Crowdsourcing Travel

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Earlier in the month our family was having some difficulty deciding on a vacation destination. Our original plan was to take nine to ten days, but our son couldn’t get the first day off (or approved yet) and a very close friend is getting married during the second weekend. Consequently, our time away was cut down to five days. That’s still a decent chunk of time, and we are very grateful to be able to take our kids somwhere special.

I made a Facebook post solicitating suggestions from my friends. I gave them three criteria:

1. Nothing south of the Mason-Dixon Line

2. Nothing west of the Mississippi

3. Able to enjoy ourselves for 5 days with no air travel.

I’m sharing what places were suggested along with some links to the area tourism and travel guides.

Fort Wayne, Indiana

     Visit Fort Wayne

Maine

     Visit Maine

Nashville and/or Memphis, Tennessee

     Nashville

     Memphis from Lonely Planet

     Memphis Travel – free map and guide

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
     Visit Pittsburgh

Ontario, Canada – Toronto and Niagara Falls (or Niagara Falls, NY)

     Toronto from Lonely Planet

     See Toronot Now

     Niagara Falls, Ontario

     Niagara Falls, NY

General Travel Info

AAA
Lonely Planet

Summer Travel Project

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My husband wants to take the kids on a day trip to Boston – no hotel, free rental car. We’re also trying to go to Niagara Falls for a weekend before school starts up again. The map of Great Britain is there because next year we’re scattering my mother in law’s ashes at her home in and around Belfast.

I thought a good summer project for my two little ones would be to plan out the trips to Boston and Niagara Falls. They randomly got assigned a trip and are now using tour guides and maps from AAA to plan an itinerary using a budget of $500. That’s way high for the day trip but I wanted them to have the same amount to work with.

They’ll present their itineraries and suggestions on Thursday, and then trade to choose attractions and things to do for themselves at the other location. They’ll also check some things out on the internet later in the week.

My daughter really threw herself into it, spreading out all the maps, using post-it notes and highlighters. She’s found places; now she has to see if she can afford it within her budget.

We rely so much on navigator apps or GPS that they don’t really know how the maps work so this is a great skill to learn and practice. I’m not sure if it’s taught in school anymore. I know it took me a long time as a young adult to figure them out; especially finding alternate routes. But I could always re-fold a map properly.

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Resources for Travel

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AAA – I used to say that if you had a car or traveled by car, you needed AAA, but it really is so much more than for car travel. With membership, they have tour books and maps for free. They have travel agents that can help you plan your trip and reserve your flights and hotels. Some places also have car repair/maintenance shops. Not to mention the discounts on stores and attractions. When I’m in my home area, I always forget to ask for these and often the museums are buy one get one admission free or 10% off in the gift shop. There is also a discount at Payless Shoe Source among many other retailers. It’s defintiiely worth the annual membership fee.

Smartphone/Tablet Apps – In one trip, I will use the map app, the weather app, Facebook messenger, my banking app, browser to look up attractions and check out local news for information. Don’t let naysayers say that technology is bad for us; it is more useful than not and saves countless hours of time in research and planning.

Notebook/Journal app – I tend to use Evernote or Office Suite for my travel notes to use later in my writings.

Travel Hacks – great tips for traveling

Check out the free travel section on Kindle E-books.

Traveler Restaurant – I haven’t personally been there but I’ve heard great things about this place.

What is your go-to resource when you travel? Share below.