Entries by Candyce H. Stapen

Travel Insurance in the COVID-19 Era

After more than a year of the pandemic lockdown, we’ve planned a June trip to Anguilla, a Caribbean island known for its gorgeous beaches and great food. We’ve booked a house at Long Bay Villas to celebrate all the missed birthdays and milestones for our multigenerational family. We’re happy, hopeful and also hesitant. After all,… Read More

What to Know When You Share a Vacation Rental

It looked so good on paper — a week in a Caribbean villa with my two sisters, their children and mine. By sharing, we cut costs, gained more space than a hotel room and added such luxuries as a private pool. The rental house in Jamaica, our first villa rental, gave us time to reconnect… Read More

Dream Trips: African Safaris in Kenya and Zambia

All of us need to dream now, and planning a bucket-list trip creates the joy of anticipation, even if the departure date still looms far into the future. For us, the go-to magic is an African safari. There is something joyous about watching a herd of elephants lumber across a grassy plain, lanky giraffes munch… Read More

A Family Gets Away to Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains

We work-weary urbanites found a way to escape to the woods during the pandemic. Yellow birch trees towered over us and ferns feathered the ground along the Upper Jungle Trail at Mountain Lake Lodge in southwest Virginia. Even in the light rain, 3-year-old James happily ran along the grass path, saying “Wow!” and Charlotte, 21… Read More

Whether to Cruise — or Not

We miss cruising. My husband and I board big and small ships with friends or relatives every year. Sailing gives us interesting ports plus time together and apart without the hosting duties of cooking and cleaning. When Azamara canceled our August 2020 Norway voyage because of COVID-19, we understood. Our spirits sank until we saw their 2021 deals. Then we booked another exciting voyage — two weeks exploring the Black Sea in April 2021.

Tips on How to Book Your Own Local Tours

I knew we were in trouble when our local tour guide drove silently for the first five minutes of our ride from Dubrovnik along Croatia’s coast. When I asked him if he would tell us about our destination, Cavtat and the Konavle Valley, he turned around, shrugged his shoulders and said, “I’m from Bulgaria. I don’t know anything about the area.” And he didn’t, even though the company we used listed Dobromir as a “driver-guide.”