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8 Reasons to Book a Trip Today



“Once a year go someplace you’ve never been before” the Dalai Lama is quoted as saying and if he’s priced airfare lately he’d know that now is the time to go.  Travel experts are currently seeing the lowest airfare in years!  According to Airline Research Firm, Hopper, a combination of low fuel prices and an increase in competition has pushed airline prices to the lowest they have been in 4 years.  If that’s not reason enough to persuade you to start booking your next IVHE.com home exchange then here are a few more reasons that will have you booking your new adventure today. 

Good For Your Health
Studies show that vacationing is known to lower the risk of heart disease, help with depression and promote brain health.  With health benefits like that there’s no need to feel guilty about never actually running in that marathon you’ve always talked about.

Makes You Smarter
Traveling and experiencing new cultures is known to increase intelligence.  Do you come in last at every Pub Quiz Night you attend?  Maybe a week on the Amalfi Coast or a Caribbean island will change that.  It can’t hurt.

Learn Something New
Why read about history in a book or watch a documentary when you can experience it for yourself.  There’s no better way to learn and retain information than with a first hand experience.

Healthier Relationships
According to the US Travel Association, couples who often travel together have been found to have happier and healthier relationships.  While it may not make your husband any more willing to ask for directions, couples who often face the challenges of traveling to foreign countries are found to have stronger relationships. 

Gain A Fresh Perspective
Getting away from the day-to-day grind will help you better deal with life’s hurdles.  People often find that they return from a get-away with a clear head and fresh solutions to the struggles they may be dealing with in their lives

Lifetime Memories
You’ll have experiences that will last a lifetime and stories to tell for years to come.  Not to mention, all those fabulous photos to improve your Instagram feed.

Meet New People
One of my favorite things about traveling is meeting new people.  People are much more open to chatting and sharing their experience while on vacation than in regular day-to-day life.  There is something to learn from everyone you meet especially fellow travelers.

Learn A New Language
Parlez-vous Francais?  Parli Italiano? Traveling to a new country is a great opportunity to learn a new language or at least a handful of words and phrases.  Not only is it interesting to study a foreign language but it’s also the proper traveling etiquette when a guest in another country. 

International Vacation Home Exchange offers luxury homes in 70 countries around the world.  Whether your travel interests are golfing, skiing, beaching or any other type of vacation, IVHE has the perfect property for your home away from home.  Call the IVHE travel coordinator team today to start making your travel plans.  What exotic destination will you be jetting off to?

Thank you to travel blogger Lisa Medeiros.  Follow her on Twitter @lisamedeiros_

Photo Credits: photos are property of Lisa Browne.  Follow her on Instagram @thefabulisetraveler 

Relive the Past By Visiting Present Day Plovdiv



I am fascinated (some may call it obsessed) with ancient history. Every city has a past that exits today in the present. Every building tells a story of war, illness, natural disasters, and perseverance. Though many ancient cities are gone today; their past lives on in history books. There are, however, ancient cities that are very much alive today. Rome and Athens are two examples of ancient cities that are still around today. But there are other ancient cities that are very much alive, but not as well known as Rome and Greece.

I prefer to take the road less traveled when it comes to vacations. One ancient city that I have my eyes on is Plovdiv. Plovdiv is in modern day Bulgaria. Today, it is the second-largest city in Bulgaria. Plovdiv is one of the oldest cities in Europe with a history of habitation going back more than 8,000 years – even older than Athens. The settlement was originally Thracian, but it became a major Greek and later Roman city.

Today, the city has more than 200 archaeological sites. It is like a candy store for those who love history. Probably the best-known site is the Ancient Theatre of Plovdiv. The theater was built in the beginning of the 2nd century when the city was part of the Roman Empire. Another history site in the heart of the city is the Ancient Stadium. The Ancient Stadium was the site of many athletic games (again during the Roman Empire). Sadly, time has taken a hold of the stadium. Today, you can only see a few rows of one section.

Some other places of interest in Plovdiv:

·         Bachkovo Monastery
·         Old Town Plovdiv
·         Asen’s Fortress
·         Ruins of Eumolpias

History aside, Plovdiv also has a rich culture. The city is home to several museums and art galleries. If you need a recess from your history lesson, you can either hit the Pamporovo ski resort or one of the many spas south of the city.

When it is time to rest, you can head back to the International Vacation Home Exchange property that is located just an hour outside of town. The home exchange apartment is at the foot of the Rila Mountains. This home exchange is the perfect place to not only soak in some history, but also some scenery. This vacation is the perfect excuse to escape the present and live in the past.


Thank you to travel writer Carla Pruitt. You can follow Carla on Twitter at @crobscarla 

California Dreaming: San Francisco


It was a last minute decision, made after a couple of drinks (well, okay, maybe a couple more than a couple) at an office holiday party.

“Let’s go to San Francisco!” I said. My husband was astoundingly agreeable to my vacation plans, and so a week later we found ourselves at Orlando International Airport, suitcases in hand and boarding passes printed, waiting to travel to California. We have a friend in the area, so we weren’t utterly out of our element, but this would be my first time in the Bay area in over a decade, and a first for my husband entirely. We weren’t exactly sure what to expect, but despite chilly temperatures what we found was an amazingly warm and inviting city.

When you think of San Francisco, you probably picture the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, barking sea lions lounging on the wharf, and eating clam chowder out of a sourdough bread bowl at Pier 39. These are all definitely things we sought out during our week-long vacation, but of all of the things we did on our trip, they weren’t the sights that stood out the most. We spent the bulk of our time in Excelsior, Mission Street, and Daly City, which are largely regarded as some of the last blue collar, working class neighborhoods in the Bay area. As any local will tell you, each neighborhood in San Francisco is a world unto itself. For us, these particular neighborhoods came to feel like a second home. Climbing to the water tower at the peak of McLaren Park afforded us sweeping views of the entire area and helped us get our bearings. The redwoods there are far from the largest that California boasts, but to two Florida natives such as ourselves, it was a grand experience.

Each little corner store and bodega was a treasure trove of exotic produce and snacks, there were unique and inviting bars on almost every street, and the hole-in-the-wall restaurants were among the best we’ve ever encountered. My husband took a special shine to Pupusas (a traditional Salvidorian food, which is essentially a stuffed corn tortilla and something I could happily eat every day for a month). In this corner of SF there are so many vibrant cultures and such an eclectic mix of people; it’s an atmosphere that simply cannot be recreated or imitated. Of course, the local watering hole played no small part in our rosy outlook on the trip – a special thanks is definitely due to the crew at The Broken Record and Hood Grub for keeping our bellies full and our constitutions properly fortified during our travels.
San Francisco’s many tourist destinations are well worth a visit; we could easily have spent several days in Japantown alone and the Botanical Gardens were a sight to behold. However, if there is any one thing that really resonated with us during our travels, it would have to be the completely unique atmosphere and culture that we found in the heart of the working class districts. 

We’re already planning our next vacation out west and I’d happily encourage you to do the same. IVHE offers a host of different properties in SF, from Oakland to Golden Gate Park, so you’re sure to find a neighborhood with a particular rhythm that seems to speak right to you.


Thank you to our guest blogger Emma Sledge 



New England: A Year-Round Destination


Having grown up in New England, summer vacations always consisted of road trips to see all the natural beauty that was offered right in our own backyard.  I remember piling in the station wagon, AAA Trip-Tik maps at hand, a quick stop to pick up a few canisters of film and extra flash cubes, and off we were to enjoy the beauty of one of our bordering states. On a road trip in that part of America you would barely finish your first article in Tiger Beat Magazine and you’d already be crossing state line.

Since then I’ve not only married and had a family of my own but have lived abroad for a number of years.  My family and I have traveled across several continents and I was always amazed at how many people around the world have New England on their Bucket List.  I guess I shouldn’t really be surprised but to me it’s always just been home.  We were traveling in Tallinn, Estonia a few years back and I started chatting with a woman sitting next to me at lunch.  She mentioned that she has always dreamed of visiting Vermont to see the fall foliage and hoped to vacation on Cape Cod one summer.  “Now, is Boston a city or is that a state?”  I would get asked that a lot.  Not only in foreign countries but I was asked that a few times while living in the Midwest.  That’s actually not a joke.

If New England isn’t on your Bucket List you’ll definitely want to include it after reading all the splendor that exists there.  Search the luxury homes offered through International Vacation Home Exchange and plan to spend your next home swap exploring New England.

Maine
Maine offers so much to see and do especially for the outdoor enthusiast.  Acadia National Park is a breathtaking national treasure on the coast of Maine.  Throughout the state there are so many quaint towns and lighthouse attractions to visit.  Offering both great skiing, hiking/biking trails and shoreline communities, there always plenty to enjoy no matter the season.  We all know Maine is known for having“wicked” good lobster but did you know that Portland has been making quite a name for itself for all types of cuisine?  The Food Network recently named Portland as one of the top 3 culinary destinations in the entire US.  That might be reason enough to plan a visit.


Massachusetts is home to beautiful Cape Cod, probably my favorite places on Earth.  Each Cape Cod town offers its own unique charm.  Whether you walk, bike or relax on the beach, it will be a vacation you won’t forget.  Be sure to add a ferry ride to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket to your itinerary.  Visiting the historic sights of Boston is only a short drive away.  Venture a few hours west and you’ll be enjoying all the charm that the Berkshires have to offer.  There’s so much to see and do in this great state.

Mystic Seaport and Mystic Aquarium are top attractions in this New England state.  There you can learn about maritime history and visit the whales, sea lions and penguins on display.  Connecticut offers a few casino options with Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods as well as museums and shoreline attractions.  This small state is packed with something for everyone.

There’s a mere 18 miles of shoreline offered in this state but you’ll find it full of rich, natural beauty.  Mount Washington offers every outdoor activity imaginable for you to enjoy.  The 71 square miles of Lake Winnipesaukee, located at the foothills of the White Mountains, offer something year round for everyone to enjoy.

Tour the mansions to see how the other half lives, visit the beaches or take a walk around Newport. Don’t miss a ferry ride to spend the day exploring Block Island.  There are so many attractions offered in the Ocean State.

Vermont
Last but certainly not least of the New England States is Vermont.  Home to the amazing slopes of Killington, Sugarbush and Stowe among others.  It’s of course, known for its beyond breathtaking leaf peeping opportunities, and there are numerous lakes to enjoy.  There is no such thing as “off-season” in Vermont.  It doesn’t matter when you visit this beautiful state there is always something magical to experience. 

Well, that’s my “How I Spent My Summer Vacation, circa 1976” story.  That reminds me, I need to call my Mom.  Book one of IVHE’s luxury properties today and start making your own unforgettable New England memories.



Thank you travel blogger Lisa Medeiros.  Follow her on Twitter @lisamedeiros_

Ancient City is Alive Again


The ghosts of an ancient Italian city are very much alive thanks to a project intended to preserve their final resting place. Located near Naples, Pompeii attracts millions of visitors every single year. If you aren’t familiar with the history of Pompeii, here is a quick history lesson. The city was destroyed and buried under several feet of volcanic ash during the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius back in 79 AD. The eruption also killed thousands of the city’s residents who were unable to escape. Archaeologists have since excavated the city (centuries after the eruption).

Aside from buildings, archaeologists also found many of the residents of Pompeii entombed in casts. Today, you can see these casts as you tour the remains of this once vibrant city. Mt. Vesuvius is still a very active volcano. In fact, it is regarded as one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world. But don’t worry; the volcano hasn’t erupted in quite some time. The last eruption was back in the 1940s.

This citywide museum is one of Italy’s most popular tourist attractions. However, the herds of people, combined with weather and time have all taken a toll on the remains of Pompeii. Rising up through the ashes, is the Great Pompeii Project. The project started a few years ago, when the European Union pledged funding to restore Pompeii. As part of the project, six newly restored villas recently reopened to the public. The sites include a merchant’s house, a bathing structure, a laundry house, and a business that sold fabric. Officials pledge to continue to keep a dead city alive.

Are you ready to visit Pompeii? Let’s talk about travel. You can certainly stay near Pompeii. I would suggest staying at a exquisite International Vacation Home Exchange property #0861 in the nearby city of Campania. First, you have what could arguably be one of the best views of the Amalfi Coastline from your vacation home exchange. You can enjoy that view from your private swimming pool. Second, you can take the train Pompeii. You could drive but the parking fees to park near the entrance to Pompeii can set you back. So I would recommend taking the train to get to Pompeii.

I should mention that Campania is also known for its ancient ruins. Also, the city of Naples is also close by. So if you love history, book a vacation home exchange and visit Pompeii. And if you do go, be sure to share your story with us.



 Thank you to guest travel blogger Carla Pruitt. You can follow Carla on Twitter at @crobscarla 

5 European City Breaks to Book this Year


International Vacation Home Exchange offers many charming European properties located in city center of some of Europe’s most visited cites.  Consider using your IVHE credits to book several short getaways this year and enjoy the rich history and architecture of some of the most popular destinations around the world.

Barcelona
Book one of these exclusive homes in Spain when visiting Barcelona to enjoy all the rich Gaudi architecture this amazing city has to offer.  Visit Sagrada Familia, Park Guell, or just walk the bustling sidewalks of Las Ramblas and wander the cobblestone side streets.  Offering both city life and beach life, it’s no wonder Barcelona is a favorite among travelers. 

Paris
Experience “The City of Light” from one of these great vacation homes in France.  If you haven’t yet had the chance to see the Mona Lisa, Notre Dame or climbed to the top of the Eiffel Tower then add Paris to your City Break list. Of course you could never visit this city too many times.

London
If you fancy a castle tour then put London on your must-see list and stay in one of these charming properties across the UK.  Tower of London, Big Ben, Buckingham palace and a flight on the London Eye are just a few of the attractions to experience.  You may even run into one of the Royals as you make your way from one attraction to the next.

Rome
If you’re in need of a little Dolce Vita in your life then select a special vacation homes in Italy, you may not want to leave.  Rome offers so many well know attractions all within a short distance of one another.  Whether you are taking in the history of the Colosseum, throwing a coin over your shoulder into Trevi Fountain or just people watching in Piazza Novona, Rome is a get away you’ll never forget.

Amsterdam
Experience all Amsterdam has to offer and at the end of the day return to one of these fun properties.  If you’ve never had an opportunity to tour the Anne Frank House you’ll want to be sure to add Amsterdam to you travel plans.   Along with its many other museums and active nightlife, this beautiful canal city makes a great stop on your City Break tour.

Wondering what’s the best way to see all that these cities have to offer? You’ll find there are many options available to you.  Walking tours are always a great way to learn history and little known facts about an area.  Almost all European cities offer bike rentals to visitors.  Biking is always a great way to get a real feel for an area.  If you prefer giving your legs a rest, Hop-On-Hop Off Bus Tours are an easy, relaxing way to see all the attractions while offering a great means of transportation.  Don’t rule out getting the true “living like a local” experience by learning the public transportation system and walking to your desired destinations.

IVHE has properties in 70 countries around the world.  That’s a lot of city breaks.  Consider spreading out your accumulated credits with several short trips by staying in some of IVHE’s smaller city properties and watch how quickly your passport will fill up with stamps.


Thank you to travel blogger Lisa Medeiros.  Follow her on Twitter @lisamedeiros_

Be Careful: Zika Virus


Traveling comes with any risk of contracting an unwanted illness. There’s a reason why you and me are supposed to get vaccinations and preventative medication for things like Malaria, Typhoid, and Yellow Fever. Contracting any one of these can be a post-vacation buzz killer for sure. Now another virus is making headlines and it has even prompted travel alerts from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Pam American Health Organization (PAHO).

No, I am not talking about Ebola. Though, if you are planning on traveling to Africa soon, you may want to check in and see where the Ebola outbreak stands. I am talking about the Zika virus. Like many illnesses, the Zika virus is spread to people through mosquitoes. The first alert for Zika virus was issued in May of last year. Since then, there have been several reports of travelers contracting the Zika virus. According to the CDC, the most common symptoms of the Zika virus are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis. Health officials are also looking into whether the virus is connected to Guillain-Barre syndrome.

Cases of Zika virus have been confirmed in the following countries:
 
- Mexico
- Honduras
- Brazil
- Barbados
- Colombia
- Ecuador
- Guatemala
- Panama
- Puerto Rico
- Saint Martin
- Venezuela
- Paraguay
- Haiti
- Guyana

Unlike illnesses like Typhoid and Yellow Fever, there is no current vaccine for Zika virus. So if you are traveling to any of the countries listed above, you need to take some precautions. First, if you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant, you may want to avoid traveling to any of those countries for now. There have been tests that have linked Zika to a condition called microcephaly in newborns. If you still have your heart set on that baby moon in Puerto Rico, then you should talk to your healthcare provider. 

If you aren’t pregnant, and have plans to visit an International Vacation Home Exchange in Central or South America, be sure to pack some mosquito repellent; lots of mosquito repellent. Mosquitoes can carry other diseases, like Malaria and West Nile. In fact, the same species of mosquitoes that spread the Zika virus also spread dengue fever and the chikungunya virus. So be sure to spray mosquito repellent on your cloths and skin often. While at your vacation exchange, keep windows and doors shut. And wear long sleeves and pants (if weather permits).

So, should you be worried if you are traveling to an area with confirmed reports of Zika virus?  If you take the proper precautions, then you should be fine. Anytime you travel to a foreign country, you should always take measures to avoid contracting any illness. Before you head to the airport, you should talk to nurses and doctors at your local travel clinic. 

Thank you to travel writer Carla Pruitt. You can follow Carla on Twitter at @crobscarla 

It is always good to take proper precautions to ensure you have the best possible vacation home exchange.   

Baby It's Cold Outside - visit Dubai!


There are some cities in the Northern Hemisphere that are experiencing temperatures well below freezing. It’s honestly kind of depressing and I love snow. If you have some money and some International Vacation Home Exchange credits, then escape the cold and take a ski trip to Dubai. Yes. I am using “ski” and “Dubai” in the same sentence. Believe it or not, Dubai is home to an indoor ski resort. So you can enjoy a winter sport and paradise.

Ski Dubai encompasses more than 22,000 square meters and offers 5 slopes, including a black diamond run. Next to the slopes is a sledding park. Oh, and I almost forgot the mention that there are also penguins! No need to pack winter attire to hit the slopes. Winter clothes are included in the admission price. The ski resort (and penguins) is all part of the Mall of Emirates. The mall is one of the largest malls in the world.

The ski resort isn’t the only reason why you should visit Dubai. There are several reasons why you should book a vacation exchange in this amazing city.

The weather. Even in December, you will need to pack sunscreen. Dubai typically sees temperatures in the 80s and 90s all year round.
The Man-made Islands. Dubai has a pretty cool site for tourists. The city created man-made islands into shapes off the coastline.
The shopping. The city is known for its luxurious shopping. And as I mentioned earlier, Dubai is home to one of the largest malls in the world. In the Souk Madinat, there are waterways that will bring you from one store to the next.
The buildings. Dubai is like a candy store for archaeologists. The J W Marriott Marquis Dubai is the world’s tallest hotel, standing at more than a thousand feet from the ground level to the top of its mast. 
New attractions. There are 16 new attractions that are expected to open in Dubai this year. These attractions include the Dubai Safari Park, Riverland Dubai, and what is expected to be the world’s largest ferris wheel.

There are a few things you should know before you travel to Dubai: 
     The city has a zero tolerance when it comes to certain types of prescription drugs. There have been cases of travelers arrested for possessing medication that was legally prescribed. Before you travel, be sure to do your homework.  
     Public intoxication is also a no-no. So if you plan to drink, do so in moderation.
     Public displays of affection are considered indecent. Even handholding can be frowned upon, so avoid any displays of affection with your significant other.
     I would dress on the conservative side. Dubai is one of the stylish cities in the world. However, there has been crackdown on women wearing tight, short, or low-cut clothing in public spaces.

And another thing to remember is that Dubai is an expensive city. So budget wisely. One way to save some money is to book an International Vacation Home Exchange property in Dubai.

Thank you to guest writer Carla Pruitt. You can follow Carla on Twitter at @crobscarla  

Do you have a topic on home exchange you would like to read about?  Email us today.  

What is the soundtrack to your vacation?


Whenever I travel, there are two things that I will always bring with me: a toothbrush and music. Music is what helps me get through long road trips or long plane rides. I like to think of it as a soundtrack to my vacation. The genre is generally anything that is upbeat and fun.  The lyrics will usually speak to the journey that awaits me when I arrive to my destination.

Now, I should say that I am writing this post with a heavy heart. Recently, the music world lost Eagles guitarist Glenn Frey. Frey died January 18th at the age of 67. I grew up listening to the Eagles. One of my favorite memories from my travels is driving along a long dusty highway in Mexico with my husband, listening to “Hotel California” and “Tequila Sunrise” over and over and over again. The Eagles has been a featured band on my vacation soundtrack for many of my trips, including the one to Totos Santos. I wrote about that trip recently. Frey’s death had me reminiscing about those few days my husband and I were in Mexico. Rest in peace Glenn. I will forever embrace your legacy during my travels around the globe. 

What’s the soundtrack to your vacation? Are there songs that you will always listen to when you are traveling to your International Vacation Home Exchange? Are there songs that bring you back to that trip to Mexico, or France, or Hawaii? When you walk alongside an ocean, is there a particular song that plays in your head? Music has a way of setting the backbeat to any trip. You may pass the time on a road trip by singing your favorite songs out loud. These memories will follow you for the rest of your life.

Here is a sample of my vacation soundtrack:

Billie Jean – Michael Jackson
Girls Just Want to Have Fun – Cyndi Lauper
Hotel California – The Eagles
Livin’ on a Prayer – Bon Jovi
Dark Horse – Katy Perry
Carry On – Fun
Piano Man – Billy Joel
Hey Jude – Beatles
Thriller – Michael Jackson
Californication – Red Hot Chili Peppers
Margaretville – Jimmy Buffett
Take It Easy – The Eagles
My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark – Fall Out Boy
Warriors – Imagine Dragons
Fluers du mal – Sarah Brightman
And every song from the musical “Wicked”.

Wherever your travels will take you, be sure to set the soundtrack for your vacation.

“Travel the world and the seven seas. Everybody is looking for something.” –Eurythmics

Thank you to travel writer Carla Pruitt. You can follow Carla on Twitter at @crobscarla


Why You Should Take a Momcation


I love my son. I love his giggles. I love his snuggles. I love watching him discover the world. And most importantly, I love being his mommy. But being a mom can be exhausting. It is a full-time job where there are no sick days or paid days off. I also work full-time as an instructional designer. Needless to say, I could use a little time to myself.

I know I am not the only one. I’m sure there are several women out there in need of a little momcation. What is a momcation exactly? It is a vacation from your motherly duties. In other words, it is a break from housework, homework, tantrums, and Mickey Mouse (seriously, if I have to do the hot dog dance one more time…). And if you are a mom, you should consider taking a momcation. Why? Well, there are a few reasons.

1)    Motherhood is a full-time job. We are always told to take vacations from work to help recharge the batteries. Well, motherhood is a full-time job and like any profession, you need a break. Even if it is just for a few days.  
2)    Your partner (or other caregivers) may appreciate you more. Now generally, spouses or partners already recognize the work that you do to care for your family. However, they will likely gain a whole new level of respect when the shoe is on the other foot so to speak.
3)    Your little family will grow. Believe it or not, removing yourself for just a little while may help your family bond in your absence.  

Are you ready to pack your bags yet? I know just writing this post makes me want to book a momcation right away. However cost can be a big factor for moms who are working with budgets that include diapers, clothes, and formula. Some good news - you can enjoy an affordable and fun momcation. How?  Here are a few options.

1)    Take a road trip with a close friend. You don’t have to travel to the ends of the Earth to get a little mommy time. You can grab a friend and take a weekend trip to a nearby city or town. You can split the costs for gas and food.
2)    Go on a trip with your significant other. When was the last time you took a trip with your partner when it was just the two of you? Arrange to have someone watch your kids, book an International Vacation Home Exchange, and head for the airport or train station. Many airlines have been pushing deals lately, so start doing some research.
3)    Or travel solo. Maybe you don’t have access to someone to watch your kids. Hand off the motherly duties to your partner and take a solo momcation. And be sure to pamper yourself. Remember, you don’t have to worry about naptimes or tantrums. You can even sleep in if you want.

Even moms need a little break sometimes. And a momcation is the perfect way to recharge your mind and soul. I promise your kids won’t suffer any long-term damage in your absence. Hopefully your husband will still be on speaking terms with you when you return (he will, trust me).
So what are you waiting for momma? Time to put down that Dr. Seuss book and start planning all the places you can go on your momcation!

Thanks to guest travel writer Carla Pruitt. You can follow Carla on Twitter at @crobscarla
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