Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Finance your dream life today!

For many people, taking their dream vacation is literally something they will only ever dream of.  But why?  Italy doesn't have to be this distant land that you think of when dining at the best Italian restaurant in town.  When you close your eyes at night, do you dream of wandering the Tuscan countryside, laying beneath perfect Balinese palm trees, or cruising the Greek Isles?  When you speak of your dream experiences, do you always say, "when I hit the lottery I will make it happen."?

Sound like you????

Well, NEWS FLASH PEOPLE, your dream vacation IS possible!!!!

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Imagine yourself here.....
Now make it happen!!


 Travel loans are the best option today to make all your dreams come true!  Think of it this way - you finance a car, a home, furniture, or any material good....

 So why not finance experiences?

I was on Facebook last night and came across an interesting article called, The science of why you should spend your money on experiences, not things by Jay Cassano, writer for Fastcoexist.com and it talks about how we think material objects make us happy when in reality they just fade over time.  If you believe in travel and the importance of it in everyone's life, this article is a must read!  Here a few of my favorite quotes...
"One of the enemies of happiness is adaptation," says Dr. Thomas Gilovich, a psychology professor at Cornell University who has been studying the question of money and happiness for over two decades. "We buy things to make us happy, and we succeed. But only for a while. New things are exciting to us at first, but then we adapt to them."
So rather than buying the latest iPhone or a new BMW, Gilovich suggests you'll get more happiness spending money on experiences like going to art exhibits, doing outdoor activities, learning a new skill, or traveling.
Gilovich's findings are the synthesis of psychological studies conducted by him and others into the Easterlin paradox, which found that money buys happiness, but only up to a point. How adaptation affects happiness, for instance, was measured in a study that asked people to self-report their happiness with major material and experiential purchases. Initially, their happiness with those purchases was ranked about the same. But over time, people's satisfaction with the things they bought went down, whereas their satisfaction with experiences they spent money on went up.
"Our experiences are a bigger part of ourselves than our material goods," says Gilovich. "You can really like your material stuff. You can even think that part of your identity is connected to those things, but nonetheless they remain separate from you. In contrast, your experiences really are part of you. We are the sum total of our experiences."
Another reason is that shared experiences connect us more to other people than shared consumption. You're much more likely to feel connected to someone you took a vacation with in Bogotá than someone who also happens to have bought a 4K TV.
"As a society, shouldn't we be making experiences easier for people to have?"
Simply put, we put too much emphasis on material items and rely on them to make us happy, but in reality only experiences can truly fill the void we constantly feel.  Companies like United Military Travel are trying to close that gap to make your dreams a reality, and they have helped thousands of people do so already.  This is something that is easy for me to believe on because I am a non-consumerist who believes whole-heartily that experiences, not things, make a person who they are.  And I personally do not trust, nor have anything nothing in common, with people who are so rapped up in the material world and I rather hang out with a bum to learn about their vagabond experiences.  I am sure I could learn far more life lessons from the bum than the person with a closet just for their shoes....

Take control of your life today and say YES to travel loans and YES to living your dreams.  Finance the rest of your vacations for the opportunity to make them into the "once in a lifetime" trip.  Quit relying on the possibility of the lottery and rely on yourself!

United Military Travel



Monday, March 30, 2015

Walt Disney Travel Loans!

Walt Disney Vacation Loans! 

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Cheapest financed travel guaranteed!

United Military Travel finances disney cruises, disney world, disney land, disney hotels, and private pool vacation homes in the Disney area. Disney can be for grown ups too! 

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Discover tropical islands with your favorite characters of Disney!
Whether your family is interested in Epcot Center, the Magical Kingdom, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, or hanging with the characters of Frozen, UMT can get you there.  
Have your kiddos been begging you to take them to Disney World but you keep putting it off to save money?  This year tell your kids YES and finance a Disney trip of a lifetime through United Military Travel.  UMT can get you great deals on park tickets, resorts, private homes, and special shows....so why wait?!?!  
When you call in, don't forget to ask your travel consultant about their 90 day same as cash loan if you want to avoid paying interest.  How awesome would it be to book your entire Disney vacation today and have it paid off entirely before you go?  
United Military Travel also offers easy, online military & government financing for vacation condos in the Orlando area. The condo sizes range from 1-6 bedroom properties. These properties are within 10 minutes from Disney World. They feature a living room, multiple bedrooms, living room, dining area, washer/dryer, full kitchen (featuring full appliances). These vacation condos are a great deal if you have a larger family! Call us at 866-582-9579 to get your military vacation loan financed or simply apply now and one of our representatives will call you!

United Military Travel is proud to serve those who serve by providing top of the line vacation experiences that will create memories to last a lifetime.  We would love to share your experience with you, so please post pictures of your vacation to our Facebook wall!  

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

United Military Travel - Travel Loans

Welcome to the new United Military Travel blog!!!  It has gotten a much needed face lift - check it out here!  But do not worry, its still me, Allie, reporting all the fun and exciting travel opportunities to you!  For those of you who have been following me over the past year, THANK YOU!  And for the newbies, welcome to United Military Travel (UMT) - your life is about to get much more exciting now that you have entered the world of travel loans.
Lets just recap who UMT is and what they can do for you...
First, UMT is an American owned company that specialized in 100% travel financing for active duty and career retired Military and also Government personnel.  They work with all the major airlines and have negotiated contracts with the major consolidators are the world to bring you the best travel deals out there.  Along with booking travel, they also offer a wide variety of travel accessories and home goods like tablets and cameras to tools, baby items, furniture, and electronics.
Why do all UMT clients love them???
1.  No down payment is required.
2.  They offer discounted airfare, hotel, and car reservations.
3.  The entire process is easy and streamline - no hassle whatsoever!
4.  The staff - they are competent, friendly, precise, punctual, and FANTASTIC!
5.  UMT makes booking a trip easy and fun by taking all the stresses off you and delivering to you the exact trip you wanted.  Military travel loans are the new way to see the world and simply get to where you need to be.  Here are the reviews on United Military Travel, read what your fellow travels have said!
united military travel review
Each customer gets only the best service from our travel consultants to make their travel booking process the easiest as possible!
How do you benefit from financing your vacation????
Do you suck at saving money and feel that you can never take a vacation because bills, and unexpected issues always pop up?  I do!  My primary excuse for not traveling is, "I just don't have the money right now...." so essentially I let life get in the way of living life.  When you finance travel, yes you do have to pay interest, but by creating an opportunity to pay off a trip monthly or semi-monthly, rather than all at once, it opens a world of opportunities to you...literally!
A trick to avoid paying interest:  
Some of their lenders (not all of them) offer a 90 day same as cash "interest free period" that lets you pay extra on the loan to pay it off early.  That means, if you pay off the entire loan within 90 days you do not have to pay any interest.  But, if you pay it off in 91 then you are responsible for the interest on all 91 days.  If you pay if off early but not in the 90 day window you still have to pay the interest but their is no penalty for prepayment.
Not all United Military Travel lenders offer a 90 day same as cash contract.  This a blog and the legal information pertaining to the contract can be reviewed on the contract.  The information in the blog is just my opinion, not legal financial advise or disclosures.  

Riviera Hotel and Casino to be demolished!!!

travel loans, las vegas, nevada, military travel, military travel loans
source: destination360
For all the Vegas fans out there, the 60 year old Riveria Hotel and Casino is being sold to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority for a cool $182.5 million and will close on May 4 at noon.  The hotel was considered the Strip's first high-rise resort when it opened in April 1955, and since then has provided the city with a nostalgic and historical presence among the "new" Vegas attractions.  But why sell and tear down such a historical figure?  Simple, the city needs the space to accommodate more shows among the global district.  A spokesperson for the Visitors Authority said that the city has been forced to turn away new clients because there has been no space and time slots available, which means money lost.
If you need a little help picturing the Riveria, it was the hotel-casino in Martin Scorsese's moving "Casino".  
If you were planning a trip to Sin City this year, I would do so before May so you can get in one last booty rub at the Crazy Girl's bronze sculpture!  No word yet on what will become of the most photographed piece of art in Vegas but I imagine it will go into a historical art museum....or maybe wherever the Crazy Girls relocate to.

United Military Travel books thousands of trips to Vegas each year and has plenty of contacts within the city to score the best travel deals for you!  If Las Vegas is calling your name, start by calling ours.  Any of our travel consultants can walk you through the travel loan process and create a dream Vegas experience.

And don't worry, your secret is safe with us!


Friday, March 20, 2015

Inspiration From The Go Big Project

source: Facebook
"The Go Big Project is an Award-Winning production company representing a critically acclaimed production slate and a growing list of loyal clients. Led by Rocky Romano & Miranda Winters, this dynamic group of industry professionals continues to create inspiring content with stunning visuals and groundbreaking artistic vision. From the innovation of the original concept to its seamless execution, The Go Big Project is a full service production company dedicated to upholding the integrity of every story while producing the highest level of content."

I am extremely proud to say that I have a personal connection with this company.  When I first met Rocky, the founder and executive producer, it was years ago at a small bar in the small town of Corolla, North Carolina.  When I walked in, the bar was full of the usual faces and a few of tourists lingering around but nothing really caught my eye until I spotted Rocky.  He had a strong, confident stance, wore a black hat with black sunglasses that created a presence that insisted on you noticing him.  But through all the black apparel, a big,warm, white smile spread across his face almost as if saying, "don't be afraid."  
Like all small town local bars it only took about twenty minutes before someone introduced us.  With that warm smile he told me all about the Go Big Project and immediately his story captivated me.  If I recall correctly, we were at a bar, he started out filming special needs children learning to surf in Santa Cruz, California. He immediately showed me the video, Ride a Wave, created for Ride a Wave Foundation, with such pride and such stoke that I cried.  Not a sobbing cry but a few tears ran down my cheek and all because of the sincerity the video captured combined with Rocky's pure zest to share it.  I guess what really captivated me about Rocky was his sincere stoke for life and what he did.  When he spoke about filming, his eyes lit up, his smile became infectious and it inspired me to pursue my own dreams...to be happy in life.  
Josh and I became friends with Rocky immediately, and if you know either of them, you would know that these two were destined to be friends.  They both have wild hearts and an adventurous souls...until we meet again!

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Since then, The Go Big Project has quickly grown to be a major production company working with ESPN, HBO, Red Bull, GoPro, Vans, Volcom, and many more! 
One of my favorites they have done is the original series, LIFTOFF.  
Follow the adventures on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!


With that said, here is the trailer...

LIFTOFF - Official Series Trailer from The Go Big Project on Vimeo.

And here is the trailer for the Go Big Project 2015 Reel...be prepared to get inspired!

The Go Big Project 2015 Reel from The Go Big Project on Vimeo.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Virignia Zoo, Norfolk

Who else out there is a sucker for a zoo?  I am completely obsessed, but I am also the person that wants one of each animal and live on a big farm! 
 Throughout many of my solo adventures, if there was a zoo in the city, I went to it.  What better way to spend your afternoon than wandering through exotic animals?  Often times, when traveling alone, it can get lonely and you can get tired of eating alone.  But when you are at a zoo, you are never alone and it is ok to just sit back and stare off while observing the animals.  

Today I went to the Virginia Zoo in Norfolk with Noah, my sister, two nieces, Hilo, and his mama.  What a fantastic day!  Hanging with this group anywhere is a recipe for fun but at a especially at a zoo!

My sister and her girls have been in Chile for the past month dodging exploding volcanoes and wandering through Chilean vineyards so having them back Stateside is a real treat!  

Last year they went to Africa for a month and so today, Poppy was intrigued to see animals from Africa in Virginia. The primary lesson for the kids was educating them on why zoos are important for animal conservation efforts and also explaining where each animal was from. 

To a child "their world" is the whole world so any chance you get to talk about far away places you should.  It is easy for them to assume a lion lives in the forest here when they have no idea Africa exists! 

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I took a pledge today and it was to start thinking more locally as opposed to globally.  My head is ALWAYS on a different continent when it needs to be focused on where I am currently.  So starting today, me and my family are going to visit all the local attractions by the end of the year.  After doing a quick search of what south east Virginia offers, many of the attractions are free!  I bet you would find the same in your area....just take a look, get out, and support your local businesses and community.  

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Gen Z,Y,X, or Baby Boomer? How Do You Book Travel?

The generational differences are pretty obvious from baby boomers to generation Z, but especially when we look at wellness, careers, and travel habits.  

There are four types of demographics:

Gen Z
AKA the iGeneration, the youngest children of baby boomers.  They were born into the age of internet and are glued to electronics and mobile devices.  This generation is much more likely to book all means of travel via the internet.

Gen Y
AKA millennials or echo boomers, born of baby boomers between the years 1982 and early 2000's.  They are the digital nomads, the generation who helped create the internet and watched it transform.  Generation Y knows probably has booked travel with travel agents and independently.  

Gen X
AKA latchkey kids, also a product of baby boomers this demographic contains 44 million people born between 1965 and 1980.  Travel agency were the preferred method in booking travel and many probably still use them along with researching the internet.

Baby boomers
These are people whose parents lived through WWII and are now in their 50's and 60's.  They are work-centric, independent, goal oriented, and competitive.  Travel agents all the way!
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When it comes to traveling each generation has its own reasons, style, goals, and methods so you can imagine how hard it is for travel companies to cater to all age groups.  For instance, baby boomers who want to book a vacation but do not know how to navigate online travel booking websites.  How would they look up the different hotels in an area if they did not have the internet?  Most likely, they would call a travel agent or use a phone book to find the general number to a specific hotel to then find out their different locations.  Each company nowadays has to provide apps, 24/7 access, and actual people to speak with to accommodate all needs.  

My brother is part of the gen Y era and can basically navigate an entire city or country just using phone apps on his smart phone.  Crazy right?!?  That really is an impressive feat because requires knowing how to utilize technology.  
Me on the other hand...well, I am more of a stop and ask for directions kinda gal.  Don't get me wrong, I def use the Maps app but sometimes you really cannot beat directions straight from a local source.  

What is your preferred method of booking a trip?  

My point to all this is that the methods for booking travel have evolved so rapidly that it has kind of made it difficult for baby boomers to go on adventures.  For example, my dad, 66, and step-mom, 54, want to take a trip but they literally have no clue how to book it.  They would prefer a travel agency to do it for them but they are a dying breed.  So basically, their lack of experience on the internet is stopping him from taking a vacation.  Another example, my neighbors, who are both in their 40's, had me book their car rental, hotel, and flight to Florida because they did not know how.  
Well, let me take that back.  They knew how but were not comfortable doing it on their own. 

Another question, do you prefer real time information or look to your fellow traveler's reviews before booking?  
What is important to you?

Reviews are a huge factor when we book hotels and also when we dine out.  We value the opinions of others and def let that influence where we choose to spend our money!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

One Kicka** Travel Blogger!

World of Wanderlust (WoW) is the life and adventures of Brooke Saward for all the world to share.  Brooke is amazing and her blog is incredibly inspirational, she could motivate a anti-travel activist to get out and see the world just by her personal photos!  She has made a name for herself also by her style, take note in all the cute hats she wears!

Her recent adventures, SINCE JANUARY, include:
 Hiking Cradle Mountain Overland Track, galavanting through Singapore, immersing herself in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, exploring Tasmania, sunning in Fiji, biked through Bali, and took a cruise from Dubai to Australia stopping in India, Malaysia, and Thailand!  

When you visit her website you will immediately get sucked into looking through the different destinations and types of travel she has experienced.  Honestly, after viewing her photographs, you will feel as if you have been to all the places because the photos are so intimate.  WoW is a great website if you want to live vicariously through someone!

World of Wanderlust

But I feel in order to describe the awesomeness I need to share some of her photos because that is what initially made me visit her website.
All photos are credited to Brooke Saward sourced from her Facebook page.

Happy Thursday everyone, I hope Brooke's adventures inspire you to start living your dreams!!!

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United Military Travel 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Everything You Need To Know About House Swapping

House swapping: 
  1. Home exchange, also known as house swapping, is an alternative means of travel accommodation, through which two parties agree to swap their homes for a set period of time, with no monetary exchangetaking place.
    home exchange, spain, alternative travel
    Costa del Sol, Spain
    Could you do it? 
     Could you let people stay in your house, sleep in your bed, bathe in your bath tub, prop their feet up on your couch, more than likely be intimate somewhere in your house???   
    I could and the reason is simple.  
    It is a trusted network.
    More than likely, you will have the owners of the house you are staying in staying at your house, so it is a mutually trusting relationship.  
    It reminds me of the non-verbalized law of the beach: when you want to take a swim or walk, your things are safe when you leave them unattended.  
    Because all beach goers want to do the same things, there has to be a mutual trust among everyone.  Otherwise, people would have to be glued to their beach chairs or take turns walking or swimming.  No, that does not make sense, and that is why the beach has become a "safe" zone.  
    House swapping networks are like a beach but with actual contracts of terms and agreements.  And more than likely, people who list their homes or look for housing swaps are of like minds that understand the travel world and also the wants and needs of the others.  Travelers in general know what a privilege it is to be able to stay for free somewhere and certainly do not want to damage their reputation.  
    It is a huge network of like minded folks just looking for a better way to vacation.  
    Best house swapping websites and their fees:
    *Membership is only conducive if you are going to use them
    Home-exchange - $150/yearly
    Intervac-Home Exchange - $99/year 
    Love-home Swap - $20/month/standard package
    Knok - $15/month/yearly subscribtion
    Homelink-Exchange - $39/yearly
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    To better educate you, here are the "must knows" of house swapping...
    1.  There is more than one way to do a "home swap"
    The primary way of swapping homes is to simultaneously stay in each others homes, but there are two other ways it could work.  Number two is by staying in a person's second home or vacation home which is called a non-simultaneous exchange.  The third, is a hospitality exchange.  This is where you would stay in the swappers house while they too are there.  
    So before you agree to swap, make sure you understand what you are committing to.
    2.  Its not a resort so YOU have to hash out all the details!
    Unlike a B&B or resort where all the food and cleaning services are provided, you, as a host, will need to figure out if you will provide any food and/or cleaning.  Also, as an exchange, if you expect these services it needs to be stated during the "getting to know" phase.  
    3.  This is not a great last minute, go to option
    Home exchanges take time and planning so if you have a last minute trip pop up do not try to line up an exchange.  Experts advise the planning process begin at the earliest three months in advance but work out the best if started at six months.  In all honesty that seems fairly reasonable when you have to find an exchange, get to know them, work out details, find flights, arrange services, etc.  
    4.  Car exchange happens too!
    It is extremely common that your personal car be available to your guest along with the house.  But it completely optional so never feel that it comes standard!  How does this work?  Well, you create car exchange agreement that you sign and that works as your insurance.  Here is a great template from Homeexchange.com.
    5.  Get to know the people 
    Many of the websites have created easy ways to check references and find them on social media.  Along with doing your homework, chat with them.  Get to know them on a personal level, I mean they are going to stay in your house so why not "know" them.
    6.  Is it safe???
    Straight from an experts mouth:
    ["HomeLink is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. In all of the years we've been in business, there's never been a case of reported theft or vandalism. In the end, they're staying in your home and you're staying in theirs, so mutual trust is fundamental."]
    A common practice among house swappers is to leave one room off limits to store all your valuables and irreplaceables or to take them to a friend or family member's house. 
    But over all, house swapping is safe as long as you do your footwork, go through a reputable site, and follow your gut!
    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 
    Here is a great guide for beginner swappers - it details everything from how to prepare your house, getting to know your exchange partner, exchange agreements, etc.

Monday, March 9, 2015

How To Weekend Affordably!

Is there such a thing as an affordable getaway???

I cannot speak for everyone, but now that some warmer temperatures have thawed us out a bit, we are itching to getaway.....
but on a BUDGET.

Uh, I hate that word...budget, there is nothing fun about it!  I am sure that if we had plenty of money the word would not feel so heavy, but for now money can suck it!

One thing that Josh and I are great at doing is quick weekend escapes.  Throughout the year we venture out quite often to places around our area for a quick two nighter.  Its not a week long vacation but it still does the job!

We went to Corolla, North Carolina this weekend on a budget of $150.  We succeeded!
Gas: $30
Food: $70
Alcohol: $40
Accommodation: Free
Activities: Free
And have no fear, you can still have a fantastic weekend getaway $500 or less!  

Here are some tips that we use to save in accommodations, transportation, food, and entertainment.

1. Stay with a friend or family 
Do you have a friend or family member that is the area you want to visit or that lives in a cool place?  Call them up and see if their spare bedroom is open.  More than likely, they would love to see you and by staying with them you have people to hang out with.  
What if you know someone but are not close enough to ask outright for a place to stay?
This takes a bit of planning....
As soon as you figure out where you are going give them a "I was just thinking about you" call and feel them out.  If your convo goes well, wait a week to ask so it doesn't look like you are calling just for a warm bed.  Call them back to chat again and talk about the trip you have planned etc.  Maybe they will offer or maybe you will bring it up but either way it couldn't hurt to try.

2.  "Budget" hotels
That just sounds grungy doesn't it???  No worries, you can find plenty of nice places to stay that do not offer roaches complimentary.  
For instance, I just did a quick search on www.lastminute.com for hotels in Norfolk, Virginia for a 2 night stay.  Three pages came up with with hotels that ranged from $74 total stay to $300 total stay and always in local in the city and outside of it.  

3.  Camp!
Camping truly is the cheapest way to stay!  Renting a campsite usually only costs about $10-$20, plus bringing your own food and driving you literally could spend $300 or less for a whole weekend!

Are B&Bs your thing?  They are ours!  Unfortunately though, it is hard to score deals.  Even though you will not save any money staying in a B&B, I will recommend using www.bedandbreakfast.com to help you pick out your favorite place.   

I do not recommend renting a whole house for a couple of reasons.  Unless you are staying for a week and have more than two people with you, you are not going to save money.  And if it is the high season, majority of homes will not be available nightly and also exorbitantly high is they are.    

How to get there 
For the sake of saving money, go somewhere you can drive to and in a reasonable amount of time.  You do not want to spend your entire trip in a car!  Whenever you cut out the need for airfare you automatically save a lot of money.  
Just out of curiosity, I searched for roundtrip flights to Charlotte, NC from Norfolk, VA this weekend and the cheapest was $459.70.  That is more expensive than my ticket to Nicaragua!  Save $200+/- and drive the five hours to get there.  Also, when you drive you can look up neat towns on your way and stop for a fun lunch or check out some local history! 

From the way I see it, you either will be able to cook your own food or will have to eat out each meal time.  Staying with a friend opens up a kitchen but if you stay at a hotel then eating out really is your only option.  
How can you save money eating out?

1. Share plates
How often do you really eat the left overs you put in the hotel mini fridge anyways.  Don't waste food and just share.

2.  Eat lunch specials
They usually come with a drink and side so take advantage of the extras.  

3.  Bring your own water bottle
This is a must!  You will save so much money if you carry a reusable water bottle AND cut down on your plastic consumption at the same time.  
Realistically, bottled water is just tap water anyways.

4.  Eat away from touristy areas 
It is always fun to splurge on a nice meal but in general you will save money by avoiding the mainstream eateries.  Look for mom and pop joints that are probably just one street over.  

5.  Bring your own food
Pack a cooler full of sandwiches, snacks, meals, and drinks and hit the road!  That is the joy of driving somewhere, it gives you much more freedom to save money!

1. Take unguided walking tours.  In other words, get out and walk around by yourself.

2.  Matinee.  Opt for a day movie rather than night.

3. Look for "free" days at museums and other attractions.

4.  Buy tickets at the actual box office rather than online and asked for a "special" rate.

5.  Google "free things to do in _".

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I want to share with you a blog called, The Educators' Spin On Itbecause they put together a list with over 60 different bloggers to highlight the major attractions in many of the major cities.  Check them out here!

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