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travel

Brick Factory: Vietnam in Photos
Ashley Cruising Kary World Travel

Exploring Vietnam & Cambodia: Mekong River Cruise

River Cruising Along the Mekong in Vietnam & Cambodia

A few years ago, we went on land/river cruise trip through Vietnam and Cambodia. We had  an amazing time seeing these two countries. There is so much history and culture. Some of the history is hard to take in, especially visiting sites like The Killing Fields and the “Hotel Hanoi” where American POW’s were held during the Vietnam War. Seeing these places in person though is an eye-opening experience. It was sad because so much of the Cambodian history is unknown to many people. But meeting the amazing, resilient people who can always find a reason to smile was so amazing. We also enjoyed seeing the hustle and bustle in Hanoi and Phnom Penh.

This was our first time ever in Asia, and we definitely cannot wait to go back! Our trip was with Viking River Cruises and we had the best guides ever who made the trip even more enjoyable. Here is everything we did and saw during our two weeks Mekong River cruise through Vietnam & Cambodia. Enjoy!

Chicago to Seoul: Read more about our Mekong River cruise on thetravelinggals.com!

That is a long line!

Off We Go…

First we did a lot of flying. A lot. Sarasota to Chicago. Chicago O’Hare to Seoul, South Korea. Seoul to Saigon/Ho Chi Minh (HCM) City, Vietnam. It was about 20 hours of flying. Luckily Korean Air is spectacular and it reminded us again of how terrible it is to fly domestic! We just love the feeling of getting on a plane and then being halfway around the world. Anyone who has traveled internationally understands that amazing feeling.

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World Travel

Bloggers Share Breathtaking Places from Around the World

While there are many beautiful places around the world, sometimes you visit a place that really takes your breath away. Without further ado, here are some of those breathtaking places. Thank you to all of the bloggers who participated!

The Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx - The Traveling Gals

Giza, Egypt from The Traveling Gals: “Seeing the Pyramids and Sphinx in person was an amazing experience we will never forget!”

Bora Bora

Bora Bora – Toniya from The Travelling Panda: “Our trip to Bora Bora was something that completely took our breath away. The beauty of this small gem in such a vast ocean is just indescribable.”

Neuschwanstein, Bavaria

Neuchwanstein, Bavaria – Amy from Sass and Shamrocks: “It may be over done but Schloss Neuchwanstein in Southern Bavaria took my breath away. Whether under a blanket of snow in Winter, the bright sun of Summer or in the stunning colors of Autumn the castle is surreal and utterly fairy tale like!”

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Sister Cities

Where is your hometown’s Sister Cities?

Post by Kary

While on a walk through Bayfront Park, I noticed a plaque recognizing Sarasota’s sister cities with a Ceremonial Tree Walk on March 17, 2003.  Sarasota has 8 sister cities!   The placard whose mission and objective reads “To Foster Peace and Understanding and to Develop Respect and Cooperation through Citizen Diplomacy” piqued my curiosity.   

Do you know your hometown's sister cities?

The Sister city program was developed by President Dwight Eisenhower in 1956.  His vision was to promote citizen diplomacy after having seen the severe hatred and after-effects of World War II.  Sarasota got involved early on in 1963 by pairing up with its first sister city, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.  This was part and parcel due to the local Hispanic heritage.  Visits began and to commemorate the exchange to this day there is an Avenida Sarasota in Santo Domingo and the Plaza de Santo Domingo is located next Sarasota’s Municipal Auditorium.  A relationship was maintained through the 1980s when Santo Domingo decided to partner with Miami and New York City instead.  Sarasota declared them to have emeritus status and moved on over the years to its current 8 sisters.

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How to Stay Fit on Vacation When You Don’t Really Want to Work Out

How to Stay Fit on Vacation When You Don’t Really Want To Work Out…

Post by Kary

How to Stay Fit On Vacation

Stairs are your friend!

 

One of the best parts of taking a vacation is stepping out of your everyday routine. For most of us, working out while on vacation is probably the last thing on your mind. Even though you know you should, you really don’t want to.  For me, I work out extra hard and extra long the entire week leading up to going out of town.  This helps give me the boost I need to not have to maintain my early morning regimen while I’m away.  However, I still want to fit into my bathing suit, so I try to stay as active as possible while having a great time!  Check out some of these suggestions to stay active with having to “work out”:

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More Things to do in Sarasota, FL

More Things To Do in Sarasota

Post by Ashley

This is a follow-up to our Top 3 Must-Do’s in Sarasota post! There are so many great things to do in this small city on the Suncoast. After you’ve hit the main areas in Sarasota, you definitely have to check out these other great places in our beautiful city that we are lucky to now call home.

Ringling Ca'd'Zan: More Things to do in Sarasota, FL

Ringling Museum

The John & Mable Ringling Museum is one of our favorite places to go in Sarasota. The museum features two great sections, the circus museums and the art museum. We wrote a post about what to see and do at Ringling because it is so great!

Marie Selby Gardens

Marie Selby Gardens are located on the bay, right near downtown Sarasota which makes for gorgeous views while you are walking around the grounds. Some of the highlights are the Conservatory which features an array of tropical plants, Bamboo Garden, Banyan Grove, and the Children’s Gardens. Check out their website for more information.

Bridge Street - Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island is actually about a 45 minute drive from Sarasota but is so worth it. This is a quant, charming area to walk around with excellent ocean views and no tall buildings or chain retailers allowed. You can even see the cruise ships departing from Tampa on certain evenings around sunset. Check out our post on how to make the most of your time in AMI!

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Is it okay to take your kids out of school to travel?

Is It OK to Take Your Kids Out of School to Travel?

Post by Kary

This is a question hotly debated by parents all over the country.  My answer to this question is YES!  You should absolutely allow your child to miss school for travel.  The only caveat being if they are truly struggling and even then you should still consider it.

Is it ok to take your kids out of school for travel? - The Traveling Gals

In my own experience, I have never hesitated at taking my daughter out of school to travel from pre-school throughout college.  I am sure this is why she is the main Traveling Gal, Ashley!  Education goes far beyond the classroom.  While the classroom is the foundation and largest part of studies, life experience is crucial to learning and overall education.  I have always stressed the importance of a solid, first-rate schooling and my daughter achieved that goal.  However, there is no substitute for experiencing culture, lifestyle, history and landscape for yourself.  To study World War I and II and then travel through Europe only strengthens your knowledge and deepens your understanding.  After learning about the Vietnam War and then traveling through Vietnam you gain perspective that can never be found in books.  The same can be said for the current world situation.  We are inundated with information regarding the global state or affairs.  To visit other places you only hear about, can completely reshape your mindset about issues and develop a more well-rounded viewpoint.   There is also unparalleled benefit in spending time as others live in other parts of the world or even our own country.  Firsthand exposure to other cultures and standards of living is an education unto itself.

It is up to you as the parent to make the most of travel.  You need to emphasize the educational aspects and teach your children how to appreciate learning while having fun.   Anticipation and planning are an important part of taking a big trip.  Here are some ideas on how to prepare in advance to make the most out of the academic side of travel:

  • Research important significant places in each city you visit and read so you are informed before you get there;
  • Download podcasts that correspond to places you are visiting.  Many museums and historical landmarks offer podcasts on-line.
  • Read travel essays or novels that take place in the countries you are visiting;
  • Educate yourself and your children on exciting events that have taken place where you are traveling;
  • Try a new sport or going to a sporting event from the country you will be in.

My daughter has been provided with a very well rounded education as well as a mature view of the world and her place in it through both the classroom and travel.  Although an excellent student, her journeys while growing up have proved equally important.  As a Mother, our travels together have been the best times of my life.  It is priceless bonding time and worth a few make-up tests and homework assignments.

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[Infographic] Dining Etiquette from Around the World

Dining Etiquette from Around the World

Some of the biggest cultural faux-pas’ are made at the dinner table. Different cultures have different etiquettes and this handy infographic gives you the tips to make sure you are a gracious guest! Thank you to The Dunloe for providing us with this great guide!

Dining Etiquette from Around the World

Again, thank you to The Dunloe for this infographic!

Have you ever accidentally done something that was considered rude while traveling? Let us know in the comments!

The Traveling Gals

Medellin Flower Fest - The Traveling Gals
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7 Best International Spring Flower Festivals

Spring is in the air! Here are seven flower festivals from around the world:

Flower Festivals Around the World - Hanami, Japan

Hanami – Japan Cherry Blossoms
The cherry blossom holds a very prominent position in Japanese culture. There are several varieties of cherry trees (Sakura) in Japan and most of them bloom for just a few days in spring. The Japanese celebrate the yearly flower viewing with a celebration called Hanami. Hanami is an over thousand-year tradition celebrated by people hosting parties and feasts under the blossoming trees. The National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington DC began in 1912 with a gift of cherry blossom trees from the Mayor of Tokyo. The gift was given as a symbol of friendship and the continuing relationship between the two countries.

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Towles Court - The Traveling Gals
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Towles Court Artist Colony

Towles Court Creative Arts Community

Tucked away amongst the moss-draped oak trees in the Laurel Park neighborhood of downtown Sarasota is the Towles Court Creative Arts Community.  In 1905 Sarasota’s first Mayor built his home in this area along with a nine-hole golf course.  In the 1920’s William Towles turned the golf course into a small residential neighborhood.  The area went through periods of prosperity and peril until 1983 when NJ Olivieri saw potential in Sarasota and bought up decaying properties in the area with the intention of razing them and building new homes.  Instead friends approached him with the concept of developing an artists’ colony instead.  In December, 1995 Towles Court Artist Colony was born when the first artist signed a lease.

Towles Court - The Traveling Gals

Traveling Gals Tip:  If you are visiting Sarasota, the third Friday of each month Towles Court hosts an art walk with live music, wine and a chance to experience all the creative arts offered.

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14 Romantic Destinations: Tahiti - The Traveling Gals
World Travel

14 Romantic Destinations to Visit

14 Romantic Destinations to Visit

It’s almost Valentine’s Day, which means lots of pictures of flowers on Facebook. Even if you don’t have a significant other, these destinations are still great to visit with friends, family, or even for a relaxing solo trip!

We personally would love if someone handed us a plane ticket (and their credit card) to one of these romantic destinations:

Paris.

14 Romantic Destinations: Paris - The Traveling Gals

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