I travel a lot. I’m a platinum member on an airline. I’m gold at one and silver at another hotel chain. I’m even a “gold” member of a rental car company. I’ve been to nearly every major U.S. city, 48 of the 50 states, numerous locations in Canada and Mexico, all over the Caribbean, five countries in Europe (so far) and even a couple of countries in Africa.
Much of my travel is for work, but I often bring my family along. In fact, before my son started school, I found a nanny/babysitting service in every city I could and he came along. At three years old, he was granted silver status on an airline. We also go on vacation a couple times a year and take mini-cations or staycations, especially on long weekends, which is even better because then we get to choose where to go. Plus, we do lots of fun stuff locally. One doesn’t have to travel to find magical moments and have fun!
There are a lot of perks to traveling that much (a lot of negatives, too, but you don’t want to hear about that), not the least of which is amassing a lot of knowledge about air travel, car travel, hotels, where to find discounts, and other tricks that save time and prevent frustration.
Plus, I plan conferences for work. There is a lot of preplanning required. Before asking attendees to go to a city, I need to know exactly what that city has to offer, not only hotels, but also public transportation, restaurants, nightlife, family fun… basically anything the attendees may want. This involves contacting a city’s visitor or tourism bureau and setting up a tour where I am allowed to “sample” all the great things the city can provide to my attendees. I take notes and pay close attention because once we get there for the conference, attendees will ask me questions as if I was a local such as the best place for seafood, where they can spend an afternoon with their children, if they can get discounted tickets for a local attraction, or even where they can get some partying in at night after our meetings are over.
As if that wasn’t enough, I’m also an avid researcher and planner. When traveling somewhere new, I always read at least one guidebook and often two or three. Even on repeat visits, I will get an updated guidebook and check out websites and blogs to see if there’s anything new I should know about or should see. If it’s somewhere I visit repeatedly like the Disney parks, I subscribe or follow blogs, have subscriptions to a couple of magazines and websites, and still read guidebooks to stay current. Plus, I join forums or simply ask friends or family who live or have traveled to a location so that I can get answers to specific questions.
Because of all of that, I’ve become an unofficial travel planner for my family and friends, especially if they’re traveling to Disneyland or Walt Disney World. In those conversations, it often comes out that “it’s not fair that infrequent travelers” don’t know about something and I agree. For a long time, I figured there was nothing I could do about it, but I’ve changed my mind. Rather than simply sharing what I’ve learned with just my family and friends, I can share with the world through the internet. Thus, Magical Memories with the Mouse was created.