Friday, April 26, 2019

Vacation Observations/Tips/Advice

Today I'm taking a break from blogging about last year's cruise and listing some random observations I made on our vacation to Orlando and Universal Studios last week. Enjoy!

1. My hair got blonder, my scalp got redder, and my skin got a tiny bit tanner (I know, it's "more tan," but I had to follow the pattern). I also slept really well for days after we got back--sometimes with an active vacation you feel like you need a vacation from your vacation!

2. I was happy to discover that Uber is easy and very user-friendly. I used it for the first time on my own because Peter couldn't come on this trip and he's always the one who's handled Uber and other transportation on our trips. Once you have the app set up, Uber really is a piece of cake. We only needed it to get to and from SeaWorld. It couldn't have been easier or more convenient, even for a technophobe like me. Uber gets my 👍!

3. Don't do theme park vacations at busy times of the year unless you get FastPass/Express/whatever the park calls it for the lines, otherwise you'll spend half your day waiting in line after line, and that's no fun! FastPass saves a lot of time which allows you to go on more rides and do more things. It's totally worth the cost. Time is money, after all. If you don't get FastPass, get to the park as early as you can and go on the most popular rides first, or start at the back of the park and work your way forward.

4. Try not to tell your kids off and threaten them too much for fighting (again!!) when other people can hear. It can be awkward. (Not that I'm speaking from personal experience or anything.)

5. It's much easier to take pictures on vacation with your phone rather than with an actual camera. As a camera purist, I've resisted this for many years, but I finally tried using just my phone on this vacation and discovered that it is indeed true. You can whip your phone right out of your pocket instead of having to take off your bag or fish through it and get the camera out and then put it back in. A phone takes up less space, and you can take spontaneous pictures much more easily and quickly. There's also the benefit of being able to share pictures instantly on social media when you use your phone. I only took one picture with my actual camera on this trip--I didn't even need to bring it. I'll remember that for next time. (I'll still bring my camera with me on a cruise or some other exotic, unique trip though, because an actual camera can't be beat for great scenery shots and things like that.)

6. There were a lot of people from England at Universal. It was delightful! I love England. And I love British accents. All Brits automatically sound classy and elegant with their accent, which mind-blowingly isn't even an accent to them--we Americans are the ones with the accents! How can that be?! I wish I had a British accent whilst still being an American (it must be the British in me--my DNA is apparently 66% British!).

7. You see a lot of other people at a waterpark. And by that, I mean you see a lot of their bodies. I thought most people were self-conscious in swimsuits, but those inhibitions seem to go down the tube (no pun intended, ha ha) at waterparks (and to a lesser but still significant extent, beaches). Even though I should be used to it by now, I'm still surprised by women who wear thong bikinis without a care in the world. This isn't Rio, yo; cover up your butts! And I've always felt that a woman wearing a bikini is basically wearing her bra and underwear in public. 😱
8. In contrast to #6, I sported a new swim bottom from Lands' End that I hadn't yet worn--capri leggings with an attached cute little skirt. I also wore a longsleeved swim shirt with it. I was protected from the sun which was so great because I almost always burn at waterparks, and I felt good about being covered up and comfortable and MODEST in my appearance! I thought I looked pretty cute too, to be honest. Meanwhile the bikini-clad women from Brazil/Europe/wherever must have thought I looked like a Puritan! 😂

9. It's worth it to have TSA PreCheck to avoid the lines and security hassles at the airport. Peter has it but I don't, but that will soon change because John and I are in the process of getting approved for Global Entry, which includes PreCheck. We had our interviews and fingerprints taken at Logan Airport in Boston when we landed there a week ago. It should make our next trip even better! (Sam gets included with my PreCheck, but he has to have his own Global Entry for international travel--I wish I'd known that so we could have gotten all of our interviews and fingerprinting done at the same time!).

10. A good pair of sunglasses makes SUCH a difference! In the past I've had sunglasses that didn't stay securely on if my head moved around too much, or all on their own they'd slip down my nose too easily, or they'd start to hurt my ears after awhile. Recently I found a great pair at T.J.Maxx that look good and stay securely on my face pretty much no matter what, and they're comfortable too. It made walking around the parks and sitting poolside much more pleasant. My eyes are more sensitive to the sun after getting PRK laser eye surgery two years ago so good sunglasses are a must for me!

And my final "bonus" tip is to have a plan for each day but be flexible with it and go with the flow. That's a good mantra for non-vacation life too! 😀