Family, Travel, When in

Travel Guide: San Antonio Zoo

San Antonio Zoo


What do dragons, dinosaurs and lions, tigers and bears have in common….the San Antonio Zoo! San Antonio has lots of family friendly things to do and places to see but our favorite is the zoo. Covering 35 acres, the San Antonio zoo has 3,500 animals and is visited by over a million people annually. There lots of tee and plenty of ways to get around like the Eagle train that travels the entire park. We started our visit with the dinosaurs which have taken over the zoo. You’ll find all types of dinosaurs like the T-rex, triceratops, and raptors all through out the zoo as you visit each exhibit. The best part is they are anima-tronic so you never when know when they will start moving and roaring when you get close.

Africa Live

The African exhibit is our favorite attraction where you can see elephants, giraffes, rhinos and so much more. We happened to catch the elephants during feeding time which our kids loved. They are always amazed at how the elephants can find the small peanuts they get with the lettuce. While you visiting Africa Live you will definitely want to feed the giraffes! This expedition adventure lets you get up close and personal to feed the giraffes. A $5 fee and a mask gets you an experience like no other. I truly under estimated how tall giraffes are until I was up close and personal feeding one. They are truly beautiful!

Lions, Tigers, Bears and Australia

There are even more animals and birds to see at the zoo and you can even go to Australia. The Australia section is tons of fun and features kangaroos and Lory Landing where you can feed the Lory birds inside their habitat. This is not for the faint of heart and these birds love seeds and will sit on your head, shoulder or arm to eat. Its truly up close and personal.

But that’s not ALL the things you can do in at the zoo. Here are some other things we have planned for our next trip:

  • Dragon Forest
  • Dino Boogie Nights
  • Lory Landing
  • Beastly Breakfast: Roo
  • Beastly Breakfast: Hippo

Surviving Chaos

We had a great time at the San Antonio Zoo and although we did a lot, there is definitely more to explore. Here are our surviving chaos trips so your next trip will be awesome!

  • Early Morning: Visit the zoo in the morning – its not as hot and the animals will be awake and ready to eat. Plus, they take naps in the afternoon so you won’t see a lot.
  • Sunscreen: Be sure to put on plenty of sunscreen and wear a pair of sunglasses while your visiting the zoo. Some exhibits have shade and some don’t. The Texas heat can be brutal!
  • Walking Shoes: There is a lot of walking in the at the zoo so where comfortable shoes.
  • Backpack: By the time you tour the zoo, you’ll have quite a few new souvenirs! Keep a backpack handy for all your goodies, snacks and water while you are site seeing- you’ll need something to carry all your stuff!
  • Family 4 pack: Instead of purchasing individual tickets, buy the family 4 pack. The pack includes souvenir cup (see below), dining vouches and park tickets. So instead of spending $140 we spent only $100 for all those things! The dining voucher makes life so much easier when its lunch because you get preset options to choose. Less guess work and more fun.
  • Carousel Cup: This is the souvenir cup that comes with your family pack. You get free refills all day from any restaurant or snack station within the zoo. Plus, when you visit the zoo again in the future, you can use the same cup.
  • Umbrella: Bring an umbrella just in case. It rained the entire afternoon we were at the zoo so you’ll want to be prepared for unexpected weather.

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Food, Surviving Chaos

TSA Approved Snacks

If you’ve traveling by plane, you know that your normal routine and carry-on items have definitely changed. The pandemic has made us rethink and re-envision how we travel so we put together some tips and tricks to help you navigate these changes. One thing that is being done differently is how to pack your carry-on, you can find an updated options here. At this point, we’ve decided to look into what snacks to bring. Which ones are TSA approved and which ones are not. This list will help you save money and breeze through security. Here’s a list of the some of items you can bring so you’ll be prepared for your next flight.

  • Dried Nuts and Fruit: With this option you can bring a little bit of everything – raisins, dried fruits, cashews, almonds and so much more. An organizing tray makes packing this snack a breeze! NOTE: Check with your airline carrier first on this one as you might be on a nut free flight. If so, you shouldn’t pack this snack.
  • Whole fruits: TSA only allows whole fruits through security so slice a whole apple before leaving. Use a rubber band to keep slices in place. Throw the apple and a to-go pack of peanut butter in a plastic bag.
  • Bread: TSA considers this a solid food item that can be placed in your carry-on. So break out that whole wheat or pita break for some quick nourishment.
  • Cereal: This is the perfect option when traveling with kids. Use Cheerios or Chex-Mix and put in a zip lock bag to keep your kids satisfied. There is nothing worse the HAN-angry kids upset at the airport.
  • Pretzels: Pretzels are super easy to pack (you can get individual bags at your grocer) in your carry-on.
  • Cheese: Solid cheese is a great addition to your snack pack and will help keep your full for longer. You can bring creamy cheese but limit it to less than 3.4 oz.

Surviving Chaos Hack: If your still unsure if you can bring your snack on the plan, you can take a picture of it and ask TSA on their Twitter and Facebook Messenger page.

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Travel, When in

5 Ways to Save On Your Next Trip

We are so ready to get back to travelling both domestically and internationally. There are so many places we have yet to explore but we’re waiting until it’s 100% safe to travel. In the meantime, we’ve been planning and budgeting for our next trip. The budgeting part can be the hardest as we want to save money but get the most from our experiences and “do it all” while we are away. I curated our top 5 tips on how to save money when planning your next trip. The tips will save you hundreds if not thousands on your next vacation so there will be less money stress and more fun and relaxation during your vacation.

  1. Use Airline Miles: We ALL have a bunch of airlines miles saved up since the pandemic started. Now is the time to cash in!! Review your miles and cash them in for seats, hotel stays, or rental cars. For example you could travel domestically or to the Caribbean for 10,000 miles or less. By doing this you will end up only paying for government mandated taxes and fees. NOTE: Watch out for blackout dates; typically certain holidays throughout the year.
  2. Book A Rental Condo: Instead of a hotel try out a rental condo which gives you more space and the ability to live like a local during your trip. Plus condos are more affordable than hotels especially if its a family vacation with lots of people. Plus, you’ll have your own kitchen so you’ll save money by eating at “home” and its a creates the opportunity to gather around the table with your family.
  3. Travel Off – Peak: Book your trip during non-holidays, i.e. the week before or after to save hundreds of dollars. Not only are these times cheaper, there will be less crowds or the dreaded “we over booked the flight, anyone want to volunteer their seat?” speech (we’ve all heard that before). Plus there will be smaller crowds and shorter lines at popular tourist destinations like museums, amusements parks, etc. Additional savings: tickets for popular tourist destinations will also be cheaper!
  4. Deals Guide the Way: If your on the hunt for a great deal, then let the deal send you to your next destination. Instead of trying to make your budget fit your destination, let a trip deal determine where you will go. There are great deals for the places least travelled so its a great opportunity to see something new and expand your experiences. But these deals come and go fast so set up email alerts so you’ll be ready to book ASAP. This strategy is perfect for saving on your next trip and many include airfare and lodging so its a win-win!
  5. Stick to Your Budget: The best way to save money is to stick to your budget. Research how much air travel, lodging and experiences will cost and stick to it! Its easy to get lost in new offers or 1 extra experience during your trip. But by paying for that extra luxury, you can easily eliminate your cost savings and possibly go over budget. Travel budgets are easy to create in excel or use any of the numerous templates online. Don’t forget to include expenses for food and souvenirs!

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Travel, When in

6 Reasons To Keep A Travel Journal

As we look forward to some travel this year, why not start a travel journal? This is the perfect way to capture all your experiences not just through photographs but also on paper. Travel journals are the perfect companion for any traveller, small enough to fit in any carry-on and last a lifetime. Its the perfect conversation piece for friends and family. There are a bunch of reasons why you should carry a travel but here are just a few of my favorite reasons:

  1. Capture memories, trip details and emotions
  2. Self Awareness and personal development
  3. Pre-trip research, references and tips
  4. Trip Guide and experience log
  5. Important Info and Contacts
  6. A great souvenir

How To Start A Travel Journal

When you’re starting out, keep things simple. Personalize your journal and customize it to show who your are. Choose a layout that fits the flow of your travel experience with room to grow. Sections for tickets, travel schedules, sketches, people you met, best experiences, and summary pages are just a few of the options to put in your journal. Not an artist, no problem! Give travel stickers a try. There are plenty of Pinterest flatlays to give you some ideas. But don’t let it overwhelm you with its picture-perfect journals packed with wise quotes and beautiful sketches. Make your journal perfectly you!

Buy a simple journal that you won’t mind getting a little dirty from your travel adventures. A small A5 leather bound journal is a perfect addition to your suitcase. It’s better to have an imperfect journal that’s yours than none at all. Don’t forget to add a spot for a pen or pencil so your not searching for one while your having the best time of your life.

Keep it honest. Be truthful with yourself and don’t sugar-coat or aim for what you think a travel journal should be like. Let it be yours – and let it reflect the good, the bad and the ugly of your travels. A journal is a record of experiences – not a perfect narrative waiting to be published. But if you do get it published…..what a great story it will tell!! Safe travels!

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Family, Travel, When in

How to Travel with Pets

With the holidays fast approaching, you may be visiting relatives that live near by. Your getting yourself organized and ready to go….you’ve made a list of road trip essentials (check out our list here) or your preparing to take a short flight. But what about your pets??? Pets need a vacation too and make great companions when your traveling. Whether your traveling by car, train or air, I’ve put together a travel guide to help navigate the “getting there” part of you trip with your pet in tow.

Before You Em-bark!

  1. Fit for Travel: Make sure your pet is fit for travel; your veterinarian can help with this! Talk to them about your destination and how your getting there so they can advise if your pet is ready.
  2. Pet Identification: Make sure your pet has an ID tag for their collar with a phone number where you can reached. Also, microchipping is another great option for identification.
  3. Travel Accessories: A pet crate or carrier is a must when traveling; make sure it is well ventilated and big enough for them to sit, turn around or lie down. Introduce your pet to a new carrier at home before your trip. You don’t want them freaking out when its time to leave.

Travelling By Car

  1. Buckle Up or Carrier: Pets should wear their seat belt – yes, pet seat belts do exist. If your not comfortable with that, put them in their carrier. Also, don’t let pets sit in your lap while driving. Major distraction!
  2. Paws In: Make sure you pet keeps their heads and paws inside a moving vehicle. You can crack a window for them to feel the breeze; just make sure they can’t get their full head out.
  3. Light Meals: Give you pet a light meal at least 4 hours before your trip and don’t feed them in the car. The last thing you want is a motion sick pet…..
  4. Pit Stops: Don’t forget to stop every 2-3 hours for bathroom breaks and exercise (for both you!).

Travelling by Air

  1. In Cabin: Currently not allowed due to COVID-19 but if your pet is an emotional support animal they are allowed. Pets must be small and less than 20 lbs to accompany you in the cabin. NOTE: Check with your airline first!
  2. Arrive Early: Get to the airport early to allow you pet a little exercise before your flight.
  3. Light Meals: Give you pet a light meal at least 4 hours before your trip. Pets can be prone to air sickness so keep things on the light side.
  4. No Sedation: Don’t sedate your pet during air travel because sedation medication can increase heart rate and aggravate respiratory issues. Additionally, sedatives interfere with their balance and equilibrium!

Travelling by Train

  1. Small pets: Amtrak, the nations largest passenger train carrier, allows pets 20 lbs and under to travel by train on trips up to 7 hours. NOTE: Be sure to check their policies before you book your trip.
  2. Carry on Luggage: A pet in their carrier is counted as 1 carry-on luggage so pack wisely.
  3. Food & Drink: Bring collapsible food and drink bowls to feed your pet on the train. Remember, a light meal a couple of hours before your journey.
  4. Utilize Scheduled Stops: Take advantage of scheduled stop(s) by taking a brisk walk on the platform and a quick potty break. Your pet will thank you!

No matter how you travel, your pet can be a welcome companion on your journey. They enjoy getting out as much as you do and probably love all the sights, sounds and smells they encounter. Just be sure you have everything you need to make your trip successful and stress-free.

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