Top of the morning, March 22, 2014

Top of the morning, March 22, 2014

For spring break tips, we turned to longtime travel and tour consultant Donica Halcom. The owner of Destinations with Donica in Savoy took her first flight in 1975 and has been helping others navigate their way ever since.

If I'm a college kid, I'm going to ... the beach! It's been a long winter — pressure of classes. I've got a week to swim, sip a Margarita as the sun sets on the bay, and play beach volleyball with friends. No worries, be happy!

I'm taking my family of four ... on a cruise. Prices and incentives are unbelievable right now! Cruises depart from other ports than Miami. Example: New Orleans. Easy drive down the day or two before, followed by a week of cruising to fun ports like Key West and the Bahamas! On the ship, there's supervised areas for kids so mom and dad can relax! Thinking about staying closer to home? St. Louis, Chicago and Indianapolis have super children museums. Combine it with an indoor water park.

Should I drive, fly, take a bus or ride the train? I'm leaving on a jet plane. For the lowest fares, be flexible with your schedule. You could save money traveling the day before or after your planned day. Find out what the luggage restrictions and checked luggage fees are. No charge on some domestic airlines and most international flights. Travel light. My first trip to London I traveled with a suitcase of shoes! I've reduced to two pairs.

If I can't go somewhere warm, you'd recommend ... One of my favorite cities is San Francisco. Stay near the wharf (great seafood restaurants), take a bay cruise, maybe visit Alcatraz. There's several good day trips from San Francisco: wine country, Muir Woods is a great place, spending time among the Redwoods ... I'm already relaxing — quiet & cool. For a driving vacation with children I'd head to the Smoky Mountains and stay in one of the many cabins for rent.

Three things you can't leave home without: I've always loved the quote "When packing for your trip, take half as many clothes and twice as much money!" My three things I never leave home without: my iPhone (it's my camera, communication tool for sending messages, atlas, language translator & currency converter, etc.), headphones (so I can listen to music from phone!) and a small bottle of hand sanitizer — never leave home without it!

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