6 Amazing Day Trips Just in Time for Spring Break | Amy West on The Chat

A mimosa on the beach

It's getaway season! What's left of winter is on the run and that's got me thinking of suntans, resort wear, and rejuvenation somewhere warm. On behalf of Spring Break, I've compiled a list of my favorite getaways less than a days drive away from my home base in North FL. This list includes my favorite places to stay, where to eat, and what to do, as well as where to discover experiences that deliver iconic local charm.

Travel Beauty Tips | Amy on The Chat

Amy West on the beach at sunrise

We all been there. You plan for your special trip. You buy clothes, makeup, make reservations, and count down the days. But when you arrive at your destination you feel off. And what's worse, instead of looking like Malibu Barbie... you feel like Sasquatch. How can you maintain that fresh feeling you have at home, while away from your usual routine? Here are some trusted travel beauty secrets I've collected over the years.

10 Tips for Flying with Kids

10 Tips for Flying with KidsBefore my husband and I had kids we traveled everywhere. Honeymooned in New Zealand, went on a few tropical Cruises, traveled to Europe and did a few adventures with our friends domestically and abroad. When we got pregnant with our first child we were naively optimistic. "This kid will be one great traveller" we said. "They won't change our lifestyle" we proclaimed. "They will adapt to our life". Well... that's not exactly how things worked out. In reality yes, we have travelled quite a bit with our daughter but things don't always go as smoothly as planned, and ultimately you do what works and care about the lifestyle "adapting" after the fact. Here are some tips we've learned along our journey of traveling with children. 

Passion and Purpose | It's All About the Journey

Vintage Globe

What drives you? What makes you tick? I was recently asked those very questions and as sure as I am of myself and my goals. Those questions gave me pause. How far back should one go to tell the story of where it began? Where the seed of inspiration took root and blossomed into a dream, a message, a passion, a purpose? Perhaps it's not one solid event but a culmination of experiences that leads us to the path we were chosen for. Perhaps, moments that seem coincidental were all apart of a greater plan. This blog post is a bit of a departure from my typical post. It's a moment of reflection. A moment to remember how it all began.

5 Best Kept Dining Secrets in Jax | Amy on The Chat

Amy West Discussing 5 "Best Kept Secrets" in Jax. Love sharing your favorite foodie spots that are publicly under marketed but locally followed to the point of having their own cult? I know me too! That's why this week I shared some of my favorite "Best Kept Secret" spots with the Ladies of The Chat. Find out who made the cut. 

The Ultimate Romance Package Giveaway

Been drooling over all the creative romantic ideas I've been discussing this month but not sure you can afford them all? Get a taste of the best in my "Ultimate Romance Package" giveaway. Up your game in the kitchen with two seats to a demo class at Publix Aprons Cooking School, enjoy an intimate tea time with your sweetie, or experience award winning entertainment while dining in style.   It can be one big date night, or you can space it out and enjoy. The winner will be announced on Valentine's Day so don't miss out, enter now!

Grand Gestures | 6 More Romantic Ideas | Amy West on The Chat

Sunset at sea on Now and Zen private chartersLooking for that grand gesture date night? I'm talking the ideal place to "Pop the Question" type of spot. Or maybe you are celebrating that special anniversary or just want to say I LOVE YOU in a great big way. Check out these great ideas for sweeping that special someone off your feet. A follow up to my "Romantic Ideas for Every Budget". 

Close Up On Stephanie Kantis Jewelry | What I'm Wearing

Amy wearing jewelry by Stephanie Kantis
I confess, I have a new obsession. Stephanie Kantis designer jewelry. Her stunning, wearable pieces of art make a statement as soon as you enter the room and the craftsmanship is top quality. Each piece is sculpted from bronze then dipped in gold or sterling silver. When I travel, what jewelry to bring is always the question. A great piece can make an outfit new, but too much jewelry can get heavy and cumbersome. Stephanie Kantis' luxurious pieces are ideal for travel as they are extremely versatile. Her classic necklace can be worn 15 different ways thanks to her signature "S" hook, turning one piece of jewelry into a wardrobe full of eye-catching inspiration. 

Anna Maria Family Getaway | Mainsail Beach Inn Review

Amy West sitting on fishing pier on Anna Maria IslandSuppose you wanted to escape the stresses of this world and trade them in for a quiet piece of earth where water meets sand, and sun meets sky? Suppose you wanted to let your worries drift away on the wind as you unplugged from technology and reconnected with the ones you love? Watch your fantasy become reality in Anna Maria Island at Mainsail Beach Inn

6 Creative Date Night Ideas | Amy West on News 4 Jax Morning Show

Horse back riding on the beachIt's that time of year again. The time where all the pressure is on our sweetie to come up with something super romantic to do. We so easily get caught up in "the usual", but how about bringing a little adventure and creativity in the mix? For that matter, don't be afraid to turn the tables and be the one to sweep your partner off their feet. If you are looking for some inspiration you're in luck. Try on one of these ideas I discussed on News 4 Jax this week. Worried about your budget? I've got you covered. These ideas start at as little as $1. Can't beat that!

Security Tips for Traveling and Packing Tips on The Chat

Photo of mac book pro with stickerDuring a recent trip to the Caribbean my husband (who is also an information security specialist) ran into the panic inducing situation of having his laptop switched during our security check in TSA. He didn't find out until we made it home. It was this situation that led him to write a blog about travel security on his website Elevation Expeditions. I brought those great tips to The Chat last week and shared with the ladies how to avoid disaster. Watch and find out how many you may already apply, and how many you need to start integrating into your travel habits. 

Amy West on the Cover of The Golden Isles Visitors Guide

Amy West on the cover of the Golden Isles Visitors Guide.

The Golden Isles of Georgia are a Southern jewel full of low country romance. Consisting of St. Simons Island, Little St. Simons Island, Sea Island, and Jekyll Island the Golden Isles are located just minutes from Brunswick and capture the epitome of Antebellum charm. If you are looking to avoid over populated tourist destinations and instead take in nature at it's purest, unique shopping, traditional Southern fare, and an excuse to let it all go, then you will adore the Golden Isles as much as I do. It was for this reason I was more than excited when I was called in to work as a model for the Golden Isles Visitors Bureau along with my daughter. Imagine my surprise when they announced I had made the cover of the visitors guide.

Raising a Citizen of the World | Amy on The Chat

a child's finger pointing at map

It's easy to feel like your kids live in a bubble when all they may experience at a young age is school, home, and local spots. How do you inspire a child to be a citizen of the world and to catch the travel bug to explore beyond their comfort zone as they get older? I recently wrote about this very question for Little Passports, here are a few easy tips in a quick recap of my discussion on The Chat talk show this week. 

3 Ways to Wear The Savannah Tunic by Lisa Kaminski | Outfit Post

close up of leopard print dress During my recent trip the Caribbean I was more than excited to have my wardrobe supplied by Lisa Kaminski Swim and Resort wear. Out of all the pieces I wore the Savannah Tunic stood out due to it's versatility and my ability to dress it up or down. This year I'll be introducing outfit posts to showcase what I'm wearing. Whether I'm jet setting to the islands or getting the kiddo off to school, you'll have a chance to get an insiders look into what I'm wearing. In addition I've officially launched the Amy West Travel boutique with the Savannah Tunic as my first featured item for sale. Take a look at today's post on 3 Ways to wear the Savannah Tunic, then collect one for yourself! 

Is Skiplagging Worth It? | Amy West on The Chat

Lately a hot topic has arisen in the world of travel. It's known as Skiplagging or "Hidden City" ticketing. This week I'm discussing the money saving practice with the ladies of The Chat and discussing all the pros and cons. Do you Skiplag? Make sure to tell me your thoughts. Don't know what Skiplagging is? Read below to find out more.

2014 in Review | Amy West Travel Best Moments

2014 was an amazing year full of adventure and new experiences. It was rich in life with plenty of ups and downs and I'm so proud to say that the Amy West Travel brand grew tremendously thanks to you my faithful followers. Thank you for being a part of the journey and for always staying in touch through social media and in person. I am excited for some great new discoveries this year, and more predicted growth. Hang on, 2015 is going to be fun! Even though it's already halfway through January I wanted to relive some highlights from this year as a reminder of how far we've come. 

Bucket List Jax 2015 | 5 Things You Must Do | Amy on News 4 Jax

In the last twenty plus years that I've lived in Jax, I've seen some pretty cool things. However over the years it's typical to kind of stick to the usual and stay in your neighborhood or avoid large events due to traffic. As I've begun to cover more of what makes the River City so special these last few years, I have fallen more in love with our great city. There is so much to do here and every year new great attractions and events make North FL their home. Here are some stand out things I think you need to put on your bucket list for 2015 if you live in or are visiting Jacksonville. 

10 Things You Must Do on Scrub Island | Scrub Island Resort, Spa, Marina

Recently the man and I met up on a whirlwind trip to the exclusive private island in the BVI (British Virgin Islands). Home of Scrub Island Resort, Spa, and Marina, the island is both intimate and exotic. Luxuriously appointed suites create a village of sorts that flanks the open water and leads to the main pool deck and restaurants. Incorporated in to the design are a Dive Shop, Gift Shop, and a Supplies Shop that doubles as a deli. Private islands are the ideal escape from reality, but beyond R&R, what else do they have to offer? Here are 10 things you Must Do on Scrub Island. 

Outstanding Lighting Displays on the First Coast | Amy West on The Chat

There is nothing quite like slowing down during the busy Holiday season and taking a moment with the family to enjoy the celebrated tradition of Christmas lights. Jacksonville is a huge city and sometimes it's easy to stick close to home and tour what's nearby. There are so many great displays all over the city, however, and these are some you should really go out of your way to see. So do like our family does and cozy up in your favorite warm pajamas, grab some blankets and hot cocoa and make a night out of it at these festive locations.

Top 10 Restaurants in Jax | Travel Segment on The Chat

On a recent visit with the ladies of The Chat I discussed the 10 Best Restaurants in Jacksonville. With dining being one of the top 3 reasons folks are visiting the First Coast, you can be sure there is plenty to discuss. Recently I wrote a story for 10Best.com highlighting these top 10. You can find the story link here.