Semester at Sea: More Hiking Happiness in Ireland

Gorgeous cliffs with a lighthouse way out there.

My favorite color is green, so I was fully expecting to fall in love with the "Emerald Isle." Indeed, I did. Ireland is another country that I'll definitely want to revisit -- for a couple weeks, ideally, someday. In another whirlwind, four-day stint in [Read more]

Semester at Sea: Scotland Stole My Heart


Maybe it’s because my family and I spent two nights away from the confines of the ship—sharing an inordinate number of laughs together. Or perhaps it’s because the sun shone in Scotland the three days we spent here. Or maybe it’s because, after three weeks of [Read more]

Tips for Road Trip Comfort

pilger kids1989 copy

Here we are in the middle of summer which means for many families...road trip! Mount Rushmore, Niagara Falls, and Orlando are just a few hot spots for traveling families but regardless of whether you're spending a few hours in the car or several days, comfort [Read more]

Semester at Sea: Bilbao, Spain, with Kids

Modern bridge in Bilbao, Spain

Look at me, finding time to write about our stay in Bilbao, Spain! Actually, the MV Explorer is docked in Getxo—and there are frequent free 30-minute shuttles into the city of Bilbao, about which I was quite impressed. Bilbao straddles the banks of the Bilbao [Read more]

Semester at Sea: Exploring Lisbon, Portugal, with Kids

Family selfie across from the main square in Lisbon.

I couldn't get off the MV Explorer soon enough when we were able to disembark in Lisbon, Portugal, after being shipbound for five days. Not that the MV Explorer is a bad place to hang our hats--not at all. I was just so ready to take a break from the frenetic [Read more]

Semester at Sea: Settling in on the Ship

Pulling out of Southampton, England--en route to Portugal!

What a whirlwind few days on the ship. Staff and families boarded the MV Explorer Sunday, 465 students boarded Monday, and the ship set sail from Southampton, England, to Lisbon, Portugal, that Monday night. Today is Thursday, right? Days start blurring [Read more]

Caribbean Getaway at the Aruba Marriott Resort

caribbean getaway at the aruba marriott resort

The Aruba Marriott Resort & Casino hosted a trip for The Vacation Gals' contributor Jill Florio and her mother-in-law, along with several other bloggers and their mothers. The Vacation Gals loves girlfriend getaways and family travel; how terrific that our [Read more]

Semester at Sea: 24 Hours in London with Kids

Famfie -- not a selfie -- in front of Big Ben (aka the Great Bell at the Houses of Parliament) in London

I'm thinking my grandiose plans to blog here regularly about my family's experience on Semester at Sea this summer--where I'm working as the Communications Coordinator and where my job consists mainly of populating the SAS News from the Helm blog--are already [Read more]

Waldorf Astoria Naples: Something for Everyone

Guest-room view at the Waldorf Astoria Naples on the Gulf Coast of Florida

Many consider Naples to be a sleepy town in Florida, but with almost too much to do in hot spots like Miami and Fort Lauderdale, my husband and I were more than happy to take a break and relax in this charming west coast town. That’s not to say we were [Read more]

Six Things to Love on a Family Vacation at the Hyatt Regency Sarasota

Some guest rooms have ocean views at the Hyatt Regency Sarasota

The soft white beaches of Florida’s Gulf Coast had been calling my name for some time, so I was excited to explore the Sarasota area with two of my girls (ages 6 and 9) over spring break. We splashed in the waves at Siesta Beach, panned for shark teeth at Mote [Read more]