Classic Travel and Cruises Lake St. Louis, MO

This resort exceeded my expectations. I didn’t know what to expect since I was not real familiar with this property. My daughters (young adults) loved it also. If you are traveling with guests 18 years and older, I recommend the upgrade to Select Club. A few extra amenities including private pool and beach club for adults only. Rooms are located closer to lobby although away from beach. We were a short walk from shopping and many restaurants. Fresh fruit in our room was a nice touch. Staff and food were wonderful. Eduardo was an awesome guide on our bike tour. We saw him around the resort and he was very helpful. Couples can visit Concierge and sign up for the free boat ride with champagne and chocolate covered strawberries. Jesus will probably be your guide and he was awesome!!

The grounds are rather large, 24 acres. They have shuttles if you need to hitch a ride. There are ruins on site where they perform some evening shows depicting the story of Mayans. The jungle is full of animals from donkeys to spider monkeys to bunnies AND deer (8 babies during our stay). Coatis and cats were around the resort. We did experience mosquitoes so pack repellent although they had dispensers available.

Eco at this resort refers to 3 things: sustainability (solar, recycled water and less disposable waste), eco-education (several eco-activities scheduled daily) and giving back to the community. This refers to vendors on site selling local handcrafts. The resort accepts clothes, shoes and school supplies at the drop off near theater. I wish we knew ahead so please take note. The only negatives, not a big deal, is wifi in common areas only. If you are located near those areas, you may pick it up nearby. I had access all over while my girls were limited to lobby. Not a bad thing for a mom. Beach area is not huge and rocks in the water. Take watershoes if you want to enter the ocean. Otherwise walking down the beach is fine. There are some decent areas in the water and people were snorkeling. Apply plenty of sunblock and grab a cold drink before venturing out. Beach spa offers 60 minute massages along with a 5 minute trial. Price was $35 during our stay and my daughters said it was great. I was good with the free session.

Activities are numerous such as beach/water volleyball, zumba, swimming in the cenote, bike tours, etc. You don’t have to worry about boredom. The Aquapark includes slides for teens and adults, not just kids. Check it out. They offer snacks like hot dogs, hamburgers and the best ice cream. We tried a new drink called Horchata made of rice. Delicious! It is located near the Chill Pool if you don’t want activities but music and time to relax. Kids allowed but it is located away from the main pool. Let me know if you want more information. This resort is not the right fit for ALL travelers so let me help guide you to one best for your vacation.

USS Alabama

USS Alabama, Mobile AL

Beach Time!

Beach Time! Gulf Shores AL

Four Spirits Sculpture

Four Spirits Sculpture, Birmingham AL

Dauphin Island, AL

Fort Gaines, Dauphin Island, AL

Tupelo MS

Elvis’ Birthplace, Tupelo MS

McGavock Family and Confederate Cemetary

McGavock Family and Confederate Cemetary, Franklin TN

Carter House, battlefield site of Battle of Franklin

Carter House, battlefield site of Battle of Franklin TN

Franklin TN, house turned into hospital for Confederate soldiers

Carnton Plantation home turned into hospital for Confederate soldiers

Statue of MLK

Statue of MLK, Birmingham AL

Beach House AL

Birmingham AL

16th Street Baptist Church, Birmingham AL

I went on an awesome adventure recently. Starting in St Louis we drove for a total of 8 days, 1850 miles and saw numerous attractions. First stop was Tupelo MS where we saw Elvis’ Birthplace. We then headed south to Mobile and spent a day touring both sides of the bay. Enjoyed lunch at Montego’s Caribbean Cafe and spent the night at The Battle House Renaissance Hotel. What a fabulous hotel with beautiful decor and some history. Stopped for a quick photo of the USS Alabama Battleship. Then off to enjoying time in Daphne AL where we stopped for a drink at Manci’s Antique Club. Once featured on Diner, Drive Ins and Dives we listened to some live music while talking to locals.

The next day we went down the West side of the bay toward Dauphin Island. Saw some cool beach houses then checked out Fort Gaines which was imperative to the Battle of Mobile. Cool history there as we started our Civil War history part of the trip. Grabbed a bite before boarding the ferry across the bay to Fort Morgan, another historical part of the battle. Then we viewed more beach homes on the way to Gulf Shores. You can’t help but be a little jealous when living in the Midwest all of your life. Took a break from driving for a few days to enjoy some beach time. Dined at a few popular venues including the Pink Pony, The Hangout and famous FloraBama where we heard some live country music. (Oh, they had bingo downstairs also).

Then off to a dolphin cruise on the Cold Mil which was awesome. We saw at least 4 dolphins including a 2 week old baby. She was jumping waves like a big dog. Also in site were a bald eagle and osprey along with pelicans taking perch on the journey. The next adventure was a stop in Birmingham to see some Civil Rights sights such as Four Spirits Sculpture. We saw the 16th Street Baptist Church. There is some history if you want to research the events related to these locations.

Back on the road with a surprise stop in Franklin. I was just looking for a cheap hotel outside of Nashville. This turned out to be a highlight of our trip. We did some quick research on the area and had dinner at the Bunganut Pig. Turns out a place to spot celebrities although we didn’t get so lucky. However we enjoyed dinner outside listening to some local music. The next day we started off running as we returned to Civil War history. Carnton Plantation was so interesting. The home was turned into a hospital and later a private Confederate Cemetary. Some other visitors on the tour talked us into one more stop, Carter House. We were so happy we went. Their home was actually in the middle of the battlefield. So sad as you could see the bullet holes inside and outside. This is real history. The Battle of Franklin lasted 90 minutes but thousands of casualties on both sides. Horrific event took place in this small rural town. The downtown area is so quaint and we really needed another day. Before departing, we took one last sidetrip to see Winstead Hill where the Confederates looked at the Union troops before making their move.

On to our last stop, Nashville. I had one thing on my list left, Country Music Hall of Fame. My last visit was over 30 years ago in the old location. It is huge and right in the middle of downtown. Plan on a few hours for your tour and purchase the audio option to enhance your visit. This is a fabulous city to explore if you have time. Check the calendar for special events so you can avoid crowds (and high hotel rates along with low vacancies).

This was a great roadtrip although so much time traveling and researching along the way. I learned so much about the Civil War and battles. Next time we might just focus on Tennessee. There is so much to see and learn. I believe seeing is much better than just reading.



5 Travel Tips to Make You an Expert

5 simple tips to travel like an expert

Wouldn’t you love to take a travel agent or an expert traveler with you on every trip? Someone who would know exactly what to do in every situation? Someone who could get you where you needed to be as quickly as possible? Well, you can’t always choose who your travel partners are, but you can make sure you’re aware of the latest travel tips and tricks.

Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, there’s a lot of opportunity for stress. Flying, staying in hotels and navigating your destination can all be a hassle. Make jet-setting a little easier with this insider knowledge:

Complete a before-you-go checklist

A few days in advance, make a checklist of all the important to-do items you’ll need to accomplish before you embark on your travels. This list should include locating your passport and necessary documents, confirming reservations, calling your bank and credit card companies to let them know where you’ll be, and tending to your household needs. Your trip will be off to a seamless start when you ensure everything is taken care of from the get-go.

Always carry-on if you can

Take advantage of the ability to carry a smaller suitcase on the plane with you. Invest in a reliable, carry-on sized roller bag that will work no matter what kind of trip you’re taking. This not only drives you to pack efficiently, it also saves you the hassle of ever having to check a bag.

Innovate on your transportation

When you finally arrive at your destination, the last thing you want to do is figure out how to get from A to B, especially at the airport. These days, smartphones make getting a ride more convenient than ever. The ridesharing app Lyft aims to eliminate traffic congestion and give people safe, easy and affordable transit alternatives for getting around. “I’ve used Lyft during all my layovers for the past two years,” says Las Vegas flight attendant, Cheryl Ross. “It’s great for airport travel as well as a safe solution to drinking and driving when you’re out at night. The drivers are people from the community and they often make the best tour guides.” Best of all, payment is done directly through the app, so no need to worry about carrying cash. If you’re a new user, you can redeem $20 off your first ride with the code FLYLYFT20.

Speak up about special occasions

When staying in a hotel, make sure to mention if you’re celebrating a special occasion at the front desk. Whether it’s a birthday, anniversary or honeymoon, the hotel might just upgrade your accommodations. Additionally, if you’re staying at a larger chain hotel, it never hurts to join their free loyalty program. If they know you’re a member, you could receive extra perks like early check in and late check out.

Act like a local to stay safe

When you’re in an unfamiliar city, it’s always important to take extra safety precautions. However, one of the best ways to make sure you don’t become a target is to maintain a confident attitude. It’s often the times when people are unsure, lost or stressed out when they run into trouble while traveling. Remain calm, cool and collected and always walk like you know where you are, even if you don’t.

Follow these tips and you’ll be telling stories from your adventurous travels, instead of waiting in line and calling around to find your lost luggage. For more information and travel tips, visit

Alaska Wildlife Preserve

Aurora Borealis, Northern Lights

Denali National Park, Alaska

Tracy Arm, Alaska

Tracy Arm is a fjord in Alaska near Juneau. It is named after the Secretary of the Navy Benjamin Franklin Tracy.

Canada, stretching from the U.S. in the south to the Arctic Circle in the north, is filled with vibrant cities including massive, multicultural Toronto; predominantly French-speaking Montréal and Québec City; Vancouver and Halifax on the Pacific and Atlantic coasts, respectively; and Ottawa, the capital. It’s also crossed by the Rocky Mountains and home to vast swaths of protected wilderness.

Embark on a Timeless Journey

From the lush green Pacific coast of Vancouver board VIA Rail’s The Canadian for a once in a lifetime overnight train journey. Relax in the dome car and experience panoramic views of snow capped mountains, glacial lakes, rushing rivers and the sheer unspoiled wilderness of Canada. Arrive in Jasper and see the dramatic Maligne Canyon and its picture-perfect lake, where you enjoy breakfast with a view! Travel one of the world’s most spectacular roads, the unforgettable Icefields Parkway. Feel like royalty while overnighting at the fabulous Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise and Banff Springs Hotel. Discover the natural beauty of Morainne Lake, the powerful Bow Falls and impressive Hoodoos. Experience a day on a Ranch in the Alberta plains, complete with a wagon ride in search of buffalo and a BBQ lunch in the great outdoors. End your journey in cosmopolitan Calgary.

Book Your Trip Now

The Best of Both Worlds

Relax for 7-nights and enjoy the epic Alaskan scenery from aboard one of Princess Cruise lines lovely ships. Cruise through Northern splendor, including the Inside Passage and Glacier Bay. Enjoy four nights at stunning Princess’ Lodges and Hotels. Ride a Luxury Domed Rail to Denali viewing incredible landscapes from glass-ceiling railcars and open aired observation platforms as guides provide expert commentary. Travel deep into Denali National Park for the best opportunities to view the region’s wildlife. Explore Alaska’s gorgeous capital, Juneau. Visit Ketchikan, the “Salmon Capital of the World.” Enjoy lively entertainment and a hearty feast at the Music of Denali Dinner Theater. Explore vibrant Vancouver.

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Dino-Rama Tree of Life Younger Kid Play area 010 053 055 335 039 056 059 085 208 219 244 249 285 297 Beauty & the Beast, Live on Stage Mr Potato Head entertained guests in line

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This resort is actually in the Riviera Nayarit area. You will find a beautiful, long stretch of beach on the south side of Banderas Bay. Still only a short ride from the Puerto Vallarta airport and a taxi or bus ride to town. They have several room categories to fit any traveler’s need. The resort isn’t too big so you won’t need a map to navigate the property. Recently they expanded the spa and kid club areas. You will find a quiet pool along with a fun family one that has slides for the kids. I love the celebrity exhibits that you will find like Christina Aguilera’s dress and so much more.P1090775 P1090780 P1090787 P1090791 P1090792 P1090793 P1090795 P1090811 P1090840 P1090841 P1090870 P1090885 P1090903 P1090924

Breathless Punta Cana is a vibrant, adult only resort located on the northern area of Punta Cana.

Click here for more information:

Swimout Rooms

Swimout Rooms

Swimup bar.

Swimup bar.


10 Questions to ask your wedding photographer(BPT) – Some moments are simply too important to trust to a camera phone.

Your wedding will be one of the most memorable times of your life and no one can capture it better than a professional photographer. So how do you find the right one? As you begin the interview process, here are 10 questions to help you determine if you’ve found the best photographer for your wedding.

1. Does the photographer have a gallery of wedding images you can review?

Reviewing sample work allows you to see the photographer’s strengths and weaknesses – don’t fool yourself, every photographer has them. You’ll also be able to get an idea of their style. Are they formal with an eye for the perfect picture or do they love to capture the hidden moments when no one is looking? Look for images that you can see yourself in. Think of three words that describe you and share those with your photographer. Every photographer has a style and reviewing their gallery can help you determine if theirs is right for you.

2. What is the photographer’s working style?

Some photographers are orderly and operate like wedding planners. Others prefer to sit back and let the events of the wedding unfold. It’s important that you find someone who can understand and meet your expectations. Discuss this ahead of time and ask away, so that you understand how well the photographer’s working style matches your own.

3. Is the photographer available for an engagement session?

An engagement session does more than provide you with priceless images together before you get married. It’s also your first opportunity to work with your photographer and develop a relationship that will allow you to be completely at ease on your big day. Use this session to confirm if the photographer is indeed the right person to capture your wedding.

4. Will the photographer create a detailed shot list?

This list will ensure no important photo is missed during the commotion and excitement of the big day. You should be able to create that list together, add to the list leading up to the day and have a copy of that list the day of. Take an honest look at what images really matter and fill your photographer in on situations he or she might need to be aware of in order to prevent awkward moments, and to ensure that he or she can get the shots that matter most.

5. What kind of lighting will be used?

Whether you have an indoor or outdoor wedding, you’ll want to make sure your photographer has professional grade lighting equipment to deliver the images your wedding deserves.

6. Does the photographer have backup equipment?

You’ve prepared contingency plans for every other aspect of your wedding; your photographer should as well. A true professional photographer won’t miss your perfect shot because of a technology issue. He or she will always bring one or two backup cameras, lenses, flashes, additional lighting equipment, extra memory cards, and batteries.

7. Does the photographer have liability insurance?

Accidents happen at weddings and if one of your guests trips over your photographer’s light stand, it’s good to know you both are protected. Your reception venue may even ask the photographer to submit a certificate of liability ahead of time.

8. Will there be one photographer or two?

A second shooter increases the probability that no shot will be missed, especially if you are having a large wedding. If there will be two photographers, ask to meet them both to get a feel for their personalities and how well they might blend in on your big day.

9. What will happen to the images after your wedding?

Will your images be backed up to a hard drive or the cloud once processed? How long will your photographer keep the images afterward? Will they be kept for a couple of years or dumped immediately? If you have any concerns about losing your photos, knowing what the photographer plans to do with your images after your wedding is important.

10. When will you get your photos?

No, you won’t get your pictures the day after; no photographer can deliver that quickly. It’s a good idea, though, to get a general idea of the timeline ahead of time. You might even be able to agree on getting a couple of images ready for social media use very quickly. But obtaining your photos will likely take several weeks. To help with the wait, some photographers will send you a sneak peak with a few images. Just ask ahead of time!

You won’t be able to see everything that happens during your wedding day. The right photographer will capture moments you never knew existed. To learn how you can find the perfect photographer for your wedding, visit