Couples, cruise, river cruise, Solo Travel, Travel Tips

Friday the 13th – My 13 items I Never Travel Without!

I’ve enjoyed celebrating Friday the 13th since I was a kid! I did have a very superstitious grandmother who also enjoyed Halloween and she had an enormous impact on me. She always said she was a modern witch (due to her nose), and modern witches ride vacuum cleaners not brooms! So when I moved away from home for university, she gave me her old Electrolux as a fine reminder of being modern and staying true to myself.

So in my early teens, I became uniquely aware of marketing and businesses. I learned about it in school one day – seriously, like once – and its been stuck in my mind ever since. A local shop in our small town (a gift store) would always host a one day sale anytime a Friday the 13th rolled around. I thought that was brilliant!!! Because it was unique and attractive – it drew you attention! Years later, I owned a store front business on the other side of the country, and I adopted the same marketing idea. It was fun!

We need more things to celebrate in life, so I find this is an easy one to remember. And it doesn’t matter if you are superstitions or not, you can still celebrate. Here are some ideas:

  • Celebrate that old relative who has concrete superstitions (My mother-in-law has them PLUS her birthday is on Halloween!)
  • Celebrate 13 things You’re grateful for!
  • Celebrate how far you’ve come this month rather than far you have left to go.

Next Friday the 13th in 2020 after this one in March is not until November!

ITS A GREAT TIME TO PLAN AHEAD! Contact me to discuss your ideas for where we can send you to celebrate this next special day! The time to book is now, in the wake of the global issues, specials are to be had from your travel advisers such as myself!

13 Items I Never Travel Without in my Carry-On Tote

  1. Gum! Perfect for ear issues on flights, bad breath, when you have a cough or are hungry
  2. Earbuds/Headphones: I have a Bose set for noise cancelling, but also my buds for sharing
  3. iPad/Tablet: I can work on it, read on it, and always have pre-downloaded podcasts & movies ready to go for when there is no wifi & I’m in need of mindless entertainment
  4. An extra Phone Charger Cord & a Battery Back up! Fortunately most airplanes have chargers but if not, that battery back up sure helps after a long fight
  5. Water Bottle & a Travel Mug: I always fill it up on the other side of security at the filling stations so I don’t have to wait for it on the plane, but also to have in destination – we never have enough water intake! I simply feel better not wasting cups in destination too
  6. Ziptop Baggies: to keep things dry, to gather snacks, to keep wet away from dry….
  7. Binder Clips! : I use them to keep curtains closed, to help hold my papers together, to hold up my phone in a baggie on the plane for viewing if need be, seriously – 1000 ideas!
  8. Pen & Highlighter: I learned this long ago when I started cruising, you just never know! Plus I’m a germ-a-phob, so I always use my own pen.
  9. Air Pillow & Air Foot Rest: air because they are easy packing, the foot rest is because my legs are short and I find it more comfortable, especially on long flights
  10. My Drug Box: I’m THAT go-to person! I have anything & everything you might ever need
  11. Snacks!: I have pre packaged ones & protein powder everywhere I go… I have allergies, so it’s nice to know I have back up too if we’re in a situation where the menu is off limits
  12. Hand Sanitizer AND Wipes: nothing’s worse than having someone spray the seat next to you – USE THE WIPES!
  13. Finally: Back up Docs! I bring print copies of my: itinerary, tickets, passport, ID, prescriptions, contacts, and Insurance I also have an e-copy emailed to myself, my contact back home & house-sitter.
My essentials
ErikaLuxTravel Specially Curated List

Lets send you off with that bag! Contact me to discuss options!

Cheers, Erika

Couples, cruise, excursions

Its OK to vacation together separately!

(This is an alternative and in addition to my 2 previous blog post)

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My husband and I had somewhat of a unique relationship for the 1st 10 years of our marriage, where I worked away on average, 6-8 months of the year.

Now you would think, that would make us want to spend every waking moment together when we weren’t apart, alas it was something we got used to.  We got used to telling each other about our day, stories we read or gossip we heard. 

Don’t get me wrong, we love each other – even in the 8+ years since my career change and we live under the same roof like “normal” couples – which I tell ya, was the hardest adjustment!  We truly enjoy spending time together, either at home or when we travel, but we also truly appreciate listening to each other – to the point where I’d rather have him tell me about a tv show than watch it myself – I love to watch his expressions and hear the inflections in his voice and his humorous take on any story.

So here’s how we make it work on vacation:  We look at our itinerary and pre-decide what we are going to share as an experience together and what we would enjoy apart – so there are no sacrifices or secessions, rather have a story to tell to each other later that day. 

We are independent beings as well as have many common interests.

He also makes fun now of it saying that its my way of getting to share MORE experiences than most because I get him to do research for me and take photos – even though I wasn’t there 😊

The actual way this started happening for us was due to cruising!  I couldn’t afford time and moola to do it all, so split up! Sometimes we did the old rock-paper-scissors – and then shared the stories & photos over dinner that evening.  Then it just became our thing – and relive it – it’s so exciting to share this aspect with other!

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A great example was on the cruise we took from Montreal to Fort Lauderdale in the Autumn of 2011 – of 13 days, we had 10 shore stops.  It was so beautiful with all the fall foliage, and it was our anniversary, so we wanted to share many experiences and have fabulous photos together!  But it was our 1st time to Halifax, and there was so much to do!!!!  So, he went on a ship sail around the harbor – looked like an old pirate ship where he got to hear about the maritime history of the area.  Where I took a coach but out to Peggy’s Cove (simply breathtaking) and then a tour in the Titanic disaster cemetery – so much history there too!  Later that evening, neither of us could get a word in edgewise over each other we were so excited!!  

 Another example was when we were in St. Thomas – he doesn’t like to get his ears wet, but come on!! We’re in the Caribbean dude!!  So we found him a tour that he could wear a dive helmet while being under water and enjoying the tropical fish.  I on the other hand jumped at the opportunity to go snorkeling with sea turtles!

In Alaska, he wanted to learn more about gold mining – and truthfully, I’ve prospected in my past life – so I did town exploring aka “shopping”!  There was no pressure on me to make sure he wasn’t too bored following me, and he came back from his tour as giddy as a school girl!

Vacationing like this also gave me the freedom (& lack of guilt) when my husband gets sick when we travel (it’s like his body says “ok, you now have time to power down, so we’re gonna knock you out a little to make you appreciate relaxation!”.   In Vegas I left him in bed for the day and I went out to play with our friends, enjoy some sights and some pool time.  At the lake, I got him a cozy new blankie from a little shop, and left to explore, have a coffee visit friends, enjoy wandering without an agenda.

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Maybe it’s because of our unique marriage, our personalities or that we’ve been married so long that we need things to talk about!!  But we truly enjoy this way of vacationing and I think you should give it a try!!


Authentic Experience, cruise, R&R, river cruise

Feature: Emerald Waterways

This last week we had a presentation with our representative with Emerald Waterways which was truly enlightening!

As per their website:              Exceptional. Amazing. Unique.

“Expect more from your deluxe river cruise with Emerald Waterways. Our award-winning river cruise fleet and inspiring itineraries reveal the stunning scenery and fascinating culture of Europe and Asia as you’ve never experienced them. Enjoy the Emerald difference. Our innovative river cruise ships offer you panoramic views of the stunning scenery, and feature contemporary boutique hotel styling, deluxe in-suite comfort, gourmet dining options and exceptional service, all included in the price.”


This week we learned about their new ship, the Emerald Harmony that is being built right now for release in 2019 in Asia.  It will only have 42 cabins, so 84 guests (doesn’t that sound lovely as an idea for hosting a gathering or an event!) and 40 crew, so your ratio is amazing!  There are 5 decks, an observation deck, a library, a fitness room & spa services.  There are 3 dining experiences: the Reflections restaurant, Horizon bar & lounge, and the new Lotus Lounge.harmony2

Now about the cabins, of which the majority are suites, and a few staterooms.  They are 30 sq. ft larger than any others (on their European ships).  Besides the entire ship being contemporary style, it makes these rooms seem even more spacious and inviting! harmony3

The Emerald Harmony will include:

  • Spacious Accommodations on board one of Asia’s most innovative cruise ships
  • Sailing directly from Ho Chi Minh City (no one else in the industry can do this!)
  • All on board meals with complimentary wine, beer and soft drinks to accompany lunch and dinner
  • State-of-the-art coffee machine to enjoy lattes or cappuccinos
  • Complimentary self-service laundry facilities (bring your own detergent though)
  • Complimentary WIFI (even on some of their coaches on the land tours)

They have 13 and 21 days Itineraries outlined, with optional extensions & Stopovers pre and post cruise!

Here’s an example of part of one of these itineraries:

harmony 3.4

And here is a snapshot of their 21 day itinerary for 2019 on the Emerald Harmony: harmony4

Of note, the majority if the daily tours are in the morning (which often take you away from the tourist areas), which leaves you with free time to explore on your own, at your own pace.  You have the best of both worlds: be taken care of & enjoy a tour with a local expert, AND have time to yourself to experience the culture and make memories.

There are bicycles on the European ships for you to enjoy at your leisure. Each ship also has a stunning pool – & while in Asia you will definitely want to take advantage of it so bring your suit! harmony5

Then there is always some evening entertainment, and a 4 course dinner with local wines. The meals always have regional choices and North American choices. The breakfast and lunches are buffet style.

The demographic for Emerald Waterways is 50% Australian / New Zealand, 30% Canadian and 10 % American – so plan to enjoy the company of some Aussies – they know how to have a good time!

Other differences that Emerald Waterways provides is that tipping is ALWAYS included in the price, and your final payment is not due until 90 days prior to departure. As well, transfers are always included, even if you don’t book your flight with them – now that’s service!!

If you choose to book your flight with your package, they have some amazing deals here too when booking early. As with most river cruise lines it’s best to book EARLY to get the best deals, the best selection, and simply the fact that they do sell out!

**** Our EXCLUSIVE Deal for YOU, available until August 23rd ****

Fly FREE on any 12+ day itineraries while supplies last!

$125 pp USD onboard credit

$75 pp CAD saving off the cost of the cruise

So, if Asia’s on your bucket list, if you have a honeymoon to plan (unpack ONCE is a dream detail!), or you want to take your special interest group on the adventure of a lifetime where you can bond over shared experiences – contact ME, Erika Lange – Travel Professional.

And stay tuned, next time we will be discussing their Croatian yacht adventures!

Cheers, Erika

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