4 Types of Vacation Packages for Busy Women

Specialty Vacation PackagesTravel planning can be a lot of fun, but it’s also time-consuming — and stressing out about a vacation kind of defeats the purpose. Vacation packages can take almost all the planning out of the equation — and they don’t have to be the run-of-the-mill, giant-tour-bus trips that might spring to mind, either.

We’ve rounded up five types of vacation packages that seem just right for busy professional women who don’t have a lot of time to spend researching hotels, restaurants, activities, sightseeing spots, and so on. These companies are booking through 2017, but if you’re looking for something last-minute, you’re in luck: Now is a good time to find deals, as late summer is a less popular vacation time than early/mid-summer. (Check Last Minute Travel, CheapCaribbeanTravelzoo, or Groupon. You can also read our guest poster’s tips for traveling solo, as well as check out our last discussion about using all your vacation time.)   [Read more…]

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Weekend Wednesday: Stylish Travel Dresses

This is the first in a new occasional Wednesday feature where we explore weekend-wear more in depth.

travel dresses for summerI wouldn’t wear any of these to work, but if you’re on the hunt for a packing-friendly, easycare dress for any upcoming summer travel (or, hey, just brunch or other weekend activities), I thought we’d round up a few. I like that all of these are able to be dressed up and down — wear them with flip flops and a beach tote one day, with a nice necklace, clutch, wrap and fancier heels the next. The plus-size option from Travel Smith is even four dresses in one — two necklines and a reversible fabric! Ladies, do you have any favorite travel dresses, or favorite adventure clothing companies? What is your must-pack item for every vacation you go on? 

Pictured: Woolrich / Eddie Bauer / Lily Pulitzer.

(The full roundup is after the jump!)

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You’ve Just Won the Lottery. Like, a LOT. Now What? (Fantasy Open Thread)

just won the lottery, fantasy threadI was looking around the designer dresses and clothes at Nordstrom recently and found myself thinking, man, if I ever win the lottery I am immediately going to the closest Max Mara store. (Then I started debating myself — Akris Punto? Armani? Hmmn.) So I thought this might be a fun fantasy open thread today — what would YOU do if you won the lottery? I’m assuming many of you would pay off student loans or credit card debt — maybe even family members’ student loans. (I seriously know someone this happened to!) After that, where would you turn? Just for kicks let’s say you’ve won $50 million dollars.

For some reason here’s what comes to my mind (after mortgage, college for the kids, and checking with close family and friends to see about helping with debts, and doing some serious thinking about charitable donations/setting up our own foundation):

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Open Thread: Vacation Time

Vacation Time | CorporetteAs the close of 2015 is almost upon us, here’s a question: did you use your vacation time? If you did (congratulations), please regale us with stories — wheredja go, whadja do, how’d you find the time to plan/schedule it, which app/service would you recommend, etc. — but if you DIDN’T (which historically was me), why not? Did you just have too much work? Did you not feel comfortable scheduling something with your work calendar? Was it a budget/priority thing? For everyone — do you have any big plans for 2016?

For my $.02 — I almost never used all of my vacation time, and looking back it was largely because I worried it would reflect poorly on me at work. I also was worried that I would spend all this time/energy/money researching a vacation only to have it cancelled at the last minute due to work. I felt pretty comfortable in BigLaw scheduling trips to see my parents, both because we had religious reasons (Christmas, Easter) for the trips, as well as because I knew my parents had good Internet service and would understand if I had to turn it into a working vacation. And of course I would tack on a day or two here or there if I was traveling for a friend’s weekend wedding or whatnot.

But in terms of fun vacations, particularly in places without reliable Internet access? The stress usually stopped me from going. For example, my now husband took me to Paris a few months after we started dating, and I was terrified the trip would be cancelled, that there would somehow be a disaster ON the 5-day trip (I had nightmares of having to find an “Internet cafe” to work in for hours, paying in 15-minute increments with a dial-up modem). I worried that when I left I would be working without sleep to get all the work done — and I worried that when I returned there would be a mountain of work waiting for me. The trip turned out fine, of course. (Ok, I got food poisoning, which was less than awesome for a romantic vacation, and we totally failed to make it to Reims because I misunderstood the train schedule, but workwise it was fine.)

Another reason I didn’t travel much while working in BigLaw: I could never get the timing right to travel with friends, and I never dated anyone seriously enough to even ponder a vacation together (until I met my husband) — and I was hesitant to travel by myself as a single woman. In my non-profit job, I didn’t have nearly as much vacation time, I didn’t have seniority to choose when to take it, and we didn’t have the budget anyway to take vacation without some serious sacrifices. [Read more…]

Vacation Horror Stories

vacation horror storiesWith holidays coming up, here’s a fun topic for today: let’s all share our vacation horror stories!  What comically went wrong on your vacation? What was a rookie mistake and what was just one of those things? What would you do differently to plan your next vacation?

My $.02: Last week, we went on a beach vacation with my in-laws.  It was supposed to be an amazing, lovely time away for all of us, and the boys’ first real trip to the beach.  We even had bought tickets to Disney World (an hour away from where we were staying) to go visit for a day.

On day 3, I fell into the pool at the house (I swear drinking was not involved), and somehow injured my knee enough that it no longer can bear weight.  Yay! Day 3 was spent at the emergency room (where docs said nothing was broken and instructed me to RICE it), and days 4-6 were spent lounging on the couch. There’s no pain, no swelling, no bruising — it just won’t hold weight.  We’re back from vacation now and I’m seeing the ortho this afternoon.  On the plus side: I got more reading done than I have in a long time (hooray for library books on the Kindle) — and the Disney trip has been postponed for a later vacation.  I wasn’t the only casualty on the trip, though — my father in law wound up at the ER and had to stay a night for observation.  (He’s fine now.) My husband walked into the ocean to play — with his wallet and iPhone in his pocket.  Later, as the rest of his wallet dried, he lost his driver’s license the day before we were due to fly home. (Amazingly, someone found his license and we were able to retrieve it before boarding the plane, and he’s all set up with a new phone now.) It was a comically bad vacation — and yet I’m thankful that it wasn’t worse, and I didn’t hit my head near the pool, and it was me instead of the boys. My husband found this shot glass at a gift shop and had to get it.

Ladies, what are your favorite vacation horror stories? (On the flip side: is your vacation horror story that you haven’t had time to use your vacation time?)   

Psst: how to leave on vacation without losing your mind, how to plan a vacation, and vacation etiquette at the office.

Tales from the Wallet: Wedding Finances

Wedding, Finances, and Budget | CorporetteWhat are the financial implications of getting married — and how does your wedding budget affect your overall financial health? What other major milestones affect your financial health?  I’ve often read that how you handle a few major milestones in your life — wedding!  grad school!  baby!  buying a house!  divorce!  retirement! — can have a significant impact on your overall financial health.  So I thought we’d start a series on Money Milestones.  (We’ve already talked about how where you live affects your finances, as well as what a general money roadmap, through life, should look like.)

First up:  the financial implications of getting married.  The question to everyone who’s been through this: what choices did you make that affected finances? What would your advice be to someone just going through it (either for the first time or again)? To those of you who decided NOT to get married because of the financial implications — please share some of your thoughts with us!

For my $.02, these are my best tips:

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