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Saturday, December 29, 2018

Adopt a Government or Service Dog Who Either Retired or Didn't Graduate from Training

There is nothing like a great viral dog story, especially if it is a story of a service dog!  

When we think of travel, there are new rules in place affecting service dogs on planes, but service dogs have to undergo extensive training!  Those that graduate training go on to have an important role, but what about those that don't finish training or have completed their careers? 

You're just strolling along, minding your own business, rolling your suitcase through the airport, and out of the corner of your eye, there it is.  Being walked along by a TSA officer is the cutest dog you have ever seen. We've all experienced the cuteness that is puppies you aren't expecting to see, then only to be let down when we realize we can't go near them because they are a TSA Canine in Training.

The TSA Canine Training Center trains and deploys both TSA-led and state and local law enforcement-led canine teams

You probably didn't consider how much training a dog goes through before they can become part of the highly trained detection teams that detect explosives, drugs and other prohibited items and provide a visible deterrent to terrorism.  The TSA is very open about this training and if you have a chance read about the TSA Canine Team Training, you will have a greater appreciation of the job these dogs are doing!

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Visit Normandy with the WW2 Museum Travel: Soldiers and Spies

Take a once-in-a-lifetime trip with Author Alex Kershaw, author of Avenue of Spies and The Bedford Boys, for a truly immersive experience that takes you back in time to many of the extraordinary places featured in his books, from the bloodiest sands in American history where the Bedford Boys landed, to the grand avenues of the “City of Lights.”

Visiting the American Cemetery in Normandy is a Once-In-A-Lifetime Experience

LTD recently visited Normandy, France which is a truly meaningful experience.  This tour will inspire you and be an experience you will never forget!

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

All-inclusive getaway for the entire family: Save 40% on Orlando’s Discovery Cove resort for a limited time!

Save big on a Discovery Cove vacation!

LTD discussed the benefits of traveling with children in a five part series earlier this year.  Experiences like Discovery Cove enhance many of the gains provided by Travel, such as brain development and education!  Now you can save money for an experience like this if you act fast!

Plan a getaway to Orlando’s Discovery Cove now with a 40% off sale to this all-inclusive luxury day resort and amusement park where you can unwind, explore, learn and create memories. Interact with bottlenose dolphins, relax at the beach, feed tropical birds, play inches from a family of otters and even walk on the Grand Reef floor — all in one day.

The $220 per person admission ticket (age 2 and under free) includes a full day of fun and relaxation at Discovery Cove, plus a nose-to-bottlenose encounter with a dolphin. Included in your package is:

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

The city of New York has some hot deals during the NYC Winter Outing event, held January 21 to February 10!

Plan your winter trip to NYC now! It’s a great time of year to visit, and isn’t it great to get some deals too?

FOGO—the fear of going out—sets in quickly this time of year, but it's no match for what the City has in store. Introducing NYC Winter Outing: a bundle of offers to get you off the couch and living it up at attractions, broadway and restaurants, just to name a few.

CLICK HERE to see offers at!

For your trio LTD recommends this Travelon security bag for your daily outings!

Make Meaningful and Healthy Travel Happen!

Disney Tickets Go On Sale Soon!

Courtesy of Clark Howard!

Starting January 18, 2019, a special 4-Park Magic Ticket to all of Disney’s four theme parks goes on sale.
The 4-Park Magic Value Ticket is $85 per day, plus tax ($340, plus tax) that includes one day of admission to Magic Kingdom Park, one day of admission to Epcot, one day of admission to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and one day of admission to Disney’s Animal Kingdom — over four separate days. The pass must be used within seven days of first use or by March 1, whichever comes first.
Two additional types of 4-Park Magic Tickets will also be available at higher price points and may be used on various dates through September 30.
The New Year will be an exciting time to visit Walt Disney World, with new shows, parties, and character experiences.
Pixar pals will party with guests at Disney’s Hollywood Studios during the park’s 30th anniversary year, featuring The Incredibles, Mike and Sulley from Disney-Pixar’s Monsters, Inc. and Woody, Buzz Lightyear and the gang at the new Toy Story Land.
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Disney animated classic The Lion King, Rafiki and Timon will help guests let their inner animal loose on the dance floor during the Hakuna Matata Time Dance Party at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
As part of the Epcot International Festival of the Arts, the Disney on Broadway Concert Series expands to seven days a week, with Disney on Broadway stars singing favorite tunes from award-winning productions January 18 through February 25.

Click HERE for Disney ticket Special!!!

Make Meaningful and Healthy Travel Happen!

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Step Back in Time with a Visit to Hampton Court Palace with LTD!

Hampton Court Palace has been the setting for many dramatic royal events over the last 500 years!

Watch the video of our visit below!

Just a short ride from London Waterloo Station near Big Ben!  LTD suggests staying at the Park Plaza Waterloo as a base of operations.

Some Facts about the Palace:

The original Tudor palace was begun by Cardinal Wolsey in the early 16th century, but it soon attracted the attention of Henry VIII, who brought all his six wives here.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Off the Beaten Path: LTD visits the Orkney Islands at the 59ºN Latitude

The Orkney Islands are off the beaten path but such a meaningful and beautiful place to visit!

Enjoy our visit and wait for our visit to the Ring of Brogdar at the end of the video below! The spellbinding stone circle - the Ring of Brodgar - is arguably the most iconic symbol of Orkney's prehistoric past. It is a site of ritual and ceremony, and hauntingly beautiful.

Stuck in the North Sea just beyond the tip of Scotland, the Orkney Islands often fail to register with tourists, but are FILLED with beauty and history. Too often, they're excluded from the map of Europe’s worthwhile hot spots. And with a latitude of 59ºN, they’re definitely not tropical: you won’t find white sand beaches and hammocks strung up between coconut trees here.
Instead, this scattered archipelago of 70 islands — two thirds of which are uninhabited — has a time-worn, slightly mystical charm of its own. All day we had Outlander on the mind! Like Claire and Jamie, we visited cliff top vistas, sat among heather fields, and dare we say, stood amount standing stones! You will see it all on the Orkney Islands, travelers will be rewarded with storm-battered cliffs, ancient stone circles, and ominous-looking “sea stacks,” which rise from the churning blue water like swords.
They might appear far away, but for travelers, these islands are entirely accessible by air or sea. Kirkwall is a thriving capital with shops and tour operators, frequent ferry service connecting the islands, and Europe’s highest concentration of ancient Neolithic sites (all of which are open to visitors). From the moment we arrived, we felt the warm embrace of the locals eager to tell us about their home.

Get yourself a great pair of European travel shoes the color of the Ocean to help you anticipate your Scottish Adventure!  Click the photo to learn more:

Make Healthy and Meaningful Travel Happen!

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Your Guide to the 40 Most Meaningful and Healthy Holiday Gifts for the Traveler you Love (That They Will Actually LIKE)

Share is an important word for traveling and we see it more and more every year! Our favorite gifts will help capture those memories, inspire future adventures, and make life on the road healthier and more meaningful.

Share the Gift of Meaningful and Healthy Travel!

The purpose of our blog is to share with you everything we have learned to make Meaningful and Healthy Travel happen! We only recommend products that we use or would buy for friends! Please BUY or SHARE this post to support our blog and keep it going! THANK YOU!

Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

1.  Freeday Gear Collapsible Water Bottle for the Healthy Traveler

 LTD always stresses that healthy traveling is important for everyone!  This collapsible water bottle is designed to be a perfect companion while your favorite travelers are following their passion. So whether they love travel, camping, backpacking, sports, exercise or just wandering and dreaming, we think you will find this stylish water bottle to be a perfect accessory.  At a reasonable price, why not give a healthy and practical gift?

2.  The Dichotomy of Leadership for the Professional

From the #1 New York Times bestselling authors of Extreme Ownership comes a new and revolutionary approach to help leaders recognize and attain the leadership balance crucial to victory.

With their first book, Extreme Ownership (published in October 2015), Jocko Willink and Leif Babin set a new standard for leadership, challenging readers to become better leaders, better followers, and better people, in both their professional and personal lives. Now, in THE DICHOTOMY OF LEADERSHIP, Jocko and Leif dive even deeper into the unchartered and complex waters of a concept first introduced in Extreme Ownership: finding balance between the opposing forces that pull every leader in different directions. Here, Willink and Babin get granular into the nuances that every successful leader must navigate.

3.  Our Favorite Smart Watch for the Active Traveler

The Garmin Fenix 5X has an enormous number of features, a long-lasting battery and an attractive  build. It's expensive, but for serious outdoor travel enthusiasts it's hard to beat.  The GPS features of this watch are unrivaled and work all over the world.  This is a high-performance timepiece that meets big challenges and fits smaller wrists. This Plus version comes in many finishes and holds about 500 songs.  Anyone would love to receive this special gift!

Saturday, November 10, 2018

LuxuryTravelDocs Gives 5 ⭐️ Stars to for Your Visit to Normandy, France!

This Veterans Day Americans around the world will honor their fellow citizens who have served their country.

LTD had the honor of visiting American D-Day Normandy Sites with Florin Petre, owner of  The Normandy landings were the landing operations on Tuesday, June 6, 1944 of the Allied invasion of Normandy in Operation Overlord during World War II.  Enjoy our interview with Florin, and a view of our day together.  Wait for the end to understand how meaningful a day this was for us and every visitor to Normandy.  That is what it is all about...

Florin makes the day meaningful by including many stories about the INDIVIDUALS who participated in the D-Day invasion of Normandy.  Here are a couple of the stories we heard and the souls whom we visited:

Thursday, November 1, 2018

LTD Interviews Harry Lockhead and Chronicles His Amazing Life as an Early Navy SEAL in WWII

What is Meaningful Travel?

The origins of Navy SEALs actually began with specially organized maritime commando units during World War II, where legacy capabilities were adopted and remain embodied in today’s SEAL Teams.

LTD likes to “Make Meaningful and Healthy Travel Happen”, but what is meaningful travel?  In this case, “Meaningful” is speaking with Harry Lockhead as we will chronicle some of his amazing life before, during and after WWII. In a series of interviews we will speak with him about being part of the “Greatest Generation” and how he and our country came together to save the world from the global aggression of WWII in both Europe and the Pacific.  We have a rare chance to discuss that time, the recovery after WWII and our current state of affairs.  These individuals are “perishable national treasures” and are becoming rarer everyday.

Harry enlisted on March 1st, 1943 in New York and went to Navy Boot Camp in Great Lakes, Michigan.  He boarded the USS Glansar (AK 111) in Pleasanton, California and proceeded to the American Somoan Islands, then the Mariana Islands and then to the Marshall Islands.  En route a concussion split the hull of the ship and a patch was placed until they could reach Pearl Harbor they hoped to have it permanently repaired.  On arrival, all the docks were full with ships under repair so their ship was run aground to prevent it from sinking.  

Their crew was then shipped to Seattle, Washington and assigned to put the USS Lenawee (APA 195) into commission and then sailed to San Diego, California where they picked up a company of Marines.  They then sailed to Tarawa in the Gilbert Islands where one of the bloodiest battles of the Pacific occurred.  Harry was part of one of the groups that delivered the Marines landing on Tarawa.  He wanted to do more after witnessing this carnage first hand and when the Navy asked for volunteers to become reconnaissance swimmers and Harry volunteered immediately.  They went to Naval Combat Demolition Base in Maui, Hawaii and would become some of the first Underwater Demolition Teams (UDTs) and what is now the famed “Naked Warriors”.  

Please listen to the firsthand accounts from Harry as he shares his amazing life and heroic past to allow us all “meaningful” lives today.

Make Healthy and Meaningful Travel Happen! 

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Is Helsinki on Your Bucket List? Maybe It Should Be!

Visit Helsinki! Summer in Finland is warm, bright and exhilarating. Most importantly, the air is fresh, clean, and pure and invigorating at all times of the year. 

Helsinki doesn’t often appear on travelers’ bucket lists. Even those who dream of exploring Scandinavia usually defer to Norway’s fjords or Sweden’s cities, but Finland’s capital is a destination in itself — and one that’s on the rise.

What is the condensed history of this great European Capital?

Sweden’s King Gustavus Vasa founded Helsinki on the mouth of Vantaanjoki River in 1550 to compete with Tallinn for Baltic Sea trade. The town grew slowly however, and the center of Helsinki was moved to its current location in the 1600s.

In 1748 Sweden began construction of the Suomenlinna Maritime Fortress off the coast of Helsinki to counter the growing threat from Russia. The massive project brought additional wealth, inhabitants and merchants to the town.

Russia conquered Finland in 1809. The status of Helsinki was raised to capital of the autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland three years later. A monumental Empire-style city plan was drawn up to reflect the power of Russia and the Tsar.

Finland became independent in 1917, and Helsinki assumed the demanding new role of capital of the young republic. City planning was characterized by Classicism and Functionalism.

During World War II, Finland was in many ways a unique case: It was the only European country bordering the Soviet Union in 1939 which was still unoccupied by 1945.  Of all the European countries fighting, only three European capitals were never occupied: Moscow, London and Helsinki.

Recovering from the hardships of war, Helsinki hosted the Summer Olympics in 1952. The games created an international reputation for Helsinki as an efficient and friendly host city.

With stark differences between seasons, Finns are used to contrasts. Dark Arctic winters have their counterpart in one of the most iconic of Finnish natural phenomena, the Midnight Sun.

Many wonder how Finns survive with no sunlight in the winter, and nature replies with 24 hours of it in the summer. The intense contrast in light conditions has a profound effect on all walks of life in Finland.

For understandable reasons, public spaces come to life in the summer. After the harsh winter, endless daylight never arrives a day too early. Summer in Finland is a time spent outside the house enjoying the short but sweet season, and all worries are postponed until nights get dark again.

Often considered to be Finland's only metropolis, it is the world's northernmost metro area with over one million people as well as the northernmost capital of an EU member state. After Stockholm and Oslo, Helsinki is the third largest city in the Nordic countries.

Helsinki is a thriving city, being named the "World's Design Capital" in 2012 and as a leader in the online gaming industry, among so much more!

Visit Helsinki! Summer in Finland is warm, bright and exhilarating. Most importantly, the air is fresh, clean, and pure and invigorating at all times of the year.

Make Meaningful and Healthy Travel Happen!

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Review of Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines California

We had the opportunity to stay at the Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines for the 2018 Navy SEAL Foundation Impact Forum.

Entrance to the Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines

This is a special place for any conference or a weekend getaway for peace and quiet or an active vacation. Of course everyone has heard of Torrey Pines Golf course and it's no surprise to encounter the resort feeling from the minute you hit the door. The golf course is sprawling between the resort and the ocean. Every room has a view of the golf course and therefore ocean, but nothing will be ocean front.

To Check other reviews of the Hilton Torrey Pines Hotel, rates and book at TripAdvisor Click Here!!

Monday, October 8, 2018

LTD Visits One of Scandinavia's Most Visited Museums, The Vasa Museum (Vasamuseet) in Stockholm, Sweden

What started with church services and a festive atmosphere ended in a watery grave...

It was the 10th of August 1628, when Vasa, the most powerful warship in the Baltic, foundered in Stockholm harbor before the eyes of a large audience, only minutes after setting sail for the first time.  Learn more about the Vasa from this video and article below!  Watch until the end of the Video to learn about Beata who's face was reconstructed from her skeleton found onboard.

Vasa cast off from the palace between four and five o'clock. As the ship found the current, four of the ten sails were set, and a cannon salute was fired from open cannon hatches on the Vasa.

There was little wind under the bluffs of Södermalm, not even enough to pull the sheets of the sails taught, and Vasa drifted on the current. A small gust filled the sails, and the ship heeled to port, but slowly, agonizingly recovered. As the ship passed the gap in the bluffs at Tegelviken, a much stronger gust pushed the ship so far over on its port side that water poured in through the open cannon hatches from the salute, on the lower gun-deck. Vasa began to sink.

Pandemonium reigned on deck. Many threw themselves into the water, while those below decks struggled to make their way up wildly tilting ladders. Within minutes, the ship was on the sea bed at a depth of 32 metres. The masts stuck up above the surface, and many grabbed hold of them. Others were picked up by the small craft that had followed the Vasa's shaky journey at close quarters. Some swam the 120 meters to the shore of Beckholmen.  All but 30 of the crew and guests survived when Vasa sank. Most of the dead were trapped inside the ship.

The fact that the Captain allowed the gun ports to remain open when Vasa set off was a fateful decision – if they had been closed, water could not have poured in, and the ship might have survived long enough to be rebuilt into a more stable configuration.

On 25 August 1956, Anders Franzén, a fuel engineer in the Swedish navy and amateur archaeologist, discovered a small piece of black oak stuck in a coring device that he dropped into Stockholm's harbor. It does not sound like much, but is by far one of the most important events in the modern history of Vasa.  Even today, many still remember where they were when Vasa finally rose from the deep after 333 years in darkness.  On Monday, 24 April 1961, thousands of people crowded the shores around Kastellholmsviken, much as they had lined the shore almost 333 years earlier, to witness Vasa being raised from the deep.

Today, the Vasa Museum is one of Scandinavia's most visited museums. Here you will find in all its glory, the unique and well preserved warship Vasa from 1628, embellished with hundreds of wooden sculptures and many unique exhibits surrounding the construction, the crew, and discovery of the ship.

Don't forget a good set of binoculars to view the intricacies of the carvings and interior!

Make Meaningful and Healthy Travel Happen!!

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Learn About Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland from LTD and

Giant's Causeway and Causeway Coast

The Giant's Causeway lies at the foot of the basalt cliffs along the sea coast on the edge of the Antrim coast in Northern Ireland. It is made up of nearly 40,000 massive black basalt columns sticking out of the sea. The dramatic sight has inspired legends of giants striding over the sea to Scotland.  This striking landscape was caused by volcanic activity about 50–60 million years ago.

After a long day of touring the Game of Throne filming sites and hearing about Irish History and Mythology, visiting the Giant's Causeway was an excellent break to stretch our legs and get some private time and exercise.  This was our second visit to Giant's Causeway, which made it less overwhelming.  We knew where to go and were able to make the most of our 90 minute visit.  Hopefully our video and photos will help orient you for a future visit!

The assembly of basalt columns of cooled molten lava on the north Antrim coast is a Unesco World Heritage Site and one of TripAdvisor’s 10 most dramatic landscapes on the planet. It’s also the scene of some of Ireland’s most exciting walking trails and paths, with easy paths, moderate strolls and more demanding hikes.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

LTD Gives 5 Stars ⭐️ to and Brian English for Game of Thrones Tour in Belfast, Ireland, UK

If you want to know where next year’s most in-demand travel destination, just look at the next few month’s releases of movies and TV shows.

The “set-jetting” trend—travelers seeking out destinations they’ve seen in movies and shows—seems to be having a bit of a moment, and tourism boards are scrambling to make the most of it. The Croatian island of Vis eagerly anticipated the so-called “Mamma Mia effect”; Game of Thrones has irrevocably changed tourism in the ancient Croatian city of Dubrovnik and Northern Ireland; and with the recent release of Crazy Rich Asians, the Singapore tourism board ramped up its efforts to lure set-jetters eager to experience the lavish lifestyle depicted in the film.

To understand this trend better LuxuryTravelDocs decided to enjoy a GAME OF THRONES, GIANT'S CAUSEWAY & BELFAST CITY TOUR in Northern Ireland and we booked it with  Our guide was Brian English, who we recommend without reservation.  Brian is authentic and demonstrates an unparalleled enthusiasm to share his home, Irish history and mythology, and of course Game of Thrones experiences with you.

To hear from Brian and see photos of our visit watch the video below...

Scheduling the tour was easy online only a few days before our arrival.  Maria Braun answered our questions promptly and thoroughly over the email without delay!  What a pleasure when traveling internationally with limited WiFi and cellphone coverage.  Tickets were able to be purchased ahead via credit card and electronic vouchers were issued to show the guide on departure.  We were arriving to the cruise terminal in Belfast and pickup was punctual and on time!  Don't you hate when you have scheduled a tour and delays occur and you feel you have missed something?  We toured with around 20 persons total which was an excellent size and in retrospect, increased the enthusiasm.   The day was nearly 10 hours which flew by and went at a steady pace throughout the day.  Brian was full of stories to enthrall everyone from those who have never watched Game of Thrones (are there really any?) to the most avid fan.  Lunch was not included but we stopped at a great location with many options for lunch on our own.  Plenty of time for eating, whiskey or shopping was allowed.  Non-GOT activities during the day included visiting the Giant's Causeway for about 1.5 hours which allowed us to stretch our legs and get in some exercise, and then a tour of Belfast City which has a rich and intense history.  Brian had a long personal history within Belfast and his first hand knowledge of the turmoil and improved relationships within the city was amazing to hear!

LTD recommends and Brian English without hesitation!  To be complete, our only recommendation would be to use a bus with video monitors and play clips of the relevant episodes while onboard if possible.  This would make an outstanding tour even more outstanding!!

For more detailed recommendations about visiting more of Ireland, check out our guide to visiting Ireland!

Sport your Favorite GOT Tee Shirt at home or away! Click the link below to learn more.  Links like these help support our mission to give to charity!  Thank you so much!

Friday, September 14, 2018

LTD visits the Hermitage Collection in St Petersburg, Russia!

As one of the most popular visitor attractions in Russia, and one of the world's most prestigious museums, the Hermitage is a must-see for everyone who visits St. Petersburg, Russia. 

With over 3 million items in its collection, visitors can only hope to get a brief taste of the riches on offer here, from Impressionist masterpieces to fascinating Renaissance treasures. One estimate has it that you would need eleven years to view each exhibit on display for just one minute, but even if you do not love art, viewing the rooms at the Winter Palace can be rewarding for any tourist!  The bulk of the Hermitage collection is housed in the Winter Palace, formerly the official residence of the Romanov Tsars, and its several annexes.

Art aficionados, however, may find it most rewarding to seek out the works that they are particularly interested in.  LTD loves Renaissance and Impressionist art, and please enjoy our highlights of the Hermitage collection in this video:

Pickpockets are very common at the Hermitage and the crowds are dense making you very susceptible to theft.  Please take all precautions!  LTD recommends a security crossbody bag for your visit to the Hermitage!

Make meaningful and healthy travel happen for yourself!!!

Friday, September 7, 2018

LTD Visits Vigeland Sculpture Park in Oslo Norway

Vigeland Park is the world's largest sculpture park made by a single artist, and is one of Norway's most popular tourist attractions. 

The park is open to visitors all year round and LTD visited in Late Summer.

The unique sculpture park is Gustav Vigeland's lifework with more than 200 sculptures in bronze, granite and wrought iron. Vigeland was also in charge of the design and architectural layout of the park. The Vigeland Park was mainly completed between 1939 and 1949.

We recommend a beautiful scarf to look fashionable and stay covered from the sun!  We love this Tiffany-inspired scarf from the MMA that is reflective of Vigland's era!  Click the photo to learn more:

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Review of Charlotte Douglas International Airport Minute Suites

Recently before boarding an International flight, LTD decided to check out the recently-opened Minute Suites in Charlotte Douglas International Airport located in the main Atrium and food court. One hour is free if you have the American Express Platinum Card and have subscribed to the free Priority Pass Lounge Membership.

The bottom line is that this is a great option for either a short visit before a flight if you need to put your feet up, watch tv, take a nap or get some work done. It is a quiet alternative to the airport lounges at CLT which can be rather noisy and crowded at times.  Alternatively it would serve as an option for a “hotel” on the dreaded occasion that your late night flight is cancelled. If you can phone ahead for a reservation, you will be more likely to get a room when needed.  The phone number is at the end of this post!

  • Check in was quick and a suite was available immediately.  A credit card must be given in case you incur any charges - just like at a hotel. At the entrance are decent products for sale including Jack Black and Burt’s Bees skin care products, and an entire mini pharmacy for stocking up on forgotten items or treating aches and pains.

  • Wednesday, August 22, 2018

    LuxuryTravelDocs' Five-Part Series about the Benefits of Traveling with your Children! Part V: Time

    Last time we saw how your children's health is one of the most important gifts you can give them.

    LTD presented a 5-part series on the benefits of traveling with our children and some of the science behind why you should make traveling with your children a priority and this is our final part: time.  Here are the five things that your child may gain from family travel that we have highlighted for you by the end of this article:

    1. happiness
    2. brain development
    3. education
    4. health
    5. time

    According to experts, family vacations are the gift that keeps on giving and what better gift is there than time?

    Part V: Time

    Give the gift of time to your children.  What do we always wish we had more of?  TIME!
    There is not a closer bond than the child parent relationship and you may realize this is a difficult section to write... For adults who were children when their parents died, the question is hypothetical but heartbreaking: “Would you give up a year of your life to have one more day with your late mother or father?”  Think about that as a parent with at least one lesson to be learned from this:  Don't miss quality time with your own children.

    Would you give up a year of your life to have one more day with your late mother or father? Credit Pexels

    At the most basic level, autobiographical memories refer to personally experienced past events.  According to Dr. Krystine I. Batcho, author of Longing for Nostalgia"In a study of autobiographical memories, one young woman fondly recalled going to baseball games with her father—memories so lasting that the smell of popcorn and grass still revive them."  Of course the big-ticket items are often remembered fondly, but smaller events of special times, can be equally or more meaningful to us as adults.

    Studies show that mothers' time in particular activities with children is positively associated with child well‐being, but results are mixed regarding associations between child outcomes and the sheer amount of time that mothers spend with children. 

    That’s not to say that parent time isn’t important. It is just that the quantity of time is not as important a factor as the quality of time.  Probably this is because our individual stress and moods are projected onto our children frequenlty.  Plenty of studies have shown links between quality parent time, such as a vacation, and positive outcomes for kids.

    A 2013 survey administered by the U.S. Travel Association geared toward family members’ views and feelings about vacation and family travel has produced findings, which, while perhaps not revealing anything all that novel or surprising, do offer some important reminders.

    On the younger end of things, just about every child surveyed (more than 9 in 10) agreed that on vacations “I get to spend quality time with my parents,” and most strongly agree that “vacations bring my family closer together.” Youth participants between the ages of 8-18 also strongly agreed that on family vacations they “see and do new things that I’ll remember for a long time,” and that “some of their best memories are of things that I did during a family vacation.” (TravelEffect, March 13, 2013,

    At the other end of the spectrum, 75% of vacationers older than 55 agreed that they “still have ‘vivid’ memories of childhood vacations” and 84% reported that “some of their favorite family stories are from family vacations.”

    Of travelers over 55, over 84% reported that some of their favorite family stories are from family vacations. Credit Pexels

    What  these survey findings seem to remind us, is that when we travel or vacation, we are taking a journey, setting out on an adventure. When we do this with our loved ones, we are giving them the gift of adventure and experience and memory. And these are the greatest gifts we can give.

    Remember, if you have questions related to your health, always consult your doctor or medical professional.  The information presented here is informative only and is not medical advice. 

    Wednesday, August 15, 2018

    LuxuryTravelDocs' Five-Part Series about the Benefits of Traveling with your Children! Part IV: Health

    Last time we saw how planning makes opportunities for a family vacation to be educational and beneficial for your children!

    Combat inactivity when planning vacation and your children will benefit!

    Part IV: Health

    LTD has reminded our readers on countless occasions that physical activity is important for all of us, but it is especially important for our growing children!  In children physical activity is necessary for a strong body, including muscles and bones. Getting the blood pumping throughout the body can also help with mood and emotional health. Use the opportunities that nature provides, get outside and get moving with your children. Physical activity will not only benefit your body, but also your child’s growing body.

    Physical activity will not only benefit your body, but also your child’s growing body. Credit Pexels

    It is recommended by the American Heart Association that:

    All children age 2 and older participate in at least 60 minutes of enjoyable, moderate-intensity physical activities every day that are developmentally appropriate and varied.

    If your child or children do not have a full 60 minute activity break each day, try to provide at least two 30 minute periods or four 15 minute periods in which they can engage in vigorous activities appropriate to their age, gender and stage of physical and emotional development.

    According to a 2016 study, only 21.6% of 6 to 19-year-old children and adolescents in the United States attained 60 or more minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity on at least 5 days per week.

    Of course this activity does not only improve their physical health, but stimulates the PLAY and SEEKING systems crucial for brain development as discussed in our first entry of this series.  This is supported by data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

    • Students who are physically active tend to have better grades, school attendance, cognitive performance (e.g., memory), and classroom behaviors (e.g., on-task behavior).
    • Higher physical activity and physical fitness levels are associated with improved cognitive performance (e.g., concentration, memory) among students.

    The benefit to your child's physical well being is well known.  Regular physical activity in childhood and adolescence is important for promoting lifelong health and well-being and preventing various health conditions. Here are some examples:

    • Children’s muscles need to be used to grow and become stronger 
    • Aerobic exercise helps the heart muscle to become and stay strong. 
    • A child's bones are not fully developed until the late teen years. Bone strength is built when bones are forced to bear weight and work against gravity and bone strength established at a young age is beneficial to you throughout your entire life.

    Your children's health one of the most important gifts you can give them!  Family vacations offer many opportunities to make physical activity fun for them!  After the adults decide on the vacation budget and a couple of trip ideas, it's a good time to get the kids involved. Older kids might want to vote on the list of possible trips, while younger kids will appreciate seeing photos of where you've decided to go and all the fun stuff to do there.

    Next time:  Our most emotional and final entry of this five-part series.  What do we always wish we had more of?  TIME!

    Remember, if you have questions related to your health, always consult your doctor or medical professional.  The information presented here is informative only and is not medical advice. 

    If you like our content and to be the first to see our upcoming content, please click here to find us and follow us on Facebook!  

    Wednesday, August 8, 2018

    LuxuryTravelDocs' Five-Part Series about the Benefits of Traveling with your Children! Part III: Education

    Last time we saw how family vacations can lead to better brain development by stimulating key systems crucial to thinking, social intelligence and goal-directed behavior. 

    According to experts, family vacations are the gift that keeps on giving and with the right planning a family vacation can be educational too!

    Part III: Education

    A family vacation can provide education in a number of ways.  Think of the characteristics of your travel destination and you may find educational opportunities in a number of ways:  history, nature, art, culture, and community just to name a few.

    Always remember what we find interesting may not be interesting to others.  This concept applies to any vacation but is particularly important for children, since they may not be involved in the planning.  Ask what they want to do and balance what your wishes may be with theirs.  According to British Psychologist Oliver James,  “The first and simplest mistake that an awful lot of parents make is confusing what they find exciting about a holiday with what their children will. So many of the ‘interesting’ things about a new place are deathly boring to the vast majority of children — high culture, for example, in almost all forms. So your child, if at all typical, will grumble at the ghastly business of being dragged round.”

    Consider nature as a way to stimulate visual development. Credit Pexels
    If your child is very young consider art, architecture or nature as a way to stimulate visual and even language development.  Take time to describe the colors and shapes of what you see.  You are really a child's first teacher and take advantage of the opportunity.

    If your child is very young consider art, as a way to stimulate visual and even language development. Credit Pexels
    Do your homework before you go to a museum or tourist site.  For example, while we all think of a museums like the American Museum of Natural History, seen in Night at the Museum as best for children, some museums that we wouldn't consider have many things that appeal to children. Take advantage of children's programs! Maybe you roll your eyes when you even think of bringing your child to an art museum, but large museums like the Metropolitan Museum of Art have audio children's programs.  Take them to see and Egyptian temple or mummies!  Or just download their children's map.  Make sure you make it interesting for them and give them options to choose what they would like to do.  Play to your child's personality.

    Take advantage of children's museum programs! Credit Pexels
    And after the visit, remember what interested your child and bring it home.  There may so much more  found on the internet about what they enjoyed and you may inspire even more meaningful time with your child.

    Wherever you go, most children will find wonder in something!  That is the beauty of exploring. “Give a two-year-old a present and she’ll get absorbed in the box instead,” says James. “It’s similar with children and travel. We should let them explore their own ways of finding wonder in their surroundings.”  With planning there are many opportunities to make a family vacation educational and beneficial for your children!

    Next time: Combat inactivity when planning vacation and your child's health will benefit!

    Remember, if you have questions related to your health, always consult your doctor or medical professional.  The information presented here is informative only and is not medical advice. 

    If you like our content and to be the first to see our upcoming content, please click here to find us and follow us on Facebook!  

    Wednesday, August 1, 2018

    LuxuryTravelDocs' Five-Part Series about the Benefits of Traveling with your Children! Part II: Brain Development

    Last time we highlighted why you should spend your money on experiences rather than material things and how taking a family vacation with your young ones can make them happier, and help them form lifetime memories.  

    According to experts, family vacations are the gift that keeps on giving and maybe you didn't realize they can advance brain development too!

    Brain Development

    Dr. Jaak Panksepp, a neuroscientist, psychologist, and psychobiologist, coined the term “affective neuroscience” to refer to the study of the neural mechanisms of emotion.

    Key brain systems were discovered by Professor Jaak Panksepp, a world-leading neuroscientist at Washington State University. According to the Panksepp’s research, the PLAY system and the SEEKING system are areas of the brain that are exercised best when kids are exposed to new surroundings. These systems rarely get triggered when kids are at home or left alone with their toys.

    Dr. Margot Sunderland  who is  Director of Education and Training at The Centre for Child Mental Health London concludes that vacations can advance brain development by exercising the PLAY and SEEKING systems.

    Key brains systems rarely get triggered when kids are at home or left alone with their toys. Credit Pexels.

    She explains that “the brain’s PLAY system is exercised every time you bury your child’s feet in the sand, tickle them on the pool lounger, or take them for a ride on your back. The brain’s SEEKING system is exercised each time you go exploring together: the forest, the beach, a hidden gem of a village.

    When are these brain systems activated at the same time? Usually on family vacations.
    How does it work? Once your family vacations adventures and experiences activate these two systems in your own brain, and in your kids’ brains, and trigger happiness brain chemicals. Panksepp calls them “nature’s gift to us” and goes on to describe how these chemicals reduce stress and activate warm, generous feelings towards each other and a lovely sense that all is well in the world.

    Dr Sunderland adds that “really using the brain’s PLAY and SEEKING systems well, as often happens on family [vacations], brings about brain growth and maturation in the frontal lobes, the very part of the brain involved in cognitive functioning, social intelligence and well-focused, goal-directed behaviours that may last a lifetime.”

    A key brain system is exercised every time you stick your children's toes in the sand! Credit Pexels

    Galey Gravenstein of Gainesville, Florida realized this when raising her four children.  She believed that "it would make them more open and flexible when in new situations. I know "routines" are important but I wanted them to not be afraid of new situations and things they encounter."

    As a matter of fact, in most regions of the brain, no new neurons are formed after birth. Instead, brain development consists of an ongoing process of wiring and re-wiring the connections among neurons. New synapses between cells are constantly being formed, broken or pruned away. In early childhood the brain is genetically programmed to produce more synapses. For instance, a child’s brain (from 0 to 3 years of age)—produces 700 new neural connections every second.  "I think young children rarely get as much play as their brains need", according to Dr. Panksepp.

    Family vacations can lead to better brain development by stimulating key systems crucial to thinking, social intelligence and goal-directed behavior.  You may think that your child would never engage in obvious educational opportunities, but it may surprise you what is available at institutions to exercise your children's minds.

    Next time: LTD looks at finding educational opportunities for you child when you travel.

    If you like our content and to be the first to see our upcoming content, please click here to find us and follow us on Facebook!  

    Remember, if you have questions related to your health, always consult your doctor or medical professional.  The information presented here is informative only and is not medical advice. 

    Sunday, July 29, 2018

    Healthy and Meaningful Travel is Special!

    LTD reminds you that healthy and meaningful travel is rewarding to you and others!

    LTD is at the Golden Gate Frogman Swim 2018 and our TEAM GRATITUDE is swimming in honor of Matt Axelson who was immortalized in the movie Lone Survivor.

    The Navy SEAL Foundation provides immediate and ongoing support and assistance to the Naval Special Warfare community and its families.  It is recognized by Charity Navigator as a 4-star charity since 2011 and is in the top 0.7% of all charities in the U.S.

    Find out more at:

    Wednesday, July 25, 2018

    LuxuryTravelDocs' Five-Part Series about the Benefits of Traveling with your Children! Part I: Happiness

    Sometimes the prospect of traveling with our children can be worrisome. 

    All of us have heard the phrase, "You don't take vacations with kids, you take trips." When traveling with children, rest and relaxation may be in short supply during your travels and even before you leave, an immense amount of time may be devoted to packing and planning. All of your family's routines will change including your children's and yours. These concerns are valid, but maybe traveling with our children can be more important for you children than you realize.  LTD presents a 5-part series on the benefits of traveling with our children and some of the science behind why you should make traveling with your children a priority.  Here are the five things that your child may gain from family travel that we will highlight for you:

    1. happiness
    2. brain development
    3. education
    4. health
    5. time

    First, LTD wants to address something that we have asked you many times in this blog:  "Would you rather have stuff or experiences?"  Some may answer, material goods because those last long after the experience.  But is that really true?  In fact, the excitement over material goods fades over time and become part of our new normal.  However, experiences become part of our identity and that is the case for children as well.  Taking a vacation or simply having an meaningful experience with our children can lead to life shaping happiness and improve our social interactions.

    Part I:  Happiness

    According to experts, family vacations are the gift that keeps on giving.

    Thinking about buying your child a new toy for his/her birthday?  You have saved your money to buy this, but then you think twice...suddenly you realize we are inundated with advertising about what we need. Maybe you should change your thinking!  There is science to show that your children will likely realize increased happiness from experiences.

    Credit Pexels

    Play a game indoor or outdoor while you are away!

    Psychology Professor Thomas Gilovich from Cornell University has made four studies on the subject  of happiness over decades and came to the conclusion that happiness is derived from experiences, not things.

    “Our experiences are a bigger part of ourselves than our material goods,” says Gilovich. “You can really like your material stuff. You can even think that part of your identity is connected to those things, but nonetheless they remain separate from you. In contrast, your experiences really are part of you. We are the sum total of our experiences.”

    A 2012 study by Gilovich described how people tend to have more regrets over inaction for experiences than for possessions.  He says, "Our memories are what make us who we are. If we make purchases that contribute to our sense of self—that is, if we pursue experiences over material goods—there are likely to be more memories, more of us, to cherish and embrace."

    One study conducted by Gilovich even showed that if people have an experience they say negatively impacted their happiness, once they have the chance to talk about it, their assessment of that experience goes up. Gilovich attributes this to the fact that something that might have been stressful or scary in the past can become a funny story to tell at a party or be looked back on as an invaluable character-building experience.

    Vacations with your children are a good choice when you think of the benefits, however, frequent vacations may not be possible with every family because of work, finances, etc.  But “On the other hand, family holidays are definitely valued by children, both in the moment and for long afterwards in their memory. So if you’re going to spend money on something, it’s pretty clear which option makes more sense,” says British Psychologist Oliver James.  He believes that children remember and value much of what occurs in their first 5 years of life, and unfortunately many parents do not wish to travel with children this young because quite honestly, it is hard!

    Next time you contemplate buying your child a new toy rather than taking them on a travel or staycation adventure, or decide that taking a family vacation with your young ones will be too much work, think of the science behind brain development and how a vacation can make them happier, form lifetime memories and smarter.

    Next time:  Family vacations can make our children smarter too!  Not just because of the education that can be provided on an adventure, but because vacations can enhance brain development!

    Remember, if you have questions related to your health, always consult your doctor or medical professional.  The information presented here is informative only and is not medical advice. 

    If you like our content and to be the first to see our upcoming content, please click here to find us and follow us on Facebook!