Sure moms across the nation roam suburban streets in minivans and SUVs, picking up their kids from school and chauffeuring them to various activities and events. But I’m a soccer mom too dangit. Just because I drive a 4-door sedan, doesn’t mean I can’t have that title. Stereotype me! I deserve [ ... ]
There’s a reason “Follow the Honey,” in Cambridge, Massachusetts is not just a simple honey store. For founder and owner, anning, traveling the world on her personal journey led her to open a shop filled with honey stories to tell, and products with a conscience.
In Search of Healing an [ ... ]
Must we trade brunch dates and Bloody Mary’s for barely edible pancakes and sippy cups once we have kids? Hardly. Chicago restaurateurs, many of whom now claim the title of parents themselves, know how to host a good brunch which welcomes us and our progeny. Unlike some downtown areas which only [ ... ]
For those living in the middle of Missouri, there are only a few options for hitting the "big city" -- St. Louis, Mo., or Memphis, Tenn. Last spring, my gal pal Jessie and I chose to visit Memphis for the first time.
Our trip to Memphis might be one of the most unorganized trips I've ever take [ ... ]
I’m a sucker for an old-fashioned candy shop. I just love the candy-filled bins, the drugstore-feel complete with a bar and soda jerk…it makes everyone feel like a kid. With unique treats like Elvis Bark and chocolate-covered bacon, the Big Top Candy Shop in Austin, Texas is a fun treat for any [ ... ]
When planning out your summer road trip don't overlook Devil's Tower, Wyoming. It is one of my favorite side trips and possibly one of the most overlooked National Parks.
The first time I drove through Wyoming was in the summer of 1981 on a road trip with my my Mom. Somehow, in a pre-Internet [ ... ]
Vegetarian travel gets easier in the summer, when farmers markets and their bounteous produce draw tourists and local chefs. Summer is also know for outdoor eating, and New York City has one of the best (I’m slightly biased) eating extravagnzas, orgasburg. Actually, make that two. Smorgasburg ha [ ... ]
When I reached adulthood and needed to pay for my own airfare and expenses, I decided I would continue the mindset of not needing a lot of money to hit the road. And this was all while living in New York City on a tiny salary with nonexistent disposal income.
But there's always a creative alternative to the typical vacation of airfare + hotel + food + recreation. Along the way I've learned that creativity transforms travel with more meaning than you can imagine. And budget travel doesn't mean you have to stay in the dumps.
To kick off my blog, I'm introducing a five part series on unique Family Budget Accommodations.
Convents and Monasteries
You don't need to be Catholic, religious, or married to stay in religious lodging. Score accommodations for nearly half of what area hotels are going for and soak up some flavor. Convent and monastery stays can be found in just about every country but are easier to find in Catholic areas like Rome.
We stayed in a convent in Rome and a monastery turned religious center in Venice. I loved the old buildings, the graceful staff, and the idea I was contributing to their budget instead of a chain hotel. Of course, you forgo luxuries like room service and calling downstairs for every need from lost toothbrushes to wake-up calls.
But what you gain is a unique experience most of your friends and neighbors have never considered. It also offers your kids a first-hand lesson in history, religion, and architecture. Are religious accommodations right for your family?
Pros to Convent and Monastery Stays
Cons to Convent and Monastery Stays
Depending on what kind of travelers you are, the pros may actually be cons and the cons prove beneficial for you. Are you kids willing to forgo televisions an fancy cable packages? Do you have older children who want to stay out past midnight? Does peace and quiet bore you to tears? Do you need a full buffet breakfast to satisfy the family?
Weigh your options and decide what kind of adventure you're looking for. You may also find it's the best way to stay in budget, especially in countries where the euro crushes the dollar.
To get started, search at GoodNightAndGodBless.com for monasteries in countries from Africa to England and beyond. You can also find a list of convents in Itlay at SantaSusana.org or pick up the books Europe's Monastery and Convent Guesthouses: A Pilgrim's Travel Guide, New Edition or Good Night and God Bless: A Guide to Convent and Monastery Accommodation in Europe.
(Photo by karaian)