Four Thrilling Coastal Trips to Take This Year

Now that we’ve rung in the new year and started to embark on our goals, many of us have decided to devote more attention to our self-care. In addition to drinking more water, exercising daily, and eating right, self-care includes creating balance in your life. One way to ensure you maintain a healthy work-life balance is by vacationing! Your mental health suffers when you subscribe to the mantra of “all work and no play.” So this year, get out of the office and enjoy life. Here are four thrilling coastal trips you should check out.

Cannon Beach, Oregon

Cannon Beach, the self-titled “small-town village by the sea,” is an hour-and-a-half northwest of the more well-known tourist city, Portland, Oregon. However, Cannon Beach has managed to earn quite the reputation for its beauty. It’s been named Best Beach on several occasions, drawing the attention of curious travelers from all over the world. With a combination of gorgeous shorelines, mountains, and natural wonders like Haystack Rock, there’s no shortage of things to see. Experiences like the Lewis and Clark History Expedition, Classic Cottage Tours, and live glassblowing demonstrations, guarantee that visitor’s trips to Cannon Beach are memorable.

San Juan Islands, Washington

Washington’s beautiful San Juan Islands are accessible by ferry, traditional airline, seaplane, or boat (specifically the San Juan Clipper) and boast accommodations that range from farm stays, to glamping, to luxury vacation suites. One of the island’s most famous landmarks is its scenic byway. It’s composed of three segments: the blue marine highway, a driving tour around the island itself, and last but not least, a driving tour through neighboring Orca Island. In addition to the scenic byway, San Juan Islands offers many family-friendly activities to enjoy. Whale and Wild Life Tours, Krystal Acres Alpaca Farm, the extremely popular Pelindaba Lavender Farm, and multiple museums, are just a few possible items to add to your family’s to-do list. For adventurous travelers, the island offers hiking, biking, fishing, kayaking and much more. 

Key West, Florida

Just off of the southern coast of Florida, the island of Key West is a tropical retreat. To start, you can relax on one of the southside beaches or enjoy a stroll through one of the many parks. But one thing’s for sure while visiting Key West, you’ll never have reason to be bored. For the art lovers, the island offers live-performance theatres, art galleries displaying diverse arrays of talent, and antique shops. Naturally, along with dolphin encounters, watersports also thrive in the area, making kayaking, jet skiing, and snorkeling extremely popular activities. But many visitors simply love walking down Duval Street – an active 1.25-mile road where tourists come together to eat, shop, and have a good time. 

Portland, Maine

Upon first glance, Portland may appear to be nothing more than a hardworking fishing community that specializes in shipping from its harbor. But look a little deeper and you’ll find a city deeply rooted in culture and history, and worthy of the tourist attention that it draws. With its art district, historical parks and gems like the Portland Observatory, this coastal city has many attractions for visitors to explore.  Many travelers’ most memorable stop is Portland’s Old Port district, where patrons can indulge in any number of the plethora of high-quality eating and drinking establishments downtown. Maine is famous for its fresh seafood, but in addition to its lobster rolls, Portland is also known for being extremely vegan and vegetarian-friendly.

If your vision board included travel, adventure or life balance, then these four coastal cities are for you. Gather your family or a couple of friends and plan some time this year to recharge. Every city on the list is full of unique culture, natural wonder, and friendly locals waiting to share their towns’ history. So check your calendars, book your flights and get ready to enjoy your coastal vacations! 

Brad and Julie DuncanFour Thrilling Coastal Trips to Take This Year
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Love Traveling? Protect Your Health While Quenching Your Wanderlust

You travel to see new sights and experience unique things. Exploring unfamiliar places will enrich your mind and nourish your soul. This activity, though, will require you to be in the pinnacle of health. You need energy and stamina to be an adventurous and smart traveler. Ironically, traveling exposes you to situations that increases your chance of catching a disease. With viruses and germs everywhere it is easy to be paranoid about all sorts of sickness you can get.

Still, fear of getting sick should not stop you from satisfying your wanderlust. Instead of abandoning your travel plans altogether, you can observe some simple precautions to stay healthy while on the road. Check out some tips below to ensure you do not taint your travel memories and experiences with the unpleasant feeling of getting ill.

Stock up on liquids.

It is such a hassle to go thirsty while traveling. This is because your body needs an adequate amount of liquids to function at its best. So ensure that you are well hydrated while roaming around. You can avoid dehydration by packing a water bottle everywhere you go.

Protect your skin.

Outdoor time is good for your health as you can breathe in fresh air, soak in warm sunlight and feast on stunning sceneries. Just make sure you are not jeopardizing your health in the process. Harsh rays of the sun can cause skin cancer and damage, so always apply sunscreen before heading outdoors. Choose a sunscreen with a minimum SPF 15 and apply as needed.

Take supplements.

A strong immune system will give your body the power to fight off all kinds of diseases. Of course, you need proper diet, regular exercise and enough rest to make your body stronger and healthier. You can further boost your body’s defenses by taking vitamins. Because you need to be extra healthy while traveling, make sure to pack your supplements before traveling.

Pack necessary medicines.

Traveling is an adventure so it is better to be prepared for any unexpected situations that you may encounter. It is a wise practice to pack medicines for common travel woes such as nausea, headaches or fever. You should also have a first-aid kit in your bag. To ensure you are fit to travel, you may want to visit a doctor (especially if you are going somewhere very far and for a long period of time) for a physical checkup before your trip.

Keep germs at bay.

As you visit various places, you will likely get dirty as well. Since cleanliness is a prerequisite to good health, strive to stay clean even while traveling. It won’t be a huge challenge as you can conveniently bring hand sanitizer or wipes. Wash your hands before eating a meal, too.

Keep your healthy routines.

Even if travel means a break from your usual routines, it is worth it to maintain daily activities that keep you healthy. Your body will thank you if you allot time for exercise and eat in moderation, even if you are not in the comfort of your home. Likewise, you should ensure that you get enough sleep. It is also a great idea to engage in healthy activities while traveling such as walking, running or biking.

Travel allows you to have fun and relax, but you should not sacrifice your health for it. If you follow the suggestions above, you will come back from your travel escapades stronger and healthier than ever.

Brad and Julie DuncanLove Traveling? Protect Your Health While Quenching Your Wanderlust
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How to Plan a Bucket List Vacation During the New Year

So the holidays are over and the new year has begun. Getting back into the swing of things can be tough but time tends to pass more quickly when you have something to look forward to. Vacation provides a mental escape that helps many of us survive the year. Why not start planning now? Here’s how.

Find Inspiration

Seeking inspiration is the first step. At this stage, brainstorming is the mission. There are no right and wrong locations and budget is not of concern – yet. Use any and all resources to your advantage. Pinterest, friend’s vacation photos, articles, travel magazines, family anecdotes, travel groups/forums, movies or books – leave no stone unturned. Once you’ve combed through enough options, you should end up with a pretty decent list of dream vacations. Your vacation list should range from big to small, local to international and expensive to easily affordable. You want variety so that once the time comes, you can find a trip to meet your needs, no matter the scenario.


The next step is to consider budget. When planning a vacation, you’ll need to make financial accommodations for transportation, food, entertainment, souvenirs and housing. Because all of those factors vary based on location, you’ll need to start by figuring out how much money you’d like to allocate toward travel this year, then work backwards. Once you’ve established a budget, then you’ll be able to narrow your brainstormed vacation list to the ones that fit within your budget.


Now let’s talk details. Vacations are composed of a million small decisions that come together to form one harmonious result. However, a few details are more important than others. Answer the following questions:

  • How much vacation time do you want to dedicate to travel this year?
  • Do you want to go alone or with someone else?
  • Are there any special events you are trying to attend?
  • What’s most important when deciding where to stay?
  • Do you need to rent a car or will public transportation work?

Research Regional Specifics

You have a budget, a location and you’ve covered the minor details. Now you need to look deeper into the destination you chose. Is there anything you should spend time working on to make your trip more enjoyable? If you are traveling to a foreign country, you may want to start learning conversational phrases that will help you get around. Do you need to apply for your passport? Do you need to learn about money conversion or stock up on universal outlets? Are there customary norms that you need to familiarize yourself with? Learn all that you can about your destination of choice and start preparing.

Save Money

The last step of making your vacation a reality is finding the funds to do so. Ideally, we would all have enough cash on hand to pay for our vacation without needing to do any extra work. But for larger vacations, that’s not always realistic. There are many ways to go about saving, but no matter the method, starting as early as possible makes a world of difference. Once you start, remember to be disciplined by refusing to remove money from the vacation fund. If you meet your goal early, keep saving and use the extra money for upgrades or for your next trip.

Traveling enhances both your world view and life enjoyment. The vacation of your dreams is just around the corner. Even “once in a lifetime” vacations are possible with proper planning. Follow the steps outlined above and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Brad and Julie DuncanHow to Plan a Bucket List Vacation During the New Year
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10 Reasons You Should Consider a Christmas Vacation

With the holiday season quickly approaching, you may be in the midst of planning your perfect Christmas day. If your plans to stay home feel like a repeat of Christmas past, it’s time to shake things up. Out-of-town getaways are becoming increasingly popular with many people choosing to skip the stress of the season. Here are ten reasons that you should consider a Christmas vacation.


  1. Shorter Lines
    If you choose to visit a popular tourist location like Disneyland, you’ll enjoy having more of the park to yourself. Many families spend Christmas at home, leaving beaches and amusement parks noticeably calmer than normal.
  2. Cheap Hotel Deals
    Unfortunately plane tickets can be expensive during the holiday season because so many people fly home to spend time with family. Thankfully, most of those travelers forgo hotels and stay with the people they are visiting. Consequently, it’s easier to catch price breaks on hotels.
  3. No Gifts
    While the holiday season is known for gift giving, buying presents can take a lot of time and money. Reduce your stress by replacing your gift budget with your vacation budget.
  4. Weather Change
    If you live in a state where heavy or extreme snow is common, escaping to warmer climates can provide some much needed relief. Conversely, if you reside in a snow-free state, choosing a vacation spot where you can play in the snow will be a delightful treat.
  5. Avoid Stress
    Maybe the thought of decorating or fellowshipping with a particular family member causes you anxiety. Why not sidestep the drama and leave your worries at home? A quick getaway to a distant locale is sure to keep your usual concerns at bay.
  6. Experience Christmas in a Different Culture
    With a little research, you can plan a trip to another country that is also celebrating the holiday. Experiencing Christmas from a different point of view will be a fun learning experience for even the most seasoned travelers.
  7. Something New
    If you’ve had a traditional holiday every year, doing something different for the first time can be an exciting change. While traditions hold a special place in the spirit of the holiday, throwing a little adventure into the mix never hurts.
  8. Company Vacation Time
    If you need to clear vacation time with your boss, carefully timing a trip can be difficult. However, vacationing over Christmas break can reduce the number of company vacation days that need to be approved since most businesses voluntarily give employees several days off around the holiday.
  9. Meet up with Family on Location
    Holiday family time doesn’t need to be limited to home. Get together with your extended family to plan a destination Christmas instead. Consider meeting up on location to celebrate the holiday in style.
  10. More Memorable
    Traveling somewhere new always creates countless memories. Doing so during Christmas doubles the impact. Ditching tradition is a bit taboo, but feeling like a rebel always gets the adrenaline flowing.

A trip to a faraway land is sure to provide the Christmas adventure of a lifetime. Sometimes providing a shared experience is more valuable than any material gift that you could give. So get the family together, pick a destination and enjoy your holiday.

Brad and Julie Duncan10 Reasons You Should Consider a Christmas Vacation
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Five Tips To Safekeep Your Belongings During Travels

Travel is a great option for people who want a break from life’s routines and to have a breath of fresh air. Seeing amazing sights and trying new activities sounds like a perfect way to unwind and have fun. However, to keep your vacation smooth and relaxing, there are just a few things you want to avoid. One of the biggest things you want to avoid  is losing your belongings.

You do not want to taint your vacation with a bad memory of losing an item, especially if it is a valuable one. But since you are out and about, the possibility of losing a thing or two is high. If you become careless, you might even lose your whole bag or luggage. But of course, you do not have to experience this travel nightmare. Safekeeping your things during travel is just a matter of being extra careful with your belongings. The following five tips to safekeep your belongings during travels can help:

Bring only the essentials.

Guarding your things starts with packing. Remember to pack light by bringing only the things you need. Keeping an eye on your things becomes more difficult with the more stuff you bring. So think twice and ask yourself if the item is really necessary before adding it to your bag. In the end, you free yourself from the burden of carrying heavy luggage and at the same time, lessen the risk of losing things on the road.

Keep highly important items with you at all times.

There are some things you cannot afford to lose while traveling such as a passport,other important travel documents or a gadget that is necessary for your work. To avoid the trouble of losing these highly-important items, it is advisable to keep it in a bag that you can conveniently carry on you at all times.

If you are traveling overseas, these items should always be in your carry on bag instead of the check-in luggage. You can take care of important items more closely if they are always with you. Likewise, you will easily notice the moment anything goes missing. One of the things you usually carry with you when traveling is a camera. Avoid the chance of losing it by adding a strap so you can conveniently wear it like a necklace.

Keep your cash and cards in different bags.

It is not a good idea to store money or credit cards in a single wallet because you do not want to end up penniless in case you lose the purse that contains all your cash and cards. To make sure you will not lose all your cash in one go, divide your money into different purses or bags. You can keep some money in your carry on bag then stash some bills in a secret purse in your other bags.

Label your bags and belongings.

One simple way to protect your phone, bag, camera or other important items is by labeling them. With information containing your name and contact details, you make it easy for your lost items to make their way back to you. It is also a good idea to add an identifying mark on your bags or items so you can easily identify it such as a ribbon or a sticker. Some bags or gadgets can look identical, so it is wise to add something that will make it easy for you to instantly identify or spot it from a distance.

Double-checking before leaving is a must.

Going back to a hotel or any accommodation you stayed in just to retrieve lost items can be such a hassle and the possibility of getting your things back can be grim. So make it a habit to thoroughly check the area before checking out. Do not rush and inspect every nook and cranny of the room, especially the areas where you can accidentally leave things such as drawers and closets. It would not hurt to also look for items under the bed.  

You deserve a great, hassle-free vacation, so spare yourself the burden of looking for your lost belongings. Save precious time and make the most of your leisure time by taking necessary precautions to take good care of your things.  

Brad and Julie DuncanFive Tips To Safekeep Your Belongings During Travels
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Four States to Consider For Your Last Minute End-of-Summer Trip

As the weather cools and the days become shorter, you may want to embark on one last end-of-summer trip. If you are itching to get on the open road or add more frequent flier miles to your collection, don’t fret. There are still plenty of beautiful North American sites waiting to be explored. Below are 4 states that offer sun, water and tons of fun. Each heading links to a website where more information can be found.

  1. CaliforniaThe Golden State

With ideal late summer temperatures in the mid 70s and 80s, California is known for its unbeatable weather. The ocean views, diverse terrain and bustling population make this state one of the most popular destinations in the country. California offers everything from southern deserts and coastal mountains to soaring redwoods in the north. Home of Disneyland, Hollywood, the Lakers’ LeBron James and the Warriors’ Kevin Durant, California is never short on entertainment. However, if you’d prefer a more tranquil scene, there are plenty of locations that fit the bill. Try one of the places below:

o Highlights: Vineyards, greenery, wine tasting

o Highlights: Spas, Armstrong Woods, Scottish-style golf course

o Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

o Humboldt Redwoods State Park

o Red Rock Canyon State Park

o Malibu Creek State Park

o Gaviota State Park

  1. FloridaThe Sunshine State

Boasting the longest coastline of any state in the nation, Florida is a tropical paradise. Late summer temperatures hover around the high 80s and low 90s – perfect for travelers who enjoy a bit of heat. Although hurricane season is a factor to consider, this state offers endless beaches and a vibrant nightlife. The Kennedy Space Center, Universal Studios and the Daytona 500 International Speedway all reside here. To top it all off, Florida’s Everglades National Park houses a variety of unique, wild animals and swamps full of gators! Check out the links below for a few of Florida’s gems.

o Highlights: Water adventures, wildlife, fly fishing

o Highlights: Family friendly fun, holiday events, themed restaurants

o Highlights: Beaches, sports teams, celebrity sightings

o Highlights: Caribbean vibes, great food, shopping

o Dry Tortugas National Park

o Biscayne National Park

o Crystal River Preserve State Park

o Florida Caverns State Park

  1. North CarolinaThe Palmetto State

Waterfalls, tree house resorts and train rides are just a few of the charms that you’ll find when you visit North Carolina. With average September temperatures in the 70s and 80s, the weather is an attraction within itself. Tourists who visit often rave about the beaches, hiking, biking, ATV tours and fine dining. With a rich historical timeline, North Carolina also offers numerous museums and monuments to experience. Check the list below for summer vacation spots that the whole family can enjoy.

o Highlights: Island beaches, Wilmington Riverwalk, Cape Fear River

o Highlights: Bald Head Island Seaside Golf Club, Bald Head Island Maritime Forest Preserve, sailing

o Chimney Rock State Park

o Dismal Swamp State Park

o Fort Macon State Park

o Hammocks Beach State Park

o Lake Waccamaw State Park

  1. ColoradoThe Centennial State

While Colorado is famous for its beautiful winter snow scenery, it still has plenty of excitement to offer during the summer. In September, temperatures range from the mid 70s to low 80s. The Rocky Mountains and Colorado River provide a gorgeous backdrop for tourist to enjoy, but they aren’t the only natural wonders in this state. Canyons, foothills and sandstone cliffs all work in harmony to add to the majesty of the landscape. In the heart of the city, there’s no shortage of activity. Sports venues and busy restaurants bring the metropolis to life. For more links to a few fun summer escapes, check below.

o Highlights: Red Rocks Amphitheater, Union Station, baseball

o Highlights: Hot springs, rivers, rock climbing

o Highlights: Camping, off-roading, paragliding

o Highlights: Fishing, Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, mountaineering

o State Forest State Park

o John Martin Reservoir State Park

o Golden Gate Canyon State Park

o Lone Mesa State Park

o Lake Pueblo State Park

The United States flaunts an impressive list of states that are more than worthy of a last-minute summer trip. If you are on the hunt for an adventure that will provide memories to last a lifetime, consider one of the 4 states above.

Brad and Julie DuncanFour States to Consider For Your Last Minute End-of-Summer Trip
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Four Travel Mistakes You Should Avoid For A Great Vacation

Travel has evolved from needing to hire a professional to handle your cruise or beach vacation, to now being your own personal travel agent. It can be confusing trying to sift through quotes for last minute flight plans, travel tips, and hotel stays. But even the most seasoned tourists sometimes place all their focus on their family’s vacation ideas while completely forgetting to address common travel pitfalls. If you find yourself knee-deep in rental car research, but still haven’t thought about how to truly make the best of your upcoming vacation, keep reading for 4 easy-to-fix mistakes that travelers commit.

Overbooking Your Itinerary

It’s tempting to over-plan when visiting a new place. There are so many things to do and see that you feel there isn’t enough time to get it all done. When given only a few days, hitting all the major landmarks and tourist spots is nearly impossible. Still, we try anyway. We think that visiting every notable site within a city is what makes a trip great. In reality, it’s not. The memories we create are what make it worthwhile. When we choose to prioritize quantity over quality, our hectic schedules can cause rushed visits, stress on the family, and exhausted bodies. Who wants those types of memories? So, instead of placing your focus on how many places you can force into a tight schedule, think about how many places you can realistically enjoy within the day. Plan time for rest breaks, meals, and thorough exploration of your chosen destination. Yes, you may have to forgo a site or two, but look at the bright side- that gives you the perfect excuse to return!

Failing to Bring the Proper Apparel

Different terrain calls for different apparel. Sometimes you think you’ll be able to wing it without purchasing climate specific items, only to get to your destination and learn that you really do need them. Hunting down a local store and making a last minute purchase can be expensive and time-consuming. Skipping the item all together can make for a long, uncomfortable stay. To avoid both scenarios, spend time at home determining which clothes, shoes, and accessories are necessary for the most enjoyable stay. Even if you don’t already have what you need, you’ll at least have the time to search for the best deal.

Visiting During the Wrong Time of Year

Timing is everything. In some areas of the world, the weather can make all the difference in determining if you have the time of your life or a trip you’d rather forget. Even in locations where extreme weather isn’t a concern, you should still consider whether the time of your visit lines up with a major event, concert, or festival there. Nothing’s worse than getting home, only to find out that if you had pushed back your vacation a few weeks, you could’ve attended a famous local celebration. Make sure to do your research prior to booking travel deals and airline tickets.

Taking Too Many Pictures

We live in a digital age where sites like Instagram and Facebook serve as a time capsule and highlight reel of our life’s best moments. Many of us have even invested in expensive cameras to help cast our memories in the best possible light. Consequently, we tend to spend tons of time trying to capture the perfect shot or record an epic video instead of being present in the moment. On vacation, this could mean missing out on the full experience that you traveled such a long way to relish. You have the opportunity to take time to be enveloped by the feelings, smells, and ambiance of your environment. So remember, it’s fine to take a few nice pictures to add to the collection, but don’t let the views seen through the lens replace the unfiltered view through your own eyes.

Organizing a vacation is tedious work. However, enjoying a well-planned trip makes it all worthwhile. When preparing for your next getaway, take a few extra moments to make sure that you’ve avoided these 4 travel oversights.

Brad and Julie DuncanFour Travel Mistakes You Should Avoid For A Great Vacation
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Travel Light: Go Farther and Go Further

Though “farther” and “further” often get used interchangeably, there is a subtle difference. “Farther” refers to physical distances, as in, “I could throw the baseball farther than my brother could.” Whereas, “further” refers to a metaphorical distance, as in, “Success felt further away than ever before.” When it comes to traveling, travel light, both literally and metaphorically. It will help you to travel farther and go further in life.

How to Pack Light to Go Farther

When you’re literally packing to go on a long journey, it may seem necessary to pack a huge bag full of everything you could ever possibly need. You’ll probably feel the urge to overpack in the hopes that you’ll be able to establish the comfort of home wherever you go.

But, all of that preparing and packing only serves to defeat the purpose of traveling. When you pack light, you’re not only able to go farther without the weight of your bags making you sluggish, but you’re also able to go farther in the sense that you’re able to leave your home behind and truly experience the beautiful, transformative discomfort of travel.

How to Travel Light to Go Further

If life is a journey, then ultimately, our experiences are the baggage we bring with us wherever we go. Some people feel downtrodden, weighed down by the heft of the life they’ve led. Others have backaches from toting around particular moments in their lives; they carry the stress of their grudges on their shoulders.

The weight of the world can be lifted from those aching shoulders, thankfully. When you unpack your experiences, get rid of the negative experiences that only add weight and don’t offer any informative value, and you repack that baggage to be considerably lighter, you’ll find that you can go further than ever before. In fact, you may just soar.

How to Unpack at the End of the Journey

Don’t toss out every negative experience you’ve ever had. Many of those horrible things that have happened to you have informed who you are today. Instead of holding onto them as terrible reminders of the past, take a hold of what you learned from those experiences. Fold them up and incorporate those lessons into your pack.

At the end of your journey, unpack your metaphorical—and your literal—bags, and you’ll more than likely find that you’ve picked up a new thing or two along the way, and that alone will be worth the trip.

Brad and Julie DuncanTravel Light: Go Farther and Go Further
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