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.


5 Best Educational Spring Break Ideas for Families

If you can’t head off to a warm beach destination for spring break, it’s okay. Actually, it’s terrific! Why? Because there are plenty of other destinations to consider. For example, if you’d like your kids to go back to school smarter than they were before the vacation, consider some of our favorite educational spring break ideas. Tans fade. Brains are forever. When you’re married to a CPA, you don’t get to go to Disney or Turks and Caicos for spring break. No matter how hard you whine or the kids beg, the timing of tax season makes it virtually...

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9 Reasons Why a Ski Trip is the Perfect Winter Girlfriend Getaway

It’s winter. It’s cold. And dark. Tempted to crawl under a blanket, watch episodes of “This is Us” and text your friends? Why not make a date with your besties instead and take a girls ski trip. You can do all the girlfriend getaway things you love – shop, spa, cocktails – and add in the thrill of whooshing down a spectacular, snow covered mountain. Spending time outdoors in winter is a proven mood booster. Doing it with your friends? It’ll make your January feel like May. It’s easy to book a girls trip when the weather is warm...

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Winter Vacation Fun: 7 Tips for Taking the Kids Snow Tubing

Snow tubing is a great activity for winter family vacation fun, especially if you’re taking toddlers and teens. If you’ve never gone, there’s info you need to know. For example, tubing is generally sold as a timed session. If you show up without a reservation, you might find that the morning is entirely sold out. Read on for more essential tips for snow tubing with kids. I learned to ski when I was old. Forty, to be exact. So my kids ski and snowboard with significantly more skill than I will ever have. This means we don’t spend too...

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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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