How to Maximize Your Visit to Busch Gardens Williamsburg

How to Maximize Your Visit to Busch Gardens Williamsburg

Whether your visiting Busch Gardens Williamsburg for the first time or you’re a local, making the most out of your visit will help you see and experience all the park has to offer.

Busch Gardens Williamsburg is more than your typical amusement park. It has been voted the “World’s Most Beautiful Park” every year since 1990.   Take time to enjoy the landscape or you’ll miss out on what sets Busch Gardens apart from other theme parks in the US.

How to Maximize Your Visit to Busch Gardens Williamsburg


First, don’t wait in line to purchase your tickets.  Buy your tickets online before you go, redeem at the kiosk (when required) and head right into the park.  Even better?  You can take advantage of Busch Gardens discount coupons to help you save more on your trip.

If you’re planning to visit for multiple days, you may want to consider a seasons pass, at least for one adult.  The hefty parking fee of $15 can add up quickly if you don’t have a seasons pass!

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What We Ate At Moon Palace Resorts Cancun {& Why You Will Want to Eat There Too}

Moon Palace Resorts Food
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When people talk about all-inclusive resorts,  food is always on top of the list.  We love to eat and a good meal, especially one that is included with your stay,  is a priority when planning a vacation.

We had plenty of food to choose from staying at the Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort.  A variety of cuisine is available – from hotdogs to fish to steak. You can eat Asian, Mexican, seafood or lounge poolside.  Whether you’re traveling with a picky eater or a foodie, there is no shortage of restaurant options.

When planning our trip to a new area,  one of the first items on our list is to determine where we should eat.  I want to know other travelers experiences with a  restaurant before I go.  Granted, I’ve been spoiled and dined at some fabulous restaurants, so I am a bit finicky when it comes to food.  However, knowing what others think of a restaurant is a good indicator of the food quality, ambiance and wait staff.

Some of the restaurants at Moon Palace are definitely better than others. We preferred La Trattoria at the Golf Villas, Caribeno in Moon Grand and the Brazilian Steakhouse in Nizuc.

Moon Palace Food La Trattoria

Our favorite meal was at La Trattoria on the last evening of our trip.  A card with our last name was waiting on our table which gave a special touch to the evening.  We were offered a cheese cart, delicious bread that was still warm from the oven, a dessert cart to die for, a palate cleansing treat between courses and fabulous wine.  Everything about the meal was exceptional.  Every time I thought the meal couldn’t get any better – they arrived with another course.

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Moon Palace Resorts Cancun {Should You Go All-Inclusive?}

Moon Palace Resorts

I made my way to Cancun this past September. I desperately wanted to attend a travel bloggers conference and figured combining a retreat with my husband and learning to expand my business was the perfect excuse.

The TBEX conference was held at the Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort. This was my first experience at an all-inclusive resort and I wasn’t disappointed!

Moon Palace Resorts Cancun:

Moon Palace Resorts - room

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Support Passports With Purpose {Win Prizes & Donate to a Great Cause}

Synapse 25

I am thrilled to be participating in Passports with Purpose this year!  If you’re not familiar with Passports with Purpose, it’s an annual travel bloggers’ fundraiser that unites the online community to help people in the places we travel.

Fundraiser Beneficiary:

The 2014 beneficiary is Sustainable Harvest International (SHI). SHI’s mission is to provide farming families in Central America with the training and tools to preserve our planet’s tropical forests while overcoming poverty.

The cool part of the project is that for each $5000 raised during the fundraiser, SHI will help a family in Honduras learn to farm sustainably and feed their family. Training will last for five years with lasting benefits for the entire community.  I personally love that the project lasts five years.  The extended time frame can help to truly make a lifelong difference in the community.

How it works:

Donate $10 on the catalog of prizes; each chance is $10 and all proceeds go to Sustainable Harvest International.  That’s it!  Donate to support a great cause and be entered to win a wide range of fantastic prizes!

The Talking Suitcase Prize:

This year Tom Bihn Company was gracious enough to donate the fabulous Synapse 25 – a $195 value!  I can’t say enough about the Synapse 25. It’s the perfect travel backpack. Durable, roomy, carefully designed backpack that can handle the most rugged travel adventures.

One of the nice features is that the front pocket is deep enough for a 1-liter water bottle.  I need to carry a lot of water when traveling as a family of four.  My kids get cranky when they are hungry or thirsty!

The backpack has a TON of storage room and also includes a water-repellent zipper if we get caught in the rain while hiking or traveling.   You can fit a laptop, clothes, (or an jacket when out and about), toiletries, camera and so much more.  There is even an inner-pocket perfect for a phone.  I can’t travel without a phone!


Ready to win a Tom Bihn Synapse 25, other travel gear, vacation packages and more?

See all the awesome prizes in the 2014 Prize Catalogue and help support this incredible cause!

Thanks so much for your support!

The Basics of Exposure {Photography Tips From a Pro}

The Basics of Exposure {Photography Tips From a Pro}
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As a Mom, traveler, and blogger;  I am constantly trying to learn the art of photography.  One thing I’ve learned over the years is that shooting on manual will create the best images, but requires a bit of skill to get that perfect shot.  I worked with Jennifer Carr to help take my photography to the next level.    She was patient with my extreme lack of knowledge and when my camera battery died just as we started the lesson *blush*.  She taught me a ton of tips that I put to use during our summer trip to France.   My husband even commented on how much better my photo’s looked! 

I asked Jennifer to share some basic tips to help you get off auto and start taking control of your camera.

The Basics of Exposure

Exposure is the single most important aspect of photography. It is defined as the amount of light that falls onto your digital camera’s sensor when capturing an image. Too much light and your image looks white. Too little light and your image looks dark. The goal of learning exposure is like to get just the right amount of light into your camera.

There are three factors that determine how much light enters your camera. ISO (pronounced I-S-O, not eye-so), Shutter Speed, and Aperture.


explaining ISO

ISO determines your camera’s sensitivity to light. If your scene has a lot of light (think at the beach at noon on a sunny day), you will use a low ISO number. If you are shooting indoors or in darker settings, you will use a high ISO. The downside of using a high ISO is that the picture quality decreases. The higher the ISO, the more noise or grain the image contains. In the above images, the image of the beach is crystal clear, the only grain is in the sand. The image of the right has lots of grain and demonstrates that noise doesn’t have to be a bad thing, if you use it properly.

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$500 Cash Giveaway

Fall Giveaway

Could you use $500 to put towards your next trip? Enter the $500 Fall Cash Giveaway to start planning your getaway now!

Welcome to the $500 Fabulous Fall Cash Giveaway!

We have joined forces with a fantastic group of bloggers to bring you this great giveaway. One lucky person will win $500 cash.

Enter to win $500 cash via PayPal.

Complete the tasks below to earn entries into this giveaway.

Refer your friends using your unique link to earn even more chances to win.

Open Worldwide.
Ends at 11:59pm ET on October 14th, 2014.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway was coordinated by Giveaway Promote.
If you love entering giveaways, visit Giveaway Promote to find the greatest giveaways listed in one place.

Free Printable Travel Budget Worksheet

Travel Budget Worksheet
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Sometimes the cost of travel can get away from us if we’re not prepared.  That’s why I prefer to do a quick travel budget worksheet before each trip just to help keep our spending in check.

It also helps me to know what we actually spent while on vacation.  Maybe I notice I over estimated the cost of food,  but under estimated the cost of entertainment.  Knowing the estimated and actual cost of travel can help you plan accordingly for future vacations as well.

Save the travel budget worksheet after each trip, so you can reference the cost of previous trips while planing your next adventure.  You never know, you might be able to afford more vacations that you think!

Download the Travel Budget Worksheet PDF here.   Once you download the PDF, you can either print it off or edit the document with all your budget right on the form!

What other tips can you share for creating a travel budget worksheet?