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International Travel Adapters

If your traveling internationally, you will definitely need a travel adapter. The plugs and voltage in the U.S. are not the same in every country so you’ll need a good power bank with multiple adapters in order to charge you electronics once you reach your destination. Here we have provided a guide on the common plugs, associated country of usage, and voltage for your future travels.

Common Plugs

Plugs, Electrical Info & Countries

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The Exotic Resort Zoo – Johnson City, Texas

If your looking for some family fun, something that is social distancing friendly and you happen to be in Texas, then check out the Exotic Resort Zoo! Located in Johnson City, Texas the Exotic Resort Zoo is the perfect getaway for the whole family. This is a full scale zoo with exotic animals and safari cabins available to rent. Before the pandemic, you could hop on any one of the numerous guided tours for a trip around the zoo. While on the tour, you can feed the animals and visit the petting zoo which is a ton of fun. Also, if you wanted to spend more time at the zoo, you can rent a cabin…..even during the pandemic! These cabins are a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the city with panoramic views of the Texas Hill Country. Each cabin can sleep 4-8 people and features basic kitchen appliances to a full kitchen depending on the cabin of your choice. These cabins are perfect for couples or the whole family.

Currently, the zoo has switched to a drive-through safari which is perfect for social distancing. You get to experience the zoo right from the comfort your car and still get the chance to feed the animals! First up on our drive-through safari was the petting zoo full of goats, fallow and axis deer. Although we couldn’t go inside, we were able to toss some feed to the animals which the kids loved! Following the petting zoo, we encountered all types of deer. From Sika to Axis to Fallow they were all eager to get some food right out of your hand. These guys definitely weren’t shy and came right up to car…talk about up close and personal! And of course they were accompanied by their friends the antelope and sheep.

Up next we entered the camel pen which was crazy! When you see a camel from far away you don’t truly understand the magnitude of how big they are. But once they get to your car and stick their WHOLE head and neck its a whole new perspective. And whats a camel without an llama or 2. These animals have no fear and enjoy every minute of their visitors.

My favorite part of the safari were the Zebras. They were absolutely beautiful and stunning and we spent the most time their feeding them. You definitely have to be careful with these guys because they bite! Be sure to drop the food on the ground so you can keep all your fingers. On our way out, we visit the Ostrich pen and encounter some Buffalo. To be honest, the ostrich and emu look very mean to me or maybe just angry….. These creatures are gentle giants but are very aggressive when it comes to food. Be prepared to keep your hand sanitizer handy or at least a towel because the buffalo loves to lick the food from your hand. Their tongues are long and EXTRA slimy, it was definitely a gross out moment for the kids.

The Exotic Resort Zoo is a perfect getaway for the whole family, especially now during these unprecedented times. If you plan on making the trip, here are some surviving chaos tips to make the trip smooth, stress free and fun:

  • Buy Ahead: Purchase tickets and at least 2 bags of feed BEFORE the day of your visit online. If your going on a holiday, buy your tickets at least a week in advance. This place sells out quickly.
  • Snacks: Be sure to pack some snacks and water for the road trip! Nothing worse than cranky kids stuck in a car.
  • Restrooms: Due to social distancing, the restrooms at the zoo are closed. Be sure to stop at the nearest gas station, about 4 miles north of the zoo, for your families pit stop.
  • Hand Sanitizer: Be sure to bring plenty of hand sanitizer and wipes since you will be feeding the animals. Their tongues are slimy so you’ll want to have clean hands when your finished.

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How To Tour Your City

Now that people are starting to come out of their houses and stay at home orders are easing, this is a great opportunity to explore your hometown. Not everyone is comfortable traveling out of state now that we are in the COVID-19 era so why not support your local community and explore local shops and restaurants. This goes without saying but I’m going to mention it anyway….please remember your social distancing guidelines like wearing a face masks and staying six feet apart.

One of the best ways to tour your own city is to have friend show you all of their favorite spots. You’d be surprised at how many places you haven’t visited with your friend. Its also a great way to find out your friends favorite spots around time or places you never thought of visiting. Another great way to explore your city is via tour bus. There are lots of local companies that offer tours around your town and know the ins, out, and places unseen throughout the city. The best part, the tour guide will have LOTS of stories and history to share about each of the local sites.

Do adventures that are specific to your hometown, for example Austin is home to the largest bat colony in North America. Every year, we visit the Congress Avenue bridge during late fall to see the bats. Its an awesome experience and fun for the kids. You can check out some of our adventures in Austin here. Each city has it own adventures and experiences that make it famous and are worth being explored. While your out, don’t forget to eat local! There are so many local restaurants to try in your city that could definitely use our support during these unprecedented times. Local eateries offer one of a kind experiences with lots of history and stories to tell. What a great way to add to your experience.

These are just a few ideas on how to be a tourist in your own city. With all the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, we rarely stop to explore and experience what’s in our very own backyard. Who says traveling has to be done far from home?

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Best Travel Apps

Now that its spring and summer is right around the corner, some families will begin to travel (of course adhering to ALL the COVID-19 precautions). With that being said, now is great time to make sure you have the best travel apps on your phone so that your adventures will be smooth and stress free. Here are out top 5 travel apps.

Hopper

Hopper is best for fare watching to ensure you get the best price on airfare and hotels. It watches prices so closely, it can tell whether you should book your trip now or wait. Set up your own price watch alerts so you don’t miss you an opportunity to save. #winwin

TripIt

TripIt helps you get organized!! You can upload your itinerary and share it with your friends so they when you leave and arrive at your destination. #safety For an additional fee, you can unlock more features like flight alerts, refund notifications, and reward tracking. The best part, this app works without Wi-Fi so it perfect for those rural or secluded destinations.

Timeshifter

Timeshifter is perfect for those who travel internationally and want to prevent jet lag. Based on sleep and circadian neuroscience, the app provides you with a personalized “jet lag plan” based on your destination time zone. It suggests when to wake up, when to consume or avoid caffeine, and so much more.

Trabee Pocket

Need a way to track travel expenses, be sure to download Trabee Pocket. You can track all you spending in this app and upload receipts (especially if your travelling for business). Added bonus – it even has an exchange rate calculator! #sohelpful

PackPoint

It never fails….we always forget SOMETHING on when we are packing for trip. PackPoint to the rescue! Just enter your itinerary: date, destination and activities and PackPoint will generate a packing list with everything you need. Plus, it checks the weather and will remind you to pack an umbrella or jacket for your trip.

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London, England

London, England

How about a trip down penny lane in……London, England! My husband’s last business trip. before the world went on lockdown due to COVID-19, was to London, England. He was able to take in a few sights and sounds before everything closed. London was one the cities he was excited to visit, he typically passes through it travelling to other countries.

What better way to make the best of a short business trip than to hop on a double-decker sightseeing bus! This by far is one of the best ways to see all that London has to offer; you can hop on and hop off to get a more up close and personal experience at each of the historic sites. One of the first sites was Paddington Station, known as the world’s first underground railway. This is the same station seen in movies and is still recognizable by its original design by Brunel. And while your there, don’t forget to take the kids to see the Paddington Bear statue which was name after the station. Since your on a double-decker bus, don’t miss out on the fantastic sculpture pieces around town like the Still Water sculpture. This sculpture is quite the head turner…….it’s literally a horse’s head! Commissioned by Sir Anthony and Lady Bamford, it is a replacement of the Horse at Water sculpture….I wonder what the original looked like??

If your headed to see the Tower of London, cross the River Thames using the Tower Bridge. There is so much history surrounding this bridge and the architectural design is stunning. The Tower Bridge connects Southwark to Tower Hamlets boroughs and is a major thoroughfare for the cities citizens. It is an iconic symbol of London but it is not to be confused with the London Bridge. There have been numerous incidences at the Tower Bridge such of multiple planes flying under the pedestrian walkway throughout history, the bridge opening with a double-decker bus driving across it and even a president getting stuck on 1 side apart from his security team!

Tower Bridge

Of course you can’t visit London without visiting Buckingham palace and Big Ben. Buckingham palace, home to the Queen Elizabeth is beautiful and truly must be seen in person. My husband did not make the changing of the guards but he was able to get right up to the gate for some awesome pictures. On the way there, he passed the London Eye which was still giving rides at the time. He said he didn’t have time to catch a ride but I think he was scared of the height of the Ferris wheel which is 443 ft (135 m) tall! Its one panoramic view of London, hence its name, is definitely worth seeing. And close to the London Eye is the Earl Haig Memorial. The bronze equestrian statue is of British Western Front commander Douglas Haig, 1st Earl Haig on Whitehall in Westminster. A representation of a great war hero, the statue is not without its controversy. From the likeness of the commander to his stance, uniform and the representation of his horse Poperinghe definitely has a love hate relationship with the people.

These are just some of the things to see and do in London. There is a TON of rich history learn about during your stay. Unfortunately, this particular trip was short so we definitely plan on going back. Next time, we will definitely get on the London Eye Ferris wheel and enjoy more British cuisine.

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