Monday, June 30, 2014

Many Thanks To All That Serve Our Country from United Military Travel!!!


This week is one of the most traveled weeks all year so what perfect timing for a travel loan to help off set the "high" season prices.  United Military Travel can book your airfare, car rental, and hotel plus much more to any destination you choose! 

UMT serves Military personnel all year long but Independence Day is special to them, call in to learn about their specials this week...866-582-9579

So what exactly does United Military Travel do throughout the year to say "thank you" to our Military?

1. They always offer the most competitive deals to ensure their clients get the most out of their travel loan.

2.  Each week UMT runs specials that allows clients to get free upgrades and travel accessories on qualifying purchases.

3.  UMT offers to beat any of their competitors prices by 20% guaranteed...all year long making them the lowest priced travel loan company.

4.  Their travel loans are issued for Military Holiday Travel, Military Leave, Military Vacation Specials, and Military Discounts along with R&R travel, romantic honeymoons, family vacations, flying in a friend, or emergency plane tickets!

5.  Not only do they book airfare, car rentals, and hotels they also get Military discounts on cruises, travel accessories, vacation packages, train passes, theme park tickets, resorts, activities, and vacation home rentals.  

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The upcoming blogs for this week are designed to help you pick your July 4th destination; so stay tuned for the Wednesday post to learn about the top 15 places to celebrate Independence Day!  Last minute bookings are not a problem whatsoever - call anytime or apply online!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Explore the Blue Ridge Mountain Towns!

The Blue Ridge Mountains
The mountains get their name from the trees releasing isoprene into the atmosphere causing the distinctive color and haze.

I personally feel like when people go to plan a vacation their first thoughts are to head to the beach.  Honestly, it is my first reaction but why?  It makes me feel like I am cheating on the mountains and when we have one of the most beautiful mountain ranges in our backyard, we should take advantage!  To spend a week with crisp fresh air, outdoor activities that are different from sun bathing and miniature putt putt, and being surrounded by un-touched nature sound like just what the doctor ordered.  Sign me up - the mountains are definitely going to be my next adventure!

The Blue Ridge Parkway is the best way to travel along the mountain range because you will never experience views this beautiful again.  I found this awesome website that lists the top secret spots to see along the entire Blue Ridge Parkway - check them out here

Lets start with the best outdoor city:
Chattanooga, Tennessee

This city is one of the most popular destinations in the south and the New York Times names it one of the "Top 45 Places to go" in the world.  Only four US destinations were named and the southern city was the only one outside of California.  Chattanooga is a breathtaking city nestled between the mountains of southeast Tennessee and the Tennessee River.  
With Chattanooga being dubbed "the best town ever" by Outdoor magazine you can imagine how many activities you have to choose from.  One day you could go rock climbing or mountain biking, or hot air ballooning, the next white water rafting or hang gliding or take it easy and walk down the 13 mile river walk. 
Personally, I want to go for the music scene.  The town offers killer festivals of all kinds and just imagine the homemade crafts this town has to offer! 

I suggest visiting their official website for more information - this town is a must see for sure!

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Charlottesville, Virginia - A True Gem

For those of you who have never been to Charlottesville I am sure you have at least heard of it.  The town, at least here in the south, is well known for being one of the greatest towns to visit and to live.  The University of Virginia calls Charlottesville home so there is a young, hip vibe that accompanies the town and not only that, it is only an hour and half to Richmond making the mountains accessible from the coastal area.  When I first went I camped out in Louisa, which is right outside of town, and it only took 20 minutes to drive in when we decided to go shopping or dine out.  The downtown mall is well known as being the best shopping in Virginia - it is a must see!  I suggest visiting on of their 20+ orchards or vineyards to pick your own apples or enjoy a wine tasting.  Check out what the town offers here :)   

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Asheville, North Carolina

Being a fellow North Carolinian, the town of Asheville has always been a part of my life in some way or another.  And not once have I ever heard a negative thing about this mountain town, only raves.  Hippies welcome, come one come all!  For all you musically talented folk and artists out there, this town is for you.  I have never been surrounded by more talented people in my life, this town breeds talent and welcomes all walks of life.  Aside from it being culturally diverse, the views are breath taking!  You could hike for weeks, swim in hundreds of different water falls and pan for gold too.  
For the days you feel like being inside or taking it easy, head over to the 8,000 acre Biltmore Estate, the largest home in the United States.  United Military Travel books trips to the Biltmore Estate all the time, even for their Christmas celebrations!   Or if you feel like getting saucy, Asheville's craft beer scene is taking off like a wildfire.  They even have a festival called the Beer City Festival that hosts all local breweries and local talents including musicians, artists and culinary works.  
For more information on lodging etc click here

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Now this is just scraping the surface of the many mountain destinations of the Blue Ridge Mountains so take your time and decide on what you want out of your vacation.  The map above shows the cities by small, medium, and large towns - Google them and pick which one offers what you and your family needs.  

Get out there and have fun!!!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Big Sky Country....Montana

"I have always had an obsession with wild places.  Places that still revolve around what is natural, places where you can walk for miles and miles and not see another soul.  places that make you feel small but so large at the same time.  I want to be surrounded by vibrant natural colors and fresh air that when you breath in you feel your soul smile. I want to see sunsets so beautiful they take me away to my loved ones. This is how i envision montana." 

What comes to mind when you think of Montana?

MONTANA represents the untamed, the wild, the natural. Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks are starting points. Between the parks lie mountains that don't have names yet, in ranges you've never heard of. Scattered in their valleys, you'll find small towns full of friendly locals sharing the unexpected and even maybe their huckleberry pie. We invite you to explore the parks and all the places in between.  - quoted from the official state of Montana vacation website.  

...Heaven on Earth...

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 ...Things to Do in Big Sky Country...
Montana is divided into six tourism regions
*Glacier Country
*Central Montana
*Missouri River Country
*Southwest Montana
*Yellowstone Country
*Southeast Montana
 So make sure you do your research on the location of what you want to do and how far it is to your next destination.

1.  Lets state the obvious first:
Yellowstone National Park-The Original National Park

I will admit it, when I try to think of things to do in Yellowstone I become a bit intimidated.  Where do I start?  What time frame do I need?  Is there travel time to consider?  Where will I stay?  What time of year is the best to go?  What parts are in Montana and which are in Wyoming?  Can we do it on a budget?

For answers to all the questions above check out these two websites:

Top Destinations:
Old Faithful Geyser
Lamar Valley
Mammoth Hot Springs
Grand Canyon of Yellowstone

2. Glacier National Park - The Crown of the Continent 

Glacier National Park is the center of one of the largest and most intact ecosystems in North America.  It offers over one million acres of turquoise alpine lakes, mountain goats and grizzly bears, craggy mountain peaks and of course glaciers.  It also is home to the Continental Divide which is sometimes called America's Backbone or America's Spine and runs from the Arctic Ocean all the way to the tip of South America.  
You can view the whole park from your car by traveling along the Going-To-The-Sun Road but there really is no better way to see the park than on foot.  

For more info visit here and here!

Top Destinations:
Going To The Sun Road
St. Mary Lake
Lake McDonald
Iceberg Lake Trail
Garden Wall's Highline Trail

3.  Explore Montana's Cities and Towns

*Glacier Country - Missoula
Montana's second largest city boast over 400 acres of parklands, 22 miles of trails, and nearly 5,000 acres of open space conservation land.  It is also home to University of Montana.  

*Central Montana - Great Falls
Great Falls gets it name from the five watefalls in the area that are along the upper Missouri River basin and also the Lewis and Clark Expedition had to navigate around in a 31 day, back breaking adventure to continue.  

*Missouri River Country - Glasgow
Not much to say about Glasgow but you can experience some killer storms, aka tornados, and see the Northern Lights :) 

*Southeast Montana - Billings
Billings is the largest city in the state of Montana!
For a whole background and things to do list visit their tourism website here.

*Yellowstone Country - Big Timber
This is where Montana gets its scenic nickname, Big Sky Country.  Big Timber is the gateway to the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness and offers some of the best blue ribbon trout fishing in the state.  Also, book a stay at a dude ranch and explore the land via horse back!  This is the epitome of Montana...

*Southwest Montana - Bozeman
It is known as "the most livable place" in Montana and 22nd most livable in the country. All because it is the most drivable, most walkable, most bicycle friendly.  It placed high on the list because of its high scores in health care, social and civic capital, and education.  Also, it is a college town home to Montana State University.  

4.  Winters in Montana
All I have to say is skiing!
Go to these to websites to learn more there is way to much to cover in one blog!

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As always I gotta throw a shout out to United Military Travel because they are one kick a** company that can book your whole trip to Montana and handle all the details so you don't have to!  Check them out at or call 866-582-9579

Also on Facebook and Pinterest

Monday, June 23, 2014

Why Do You Travel?

I started my solo traveling adventures as a way to be found...

Traveling helps me clear my mind, organize my thoughts, get back to center, and to get a fresh perspective on life. 

Everyday, especially today, I am all about life.  

Today is the 8th anniversary of my mom's death and while it is not a "milestone" like the 10th or 15th and so on; it is a milestone for me.  It is the first time I have not anticipated and counted down the days to prepare myself.  
GO ME - I am making progress!!!

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What happens when tragedy strikes?  Immediately, the natural order of grieving begins and you have no choice but to follow it and some likely have no idea that they are.  We have no idea how long it will take and what it will do to us but one thing is for certain - never stop listening to your heart and soul.  

This is what happened to me: a transformation took place while traveling and turned something so painful into something so incredibly beautiful.  

Traveling saved my life.

Tragedy > Reevaluating Life > Traveling =  Transforming Into A Butterfly

My Transformation Stages: 

*Learning about life under the watch of my mom.

*Losing her and cocooning myself the best way I knew how to try and protect what was left of me.

*In the process, creating new life.

*Learning to spread my wings.

*Me today - spreading my beautiful wings and flying around the world!

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Today I was talking to my mother-in-law, Diane, about the dream phases I have gone through with my mom after she died and how there is a direct correlation between the milestones I make in reality in coping with her death, to how close I can get to her in my dreams.  She asked me how long it had been since she died and for the first time I had to think about really think about it - it didn't just pop off my tongue.  Then out of nowhere I realized that TODAY is the anniversary of her death and I hadn't even seen it coming.  I have been dreaming about her more lately but not once did I realize how close today was.  
Now, some people may mistake this as me "forgetting" about her but it is the exact opposite.  It is the grip of her death on me finally releasing a little bit.

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Her death sent me on an unruly, totally unlike me, long, adventure to Alaska and the west coast.  
I have written about my Alaskan experience so please check it out in the archives - it was amazing!  
What I did not state in that post was that I chose Alaska because it was my mom's dream.  And it was her dream that began my transformation into what I am today.  

Traveling is such a therapeutic way of dealing with loss, stress, happiness, or any emotion or life event you may be going through.  Writing and traveling for United Military Travel, I imagine my primary blog followers are people in the service.  Which leads me to believe that you all know something about loss.  
Take my word for it - TRAVEL MORE it could save your life too!! 

I have spilled my guts, now spill yours in the comment section. 
 I want to get to know all of you!

What does traveling mean to you?
Why do you travel?
Is it more than just a vacation?

Check out United Military Travel on:

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Grand Cayman Island - The largest of the 3 Cayman Islands

 You are sitting in a pool at the swim up bar that over looks the Caribbean Sea at sunset mingling with your new found drinking buddies planning what the night has in store. The soft, salty breeze cooling off your sun kissed skin while you sip an island cocktail to the lullaby of steel drums. 
Can you handle that??  
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I have been to Grand Cayman twice both times via cruise ship.  If I could go again I would fly and spend a week there.  You can fly for around $500 round trip/per person into George Town and then bunker down for a whole week of R&R!  Cruises are great and I love them but sometimes you just need to stay in one place and marinate :) 

For those of you who have no visited the island, you are in for a real treat.  The island is colorful, full of sweet melodies that will take all of your worries away, heavenly food and drinks, and more activities than one can do in week.  

Land lovers and Seaman welcome!

Land lovers feel free to hang out on land the whole time if you like, you will not be bored. You can do any of these activities:

1.  Horseback Riding

Ride along the blue waters of pristine beaches or trek through the islands tropical forest.

2. Explore the wildlife on land

Have you ever seen or heard of a Blue Iguana?  No, not the drink - the lizard.  Well, it is the longest living species of lizard that is now endangered and lives on Grand Cayman.  If lizards are not your thing, head into the tropical forest for waterfalls, birds, and plant species!  

3. Pedro St. James National Historic Site

For the history buffs in your group head over to what the locals call "the castle" to learn about the first legislative assembly and take in panoramic views of the sea. 

4. Seven Mile Beach

This beach has been called "one of the finest beaches in the Caribbean" aka West Bay Beach.  It is the perfect setting for land lovers and small children because of its sandy bottom and calm, clear water.  If you are wanting to get away from the crowd pick a part of the beach that is away from the large resorts and you will find solitude.  

5. Wreck of the Ten Sails Park

This site is the exact location that Queen Elizabeth II visited and dedicated a memorial to always remember the tragedy that happen on February 8, 1794.  A convoy of 10 ships traveling from Jamaica to the United States and Britain wreck on the reef - hence the name the Wreck of Ten Sails. 

6. Queen Elizabeth II Botanical Park

7. Rum Point Beach

This is where the locals hang out and usually arrive by boat to partake in adult activities at the Wreck Bar and Grill.  This beach is great for swimming and has changing facilities, public toilets, and showers.  

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Now for the sea going folks - ya'll are in for a fantastic vacation if you do any of these activities:

1.  Underwater submarine adventure

Grand Cayman's underwater scene is far more spectacular than their land but lets face it - not everyone wants to "dive on in".  Diving and snorkeling can be intimidating so that is why the island offers a submarine adventure that lets you views the colorful coral canyons, fish, sponges, sharks, sting rays, and sea turtles from the comfort of a sub.

2.  Catamaran Cruise

Head out on the reefs via Catamaran either on a private boat or a group rented one.  You can set sail for a dinner cruise and dine with the setting sun or spend the day snorkeling or rocking with the ocean.

3.  Snorkeling in Sting Ray City

Trust me, this is not as scary as it sounds; the whole Steve Erwin thing has given sting rays a bad rep.  Head up to the North Sound that offers shallow sand bars to snorkel with these gentle rays.  

 4.  Fishing

Now this is what my husband would spend the entire vacation doing because Grand Cayman is one of the best locations in the world for blue marlin, mahi-mahi, wahoo and tuna fishing.  You can either head off-shore or stay on the reefs for a trip you will never forget!

5.  Cayman Turtle Farm

Now this is where you would find me, I LOVE sea turtles!  At this farm you can swim with green sea turtles and other marine life while sliding down the Turtle Twister Water Slide.

6.  Kayaking Eco Tours

Take a guided tour through the mangroves during the day or a night time tour to see the bioluminescence of the Caribbean Sea. 

7.  Snorkeling and Diving

Break the surface and dive under to see the real Grand Cayman.  The reef system there is magnificent and you can take a diving trip or snorkel on your own!  
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If you have ever visited Grand Cayman and would like to add to the post, please leave me a comment.  I would love to hear from you!!

xoxo Allie 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Top Honeymoon Destinations

Let United Military Travel send you on the honeymoon of your dreams!

Ever since I was a little girl, my honeymoon was something dreams were made out of.  I think the destination changed at least 100 times but the one thing that stayed constant was that it was a going to be a BIG trip.  
Hopefully, you will only have one honeymoon in your lifetime and I believe that you should make it everything you have ever dreamed of. 
United Military Travel sends a lot of couples of their dream honeymoons each year.  It is something they are skilled in so the best advice I can give you to help off set the expenses is take out a travel loan that will allow you to pay it back over time

Take a look with me at the top 8 honeymoon destinations!

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1.  East Africa and the Seychelles
From what I can tell, a beach-safari honeymoon is the hottest thing for this year since sliced bread.  Africa is getting more and more popular - their safaris have always been their main attraction but now beaches too? The Seychelles are in the beautiful, crystal clear waters of the Indian Ocean so you can feel like you are in the Caribbean but then take off to Africa to witness the Great Migration!

2.  Brazil
Brazil is not only a fantastic honeymoon destination but a killer vacation spot too.  The country is so diverse and offers a traveler the chance to mark multiple items off their bucket list in one trip.  They have super sexy beaches, nightlife that rivals Las Vegas, and pristine jungles.  Start your honeymoon off by celebrating in Rio de Janeiro, then relax on the beaches of Bahia, and finish by taking a river boat cruise through the Amazon.

3. Rwanda and Mauritius

It is becoming more and more common for people to create multi-destination trips, especially for their honeymoons.  If you are looking for an eye opening trip choose this combination and you will be searching for wild mountain gorillas in Rwanda then relaxing by the Indian Ocean at a Mauritius resort. 

4. Java, Indonesia

If you want a trip where you can stay in one spot and be completley satisfied, Indonesia offers some of the world's best beaches, private islands, cuisine, and ancient temples.  You can stay at a romantic resort and still be as adventurous as you want to be.  If it were me, I would travel to Java just to go to the deserted island of Kura Kura.  There are only a handful of beach cottages and pool villas so you can be as private and romantic as you want to be!

5. The Maldives

We already know that I am a fanatic for the Maldives and if I could die and go to Heaven, it would be here.  This is the ULTIMATE honeymoon destination, who wouldn't want to travel to an exotic island with their partner to wake up to fish swimming under your bed and stepping onto your balcony to your own private swimming area.  You can also watch the dolphins play on a sunset cruise, spend a day on a deserted island, or book a night time snorkeling adventure!  These are the things I would do :) 

6. Marrakesh, Morocco

My style is very bohemian so Morocco appeals to my inner self.  Between the rollings desert, ancient markets, belly dancers, and snake charmers, this city will make you feel like you are on a movie set not a honeymoon.  The whole idea of Morocco is very sensual to me, you can be wandering the markets or watching the belly dancers and feel the romance but be sure to keep it private as public displays of affection are frowned upon!

7. Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Lets get domestic again for a minute, I hate to leave out destinations in our own back yard.  Jackson Hole is a great place to visit year round and for many reasons.  Spending your honeymoon here is something a lot of folks do.  According to The Knot wedding website, the town offers many "honeymoon" like activities year round.  Like taking sleigh rides through National Elk Refuge or staying at Rustic Snake River Lodge and Spa to enjoy honeymoon specials.    

8. Argentina

Just thinking of Argentina makes my mouth water for their fabulous food and wine!  Buenos Aires can offer you delectable food while taking in some of the most impressive architecture anywhere. Then to work off the calories go dance the tango, walk through the city markets or travel to Mendoza - the wine capital of Argentina!  If cities are not you idea of a honeymoon, the country offers glaciers and mountain ranges where you can choose your favorite outdoor activity and do them for the duration of your stay!


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I am curious as to where my followers took their honeymoons.  Leave me a comment on the details of yours, I would love to hear about them!