Cathy Bennett Kopf, Optimism TravelingMom

Cathy Bennett Kopf, Optimism TravelingMom

Cathy Bennett Kopf pays her bills working as a municipal finance officer and feeds her soul with travel, documenting the good, the bad, and the ugly on her blog, The Open Suitcase. When things go wrong on the road, she retains her sunny disposition knowing that the best travel memories come from unexpected detours. She has nudged her 3 children out of the nest but travels with them regularly, despite the complex logistical maneuvers required to coordinate their schedules. Cathy is a lifelong resident and passionate promoter of New York’s scenic Hudson River Valley, a region hailed by National Geographic as one of its Top 20 Destinations in the World. In addition to her blog, Cathy’s work appears on Yahoo, Budget Travel, and Mode.


How to Score a Travel Bucket List Experience…for FREE!

Got a bucket list that’s long? Do you have some expensive items on it that seem impossible to do, like taking a hot air balloon ride? Learn the secret to the ultimate freebie in Snowmass, Colorado, from Optimism TravelingMom. Just plan to work a little for this travel bucket list experience. What’s on your bucket list? Mine’s pretty long and includes things like: See the Taj Mahal bathed in the light of a full moon. Photograph the Northern Lights in Finland. Drive Route 66 in a ’57 Thunderbird. I add more items each year than I tick off. You...

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Organized Family Tours with a Disney Difference: Adventures by Disney Tours for 2018

Have you thought about taking your family to see the waterfalls in Iceland? Or to visit Montana to check out the glamping craze? You can do all of the planning and work to take those trips on your own, or you can do them via an organized family tour. We’re fans of Adventures by Disney, the company that offers organized family tours with the Disney difference. Here are the Adventures by Disney 2018 tour destinations. What is Adventures by Disney? I do the vacation planning in my family. It many hours to… research a destination book flights and hotels...

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5 Reasons Why AirBnB is the Best Lodging Choice for Families in London

Planning a family trip to London? The most important decision you’ll make is where to stay. There are plenty of hotel rooms (over 149,000!), but Optimism TravelingMom suggests you consider booking a flat with Airbnb. She thinks it’s the best lodging choice for families. Your first question may be “Why?” Your second? “What’s a flat?” My adult children are very lucky. They have jobs. The downside though is that their employers sometimes send them thousands of miles away from Mom and Dad to work. And, while FaceTime is better than no time, it’s still not the same as an...

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Best NH Road Trip Pit Stop: Mount Washington Cog Railway

Do you remember your childhood summer road trips? The ones that involved a station wagon and the highlight of the experience was buying a key chain with your name on it? Optimism TravelingMom set out with her adult daughter on a New Hampshire road trip. Their favorite pit stop? The Mount Washington Cog Railway. It’s been a really long time since I packed up the minivan with suitcases, kids, videotapes, coolers and hit the highway for a summer road trip. Back in the day, we’d pile in, sing silly songs and play the license plate game for hours. Arriving...

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Is Privatizing Air Traffic Control the Right Approach for America?

President Trump addressed a memo to Congress yesterday, supporting the privatization of U.S. air traffic control. Although the June 5th action has no immediate consequence, it could be the first step in separating the existing system from the Federal Aviation Administration. The current administration views privatizing air traffic control as one necessary step for the massive overhaul of the nation’s aviation infrastructure. Here’s one TravelingMom’s view of the plan. Build better airports? Sign me up! Improving U.S. airports was a bullet point for both Democratic and Republican candidates during the presidential election. Vice President Biden stated that New York’s...

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Going to Epcot? Here’s Why You Should Take Your Preschoolers Along

Epcot’s the park for adults at Disney, right? Think again. There are a number of rides, activities and attractions designed just for toddlers, including a gentle boat ride through an amazing greenhouse and a Q&A with the coolest dude in the ocean, Crush the sea turtle. Here are the not to be missed activities for preschoolers at Epcot In Walt Disney World. Yes, Epcot has Plenty of Activities for Preschoolers I have a confession to make. For a number of years, we stopped visiting Epcot with our kids during our annual pilgrimages to Walt Disney World. My husband and...

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6 Best Places to Take a Break in the Magic Kingdom

Disney World is no fun when you’re hot, tired and hangry. Knowing where to take a break in the Magic Kingdom is priceless information for touring families. Optimism TravelingMom shares her favorite places to chill out and recharge, plus she shares an insider tip about how your preschooler can dance with a princess! 6 Best Places to Take a Break in the Magic Kingdom I made the mistake of checking the weather forecast the night before my Magic Kingdom adventure. Sure. It gets hot in Orlando. But 97 degrees? I expected to melt away by midday. My anticipated level...

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View from Above: U.S. Hot Air Balloon Festivals and Things to Know Before You Go

In springtime, a young man’s fancy turns to love. In summer? A not so young woman can’t get balloons off her mind. Big, colorful, fire-powered hot air balloons. One of my major bucket list to-dos is to ride in a hot air balloon and summer is the season for flying high. A number of US cities host hot air balloon festivals during June, July and August. Here’s a roundup of some of the popular festivals and things to know before attending. Hot Air Balloons: A Love Story If you’re like me, you fell in love with the idea of...

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Kickstart Healthy Habits with a Wellness Getaway: What to Expect

Going on a wellness getaway to kickstart healthy habits? Wondering what to expect? Optimism TravelingMom takes the plunge at Spa Eastman in Quebec Canada, and provides tips so you can relax and enjoy the experience. Tip #1, for example, is to bring a hat. You’ll need it for the outdoor hot tub when the temperature’s way below zero! “Let’s start with a short run to get our hearts pumping!” My heart was pumping already. Double time. Why? It was -22 degrees and hypothermia was a real concern. Run? I was wearing long underwear, jeans, a fleece, a ski jacket,...

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Where to Stay When Exploring Harry Potter’s Edinburgh: The Balmoral Hotel

Step into the lobby of Edinburgh’s Balmoral Hotel and your little Muggle will squeal. This luxury hotel is the perfect home base for exploring Harry Potter sites in Edinburgh, says Optimism TravelingMom Cathy Bennett Kopf. Why? It’s located close to the city’s major tourist attractions, has well appointed rooms and special treats for the grownups, including scotch tastings. And shirtless photos of Sean Connery in the bathroom. What more could you want? Where to Stay When Exploring Harry Potter’s Edinburgh: The Balmoral Hotel Imagine stepping from a train compartment through a billow of steam onto the platform. A kilted...

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