Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Travelers: Air Travel Tips

Do you bring your own snacks when flying? Don't know what to bring? How about packing some small bags of veggies like carrots or celery, nuts or trail mix, chips, energy bar, or even some sliced chicken if you plan on eating it fairly soon? Don't forget to add a napkin and a plastic fork. Leave the sauce, condiments, and smelly food at home, though.

You can also have an empty water bottle to get through security and fill it up at a water fountain before you board the plane.

Do you take photos of you luggage before you check it? Might be a good idea, especially if you have a stop or two.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Travelers: Free Museums

Traveling can get expensive, especially with a family. Did you know there are many free museums all over the US? Check out some of these.

The Nelson Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri offers a wide array of art and artifacts from different cultures all over the world. There is also a sculpture garden outside.

The Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. offers not one but 19 different a zoo. Everything from art to sculpture to airplanes to giant can spend days and days visiting these.

The Getty Center in Los Angeles, California offers extensive collections of modern art, photography, gardens, and more.

There are many more. Have you visited any free museums?

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Travelers: Do You Pack These?

Do you pack copies of your travel and important documents? If you take the time to scan your passport or visa or other important documents, getting replacements is easier. Keep those copies somewhere safe while you travel. Another great idea is to send an email to yourself with any important numbers...passport, driver's license, credit cards, etc.

Do you pack flip flops? Not that you would wear them in Paris, but they come in handy if you're headed to a pool, spa, or anywhere some foot protection would be a good idea.

What else do you pack?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Travelers: Do You Pack These?

Do you use a reusable shopping bag at home? Why not pack one when you travel? Some fold flat and fit into your day pack or purse. I use one that stuffs into its own bag and also fits in my purse. When I need it, I shake it out and it's ready to be filled.

Do you pack emergency snacks? You might love the pretzels and peanuts on the airplane. But, what about something a little more substantial to get you by until you can eat dinner somewhere other than the airport?

Do you pack an extra memory card? If you're like me, you take hundreds of photos. I always have an extra memory card in my bag. I don't have to waste time asking where the nearest electronics store is.

Do you pack lip balm? Even if you don't regularly use it, it's great for lips on airplanes. With all that dry air, your lips could use the extra moisture. Did you know you could use it in an emergency to tame frizzy hair ends, add some moisture to dry cuticles, unstick a stuck zipper, and even double as sunscreen?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

TSA and Ticket Prices

According to Smarter Travel:

TSA Fee Hike Set to Raise Prices on All U.S. Flights
Your plane tickets are about to get a little more expensive.
A TSA fee hike goes into effect at the end of this month. In a few weeks, the September 11 Security Fee will rise from $2.50 for one-way flights (with a cap at $10 roundtrip) and $5 each way for trips with connections, to $5.60 per one-way flight. The cap will be no more.
Under the new rule, fees for direct round-trip flights will jump from $5 to $11.20.
The way the TSA applies the fees to airfares will get slightly more complex, too. The TSA will $5.60 charge for each flight leg that occurs more than four hours following a previous leg, for domestic flights. Internationally and for flights to Hawaii and Alaska, the same rule applies for legs that are 12 hours apart. This means that flights with long layovers, which would have previously counted a single one-way trips, will get taxed doubly. So a round-trip flight with two four-hour connections would cost an additional $22.40 in security fees.
These changes were enacted in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013, and they officially go into effect at 12 a.m. Eastern Time on July 21. But if you buy your tickets before July 21, you won't have to pay the higher fees, no matter when you're flying.
Annoyed? Angry? Happy to foot the bill for backscatters and pat-downs? No matter what you're thinking, you still have time to give the government your two cents. According to the Federal Register notice on the rule, "You may submit comments, identified by the TSA docket number to this rulemaking, to the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS), a government-wide, electronic docket management system, using any one of the following methods: Electronically: You may submit comments through the Federal eRulemaking portal at"

Sunday, July 20, 2014


Wander the streets, don't rush through them. Take time to view the different bridges. You will find beauty in each one.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Venice and Napoleon

Napoleon has not been forgotten. When his army invaded Venice they tried to crush the identity and spirit of the Venetian people. One of the things they did was to destroy all the lions that were carved and painted onto buildings and bridges. You can still see some of the places where only parts remain.

The winged lion is the symbol of Venice.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Venice by Water

Venice waterways have speed limits to avoid damage to structures along the water. Vaporetti and traditional wooden boats tend to obey where some of the water taxis don't.

The acqua alta, or the exceptionally high tides that flood parts of the city, may be an alarming or strange site for visitors. Locals know when these high tides are coming. If you want to know, us an app like hi!tide Venice or Venice tides.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Venice Language

Venice has its own language. Italy has only been its own country for fewer than 150 years, so regional dialects and languages get mixed in with mainstream Italian.

Meet some old Venetians in a bar and they'll tell you they are Venetian...not Italian.

When saying grazie, just soften the z to an s sound and you'll sound more like a Venetian.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Travelers: More Packing Info

Do you ever pack these easy things? Maybe you should...

Reusable water bottles fit just about anywhere. You can fill them at water fountains, cafes, or the hotel sink. Or, purchase a large bottle of water and refill your smaller ones.

Laundry bags keep your dirty clothes separate from clean clothes in your suitcase. Throw a dryer sheet in the laundry bag to keep the dirty ones smelling a little better.

Make a First Aid Kit by adding some band-aids, individual packages of antibiotic ointment, some moleskin, and aspirin or other pain reliever.

Thursday, July 10, 2014


Did you know Venice has endured 1,400 years of nearly constant siege...from Barbarians, Napoleonic armies, water encroaching on its streets, to tourists and cruise ships?

Here are some things Venetians like for visitors to know...and some things we discovered on a recent trip.

It's good to get lost. We had maps and GPS, just like every other tourist in the city. A goal was to get lost at least one day. We did. I don't care how you turn that map, it doesn't show exactly that last little bridge you walked over. It just doesn't. That's okay. Venice is a maze. You can't really get's surrounded by water. It just may take you longer to get where you wanted to go.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Travelers: Foreign Travel

If you don't know whether to visit a foreign country or not, check out before you book your flights.

Pay attention to the countries listed by the State Department as places you don't want to visit. This site is kept up to date with information on documents, visas, travel warnings, and so much more.

Some other valuable information is to keep your passport with you, keep your tickets with you, carry copies of your passports, visa pages, and travel insurance in a separate place, keep emergency contact information handy, and know what the local customs and regulations are when visiting a foreign country.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Travelers: National Parks

Since summer is a prime traveling time, national parks experience peak crowds this time of year. Kids are out of school, weather is great, and the scenery is at its best.

This means lodging, campgrounds, and hotels fill up quickly. Roads can become full of cars, RVs, and campers. Do a little planning and you can have a good trip through the national park of your choice.

Visit the web sites of the National Park Service for US parks or Parks Canada for those north of the US before you go. You will find up to date information on parks, road conditions, trail reports, hours, special fees, activities, lodgings, and more.

Consider a park pass if you're thinking of visiting several parks over the next year. The America the Beautiful annual pass is $80 and includes admission to national parks, monuments, and any sites managed by other government agencies. Your admission includes the pass holder and vehicle in some parks or the pass holder and up to three other adults in others. Kids under 16 are free.

Seniors age 62 and over pay only $10 for a lifetime pass.

Early morning is a great time to visit. So is just before sundown.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Travelers: Beach Bags

Don't forget these items when heading to the beach for a weekend or a longer vacation.

Waterproof bag: You can protect so much without having to worry about dripping water and sand ruining your phone, computer tablet, and more.

Wet wipes: These come in handy for a multitude of uses from wiping sticky fingers, wiping sand off your face, wiping off the beach chairs, to....

Sun screen: Really a no brainer, but don't forget the lip balm with SPF, sunscreen for your face, and leave in conditioner for your hair.

Trash bag: If you contain all your trash in one spot, you won't have to keep running to the garbage can. Plus, your trash won't blow all over the place if it's secure in the bag.

Bug spray: You may not need this, but you never know.

Antiperspirant: After a day of sweating in the sun, this might come in handy. Keep in mind, many types will melt. Look for roll on ones.

After sun lotion: No matter how much sunscreen you apply and how often, it seems like your skin is still dried out and wants to burn a little. Brings some lotion with aloe which will help cool any burned areas.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Travelers: What Seat Do You Like?

Do you have a seat preference when booking your flight?

Here are some things you may want to think about before choosing your next seat.

Typically, exit rows or seats close to the front are considered the best. Exit rows offer the most legroom but don't work if you are traveling with a family. No one under 15 or infants are permitted here. Did you know infants are not permitted in the rows immediately behind or in front of an exit row, either?

Flight attendants tell me nervous flyers may want a seat over the wing where there is less turbulence.

If you want to see what a seat looks like, what the pitch of the seat is, and what the width of the seat is...check out They will show your flight, your plane, and seat configurations.