Saturday, November 29, 2014

Travels: Book in Advance

If there is an attraction, museum, or other site you really want to you book your tickets ahead of time? 

Many places allow you to book on their website in advance. You won't have to stand in line if you can download your tickets at home. Just don't forget to take them with you.

Or, if you can't print them at can pick them up at their will call office. This also allows you to skip the long lines.

The same goes for a restaurant where you really want to eat. Book it advance. Just keep the reminder on your phone or with you.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Travels: Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving...enjoy.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Travels: Airfares

Recently I was looking at flights to Paris and came across a site different than what I normally use for alerts. is the site. Has anyone used this site? If so, what do you think about it?

The site tells me I can chart my flight and it will be updated regularly with the latest fees for checked baggage, tickets, and more.

Check it out and let me know what you think.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Travels: Layovers

We've all had layovers in airports. It's just part of traveling.

Depending on how long your layover is, you can find time to do many things in airports now. Some have museums, some have chair massages, some offer multiple spots to plug in your devices and work or watch a movie.

One way to use up some time and get ready for a long flight is simple...take a walk. If your next flight is across the country or across the pond, you'll be sitting for a lengthy amount of time. In fact, even if it's a shorter flight...walking is a good way to get ready for those airplane seats.

Download an airport map and walk from terminal to terminal. A good brisk walk for 30 minutes can burn at least 100 calories. And, it will get you ready to sit for the next several hours.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Travels: Baggage Fees

If you’re flying this Thanksgiving or in the coming weeks before Christmas and New Years, do you know the baggage fees for the airline? Do you know what it will cost if your checked bag is over the weight limit? Do you know how many checked bags you may take with you?
These are the most current charges I could find. I checked with several travel websites as well as the airlines. Charges may change so it would be a good idea to check with your airline before you get to the check-in counter.
International flights will vary by region, so check with your airline on those as well.
You may have some charges waived if you belong to that airline loyalty club. Check to see before paying the fee.
Alaska Airlines
Fees: Carry-on is free; first checked bag $25 and second is an additional $25. Overweight bags are $75.
American Airlines
Fees: Carry-on is free; first checked bag $25 and second is an extra $35. Overweight bags are $100 to $200, depending on weight and flight.
Delta Airlines
Fees: Carry-on is free; first checked bag $25 and second is an extra $35. Overweight bags are $100 to $200.
Frontier Airlines
Fees: Carry-on is $25 to $50; first bag is $25 and second is an extra $30. Overweight bags are $75.
JetBlue Airways
Fees: None for carry-on or first bag right now. Second checked bag is $50. Overweight bags are $100.
Starting in 2015, JetBlue will no longer include a free checked bag. All bags will have a fee. You might want to check right now to be certain you won’t get charged the fee. I’ve heard it both ways.
Southwest Airlines
Fees: None for carry-on, first or second checked bag. Overweight bags are $75.
Spirit Airlines
Fees: Carry-on is $35 to $100; first bag is $30 to $100 and second bag is $40 to $100. Overweight bags are $25 to $100. A $2 surcharge will be tacked on to existing baggage fees from December 18 through January 5.
United Airlines
Fees: Carry-on is free; first checked bag $25 and second is an additional $35. Overweight bags are $100 to $200, depending on weight and flight.
US Airways
Fees: Carry-on is free; first checked bag $25 and second is an extra $35. Overweight bags are $100 to $200.
Virgin America

Fees: Carry-on is free; first checked bag is $25 and second bag is an extra $25. Overweight bags are $50 to $100. From experience, if your bag is gate checked there is no charge. However, that bag must fit the carry on requirements.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Travels: Documents

When traveling do you make a list of documents you will need for that trip? 

Going to San Francisco from northern won't need a passport. You will need a driver's license, cash, credit cards, and possibly your medical card and insurance card. But, you already travel with those in your purse or wallet anyway. Right? need for a list to remind you what to take.

Let's say you're going from San Francisco to Paris. You will need more than that. A passport is at the top of that list, along with a copy of that passport, a couple of credit cards, and more. With that in mind, it would be a good idea to make a list of documents you need to take with you. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Travels: Cicchetti

Cicchetti or cicheti, if you're in Venice, are small snacks found at bacari, small casual bars packed with locals in the early evening.

Usually displayed in glass cases on the bar counter, these finger foods come to you on toothpicks or on slices of  a baguette.

At Cantina Do Mori, in Venice we found everything from arancini to salt cod puree on crusty bread; salty, hard cheeses to prosciutto; olives to fried baby artichoke hearts. These tasty snacks varied by the day and we never got tired of stopping here for a snack or a light lunch.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Travels: Fear of Flying

Do you have a fear of flying? You're not alone. Many people have some anxiety about their flight.

In visiting with a flight attendant, she told me what she tells those who express a concern about flying.

Sit by the wings, if you can. This area usually minimizes turbulence. If you sit in the back, you'll probably feel it more.

Sit by the window. This allows you to look out and take your mind off your fears.

Bring entertainment. Read, play games, or do crossword puzzles. Again, these take your mind off your fears.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Travels: Packing Light

You're packed. And, your suitcase weighs a ton. What do you have in there? It may be your shoes.

Think about how much each pair of shoes weighs before you pack them. Do you really need more than two or three pairs? Do you really think you'll wear both pairs of boots?

Check out travel outfitters if you need new shoes for traveling. Typically, they work with companies to offer lightweight but durable brands.

If you really need to bring a pair that is heavy, think about wearing them on the plane and pack the lighter pair. Just make sure they aren't a pain to take off in the security line.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Travels: Lodging Suggestions

Consider a rental apartment, house, or condo instead of a standard hotel. If you're traveling with another couple or if you need two hotel rooms, a rental can save you some money.

You also have more room to spread out and kitchen facilities in case you want to cook, make snacks, or have morning coffee in your pajamas.

Be sure to check out the location first. If it sounds like an amazing deal...check to see where it is located. You may find staying outside of the city is a good deal...until you see where the nearest bus or subway station is located.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Travels: Save on European Travel

You're planning your vacation to Europe and want to get the most for your money. Great. Who doesn't? 

Here are some things to think about.

When looking at hotels, car rentals, and other non-flight items, try to get the quotes or the rates in US dollars. Why? It's what you're used to seeing and dealing with. You will have the amount in a currency you recognize so when your statement arrives, that amount makes sense. You also won't have to keep checking exchange rates.

Try to stay in one or two places and really immerse yourself in that area and its culture. Base your trip in Florence if you want to visit that particular part of Tuscany, for instance. Stay in Venice if the Veneto and northeast Italy is your focus. Want to spend some time in Champagne? Paris is a good place for a home base. You won't spend hours in transit going from city to city, only to have a couple of hours in one new place. Figure out the area you want to see and then stay in a city central to the whole area.

Think about purchasing a museum pass for attractions, museums, and tours in that city or region. If you know the sites you really want to see, these can be a great value. Make sure those sites are listed on the pass.

If there is only one site on your must see list, check online before you leave home to see if you can purchase the ticket in advance. You avoid the long lines to just purchase the ticket and in most cases you bypass most lines with your prepaid ticket. The same goes for popular sites. Check online before you go.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Travels: Leaving Home

When leaving home for an extended time period do you hope your home will be safe and secure? Or, do you take some precautions while you're off vising the countryside of Italy?

Some people hire house sitters to stay in their homes, take care of the plants, feed and walk the dog, pick up the mail, and keep an eye on things. Great idea, especially if you are gone for an extended period of time.

You could notify the neighbors you're going to be gone for a lengthy time. You may even give them the name of your house sitter.

Only gone for a week-end? Do you close your curtains or turn on lights at a certain time each day? You may want to think about a timer. 

Ask your neighbor to pick up the paper, even if it's only a couple of days. No sense leaving it on the driveway to announce no one is home.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Jessup Cellars Raises Nearly $6,000 for Napa Valley Quake Relief


Media Contact:
Joel Quigley, Jessup Cellars
(707) 495-0831 |


Judd Wallenbrock and Joel Quigley of Jessup Cellars present earthquake relief fundraising check to Terence Mulligan and Julia DeNatale of the Napa Valley Community Foundation

(Yountville, CA, November 4th 2014) — Following the August 24th Napa Valley earthquake and damage assessment at Jessup Cellars in Yountville, California, the boutique winery discovered a case stack of its 2009 Petite Sirah with stained labels from other broken bottles. The winery immediately offered up the wines to its extensive membership with 100% of proceeds to go to quake relief. The allotment sold out almost immediately, so to meet demand from its followers anxious to help, Jessup Cellars offered up its non-damaged Petite Sirah at 50% off with 50% of sales to go to quake relief. The fundraising effort raised just under $6,000.00 for the Napa Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund, which is managed by the Napa Valley Community Foundation and was created with a $10 million lead gift from the Napa Valley Vintners following the quake.

“We really appreciate how the community has stepped up to support our residents in need,” said Terence Mulligan, President, Napa Valley Community Foundation. “We are grateful to Jessup Cellars for their creativity in raising funds toward this relief effort.”

“The response from all across the nation truly touched us,” said Judd Wallenbrock, President & CEO of the Good Life Wine Collective, which includes Jessup Cellars, Handwritten Wines and Humanitas Wines. “Our company culture is all about giving back to the community, so it was very rewarding to see our members embrace this philosophy with a real call to action, and that we were able to contribute in our own small way to this important cause.”

High-resolution photographs and interviews are available upon request.

About Napa Valley Community Foundation
The Napa Valley Community Foundation mobilizes resources, inspires giving, builds knowledge and provides leadership on vital community issues to improve the quality of life for all in Napa County. They are a public charity; a grantmaking foundation; a philanthropic advisor; and a staging ground for people, resources and ideas. Every day, they link donors to projects that do good in our community. To learn more and contribute, please visit or call 707.254.9565.

About Jessup Cellars
Jessup Cellars Tasting Gallery is located at 6740 Washington St., Yountville, California and open 10am to 6pm daily. Celebrating the art of the blend, its wines are sourced from the finest vineyards throughout Napa Valley. Guests at Jessup Cellars may choose to taste at its wine bar or relax with sit-down, hosted tastings in the winery’s spacious gallery amongst curated art by regional and national artists. The winery also specializes in hosting interactive cultural experiences with a focus on supporting the arts. To learn more about Jessup Cellars, visit or call 888.537.7879.

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Monday, November 3, 2014

Travelers: Shower Caps and other Hotel Items

The next time you stay in a hotel that provides shower caps, take it with you to use later. You can use it to cover your shoes in your luggage.

Any dirt on the bottom of your shoes won't make its way onto your clean clothes. And, your shoes won't get scuffed by some other items.

Or, use it to cover flip flops or sandals you've worn at the beach. I don't know about you, but I can never get all of the sand out of my flip flops.

Those little bars of soap in hotels...they have some other uses as well.

If you rub the dry bar of soap on a zipper that's stuck, you can lubricate the zipper's teeth enough to get the zipper unstuck. You might have to run it up and down several times, but at least you won't have to break the zipper.

If you've been bitten by some bugs on your travels and forgot to bring any anti-itch, use the bar of soap to help with this as well. Some like to rub the dry bar on the bite, others say wetting the bar a little bit and then rubbing it on the bite works better. Either way, let it dry and you should have relief. Plus, keep a bar in your suitcase as it is not subject to TSA rules and regs.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Travels: Hotels

When deciding on a hotel for your vacation, how do you know which one to pick?

Here are some things to think about.

Where is the hotel located. Look at the map and then look at Google Street View. It's amazing what you see, that the hotel website might not show you. Is that really a train track running directly behind the hotel?

Read the reviews. Look at the positive ones and the negative ones. Are the negative ones just moaning and groaning or are there real concerns that keep popping up in reviews? Perhaps you'll learn some great services offered by reading a positive review.

If you need an airport shuttle, see if the hotel has one and what times it runs. If you aren't sure, contact the hotel.

Do you have to pay for parking if you are driving? How much is it?

Understand what services are actually free and what are not. If Wi-Fi is listed as available, you might want to check to see if there is a charge. 

If you can't find something on the hotel website or if you have a question, don't be afraid to contact the hotel directly.