Posts Tagged With: travel

Teeny Tiny Euro Suitcases

I successfully packed for a four night, five day trip in a teeny tiny carry on. 

This may seem silly to some, but for me it is an achievement. 
Weight limit and size limits for suitcases may cause nightmares for some…including ne.  I am the girl who notoriously over packs. Once I packed over 50lbs in a suitcase for a cruise (including produce for snacks…what was I thinking?). I have dramatically improved over the years. 

I am also the lucky one whose suitcases always go missing. This has happened to me three times in as many years. So, not checking luggage has become a goal of mine. 

Traveling in Europe has many benefits, namely the destinations are in close proximity and well connected. It’s not uncommon to fly somewhere for $100 roundtrip! 

Those amazing ticket prices come with a caveat…there are strict luggage limitations. They take the size and weight of your bags very seriously. Often you have to prove your bag fits in the metal frame and have it weighed, even at the boarding gate before you are granted access to the flight. And many airlines limit you to one bag. Not a bag plus a smaller personal bag, ONE bag. No personal item, no laptop case, no purse. YIKES!

My recent flight has a size limit that’s even smaller than most. 15″ x 22″ x 8″ (this is just 45 linear inches and 10 kilograms (about 22 lbs). Most US carriers rarely have a weight limitation for carry-on bags (I can’t even tell you the times someone needed help with their bag because the weighed it down with bricks and could get it in the overhead). 

Twenty-two pounds may seem like like a lot until you figure the lightest of suitcases weigh at least four pounds. Then, you have essentials like clothes, shoes, toiletries, a jacket, umbrella, and electronics, chargers, you wallet…it all has to fit within the parameters of this one bag. 

Thanks to my new economy airline approved ultra light weight trolley from Roncato, a well organized hanging toiletry bag from Tumi and a collection of packing cubes, I had the right equipment. With careful and strategic planning, I packed it full for my five day trip. And viole, it zipped shut! Then the real test, the scale. 9.74 kg (21.4 lbs), I have room to spare…for souvenirs!

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Honeymooning in Mexican Paradise

I can’t believe I have not published this yet- I guess I’m a bit of a blog slacker…!

This article is from the Fall/Winter issue of Beautiful Bride; it features one of the most popular destinations for my honeymooners, destination weddings and family vacations- MEXICO!

Over the summer I had the good fortune of spending nearly two weeks in the Riviera Maya region (I know, tough job, but someone has to do it!). I truly love this region of Mexico.  The resorts are top notch, the food is to die for and the people are so friendly.

I am based in the ATL, so many of my clients are based in the Southeast.  Traveling to Mexico is not only a short and easy flight, it is also an affordable getaway. This article features some of my favorite resorts and activities in this region of Mexico.

Thank you for reading and HAPPY TRAVELS!

Bride Fall pages 74-75


Categories: Beaches, Best travel agent, caribbean, Family vacation, honeymoon, Mexico, romantic, travel, Uncategorized, vacation | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Saint Lucia- Simply Beautiful, Simply Perfect

I feel so proud and very fortunate to have another article published in Beautiful Bride magazine. This issues focuses on honeymoons on the stunning island of Saint Lucia in the Caribbean.

Thank you to all the resorts that provided me friendly tours and wonderful hospitality during my stays. I would also like to thank my Editor. English is his second language, but his grasp of the English language is far superior to most native speakers. Grazie mille 🙂

I hope you enjoy the words I’ve written as well as the imagery that showcases some of Saint Lucia’s highlights.

Saint Lucia Saint Lucia

Saint Lucia BB-Cover-1404-v3lr_Page_1

Saint Lucia PDF

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Getting to La Romana Just Got Easier

The opening of a new road may not be the most exciting announcement in the world of travel; however, in this instance it is very good news! The 90 minute drive from the Punta Cana airport to the La Romana area is now cut in half! Dreams La Romana


I had the great pleasure (or displeasure) of traveling via motor coach from Punta Cana to La Romana, before the new road opened. I think everyone on the bus was feeling the effects of the bumpy, winding roads. Needless to say, no one was excited to get back on the bus to head back to Punta Cana; we knew we had to endure the car-sickness inducing roads. But, no more! The new highway with smooth roadways in now open and, the commute is cut in half to just 40 minutes!

This is wonderful, as now more people can enjoy the wonderful area of La Romana and glorious resorts,; such as Dreams La Romana, which is one of my favorites for family vacations and destination weddings.

Bon Voyage!


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My Traveling Panda goes “Into the Wild on your Honeymoon”

“…If you and your fiancé are adventure lovers who enjoy escaping to the great outdoors and prefer seeing wildlife rather than living the wild life, an adventure honeymoon may be just what you crave…”

My Traveling Panda’s newest travel article is officially published in the Summer 2012 issues of Las Vegas Bride and Beautiful Bride (published nationally, including the Atlanta and Orlando markets). Which “into the wild” destination is your next “must visit” destination? An African Safari, an Alaskan Cruise, a Belize scuba diving adventure and an exploration of the Galapagos Islands?

For the full article, click here: Into the Wild_MyTravelingPanda

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Categories: cruise, honeymoon, travel, vacation | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Champagne Flights from Atlanta, Cincinnati & Nashville to the Caribbean!

Ask Melissa at My Traveling Panda about Champagne Flights to the Caribbean on Sunwing.

End of the school year is upon us and summer holiday time is quickly approaching.  For those of you who live in Atlanta, Cincinnati or Nashville, you are in luck!  What better way to start your vacation than with a Bon Voyage glass of Champagne.

Sunwing Airlines offers non-stop Champagne Service flights from Atlanta, Cincinnati and Nashville to Cancun, Jamaica and Punta Cana and also include fabulous amenities such as a hot meal or snack on-board and up to 44lbs of checked luggage per person!  I am going to experience this airline in June from Atlanta to Cancun, so I will report back on the service firsthand. 

If you would like more details and pricing on Sunwing air for your summer vacation, contact me at

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Looking for Unique, Non-Vegas Activities in Vegas? Here are the Top 6 Ideas from My Traveling Panda

Last week I was in Las Vegas for a conference. Since I used to live in Vegas, I strive to do something new and different each time I visit. I have been to the amazing shows, dined in restaurants on the strip, patronized a few night clubs and gambled in the casinos, but Vegas has so much more to offer than what you can find in the few miles known at “the Strip”. Here is a list of some of what I consider the best unique, non-Vegas things to do in Vegas.

Red Rock Canyon
Who would have guessed that such natural beauty was so close to the glitz and glam of the Strip. Whether you are cycling through or enjoying scenic drive, the vistas and tranquility of Red Rock is a stark contrast to the Strip.

The Neon Museum
Ever wonder what happened to all the neon signs of yesteryear? Many are kept at the Neon Museum. The Neon Boneyard, near downtown Vegas, displays the rich history of days gone by; it is a great tribute to the Vegas of the 1930s-1990s.

Downtown Vegas
Step back in time to see what Vegas used to be…”legendary casinos, free entertainment, old-fashioned gambling hospitality – this is the vintage Vegas of the Fremont Street Experience” (The Vegas Experience).

Thrift Stores
Yes, I visit a thrift store on each visit to Vegas. Savers is one of my favorite shops, but there are others as well. Click on the link and use the zip code 89147 to find various locations. When the glamorous residents of Vegas fill their closets with a new wardrobe, the lucky shoppers of Savers reap the rewards. I have unearthed finds from Louis Vuitton, Nordstrom (with tags still attached), Missoni, Armani, Calvin Klein and more!

Helicopter Tour and picnic in the Grand Canyon
OK, I must admit, this is one activity I have not done yet, but it is on my list of things to do on a future trip to Vegas. The Grand Celebration tour with Papillon sounds fabulous to me and in relation to the cost of an hour helicopter tour in Hawaii, it is very reasonable. Plus, you not only get gorgeous views of the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam, you get to enjoy a champagne picnic on the canyon floor.

Those of you lucky enough to live on the West Coast may not think a trip to In-N-Out is anything special, but those of us on the East Coast crave their burgers and we have to fly west to quench that hunger! Sure Vegas has gourmet restaurants and world renowned chefs, but nothing beats the classic taste of a simple In-N-Out burger.

What are your favorite “off the beaten path” activities in Las Vegas?

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Into the Wild for your Honeymoon

My next article for Las Vegas Bride and Bride Beautiful is just around the corner.  Based on the sneak peek, what destinations do you think will be included?

“If you and your fiancé are adventure lovers who enjoy escaping to the great outdoors and prefer seeing wildlife rather than living the wild life … an adventure honeymoon may be just what you crave.


Marry your passion for adventure and love of Mother Nature.”


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Hello Fellow Travelers-

I recenlty started dabbling in Videos. I have a few posted to YouTube. Enjoy the videos and subscribe to my channel for future travel videos. Enjoy and Happy Travels

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Press Release from WeddingWire for My Traveling Panda


Melissa Dutton of My Traveling Panda

WeddingWire, the nation’s leading wedding Marketplace, is excited to announce Melissa Dutton of My Traveling Panda has been selected to receive the prestigious WeddingWire Bride’s Choice Awards™ 2012 for Honeymoon and Travel Planning!

The esteemed annual awards program recognizes the top local wedding vendors from the WeddingWire Network who demonstrate excellence in quality, service, responsiveness and professionalism within the wedding industry. While many industry awards are selected by the organization, My Traveling Panda was selected based on its stellar reviews from past newlywed clients.

My Traveling Panda is recognized as part of the top five percent of wedding professionals in the WeddingWire local vendor community, comprised of over 200,000 wedding professionals throughout the United States and Canada. The Bride’s Choice Award recognizes the best local wedding vendors across 20 service categories, from wedding venues to wedding photographers, based on their overall professional achievements throughout the past year.

“WeddingWire is thrilled to honor the success of the top-rated wedding professionals within the WeddingWire Community,” said Timothy Chi, CEO, WeddingWire. “Since the launch of the Bride’s Choice Awards™ program four years ago, thousands of outstanding wedding professionals have been recognized by the bridal community for their supreme service and dedication to the wedding industry. It is with great pleasure that we congratulate My Traveling Panda  for their continued professionalism and commitment to enriching the wedding planning experience for engaged couples.”

We are happy to announce that My Traveling Panda is one of the very best Honeymoon and Travel Planning companies within the WeddingWire Network, which includes leading wedding planning sites WeddingWire, Project Wedding,, Martha Stewart Weddings, and Weddingbee. We would like to thank our past clients for taking the time to review our business on WeddingWire. Thanks to their positive feedback we were able to receive the WeddingWire Bride’s Choice Awards™ for 2012.

For more information, please visit our WeddingWire Storefront today at and click on the Honeymoon tab.

To learn more about the Bride’s Choice Awards™, please visit

About WeddingWire, Inc.
WeddingWire™, the nation’s leading marketplace serving the $70 billion wedding industry, is the only online wedding planning resource designed to empower both engaged couples and wedding professionals. For engaged couples, WeddingWire offers the ability to search, compare and book over 200,000 reviewed wedding vendors, from wedding venues to wedding photographers. WeddingWire also offers a comprehensive suite of online planning tools for weddings, including wedding websites and wedding checklists, all at no charge. For wedding professionals, WeddingWire is the only all-in-one marketing platform for businesses online and on-the-go. WeddingWire offers one simple solution to build a professional network, improve search visibility, manage social media and reach mobile consumers. Businesses that advertise with WeddingWire appear on, and other leading sites, including (NYSE: MSO), and

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