Author Archives: JVO

Trip Sisters – Show Notes 8/22/19 – Overtourism

Air Date: Sat. Aug. 24, 2019

Special Guest
Ralph Velasco – Founder/CEO at PhotoEnrichment Adventures and Alla Campagna Experiences, and Creator of

Colleen & Catie’s Picks for Overtourism

Destination to Avoid: Washington, DC (unless you go in winter)
Recommended Destination: Columbia, South Carolina (in fall)
Accommodations: Hyatt Place Downtown Columbia
7.4 miles from Columbia Metropolitan Airport
Complimentary morning Kitchen Skillet™ buffet with hot breakfast
Complimentary fitness center, indoor swimming pool
Doc’s BBQ (Classic SC BBQ buffet with family style seating)
Café Strudel (Southern Sunday brunch, Famous for their hangover hash browns and cinnamon pancakes)
Riverbanks Zoo (giraffe feeding, penguin experience) and Botanical Garden
South Carolina State Museum (Telescope gallery, planetarium, 4D theatre, etc.)
Columbia Museum of Art
Off-Season: Winter/Spring

Destination to Avoid: Nashville, TN
Recommended Destination: Sevierville, TN
Accommodations: The Resort at Governor’s Crossing – This relaxed, family-friendly resort and water park is less than 5 miles from Dollywood Theme Park and Pigeon Forge.
Frank Allen’s Market & Grill – Casual but delicious hot dogs (Dolly Parton’s favorite)
Apple Barn and Cider Mill – Working apple farm
The Chop House – Steaks and Seafood
Foxfire Mountain (ziplining, ropes course, ATV rides)
Dollywood (theme park for families)
Hiking in the Smoky Mountains
Tennessee Museum of Aviation
Off-Season: Winter/Spring

“What’s” with the “Trip Sisters”

What’s in Your Suitcase?
My Infinite Agenda Planner – $29.00 at Barnes & Noble
A vision-board planner designed to help make your goals and dreams a reality. Write your daily grind next to big picture goals and dreams for a full calendar year – August to August!

What’s on your phone?
Social Status – Busy Places App – Free on iOS
Instantly see where the crowd is. See what bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and night clubs are busy or quiet near you at a glance. Works in any city!

What’s the tip?
Labor Day Travel Tips
The worst days for delays are the days everybody is most likely to be at the airport: The Friday before Labor Day and the Tuesday after.
The best days to travel are the actual weekend, Saturday and Sunday. Decent days to travel are the Wednesday before Labor Day, and the Wednesday after Labor Day.
Consider other modes of transportation, such as bus or train.
If you are driving, download a real time traffic app, and look into alternate routes that may be less busy.
Of the major U.S. airlines, Hawaiian is most likely to get you to your Labor Day destination on time, with an on-time performance rating of 94.76 percent. Runners up were Alaska Airlines (90.37 percent on time) and Delta (87.93 percent)
Consider a staycation instead of traveling anywhere.


Trip Sisters – Show Notes – 8/17/19 – College Towns

Special Guest
Ken Cruse, Founder of Soul Community Planet
Website: and and
Social: @SCPHotels

Colleen & Catie’s Picks for College Towns

Colleen – Austin – University of Texas
Driskill Hotel – Austin’s premier historic hotel. Take a stroll through the lobby with its marble columns and magnificent glass dome or enjoy a drink at the Driskill Bar. About $170 a night
Terry Black’s BBQ – Famous local spot for great BBQ
Franklin Barbecue – Great BBQ in a party-like atmosphere
Campus Activities:
Check out a football game at the University of Texas. The University of Texas has traditionally been considered a college football powerhouse. Through the 2015 season, the Longhorns were ranked seventh in the all-time list for winning percentage and third all time for total wins.
Make sure you check the game schedule and purchase tickets ahead of time.
Other Activities:
Texas Capitol – Historic landmark
Zilker Metropolitan Park – Great for boat rentals
Check out a concert – Austin is known as the Live Music Capital of the World
How to get around: Rent a car
Check out the 7 museums on campus at University of Austin.
If you or your child is considering the university, they can sit in on a class or schedule appointments to meet with a teacher or advisor.

Catie – Minneapolis/St. Paul – University of Minnesota
Hotel Ivy, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Minneapolis – Busy area with theaters & upscale restaurants, plus entertainment venues like Target Center arena. 10 minute drive from campus. About $200 a night.
Capital Grille – Upscale American Steakhouse
Hell’s Kitchen – American Bar
Sally’s – Delicious food and a great atmosphere!
Gluek’s Restaurant + Bar – Great food and drinks in a historic warehouse.
Campus Activities:
Check out a football game. The Minnesota Golden Gophers are one of the oldest programs in college-football history. They have won 7 National Championships and 18 Big Ten Conference Championships.
Other Activities:
Minneapolis Institute of Art
Mall of America
How to get around:
Drive or take the Light rail or Metro. There’s also a free shuttle service that runs regularly between the two campuses.
Wear layers! You never know what the weather will be like.
If you go to the Mall of America, be sure to pick up a coupon book at Guest Services before shopping.

“What’s” with the “Trip Sisters”

What’s in Your Suitcase?
Best snacks for a road trip:
Bnutty Gourmet Peanut Butter – Comes in a variety of flavors, such as toffy. Great to bring in the car with some crackers or an apple.
Just the Cheese snacks – Puffed cheese snacks – good for kids.
MinusCal bars – Healthy snack that’s low in calories but fills you up

What’s on your phone?
Real-time school bus tracking complete with push notification and email alerts as the bus approaches a stop or house.

What’s the tip?
Tips for your next College Visit
Schedule your visit while school is in session to get a realistic idea of student life.
Talk to the current students—they may soon be your peers. Come prepared with some questions to ask—specific ones will get you more interesting (and helpful) answers.
Stop by the admissions office and introduce yourself. Let them know what interests you about the school so they can direct you to the best place for further investigation.
Take the campus tour – It gives the school a chance to show off its best features, like the newly-built theater or their rooftop planetarium.
Check out the flyers and bulletin boards and pick up a school newspaper to get a sense of what’s going on.
Take your own un-official tour by wandering around campus. Make sure your destinations include the library and the first-year dorms.
Be a student for a day (or night) – Some schools sponsor overnight programs in which you can stay with a current student. This will give you a better idea of campus life.


Cemetery objects to exhuming legendary criminal’s body

Notorious bank robber John Dillinger’s been buried at Crown Hill Cemetery in Indiana since 1934, and the History Channel wants to dig him up.

Dillinger, who was famously gunned down in Chicago outside the Biograph Theater, is the subject of a new History Channel documentary. The network wants to exhume the body to confirm Dillinger’s identity. Some speculation has it that it’s not actually Dillinger in the grave.

Crown Hill opposes the action. In a statement, the cemetery says, “We … have concerns that the complex and commercial nature of this exhumation could cause disruption to the peaceful tranquility of the Cemetery and those who are visiting to remember their loved ones.”



Trip Sisters – Show Notes – 8/10/19 – Puerto Vallarta

Special Guest
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico Representative
Social: @VisitPuertoVallarta @PuertoVallarta

Colleen & Catie’s Picks for Puerto Vallarta

Villa Premiere – Elegant, all-inclusive resort. Their gourmet plan includes 3 a la Carte restaurants, 24hrs room service, minibar, domestic & imported premium drinks, taxes & gratuities. Located on the beach, beautiful view.
Vallarta Food Tours – For The Street – An Evening Taco Adventure. Participants will sample an amazing variety of authentic regional eats. Full portion samples are included in the ticket price.
Gaby’s Restaurant – Begins at Puerto Vallarta’s market where participants pick out fresh ingredients for their 7-course meal. Back at the restaurant, participants make every part of a traditional Mexican feast.
Vallarta Botanical Gardens – A non-profit organization filled with beautiful plants as well as snorkeling opportunities. Enjoy lunch at their restaurant La Hacienda de Oro.
Marigalante Pirate Ship – Pirate Ship Vallarta Activities include dancing, games, contests, water sports like kayaking, banana boats, snorkeling, beach volleyball and buried treasure hunts.
Airport to Fly Into: PVR – Puerto Vallarta International Airport
Cost of Flights: $500+ from Chicgao
Also allow extra time for customs, both entering Mexico and returning home.
Don’t drink the water (or ice/frozen drinks)

Buenaventura All Inclusive – Breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner buffet as well as a-la-carte specialty restaurants (previous reservation, seating based upon availability). Open Bar until 1am with domestic and imported beverages. Kayaking and Scheduled daytime activities also available. Taxes and tips included.
La Corona (at Villa Premiere) – sophisticated, trend-setting cuisine, this is a refined gourmet experience inspired by the traditional varieties of food.
Art Walk – Experience Puerto Vallarta’s bustling cultural life and unique art galleries.
Canopy River – Zipining, ATV rides where you can cross the Jorullo Bridge, the largest suspension bridge in the world.
Vallarta Adventures – Offers a wide selection of adventure-based tours and excursions for people of all ages – from zip lines to swimming with dolphins, whale watching to snorkeling, scuba diving.
Best Time to Visit: November – April
Remember to bring bug spray. Comfortable shoes, a bathing suit, and towel are also almost always a must.
Puerto Vallarta is on central standard time.

“What’s” with the “Trip Sisters”

What’s in Your Suitcase?
Medpride Instant Cold Pack (5”x 6”)
$18.49 on Amazon Prime for set of 24 Disposable Cold Therapy Ice Packs for Pain Relief, Swelling, cooling off. No refrigeration needed. Activate the cold packs without freezing them.
Great for beating the heat of Puerto Vallarta!

What’s on your phone?
Mobile Passport App
With Mobile Passport, you fill out your flight information on your phone as soon as you land, answer the usual customs questions, and if you have nothing to declare, you’re issued an electronic receipt good for three hours. Makes for a more convenient traveling experience.

What’s the tip?
Airplane Etiquette
Be mindful of what you eat – No one wants to smell your pungent chili or taco salad!
Don’t chew gum loudly! It’s one thing to chew it to keep from your ears popping, but don’t annoy the people around you.
If you sit in a middle or aisle seat, don’t be annoyed when someone has to get up to go to the bathroom! That’s just part of the deal.
Don’t talk loudly – We don’t all need to hear your conversation!
Be polite – We’re all trying to have a relaxing flight and get to the same destination safely.
If you have kids, make sure they behave as well. We can’t help if the child is crying, but we can help how we handle it!



Special Guest
Eirene Heidelberger – Parenting Coach – GIT Mom – short for Get It Together, Mom!
Social: @GITMom

Colleen & Catie’s Picks for Summer in Chicago

Accommodations: Radisson Blu in Chicago or any hotel with a rooftop
Restaurant: Benihana Chicago – Sushi and Japanese Steakhouse with a traditional teppanyaki experience
55th anniversary of Benihana which they’re celebrating with “55 Reasons to Indulge your Benihana Crave” which you can find at
Great place to bring the family. A truly interactive dining experience.
Conveniently located on Michigan Ave.
The restaurant also features a sushi bar, cocktail lounge and outdoor patio
Here’s a tip: If you’re driving, you can pay for your parking online at before your visit, which is convenient.
Rooftop Bar: Raised at the Renaissance Chicago Downtown
Summer Activities: Chicago Dogs
Located in Rosemont at Impact Field, just a short drive or El ride from the city.
Tickets are very reasonable, and they offer a variety of food packages and snacks
Right now they have a Friends & Family 4 Pack. $36 gets you 4 tickets, 4 hats, pizza
They also have fun events, like Bark at the Ballpark (next one is Sunday, Sept. 1)
Anti-Cruelty Society will be at those games to educate people on pet adoption.
Go to for game schedules and to buy tickets (Tickets range from $9 – $25)
Summer Festivals:
Festivals are a great way to enjoy Chicago summers.
Lollapalooza is happening this weekend and the Chicago Jazz Festival is August 23-Sept. 2 at Millennium Park
How to get around:
If you’re going out to see the Chicago dogs, you can even take the Blue Line El train from the city to Rosemont.
Be sure to stay hydrated and cool. Ice packs, neck fans and air conditioning! Museums are also a great place to stay cool in the summer.

Accommodations: The Ritz Carlton- Navy Pier suite
Restaurant: Pizzeria Portofino
Rooftop Bar: The Ritz Rooftop- Champagne Cart Thursdays and Sundays.
Summer Activities:
Chicago Cubs game
American Girl Store
Activities on the River (kayaking at night, boat rides)
Summer Event or Festival:
Chicago Gourmet Sep 27 – 29, 2019
Chicago Air and Water Show
Take the EL to and from the airports. Get a three day CTA pass. If you do drive, download the ParkChicago App.
Make sure your bag is small enough if going to bigger events like Soldier field and Cubs game. You can’t Bring in sunscreen spray to the cubs game. Check out River North or West Loop.

“What’s” with the “Trip Sisters”

What’s in Your Suitcase?
Marika Workout Clothes – Available on Amazon
Marika features lightweight and seamless fabrics for ultimate support and comfort. Great for working out or adventuring around the city this summer. Shape enhancing leggings are crafted using patented technologies to flatten, slim and sculpt your figure.

What’s on your phone?
Uber Comfort – New version of Uber that Give Passengers More Control
Free on iOS and Android, with in-app purchases
Allows customers to request extra legroom, a specific car temperature, and other amenities right in the app. These features will mean your Uber Comfort ride might cost a little more than a regular Uber, but the luxurious may be worth it. Uber Comfort is now available in 40 markets around the nation including San Francisco, Los Angeles, D.C., and Chicago.

What’s the tip?
Best Free Things to do in Chicago this Summer
Chicago’s free beaches are a great way to spend the day in the sun
Lincoln Park Zoo – Great place to take the family
Garfield Park – A conservatory open rain or shine, with hundreds of different plants and flowers.
Morning Workouts on the Lawn – The Great Lawn at Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park. Free daily workout classes.
Chicago riverwalk – Great place to go for a stroll and take in the city
Rooftop bars – While you may have to buy a drink, these are great places to enjoy the city and great views with friends
Chicago SummerDance – Spirit of Music Garden, Grant Park – A 4,900-square-foot, open-air dance floor in Grant Park’s Spirit of Music Garden where professionals give one-hour dance lessons in styles like samba and tango, followed by two hours of live music and dancing. Complete schedule at
Free concerts and movies in Millennium Park – Check out for the lineup


Trip Sisters – Show Notes – 7/27/19 – Travel Tips


Special Guest
Ralph Velasco – Founder/CEO at PhotoEnrichment Adventures and Alla Campagna Experiences, and Creator of

Colleen & Catie’s Top Travel Tips

Packing Tips:
Make a packing list.
Cut what you think you need in half. Most people overpack. Also don’t bring things you rarely use but think you’ll start using now. You won’t.
Packing Cubes – Stay organized
Roll your clothes – Saves room, keeps the clothes smooth
Wrinkle-Free Spray for Clothes (Downy Wrinkle-releaser Plus or Best Eco-friendly Option: The Laundress Crease Release Classic)
Always pack at least one clean outfit and your essentials in your carry-on, just in case your checked bag gets lost.
Put dryer sheets in your suitcase to keep clothes smelling fresh
Money Saving Tips:
Don’t book third-party. Always call hotel directly for the best deal.
When you book a hotel, request a corner room. You’ll likely get a larger room with a view.
Get a hotel that has continental breakfast.
Call your credit card company before you travel to make sure they know you’ll be using your card in new locations. Also make sure there are no foreign transaction fees if you’re traveling out of the country.
Staying Healthy Tips:
Drink Emergen-C the days leading up to your trip
On a plane, drink water or hot beverages, like coffee or tea. Carbonation in soda can make you feel crummy on the flight.
Digestive Support – Add Digestive Enzymes to your food to help digest new foods not normally in your diet.
Sleep Support – Herbal Rest and Melatonin the Sound Slumber support is a one-two punch of herbal support and melatonin to help you rest easy while you are away from your own bed.
We also have a gadget to help with restful sleep while traveling that we’re going to tell you about in a little bit.
If you do get sick while in a foreign country, a lot of foreign countries do doctor house calls to the hotel.
Other Tips:
Take a picture of your passport and of your credit card (or at least save the numbers) and email them to yourself.
If traveling for business (or even pleasure) take pictures of all your receipts. You may think you’ll keep track of them but chances are you’ll lose one or two along the way.

Airport Tips:
Dress nicely, look polished, if you’re trying for an upgrade.
Wear slip-on shoes for going through security and have your laptop and tablet easily accessible.
If you fly often, consider TSA precheck so you don’t have to take off your shoes or take out your laptop.
Go to the left line in security. People often go right.
Sneak your stuff into a shopping bag – If you’re having trouble fitting everything in your carry-on, ask for a shopping bag at an airport store and putting your extra stuff in it. Gate agents will think it’s just some things you purchased, which they may not count against your carry-on allowance.
In-Flight Tips:
If you’re booking for two, book the window and aisle seats. If no one shows up for the middle seat, you’ve got extra room. If someone does show up, they’ll likely be happy to trade with you so you can sit next to your partner.
Bring a few granola bars and snacks in case you don’t like or want to purchase food on the plane.
What to wear traveling:
Simple, comfortable clothes that can be dressed up with accessories. You could wear the same black dress multiple times but with the right colorful scarf or jewelry it will look like a whole new outfit.
Comfortable shoes are a must!
Wear your bulkiest clothes on the plane so you don’t have to pack them.
Other Tips:
If you tend to overpack, consider investing in a digital scale so you can weigh your bag before arriving at the airport.
If you’re traveling with seniors or someone who has trouble working, you can reserve a wheelchair through your airline when you book your flight.

“What’s” with the “Trip Sisters”

What’s in Your Suitcase?
SleepPhones: Effortless – Wireless headphones inside a headband
$129.95 on
SleepPhones®: Effortless™ features ultra-thin Bluetooth-enabled speakers inside of a soft and comfortable headband, while also introducing wireless induction technology for easy charging and a truly wireless user experience. Perfect for airline travel, noisy hotel rooms, etc

What’s on your phone?
Google Translate for iOS and Android – New and Improved
Google recently announced the service’s instant camera translations are getting even better.
The instant camera feature allows you to point your phone camera at foreign text and have it instantly translated into English. Great for traveling abroad.

What’s the tip?
Tips for Avoiding Losing your Jewelry or having it Stolen while Traveling
According to a recent study by Jewelers Mutual Insurance Group, 20% of people have experienced loss or theft of fine jewelry when traveling, which is up from 10% just four years ago.
27% of those travelers report losing their fine jewelry on the beach
Only 1% ever recover their jewelry that is lost or stolen on vacation.
Here’s what you can do to avoid jewelry theft while traveling…
Document your jewelry. As you’re packing, take a photo of the pieces you’re taking with you. If you need to file a police report for any reason, this proof of ownership will be very helpful.
Never put jewelry in a checked bag. Wear it or stow it in your carry-on bag and keep that bag in sight at all times.
Don’t share or post photos of your jewelry or where you are staying on social media.
Avoid wearing jewelry while swimming, especially in cold water where finger sizes can temporarily shrink.
Never leave jewelry out in the open in a hotel. Use the safe in your room or hotel vault.
Conceal Don’t Reveal: Tuck necklaces inside your shirt, turn your engagement ring to the inside of your hand and cover any bracelets or watches with a sleeve when in dangerous areas.
Thread necklaces through a paper straw: This will prevent them from being easily misplaced or tangled.


Marvel confirms next round of movies

Marvel Studios took to the stage at Comic-Con today to announce the next wave of Marvel movies.

“Phase Four” begins as expected with “Black Widow,” which has a release date of 5/1/20. “The Eternals” follows on November 6, 2020. The Eternals cast includes Salma Hayek and Angelina Jolie.

February 21, 2021 brings “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” the studio’s first martial arts movie. The villain will be the real Mandarin, not the bogus one we saw in Iron Man 3.

Just a few months later, “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” hits theaters, which was described on stage at Comic-Con as “the first scary MCU movie.” Scarlet Witch from the Avengers will appear in the Doctor Strange sequel.

Rounding out the 2021 film slate: Thor 4, more specifically, “Thor: Love and Thunder.” Also: NATALIE PORTMAN WILL BE THOR.

The panel ended with announcements that Fantastic Four, Black Panther 2, Guardians of the Galaxy 3 and Captain Marvel 2 are all on the way. And oh yeah, so’s a new “Blade” movie!

Trip Sisters – Show Notes – 7/20/19 – NYC and Anaheim


Special Guest
Dean Foster – Cultural concierge, Founder of DFA Intercultural Global Solutions and Host of the podcast Oops, Your Culture’s Showing!
Social: @deanfosterglobal

Colleen & Catie’s Picks for NYC and Anaheim

Colleen’s picks for Anaheim, CA
Accommodations: Marriott Anaheim – Close to Disney
Restaurant: The Ranch Restaurant – Farm-fresh, seasonal steak & seafood meals in an elegant interior.
Beach/Surfing lessons
Airport: John Wayne Orange County Airport – Close to Anaheim
How to get around? Stay close to Disney and you don’t have to rent a car.

Catie’s picks for New York City
Accommodations: Millennium Hilton New York Downtown
Restaurant: Piccola Cucina Osteria on Spring street in Soho
Activities: One World Observatory – Top of the World Trade Center – Sky high observatory deck
Airport: LaGuardia – Close to Manhattan- Come during off peak hours ideally to get to the. city easily.
How to get around NYC? Uber or The Subway is the best! So easy too. New York Subway MTA Map in the App Store
Any other tips for visiting NYC?
Take the Subway…use the App. So much easier. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Check out Brooklyn…Avoid Times Square unless you are a huge Broadway fan. It’s expensive.
Get last minute tickets at TKTS booth in Times Square for a Broadway show.

“What’s” with the “Trip Sisters”

What’s in Your Suitcase?
LifeSaver 14 oz Liberty Bottle – Filter Water Bottle
$99 on
You can buy filter water bottles so you can have fresh, clean water wherever you travel in the world and no longer worry about whether or not it’s safe to drink. This water bottle filters out viruses and bacteria with just 3 pumps. Plus, it’s eco-friendly!

What’s on your phone?
Green Globe – Free on iOS, Android
Search hotels and attractions to make sure you’re using a service that is eco-friendly!

What’s the tip?
Tips for Using less plastic when you travel
Bring reusable bags for souvenirs so you’re not winding up with a bunch of plastic bags (especially if you’re going to the UK and want to avoid having to get an embarrassing plastic bag)
Bring a reusable water bottle. Just make sure it’s empty when you go through security at the airport, but after you get through there are usually plenty of water refill stations at the airport so you don’t have to buy a water bottle or use a cup on the plane.
Bring your own travel mug. If you bring your own cup to Starbucks, you’ll not only save a cup, but they’ll give you a 10 cent discount.
Bring your own reusable steel or metal straws.
If you’re doing a roadtrip, bring a large jug or cooler of water and refillable bottle so you can avoid stopping for bottles along the way.
Also bring your own food in tupperware containers on a road trip so you aren’t wasting paper and wrapping stopping at a fast food place.
Bring your own toiletries in reusable bottles, if possible, so you can avoid using the hotel bottles which are a major waste. You can even purchase shampoo bars, which are basically bars of shampoo. This saves plastic and is easy to transport.
Try to avoid single-use or disposable items, like razors. Invest in a razor that will last, or at least one where you only have to change the blade.
Bamboo toothbrushes are also a great investment, with an estimated 3.6 billion plastic toothbrushes used every year.
nt, with an estimated 3.6 billion plastic toothbrushes used every year.


Trip Sisters – Show Notes – 7/13/19 – Atlantis

Special Guest
Atlantis Paradise Island Bahamas
Social: #BahamasAtHeart #BlueProjectAtlantis @AtlantisBahamas

Colleen & Catie’s Picks for Atlantis Bahamas

Accommodations – Atlantis Royal Tower. Coral Tower is also a nice but slightly less expensive option.
Restaurants –
Fish – All the fish is fresh and never on ice. By ordering their lionfish, which is an invasive species, you’re actually helping the environment.
Casa D’Angelo – Delicious Italian food, cozy atmosphere
Twilight Snorkeling – Get to swim with a giant Manta Ray named Coco. Also swam with fish, sting rays, sharks. Portion of proceeds goes to Blue Project Foundation.
Waterpark – Slides you can go on where you are in the clear slide going past sharks, plus an awesome rapid river!
How to get around – Get an uber or ride service through Atlantis to the resort. If you want to leave the resort and go into downtown Nassau, you can take a cab but it’s expensive ($17 per person, roughly). Try a water taxi (about $2.50 per person each way).
Any other tips? Allow extra time to get through Nassau Airport (at least 3 hours).

Accommodations – Atlantis – Royal Tower
Restaurant – Chopstix – Delicious Chinese Restaurant on location.
Activities –
Releasing the turtles (Maui and Hawk) – $1200 for the turtle release experience, but a portion goes to Blue Project Foundation. Take you on a boat with the turtles (about 30 min out and back) then you get to release the turtles and snorkel with them.
Sun-up with Sealions at Dolphin Cay (“key”) – A caretaker introduces you to the seal ions (the one we met was Sunshine) then walks you through their morning checkup and routine. Portion of proceeds also go to the Blue Project Foundation.
Airport – Nassau (about twenty-thirty minutes from Atlantis)
How far in advance to book? A couple months ideally
Any other tips?
Atlantis is huge. Plan on some serious walking and make sure to allow time to get from one activity to another.
Be sure to book dinner reservations in advance. They book up quickly!

“What’s” with the “Trip Sisters”

What’s in Your Suitcase?
Sea Star Sparkle SPF 50+ Iridescent Glitter Sunscreen
Starts at $18.95 for 4 oz on
UVA/UVB Protection, water resistant up to 80 minutes, nourishing ingredients, PABA and Paraben free, Reef safe, no animal testing. Kids and teens will love it!

What’s on your phone?
PhotoCircle – Free for iPhone or Android
Great way to share your photos with people with you or back home during your vacation.
Everyone can add or download the photos that have been uploaded. Keeps all your group’s photos in one convenient place.

What’s the tip?
Tips for Visiting Atlantis Bahamas
Bring plenty of reef-safe sunscreen and a hat/sunglasses. It is very sunny. Also bring aloe in case you do burn.
Book your activities in advance.
Be prepared for VAT taxes on all your bills.
Gratuities of 15% are automatically added to each of your food bills. You can tip on top of this but don’t need to.
Pools close at 6pm
Check with the restaurants about the portion size. Virgil’s BBQ, for example, had family-style portions. Chop Stix didn’t. You can save money by splitting a large dish.
You can save money on drinks by buying a souvenir glass and bringing it to the refill station.
Consider WhatsApp for staying connected to those with you or back home
Bring more money than you think you’ll need
Bring your own medicines (allergy pills, tums, tylenol, etc.)
You do need your passport!


Trip Sisters – Show Notes – 7/6/19 – Iceland

Special Guest

Social for Iceland: @IcelandNatural @IcelandNaturally @Inspiredbyiceland

Colleen & Catie’s Picks for Iceland

Hotel Husafell – Sunning views, by itself, like Game of Thrones. Scandinavian design, but high end. It was in West Iceland on the sulphur springs area
Islenski Barinn in Reykjavík – Served Whale, Shark, Reindeer Meatballs, Lamb Bacon, Traditional Icelandic Hotdog
Balasko – Farm to table place
Helluland – Icelandic Horses
Bjarteyjarsandur Farm – Lamb Farm
Wifi might be hard to comeby. Make sure you have international calling, and even that might be spotty.

ION Adventure hotel – South Iceland
Fish Company in Reykjavik
Glacier and snowmobiling – Catie’s snowmobiling story
Airport: Keflavík International Airport or Reykjavik Airport (more tips for flying to Iceland with our special guest coming up)
How to get around: We had a private driver and it was great as she knew the area well.
Any other tips?
They take Credit cards everywhere, So, do not worry about getting the local money too much.
Consider flying to the North of Iceland as Geothermal spas are a must.

“What’s” with the “Trip Sisters”

What’s in Your Suitcase?
Timberland Hiking Boots – $129 at DSW
You could wear them anywhere and they’re durable, warm, waterproof and very comfortable

What’s on your phone?
Wapp – Free for Android and iOS
Wapp is an Icelandic hiking app that provides you GPS tracks of numerous hiking trails in Iceland, which can be used offline.

What’s the tip?
Tips for Visiting Iceland
Budget your money wisely. Iceland can be pricey.
Book your activities in advance.
Plan the whole trip a good amount of time in advance. You’ll get much better deals on flights and hotel rates.
Tipping is not required, but it is appreciated
Get your VAT back (value-added tax).
Plan on driving around a lot in order to see a lot of the country
Sunset doesn’t really ever happen, so be sure to bring a sleep mask
It’s cold! Be sure to dress in layers and bring a warm coat and a hat. Possibly even rain pants. Proper hiking shoes are also a must!


Trip Sisters – Show Notes – 6/29/19 – Ireland

Special Guest
Tourism Ireland
Social: #loveireland Facebook: @ireland | Twitter: @TourismIreland | Instagram: @tourismireland

Colleen & Catie’s Picks for Ireland

Dromoland Castle – The present building was completed in 1835. Beautiful grounds, plenty of activities on location (falconry, clay shooting, archery, spa, golf)
The Inn at Dromoland – A little less expensive, just down the road from the Castle. Comfortable accommodations with a pool, restaurants, hospitality.
Mulranny House – Bed & Breakfast in Westport – Family-owned, cozy bed & breakfast with a beautiful view and fresh, homemade breakfast made daily
The 814 Restaurant & Bar at the Delphi Resort – Goat Cheese Salad – Amazing! Variety of dishes, some rotating each night. Plus a beautiful view overlooking the mountains.
Cedars Restaurant – Lough Eske Castle – Goat cheese, pear soaked in wine appetizer. Don’t forget to try the Chocolate Sphere or cheese and cracker dessert tray for dessert!
Glen Keen Farm on the Wild Atlantic Way – Sheepherding – Family owned, beautiful location surrounded by mountains.
Ziplining – Delphi Resort through the Delphi Forest
How to get around: CIE Tours – Hiring a personal driver through a company like CIE Tours is a great way to see Ireland. Our driver, John, doubled as a tour guide. He told us all about the places we were going to, and about our heritage.
If you stay at the Delphi or plan on doing outdoor activities in the Delph Valley, be prepared for midges. Bring bug spray, and sunscreen (we recommend Coola).
If you ask for “cream” for your coffee, you will be brought whipped cream. Be sure to ask for milk!

Delphi Resort – Galway – Quaint, rustic with a great spa and beautiful location. Keep in mind no cell service and minimal wifi, making it a good place to get away from it all.
Lough Eske Castle – Donegal – Gorgeous, 5 Star Hotel & Resort with plenty of activities – High tea, spa, golf, horseback riding, water sports, fly fishing.
Matt Molloy’s Pub in Westport – Traditional, popular Irish Pub owned by Grammy Award-winning flutist Matt Molloy, offering live music, including performances by Matt Molloy and CODA.
Kelly’s Kitchen in Newport – Great food and baked goods. Good place to stop after biking with Greenway Bicycle Hire!
Killary Fjord Mussel Farm – Galway – Killary is an ideal location for growing mussels thanks to the unique combination of fresh and sea water which gives the Killary mussel a distinctive sweet flavour. Beautiful location, delicious mussels!
Horseback Riding – Donegal Equestrian Centre – Ride beautiful horses along the Tullen Strand on the beach!
Airport: Shannon Airport
Cheapest time to visit: February (flights as low as $350). High season is June/July
Any other tips?
Be familiar with celsius and kilometer conversions (so when people tell you the weather or give directions, you have some idea of what they mean). Be aware that Ireland mostly goes on 24-hour time as well!
Most places in Ireland don’t expect tips! You can tip if you want, but closer to 10% is fine.

“What’s” with the “Trip Sisters”

What’s in Your Suitcase?
Jack & Mary Circle Scarf –
Handcrafted in Maine, made from recycled wool sweaters. It’s always nice to have a few scarves when you visit Ireland at any time of year because it may get chilly. Also good for the airport.

What’s on your phone?
XE Currency App for iPhone – Convert every currency on-the-go. Offers live proprietary exchange rates and historical charts. Stores the last updated rates so it works when Internet doesn’t. With over 55 million downloads, XE Currency is the most downloaded foreign exchange app.
What’s App – Great way to communicate with those back home free of phone carrier charges! Just need to connect to WiFi.

What’s the tip?
Tips for Visiting Ireland – Q&As
Should I get a Global Entry Card before I go? What’s that process like?
Yes! Just keep in mind that you’ll need to allow about two months for the whole process. Once you apply, you’ll schedule an interview at your airport. Expect the Global Entry Card to arrive 6 weeks after the interview.
How early should I arrive at the airport before an international flight?
We recommend 3 hours. You may end up waiting around, but better early than late! Especially when going through customs.
How much cash should I bring in Euros?
Have at least 50 Euros on you when you land, just in case you need money for a taxi or anything!
Is it okay to use my credit card internationally or will I be charged fees?
It varies by credit card company. Always call ahead before traveling internationally to let them know you’ll be traveling, and find out what the fees will be. If they’re minimal (2-3%), it won’t add that much to your credit card bill.
Also, when purchasing something with your credit card in Ireland, you’ll be asked if you want it charged in dollars or Euros. Always pick dollars! It will save you money on foreign transaction fees.
What do I need to keep in mind when going through Customs?
When leaving Ireland, you’ll go through security, then gift shops, dining, etc. Make sure you don’t spend too much time in the gift shops, as you’ll still have to go through customs, which could take a while.
What should I expect with jet lag and how should I handle it?
Everyone is different. If you arrive early in the morning, we recommend taking a brief nap that morning (no more than 2 hours), then going to bed at your normal hour that night.
Jet lag is actually often worse coming home than going to Ireland because that’s when your day is extra long. Be prepared to be ready to go to bed early when you return home!
Should you carry your passport with you or leave it in your hotel?
Either carry it with you in your purse or a place you’ll always have it on you, or lock it in a safe at your hotel.
How should I get around Ireland?
We recommend a driving service like CIE Tours, which doubles as a tour through Ireland.
If you do decide to rent a car, be sure you feel comfortable driving on the opposite side of the road. Most of the rental cars are also manual, and you’ll have to pay extra for automatic. We recommend getting insurance, just in case!
What are some essentials I should pack?
Be sure to bring a few outlet adapters specific to the country you’re traveling to, although many hotels do often have them at the front desk that others have left behind.
If you plan on charging a lot of things at once, it’s a good idea to bring a surge protector as well.
Bring a sleep eye mask, if you plan to sleep on the plane! Also, sunset at Ireland can be late (10:30 or 11pm in the summer) so you may need a sleep mask in your hotel.


Trip Sisters – Show Notes – 6/15/19 – Portland

Special Guest
Sarah Porter from WorldMark by Wyndham

Social: #WorldMark
Facebook: @WorldMark| Twitter: @WorldMark | Instagram: @WorldMarkbyWyndham

We’ve created a discount code (VACAY19) for your readers to save 15% off available resorts on!
OFFER DETAILS: Book & Travel by December 31, 2019. Mention code VACAY19. Two-night minimum length of stay required. Valid for new reservations only. Reservations are subject to availability. Reservations are not valid over holidays and special events. Cannot be combined with any other offer. All monetary amounts are noted in U.S. Dollars unless otherwise noted.

Colleen & Catie’s Picks for Portland

WorldMark Portland – Waterfront Park
Fitness center and laundry service on site, shuffleboard in the lobby
All the amenities of a hotel, but it’s a timeshare.
There are one bedroom units, two bedroom units, and suites. Each unit has a kitchenette and each suite has a kitchen, so you can cook in your unit or suite.
Mother’s – Homestyle cooking, great for breakfast, lunch or dinner. $15,000 crab cakes are delicious! They also offer a great bakery selection.
Pine Street Market – Bustling food hall with gourmet vendors, plus a mix of counter & communal seating.
Lan Su Chinese Garden – Tranquil botanical garden featuring rare plants native to China, decorative stonework & a tea shop.
Multnomah Falls – A waterfall as magnificent and memorable as any in the country is located just a 30 minute drive outside of Portland.
How to get around:
Lyft (not as many Ubers), Biketown Bike Rentals (around every corner), or walk! They also have an easy public transportation system.
Any other tips?
Stop by one of their many farmers’ markets. We went to Lloyd Farmers’ Market where we got snacks and brought them back to our suite to cook and enjoy in our kitchen.
You never know what the weather might be, so be sure to bring jackets and umbrellas, even if you’re traveling there in the summer. Also, wear comfortable walking shoes!

WorldMark Portland – Waterfront Park
Park Avenue Fine Wines – We met with the chef for a food and wine pairing. Great food and wine!
VooDoo Doughnut – Edgy, unique donut shop. New donuts circulating every week. Walkable from WorldMark Portland
Shopping in the Pearl District
MadeHere PDX – Everything is locally made.
Powell’s Books – World’s Largest Used Bookstore
Enjoying wine on the terrace at WorldMark Portland
Grill for cooking, firepit, chairs for relaxing
Airport to fly into: Portland International (PDX)
Take a Lyft or cab from the airport to WorldMark Portland (about 20 minutes)
Or you can take the MAX light rail Red Line train to downtown Portland for just $2.50
Cost of flights: Starting around $350 nonstop from Chicago
Any other tips?
WorldMark Portland – Waterfront Park is a timeshare resort, so there are two ways to stay. You can become a Wyndham timeshare owner, or you try out the resort before you become an owner at

“What’s” with the “Trip Sisters”

What’s in Your Suitcase?
Time Traveler iPhone charger – $79.95
This Apple Watch portable charger provides on-the-go power and is the only travel solution that lets users use their watch in Nightstand mode. The pocket-sized design combines an induction charging pad with a built-in Lightning cable and a USB port to charge three devices all at the same time. Features two USB ports, micro-USB charging port & built-in Lightning cable for Apple
Compact, pocket-friendly design and only 0.44 lb.

What’s on your phone?
GoPro App – Free on Android and iOS
Lyft – Uber isn’t as popular in Portland, so be sure to download Lyft before your Portland vacation.
Biketown PDX App – Download this app if you plan to rent bikes while in Portland. You’ll be able to put your credit card on your account and rent bikes all around the city.

What’s the tip?
Best Free/Inexpensive Things to do in Portland
Saturday Market – Underneath the Burnside Bridge on the west side of downtown Portland, Saturdays and Sundays from March – December 24. The market is also open for an entire week leading up to Christmas Eve for what’s called “The Festival of the Last Minute.”
Food Trucks – An inexpensive way to sample Portland’s eclectic food scene.
Farmers Markets – Over 15 throughout Portland, on almost every day of the week. Go to for full list.
Pioneer Courthouse Square – A public square in the center of downtown, known as “Portland’s living room.” The square hosts hundreds of events each year, including concerts and cultural fairs.
Tom McCall Waterfront Park – Located just across the street from WorldMark Portland – Waterfront Park. Great trails for walking, biking, and even water activities on the Willamette River. Keep an eye out for events and festivals also.
Brewery Tour – Portland has an amazing beer scene. Some brewery tours are free, to as low as $5 per person (plus you’ll likely get some free samples!).


Trip Sisters – Show Notes – 6/8/19 – Turks & Caicos

Episode 52 – Website Info

Special Guest
Kim Sardo – Senior Director of Business Development for UVI (Beaches/Sandals)
Social: #BeachesBFF #LIVplusevents
Facebook: @BeachesResorts | Twitter: @BeachesResorts | Instagram: @BeachesResorts

Colleen & Catie’s Picks for Turks & Caicos

Accommodations: Beaches Turks & Caicos – Family and Couple-friendly resort, great for girlfriend getaways. All-inclusive, with a 45,000 square-foot waterpark; five magnificent villages. The architecture and ambiance of Italy, France, the Caribbean and Key West with a 12-mile beach with clear turquoise waters.
Schooners – Serving a variety of fish, from lemongrass scented Snapper, to a 10 oz. Rib eye, the famous Turks & Caicos mollusk, Conch. Colonial villa setting just steps from the ocean!
Scuba diving (included with gear and instructions) – Turks and Caicos has the 3rd largest barrier reef and several top diving spots in the world. Consider getting scuba certified!
Getting around:
Cabs are per person, not per ride.
Many resorts offer free bike rentals.
If you rent a car, keep in mind that you drive on the left side of the road, although most cars are imported from the US and will have the wheel on the right side.
When to Visit:
Weather – The average temperature is between 85-90°F from Jun to Oct and 80-84°F from Nov to May. Hurricane season in the Caribbean is officially from Jun 1 to Nov 30th.
Their busiest season is from mid-Dec to mid-April. Travelers on a budget should consider going June through mid-Dec, when the rates are 40% less than the winter rates and 2/3 less than the holiday rates.
Any Other Tips?
Bring Coral Safe Sunscreen
Some excursions will not allow you to join if you are not using coral safe sunscreen.
An estimated 4,000 to 6,000 metric tons of sunscreen from swimmers’ bodies are deposited into the ocean annually.
Make sure yours doesn’t contain oxybenzone (benzophenone-3), butylparaben, octinoxate (ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate), or 4-methylbenzylidene camphor (4MBC).
Bring one 3 oz bottle per person to be safe since sunscreen is not cheap on the island.
Bring Sea Lice Lotion if you don’t want to be stung by jellyfish or sea lice (jellyfish larvae). Also bring bug spray.

Accommodations: Beaches Turks & Caicos. We loved the butler that came with our suite!
Kimonos – A vibrant restaurant that serves up the exotic cuisines of the Far East in an interactive way. Enjoyed our meal being prepped with our fun interactive chef!
Massage on the beach
Catamaran Cruise
Tips for getting there: We flew Chicago to Charleston and then flew to Turks and Caicos. Nonstop flights available from ORD to PLS (Providenciales).
Any other tips?
If you want to eat lobster, make sure you go between Aug 15 to April 1st. If it is not lobster season, it is illegal to catch them, so you won’t find them in any restaurants.
Don’t overpack like we did. I wore half of my clothes. It’s all about solid clothes and fun earrings!

“What’s” with the “Trip Sisters”

What’s in Your Suitcase?
$85 on
When traveling, a great way to save room in your suitcase is to pack fewer clothes (preferably solids) and spice up your outfits with jewelry and accessories. This case comes in 4 different colors (black, red, champagne, rose quartz). The storage includes 7 ring rolls, 4 compartments and 3 necklace hooks with pocket. LusterLoc™ allows the fabric lining the inside of your jewelry cases to absorb the hostile gases known to cause tarnishing. Under typical storage conditions, it can prevent tarnishing for up to 35 years. Made of genuine leather.

What’s on your phone?
The Sandals & Beaches App – Free for Android & iOS
Access your Sandals Select membership, stay up to date with current point balance, view membership status and benefits. View upcoming trips and trip details, view your booking information, book vacation extras, and check-in before your arrival. While at the resort(s), use the app to make dining reservations, view resort map, check local weather, manage butler preferences.

What’s the tip?
Things You Must Know Before Visiting Turks & Caicos

21 Things You Must Know Before Visiting Turks and Caicos

They are a British territory, and everyone speaks English. The people who are from Turks and Caicos were originally from Africa and call themselves “belongers” rather than natives. Don’t be that ignorant American that asks if they are from Jamaica. They will be very offended.
The currency is the U.S. Dollar
Pricing is still very expensive. Food at restaurants and groceries are at least 2 times the cost in the States.
Tipping is the same is the US (about 15-20%) Some places already add service fees (ie. hotel service fees are split among all the workers).
You can drink the tap water, but it smells and tastes like sulfur. Bottled water is expensive. Consider bringing your own filter!
Don’t take shells or other natural items you find on the beach home for souvenirs. This is harmful to the environment and local wildlife.


Trip Sisters – Show Notes -5/30/19 – Best of

Special Guests
Colleen and Catie relive some of their favorite interviews from the past year, including those with travel experts here to share their best tips with you!

Roy Sekoff – Founding Editor of Huffington Post/Writer
Samantha Brown – Travel Expert, TV Host
Andrea Ross – Responsible Traveling Expert
Johnny Jet – Travel Expert
Sheri Griffiths – Cruise Tips Expert
Keith King – Money Saving Travel Hacks


Trip Sisters – Show Notes – 5/25/19 – Summer vacations

Colleen & Catie’s Picks for Summer Vacations

Destination: Disney World – Orlando, FL
Grand Floridian – Expensive, but worth it . Colleen found a price on orbitz for $235/night, instead of booking she called the hotel and asked if they’d honor the price and they did, plus a better room.
Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Nice, mid-range hotel
Wyndham Orlando Resort International Drive – Not attached to Disney World, but offers shuttles and tickets to the park for convenience
Disney dining plans are options available exclusively to guests of select Disney World hotels who purchase Magic Your Way Vacation Packages.
The plans enable you to prepay for all of your meals, which makes things a lot more convenient while you’re in the parks or at your hotel.
You can choose a plan that fits your family’s needs, and you’ll have restaurant options ranging from fun character meals to quick and easy meals to romantic dinners for two.
Disney allows visitors to bring in food so those with food allergies or picky eaters are able to have food from home.
Epcot – Meet Disney Pals at the Epcot Character Spot, the free indoor character line where you can meet your favorites.
Wildlife Express Train – A peaceful seven-minute train ride from Africa to Rafiki’s Planet Watch. Meet many characters, travel past animal housing and veterinary facilities, and enjoy kids activities.
Jedi Training Academy – Teaches children how to be a Jedi and puts on a show for parents to root on their Junior Jedi Knights.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – You can purchase a wand and venture into Hogsmeade Village, where you’ll even be able to perform your own spells and practice magic. Remember, you will need to purchase a park-to-park ticket to ride the Hogwarts Express and visit both lands.
Airport to fly into: Orlando International Airport
Cost of flights: Starting at around $170 round-trip this summer
How to get around: Don’t need to rent a car. Shuttle or Uber from airport.
Tips for Disney World:
Fast passes are worth it – Schedule your first 3 fast passes for the morning in one park, then after you finish you can use the app or visit a kiosk to schedule your next three in the evening at the same park or a different one.
Download the My Disney Experience App – Links your reservations, lets you search ride wait times, book dining reservations, purchase souvenirs and send them to your room or mail them home. It’s also linked to your photo pass.
Stay away from the EXTRA Magic Hours Parks – The parks with Extra Magic Hours for Disney Hotel Guests tend to be the busiest the entire day.
Save for a “Disneyworld fund” – Put all your spare change or “cash back” into a fund dedicated to a Disney trip

Destination: Grand Canyon – Arizona (South Rim)
Grand Canyon Railway Hotel in Williams – Historic, luxury 298-room hotel, right next door to the train depot and just a block away from downtown Williams and historic Route 66. Includes complimentary wi-fi, an indoor pool and hot tub, delicious dining options at Grand Depot Cafe
Goulding’s Lodge in Monument Valley – Built in 1920s, features 62 rooms with views of Monument Valley, private balconies, John Wayne and other Western movie rentals, indoor heated pool (April – Nov). Steps away from the Stagecoach Dining Room.
Restaurant: El Tovar Restaurant at El Tovar Hotel – Gourmet dining in an atmosphere of historic and casual elegance describes this world-class dining experience. Signature items include the Prime Rib Hash at Breakfast or the Salmon Tostada.
Pink Jeep Tours at the Mather Point parking lot, load up and travel to Lipton Point via Pink Jeeps.
Bearizona Wildlife Park in Williams – Visitors will drive through more than three miles of Ponderosa Pine Forest viewing North American animals in natural habitats when they visit. See animals up close, and also try the Wild Bus Tour
Antelope Canyon Boat Tours on Lake Powell – This tour explores Antelope Canyon. We did the 1 hour tour.
Airport to fly into: Flagstaff
Cost of flights: Starting around $220 round trip in summer
How to get around: Rent a car!
Any other tips?
Stay safe (no selfies in risky spots)
Consider a guided group tour around the Grand Canyon instead of hiking on your own
Book accommodations as far in advance as possible, as they tend to book up quickly in the summer
“What’s” with the “Trip Sisters”

What’s in Your Suitcase?

GoPro Hero 7 Black – Starting at $349 on
With gimbal-like stabilization–without the gimbal, this brand new GoPro is tough as nails and waterproof down to 33ft (10m). It shoots in 4K (1080px240) and has 12mp resolution. It responds to voice recognition for easy shooting, and makes shots look amazing automatically with HDR, local tone mapping and noise reduction—in any light. You can even stream to Facebook Live, YouTube™ and more. Capture super smooth, stabilized time lapse video—even as you move through a scene, or capture in 8x slow motion.
Hero 7 Silver – $299
Hero 7 White – $199
GoPro Fusion 360 – Starting at $399 on
Fusion captures 360 video and photos, recording everything so you can find the best shots later. Turn 360 footage into videos and photos you can share on your phone. Preview and playback shots, create videos and share them on the go with the GoPro app. Create immersive VR experiences in stunning 5.2K video that’s incredibly smooth and stable video. Also waterproof down to 16ft (5m) with voice recognition. Includes Fusion Grip with a built-in extension pole and tripod.

What’s on your phone?
GoPro App – Free on Android and iOS
Create a QuikStory – Automatically transform your latest footage into an awesome video with music and effects. Share your favorite – Post your best moments to Facebook, Instagram and more, or share them in a text or email. Control your GoPro – Use your phone to frame your shots, start and stop recording, and easily adjust settings. GoPro App Plus (additional charge) – Unlimited cloud backup automatically – Upload as many photos and videos as you want, then create and share from anywhere using the GoPro app.

What’s the tip?
How to Plan a Family Summer Vacation without Breaking the Bank (
Hit the Road – Forget about expensive airfare for the family, take a road trip instead! Try popular trips like Route 66 or the Pacific Coast Highway.
Go RVing – Like the idea of a road trip, but need a bit more elbow room? Check out RV rental companies like Mighway and Cruise America to rent an RV anywhere in the country. You’ll save money by having your transportation and hotel all in one.
Pitch a Tent – Renting a tent campsite offers significant savings over the price of the average hotel room. Plus, if you stay in a campground, you can still enjoy great amenities like bathhouses, a swimming pool, playground, lake access and more. This kind of vacation is a great way to experience a national park. (Can rent a tent site for $47/night at Yosemite Lakes Campground).
Cabin Fever – Looking for more comforts of home than you’ll find in a tent? Consider campground rental accommodations, like yurts and even tiny houses.
Reverse Migrate – Go where the people aren’t! When most people are enjoying northern destinations for the summer, consider heading south to Florida, Arizona, Mexico and the Caribbean. You’ll catch some great deals, and it will be much less crowded.
Ride the Rails – Take the scenic route and travel by train. Check out Vacations by Rail for a variety of options for train trips and tours throughout the country or consider Amtrak.
Take a Deal – Follow your favorite travel resources such as Google Flights, Airfarewatchdog, and Travelocity for the latest promotions and discounts.
Points Play – Make sure to use credit cards that have great travel rewards or cash back programs so every dollar you spend gets you one step closer to a family getaway.
Off the Path – Try less popular vacation spots like Tybee Island, Georgia instead of Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. Instead of a big theme park vacation, consider a visit to Virginia Beach, Virginia for their Ocean Breeze Waterpark.


Trip Sisters – Show Notes – Oh, Canada! (5/18/19)

Episode 49 – Website Info

Special Guest
Pauline Frommer – Co-President of FrommerMedia, Editorial Director of Frommer’s Guidebooks, author of the best-selling “Frommer’s EasyGuide to New York City” and “Frommer’s New York City Day by Day”, co-host of “The Travel Show” on WABC @Frommers

Colleen & Catie’s Picks for Canada

Destination: Saguenay Lac St.-Jean – Located in Eastern Canada – Quebec Province
Accommodations: Val-Jalbert – Built in the 1920s, historic. You can stay in period houses, mini cottages, or campground. Great for families!
Restaurant: Restaurant du Moulin (at Val-Jalbert) – Features phenomenally fresh local ingredients and is family-friendly.
Zoo Sauvage de Saint-Felicien – Drive-through zoo
Boat tour where the St Lawrence River and the Saguenay Fjord meet (you may even see whales)
Historic Village de Val-Jalbert – Where presenters in period costumes explain what life was like in the area during the 1920’s
When to visit: June – September
Airport to fly into: Saguenay-Bagotville Airport
How to get around: Rent a car or even a bike
Any other tips? Consider a passport card if you plan on traveling to Canada often. Cheaper than a passport, easier to carry around – plus you may need one to travel domestically soon.

Destination: Calgary – City in the Western Canadian province of Alberta
Accommodations: Le Germain Hotel Calgary – Across the street from Calgary Tower, a 4-minute walk from Arts Commons and near Calgary Zoo.
Restaurant: Charcut in Le Germain Hotel Calgary – Great food and great vibes with cuisine from Top Chef Canada contestant Connie Dsouza.
Summer Activities:
Tour the Heritage Park Historical Village – Canada’s largest living history museum, it is one of the city’s most visited tourist attractions
Staff dress in historic costume, and antique automobiles and horse-drawn vehicles service the site.
Calgary Transit provides regular shuttle service from Heritage C-Train station.
Go tubing or rafting on Bow River – Lazy Day Raft Rentals
Winter Activities
Tour the Studio Bell National Music Centre – Exhibits on Canadian music history, hands-on instrument areas & concerts in a contemporary setting.
Visit the Gasoline Alley Museum – Site in Heritage Park Historical Village with pre-1950s cars, old-timey gas pumps & vintage signage.
Visit WinSport Winter Sport Institute at Canada Olympic Park – Discover, Develop, Excel in skiing, snowboarding, hockey, skating, bobsleigh, mountain biking, etc.
When to visit:
The best times to visit Calgary are June through August, when most of the city’s special events take place
November through March are perfect for skiing
Any other tips? If you’re looking to save money without arctic temperatures, plan a visit for April or October when the city is free of tourists and cold weather. Springtime temperatures average in the 50s and 60s.

“What’s” with the “Trip Sisters”

What’s in Your Suitcase?
Grand Trunk Blackout Hooded Neck Pillows
$39.95 on
Hooded Travel Pillow made of micro-fleece and memory foam that provides comfort for your neck while the storable hood covers your eyes when you want to rest.

What’s on your phone?
PackPoint travel packing list – Free on Android or iOS
PackPoint is a free travel packing list organizer and packing planner for serious travel pros.
Punch in the city you’re going to travel to, the departure date, and the number of nights you’ll be staying there. PackPoint will organize a packing list and luggage checklist for your luggage that takes into account the type of trip, the location, the weather, and much more!

What’s the tip?
How to Prep Your Fridge Before a Trip (Tips from Ronna Welsh, author of new cookbook “The Nimble Cook.”)
Identify the foods that often go to waste –
Yogurt or cottage cheese, partially used vegetables, salad greens, and leftovers.
Recognizing these items can help us be more mindful of how we shop and cook, and proactive in how we use ingredients
Try to use up what you can before a trip and don’t buy more than you need to for the days leading up to it
Devise a system to keep tabs on what’s in your fridge –
Try two things to keep your kitchen tidy and reduce food waste: The Label and the Line Up.
Keep a sleeve of peel-off file folder labels in the kitchen –
When you buy new groceries, label them with the date you bought them, and make sure you rotate the old items to the front and put the new ones in back.
Find ways to repurpose excess ingredients or those past their prime –
Look for recipes where you can use soft veggies and herbs, dried up fruits, and soon-to-expire perishables.
Get creative with your cuisine before leaving for your trip
Take advantage of your freezer –
Learn what foods you can cook and freeze, which will keep them fresh while you’re away. Plus, you’ll have easy meals to come home and heat up when you return.
Be thoughtful about how you store things for later or take them with you –
The easiest way to make sure something doesn’t go bad during a vacation? Pack it and eat it during your trip.
Freeze your eggs (after they’re cooked) –
Since eggs don’t freeze well in their original form, cook them up in an omelette, quiche, or frittata, and freeze them that way.
Make sure your kitchen is in ship shape before you head off –
Empty the trash, wipe down appliances and counters, wipe down your fridge inside and out, and make sure none of the vents in your freezer are blocked.
For more tips, check out “The Nimble Cook” at, $21


Trip Sisters – Show Notes – 5/11/19 (Memorial Day Weekend)

Special Guest
Scott Keyes from Scott’s Cheap Flights
Check out Scott’s website for amazing flight deals!

Colleen & Catie’s Picks for Memorial Day Weekend

Destination: Nashville, Tennessee
Accommodations: Loews Vanderbilt Hotel – Adjacent to the Vanderbilt University campus in Midtown, only 0.9 miles from The Parthenon replica, and 1.7 miles from the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Suites include separate living rooms; some feature fireplaces and/or kitchenettes, plus the club-level quarters have access to a lounge serving free breakfast! There’s even a complimentary local car service.
Restaurant: Martin’s BBQ Joint – Authentic BBQ – Big roadhouse-style eatery known for its whole-hog pit-fired BBQ, with chicken, tacos & burgers.
Country Music Hall of Fame/RCA Studio B Tour – Book the studio B tour when you get your Country Music Hall of Fame ticket. You’ll be shuttled by bus to the Studio from the Hall of Fame.
Tennessee Performing Arts Center – Great Broadway shows, but less expensive.
How to get around: Either drive, or if you fly, rent a car (free car service if you stay at Loews Vanderbilt Hotel) or take Ubers/shuttles. If you stay right downtown you can get around by walking or public transit.
Any other tips? Drive from Chicago – Only 8 hours and much cheaper than flying. Plus, when you get there you have a car.

Destination: Petoskey, Michigan – 7 hour drive from Chicago in Northern Michigan
Accommodations: Inn at Bay Harbor, Autograph Collection – 3.8 miles from downtown Petoskey and 8.6 miles from Petoskey State Park, complete with a golf course, spa, and seasonal outdoor pool.
Restaurant: Beards Brewery – Located in downtown Petoskey with a full-service restaurant, views of the bay, and lots of craft beers on tap. They have great beer – You can even watch them brew! Some of the best poutine and wings we ever had. They also offer veggie bowls, tacos, pizza, and beer cheese poutine. From cream ale to double IPA to wheat wine. All were spot on.
Pedego Electric Bikes – We rented electric bikes and toured around the area and the bike paths!
Hiking or Exploring Petoskey State Park.
How to get around: Car or electric bikes!
Any other tips: Look for rock treasures – The Petoskey stone (the state stone) is only found in Michigan and is most prevalent in Petoskey. The stones are also polished, cut, made into jewelry and sold in local boutiques throughout town.

“What’s” with the “Trip Sisters”

What’s in Your Suitcase?
Cinco Linko – $9.99 at Walmart or on Amazon
Cinco Linko is a family-friendly, five-in-a-row tile game that you can clip to your bag and play on the go. It’s small, compact, travels easily, can be played on any flat surface.

What’s on your phone?
Roadie Delivery – Free on Android or iOS with in-app purchases
From cupcakes to couches, Roadie is a fast, inexpensive way to send urgent or oversized items. You’ll save time on errands and get your items there faster. Similarly to Uber, you can also get paid to drive and delivery for Roadie if you’re looking to earn a little extra cash.

What’s the tip?
How to Check Your Vacation Rental or Hotel Room for Hidden Cameras
Use a flashlight
According to CNN, using your phone’s flashlight may be one of the easiest ways to detect a hidden camera.
All you need to do is flash the light against anything that looks abnormal including clocks and smoke detectors.
You should be able to see any reflections of a camera lens
Download an app to scan for recording equipment
Apps such as Hidden Spy Camera Detector, Radarbot, and Tiny Spy Camera Finder will scan for frequencies used by recording equipment.
You can even buy a standard bug detector that you sweep the room with to search for hidden sources of radio transmission
Do a physical inspection
This trick is perhaps the easiest, and the cheapest: Physically inspect the room for any irregularities.
Guests should be looking for any small holes around the room, including in the wall or in objects placed in the room.
Also be on the lookout for random wires that don’t belong, or any flashing or blinking lights.
Light fixtures, smoke detectors, clock radios, coffee pots, air vents, and electric sockets have all been used to hide cameras
Remember: Hosts are technically allowed to film you in certain locations.
Airbnb’s current regulations do allow hosts to place cameras in common areas, such as the living room, outside, or in the kitchen.
However, hosts must disclose the use of cameras and guests must agree to these terms before booking.
Cameras are never allowed in areas of “reasonable privacy” like the bedrooms or bathrooms.
If you do find a camera in your rental, contact customer service at your rental agency immediately.
If you find one in your hotel room, ask to change rooms and contact the hotel management as soon as possible.


Trip Sisters – Show Notes – Mother’s Day – 5/4/19

Special Guest
Kathy Keogh – Colleen & Catie’s Mom

Colleen & Catie’s Picks for Mother’s Day

The Ridge at Lake Geneva, WI – An hour and a half drive from Chicago, this hotel has a heated indoor and outdoor pool, hot tub, sauna and steam room, with beautiful view of Lake Como. Be sure to book a massage or treatment at Mia Faccia Spa in downtown Lake Geneva and enjoy a Mother’s Day brunch at Crafted Americana Restaurant. The Chocolate Creme Brulee is amazing!
Eaglewood Resort, Itasca, IL – 4 Star hotel about 25 miles from downtown Chicago. This resort offers Kegler’s 6 lane Bowling Alley and a unique golf simulator in addition to their 18 hole championship golf course. They also have a complete Health Spa, indoor pool, fitness center and restaurants like Burnham’s on site. Be sure to check out their Mother’s Day Champagne Brunch!
Any other tips?
Keep in mind your mom’s travel style and wants. Don’t force her to do a spa day if she’d rather spend her special day hiking.

Destination: Oxnard, California – Small town, coastal feel. Good for different ages, including seniors and families.
Accommodations: Embassy Suites by Hilton – Mandalay Beach Resort – Located by the beautiful Channel Islands Harbor with beach access, pool, tennis courts, golf, spa.
Restaurant: Waterside Restaurant and Wine Bar – Offers local New American fare & cocktails, live music & a patio on the harbor.
Heritage Square – 1920s Era dress-up and experience a historic Heritage Square Tour & Tea Party Event
RiverRidge Family Foot Golf – Fun for athletic moms and kids, also offers a Wine and Cheese Pairing at RiverRidge tasting room
Whale Watching – Island Packers “Island Wildlife Whale Watching Excursion” Channel Island Harbor
What airport to fly into?
Santa Barbara Airport – A little under an hour from Oxnard, flights starting around $430
Bob Hope Airport (Burbank) – About an hour drive from Oxnard, flights starting around $350
LAX – About an hour and a half from Oxnard, busier, but more (and sometimes cheaper) flight options.
Any other tips?
Stay at a place that’s right on the beach. Oxnard has beautiful beaches and it’s great when you can enjoy them from the comfort of your hotel or resort.
Oxnard hosts the California’s Strawberry Festival – Usually held in May, the festival offers visitors over 200 arts and crafts vendors, rides, entertainment, and delicious fresh strawberries. Check for more details. This year it’s May 18-19.

“What’s” with the “Trip Sisters”

What’s in Your Suitcase?
Kobo Forma eReader
Available for $279.99 USA at Walmart and at
Kobo Forma is the thinnest, most durable, most comfortable eReader with a storage capacity of 8GB, so readers can store up to 6,000 eBooks. Easy to hold and travel with, fully waterproof and lightweight. You can purchase books to download or download them right from your library using “OneDrive”. Consider the Kobo Forma SleepCover – $49.99, which can be adjusted to stand so you don’t have to hold it.

What’s on your phone?
Postagram – Free on Android or iOS (with in-app purchases)
Choose photos from your iPhone, Facebook, Instagram or Dropbox. Or just take a photo inside the app, then include a personal message with emojis, and place your order and have thick glossy 4×6-inch postcards printed at 300dpi resolution and delivered anywhere in the U.S. for $2 – or $3 for foreign addresses. (Price includes postage.) Great way to send your love to mom!

What’s the tip?
What to do if you need to cancel or change your flight
Best option – Cancel your flight within 24 hours of booking for a full refund
Opt for travel insurance (like Allianz, for example). Costs more upfront but could save you $$
You can preserve some of the value of your ticket by paying a hefty change fee to move your flight to a different day.
Note: American Airlines charges up to $200 to change a domestic ticket and up to $750 to change an international ticket, and you must pay the difference in fare if your new ticket is more expensive than the older one.
This means that it may be cheaper to simply “eat” the cost of the ticket and buy a new ticket.
If you are flying Southwest Airlines, it’s the only major U.S. carrier that doesn’t charge a change fee.
Keep in mind that most airlines sell highly restrictive “basic economy” fares. If you purchased one of these, you will not be able to change or cancel your plane ticket even if you pay the change fee.
Plead Your Case – Call your airline’s service desk. If you have a compelling case – a sudden illness, for example – you might find a sympathetic ear.
Hope for Disaster – Check in for your flight even if you have no intention of using it. If your flight is significantly delayed or cancelled due to weather or aircraft maintenance issues, airlines will offer the option for a refund instead of rebooking you.
Your flight also might be overbooked, in which case the airline might offer a voucher when you check in if you are willing to switch to a later flight.
These vouchers can be worth a few hundred or even a few thousand dollars, so it will more than make up the cost of your flight.
These options, however, are available only if you check in.
Monitor your flight’s status for delays, and call the airline service desk to find out all your options.


Trip Sisters – Show Notes – Episode 46 – 4/27/19

Special Guest
Aaron Schlein – Travel Expert, Blogger and – Check out Aaron’s blog for his incredible travel stories and tips!
Social: @AaronSchlein

Colleen & Catie’s Picks for Multigenerational Travel

Destination: Tucson, Arizona
Accommodations: White Stallion Ranch – This all-inclusive ranch is great for families. There’s plenty to do, and the ranch has a rustic feel with modern amenities and accommodations.
Restaurant: El Charro Cafe – Family-owned Mexican restaurant and home of the chimichanga
White Stallion Ranch – Horseback riding, hiking, pool, gameroom, cookouts
Pima Air & Space Museum
Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Cost of flights: Starting around $330
When to visit: Spring or Fall
Airport to fly into: Phoenix Sky Harbor (1 hour 30 minutes away) or Tucson International (40 minutes away)
Tucson – White Stallion Ranch provides transfers to and from the airport at no charge for guests staying 4 nights or longer.
Phoenix Sky Harbor – Arizona Shuttle transfers guests rom Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport to the Twin Peaks location where the ranch will pick you up.
How to get around: Rent a car if you want to explore Tucson, although you don’t really need one if you’re staying at the ranch.
Any other tips?
When traveling with seniors, try not to overplan, or be sure to take rest breaks often and make sure everyone stays hydrated.
If you have a variety of ages with you, don’t expect everyone to agree on doing the same thing. While it’s nice to have some activities to do together (such as eating or museums), it’s also okay for people to do activities apart.


Destination: Amelia Island, Florida – With plenty of history, shops, golfing and luxury resorts, it’s great for the whole family.
Accommodations: Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort – Luxury, oceanfront accommodations, pools, golf, full-service spa, dining options and family-friendly activities.
Bob’s Steak and Chop House on Amelia Island in Fernandina Beach – Texas-born local chain serving beef, seafood and wine list in a woodsy atmosphere.
Salty Pelican Bar and Grill – Open-air seafood restaurant with river views, local cuisine, bar, and vegetarian friendly options.
Activities for kids:
Splash Park water playground for the kids, two hot tubs and oversized fire pits.
Playscapes, Pirate Playground – Incorporates exercise, art, nature, music, imagination, and local history for children of all physical and mental abilities. There are also restrooms close by.
Activities for seniors:
A round of golf at Long Point Golf Course, one of the best in Florida
Activities for Both:
Catch a Civil War reenactment at Fort Clinch
When to visit: May-June and September-October. You can get some good deals in summer but it’s very hot.
Any other tips for multi-gen travel? Make sure seniors are closer to elevators and lobby area. It’s easier for them.

“What’s” with the “Trip Sisters”

What’s in Your Suitcase?
Sporty Seats, Seat Savers for the Car
$29 at
With Sporty Seats & Kids Seats that are secured in cotton-laminate nd Work Seats in Vinyl-backed canvas, these car seat savers are great for families and commuters, keeping the car clean daily and for road travel.

What’s on your phone?
Kango App – Rides and care for kids
Go to the website or download the app (
Schedule a ride, childcare, or both! One-time or ongoing requests offered. See who can help – Background-checked, fingerprinted caregivers who are trained to transport kids.

What’s the tip?
Travel Insurance for Seniors
Allianz –
Travel insurance, through a company like Allianz, gives you the security in traveling
Whether you’re taking a plane or a cruise, travel insurance gives you the comfort in knowing you can cancel a trip due to illness, a death in the family, and, in some cases, severe weather conditions, and still get a full refund.
This will also protect you if you miss a cruise sailing due to a delayed or canceled flight.
Be sure your police covers any flights and hotel stays.
They also offer retirement planning/savings tools – Allowing people to budget travel into their retirement fund
Retirement income calculator on their website
Also offer community support to avoid scams and elder financial abuse


Beach Park Hazmat Situation

Beach Park Hazmat Situation
By Nick Gale, WLS-AM 890 News

(WAUKEGAN, Ill.) — The Lake County Sheriffs Office has released information regarding a hazardous materials incident in Beach Park. At one point, 31 people were transported to area hospitals with breathing problems after tanks carrying anhydrous ammonia began to leak including two deputies who were responded to the scene and a Zion Police Officer. Beach Park residents were told to stay home and several schools canceled classes.

Lake County Sheriffs Department Release:

On April 25, 2019, at approximately 4:25AM, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a possible
vehicle fire in the area of North Green Bay Road & 29th Street, Beach Park. A Lake County Sheriff’s Sergeant and
Lake County Sheriff’s Deputy arrived on scene and observed what appeared to be a cloud of smoke. As the Sergeant
and Deputy exited their squad cars, they were overcome with an airborne chemical.

The Sergeant and Deputy retreated, as the chemical was overpowering. There were several victims at the scene who
were rescued by initial responding fire personnel.

Preliminary information shows a tractor was towing containers holding anhydrous ammonia. The containers leaked
as the tractor was traveling on Green Bay Road in the area of 29th Street. This caused toxic plumes of the chemical to
be released into the air.

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office and Beach Park Fire established a Unified Command Post. The Beach Park Fire
Department requested mutual-aid through the Mutual Aid Box Alarm System (MABAS) to the 5th level, adding an
alarm from a different MABAS division (25 ambulances, and HAZMAT Teams). The Lake County Sheriff’s Office
requested mutual-aid through the Illinois Law-Enforcement Alarm System (ILEAS) to the 4th level, which allocated
20 additional police officers, to assist in closing a 1-mile perimeter from vehicular/pedestrian traffic.

Notifications were made via television/radio media, social media, automated call/text/email systems, and Nextdoor
emergency alert, to notify Beach Park residents within a one-mile radius to shelter in place, keep all windows closed,
and turn off HVAC systems.

As of 10 a.m. Thursday, residents were still being asked to stay inside with HVAC systems off as the cloud of anhydrous dissipates.

Copyright 2019 WLS-AM News​