One travel writer shares how you can carve out more time for adventures.
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"I'm not really looking forward to my vacation," said no one ever.

I mean, who doesn't love a little time off? The chance to explore or chill out without having to worry about conference calls or deadlines is a special feeling.

But here's the thing: Not a lot of Americans are doing it. In fact, in a 2014 survey by Skift, nearly 42% of respondents didn't even take a single vacation day.


How is that possible? Well, it's a combination of things. A quarter of U.S. workers don't even get paid vacation and those who do get it don't even use it that much because they get worried about leaving work.

Let's face it: Vacationing more often is no easy task. Luckily, one seasoned traveler has some tips that can help.

Ellen Burne is a 20-something travel writer who's made it her mission to set foot in every single country on Earth — all by herself. In her amazing, jealousy-inducing blog, Travelling the World Solo, Burne chronicles all the wonders of exploring the world.

All images via Ellen Burne/Travelling the World Solo, used with permission.

"Since I started travelling, there are so many things about me that have changed. I am a better problem solver, far more independent, pretty much fearless and have a much more well rounded view of the world," Ellen Burne said. "Travel has changed me for the better and I can't imagine what my life would be like now if I had not pursued my travel dreams."

When you're ready to book your own travel plans, Expedia is happy to help — their online marketplace makes it easy to find what you're looking for, all in one place. From flights to hotels to rental cars to vacation packages to getting local expert advice, they have everything you need to help save you time and money (which can only lead to more adventures!).

Now, not all of us can travel professionally like Burne, but she has a few suggestions on how we can incorporate more travel into our lives.  Here are her tips on how to make your own travel dreams a reality:

Get creative with your workload.

Have fun with some cute huskies in Oqaatsut, Greenland.

In addition to being a travel writer, Burne is also a registered midwife. This allows her to work some really flexible hours.

"I am a shift worker, which means that I can work lots of days in a row and get lots of days off in a row," Burne said. "I can often get 7 to 10 days off in a row without using any paid leave!"

Of course, not all of us can be midwives, but there are so many other opportunities that offer great work flexibility. If anything, just think of it like piecing together a rewarding life puzzle.

Don't be afraid to figure something out with your employer.

Who wouldn't want a sweet escape in the Maldives?

When in doubt, the simple act of asking can go a long way. "Negotiate with your employer to take your paid leave at half pay to get more actual days off," Burne said.

Granted, that tactic won't work for everyone, but what's important is you're creating a dialogue with your boss and finding a way to work it out together.

Well-being is key in the workplace — and time off plays a big role in that — so it's important not to take your own happiness for granted. After all, happier workers are more productive workers.

Your trips don't have to be super long.

Conquer Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa.

"You don't need to plan big, long extended trips — such trips are amazing — but if limited time is a factor, try taking numerous smaller 3 to 10 day trips," suggested Burne. "Even in such small time frames, you can still have some amazing adventures."

Just remember: It helps to plan ahead. "Spontaneity is amazing," Burne added. "But if you want to see a lot in a short space of time, a little forward planning goes a long way."

Be efficient with your travel plans and budget.

Take in the beauty and splendor of Venice, Italy.

If time is of the essence, Burne has some travel hacks up her sleeve to make the most of each minute: Traveling with just a carry-on, choosing one or two destinations with direct flights and flying out the same day you finish work. "It's tiring, but can equal an extra day of vacation," she said.

Burne also stresses the importance of travel insurance. "You never know when your travel plans will go awry and having insurance can save you a lot of moolah if something were to go wrong."

Use some sweet tech to your advantage.

Get lost in one of the most romantic cities in the world — Paris, France.

There are loads of apps out there meant to make the entire travel experience much easier. And Burne swears by a particular one.

"Offline maps are the greatest invention ever and mean that you can navigate around a new city with ease and without racking up a huge phone bill."

So as you make your way across every corner of the globe, just remember that Expedia is right there with you each step of the way. In fact, every flight, hotel room, rental car, vacation package, and activity you book through them gets you points in their loyalty program, Expedia+, which can be redeemed for future travel. The more points you rack up, the more new wonderful places you can see.

Now, what are you waiting for? The world is out there and ready for the taking. It may seem daunting, but trust us, you have time.

Image by 5540867 from Pixabay

Figuring out what to do for a mom on Mother's Day can be a tricky thing. There's the standard flowers or candy, of course, and taking her out to a nice brunch is a fairly universal winner. But what do moms really want?

Speaking from experience—my kids range from age 12 to 20—a lot depends on the stage of motherhood. What I wanted when my kids were little is different than what I want now, and I'm sure when my kids are grown and gone I'll want something different again.

We asked our readers to share what they want for Mother's Day, and while the answers were varied, there were some common themes that emerged.

Moms of young kids want a break.

When your kids are little, motherhood is relentless. Precious and adorable, yes. Wonderful and rewarding, absolutely. But it's a LOT. And it's a lot all the fricking time.

Most moms I know would love the gift of alone time, either away at a hotel or Airbnb or in their own home with no one else around. Time alone is a priceless commodity at this stage, especially if it comes with someone else taking care of cleaning, making sure the kids are fed and safe and occupied, doing the laundry, etc.

This is especially true after more than a year of pandemic living, where we moms have spent more time than usual at home with our offspring. While in some ways that's been great, again, it's a lot.

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Courtesy of CeraVe
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"I love being a nurse because I have the honor of connecting with my patients during some of their best and some of their worst days and making a difference in their lives is among the most rewarding things that I can do in my own life" - Tenesia Richards, RN

From ushering new life into the world to holding the hand of a patient as they take their last breath, nurses are everyday heroes that deserve our respect and appreciation.

To give back to this community that is always giving so selflessly to others, CeraVe® put out a call to nurses to share their stories for a chance to be featured in Heroes Behind the Masks, a digital content series shining a light on nurses who go above and beyond to provide safe and quality care to patients and their communities.

First up: Tenesia Richards, a labor and delivery nurse working in New York City who, in addition to her regular job, started a community outreach program in a homeless shelter that houses expectant mothers for up to one year postpartum.

Tenesia | Heroes Behind the Masks presented by CeraVe www.youtube.com

Upon learning at a conference that black mothers in the U.S. die at three to four times the rate of white mothers, one of the widest of all racial disparities in women's health, Richards decided to take further action to help her community. She, along with a handful of fellow nurses, volunteered to provide antepartum, childbirth and postpartum education to the women living at the shelter. Additionally, they looked for other ways to boost the spirits of the residents, like throwing baby showers and bringing in guest speakers. When COVID-19 hit and in-person gatherings were no longer possible, Richards and her team found creative workarounds and created holiday care packages for the mothers instead.

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