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My name is Jeannie Mark

I’m a mid-lifer who quit a growing corporate career to reawaken my passions — and forge a life set by my own rules.

4 Years of Travel

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The Positive Side of Vacation Package Deals

If you’re a longtime reader of this site, you know that I tend to focus on independent travel. But the truth is there are many ways to have a great travel experience that doesn’t focus on hyper-adventure.

Typical travelers only have about 10 days to spare in their busy lives, which could make a vacation package a smart choice. If you’re unaware what a vacation package is, it usually refers to researching for vacation deals that include the cost of a hotel, airfare, and even a rental car in one price.


October 26th, 2016|Categories: Travel Tips|0 Comments

Travel Guide to Las Vegas for Non-Gamblers

Las Vegas has a larger-than-life reputation that’s often portrayed in films and in the media as the casino mecca of the world. In the film “Ocean’s Eleven,” the portrayal of flashy wealth and high rollers makes Las Vegas alluring with the potential promise of winning thousands or millions of dollars by spending hours gambling in a casino.

Despite the tempting glitz of Las Vegas, you might be the type of traveler who doesn’t want to spend all your time in a casino.

While the architectural design of many casinos keeps you inside, you can find ways to escape them and sample a different side to Las Vegas.

Where to Stay in Las Vegas


Image via Flickr by D-Stanley

Even though you may want to sample casinos only for a short amount of time, you can begin researching hotel deals and searching for hotels with casinos attached. Since gaming hotels are architecturally planned to encourage visitors to stay indoors, these facilities have several on-site restaurants and entertainment venues. Having this immediate access allows you to conveniently find food to eat or join an entertainment show once you’ve returned from sightseeing off-site.

No Casinos At All

Perhaps you want to avoid casinos altogether to mitigate the higher cost of staying in a gaming hotel. My suggestion is to seek out non-gaming hotels. A thorough search on the internet will offer more than 30 options to choose from. To further boost your cost savings measures, using coupons from Priceline is a terrific way to save more money.

Hike Red Rock

Las Vegas is in Nevada’s Mojave Desert, which affords the traveler with ample opportunities to experience nature. Just outside the city is gorgeous Red Rock Canyon, offering outdoor lovers easy and difficult hikes and mountain biking trails for extreme sports junkies. If you rent a car and drive, the entrance fee to the canyon is only $7, but plan to go early before the midday heat strikes. Remember to pack a hat, along with plenty of water.

Visit the Grand Canyon

Although the Grand Canyon is several hours from Las Vegas, a number of tour companies offer day trips or helicopter rides to the canyon. Choosing to do a short jaunt here is ideal for anyone who may not make a visit to the Grand Canyon anytime soon. Frankly, the endless vistas are worth a limited look.

Party on Fremont Street

The Strip does have sparkling lights and luxury galore, along with high prices. Downtown Vegas is affordable and oozes with character. Play slots, imbibe on cheap drinks, people-watch, and go inside a few dive bars. What you notice is an easygoing atmosphere that’s reminiscent of Bourbon Street in New Orleans.

See the Neon Museum Boneyard

The outdoor space of the Neon Museum Boneyard will impress you with the iconic neon signs that once glowed in the early days of Las Vegas’ rough-and-tumble beginnings. You’ll come across casino signs such as Stardust, El Cortez, and the Lucky Cuss Motel. Visit the museum’s website to book a tour.

This non-gambling guide will have you enjoying Las Vegas in a new, profound way.

October 17th, 2016|Categories: Travel Tips|1 Comment

The Ultimate Guide to Nashville

Nashville is a rollicking destination that’s worth a visit, especially if you’re a music fan. A good part of blues, rock, and country music originated from here and set ablaze the careers of many music stars. The city continues to serve as a source of creativity for many musicians trying to succeed, which makes Nashville a fun playground to see up-and-coming live music acts or revisit stars of the past.

If you’re interested in immersing yourself in the musical environment of Nashville, include this city guide in your planning. Discover the top things to do, where to stay when you’re in Nashville, and which restaurants serve the most delicious Southern food.


Image via Flickr by kla4067

Traveling to Nashville

Flying to Nashville is not difficult, since many major airlines stop at the Nashville International Airport. Deals as low as $67 for a one-way flight are easily found on travel search engines. However, another rewarding way to explore the city is by driving your own car or renting one.

Getting Around

Once you arrive, staying in the downtown area places you within walking distance of landmarks, restaurants, and any other special events happening during your visit. If you prefer something faster than walking, the tourism board has set up a free transportation service called the Music City Circuit, which travels throughout the downtown core every 10 to 15 minutes.

Best Music Venues

Obviously, where you choose to catch live music depends on your musical tastes. If you enjoy bluegrass, country, rock, blues, or anything else I haven’t named here, you’ll find these musical styles and more in this city. For music history buffs, or for those who simply enjoy a live band, historical venues such as The Station Inn and Robert’s Western World will give you hours of songs, drinks, and emotional lyrics. The Guardian has a starter guide on Nashville’s music venues that should help you.

Best Food

Southern food has some deep-seated roots, yet somehow this type of food is also timeless. This timeless quality contributes to the reasons that restaurants in Nashville stay open for more than 50 years, continuing to attract customers daily. Southern food is known for biscuits, grits, crispy fried chicken, collard greens, and sweet potato pie, and all these dishes can be found around town. I suggest starting at historical restaurants such as The Loveless Café or Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack. Here’s one vital tip: Simply ask locals where they like to eat.

Music History

If you’re a bona fide music buff, then a visit to many of the city’s music museums is in order. The best ones to tour are the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, and RCA Studio B. To book a tour, look on the respective websites of the venues and reserve your tickets online. If you love Johnny Cash, you’ll also find a museum in his name, which is perfect for his avid fans.

This guide sounds so appealing that I may need to book a trip there myself soon.  

October 10th, 2016|Categories: Travel Tips|0 Comments

Walking Las Ramblas of Barcelona: 7 Tips to Remember


Barcelona is becoming a top destination for female travelers who enjoy its cosmopolitan and effortlessly cool feeling , with its mix of high art and thriving energy. It is a mediterranean city, full of life and great food, where public transportation works well, the streets are clean, and locals are friendly, but respectful.


October 4th, 2016|Categories: Travel Tips|0 Comments

How to Get the Most Out of Travel Search Engines

Planning a trip has become more complicated than in years past. With the massive amount of travel sites offering deals on your New York hotel room, for example, you might find the process dizzying to understand and use for your benefit.

Luckily for you, I’ve put together a smart guide on how to use them properly so that booking a vacation can be more joyful, not painful.


September 29th, 2016|Categories: Travel Tips|0 Comments

Hipmunk Hotels: Grand Rapids, Troy, Lansing, and More!

Michigan has experienced a resurgence in tourism over the past few years. Detroit is slowly building itself up again with interest from investors and business owners who are reclaiming storefronts. The population of Michigan is surging slightly as well, with more professionals buying reasonably priced housing.

All this growth positions Michigan as a more attractive destination for travel, and there are many gems to enjoy outside of Detroit. If you’re interested in taking a tour of this state, here are some sparkling spots, complete with what to do and where to stay.


September 28th, 2016|Categories: Hipmunk|0 Comments