Traveling Mamas

Inspiring you to explore our world

  • Happy Mother’s Day from TravelingMamas.com.

    Mother's Day on the Carnival Magic

    Photo from Mother’s Day on the Carnival Magic cruise ship inaugural season.

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  • I’ve had the Nokia Lumia 900 in hand for almost a month. The first two days of use, I had so much fun snapping photos and learning my way around this Windows Phone. I had an iPhone until it fell in my back pond, but I had already been wishing for the Lumia 900 since I first saw it at CES 2012 in Las Vegas.

    White Lumia 900 Windows Phone by NokiaTraveling and working via smartphone can be a daunting task and I was able to manage things somewhat with the iPhone. However, I also had to bring along a larger camera and a higher quality digital video camera to help gather all the images and footage of the destinations I was visiting for research. Now with the Windows Phone operating system and the Carl Zeiss Camera housed inside the well-made Lumia 900, it’s my opinion that Nokia has gifted the world with the trifecta for travel writers and bloggers. Why? I not only have my social media channels handy, but I have an 8MP camera with the ability to change the settings, I have a high quality digital video camera, and I even have word processing with Microsoft Office and cloud storage via Skydrive. Add to all this the 4G LTE network for faster data transmission and I am in Traveling Mama heaven.

    As a former iPhone user (and being 38 years old), I will admit that I am digging the larger screen on the Lumia 900. I can read documents, emails, and online articles so much easier. Now when I look at something on the iPhone, I have to squint or enlarge the copy on the screen where I can only read a few words at a time. Apple fans pooh-pooh the Windows Phone OS and the so-called lack of apps available. While there may be more apps available for iPhone, quantity doesn’t beat out quality and the Windows Marketplace offers apps that actually work and don’t take up memory on your smartphone.

    Nokia Lumia 900 with pink skin

    I took the Lumia 900 for its first real travel assignment – Disney’s Social Media Moms Celebration in Orlando, Florida. Yes, I was the odd blogger who was not working with iPhone in hand and I did get a few curious looks when using my white Lumia 900 with the pink skin. It was also a learning process for me as I experimented with the camera and some of the apps I discovered in Windows Marketplace.

    Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom taken with Nokia Lumia 900

    Travel Documents – I was able to access my itinerary and booking numbers with ease with OneNote, which was also saved in my SkyDrive account, should my phone somehow get misplaced.

    Music – I use the time in an airplane to either read a good book or listen to my favorite music. A concern I had at first when switching from iPhone to Lumia 900 was the potential loss of my iTunes music. With Windows Phone 7 Connector for Mac it was a painless process to download my iTunes library into the Lumia 900.

    Battery Life – Unless using an app like Skype which calls on the video, data, and voice capabilities all at the same time, the battery on the Lumia 900 lasts twice as long in the field as the iPhone. I did not have to search for a power outlet while in the theme parks during the day. In the past I would desperately look for any available outlet near noon just to get some extra juice in the iPhone.

    Video – I easily recorded a Mariachi band at the Mexico Pavilion in Epcot and uploaded it quickly to my FaceBook page. The last few times I tried to upload video to FaceBook via my iPhone on the 3G network my battery would drain and the video would hangup during the upload. The Lumia 900 was so much easier and faster to upload successfully.

    Photos – I captured a variety of images with the Nokia Lumia 900 and here they are unedited. I am not a professional photographer, just a consumer with a new smartphone.

    NOKIA Lumia 900 using Macro setting image by Shannon Hurst Lane

    NOKIA Lumia 900 self portrait in low light

    Nokia Lumia 900 cocktail image

    Disneys Art of Animation Resort splash pad

    I’m not a tech writer and honestly don’t care about terms like dual core processor or AMOLED touchscreen. What I’m more interested in is the user-friendliness of a device and practical use. While the Nokia Lumia 900 may not be completely perfect (I mourn the lack of Instagram), I can confidently back this smartphone device for the next adventure.

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  • In anticipation of summer, Colonial Williamsburg has a special trip giveaway offer for Traveling Mamas readers. One lucky family will have an opportunity to win one (1) complimentary 4 day/3 night package getaway to enjoy interactive history and unparalleled southern hospitality at one of the country’s most popular must-sees for families. This summer, Colonial Williamsburg will be introducing a variety of new interactive programming adding to the fun, and the Colonial Williamsburg Resort is celebrating 75 years of hospitality, so you’ll enjoy the best in customer service, as well.

    Colonial Willamsburg Family Travel Destination image by Colonial Williamsburg

    Colonial Williamsburg Family BlacksmithProgram highlights this summer include RevQuest: The Lion and the Unicorn, the second chapter in a popular text message-based adventure through the Historic Area. To save the Revolution, players text in for clues that help them decipher codes and find symbols in Historic Area locations they might not otherwise explore. Find your allies among Historic Area interpreters and see if you have what it takes to save the Revolution! Additionally, Colonial Williamsburg’s newest exhibition building, the Public Armoury is open, showcasing historic tradespeople at work.

    Kids are invited to play games, learn to dance and practice 18th century manners at the Benjamin Powell House, help tend the plants at the colonial nursery, pick tobacco at Great Hopes Plantation, or take their shoes off and stomp in the mud helping the brickmakers at the brickyard. For a fun, family meal, the new Huzzah! BBQ Grille features great BBQ favorites with international flair.

    At the Williamsburg Woodlands, families can take advantage of the Fun Zone, including an outdoor pool, putt putt, shuffle board, ping pong, magic shows, cookie decorating, making your own sundaes and more, all right on-site at the hotel.

    With this offer, families can also take advantage of nearby Busch Gardens and Water Country USA.

    The Colonial Williamsburg Bounce giveaway package includes:

    • 4 days/3 nights at the Williamsburg Woodlands, an official Colonial Williamsburg Hotel
    • Daily breakfast
    • Admission to Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area and Art Museums
    • Admission to Busch Gardens and Water Country USA
    • Access to the Fun Zone (outdoor pool, putt putt, ping pong, shuffle board, cookie decorating, magic shows and more)

    The package has a value of more than $800. Can’t make it this summer? This offer can be used anytime within the next 12 months, depending on your schedule.  Some blackout dates apply. The Summer Bounce Package is good until August 30, 2012. Aug 31-Nov 20, the package would include accommodations, breakfast, Colonial Williamsburg admission, and components of the Fun Zone (putt putt, ping pong, shuffle board).
    Colonial Williamsburg Family mini golf activity image by Colonial Williamsburg

    How to Enter:

    Leave a comment letting us know if you’ve ever visited Colonial Williamsburg and/or what activities your family likes to participate in during your summer family vacation. That’s it! Comments close on May 14, 2012 at 11:59PM EST. One comment will be chosen randomly via Random.org and the winner has 48 hours to respond once notified by email from TravelingMamas.com. Must be at least 21 years old. Transportation is not included and we’re opening this contest to citizens worldwide who are planning a visit to the US in the next 12 months. One entry per email address per day. Valid comments will be recovered from Spam.

    Thanks to Colonial Williamsburg for providing this fun family giveaway to TravelingMamas.com readers.

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