Category Archive: Tips

Cancelled Flights, Delays, Missed Connections, and the TSA

It’s easy to be happy and enthusiastic about traveling when things are going well — flights leaving on time, connections made, nice weather, making wonderful new friends, and seeing the world.  It’s easy to think the world is full of sunny skies and unicorns when things are just about perfect.  But what about when things go wrong?  Not the big kind of wrong that will completely ruin a vacation, but the kind of wrong that is going to knock you off your game, make you think about what you’re going to do, and challenge you to find ways to be happy with your travels. Since I’ve had to face this issue several times in the last year or two, I want to share with you some things I’ve learned about how to handle the stress of traveling in a way […]

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Travel Makes Me Smile

May is National Smile month, and it made me think about the things that make me happy, that warm the cockles of my heart, that make me smile.  It was no surprise to discover that most of them are related in some way to travel. Here are 50 things that make me smile: A fully packed (and organized) bag Watching an airplane take off  and and wondering where it’s going The Coliseum in Rome (the first time I saw it I had to wipe away the tears) A well-used passport Maps, the paper kind that you can pour over and plot out where you want to go UNESCO World Heritage Sites (although a few make me cry) Guidebooks, I have some favorites, but I like reading them all Fresh lemons picked off the tree in Sicily and used to make […]

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Should You Travel to Mexico?

Current events can lead us into thinking that the world is not a safe place to travel, and whenever that happens, it makes me very sad.  For some time now, travel to Mexico has been on the wane.  For awhile it was fear of the swine flu, then fear of rampant drug activity, and now fear of the potential for violence.  If you think about all of that superficially, instead of burrowing a little deeper into the information, you may be tempted to stay home.  And that would be a big mistake. Let’s look a little deeper into the issue of visiting Mexico: There are problems EVERYWHERE in the world.  Of course you’re going to hear about crime in Mexico.  You’re also going to hear about it in Manhattan, Los Angeles, Washington DC – some of the most frequently visited cities in the […]

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Good Food for Cheap at Farmer’s Markets

Food can be an expensive part of any traveler’s budget, and while I like a splurge now and again, I’m also always on the lookout for ways to eat well cheaply.  Other than getting someone else to pick up the tab (just kidding!), one of the best ways to save on food is to pick up something fresh and delicious at a local farmer’s market. You may already be familiar with the farmer’s market in your home town, but looking for one when you’re traveling is an easy way to create a picnic lunch or dinner, stock up on snacks for your hotel room or vacation rental, or fill up the day pack with tasty – and healthy – snacks for a day of hiking.  In addition to getting the freshest of the fresh, farmer’s markets are priced with locals […]

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Wine Travel: You Can Take it With You

  If you travel places known for outstanding food and wine, you’ve most likely been left figuring out a way to take some of your new favorites.  Most often this doesn’t present a problem – unless your new favorite is wine, olive oil, specialty vinegar, or other liquid items.  In the post 9-11 world, these delicious liquid treats require careful planning if you’re to get them home with you. Carry on restrictions will make it nearly impossible for you to carry on these liquid items, as most will be larger than the permitted 3 ounces allowed as carry-ons.  That mean, you’ll need to prepare your items for safe transport in your checked luggage. Generally speaking, liquids under 24% alcohol are not considered hazardous material, and as such are not subject to a limitation or restriction in your checked luggage.  Even […]

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10 Travel Snacks that are Healthy, Easy to Pack, & Will Get Through Airport Security

With meals on flights either non-existent, expensive, and often unhealthy, and airport food not too much better, one way to make your vacation a little more pleasant is to pack some food to take along on your flight.  Or road trip. If you’re flying you’ll still have to avoid liquids and gels (get those once you pass through security), but packing a few healthy and yummy snacks, can keep hunger and crankiness at bay.  While prepared energy bars can always be packed into a bag, I much prefer to look for real food options.  Here are some of my favorite snacks to take along on my flight: Peanut butter sandwich – Add jelly, honey, or leave it plain, and make sure that it’s wrapped up good and tight because this will make a mess all over if it squishes out.  […]

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Planning for Travel to Italy

It’s time to start thinking about Italy again.  Although that presumes that I’ve ever stopped thinking about it.  With the new year fully underway, we’re beginning to sort through details, watch airfares, and think about how we want to spend our time there this year. It will be a shorter trip this year, probably only three weeks as compared with nearly a month last year.  At least one of those weeks will be spent at our favorite spot in Tuscany, La Montalla.  It’s currently covered with snow, but in the summer it is beautiful with the blooms, olive trees, and grapevines.  I can nearly taste the pici pasta and pecorino cheese and I think about it. I love Italy for a variety of reasons, and the planning part brings it all back. Up for grabs is the remaining two weeks.  […]

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Tips for the Forgetful Traveler

At some point it’s bound to happen: As you are rushing around to check out of your hotel room, you leave your iPod behind.  Or, while you’re reaching into your briefcase, it tips over and you don’t notice that you cell phone has spilled out.  Or, you reach for your credit card and can’t find it, then realize you left it at the restaurant the night before.  Or, when you get home, you reach for your camera to download those photos, and can’t find in anywhere. Ever happen to you?  If so, you know the feeling of sheer panic that runs through you as you try to backtrack your movements to figure out where to start looking for your gadgets.  Did you leave something in your hotel room?  Did it get left behind on the plane or in a cab?  Is […]

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Traveling Safely with Your Bling

Jewelry can make an outfit, no doubt about it, and what’s not to like about diamonds, gold, and other precious gems and metals?!  If you want to bring your jewelry when you’re traveling, however, you’re going to need give some thought to how you’re going to keep your items safe. My first recommendation is simple:  leave the good stuff at home.  Whether it’s expensive gold and stones, or heirloom pieces, there are too many risks of it going missing:  losing it, having it stolen from a hotel room, or becoming a target for muggers by flaunting a little too much bling.  Plus, when traveling in parts of the world where the cost of those diamond earrings would feed a family for five years, I think it shows an incredible lack of sensitivity and consideration to flash your jewels.  Don’t get me […]

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These Are a Few of My Favorite (Travel Gear) Things

Travel means contending with increasing air fares and sourcing the best flight times and pricing, facing the unpleasant reality of ever increasing add-on fees of airlines and hotels, contending with airport security, and juggling the demands of a lifestyle on the road and loved ones at home. What makes it all easier?  Loving what we do, of course, but also the convenience and enjoyment of the travel gear that we pack along with us. Here are a few of my favorite items of travel gear, both high tech and low tech.  These are the things that I never leave home without! Eee netbook from Asus – I bought my Netbook last year wanting something lightweight while traveling in Europe for a few weeks. I relied on a lot of the research that Austin over at Travellious had done, and have […]

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