Traveling Mamas

Inspiring you to explore our world

  • Coffee by sachman75For those of us who are addicted to coffee and its many variations, finding a decent cup of java while on the road can present a challenge. I’m a big Starbucks fan, but I occasionally frequent independent coffee shops, just for a little variety.

    Yesterday, I thought I would try McDonald’s new iced coffee drink that is being advertised. I’ve tried Burger King’s iced mocha in the past, and it would do in a pinch. I’ve also sampled Sonic’s frozen coffee blend, which while the taste was decent, I could feel the fat contained in this concoction sliding down my throat and straight to my behind. Well, all I can say about McDonald’s new iced coffee is, “Run away!”

    McDonald’s iced coffee was the most disgusting thing that has ever passed through my lips.

    I usually try to find something redeemable to say in my experiences and to make my opinion a bit more palatable, but there is no other way to word this opinion.

    So, how do you find good coffee while on the road?

    Text: Send a text message to Google (466453) with the subject coffee

    Web browser: Find the nearest Starbucks at

    Phone: If all else fails, call 800-235-2883 and the Starbucks operator will assist you in locating the nearest Starbucks.

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  • Piggy Bank by jpre86It’s Winning Wednesday at and you guys know how we just love to give stuff away. This week we asked the question, “How do you finance your vacation?”

    We had a great response, with most readers stating they save up their money in various ways.

    A few of you charge your vacations and then worry about paying them off later. One or two readers mentioned that they would use the stimulus checks to finance a getaway. Mary says she robs Peter to pay Paul. I’m sure we’ve all had to do that at some point.

    My favorite overall comment comes of Ed Nemmers, who wishes he had a sugar daddy. Me too, Ed. Me too.

    Our winner for this contest is Lisa Fosses, who saves for her travel by working a side job. Lisa, you can now start an online savings account with a $50 gift card from SmartyPig.

    Congratulations to Lisa and thanks to everyone who left a comment. Be sure to check out our many posts about places to travel this summer. offers travel tips and stories about Budget Travel all the way to Luxury Getaways.

    So, dream of where you’ve always wanted to go and save up to make it happen.

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  • Financing a family vacation can be difficult. You know where you want to go but you just don’t know how you’ll get there.

    The average American family spends around $2500 per year on a vacation. Readers might guess that vacation spending would be down, with the economic “turndown” and an increase in cost of basic items like groceries and gas, but this isn’t the case. It seems as if consumers are putting more value on their vacation time, and according to the Travel Industry of America’s annual forecast, travel spending in the U.S. will increase 5 percent this year.

    I don’t know about you guys, but my family saves up for our annual vacation in a variety of ways.

    Save your change. Each of us has our own container where we place our loose change at the end of the day. This is a great way for the kids to save spending money. All those quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies can really add up. Last year we were able to save around $350 in total.

    Have a garage or rummage sale. Once a year, my neighbors and I get together for a multi-family garage sale. We are usually able to earn about $400 per family by the end of the day.

    Cut back on unnecessary spending. Our family used to eat out at least once per week. We’ve cut the eating out by 25 percent and are able to put aside at least $75 per month towards our family trip. That’s a savings of $900 per year!

    Open a vacation savings account. I’m able to have my bank deduct $50 per paycheck and place in a saving account just for vacations. With my contribution alone, that gives our family another $1200 towards our travels.

    Use SmartyPig to save. This company allows consumers to open an interest-earning account with a minimal deposit of $25. Your friends and relatives can even deposit money towards the goals you list with the account. Sounds like a simple, smart, savings plan.

    So how does the average family finance a vacation? This is where you, our readers come in. Leave us a comment on how you finance your vacation.

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  • We had a wonderful response to the Houmas House gift pack giveaway and we learned where many of you are from and why you like living there.

    A few of you live close enough to Houmas House for a day trip. Others live as far away as Oregon and Vermont. Most of you who reside in Florida love it for its beaches. The New Yorkers either live out in rural areas where you are enjoying nature, or NYC where you enjoy the fast paced city life.

    Theresa N says “I love living in Aiken County South Carolina. We have beautiful weather all year round, the Palmetto tree a palm is our state tree. Aiken County is a wonderful place for people and horses. We’re a very large horse community with lots of golf courses and I live just a couple blocks from the Savannah River.” I’ve been to Aiken to visit my in-laws and I have to agree with Theresa on how lovely the area is.

    Janice J from Sterling, AK loves living there because “…’s quiet, and the mountains and lakes and rivers are beautiful.” Marissa from Helena, MT enjoys being near Yellowstone National Park. Yellowstone is beautiful and I hope to get to Helena for a visit one day. Graham from rural Idaho admits that he doesn’t like where he lives. Its okay, Graham, I’m sure a few of us have felt that way at some point in our lives.

    The winning entry comes from upstate NY. Danielle left a dangerous area to move into a 100-year-old home that is near Howe and Secret Caverns. She says the caverns run under her small town. It sounds like a charming place to live. Congratulations, Danielle!

    If you would like FREE information about the state where I live and how to visit Houmas House, go to and download or order your FREE travel guide.

    Keep checking back for our next contest and to read informative posts about travel. And remember to submit your entry for our Anthology or even send us your questions. Thanks for all the entries!

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