Senior Citizens – Get Your $10 Lifetime National Park Pass While You Still Can

If you are age 62 or older and love National Parks, this is the deal for you. The U.S. Geological Survey is offering Lifetime National Park Passes to Senior Citizens for $10. With this pass you can will have access to over 2,000 recreation areas and 417 national parks. Your pass will also cover any passengers in your car. But hurry up, the price will be going up to $80 by the end of 2017.

In order to purchase this pass at the $10 price, you must buy it in person at a federal recreation site. You can also order it online here for $20.

Liquid + Luggage: Get the Lowdown on Bringing Liquid On A Plane

What is the maximum amount of liquid I can take in my carry-on?

3.4 ounces is the most liquid you can have in a single container in your carry-on. It’s important to note that it must fit in a quart-sized bag and you should separate the bag from your carry-on luggage when it comes time to go through screening.

How many liquid containers can I bring in my carry-on?

You can bring as many containers as you can fit in your quart-sized bag.  The bag must be able to close.  Only one bag is allowed per passenger.

Are there any exceptions?

There are two exceptions. Medications and child nourishment such as formula are permitted in reasonable amounts.

Can I bring more liquid in my checked luggage?

Yes, you are allowed to pack larger containers with liquid in them in your checked luggage. The TSA does not restrict the size of containers in your checked luggage.

What if I have a container that is larger than 3.4 ounces but only contains a small amount of liquid?

You would still have to pack that container in your checked luggage. The size of the container determines whether or not it is allowed in carry-ons, not the amount of liquid.

Where can I find the official rules about liquids on planes?

The information above was current when this was written but the best place to find all the rules related to carry-on luggage is the TSA website.

If You Travel A Lot & Love Coffee This Travel Accessory Is For You

Does this sound familiar? There you are, walking through the airport pushing your luggage in one hand, holding a Starbucks in another, having to stop and find a place to put the coffee down every time you need to look at your ticket or do anything with at least one of your hands.

If so, we’ve found the perfect travel accessory for you, this handy dandy cup holder.

Simply attach the holder to your luggage’s handle and you’ve just given yourself the ability to enjoy your coffee & enjoy your travel at the same time.  Even better, it’s self-leveling to keep you from spilling your drink.  It also folds up for easy storage, making it one lean, mean travel accessory.

Bonus Points: We also like that it gives you a place to put your drink when sitting at the gate!  View reviews, get more info or buy it now.

Have you used one of these travel coffee holders? We’d love to hear your experience using it!


How To Measure Carry On Luggage The Right Way

Measuring your carry-on luggage to ensure it meets your airline’s specifications is easy – just follow these simple steps to figuring out your luggage’s height and width.

Step by Step Guide to Measuring Your Luggage

Step 1:

To determine your luggage’s height, measure the luggage standing upright. If your luggage has wheels or a handle these should be included in your measurement. Measure from the bottom of the luggage to the top. Do not measure diagonally. Write this measurement down.

Step 2:

Measure the length of your luggage. Write this measurement down.

Step 3:

To determine your luggage’s width, make sure it is fully packed and lay your luggage on it’s side. Measure the width of the luggage and write this measurement down.

Step 4:

Determine your airline’s luggage measurement allowance by visiting their website.

Step 5:

If your airline uses a total measurement allowance (you will know this if they only give one number for your allowance), add the length, width and height together to find your total measurement.

If your airline uses a total measurement allowance (you will know this if they only give one number for your allowance), add the length, width, and height together to find your total measurement.

If your airline gives you specific dimensions for length, width and height, check the measurements you wrote down to compare them with your airline’s allowance.


Do I need to include the wheels and handle in my measurement?
Most airline’s do require that you include the wheels and handle in your measurement.

Why do I have to measure the width fully packed?
Luggage dimensions can change dramatically depending on how many items are in them. The airline will be using the fully packed luggage when determining the measurements so to be safe, you should do the same.

Free Access To All National Parks 4/15 – 4/16 & 4/22 – 4/23

Savings: Up to $30 per person
Deal Dates: 4/15-4/16 & 4/22-4/23
More Information:

The National Park Service is celebrating its’ 100th anniversary and they have a gift for you! This weekend (April 15th & 16th) and next weekend (April 22nd & 23rd) admission to all national parks is 100% free.

While the majority of the national parks offer free admission, 117 parks that usually charge an admission fee will not be doing so on these dates. So what are you waiting for? Plan your visit to one of our national treasures, like Yosemite pictured above.

Find a park near you.

If you miss April’s free days, don’t worry, the National Park Service will also be offering free access on the following days:
August 25: National Park Service Birthday
September 30: National Public Lands Day
November 11-12: Veterans Day Weekend

The Awesome Consequences of #SeaWorld’s Announcement to End Orca Breeding

Today Sea World announced it will no longer breed orcas.

This announcement means that not one more orca will be born at Sea World never to know what it’s own natural habitat is like.  No orca will ever be born there to spend it’s life in a tank, unable to explore the vast ocean, unable to dive deeply, unable to use it’s sonar and devoid of the family connections that are so important to them in the wild.

This means we will no longer be using breeding programs as an excuse to not protect our wildlife, as a backup for worst case scenarios of extinction.  More attention can be turned to saving our wild populations and ensuring that the ocean is healthy and safe place for them to live.

This means that people will be forced to realize their hour of entertainment from animals at entertainment venues comes at a cost, that just because we can, doesn’t mean we should.

This announcement means that Tilikum’s suffering meant something.  It helped change the world and no matter how hard it is to watch what became of his life, there is some solace in the fact that his life has had such a great impact.

This announcement means that things can change, that people can raise their voices and have an impact.  Each tweet, every letter, every protest, each legislative endeavor, they made a difference.  I never thought this day would come and neither did many who still lived in hope and raised their voices.  Now I know, those voices matter, every word that is spoken with the hopes of making our world more humane, of making our world a better place for all to live has the potential to effect change.

This announcement means that the other aquariums that continue to breed or capture wild orcas need to stop and take note.  If Sea World can change, you have no excuse.  It is time now to stop this practice worldwide.  

This announcement means that the travel industry should also take note.  It is no longer acceptable to promote or contribute to any establishment or company that exploits animals for entertainment purposes.  The world will not have it any longer.  It is time to change.

The announcement means that there is hope.  We have made one huge change happen, but more needs to be done.  Please, all those who created this change, continue to fight for those who have no voices.  I personally will be concentrating on getting word out about Lolita, an orca who is living in the smallest tank in North America devoid of any contact from other orca, who has a chance to return to her native waters and possibly one day be reunited with her family.  I am more hopeful then ever that this can really happen and strangely, I have Sea World to thank for this.  Thank you Sea World. Thank you Tilikum.  Thank you Blackfish. Thank you to the California Coastal Commission.

Thank you to every person who didn’t stop speaking out, allowing themselves to witness something that hurt their hearts and hoping against hope for a day like today when we could all say there will never be another orca born at Sea World.  

An open letter to Tilikum

Note: Ethan Wolf’s (Sea Shepherd) open letter to Tilikum compelled me to write my own.  Thank you Ethan for the beautiful words. It is impossible to stay silent after reading them.

Dear Tilikum,

You are dying.  Your beautiful soul is preparing to leave this world and I want you to know, that your life has meant something to me.

I first saw you in  Blackfish.  Your story shocked me.  I could not understand how people could treat you like a plaything. Watching something so powerful and intelligent suffer at the hands of humans was so disturbing that all I could think of was how to change it.  I never figured that out, and obviously neither have all who have loved you from afar, but we still fight and will fight even harder in your memory when you are gone. I am so very sorry that you have had to live a life confined to tanks. If I had the power to give you the tiniest taste of freedom in your last days, I would.  How I wish I had that power.

People say that you will be better off dead, that you will be released from your suffering.  I can not think that is true.  Everything in me screams no at this statement.  It should never have come to this.  You have been a victim of the most outrageous ignorance and greed.  It makes me ashamed that we have allowed this to happen.

You stand in such stark contrast to those who have imprisoned you.  While they victimized you, you strove to live, devoid of everything natural to your species way of life, you fought for the will to keep going and you did.  You are a hero.  They…do not deserve our words.

I can not imagine the restraint you have had to show throughout your life – how easily you could have hurt more people and chose not to. I can not imagine what it did to your soul when you did hurt people, you who are one of a species who has never killed people in the wild.

This should not have been your fate but even after pleas from around the world to retire you to a sea sanctuary so that you could feel real waves against your skin, so that you could at last relive the life that orcas are born to live, Sea World chose to continue to exploit you, compassionless and so gravely underestimating the public’s ability to see the cruelty inherent in their actions.  You, now on the brink of death, we failed you.  I am so sorry. There are no words to express how sorry I am.

I want you to know that I see more then your suffering, in you I see the beauty of life, the beauty of all that should be wild and free.  You have taught me how to stand up for those without voices.  You have shown me what true compassion is and you have opened up the eyes of so many people who never knew that so many sentient beings are suffering at our hands.  We will learn the lessons you are meant to teach us and because of them we will build a better world.

I promise you, we will change this.  So many people will fight, your name always close to their lips.  We will never be able to make up for the life that was stolen from you, but we will use our sorrow to help those still in captivity and those beings who suffer at our hands,like in Taiji and in the Faroe Islands.

I hope when your heart beats it’s last beats that you feel us near you, surrounding you with comfort and love.  Your life means more then you can ever know.  Our tears are a testament for that.  Please forgive us for what we have done.  I dream of your freedom, today and always.


For those reading this, please do not support tourist activities that exploit animals for entertainment purposes.  We are better then that and these animals, they do not deserve the lives they are forced to live for the few minutes of ‘fun’ we gain from them.

Related Posts

An Open Letter to the U.S. Travel Association – Please Stop Supporting Unethical Entertainment

44 Reasons to Free Lolita – 1 For Every Year She Has Been Held Captive in North America’s Smallest Orca Tank

My Secret To Getting Quality Luggage Way Cheap

Walking past luggage in a store gets me dreaming.  You can’t help but be seduced by the bright colors, 360 degree spinners and infinitely expandable suitcases.  There is so much promise in those cases and so much cost too.

I actually would never recommend cheaping out when buying luggage. Having lived through wheels that won’t roll and handles that won’t pop up, I now will only buy quality luggage – it really is worth it (and you’ll thank me when your running to catch that flight or trying to juggle everything after security checks).  The quality of the luggage you purchase has a direct effect on how you experience the travel portions of your vacation.

So what is one to do if they are not so lucky to have the budget to buy that awesome set of fancy luggage that’s making them drool as they try not to look at it one more time?  I will let you in on my secret to finding high quality luggage at next to nothing prices.

The Secret to Getting High Quality Luggage For Low Prices

Next time you purchase luggage, buy it from an estate sale.  Estate sales are an awesome way to get so many things for low prices and if you do your research it’s easy to find higher end sales that are held by people who have traveled extensively.

I’ve paid anywhere from 50 cents to 20 dollars for luggage – yes those are real prices and in store they would have cost me 100s of dollars.

Tips For Purchasing Luggage From Estate Sales

  1. Do your research ahead of time.
    Estate Sales can be found online and typically have pictures of all the items available.  I personally like to find my estate sales on They have great photo galleries that really allow you to look at the items available easily.  (Warning – this part can be addictive).
  2. Shop estate sales in the richer areas of your city.
    I love to go to estate sales all over the place, but if I’m looking for luggage I shop at estate sales that are being held in the richer areas.  People in these areas are more likely to have traveled, to have extra luggage they haven’t used much and to have high quality items.
  3. Don’t be put off by the age of the luggage.
    Just because it’s old doesn’t mean it’s bad.  In fact, sometimes the older luggage is more durable then what they make today.  I would stick with items from the 80s or newer unless your into retro styles.
  4. If you really want a deal shop on the last day of the estate sale.
    Most estate sales heavily discount items (usually around 50%) the last day of the sale.  If your looking to really save money, this is the ideal time to shop.  One issue with waiting is that someone else may buy the luggage first, but if your a true deal hunter, you can stand that risk!
  5. If you REALLY want a set of luggage you found get to the sale early and on the first day.
    If you really found something special head to the sale early.  People get to estate sales early just to stand in line and make a bee line to their wanted item when the doors open.  If you are worried about loosing out on something go early!

If you really love estate sales and want to buy more then just luggage you can create a user account on and follow sales and companies.  It’s an awesome way to shop!

Have you purchased any travel accessories from an estate sale?  What did you get?

An Open Letter to the U.S. Travel Association – Please Stop Supporting Unethical Entertainment #IPW15

Dear U.S. Travel Association,
I am a travel blogger & a travel lover. I am writing this to ask you to reconsider holding your IPW party on 6/1 at Sea World.

Not long ago I watched Blackfish and the Cove. These two movies opened my eyes to the fact that all entertainment is not ethical and it also opened my eyes to the enormous responsibility people in the travel industry have to not support or recommend travel experiences that in any way diminish the lives of people or animals.

It is my belief that Sea World does both of these things and by holding your event there you are supporting the continuation of their cruelty. I can point to legal cases against them for discrimination and fines for pollution of Mission Bay as two things that stand out for me, but what is even closer to my heart is the continued breeding of Orcas for lives of captivity and how acceptance of practices that treat animals as our playthings create situations like what is happening in Taiji, Japan.

For one second think of an Orca. What words come to mind? Majestic? Wild? Amazing? Free? Or do you see them as Sea World would want us to? Caged? Dominated? Angry? Drugged?

To me they are awe inspiring. Orcas are highly intelligent animals that form life long family bonds. In captivity they are often separated from their children and they are forced to breed unnaturally often. In the wild they can dive over 1,000 feet down, Sea Worlds deepest tank is only 40 feet deep. In the wild they have never killed a person. In captivity Orcas have attacked humans many times and sadly have killed a number of people.

We do not know what we take away from them when we take away their oceans. We do not know the harm we do to all of us when we show them a lack of basic kindness.

I believe that this issue is one about all of humanity. It is about how we choose to treat one another and how we teach our children to respect what is wild and to honor the freedom of others.We are creating a legacy, don’t we want it to be one we are proud of?

US Travel’s support of Sea World is supporting unnecessary cruelty, lives lost to glass cages, an absolute lack of respect for nature and a failure for the human race. What people will witness when they attend your party is creatures who show more compassion to us then we show to them. It is educational but not in the way Sea World claims it to be. It educates us about human greed and the lengths we will go to for money.

It is a place that is not even close to celebratory. It is a place that should inspire great sadness. The travel industry has got to start taking a stand against businesses that profit off of the misery of others. We should educate people, offer alternatives, be a force for good. We must look past the profit and the pride, see our failings and look forward to a future where no one is allowed to suffer for our entertainment.

I hope that something I have said today touches you in some way. That you might reconsider holding your party at Sea World and instead become a voice for the voiceless Orcas and countless dolphins around the world that spend their lives in unnatural environments. We pay our money and watch them for a short moment, but we must remember, unlike us, they do not have the privilege to leave, that long after we have left, they are still there, swimming in circles perhaps dreaming of the sound of waves. We do not know what we take when we steal their oceans from them.

Thank you for your consideration.

44 Reasons to #FreeLolita -1 For Every Year She Has Been Held Captive in North America’s Smallest Orca Tank

In the Miami Seaquarium lives an Orca name Lolita.  Once upon a time she swam free in Puget Sound, Washington.  She was captured and sold to Miami Seaquarium and has been there ever since. This August will be her 44th year in captivity.  She is living in the smallest Orca tank in North America with no other Orca for company.  This is enough.  This is enough to say enough.

But there is more.  Lolita’s pod still exists.  There is a well thought out release plan that would at the very least allow her to return to her birth waters and could progress to her eventually rejoining the pod.  But how can we make this happen and why.

As travelers we make choices about what we support by where we go.  When we buy tickets to establishments, we are basically voting with our dollars.  I have put together this list of 44 reasons why Lolita should be freed.  I hope that if they speak to you, that you will support the movement to free Lolita, tweet and share messages to bring attention to Lolita’s plight and that you will not buy a ticket to the Miami Seaquarium or any other establishment, including Sea World that supports the captivity of Orcas.

After the list are a number of action steps that you can do to start helping today.

44 Reasons to #FreeLolita

  1. It is wrong to keep Orcas in captivity
  2. Lolita lives her life in the smallest tank in North America. Her tank is as deep as she is long. She cannot dive. Its 20′ at its deepest point.
  3. There is no tank large enough.
  4. Her probable mother is still alive (select l-pod – she is l-25 Ocean Sun) & there is a possibility they could be reunited
  5. She has a beautiful spirit even after all these years of captivity
  6. She was kidnapped from Puget Sound Washington
  7. She is not anyone’s property
  8. In the wild orcas spend their entire lives with their mother and family (sometimes even great grandmothers) Captivity has stolen that bond from Lolita.
  9. She still recognizes her families calls – when Lolita was played a recording of her family’s calls she returned the distinct dialect of her family’s calls
  10. It’s morally wrong to hold an Orca captive
  11. Lolita has no protection from sun or tropical storms which violates Section 3.103(3)(b) of the Animal Welfare Act.
  12. A well thought out plan has been made for her return to  the waters of her birth
  13. Lolita is the only remaining survivor of the 40+ members of her community who were captured in Puget Sound. She can not die without ever knowing the feel of the Ocean again.
  14. Humans can ‘appreciate’ Orcas (more) in the wild.  We do not need to see them in cages.
  15. To make matters worse, Orcas in captivity typically die earlier then Orcas in the wild
  16. Captivity creates dangerous situations that do not occur in the wild
  17. Capturing wild Orcas is wrong.  Lolita was wild when captured and by keeping her in captivity we are basically giving our stamp of approval on this initial act.
  18. Lolita has been without any other Orca for over 30 years since her tank mate Hugo died after repeatedly smashing his head into the wall
  19. Exploiting another being for your own profit is unacceptable.
  20. In the wild orcas swim nearly 100 miles per day -In a typical tank Orcas would have to swim over 1400 laps a day and Lolita’s tank is not even typical.
  21. Lolita’s pod is protected under the endangered species actshouldn’t Lolita be? and now Lolita is also – why isn’t she truly protected from “harm and harassment”?
  22. Lolita is a sentient and sapient
  23. We should protect what is wild
  24. She is a “highly vocal and complex communicators are forced to live in a low-sensory environment, which is unable to fully meet the needs of …” her “…physical and emotional worlds.” (Jane Godall – speaking about captive Beluga’s but pertinent here)
  25. Lolita has a right to freedom
  26. She will be happier.
  27. Orcas have a culture
  28. Orcas respect us – even in captivity they show great restraint and in the wild they have shown great curiosity.  Shouldn’t we respect them?
  29. We do not learn about Orca’s natural behaviors when they are held captive only their imprisoned ones – it’s a type of mis-education.
  30. She is unable to act on her own behalf.
  31. Captive Orcas show similar behavioral patterns to captive humans  What looks like cooperation is not always that simple.
  32. The Miami Seaquarium receives an annual license to operate despite Animal Welfare Act violations. A lawsuit against the USDA for issuing the license to an unlawful facility was dismissed on the procedural grounds that the inspectors have the discretion to ignore the regulations.  Our laws must mean something.
  33. Lolita was born free.
  34. “There is no significant risk to Lolita in any stage of Orca Network’s proposal for Lolita’s retirement in her native waters.”
  35. Hundreds of thousands of people many different people from all over the world want this to happen.
  36. Lolita’s pool does not meet the perimeter fence requirements to keep animals and unauthorized people out, nor does it protect her from abuse and harassment by the public. (Sections 3.103(3)(c) and 3.101(2))
  37. “Remaining in captivity is likely to lead to real harm to Lolita”
  38. Lolita’s tank is 13 feet shorter than is required by the Animal Welfare Act (Section 3.104).
  39. It’s possible we could learn more about about Orcas communication patterns if Lolita is released & communicates with her pod
  40. She has given so much of her life to us. We owe her this.
  41. She is a nearly ideal match to the Navy criteria of attributes for a candidate for a reintroduction program.
  42. Lolitas’ Chinook name (prior to being captured) was Tokitae  meaning nice day, pretty colors – freedom would let her understand the meaning of those words.
  43. It’s a beautiful dream
  44. Wouldn’t you want someone to help you?

How You Can Help Lolita NOW

  1. Tweet for Lolita & share
  2. Learn more about Lolita’s plight
  3. Don’t buy a ticket to the Miami Seaquarium or any establishment that supports Orca captivity like SeaWorld
  4. Write a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service asking them to reconsider Lolita’s captivity at Miami Seaquarium. You can find the contact details and a sample letter here
  5. Send a letter to the owners of the seaquarium and ask them to release Lolita. Either post a letter to :Fernando Eiroa
    Palace Entertainment
    4590 MacArthur Blvd., Suite 400
    Newport Beach, CA 92660Or send an email to
  6. Send Letters to USDA & APHIS:Send a message to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). These U.S. regulatory agencies have oversight of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) which Miami Seaquarium is violating. Pre-written letters can be sent by visiting the Orca Network’s page “How to Fight for Lolita’s Retirement”.

Steps 4, 5 & 6 found in this wonderful article