View all posts: Travel
About six months ago, my boyfriend and I were invited to a July destination wedding in Italy by some of our closest friends. Initially, I was ecstatic to say the least. I told anyone that would listen that I was FINALLY going to travel outside of the United States! Then, as the weeks went on, my excitement turned to gut-wrenching anxiety. As someone who had barely traveled within the United States, I didn’t know the first thing about traveling abroad! Luckily, here at Miles Partnership, I am surrounded by expert traveling fanatics who have been more than willing to share some of their international traveling tips. So, I felt that I owed it to any other nervous first-timers to share what I have learned so far.
So I was flipping through the latest issue of Men’s Health the other day and came across a colorful page that caught my eye. Featuring a map with lots of fun travel-related graphics, the title of the article was “Will a Little Vacation Kill You?”
This is great, I said to myself, expecting to read another much-needed sermon urging overworked Americans to start taking more vacations. According to research from the U.S. Travel Association, about half of us leave unused vacation days on the table each year — with more than 20% not using a week or more of their paid time off.
I repeat, nearly one-fifth of all Americans are losing A WEEK OR MORE OF PAID VACATION each year, simply because they don’t take it. Madness, I tell you.
The stars aligned…
I’d been working on the Miles/Destination DC team for over a year—coordinating advertising assets for DC Official Visitor Guides; reviewing fascinating See and Do listings; placing banner ads on Washington.org for Smithsonian museums, restaurants and arts events I longed to experience; and collaborating with ePublishing to create tantalizing e-newsletters featuring captivating festivals and theater performances. But I had only visited the city once—many years ago as a teenager, and my daughter, who recently registered to vote, had never been there. A trip was in order.
It was time to explore the world I’d experienced on paper and online in the flesh. It was time to use the travel tools my Miles team designed to maximize the experience of four days in DC! The charm: District-based friends offered to host us (thank you, Matthew and Crystal). The fun: planning the vacation.
I spent my childhood on the East Coast near many of the historical battlefields and settlements that shaped the early days of our nation. It was common for us to take field trips that let us see our history firsthand.
My wife was not so fortunate. While she received an excellent education, she grew up in a small town in rural Texas, far from any significant historical sites. I didn’t realize the significance of this until we took our kids on a tour of the USS Lexington, an aircraft carrier that served during World War II.
With a February house guest, we were daunted to brave the traffic on Tamiami Trail and long waits for tables in restaurants so full, they don’t need to accept reservations. The challenge was writ large: to find seclusion and enjoyment in this slice of (finally red tide-free) paradise when about 90,000 snowbirds have come to roost. Here’s what we discovered during our mini staycation.
Get off the beach and into a boat. Yup, just you, your closest friends and some of the most beautiful waters on the U.S. shoreline. Avoid the world-famous beaches in season where it takes a wizard to find a parking spot and you can hardly see the sand between bumper-to-bumper umbrellas. Although the intracoastal can sometimes boast as many vessels as...