Disney 2019 Vacation Recap: Part 3

If you missed part one and part two be sure to check them out then come back to this one!

We left off part two at the end of our fun day at the pool. We woke up the third day ready to go to our first park, Magic Kingdom! I knew this would be my favorite day so I was super excited. We would be checking out of our villa that day and heading over to Wilderness Lodge/Copper Creek villas that afternoon, so we went ahead and packed up our cars that morning and left them in the Grand Floridian parking lot and then hopped on the monorail to Magic Kingdom.

The weather was beautiful again, and we were able to get there for rope drop despite some monorail issues.

I hit up Starbucks with my mom while Ek, Bobby and my dad went to the rope drop and Carousel.

We were then able to knock out some rides like Dumbo, and then we saw Daisy and Pluto!

Emma Kate has been asking about cotton candy for WEEKS for some reason, so we told her she could get some at Disney World, so of course she immediately spotted it at the park so we let her get some at 9:00 in the morning.

We then had a fastpass for Enchanted Tales with Belle, and Emma kate got to be Mrs. Potts. She is such a ham. I can’t remember exactly what was next, but I know we rode, Peter Pan, The PeopleMover, Buzz lightyear, Ariel, and then we saw Princesses while Bobby and my dad rode Splash Mountain.

Oh and we also rode Winnie the Pooh.

After a quick service lunch of Mexican food, we headed to Tomorrowland for delicious chocolate milkshake desserts. Emma Kate waited so patiently at the counter for hers.

Mom and dad were worn out after that, so they took off to go back to the Grand and pick up their car then check in at the next hotel while me, Ek and Bobby rode Pirates of the Caribbean. I can’t remember what else we did, but it was getting really people-y in the park so we decided to head out as well. We ended up taking a boat (apparently the monorail was taking forever per mom and dad) and we ended up only being a few minutes behind them.

Our two bedroom villa was on the 6th floor with a pool and water view. We got all the luggage up there and took a little rest before dinner. I will do a full review of this resort in another post!

We had dinner at Trail’s End buffet to celebrate my dad’s birthday, so we took the boat over.

We had a great dinner and dad was thoroughly embarrassed for his birthday, and we got back on the boat with full bellies. Unfortunately a huge storm came up while on the boat, and we were all dumped off at the Contemporary because they closed the boats down. We ended up just taking a cab to Wilderness Lodge since it was so close and much more convenient then trying to take the monorail to the Magic Kingdom then a bus. Emma Kate was dying to go swimming, but with lightning in the area the pools were closed.

We were finally given the all clear, and Emma Kate had a late night swim/play time in the splash pad.

We had an awesome day and were worn out by the end of it. Up next we have Hollywood Studios!

Disney 2019 Vacation Recap: Part 1

We are back from a wonderful Disney vacation, and I can’t wait to share all the fun we had in Florida. I’m going to break this up into parts, but try and get them all up quickly before I forget what all we did! I will link all the parts here once I am done.

Friday April 5th we left after lunch to drive halfway to Disney. We stopped north of Destin just off the interstate and were all too excited to sleep!

We got on the road the next morning for the 6 hour drive to Orlando. We arrived right at 4:00 at the Grand Floridian villas, and my parents were already there and had checked into the room. We were on the top floor and had an amazing view of Bay Lake! I will post a few photos here but plan to do a whole other post just about the villas.

The two bedroom villas are gorgeous, and I loved how light and airy they were. We spent a good amount of time on the balcony just enjoying the view. I posted room tours on my IGTV channel (@HeathersLG) if you want to check them out!

As soon as we got unloaded into the villa, we changed and headed to the pool. Emma Kate was so excited, so we went straight to the splash pad.

She loved the giant bucket of water that dumped out every couple of minutes and would just sit in the water waiting for it.

After a couple hours, we went to leave and saw they were roasting marshmallows, so obviously we had to do that!

My mom had made jambalaya at home the night before so we had that up in the villa. It was nice to not have to go anywhere or get dressed for a restaurant on arrival day. It allowed for more pool time and just relaxing and hanging out.

After we ate, we went for a walk around the hotel grounds, and into the lobby to see the beautiful Easter egg display they do every year. I can’t believe these are chocolate, they are so intricate it’s amazing.

We were all pretty wiped out after that, and decided to go to bed. We had a fun day of relaxing at the pool planned for the next day!

I would love to help you plan your next Disney vacation! It’s free for me to help you! Email heather@travelwiththemagic.com for details.

Sunset Inn & Cottages for Families of all Sizes

I recently wrote a post about our fabulous stay at Sunset Inn and Cottages in Treasure Island, Florida. We stayed in the Sunkissed cottage which was the perfect size for us. However, I wanted to make sure to also highlight other sizes of accommodations available at this property that may fit your family a little better. First off, The Inn. This is actually attached to the office and all of the rooms are in the same building. This is great if you are more on a budget or only need space for two people and want a more traditional hotel room set up. However, several of the rooms have connecting doors, so you could always rent side by side rooms to sleep more people.

These two rooms are inn rooms but are also connecting. They each have a queen bed as well as fridge and coffee maker. There is storage space in the little back hallway and a TV.

There is also a bathroom in each room, stocked with towels for your stay.

Another option for those with a bit of a larger family would be a cottage such as the MacDill. This cottage has a similar set up to the one we stayed in, except it has an extra bedroom, and sleeps six people. I am also in love with its cute little front porch!

The sofa folds out to a bed just like in our cottage.

The difference is off the master is the second bedroom, with two twin beds.

Just enough space to sleep, and then spend the day enjoying the beach!

How adorable is this little table? This cottage also has a full kitchen just like ours did. Side note, while the sofa bed technically sleeps two, I wouldn’t put two adults on it, as it would be a tight fit, but two kids would do just fine!

I’m so glad we had the opportunity to check out the other accommodations at Sunset Inn and Cottages. Great for families of all sizes and literally just steps from the beautiful beach. Check out the website for availability and pricing.

LEGOLAND Florida’s Newest Attraction: The Great LEGO Race

Disclosure: I attended a press event for the ride opening and was given four tickets to LEGOLAND Florida, however all opinions are my own.

I love theme parks and I love technology, so when the two are combined, you know I’m going to be excited about the possibilities! LEGOLAND Florida has come up with an amazing new ride concept called The Great LEGO Race, which is now open. “This ride combines roller coaster thrills with virtual reality (VR) technology to put guests in the center of an action-packed road rally where the laws of physics and aerodynamics only loosely apply” How fun is that?

 

Legoland Florida has a new ride, the great LEGO race, with virtual reality technology@

 

“Wearing optional VR headsets, riders will experience the action from every direction while riding the roller coaster – up, down, forward, backward and all points in between  in a dazzling environment where everything is made of LEGO bricks. Check out two of the screenshots from inside the race below.”

Check this out:

“The wild and wacky race pits guests against a LEGO pirate, wizard, surfer, trendsetter and pharaoh driving brick-built vehicles like a rocket-powered windsurfing rig, a stylish scooter fueled by espresso and an ornately canopied bed (called a “litter”) carried by mummy servants.”

On opening day, we got to see an adorable show followed by the ride being officially opened to the public. 

We even go to take photos with some of the heroes of the ride itself. Emma Kate was partial to the pirate, of course. She’s not quite tall enough to ride, but I know one day she will love it. 

Here are some “stats” on the ride itself:

-You must be 6 years old and at least 48 inches tall to wear the optional virtual reality headset.

-You must be 42 inches tall to ride, and must ride with someone at least 14 years old NOT wearing a VR headset for supervision purposes.

-headsets are cleaned in between each guest who rides

-It took 2 and a half years to develop this ride

-The ride is just shy of 400 meters in length

-You drop at speeds of 35 mph during your ride

Who are the LEGO minifigure competitors?

  • Pirate Captain; Team Pirate — He steers a dinghy with a turbine-powered sail.
  • Pharaoh; Team Pharaoh — He rides an ornate canopied bed (called a “litter”) carried by mummified servants.
  • Surfer Girl; Team Surfer — She rides a rocket-powered windsurfing rig.
  • Trendsetter; Team Trendy — She rides an espresso-fueled scooter with a sidecar for her tiny dog.
  • Wizard; Team Wizard — He drives a dragon-themed hot-rod.

 

Be sure to check out the LEGOLAND Florida website for more details.

 

 

5 Reasons to Attend the Valspar Championship This Year

Last year was my first time going to the Valspar Championship here in Florida. As an athlete, I am always up for watching a sporting event, but then I learned that there is SO MUCH more going on than just the playing of golf itself. There truly is fun for the whole family, so I wanted to highlight five (of many!) reasons you will want to get tickets to the Valspar Championship this year!

1.) Food: This is more than your typical sporting event concession stand food. There will be a food truck rally with local food trucks. There will also be the Gape and Grain, which will house upscale beer, wine, and spirits, as well as Frenchy’s Pool Party which is great for families.

2.) Music: Valspar LIVE! Will take place on Saturday, March 10th, with not one, but TWO country music stars– Jake Owen and Dustin Lynch who will play at the conclusion of the tournament, and YES the concert is FREE with your tournament ticket! Last year, the combination of PGA TOUR golf and Valspar LIVE! produced the first single day sellout in tournament history and a repeat is possible in 2018. I was there (Toby Keith) and it was so much fun.

3.) Activities: Loving the tiny house trend? Then you will love the tiny homes block party behind the 18th green. Fans will be able to check out these homes painted in bright Valspar paint colors. This area will also have complimentary popsicles and autograph sessions on Thursday and Friday. Also be sure to check out chameleon cove, a beach and relaxation zone, featuring a 100-ton sand sculpture which is TWICE as big as last year, with colorful fan seating and concessions. There will also be a family fun zone featuring a 16-foot-tall rock climbing wall, monster putting green, Imagination Playground as well as arts, crafts, and games.

4.) Players/Tournament: Of course there is a golf tournament going on as well! Rory McIlroy, the four-time Major Championship winner will be among the new names joining the tournament. Adam Hadwin is the returning 2017 Valspar Champion and will be back to defend his title.

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5.) Charity/Veterans: Last year, Valspar Championship generated $2,412,196 for charity, – an increase of 13% from the previous year. The tournament has now generated just under $39 million for charity since 1977! So amazing! There will also be a Birdies for the Brave Patriots’ Outpost — one of the TOUR’s largest Patriots Outposts. The Outpost is a hospitality chalet with complimentary Chick-fil-A, Marco’s Pizza, Michelob ULTRA, and Coke products.

As you can see, there are tons of reasons to get your tickets to the Valspar Championship this year. Just click this link to be taken directly to the page with tons more information. Hope to see you there!

 

Adventures in House Hunting + a Hurricane

Last Tuesday, my friend Kelley and I left Mississippi bright and early and headed to Florida. We were going to check out homes in neighborhoods where Bobby and I are going to move, which is TAMPA! I already shared this news yesterday with my email subscribers, but figured it was time to let you guys in on it as well. 🙂 We are looking north of Tampa, to be precise. So anyway,  we drove, and we drove, and we drove. It was a gorgeous day, so it was hard to believe a hurricane was coming.

How cool is this rest stop? It has a “stretch your legs” trail!

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We finally made it to Clearwater after 10:00 at night. We stayed at the Sheraton Sand Key and really liked it. It’s right on the beach (well you have to walk out a bit but no big deal). Too bad it was chilly and overcast. It didn’t stop us from sitting out there a few hours anyway!

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We eventually ventured up to the pool before grabbing lunch and meeting with my awesome realtor.

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Our plan was to look at homes all afternoon and into the early evening since we were going to head out Thursday afternoon instead of Friday because of hurricane Matthew. We saw some great houses and neighborhoods. After awhile they just all start running together though!

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This pool was awesome but unfortunately the rest of the house was not.

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How cool is this kid’s super hero room?!?

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Loved this kitchen but the neighborhood would be way too long of a commute for Bobby.

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We even rode a golf cart in one neighborhood.

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That night we hit up a restaurant in Clearwater before turning in for the night.

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The next day we were up early again for more house hunting. The Sheraton was so awesome and let us cancel out last night and refunded us no problem because of the hurricane. It was super simple and we were so grateful.

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We loaded up my SUV and were just going to meet the realtor at the first house that morning. Well, the directions I put into my map app on my iPhone were not exactly right. They took us through these back roads and down a dirt road where we came across this gentleman. We then went down ANTOHER dirt road and Siri told us to get out and walk to our destination. OMG. I felt like we were in a horror movie where the two young girls get led down a series of winding dirt roads to their deaths. We couldn’t stop laughing!

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We finally made it back to a main road and found where we were going, but whew what a way to start the morning. We saw gorgeous new neighborhood and some model homes, and then made it out of the area heading north just as the first rain bands started.

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Someone please explain the below photo?

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We had a LOT of traffic headed up 75 to I-10, and I-10 was basically gridlocked all the way to Talahassee. What should have taken us 6 hours took well over 7, and I was over it by the time we finally got to Destin around 7:15 that evening. We very much deserved good food and drinks so we headed to Rockin’ Tacos which was delicious.

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The next morning, we woke up to SUNSHINE! We were finally going to get some beach time. We were legit out on the beach by 7:45 in the morning, and we laid in the sun until around 12:15 when we finally packed up the car and had to head back to Mississippi.

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Hello sugar white sands! Oh how I missed you.

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It was totally worth driving in the traffic to get to Destin for a morning at the beach. Also it was nice to break up the 11 hour drive into two parts coming back.

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My friend Kelley was SO super sweet to spend her vacation time with me looking for houses and neighborhoods. She in her last year of residency at the hospital and could have been doing a million other things with her limited time off, but she chose to help me out.  I think I may have killed anyone else in the car for that long but we talked, listened to awesome playlists, and made it work. We also may have eaten at Chipotle twice. She had never been so I thought it was necessary. We had a great time and now I feel more confident as we narrow down where to live in just a few short weeks, so hopefully our house sells soon!

QOTD: What is your favorite beach? Do you like house hunting?

Montgomerys on the Move

Well, the time has finally come to share some BIG news with you. I shared it first with my email subscribers yesterday, because I always tell them news first (sign up here), and I already felt so much better last night after getting it off my chest.

I explained to my subscribers that lately I have felt like I was doing something wrong by keeping a secret from you all. It has become difficult to share personal stories of things going on in our lives simply because if I did, it would give my secret away. I know my blogging lately has been sporadic, and unfortunately it will continue to be that way for a little while longer, because my friends…the Montgomery family is packing up and moving to FLORIDA!

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I cheated. This picture is from last summer.

Whew. Ok, now I really feel better for letting the cat out of the bag to everyone. Funny how when you withhold information, even if you have a good reason, it can feel like a lie/wrong doing. There was still a lot up in the air until recently (and frankly, there still is,) but I decided now felt like the right time to share, just…because.

Ok, so here are some of the details. I am not ready to share everything 100% yet for various reasons, but here is what I can tell you:

WHO: Me, Bobby, and Emma Kate, of course. We have been within 3 hours of our families for years, so this will be WAY out of my comfort zone.

WHAT: Moving. We already established this right? Smile with tongue out

WHEN: Sometime in mid to late November. So, soon. This is scary because our house is still on the market. We had an offer a couple weeks ago that unfortunately fell through. We can’t buy another house until this one sells…so you get the picture.

WHERE: All I am willing to say right now is “central Florida”. More to come. Stay tuned.

WHY: Bobby has gotten an awesome new job, something he has worked really hard for, for a long time now. Thankfully both of my jobs are work from home, so I will still be doing what I love!

HOW: That’s a really good question. There is a lot to get settled, so we would so appreciate prayers right now for a few key things to fall into place. I know God’s timing is perfect, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous about all of the things working out in time for us to move. It gives me a headache just to think about it. I would also be lying if I said I wasn’t sad about leaving our current town. This is where Bobby grew up, and we truly do love it here. In particular, our church and gym, and the friends that come along with both are going to be very very hard to replace, and I’m frankly not sure it’s possible. I have gotten to know so many great people who have helped me a ton, especially in the past year, and if I think about leaving them it really upsets me.

Change has always been hard for me, and I’m incredibly sentimental so this whole process has been overwhelming. Please know if I take a little longer to answer emails or seem out of sorts for the next couple of months, that I’m just super busy doing all of the things for all of the people, and I will hopefully get back into a new routine once we get settled. I have had a couple of people ask me why I haven’t been marketing my new book much anymore, and now you know why. I have been packing boxes, doing research, and so many other things as we prepare to move. I can’t wait to share a new area, new adventures, and a new life with all of you here in my little corner of the world! Thanks for hanging in there with me.

QOTD: How do you handle change? Are you sentimental? Thoughts on Florida?

Beach Trip 2015: Day 3-5

In case you missed part one and part two, you can check them out before reading today’s installment.

I combined the next days because, well….we did pretty much the same thing! We got up, stuffed our faces with a delicious breakfast overlooking the beach, then Bobby left for his meetings, and my parents and I hit the beach.

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After lunch with Bobby, we all went to the beach.

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Then of course, happy hour.

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We had dinner scheduled at the Beach Walk Café, the nice restaurant at the Inn. We got dressed then walked over for our reservation.

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I started off with a blackberry martini which was delicious!

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I had the filet with mac ‘n cheese, and it was very tender, and the mac ‘n cheese was my favorite.

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Bobby had the lobster tail, and got a side of the mac ‘n cheese.

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My dad had the catch of the day, and my mom had shrimp ‘n grits. Everything was SO good and rich and we were stuffed after.  However, we still had enough room to all split a slice of peanut butter chocolate cheesecake made in house. Heavenly.

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The next morning my parents packed up and went home and I was pretty sad because we had such an amazing time. I hung out at the beach reading by myself until Bobby got back from class, then we ate lunch and headed back for our last bit of time on the beach.

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Some dark clouds rolled in in the afternoon, but it never actually rained. We enjoyed one more happy hour, and went to dinner down the street.

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Afterwards we went for a walk on the beach and the clouds cleared up just enough for a beautiful sunset. We also saw the Beach Walk Café setting up for “toes in the sand”, which is  ocean side dining with a private waiter. I want to do this one day!

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We sat on a swing and watched the sun go down one last time in Destin.

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Then, because we are old people, we headed up to the room for bed. Sad times.

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The next morning we enjoyed our last delicious Henderson Park Inn bed and breakfast before packing up and going home. We had an amazing trip, and I think that makes it even harder to leave! I was however glad to get home to family and routine, but I do hope we get to go back to Henderson Park Inn very soon!

QOTD: Have you ever dined next to the water? Favorite place to watch a sunset?

Beach Trip 2015: Day 1

We woke up early Sunday morning to drive down to the beach. We had thunderstorms and heavy rain most of the way down, which is not something you care to drive through on your way to the beach. We finally arrived after lunch and my parents were already there. We checked into the Henderson Park Inn in Destin, Florida, and our room was ready.

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It was still cloudy, but not raining, and the forecast looked good for the rest of the trip, hooray!

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We were in an executive suite on the second floor. They have so much room, and of course a great view (beach photo above was taken from our balcony).

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When we entered our room, there was music playing, and roses, grapes, and wine on our bed.

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We unloaded the car, caught up with my parents, and soon enough it was time for happy hour! Henderson Park Inn has daily happy hour from 4-5 for the guests in it’s 35 rooms. It’s up on the deck overlooking the beach.

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After hanging out at the tiki hut, Bobby and I went down to the beach to take some pictures in my new shoes ASICS sent me. The Gel Quantum 360 comes out July 15, and I wanted to get some shots in t hem to share on social media and my blog since the “gel” shoe is “jellyfish” (jelly =Gel-y) themed.

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We decided we didn’t feel like getting all dressed for dinner, so we ordered pizza and had them deliver it to the deck. We sat outside listening to the waves eating pizza. It was perfect! Later, we went for a walk on the beach.

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We were all tired from traveling so we hit the hay. Bobby and I managed to watch about half of a movie before I fell asleep. I needed my rest for a big day at the beach the next day, of course.

QOTD: What is your favorite beach to visit?

Summer Travel Plans

Every summer, Bobby and I go to Destin, Florida for three days. He attends a work conference in the mornings, and then we get to hang out in the afternoons. Last year my parents went with us, and this year they are coming again! (It’s nice to have someone to hang out with while Bobby is in his meetings). Baby girl will be staying home with Bobby’s mom. She lives out of town and so she doesn’t get to see Emma Kate a lot, so I know she is excited!

We can’t take the baby because we are staying at Henderson Park Inn, an adult’s only bed and breakfast. I have written about them before, and I cannot wait to go back for the third year in a row.

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At Henderson Park Inn, they spoil you rotten with an amazing buffet breakfast with create your own omelets and waffles, fruit, bacon, grits, you name it. Included in the price are water front beach chairs, towels, snacks, water and soda, and a happy hour every night.

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Rooms are gorgeous and spacious as well.

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Not to mention, we will be right in the heart of Destin just minutes and walking distance to restaurants and shops. It is just across the highway from the Destin Commons, the huge shopping complex, and down the road from the Silver Sands outlet mall. I love to explore Destin and find new restaurants and places to go. As a kid, we went to the beach most summers, so while I am familiar with the area, every year there are new places to go!

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We always try to get away somewhere in the summer, and I try to look for ways to make our travel easier and more efficient. The Discover It Miles credit card is a great option for your summer travel plans, wherever you are looking to go. This card has no annual fee, and includes a $30 credit each year for in flight Wi-Fi! For those of you traveling out of the country, there are no foreign transaction fees. Discover it Miles cardmembers can redeem miles at any amount for cash, or as a statement credit toward their travel purchases, including commercial airline tickets, hotel rooms, car rentals, commuter transportation and taxicabs.DSC_0893

You can learn more about the card and explore rewards to see for yourself how it can help your summer travel plans!

We leave for our trip in less than a month, and I can’t wait to sink my toes into the sand again, and enjoy that Florida sunshine.

QOTD: What are your summer travel plans? Do you use a credit card to help you travel? Reward points?

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.