You’ve heard the saying: “Have an attitude of gratitude.”   

I thoroughly believe that expressing gratitude is important every day, not just during the holidays.

When I reflect on my life, I realize how much I have to be thankful for: my family; my friends; my boyfriend; my crazy cats; and good health.

But, this is a travel blog, so I want to share my gratitude for a variety of things related to travel.


1 – Growing Up in the Washington, DC Area

Our nation’s capital is the center of government for the United States as well as a popular tourist destination.  Living in the area, I sometimes forget how lucky I am to be so close to such a fascinating city with so much to do and see.

When I was a child, I was fortunate to go to DC frequently with my family (typically after church on a Sunday afternoon).  I can’t count the times my siblings and I ran down the steps inside the Washington Monument, admired the paintings in The National Gallery of Art, checked out the cherry blossoms around the Tidal Basin, and had picnics on The Mall. 

The Capitol Building in Washington, DC
The Capitol Building in Washington, DC

2 – A Bad Case of Wanderlust

My insatiable curiosity about the world has resulted in a bad case of wanderlust. Although I loved growing up near and exploring the DC area, I knew there had to be more.

I’m thankful that I’ve been able to travel quite a bit thus far.  I’ve been to many places in North America (the United States; Canada; Mexico; Puerto Rico); Central America (Costa Rica); Europe (Italy; Vatican City; France; Monaco); Israel; The Bahamas; and Guadeloupe. 

Although my travel bucket list (below) is constantly being updated, I am going to do my best to visit as many destinations on my list as possible. 

What, you don’t have a bucket list?  You should make one right away.  You won’t believe how a bucket list can help you live a fuller life.


3 – Budget-Friendly Transportation Options

There are so many transportation options today, travel is affordable no matter what your budget:

  • Airlines such as Southwest offer frequent airfare sales. 
  • Bus and train fare can be purchased for as little as $1 each way via Wanderu
  • When visiting major cities by car, parking can be reserved in advance via Parking Panda.
  • When I don’t feel like driving, ridesharing options such as Uber allow me to sit back and relax while someone else takes the wheel.  
Inside a cool Uber I took in New Orleans
Inside the fun Uber I took in New Orleans –
the driver had a strobe light & karaoke!!

4 – Affordable Lodging Options

When I travel, I prefer to spend my money on experiences, not fancy accommodations since I’m typically only in the room long enough to sleep.  Luckily, there are more affordable lodging options today than ever before. 

One example is Hotels.comThey have a deal where if youbook 10 nights through them, you earn 1 free night.  Who doesn’t want to stay somewhere for free?!  I’m happy to say that I have a free night just waiting to be used.  (Hmmm…where should I go…??)

Another affordable lodging option is Airbnb.   Through Airbnb, I’ve stayed in some nice places that felt more like home (especially since I was IN a home) that cost less than many hotels in the same area.

My Airbnb in Asheville, NC - a large master suite with private bathroom
My Airbnb in Asheville, NC – a large master suite with a private bathroom

5 – The Amazing Men & Women in the Hospitality Industry

Dealing with anxious travelers isn’t for the faint of heart.  The amazing men and women who work in the hospitality industry deserve huge thanks for their endless patience and willingness to go the extra mile to help make our vacations as pleasant as possible.  

My Southwest Airlines pilot & co-pilot on my Costa Rica trip
Me with 2 of Southwest Airlines’ awesome pilots

One personal experience I had with people going the extra mile was when I went to Costa Rica.  When I travel internationally, I try the native language as much as possible – out of respect and to make my trip that much more fun.  Costa Rica was no different. 

While there, I tried to speak Spanish as much as I could.  Since I took it waaay back in high school, I didn’t remember too much.  Several of the people who worked at the resorts where I stayed offered to help me with my Spanish if I let them practice their English with me. I thought it was a great idea and loved every minute of it. Such kind gestures from thoughtful people who helped make my trip more enjoyable. 

Another great but underutilized resource in the hospitality industry are hotel concierges.  These men and women can be a huge help to hotel guests. They can provide recommendations for tours and restaurants; help secure tickets to a show or concert; and plan special events if given enough notice.  The best part and a little-known secret:  even budget travelers can use their services!

6 – Discounts on Restaurants, Tours & More

Since I found Ebates & Groupon, I’ve been able to earn cashback and get discounts on restaurant deals, winery and distillery tours.  I even got a great vacation deal to Costa Rica!  

The Villa Blanca Eco Resort & Spa in Costa Rica
The gorgeous grounds at the Villa Blanca Eco Resort & Spa in Costa Rica

7 – All the Things I’ve Learned & Experienced During My Travels

When I travel, I always do some research before my trip to figure out where I want to go and what I want to do when I get to my destination(s).  However, I also try to go with the flow. 

The best parts of my trips thus far have been the (often unexpected) benefits of travel I always return home with a new appreciation for home and a broader, more informed view of the world. 

the often unexpected benefits of travel
Even in a beautiful city like Paris, France, homelessness is an epidemic.

8 – The Annual DC Travel & Adventure Show

Every January, I look forward to going to the DC Travel & Adventure Show.  It’s a great place to learn about the places I’m interested in going and learn about new places I’ve never heard of before.

I also get the opportunity to hear and meet some of the best travel experts in the world.  (Click here to find out if a Travel & Adventure Show will be coming to an area near you.)

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What are YOU thankful for? 
Share in the Comments below ⇓.



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