TravelSmart Mobile App – Don’t Leave Home Without It!

TravelSmart Mobile App

Allianz Global Assistance, a leading provider of travel insurance and travel assistance, has launched an impressive and updated mobile app – TravelSmart™What’s so special about this travel app? As someone who travels often, I want to be confident that I have as much information as possible at my finger tips, especially if an emergency arises.

The cool thing is that this app is free and anyone can download it even if they don’t have a policy with Allianz. Be prepared for travel emergencies and get help fast with the TravelSmart app from Allianz Global Assistance.

So what makes TravelSmart better than other apps?

The TravelSmart app features a simpler and more intuitive user interface that gives you access to all the travel information you need like travel insurance details, claims status, flight status, and local emergency numbers – all from the app’s home screen.

In Case of Emergency

You can easily and quickly get help in case of a travel emergency. The TravelSmart Contact Us button on the home screen allows travelers to reach Allianz Global Assistance medical assistance or customer service from anywhere in the world with just the touch of a button. The app includes a global directory of medical facilities, police stations, and US Embassies, as well as expanded options to quickly get in touch with Allianz Global Assistance. If you happen to be an Allianz Travel Insurance policyholder, you can log in with your account information to get access to a full suite of policy management and claims filing capabilities.

For Policy Holders

Access to Allianz Travel Insurance policies including the ability to store policies in the app and access a policy from the app’s home screen so travelers can quickly access their travel insurance benefits.

File and Track Claims using the app to initiate a claim, update or add documents, select your preferred claim payment method or check the status of an existing claim. Customers can start their claims process on the go and select direct deposit or debit card payment to receive their payment faster than check by mail.

But you don’t have to be a policy holder to download and use the app because there is so much more the app can do for all travelers!

Flight Status Tracking

Real Time Flight Status Tracking allows app users to track their upcoming flight by adding a flight using the “My Trips” feature. Users can search upcoming flights from any itinerary on any airline, and add them to their trip with just a few taps. The app provides on-time status and gate information for flights departing within 3 days to help travelers prepare for the next leg of their trip. Easily add your upcoming flight(s) into TravelSmart using airport locations and dates, or by flight number and date.

Assistance Around Me

An Assistance Button on the home screen takes users to the “Assistance Around Me” database, which uses geolocation to direct travelers to local hospitals, doctor’s offices, pharmacies, police stations and U.S. Embassy locations and includes turn-by-turn directions. Allianz Global Assistance flags recommended hospitals within the app so travelers can identify vetted facilities quickly.

If you need to fill an emergency prescription overseas, TravelSmart gives you the universal name for more than 750 common medications so you can be confident you’re asking for the medication you need.

Emergency Numbers

Global Emergency Numbers from the Home Screen means travelers with enabled geolocation can dial the appropriate number for police, fire, rescue, and the US Embassy for over 200 countries in seconds.

Medication Information

A Medication Dictionary allows users to store a photo of their prescription label and find international names for more than 750 common drugs.  These features make refilling prescriptions faster and easier while traveling.

First Aid Help

A First Aid Terms Translation feature provides translations for 60+ illnesses, injuries and first aid needs into 18 common languages so that nothing gets lost in translation, especially in an emergency. Nothing gets lost in translation. Quick: How do you say “food poisoning” in Portuguese? Get 60+ first aid terms translated from English to 18 common foreign languages for easy reference if you need to communicate about your health while abroad.

The TravelSmart app is free and will be available in the App Store or on Google Play starting in mid-November. More information is available at

I know I won’t be leaving home without TravelSmart!

This is a sponsored post. I have been compensated for my review. All opinions are my own.

Holiday Party Recipes from The Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature (Available now on Digital/Blue-Ray)

Nut Job 2 RecipesI’m always looking for some new recipes that are quick and easy for the holidays – and these two recipes fit the bill!

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment’s The Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature is now available on Digital & Blu-ray!

About The Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature

Surly Squirrel (Will Arnett) and the gang are back. We are once again in Oakton where the evil mayor has decided to bulldoze Liberty Park and build a dangerous amusement park in its place. Surly and his ragtag group of animal friends band together to save their home, defeat the mayor, and take back the park.

THE NUT JOB 2 also features the voice talent of Katherine Heigl (The Nut Job), Jackie Chan (Kung Fu Panda 3), Peter Stormare (Penguins of Madagascar), Bobby Cannavale (Ant-Man), Isabela Moner (Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life), and Maya Rudolph (The Angry Birds Movie).

Download Nut Job 2 Recipes

To get into the spirit, here are some nut-based recipes suited for the holidays (Sweet, Salty, Spicy Party Nuts & Cranberry Nut Bread)! The recipes are perfect for any holiday party!

Disneyland – Adults at Kids Prices – One Week Sale from Get Away Today!

Disneyland Ticket Black Friday Sale

Happy Thanksgiving Week! What a great Black Friday sale! For one week only, beginning today, Get Away Today will offer Adults at Kids’ Prices on all 2018 three, four and five day Disneyland Resort Park Hopper tickets! This is a big deal for a few reasons:

  • There are NO blackout dates AND it’s their most popular ticket offer
  • Not only is it Adults at Kids’ Prices, it’s based on 2017 prices – so you can get 2018 tickets for lower than the regular 2017 prices
  • It can be combined with their Disneyland Resort Hotel sale (save up to 25% on select dates), Extra night free hotel offers, and exclusive Get Away Today hotel perks for the most savings
  • Can be purchased with their Layaway Plan – only $125 down
  • When you book a package, you can use promo code – OPENSUITCASE for even more savings

This sale starts today, Tuesday, November 21 and must be booked by 11:59 p.m. MT on Cyber Monday, November 27, 2017. Visit to purchase your tickets!

5 Tips for Planning a WDW Vacation Without Over Planning

WDW Planning

With the holidays right around the corner and so many of you planning to give the gift of Disney, I thought it was a good time to republish these tips for planning a Walt Disney World Vacation without Over Planning!

Even though I visit Walt Disney World regularly, I’m still always on the look-out for new information, fun things to do and great videos to watch with my grandchildren to prepare them for their next trip. My favorite spot for all things WDW is Jones Family Travels because they visit everything in the area, not just Disney Parks and they also make the BEST videos of their travels!

Walt Disney World Resort is a perfect vacation destination for families, friends or even all by yourself! I visit several times a year because there is so much to do, we rarely do the same things over and over again. Many people that have never visited WDW before or haven’t visited often, sometimes feel a little overwhelmed when they start planning. It doesn’t have to be overwhelming or confusing – it’s vacation! Go with the flow – I know-I know -every says you can’t. Everyone says that you have to plan every last detail. But you really don’t have to. I go often with very few plans except for where I will stay and maybe a handful of dining reservations. I don’t want to go on vacation and spend endless hours creating a schedule before hand. I don’t want to be on a schedule when I’m away either. There have been times that I have decided to go with only a few weeks notice so end up going with no plans at all!

There are really only a few important things to do in order to plan your trip. Before planning be sure to sign up on-line for a My Disney Experience account to make your planning easier. Also download the app so you can do some planning from your phone also!

Choose When to Go and For How Long

Many people can only travel at certain times of year due to work and/or school, so if that’s the case for you, you will need to make your reservations as early as you can. Summer and school holidays are busy times at Walt Disney World.

There are also several special events and celebrations during the year that you may want to see. Two of the biggest events at the Magic Kingdom are Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. They both occur on multiple dates over several weeks. Epcot hosts some seasonal festivals as well the International Flower and Garden Festival and the International Food and Wine Festival. You can find the exact dates when you are planning on the Walt Disney World website.

If you want to “do it all”, you will need at least a week or more. There are 4 theme parks, 2 water parks, Disney Springs shopping district, mini golf, shows, parades, etc. The more you want to do, the longer you will need to visit. Or better yet – plan two trips at once! The first trip do some and the second trip do whatever you missed! When purchasing your park passes, you save more per day on longer tickets.

Book as early as you possibly can. This will help you get not only the hotel you want to stay in but your dining reservations as well. If any specials or discounts come out from Disney after you make your reservation, you can call and ask them to apply the discount to your reservation.

Stay On-Site or Off-Site

Families that do not visit often should definitely stay on-site. Walt Disney World Resort offers several different levels of resort – value, moderate, deluxe – as well as villas. Staying on property makes things much easier for getting to and from the parks, to and from the airport, as well as many other benefits. Guests staying in a Disney resort get Extra Magic Hours when the park opens a bit earlier or stays open a bit later just for on-site guests. You can have packages delivered to your hotel from the parks, add on the Disney dining plan (or hopefully get it free on a special offer), free parking if you drive your car to the parks and so much more. If you stay off-site you will have to pay daily for parking and also risk during busy seasons the parks closing to off-site guests because of crowds.

What’s Your Budget?

Once you have decided when to go and if you will stay on-site or off-property, decide what your vacation budget will be. This will better help you in choosing a hotel for your vacation. Reservations can be made for room only or for complete packages that include your park passes and dining plan if you decide to purchase it. You can secure your package reservation for $200 deposit with the balance due 30 days prior to travel. You can secure your room only reservation for the cost of one night stay with the balance due at check-in. Once you have a reservation, you can also make periodic payments towards the balance. 

Don’t forget to budget for food and shopping too!

Dining Reservations

There are so many restaurants to choose from between the parks, Disney Springs, the resorts – it can be maddening! Dining reservations can be made up to 180 days (6 months) in advance. It is highly recommended you make reservations as soon as you can, especially if you would like to dine at a specific location. Character and specialty meals MUST have a reservation. Actually, any table service restaurant requires a reservation. The dining choices do fill up fast and you don’t want to be disappointed. 

If you can’t find the reservation you want on-line, call the dining reservation line. Sometimes – not always – a Cast Member is able to find some availability for you. You can also check back every so often since sometimes people do cancel reservations for one reason or another.

Also remember, there is nothing wrong with not having reservations for a table service location. You can eat some decent and very nice meals in many of the quick service locations without a reservation. 

Pick Your FastPasses!

Walt Disney World lets you plan your FastPasses earlier if you are staying on property with a package reservation. If certain attractions are important to you, definitely book your FastPass reservations at 60 days before if you are staying on property with a package or 30 days before if you only have park passes. Favorite attractions like the 7 Dwarfs Mine Train and Frozen Ever After will have long wait times without a FastPass.

Are you a plan every second or a fly by the seat of your pants WDW visitor?

Be a Warrior! A Wrinkle in Time to Open in Theaters March 19, 2018

I’ll admit I knew very little about this new movie from Disney and had to do a little research when I first heard about it. A Wrinkle in Time is based on a book from the 60’s of the same name. It’s the story of Meg Murry, a high-school-aged girl who is transported on an adventure through time and space to rescue her father, a gifted scientist, from the evil forces that hold him prisoner on another planet. The more I researched the book (which was also made into a television movie in 2003) the more I knew I couldn’t wait to see what Disney would do with this film with today’s technology.

Wrinkle Time Trailer

The original book, published around 1963, had a rough road to publication, yet – it has never gone out of print since it’s initial printing. Throughout the years, the author has offered her thoughts on her struggle to have the book published: “1) that it was too weird, too unlike anything else being published; 2) that its complex content was too hard for kids, but its child protagonists wouldn’t appeal to adults 3) that its scientific, philosophical, and religious underpinnings were inappropriate for children; 4) and that it was a science-fiction-ish book with a female protagonist, and everyone knows only men can be sci-fi heroes.” Oddly, A Wrinkle in Time is one of the most frequently banned books of all time. Early on it was accused of being both too religious and anti-Christian.

I think the author, Madeleine L’Engle, was way ahead of her time in the 1960’s – don’t you? A child protagonist would not appeal to adults – think Harry Potter. Only men can be sci-fi heroes? Really!

The trailer shows us part of the very strange world the kids will enter in search of Meg’s father. Oprah Winfrey, Mindy Kaling, and Reese Witherspoon make appearances as Mrs. Which, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Whatsit.

A Wrinkle in Time Trailer

Official Synopsis

Meg Murry is a typical middle school student struggling with issues of self-worth who just wants to fit in. The daughter of two world-renowned physicists, she is intelligent and uniquely gifted, as is Meg’s younger brother, Charles Wallace, but she has yet to realize it for herself. Complicating matters is the mysterious disappearance of Mr. Murry, which has left Meg devastated and her mother broken-hearted. Charles Wallace introduces Meg and her fellow classmate Calvin to three celestial beings (Mrs. Which, Mrs. Whatsit and Mrs. Who) who have journeyed to Earth to help search for their father, and together they embark on their formidable quest. Travelling via a wrinkling of time and space known as tessering, they are transported to worlds beyond their imagination where they must confront a powerful evil force. To make it back home to Earth, Meg must face the darkness within herself in order to harness the strength necessary to defeat the darkness rapidly enveloping the Universe.

What is Tessering

Tessering is travel in the fifth dimension: the first dimension is a line; the second is a square; the third is a cube; the fourth is Einstein’s concept of time; and the fifth is a tesseract.

Tessering, a significant part of the fiction of A Wrinkle in Time, is a mode of travel in the fifth dimension that utilizes the shortest route. It can be used in space and in time. When used in space, it combines the straight line of the first dimension, the square of the second dimension, the cube of the third dimension, and the Einsteinian space-time continuum of the fourth dimension to create a circular space. In the story, Mrs Who and Charles Wallace explain to Meg that they will be traveling by “wrinkling time” through a tesseract and that “the fither four dimensions and you can travel through space without having to go the long way around.

The Lesson Learned

The story in many films teaches a lesson. I always look for the lesson when watching a film because I often feel it helps understand the film better. In many, the lesson is very clear and “in your face”. In others the lesson isn’t always clear until after you watch the film and think about the story and plot for some time. A Wrinkle in Time will be no different – the lesson will be there for anyone that is ready to learn it: “Through one girl’s transformative journey, we discover that strength comes from embracing one’s individuality and that the best way to triumph over fear is to travel by one’s own light.” 

Be A Warrior

From visionary director Ava DuVernay comes Disney’s A Wrinkle in Time, an epic adventure based on Madeleine L’Engle’s timeless classic which takes audiences across dimensions of time and space, examining the nature of darkness versus light and, ultimately, the triumph of love. Through one girl’s transformative journey led by three celestial guides, we discover that strength comes from embracing one’s individuality and that the best way to triumph over fear is to travel by one’s own light.

A Wrinkle in Time stars two-time Academy Award nominee Oprah Winfrey as Mrs. Which, Oscar winner Reese Witherspoon as Mrs. Whatsit, Emmy nominee Mindy Kaling as Mrs. Who, Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Mrs. Murry, Michael Peňa as Red and introducing Storm Reid as Meg Murry, with two-time Emmy winner Zach Galifianakis as The Happy Medium and Emmy nominee Chris Pine as Mr. Murry. 

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A WRINKLE IN TIME opens in theaters everywhere on March 19, 2018