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24 hours in Milan, Italy

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Milan was the very first Italian city I visited 28 years ago. I had visited the country for the Christmas and New Year holidays. I remember how cold it was and often even gray, but I also remember being incredibly impressed by the stylish people, many of whom reminded me of those I saw along 5th Avenue in NYC. I was also really captivated by the architectural beauty of the city, the cobblestone streets reflecting an older time and how it all fit so beautifully with the cosmopolitan flair of the city life. Spending the winter holidays in Northern Italy was a highlight in my life as a young traveler.

On my most recent visit, this time with husband and kids, I only had one full day to share as much as I could with my family, since it was their first time in the city, and reconnect with the city that had so impressed me years ago.

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Two beautiful days at Lake Como, Italy

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One of the highlights of our road trip through northern Italy was our stay in Lake Como. Most of our stops were in the Lombardy region, where there are lakes galore. Lake Como, the third largest lake in Italy and one of the deepest, is heavily visited by locals and tourists alike, especially during the summer months. Finding a place to stay can be difficult, and though parking is difficult, finding a home rental – our choice for this stay – was even more so.

We lucked out because we arrived just before the travel season had really kicked-off. We also arrived on a weekend, finding a parking spot just down the hill from our apartment rental that didn’t need us having to pay or move our car during our entire stay.

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Planning a Road Trip through Italy

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It’s road trip time, dear readers!

We didn’t take an extended road trip in 2015, although we did take smaller road trips closer to home which were a lot of fun and a great reminder that unforgettable travel does not have to be to far away places.

This year we are going international again (see our 2014 road trip through France)! I am excited to be returning to Italy and to revisiting some of the ol’ stomping grounds of my youth in Brescia.

Brescia is in the region of Lombardy in Northern Italy and is a 1.5 hour drive from Milan. I spent some time here deciding whether I wanted to stay and study there. I struggled with the language and was very young and  eventually made my way back to New York City. This time I will be traveling with my two youngest boys and my husband, and though things have changed dramatically since I was last there, I can’t wait to reconnect with my sister – whose wedding we will be attending – and with a region I once fell in love with. Of course, sharing this with my family makes the return that much sweeter.

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24 Wonderful Hours in Paris

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Last year, when I visited Paris on vacation with my family, it rained every single day we were here…except for the day we were heading home.

Despite this, my family and I had the best time. We visited the Louvre, climbed to the top of the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, and the Champs Élysées. We toured Sacre Coeur and Montmartre. We visited cafes and brasseries, stayed in a fabulous HomeAway apartment and sailed the Seine. It was magical and fun, rain and all.

I didn’t expect was that I would have the opportunity to return so soon.

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Taking it Easy in San Francisco, CA

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Of course during our 2013 road trip, we had to stop in San Francisco, but by the time we got there we wanted nothing more than to take it slow, keep the activities to a bare minimum, and try simply to enjoy the sites without forcing ourselves into traffic – which as far as West Coast traffic goes, started in San Francisco for us. We felt it immediately as we tried to maneuver our Yukon Denali through the busy city streets. The public transportation system is supposed to be really good in San Fran, everyone told us so, but without really know where to get buses, how long the waits for them were, and not really wanted to deal with the traffic and crowds, we just didn’t even try.

Yes. We were that tired.

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Embracing The Destination: 5 Ways to Immerse Yourself in Local Culture

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When people tell me they have visited the Dominican Republic – where my family is from and where I spent a good part of my youth – the first thing I want to know is where they stayed. When the answer is at an all-inclusive resort or another, I can’t hep but let them know that by choosing to be enclosed in a resort with limited access to anything else, they failed to embrace the culture of the island, and thus connecting with its people.

I don’t judge how people choose to travel because I think that the most important thing is that you travel. Period. However, even if you do choose to stay at an all-inclusive, or travel with a tour group, it can only compliment your experience to find ways in which you can connect with those whose home you are visiting.

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Touring The Amber Coast: Dominican Republic’s Puerto Plata

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When I was a young teen living in the Dominican Republic, most of my friends and their family would venture to the northern coast of the island to take part in the festivities and fun hosted by the many resorts found in the area. The Amber Coast, referred to as such for its large deposits of amber, the largest in the world, has been a favorite destination for visitors worldwide, followed later by Punta Cana as it too started developing its tourism market with a variation of all-inclusive hotels, condos and other lodging options.

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Top Family-Friendly U.S. & International Spring Break Destinations

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It’s Spring Break – almost. Any plans? Well, if you’re like me, you are still trying to figure it out, still waiting for that great deal to that fabulous place.

Well, I just got some great news for Airbnb! They have been gaining popularity among travelers like crazy, and for good reason. They continue to offer some of the best lodging options both here in the states and internationally and travelers I have met overseas using their services are singing their praises.

Airbnb looked at what destinations are trending for Spring Break this year and they were interested to see a number of unexpected destinations topping the list, compared to last year. Following is a list of the Top 5 Family Friendly Spring Break Destinations in the U.S. and the site’s Top 6 International Destinations. Beside each destination, we’ve highlighted a unique space travelers can experience in that destination. Spaces range from a historic townhome and custom-built log cabin to a beach condo and a retro modern city apartment.

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