Friday, July 30, 2010

How Do You Spend Your Vacation?

Planning your around the world trip? Great. So am I. Just not sure when I'll take it, though.

In the meantime, how do you spend your vacation time? Do you arrange your time around holidays? Are you flexible? How about exploring in your own back yard?

If you live near a city or an area with things to do...even a weekend can be a "vacation".

Feel like volunteering? You can volunteer to off the beaten path locations with international organizations that operate in less touristy areas. One I recently read about in Brave New Traveler is called GlobeAware. Check it out thoroughly before you sign up.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Pack Smart

Before you travel...make a list. Then check it twice. Think about activities you have planned. What's the weather going to be like? Will you do laundry? Can you wear something more than once? Can your clothing pull double duty?

Keep your toiletries tiny. I know TSA has their 3 ounce size requirement for carry on luggage. You can find many small bottles of necessities in most stores. If there is something special you need or small reusable bottles...check out which sells more than 2,000 travel sized items.

When you are packing that suitcase, layer carefully. In a wheeled suitcase put heavy items like shoes at the base by the wheels. Work your way up to the handle end for better balance.

Put a dry cleaning bag on each layer of clothing so items can move around and not wrinkle. Then fill in every little space with scarves, socks or small items.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

What's Your Destination?

“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller

Monday, July 26, 2010

Beauty Tips

You're headed off for a summer trip. Flying? If so check out these "beauty tips" to arrive at your destination looking and feeling great after that long flight.

Use a water rich moisturizer before your trip and the day of your trip. This will help your skin looking fresh and will help stop the moisture loss.

Choose water, energy drinks and juices to combat the dry airplane air.

Wait until shortly before you land to put on makeup.

Wear loose clothes for comfort. Wrinkle free is great.

Catch a nap...wear a sleep mask to help block out the light.

If you will be sitting for a long time, flex your ankles in an up and down motion to aid in circulation.

Wiping your hand with moisturizing tissues or baby wipes is great for cleansing, refreshing and cooling.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Special Rocks

Last week we had visitors who left some awesome gifts.

Check out these special rocks. Thanks to the whole family...we had a great time.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Where Are You Going?

"Tourists don't know where they've been, travelers don't know where they're going." Paul Theroux

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

More Vineyards

Flowers and vineyards just go hand in hand.

Salvestrin Winery...sunshine...relaxing...just doesn't get any better than this.

Some grapes just need to be cut and left for fertilizer...these won't grow up or find their way to your glass.

These will...yum

Tight clusters

Monday, July 19, 2010

Weekend in the Vineyards

Vines standing tall in their summer green at The Terraces Winery in Napa.

Clusters packed tightly under the leaves.

Special barrels in a special room...yummm.

Flowers and bees everywhere.


Can't wait to taste a few years.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Before You Leave Home Tips

If you know you will be visiting museums, zoos, aquariums or similar attractions while on vacation...join your local one before you go. Many times memberships transfer across the country. Sometimes you can get a reduced rate, other times you pay nothing.

Ask what the benefits are and tell your local one where you are going. They may even have hints for you.

Heading to a city with an upscale restaurant you are just dying to try? Then again, you know you really don't want to pay those kind of prices? Make a reservation for lunch. Many times lunch prices are half what you would pay for dinner.

Check out the visitors bureaus when you arrive in a new city. Ask for discounts, coupons or suggestions. Some cities have websites where you can print your own coupons before you leave home.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Grand Canyon Boat Trips

Heading to the Grand Canyon this summer? Want to experience it from a different perspective?

How about a Colorado river rafting trip? Book in advance as the National Park Service only gives permits to 16 outfitters.

Some may have spots available to last minute travelers so it's a good idea to check with several companies. When you book, your outfitter will give you a list of requirements as well as what other arrangements you need to make.

You have several options when it comes to boat types... inflatable rubber rafts, motor boats, oar boats, paddle boats and hybrid trips with different boats. Depending upon your group size and type, pick the one that works best for you. Research before you pick your boat.

Also, think about how much time you want to spend on the river. You can do one to three day trips in the lower canyon or up to 18 days. This may include a hike down to the river. But do remember you will need to come back up!

The upper canyon is narrower with trips ranging from three to over six days.

If you're up for it...put yourself at the mercy of the Colorado River and enjoy the Grand Canyon from a mile beneath the rim.

And...yes I know the photo at the top is not of the Grand Canyon. Anyone know where it is?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Old Travel Guidebooks

If you travel and collect guidebooks...great. What happens when they get old, outdated or you are just not going to use them again? Dust collectors? Book shelf fillers? Food for your storage closet?

Recently I came across some suggestions and have added some of my own. Take a look...

You could always sell them online. allows you to list guidebooks for free and then takes a 15% commission when they sell. There are other sites as well. And just maybe someone is looking for a guidebook on Los Angeles or cheap sleeps in Italy.

Some bookstores buy gently used books. Check out your local store to see if they have such a program.

You could trade them. Look at Swaptree to see how they work.

Give them to a friend...provided the friend wants them.

Leave them. You are finished in Finland and know you won't be coming back in the near future...leave it with the B&B owner. Just don't leave it in your room. You may get it mailed back to you!

Give them to a library. Any gently used books are welcome and you can ask for a receipt for tax purposes.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Villas with a Twist

According to you can rent some pretty amazing places...check them out.

Twin Palms Sinatra Estate, Palm Springs, California

The dish: Built for Ol' Blue Eyes and his first wife, Nancy, the 4,500-square-foot Twin Palms Sinatra Estate has 3 bedrooms, 7 bathrooms, mid-century furnishings, and Sinatra's original sound system. A large patio surrounds the cabana and the grand piano-shaped pool.

The details: $1,950 a night, or $650 per room

L'Isle House, Oxfordshire, England

The dish: Play a round while playing lord or lady of the manor at L'Isle House, an 8-bedroom English country house dating to the seventeenth century. The 140-acre estate comprises manufactured gardens, a pool, a tennis court, three fishing lakes, and a private 9-hole golf course. For a full 18 holes, start the course in one direction, then do it again in reverse.

The details: From $25,570 per week, or $456 per room per night

Villa Lyrica, Santorini, Greece

The dish: The 5-bedroom Villa Lyrica, with its traditional Cycladic exterior and modern interior, features a state-of-the-art recording studio (past guests have included celebrity music producers Kevin Shirley and Peer Astrom). The spare, earth-toned d├ęcor won't distract you from your work; for inspiration, head to the terraces, which provide panoramic sea views.

The details: From $11,050 per week or $315 per room per night

Villa Andrea, Glen Ellen, California

The dish: The 5-bedroom, 7-bathroom Mediterranean-inspired Villa Andrea sits on 30 acres of a cabernet sauvignon vineyard in the heart of California's wine country. The large swimming pool has stunning views of Sonoma Valley, and guests can throw dinner parties in the property's 7,000-square-foot cave, where the wine is distilled and aged, then show a flick in the villa's screening room.

The details: From $19,000 per week, or $542 per room per night

Golden Dolphin Villa, Cabrera, Dominican Republic

The dish: The Golden Dolphin Villa, on a 100-acre hilltop estate, overlooks tropical forests and the ocean, and features its own private baseball diamond. With 9 bedrooms and 11 bathrooms, the mansion is big enough to accommodate a full field of players.

The details: From $2,100 per night, or $233 per room

Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe surrounded by snow capped mountains and fields of flowers...what a beautiful way to spend July 4.

Fields and fields of flowers led right up to the lake.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

California Coast

Rocks jut out into the water all along the northern California coast. Mr. Seagull claimed this wildflower studded one for his kingdom.

Sand...lots and lots of sand. It's hard to believe anything would grow on top of it...let alone colorful flowers and dainty grasses.