Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Bucket lists and travel loans....BFF's

Everyone has a bucket list right?  Well, for the sake of sparing you from the pages upon pages that are my bucket list, this is a brief snippet of most longed for vacations.  These 8 destinations are places that make up my dreams and their cultures are ones that inspire me as a person.  For example, Bali's laid back, spiritual side is something I pull energy from everyday.  Their ideals and way of life inspires me to try to live simply, deliberately, and kindly here at home.  Then there is Croatia...ah Croatia.  I put this gem of a country on my bucket list back in high school while I sat in a coffee shop listening as a Bosnian friend of mine described the beaches, the food, the adventures, and the culture.  I still remember to this day, how inspired and amped I was to travel the world after he described that far away land to me...that was 11 years ago!  And since I have champagne taste on a beer budget,  I do believe I see a new travel loan in my future! 
Take control of your bucket list AND life by making a vow right now to travel more!  Incorporate into that vow to start letting loose, to expand your mind past your 9-5 job, kids, and chores.  Start believing in yourself and express all your interest that you have been placing aside.  You want to travel?  Then travel.  You have the ability to travel now and pay later, so go ahead and book the trip of your dreams....all you have to do it take action in controlling your happiness.  So just have to do it.  Don't be scared - commit yourself to living a more fuller life today!  Finance all the experiences you dream of through travel loans and start to breathe new life into yourself,  you will return home a new person, and the trips will broaden your way of thinking.  
If travel is what you want, then do it.  What are you waiting for??? 
These are in no particular order - I am just picking them as they pop in my head.

1. Croatia - Jewel of the Adriatic

    Time needed: 2 weeks

    Areas to visit: Pakleni Islands for crystal clear sea, hidden beaches, and deserted lagoons.

             Dalmatian Coast to explore Dubrovnik and island hop through the Elefitian Islands.

2.  Indonesia - Bali

     Time needed: 3 weeks

Areas to visit: Bukit Peninsula for world class surfing and beaches, Nusa Penida for the most off-beaten path of Indo as possible.  Then West Bali National Park for hiking, bird watching and diving.

3.  Maldives 

     Time needed: 2 weeks

     Areas to visit: South Male Atoll for surfing, night fishing, excursions to deserted islands.

4.  South Pacific Islands - Tahiti, Fiji, and the Cook Islands

     Time needed: 1 month or just move there :) 

     Areas to visit: EVERYWHERE!

5.  Morocco

     Time needed: 2 weeks

     Areas to visit: North Atlantic Coast and South Atlantic Coast for the laid back vibe, and Saharan Morocco to ride a camel!

6.  Grecian Isles

     Time needed: 2 weeks

Areas to visit: Mykonos for a more up-beat yet romantic feel then off to Santorini for rest and relaxation.

7.  Arctic Cruise

     Time needed: 11 days

     Areas to visit: Circumnavigate Iceland


8.  Madagascar - Africa - Dream destination for nature and outdoor lovers

     Time needed: 2 weeks

     Areas to visit: Everywhere but primarily the beaches and rain forests :)

If you truly are interested in living your dreams and seeing the world then check out United Military Travel's website to learn more on what their travel finance company can do for you.  They make it super easy to apply for the loan by providing an application directly on their website, but if you are more comfortable speaking with someone just call 866-582-9579.   
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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

United Military Travel's favorite pre-deployment gifts!

This past weekend, I took Noah down to the Outer Banks to visit family because my hubby was taking his best friend off shore fishing on Saturday....who wants to spend a weekend alone????

And honestly, it was kinda a big deal because Josh and I are not away from each very often.  So you know what I did???

I left him sweet little love notes around the house for him to find each day to remind him how much we love and missed him.


I know, I am ridiculous.  But I really was sincere about how much we missed him.

I believe that if you feel something, you should always show it because we should never assume someone automatically knows.

And that got me thinking about what I would do for him if he was about to be deployed.  What sort of sweet gesture would I send him off with?
I came up with a huge list but I decided I would send multiple things so here are my favorite ones....

1.  A laminated family photo

2.  A journal

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3.  An engraved wallet insert

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4.  "Open when" cards from me and Noah

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5.  Lots and lots of phone cards

6.  Travel Loan Voucher - send him off with all the contact information for United Military Travel so when he has time off you could fly to see him or he could come home!

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7.  A perfume scent card with my signature scent on in it, wrapped in a delicate, girly envelope.

8.  A Meal Improvement Kit.  This one I found on Etsy, but you can make one yourself and include his/her favorite spices!  For guidelines and restrictions on what your solider is allowed to have, read more at

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You can find a ton of awesome gift ideas on Etsy for pre-deployment gifts, that is where these came from!

When you choose to use United Military Travel as a gift, you are choosing to give the gift of togetherness.  Financing airfare or accommodations is a great way to show how much you care and how much you want to be with the other person.  Utilizing a travel loan service allows you or your partner to travel now and pay later, creating more spending cash for the trip.  Which mean, more ways to spoil each other :) 

Monday, April 27, 2015

10 One Week European Itineraries!

Happy Monday ya'll!!!  

This morning I was contemplating a European vacation for this summer, but when I tried to figure out where I wanted to go too many destinations came to mind.  My biggest dilemma is trying to combine as many places into a 10 day escape as possible.  What is really comes down to is that you will need to take multiple trips to Europe throughout your life or commit a couple of months to traveling in order to see all the beauty Europe has to offer.  

My preferred method is taking multiple trips......duh!

While researching, I came across a neat little blog called, The Overseas Escape, created by an American expat named Margo from Virignia who now lives in Europe full time.  
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One of Margo's post, 10 Amazing One Week European Itineraries, was exactly what I was looking for.  Yes, I like to pick and choose places Id like to go, but doing all the leg work is not my favorite thing so this post gave me all the insight needed on which cities are closest to each other, and where you can visit in just 7 days.  
It is always a good idea to take advice from someone who has "been there and done that" don't you think????  Check out Margo's blog for all your European vacations inspiration, and if you like what you see don't forget to like her on FB!
So imagine yourself this summer exploring Rome and the Amalfi Coast or Nice, Provence, and Monaco. 
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Monaco-French Riviera - Credit
The best way to do this is by taking out a travel loan for your airfarehotelcar rental so you can travel now and pay later.  I have said it once, and I will say it again....get out and live life!  If you have hesitations about financing traveling you should think about all the other "things" you finance.  They are just things that will only bring you happiness for a short period of time so start using your money on things that will bring you a lifetime of happiness and memories!  Open yourself up to the world by financing travel - travel does not have to out of reach.  Travel loans are the best way to see the world and mark off items on your bucket list!  They also help you provide a way of life for your family that you may not otherwise be able to give them.  You only live once so start traveling today!  
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Rome, Italy Credit
If you are in the Military or a government employee you can use United Military Travel as your ticket to the world.  
United Military Travel is an American owned company that specializes in 100% military travel financing for all Military and Government Personnel. We finance both Active Duty and Career Retired Military members, as well as government employees. We can get most applicants approved with NO DOWN PAYMENT!
United Military Travel currently works with all of the major airlines and has negotiated contracts with major consolidators all over the world. How does this benefit you? We can offer Military Discounted Airfare Tickets, Military Discounted Hotel Reservations, and Military Discounted Car Rentals. United Military Travel is able to offer the best Low Price Guarantee in the entire Military Travel Loan Industry. Call 866-582-9579 to speak to one of our knowledgeable travel loan consultants or apply now for an easy travel assistance loan!
Are you worried about your bad credit history? United Military Travel is still able to get your travel loan approved even if you have bad credit history! How can we do this? We base your approval on your military and government pay information and your debt to income ratios. We want to make sure that your military travel loan payment doesn’t put you in a financial bind, but our lenders are very forgiving with past credit history! United Military Travel currently has a 97.9% loan approval rating!


Friday, April 24, 2015

Most Common PCSing Acronyms and Your Entitlements!

If you are anything like me, when I hear an acronym I do not know the meaning for my head starts to reel trying to figure it out. And in the Military, it seems everything has an abbreviation!  So, here are the most common acronyms you will hear during your PCS and by knowing them hopefully your transition will be a bit easier.

DHHG - Domestic Household Goods

DITY - Do It Yourself 

PPM - Person Procured Move 
DPM - Direct Procurement Method  
DPS - Defense Personal Property System
DTOD - Defense Table of Official Distances  
DTR - Defense Transportation Regulations
ETA - Electronic Transportation Acquisition
FPO - Fleet Post Office  
FRV - Full Replacement Value  
GBL - Government Bill of Lading  
HHG - Household Goods 
IUB - International Unaccompanied Baggage  
JFTR - Joint Federal Travel Regulation 
JPPSO - Joint Personal Property Shipping Office  
MCO - Military Claims Office  
NTS - Non-Temporary Storage  
NTSR - Non Temporary Storage Release   
OCONUS - Outside Of The Continental United States  
PBP&E/ProGear - Professional Books, Paper, and Equipment  
PCS - Permanent Change of Station 
POV - Privately Owned Vehicle  
PPSO - Personal Property Shipping Office 
QA - Quality Assurance
RDD - Required Delivery Date  
TAD - Temporary Assigned Duty
TAD - Temporary Assigned Duty 
TDY - Temporary Duty  
TO - Transportation Office 
TSP - Transportation Service Provider  
UB - Unaccompanied Baggage 
VTF  -Veterinary Treatment Facility 
RSMO - Regional Storage Management Office
CONUS - Continental United States 

Do you know what you and your family are entitled to before, during, and after your PCS?  The biggest mistake you can make it so not understand your entitlements!
* Your Entitlements *
DLA - Dislocation Allowance 
DLA is used to partially reimburse you for your expenses incurred during a PCS and can be paid in advance of your move.
Monetary allowance in lieu of transportation (MALT)
Mileage reimbursement for the service member and their dependents during a PCS and is paid on a per mile basis for the official distance of each portion of the travel and may include up to two POC's, based on orders. 
Pier Diem 
MALT-plus: Authorized if traveling by POC.  This is paid on a whole day calendar basis for the allowable travel time.
Temporary Lodging Expense
TLE is intended to partially pay for lodging and meal expenses due to a PCS.  CONUS PCS are limited to 10 days and a OCONUS is limited to 5 days.  To be reimbursed you must provide all itemized, zero-balance lodging receipts and a statement of non-availabilty if staying off-post when submitting them.  
Lodging Plus
Pays for lodging costs associated with a PCS and may be paid for any necessary overnight delay or processing time at a transportation terminal or personal processing center.
Advances are paid within 10 days of the travel start date on your orders for PPM/DITY moves.  You must submit your travel claim within 5 days of arriving at your new duty location, and your claim must include advanced payments previously processed.  Failure to do will result in a debt to the government and possibly payroll deductions.
Dependent Travel - Accompanied by service member
Service members are authorized dependent PCS travel and transportation allowances.  Just make sure your DEERS form includes all dependents.  
Temporary lodging allowance (TLA)
What TLE is to CONUS, TLA is to overseas.  Up to 60 days (may be extended) may be paid for temporary lodging and meal expenses after the Military member (and his/her family) arrive at a new overseas location, while awaiting housing.  Up to 10 days of TLA may be paid prior to arriving overseas.

For all your PCSing needs, call United Military Travel or apply here for you travel loan!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Florida vacation for a senior couple

My sister and I are trying to plan a week long vacation for our Dad and step-mother to somewhere in Florida.  When we agreed to do this, I do not think we ever thought it would be this challenging but it is becoming quite apparent why it gets harder to travel once you get older.  For some folks, the adventure never leaves them but for the others familiarity and comfort is a necessity.  
One one hand, we have our patient, ready to try anything, step-mom who would be fine taking longer commutes, navigating the area by herself, and lounging on a beach all day.  Then on the other hand is our sweet, loving, fair skinned dad who is semi-impatient that would die if he had to travel for more than five hours, drive himself to the hotel, couldn't find an umbrella or shady tree throughout the day, and whose idea of a vacation is an oversized chair, overlooking the ocean, with someone cooking meals for him.

Starting to get the picture now???

The stipulations are as follows:

1.  Airfare with no more than one stop-both ways.
2. Flights need to depart mid-morning.
3. Pre-arranged transportation to take them to and from the airport. 
4. Rentals cars are out.
4. They prefer all-inclusive.
6.  Shopping/dining that is within walking distance or a short taxi ride away.
7.  Quiet yet offers entertainment
8.  Accommodation needs to have a pool and spa.
Ok, with all that in mind we are thinking some island on the west coast...maybe Sanibel & Captiva, Amelia Island, or Anna Maria.  Why?  Read on to learn more about each destination....
Sanibel & Captiva Islands 
Escaping to the sister islands of Sanibel and Captiva is to escape much of the hustle and bustle that's permeated so many of Florida's beach towns and keys. On these tranquil barrier islands along Florida's Gulf Coast, you won't see stretches of cookie-cutter high-rise condominiums or the tacky amusement parks that litter so many other parts of Florida, and you most certainly won't hear the annoying buzz of jet skis or other watercraft with engines; they aren't allowed within 300 yards of the islands' shores.
Sanibel & Captiva Islands
Instead you can blissfully stroll through the island's charming main street, while under a shady sheath of palm tree fronds. The island's shell-strewn beaches are stunning: Among the more popular is Turner Beach, which faces west and is a delightful place to watch the sunset. If searching for seashells by the seashore gets dull, visit the J. N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge, which you can explore by bike, foot, canoe or kayak. 
Amelia Island
Florida's northernmost barrier island, tranquil Amelia Island, lures travelers seeking a quiet and charming seaport community far removed from city doldrums. Pack your sunscreen and sneakers, because when you aren't exploring the quaint town of Fernandina Beach, you'll want to spend much of your vacation enjoying Amelia Island's copious outdoor activities. Thirteen miles of beaches will satisfy folks hoping to relax on the sands or hit the water for a swim. Amelia Island also offers excellent kayaking, fishing, biking and hiking along sand dunes or within the island's interior parks.
Fernando Beach Shopping
Fernandina Beach Shopping
Once you've had your fix of basking in the sun, spend quality time wandering through Fernandina Beach. History buffs will find plenty to admire in the Victorian, Italianate and Queen Anne-style homes that line the town's streets, while shoppers and foodies will be ecstatic to discover an array of delightful boutique shops and eclectic restaurants. Island accommodations suit all manner of travelers and tastes, from swanky beachfront resorts, like the Omni Amelia Island Plantation (which reopens in spring 2013, following an $85 million-renovation), to homey bed-and-breakfasts in the heart of the historic center. 
Anna Maria Island
It's easy to be enamored of an island where the preferred pastime is paying homage to the sunset. On 7-mile-long Anna Maria Island, you will, in fact, find both locals and tourists flocking to the island's Gulf Coast beaches, bars and restaurants to watch the stunning daily spectacle. The ultra-laidback vibe of Anna Maria pays homage to "Old World" Florida, a time before glitzy resorts, glam high-rise condos and chain restaurants clogged so many of Florida's beach town shores.
Anna MariaYou'll want to join the locals at Anna Maria's wide, sandy shores, such as Bradenton Beach or Bean Point; it's easy to explore the various beaches via the island's complimentary trolley. Kayakers, boaters and windsurfers will likely convene with other like-minded outdoors lovers at Palma Sola Causeway Beach. Whether you're an Old Salty Dog who loves fishing or you could care less about baiting a hook, plan to hit the island's Rod & Reel Pier, a fishing hot spot marked by a budget-friendly seafood restaurant at the pier's end.  Source: Travel Channel 
Ok so lets see which island meets most of our needs:
Sanibel & Captiva Accommodations: 
South Seas Island Resort - Offers everything we need from rooms with a view, dining, shopping concierge service, location, and pool.  We will have to call about airport pick up.
** Tween Waters Inn Resort and Spa - Love this one because it offers a variety of dining options directly onsite which is super important to our dad.  
Sanibel Harbour Marriott Resort and Spa - This one works for all the right reasons except our dad isn't going to want to pay $25 pp for breakfast.  This is a huge draw back because it is one of his favorite meals of the day and he isn't going to want to explore the town every time he wants to eat.  He needs convenient, affordable food.  This one is probably a no.
** Pink Shell Beach Resort and Marina - This one seems like the best fit but there is only one catcher.  It is in Fort Myers.  Which, actually may be ok.  There is an airport there so you can fly directly there and catch a short cab ride to the hotel.  This resort also offers free continental breakfast for two daily, a full service spa, waterfront dining, 3 heated pools, free beach chairs and umbrellas, and all other convinces you expect to find from a full service resort.  
** Our favorites
Amelia Island
I just looked around and I didn't see anything I liked so I am not going to waste my time and yours going over the different resorts.
Anna Maria Island
After researching, it seems Anna Maria does not offer any full service resorts.  They do have "resorts" but they are more like condominiums which more than likely would require our folks to cook and that wouldn't happen.  

Well folks, I think after all this we have narrowed it down to Sanibel & Captiva Islands or Fort Myers.  In order to plan a vacation, the best thing to do it make a list of everybody's wants and needs.  From there, just research, research, research.  It will become a matching game but do not discouraged and always try to compromise!  Now, to sell the idea to our folks!  Wish us luck!
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