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We’ve moved the blog

Exciting things are happening as 2016 approaches and I don’t want any of you to miss out.

My website has been completely redone (and it’s gorgeous…check it out HERE).  With that change I will now be blogging directly on the site.  I’ve imported all of my email followers and you should be receiving post notifications like always.  If not or if you are new here and want in on the fun follow this link HERE to the new location.

As for 2016, we have exiting things cooking.  Tours and books!  Stay tuned and come on over.

Andi Brown, owner and travel addict

Once in a Lifetime Travel, copyright 2015

One Day

travel italy Language is the foundation on which we build our lives. It’s universal and true that language, as the main intersection of communication and action, separates man (and woman) from inherent creatureliness. It is language that can fill one with unequivocal joy, adoration, love, and understanding, but it also has the power to communicate hatred, fear, longing, and displeasure.

The four words, “We need to talk,” for example, are commonly cited as the most dreaded in the English language, or close to it. But I beg to differ.

As a language-lover and a believer in the power and necessity of travel, the words that cut deeply, that drive me mad and hurt me the hardest are those murmured wistfully over photographs of beautiful places or in conversation of future plans.

One day.


These words are lexical poison.

They communicate the prospect of finally living in a way that one desires in a distant and unplanned, potentially unreachable future, but for now that day is unattainable. And it will continue to be so until “one day” turns into “today”.

Now, I’m not advocating for spending 401K-money on a luxury vacation, or that one must travel across the world in order to achieve self-actualization, or whatever. But “one day” should not be the definition of our passions, escaping through the cracks in our daily lives, never to be grasped and actually lived.

But the utterance of “someday” and “one day” suggests that the illusive day is never going to come, that is always sits on tomorrow’s horizon, running from us so fast that we may never lay hands on it.

The difference between tomorrow and one day is that one day can actually be reached so long as we make it happen instead of waiting for it to magically appear like a winning lottery ticket and a fat check on the front stoop.

Start actively saving for a trip, one to Italy perhaps. Spend more time outside. Read more, write more, drink more tea. Or do none of these things, if you don’t love them.

Except travel to Italy. When in doubt, always go to Italy.

Most importantly, be careful of the words you say. Language is the driving force of our lives, so is it not important that we tread cautiously not just on what we say aloud, but what we think inwardly in a voice that only our inner selves can hear?

“I can’t wait” is not an expression of excitement for something forthcoming. It is a wish for hours and days and years to pass you by. It’s wishing your life away.

“I should have” is wishfully thinking of how things might have turned out differently, but life is not lived in a pond in which one can swim backwards and fowards. It’s a river that flows only one direction. So learn from mistakes, but never look backwards. You’re not going that way, and there are obstacles that are better faced with eyes looking forward.

“I can’t” is an expression of dissatisfaction in yourself and disbelief in your capabilities. Maybe you can’t, maybe you can. But how will you know if you never try?

And “one day” is the saddest expression of a wasted life. Don’t get caught up in the one days and some days. Take the leap, and live your one day today.

Maybe book a trip to Italy.

Go travel, and travel fearless, wherever your passion lies.


Written by Kenzie Perkins, Research Director at Once in a Lifetime Travel

Dreaming of Italy?  Follow me.

copyright 2015, Once in a Lifetime Travel


Staying connected in Italy | Mifi, SIM cards, and cell phones

I always encourage my travelers to unplug as much as possible when traveling, but I understand everyone has a level of connection they need to maintain on the road.  I will try to demystify communication issues with the help and expertise from my favorite company Cellular Abroad.

First things first.  Decide what your needs are.  Do you have family back home you need to keep in touch with, are you traveling on business and need a high level of access, or do you just want be able to make quick calls within Italy.  Once your needs have been established, simply match up the product and presto!  You are all set.


My new favorite accessory.  I personally need access to the internet while traveling as I am also working.  This option gives me unlimited data at 4G LTE speed on my phone, ipad and PC anywhere in Italy (and Europe).  I can also share this hot spot with up to four friends and I don’t have to feel chained to my hotels sometimes spotty and not always secure network.  This also means I can throw my DumDum…oh I mean TomTom…out the window and use my phone to navigate.

SIM cards for rental or purchase

When your needs are focused on calling and some data use, SIMS cards give you a much cheaper rate than international rates quoted by major carriers.  Whether you need to rent or buy will depend on your phone.

Cell Phone Rental

If you phone won’t work in Italy or it will just be too expensive you can simply rent a cell phone.  Your rental phone will have an Italian number and you can add a US number or keep your own.  Many people DON’T want to travel with their home numbers so having an ambiguous one can help those travelers preserve every moment of their sacred vacation.  This is a great option when having a phone for quick dinner reservations and local calls are important or you are on a budget and just need a phone for emergencies.

I highly recommend contacting Cellular Abroad (1-800-287-5072) with any specific questions.  Not only are they brilliant but they are incredibly professional and efficient.  There are many companies out there that offer the above products but none that have the passion to deliver like these guys.   Believe me, I’ve tried a few and I’m relieved to have finally found The One.cellular abroad italy travel information


Dreaming of Italy?  Follow me.

copyright 2015, Once in a Lifetime Travel

Where am I?

Where did we go?

It seems like every time I commit to being consistent on my blog something comes up.  Well, this something is pretty exciting.

My business.

For those that don’t know my background, I run a boutique travel planning company called Once in a Lifetime Travel.  My passion to give people just that.  A once in a lifetime, blow your socks off, talking endlessly to people at parties about it, life changing, memory making experience.  My passion is paying off.  This year has been record breaking and it is only April.

So as I prioritize in a life full of little ones, a bursting business, a husband I adore and a life full of amazing friends and family things suffer.  Things get put on the back burner.

Of course, I have evil plans because I’m not one for excuses.  So bear with me during my growing pains.  I promise, I have really exciting things just around the corner.

Until then, go travel.  Just go.

italy travel tuscany

Thoughts on ISIS threats in Rome

Ciao Everyone!

Carabinieri paramilitary car patrols in front of the Colosseum in Rome on Feb. 17.  (Max Rossi/Reuters)

Carabinieri paramilitary car patrols in front of the Colosseum in Rome on Feb. 17. (Max Rossi/Reuters)

I don’t know if you have heard but there have been rumors circulating on-line that ISIS has made Rome a target.  No one can say for sure if this is a true threat, an internet ploy or just another way to put fear into people and disrupt our lives.  My thoughts on this are that I refuse to let fear own me.  My first international adventure landed me in the epicenter of a 7.4 earthquake in Central America where I spent 5 days making my way back to the city.  I traveled almost immediately after 9/11.  ISIS honestly can raise it’s ugly head pretty much any where in this big beautiful world and no city, tourist destination or place where we live and breathe is immune.  I advise to travel with awareness.  Be conscious of your surroundings, your exits and listen to anything that makes you feel uncomfortable.  And GO travel!  

I found this article I would like to share with you HERE.  What I love the most are the comments at the end.  Leave it to Italians!

A presto,

Wanderlust Wednesday |Santa in Venice

They know that Santa’s on his way
He’s loaded lots of toys and goodies
On his sleigh
And ev’ry mother’s
Child is gonna spy to see if
Reindeer really know how to fly

Photo credit unknown

Photo credit unknown

Copyright 2014, Once in a Lifetime Travel

Dreaming of Italy?  Follow me.

Tender moments captured

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

The afternoon

knows what

the morning never


– Robert Frost

Wanderlust Wednesday |Siena streets

Siena.  Anyone that has ever had the chance to visit always seems to sigh wistfully when asked.

Alessio Grazi

Photo courtesy of Alessio Grazi


Copyright 2014, Once in a Lifetime Travel

Dreaming of Italy?  Follow me.

Finding the best flight | Travel with me to Italy

flights to italyAirline tickets.  Hands down the most agonizing, frustrating and stress inducing piece of planning a trip to Italy.  I wish I could lay out a specific formula that would guarantee the best rates for the perfect dates.  Sadly, nothing like this exists.  Not even close.  What I can offer are my go to sites, some proven and researched facts, how to balance cost versus risk, and my two cents.  This is a long post, stick with it to the end.

First, don’t become obsessed with finding the absolute cheapest fare.  Your goal is to find a balance between a good price and optimal travel dates.  It will do no good waiting endlessly for a fare price reduction as your favorite hotels book up their best and cheapest rooms.  I would rather pay a few hundred dollars more for my plane ticket knowing that I was able to get into my first choice accommodation and build an itinerary that I want.  Time is also money.  The perfect itinerary is priceless.

HOW and WHERE to Search

When I have my approximate dates I start by first doing a general search on a big site.  My favorite is Kayak. This gives me an idea of what is out there and what airlines are players.  Then I go directly to the airlines’ websites to compare prices but even more importantly compare length of flights and layovers.  On my most recent search, I found a great price on my ideal dates….with a 34 hour return flight.  No thanks.  But when I went to the carrier’s direct site I found more options for approximately the same price.  Another reason I like to buy direct from the carrier is the assistance that can be given for any issues that come up with missed flights or travel trouble.  I have experienced the unfortunate frustration of trying to get help from a big search site with zero results.

flight compare

DETAILS to Keep in Mind

Connections.  Those on the East Coast can board their planes with ease and enjoy direct flights to most locations.  I will try to contain my jealousy.  The rest of us have to worry about connections, and if you are like me and live in a rural area connections become a REALLY big deal.  The key here is timing and location.  Don’t be tempted by the siren’s call of a brief layover.  That 45 minutes will cost you an entire travel day if missed.  I make sure I have at least 90 minutes at my layovers.  More if possible when flying into Heathrow in London where you also have to go through customs.  My priority is getting to Europe as soon as I can.  Delays within the States can cost my flight across the ocean because those are more infrequent, whereas a delay in Europe isn’t the end of the world.

flight details

Cookies.  Be conscious of your searches.  Don’t think the industry isn’t above making a little more money on your specific needs.  I have witnessed first hand ‘sudden’ increases in prices on the same flights on repeat searches.  Erase your cookies or use a different source when you are ready to purchase.

WHEN to Book

Most of the experts report that tickets to Europe should be purchased between 5-10 months before departure.  I personally like to book 8-10 months ahead and I have found some decent prices between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Regardless of HOW far ahead you book, there are certain times of the week you should purchase.  Research shows Tuesday and Wednesday as the best days to buy.  I like Tuesday mornings.  Insiders claim that in addition to this, you should avoid the first few days, the very middle days and the last days of the month.  When looking at WHICK days of travel, try to fly on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.  Be mindful of holidays in both countries.  57658381-blackboard-with-days-of-the-week-schedule-gettyimages

I plan on purchasing tickets this month, I’ve found several flights that are in my goal budget and my ideal dates.  According to the above information, I have to ideal days to purchase them (see image).  December 9-10 and 23-24.  Now, I’m not sure if Christmas will affect the pricing so I will take those dates with a grain of salt.



For anyone trying to use their reward points and miles, good luck.  All airlines have black out dates and limited seats on each flight.  I have heard that booking a year out is the best way to get the dates you want to fly.  I have found a wonderful resource called Book My Award where all they deal with is rewards travel.  They work nothing short of miracles here.

SET UP Travel Alerts

Every website has the ability to sign up for travel alerts.  I have several and I receive email notices when the fare drops or a special is posted.  I find this is a handy way to keep track of any price trends.

price alert


Copyright 2014, Once in a Lifetime Travel

Dreaming of Italy?  Follow me.

Christmas Biscotti Recipes

I love making biscotti at Christmas time, they make great gifts if you manage to not eat them all yourself.  Below are links to the recipes of some of my favorites.  Buon Appetito.

Peppermint Chocolate Chip

cookie baking christmas

Chocolate Candied Orange Peel

Candied orange chocolate

White Chocolate Pumpkin Pie


Bacon Chocolate Chip

Italy baking cooking

Triple Ginger


Red Velvet

Red Velvet Biscotti

Butterscotch Dipped Chocolate Chip

Italian recipe

Biscotti Toscani

biscotti recipe almonds

Pecan and Candied Orange Peel

pecan and candied orange peel biscotti

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin

Tastes even better served in my grandma's tea cup.

Copyright 2014   Andi Brown,  Once in a Lifetime Travel

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