Dining at the Airport

Fine Dining at the Airport

1. Gate Guru – I’ve used this app a few times and it’s worked beautifully. Most recently, I’ve used it at Miami international Airport to locate a restaurant that had been recommended to me. I also used it in the Houston airport to find a restaurant that served good Texas barbecue. In addition, it helps you navigate unfamiliar airports and gives you information on dreaded checkpoint lines.




Few English-speakers outside Paris

2. Google Translate: I should’ve used this more on our trip to France. Contrary to rumor, the French were very nice. After addressing them in French, they would begin speaking to us in English. I think they appreciated the effort; and I suspect they couldn’t bear to hear me slaughter their language anymore. I should’ve used it on our visit to Epernay, but another French patron came to our rescue and translated our lunch order to our non-English speaking waitress. On the occasions I used it, the translation feature worked fine.

It’s supposed to translate up to 70 languages, so I know that is going to cover the majority of the countries of my top 50 destinations list, so hopefully it will do the same for you.


3. My TSA – This app is perfect for those who do not have TSA pre-check status. It’ll help you keep your stress levels down by allowing you to check airport status and wait times at security checkpoints. And for those who do not travel frequently, there is a quick-reference list of items you may bring in your carry-on luggage.


4. Wi-Fi Finder: This app is critical when traveling internationally. Unless you are traveling on business, data roaming charges are outrageous, which makes staying in contact with those back home expensive. This app helps you locate Wi-Fi hotspots near your location, which avoids data roaming charges.


5. Text+: I first heard about this app from a couple of friends who were traveling abroad. It allows you to send and receive texts for free. Provided you have a Wi-Fi connection, you can text family and friends back in the States at no charge, thereby avoiding your plan’s data roaming charges. Also, it’s a good way to check in with your children, grandchildren or other family members or stay in contact with your pet sitter.


These apps are available for IPhone and Android phones and tablets. I hope my top 5 travel apps work as well for you as they did for me.

So tell me. What are some of your favorite travel apps?



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Short & Sweet Travel News

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Travel Updates

Airlines Announce Restrictions

Airline Travel News

Here’s some travel news you can use to either save money or plan vacations.  Enjoy!

Cruise News

Book a Norwegian Cruise with us by Oct. 14th and receive 10% Cash Back as a shipboard credit. Go wild in Alaska. Visit history in Europe. Sway to the island rhythms in the Caribbean.

  for your exciting vacation and get money back.


Carnival Cruise Line has announced a new marine-themed program called Camp Ocean on its fleet of 24 ships. The family-friendly cruise line has created this new program for children ages 2 to 11. The ocean-inspired activities include educational games and creative arts opportunities.


New Flights to Los Cabos

Soon it will be easier to head south of the border. In December, two new flights will commence on Delta Airlines from San Diego and Seattle to Los Cabos. There’s also a new nonstop flight from JFK just in time for a winter escape.


Ebola *
  • A federal official told CNN that airports in the United States will begin taking the temperatures of arriving passengers who have flight itineraries originating from West African countries where Ebola is concentrated. The screenings are expected to begin this weekend or next.
  • A nurse’s assistant in Spain is the first person to contract Ebola outside of Africa in this current outbreak.
  • The first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States has died, according to the Dallas hospital where he was being treated.


*Source: Nexion