Meet Allison Mathews

Allison(@GirlFriTravel on Twitter) is one of the hosts for the Cruise Family Reunion, a fun-filled three day cruise with cruise experts and bloggers on the Norwegian Sky. I wanted to get an interview with her so you can learn more about what drew her to traveling and cruising.

Allison Mathews

Allison Mathews

Allison’s blog, Girl Friday Travel, is her place to share her family’s travels and encourage all to jump on a car, bus, train or plane and see the world! You can also find Allison on Pinterest and Facebook.

Getting to Know Allison

Where are you from originally and where do you now call home?

 

I am originally from Huntington Beach California and now live near Nashville Tennessee by way of Tampa and Boca Raton Florida.

 

How long have you been a travel blogger?

 

Not long, about 6 months, I decided to leave my job to be stay at home mom and thought that writing a blog would give me something creative to do.

Is there anything you have learned in your 6 months of travel writing? Anything that you can give to help others who have been thinking about starting a blog?

There are a couple of things I have learned.  One is to make connections with others bloggers on Twitter and Facebook.  It really helps to read other blogger’s blogs and see what they are talking about.  It helps with the creative process.  The one thing I struggle with the most is writing every day, I am the worst procrastinator, but I am trying to overcome it.

What recourses have you used to help make your blog better?

My husband, the GEEK, is helping me use the key words etc to tag my blogs better so that they get picked up better via Google.

How did you become so interested in travel and writing about it?

 I have always wanted to travel, but my family never went far on our vacations. Mostly we camped in Northern California.  In my teens I went to NYC with my Theatre Group which was awesome! Then finally I took my first big trip to Paris when I was 24 years old and I loved it!  That was it, I was hooked, I wanted to go everywhere I could. 

 I decided to write about it when I realized I was reading a lot of travel blogs and I though gee, I could do that. I think I have something to say and I also wanted to share my love of travel. 

Where have you been and what destinations were your favorites? And why?

 I have been to 40 of States in the USA, including Alaska, all over the Caribbean including  Belize and Honduras, Canada; Nova Scotia, British Columbia and New Brunswick,  Mexico both the Yucatan Peninsula and the Mexican Rivera.  I have also been to France, Spain, Italy and Croatia.  So I have been around, thought I realized I am not as well traveled as some.Venice, Italy

 Probably my favorite destination is Barcelona, I love that city, it was the perfect balance of old and new and I just felt at home there. My family and I are heading back there in March as part of a Canary Island Cruise that includes Madeira. We also plan on going to Gibraltar on this trip, so beside a return to Barcelona, we do get to visit new and exciting destinations.

Allison and Family in Barcelona

Allison and Family in Barcelona

What content can reader expect to find in your blog?

 Generally, I share my family’s experiences while traveling.  We have a young son, so I hope I share some of our approach to traveling with children. I also like to try to share tips or thoughts about travel and hope that they help others who wish or are traveling to the destinations we have been.

 

 How many cruises have you been on?

 17 total cruises to date. I have sailed with Carnival, Princess, Holland America, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Disney. 

 For our Canary Island Cruise we I will be sailing with Norwegian and then sailing them again for the Cruise Family Reunion Cruise this July. So very soon I will be up to 19 total.

 

What was your favorite cruise? Why did you like this one more than your other cruises?

 That would have to be a tie between our 12 day Mediterranean Cruise and our 14 day Southern Caribbean Cruise. 

 Both had their highlights

 – For the Mediterranean Cruise it was sailing into the Grand Canal of Venice. Venice was a place I had always dreamed of going and to sail in and be able to see it in all its grandeur from our balcony was thrilling. All of our ports were new to us and it was fantastic to visit so many fabulous ports.  Plus the Carnival Magic was an awesome ship.  It was perfect for us as it had lots of things for our then 7 year old son to do.  So after a long day of sightseeing he could run off some of his energy on the Ropes Course or the Water Works Park they had on board. It was the best of both worlds.

 – For the Southern Caribbean Cruise, we were on board for both the Christmas and New Years Holiday and it was also BC (Before Colin).  We were sailing on the old Noordam with Holland America and it was a smaller ship.  Besides going to many ports we had not yet been too, it was the Holland America crew and the people we met that really made this one special. We were adopted by three couples, all in their 70’s and 80’s and they treated us like their Grandkids.  We met the Captain one night and from then on were included in his circle each evening and even got to dine with him one night.  It felt like we were on the Love Boat, except he was not Captain Stubing. Plus Celebrating New Years at Sea was fabulous. It is really just good memories.

 

Do you have a cruise line that you like more than others?  Why?

 As per my previous answer, we have sailed several of the major cruise lines. I would be hard pressed to say which one we like the most. 

 We have sailed Carnival the most as we have found them to be priced well and they have severed us well in regard to kid activities. Colin, our son has been sailing with us since he was 3 (he has 10 cruises total) and Carnival seemed to be the right choice. I know that some would not agree with me on this point, but we have not had a bad sailing on them. Colin on the Magic's Rope Course

 BC – We liked Holland America a lot, mostly because the still have the Old World Charm of Cruising.  The service has always been good and we really enjoy the care they provide.???????????????????????????????

 

What are you most looking forward to with the Cruise Family Reunion?

 

I can’t wait to meet my Cruise Family, who have been fabulous tweeter friends and wealth of knowledge regarding cruising and traveling.  I am also looking forward to meeting everyone else who decided to join our motley crew and I am sure they will also have lot of expertise to share as well.   I am also looking forward to some #TWANCING!

You mentioned meeting friends on twitter and their wealth of knowledge involving travel, what is the one thing that stands out as something you have learned from twitter? 

 

I have found some great sites and blogs from Twitter Friends.  Fashion sites, wine and food sites and other interesting sites.  One twitter friend wrote a blog about doing carry on for their trip instead of packing your whole closet.  This inspired me to try it for my family and you know what it was awesome!  We didn’t have a ton of luggage and our son was able to hand his suitcase with no help.  We had plenty of clothes of our 7 day cruise and we are not going back to the big suitcases.  We are planning on doing carry on only for our Cruise to the Canary Island.  I am also making my mom do carry on only for our trip to Austria this May.  I am a total convert and probably would not have try it if it was not for my Twitter friend.Friends_overpack.jpg

 

What would you say to someone who is thinking about going on the Cruise Family Reunion but isn’t sure if they want to?

 

Join us – There will be fun, sun, great new friends to meet and you too could become part of the Cruise Family. Come on you know you want too….

Any thing else you want other people to know about you and your blog?

I am no expert nor am I the best writer out there, but I am truly excited about traveling and hearing and learning about other people’s travel experiences.

 I am also one of those people who love to help others with their travels.  I have met so many people via Twitter or Cruise Critic etc that I have been able to share knowledge about places I know.  So if you have question about any where I have visited or lived, drop me a line.  I am happy to help provide you with the info you are want to help you have the best time where ever you go.

I must also mention that 99% of the photos on my Blog are by my husband Eric, he is my ACE the Photographer.  You can follow him on Twitter @CruiseList

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Categories: blogs, Cruise, family, travel, Uncategorized, vacation | 2 Comments

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