Where to Stay in Panama City, Panama: A Review of The JW Marriott Panama

When deciding on a Christmas vacation this year, we were torn between another Europe trip or something a little different. My husband wasn’t too keen on another cold location, but I’ll never grow tired of the coziness of Europe during the holidays. 🙂 After a bit of research we settled on Panama City, Panama; something warm, filled with nature activities, and unlike other locations we’ve visited for Christmas.

We stayed at the JW Marriott Panama, a beautiful 5-star hotel located in the heart of the city. The location was convenient and the amenities were perfect for a relaxing and enjoyable holiday stay. Click through for a review and pics of our stay! Continue reading “Where to Stay in Panama City, Panama: A Review of The JW Marriott Panama”

Asheville, NC For The Holidays: A Review of Cedar Crest Inn

Asheville places to stay, bed and breakfasts asheville, Asheville NC for Christmas, Visiting Asheville for ChristmasChristmas is my favorite time of year, so I really wanted to experience all that Asheville had to offer for the holidays. We stayed in a cozy Victorian inn and visited the iconic Biltmore Estate for their Candlelight Tour, which was definitely a highlight of the trip. Click through for a full review on the cute and cozy Cedar Crest Inn. Continue reading “Asheville, NC For The Holidays: A Review of Cedar Crest Inn”

Top Tips For Visiting Iceland’s Blue Lagoon

The Blue Lagoon in Iceland is one of the most unique, and most visited, sites in the world. Some say it’s over-rated, others say it’s magical…The only real way to know is to see it for yourself. We visited over the summer, and I would rate it as something worth seeing at least once in your lifetime.

To make your visit as enjoyable as possible, I’ve put together a list of 5 helpful tips for your visit –

1. Buy Your Tickets in Advance

This goes for almost anything you visit these days – but definitely buy in advance to speed up your entry time. The pre-paid lines can still get quite long, but they move faster than the lines packed with people waiting to purchase tickets. 

2. Upgrading to Premium is Only Worth it if You’re Dining at Lava Restaurant

The Blue Lagoon offers 3 packages:

Comfort (their basic package) includes –

  • Entrance to the Blue Lagoon
  • Silica mud mask
  • Use of towel
  • 1st drink of your choice

Premium includes everything in the Comfort package, plus –

  • Second mask of choice
  • Slippers
  • Use of bathrobe
  • Table reservation at Lava Restaurant
  • Sparkling wine if dining

Luxury: Retreat Spa includes – 

  • Four hours at the Retreat Spa
  • A private changing suite
  • Unlimited access to both the Retreat Lagoon and the Blue Lagoon

While the $600 Luxury package is an extravagant option, most visitors choose either Comfort or Premium. We were upgraded to Premium and I was excited to enjoy the extra comfort of the robe and slippers, but when we arrived I realized it was over rated. You really don’t need the slippers, and unfortunately their system for organizing towels and robes is not ideal. My robe was actually stolen from the towel/robe rack located next to the lagoon entrance – so instead of having a nice warm robe to wrap up in when I headed back to the changing room, I had to go with nothing but my swimsuit. 

When the upgrade may be worth it :

If you plan to eat at Lava Restaurant (located on the property) then upgrading to Premium may be worth it during their busier season when reservations are harder to get. The free sparkling wine with your meal is also a nice perk.  

3. Prep Your Body For Hours of Sun and Silica

This is something a lot of people don’t think of or perhaps don’t know, but silica can be pretty drying, as it draws moisture out of the skin. (In fact, those little white packets that come in gifts and food packaging aren’t just for show – they’re used to draw out moisture.) Combine the drying effects of silica with hours spent in the sun (depending on what time of year you visit) and this sets you up for possible dehydration, headaches, and drowsiness when you leave the lagoon.

To combat this, prepping beforehand can be really helpful – Drink lots of water before arriving and while you’re there. They have drinking fountains in the lagoon so you can stay hydrated without even leaving the water.

When you enter you’re required to wash off completely to remove all lotion and sunscreens – So be conscious of how long you’re in the sun and try to rotate your time in some of the shadier areas of the lagoon. Don’t forget a good pair of sunglasses, too!

4. Wear Easy to Remove Clothing and Shoes

Before entering the lagoon, everyone is required to shower and change into their swimsuit. The locker rooms get pretty crowded and if you have tight jeans, sneakers, etc. it makes the process of changing more challenging. After you get out of the water your skin also takes on a different texture due to the silica, making it hard to get tight-fitting clothes back on.  

5. Avoid Drenching Your Hair in Silica 

Silica is great for detoxing, but it can be drying to skin and hair. To avoid drying out your hair, the lagoon recommends applying their conditioner (located in the showers) before you enter the water. If you have long hair but don’t want to use the conditioner, be sure to bring a hair tie and avoid going under the water. 

6. Bring a Waterproof Phone Case

I know the title says 5 tips – but I wanted to include this because we actually forgot ours. 🙂 Needless to say, we were treading carefully in the lagoon while shooting pics with our unprotected iPhones. If you do forget a waterproof phone case and feel too nervous to take your phone in unprotected, the lagoon also sells covers (for an inflated price, of course). 

Hope you find these tips helpful..Happy Travels!

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10 Fun and Affordable US Destinations

The US has a lot of unique and fun places to enjoy, and many can be reasonably priced depending on the time of year that you plan your visit. Below I’m listing 10 US destinations that are affordable and have a lot to offer.

cheap holiday ideas, cheap us travel, fun us cities to see Continue reading “10 Fun and Affordable US Destinations”

How to Avoid Jet Lag – 5 Tips for Beating Travel Drowsiness

Tips for avoiding jet lag

So let’s talk about everyone’s least favorite part of travel – Jet lag!  We’ve all been there: After hours of traveling and dealing with dry air, cramped cabins, and lack of sleep, we get off the plane feeling drained and ready for a nap ASAP. 

Well luckily there are some ways to help combat this dreaded side effect of travel, and below I’ve listed 5 tips that should help prevent, or at least lessen, jet lag during your next getaway.

Continue reading “How to Avoid Jet Lag – 5 Tips for Beating Travel Drowsiness”