Traveling Mamas

Inspiring you to explore our world

  • This just came into the inbox and we wanted to share this exciting opportunity with you. Have you ever wanted your family to be in show where you would get to see some of the nation’s most beautiful national parks? Here’s a way to not only make some fantastic family travel memories, but you’ll also be compensated! Good luck and let us know if your family is one of the chosen ones!

    Now Casting Outgoing Families!

    Are you looking for the ultimate family adventure? Are you eager to ditch the typical family vacation and experience a truly unique and exciting bonding experience? Do you wish you could bring your family even closer together?

    The producers of “The Buried Life,” “The Biggest Loser,” and “Masterchef” are currently searching for America’s most outgoing families to compete in exciting outdoor challenges in the nation’s most beautiful national parks.

    To be considered, please submit the following to

    1. Name and Ages of all family members
    2. City/state where you live (please include this in subject line)
    3. Contact Information (including cell #)
    4. Current Pictures
    5. A brief description of your family dynamic
    6. What do you love about being in the great outdoors with your family? What are the biggest challenges about being in the great outdoors with your family?

    *Families should have at least two children living in the home between the ages of 13-18*

    Family Compensation: $5,000.00

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  • We’d like to welcome our newest contributor, CarolinaMama. Her first post comes from the heart. Welcome aboard, CarolinaMama! ~ CajunMama

    This weekend I received a very significant package from New Orleans.

    Care packages from home have always represented my heritage.  Cafe du Monde, Community Coffee,  Zatarain’s Cooking Necessities,  Laura’s Pralines.  Not to mention my Mother’s homemade cookies, candy and real coffee that made their way to my dormatory at the University of South Carolina during my college days.

    Today, this package was different.  This package represented a cause –  the cause representing a specific problem to, be exact: The thing called the Oil Spill.  Hand written were the words, “Come Visit Soon!”

    Opening the package, my heart melted seeing the “Save Our Coast!” Tee Shirt from home.  I could feel the pride and love in the offering. It represents everyday folks seeking ways to Save their Coast and continue to thrive in their land.

    A long five years ago, Katrina blasted our homeland.  The recovery was still cranking along.  Then came “the Oil Spill.” Now, the waters were tainted greatly.  And this tee shirt… a cotton tee shirt said it all.

    The Spirit of the Gulf Coast.  The “Joie de Vive!”  Love of life that so embodies those who live and love there.  It’s the spirit of the people that love their land.  And that spirit comes through on the face of a tee shirt across the miles.

    Yes, I shed a few tears opening up the tee shirt and reading the inscription “When I Fall, I shall Arise.”  Micah 7:8 That’s just the thing, the people of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast may fall or have a set back, yet they will rise again!

    My mind wondered back to the most beautiful beaches in the world!

    Yes, the Gulf Coast has a white sand that even the South of France can’t compete with on a good day.  The beauty of the Azure Blue Seas is breath taking and the contrast is amazing! A little of heaven on the Coast!

    The Traveling Mamas is a travel blog concept created by travel writer Shannon Hurst Lane to inspire women to get out there and explore the world — whether that means vacations with the kids, “soul-oh” trips, girlfriend getaways or romantic escapes.

    Today we want to inspire you to get out there and “Save Our Coast!”  Reach out and explore this most amazing part of our country especially at a time when a hand from a friend means the world.   It’s sure to be an inspirational travel time and helps Save a Coast one hand and one hug at a time.



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  • Shore excursions for families can be difficult to choose. Many excursions have minimum age limits and may not be condicive to families with varying abilities. We browsed the many shore excursion choices while planning our Freeport, Grand Bahama Island port stop while on a family cruise aboard the Carnival Fantasy. One option that caught our eye was the Freeport Kayak and Nature Experience as it included everything we wanted in an experience – adventure, nature, swimming, beach, lunch, and lessons in geology and natural history. The pricing for this tour begins at $100 per person and is not suitable for younger children due to the activity and length of the tour (6 hours).

    It begins with a 20 minute bus ride to the tour company’s base area at Port Lucaya where passengers are divided into smaller groups of 6-8. The small groups depart in vans for another 30 minute narrated ride that introduces the group to the history of the area and a bit of what will be included during the experience. There is a last minute restroom break before arriving at the kayak launch point. I highly suggest all members of the party take advantage of this stop.

    Start of Freeport Kayak and Nature Experience Shore Excursion

    Kayak through Mangroves – Lather on the sunscreen before loading your gear into the waterproof bags provided by the tour company. Be sure to have a bottle of water handy for your trip which last about 1.5 hours. The kayaks are open cockpit and seat two. Don’t worry if this is your first kayak experience as the waters are very calm on this tour. We did go through a few narrow areas and no one turned over their kayaks or had any major issues. My husband made the comment that if a honeymooning couple can survive a two person kayak experience, then their marriage can survive anything. My daughter and husband shared a kayak while my son and I were in another. Fortunately, my son and I managed to supress the urge to throw each other out of the vessel, even though we both wanted to control the kayak!

    Mangroves at Lucayan National Park

    Beach Break for Lunch – After the kayak portion of the experience, we pulled ourselves across the creek Tom Sawyer style on a wooden, rope-pulled ferry (which the kids enjoyed). It was a short walk through a pathway that led to a gorgeous beach called Gold Rock Beach. Gold Rock Beach is part of Lucayan National Park and both Disney productions of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End used this beach for filming. Lunch was picnic style sandwiches but my kids were more worried about running down to the beach and playing in the water. There were less than 10 people on this stunning stretch of sand and I’ll admit that I hurried to finish my own lunch so that I could get into the water myself. We had a little over an hour in the water, giving the kids plenty of time to make sand turtles and relax in the water.

    Gold Rock Beach at Lucayan National Park, Bahamas

    Nature Tour – Our beach time ended and headed back into the wooded area to observe the natural plants and local birds. We saw an iguana and stopped near the mangroves to feed the fish. The water was so clear that we could identify the various types of fish that inhabit the creek area. Our guide, Ben, was super-knowlegeable and entertaining. He gave us a history of the island and incorporated it into our walk. I don’t think the kids even realized they were being educated because they enjoyed the experience.

    Learning about nature while on a cruise vacation

    Natural Geology – An exciting part of our experience included sea cave exploration. Lucayan National Park is home to one of the largest underwater cave systems in the world and is also one of the most environmentally distinct. We first went into Ben’s Cave, which is the largest of the caves in this system. Our guide, Ben Rose, is a cave diver and also whom the cave is named after.We did spent longer than planned at this cave to watch two divers descend into the water but we also learned about the blind Remipedia (discovered in the late1970s but have been around for millions of years). Plus, seeing all the bats hanging around was cool. The next cave was Burial Mound Cave, named because of the skeletal remains of indigenous Lucayans found on the floor area in a second chamber of this cave. It was a relaxing end to a long day of exploring.

    A diver preparing to dive a sea cave

    Our ride back to the Carnival Fantasy was quiet as all of us were wiped out from the sun and fun. Fortunately, guide/driver Ben stayed alert and we arrived at the port with a bit of time left to shop and enjoy the local brew – Sands Beer.

    If You Go – Remember that there is a minimum age limit and this is an all day tour. Take advantage of that last-minte restroom break and be sure to bring along a big bottle of water. The tour information states that closed-toe shoes are recommended. I wore tennis shoes and wish I would’ve worn sandals. You’ll want to bring a beach towel, sunscreen, and even bug spray along.

    Budget Alternative – Not everyone can afford a $100 tour per person in their party or there may be little ones who can’t go on this tour. This experience was well worth the price, but an affordable option is to rent a car and bring along a picnic lunch to Gold Rock Beach. The Lollipop Road offers their experience on this affordable travel option, along with tips to help you plan the best time to visit.

    Disclaimer: This experience was provided courtesy of Carnival Cruise Lines.

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  • I somehow coaxed my daughter into riding her first extreme coaster during a family vacation to Branson, Missouri. The ride, Wildfire, is located at the family friendly theme park attraction Silver Dollar City. This park offers shows, rides for all ages, good food, and a place to make memories worth repeating. Silver Dollar City is celebrating it’s fiftieth anniversary of providing wholesome fun for the entire family.

    My daughter and I definitely made a memory that will last, although judging by her expressions in the video, she may not want to repeat this one! Hopefully we’ll return for another family vacation and will ride Wildfire once again.

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  • horizon vespa flickr image by sicoactiva

    Hi Traveling Mamas,
    I am taking a trip to Europe, mostly Italy, for a month. I had planned on buying a rail pass and take the bus, but (if I can do this?!) I would rather buy a scooter as soon as I get there and sell it when I leave. How plausible do you think this is?


    Hi J,

    I’m not sure exactly where you’ll be and for how long, but if the bulk of your visit will be in Italy, have you looked into a scooter rental? Scooters and mopeds are available in all major cities and some rural areas. A motorino (scooter) rental may be a cost effective way for you to travel around Italy and access sites that are harder to get to by other means of transportation.

    There are a number of motorino rentals facilities that will negotiate rates on extended rental periods. If the rates seem a bit too steep for your budget and you really want to purchase a moped, then go for it. Search classified ads online for the city you plan to make your transportation purchase, but before you seal the deal, check local laws on foreign ownership.

    Here are some of my favorite European planning resources to assist you in taking that next step in travel:

    WhyGo Italy – Jessica of WhyGo Italy is not only one cool chic, but she knows all about travel in Italy. Read through many of the informative articles available on her site to help plan your route. Once you decide your route then you can figure out logistics and transportation.

    Have you visted Europe a la Carte? Author Karen Bryan is in the UK and has tons of articles regarding transportation and information for your Europe holiday.

    Another planning resource that I’ve heard good things about is Europe for Visitors. Durant Imboden has been compiling information regarding European travel  for decades and started publishing his site in 2001.

    I hope this helps point you in the right direction and that your visit to Europe is safe and full of wonderful travel memories. We’ll ask our readers to chip in with comments and tips to help you decide if you should purchase that scooter.

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