Sun, Sand & Smartphone Apps

I was really excited when Allegiant Air announced its arrival into Cincinnati. Upon hearing the news I immediately started planning a summer excursion to Florida. It was perfect, while the boys played baseball in Disney I would take some time to kick back, relax and rejuvenate. Don’t get me wrong, I love baseball, but this chick was in desperate need of some beach time. Plus, what’s the big deal when you can get live score updates from anywhere these days! Don’t judge me (please).

After researching a few areas in Florida, it was decided. While the boys headed out for their games, Trent and I would post up in Juno Beach to visit my good friend Kendall and her husband Chad. Plan in place, time to book. As I browsed through the awesome “a la carte” rates offered by Allegiant I decided they were too good to be true and invited my niece, Kendall, as well. It didn’t take much convincing. She was on board.

Our flight path took us from CVG to Sanford Airport in Orlando. For those who travel often, Sanford is the best-kept secret in the world of airports. No lines. No waiting. It’s even smaller than Dayton! After snagging our luggage we headed towards our first stop, the rental car kiosk.Tina_Florida2

In an effort to be economical and save on fuel, I had originally booked a compact car. Well, little did I know that when they say compact they actually mean an itsy-bitsy-teenie-weenie Smart Car. While I love those little things, I knew that it wasn’t going to fit the bill for this trip. With long drives ahead, new highways and a lot of planned stops, now wasn’t the time for my first Smart Car adventure. Luckily they had a couple of mid-sized cars on the lot so we didn’t have to pack in like sardines. We left it up to Trent who chose a bright red Hyundai Accent as our chariot and we headed on our way.

When we hopped in the car my niece asked where we were headed. No problem, I plugged the information into my favorite travel app, WAZE. If you’re on the road a lot, consider WAZE your new best friend. Not only does it give you accurate directions, but it also provides you with fun facts and important details along the way. Do you want to know where the police are hanging out? Would you like to steer clear of accidents or bad road conditions? How about terrible weather? WAZE knows it all.

While I consider myself a seasoned WAZER, my niece took it to a whole new level. The moment we decided we were famished she whipped out her ROAD NINJA app to reveal the closest restaurant. Easy. How technology comes so natural to kids these days, I have no idea.

By the time we had identified the location of our next feast our phones were dying quickly. We attempted plugging them into the USB charger in the car. No luck. We turned to WAZE, which pointed us to the nearest Walgreen’s to purchase a new charger. At this point I was starting to believe that my niece, Kendall, had super powers. With access to nearly every cell phone app in the world, she was saving our day!

After juicing up the cell phones and satisfying our bellies, it was finally off to Juno Beach. We set our ears on the US PL8S game while keeping our eyes peeled for different license plates. Arizona. New Hampshire. Colorado. Halfway to our destination we were convinced that we’d find them all, but, alas, we ended at 60%. Alaska, watch out, I’m still looking for you.

When we arrived in Juno Beach I immediately felt relaxed. The waves were crashing. The breeze was soft. The destination was nothing short of beautiful. We spent the week digging our toes in the sand, visiting local museums, shopping (of course), and swimming in our friends’ pool. We also got a little time in with my family as well – the Woodses. Unfortunately, we aren’t related to Mr. Tiger Woods himself, but our golfing skills are almost as good. Take my word for it.

By the time the boys met up with us we were ready to hit the beach again. Can you blame us? On Saturday morning, we darted towards the sand where we got to see Sea Turtles in action as they made their way back to the ocean. What an awesome experience. Come Sunday, we packed it up and headed back to Orlando to close the trip.Tina_Florida

En route to Orlando we decided to stop in Christmas, Florida for an airboat ride. Back in the day Roy’s parents lived in Christmas and Mark spent a lot of summers on the very river that we were on. It was kind of cool to imagine him hanging out there in his younger years. Our trip guide was amazing and if you ever find yourself in Christmas I highly recommend visiting Midwest Airboats. Santa Claus sightings, not guaranteed.

For our final stop (insert a tear), we decided to head to Universal City Walk. Guided by our fearless leader, Kendall, and her array of cell phone apps we, once again, got to experience the best of Florida. After strolling around, we decided to have dinner at NBA City where the food and the service were something that I could appreciate!

When the weekend came to an end we were sad to kiss our vacation goodbye, though we knew it had come time to make our way home and get settled back into our routine. Overall, the trip was awesome I would highly recommend all of the excursions that we went on. I also advise everyone to jump on the cell phone app train. From restaurant recommendations to accurate directions and everything in between, they make traveling so easy!

And, if you don’t like being tied to your smart phone, travel with a sixteen year old. They’ve got this technology thing down!

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