Saturday, January 31, 2015

Travels: Over Packing...Part Two

Overpacking...Part Two

How many pairs of shoes do you take? It probably depends on what you're doing and where you're going. Ideally, you could get by with two pair. Wear one pair for walking and pack one for going out at night.

If that doesn't fit your trip, you may need to pack an additional pair. Other than're probably overpacking. If you're going hiking in the might need yet another pair. It depends on your trip. Keep in mind, you really don't need a different pair for each day. Save some room in your suitcase by having the right shoes for your trip.

How many outfits do you pack? You can pack less bottoms and more tops for a change of pace. Think about lightweight, washable fabrics. These can be washed at night and will be dry by morning. Another benefit...if you roll your lightweight clothes, they don't take up much room in your suitcase.

Have you ever packed an outfit or a top that you never wear at home? Maybe it's not your favorite color or it isn't a style you like. Chances are...if you don't wear it at home, you probably won't wear it on vacation. Leave it home...

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Travels: Do You Over Pack?

You've probably overpacked your suitcase at one time or another, especially if you really wanted to squeeze one last pair of shoes or a bulky sweater in at the last minute. But, do you really need everything you think you need?

Can you travel with just a carry on bag? I can go to Europe for two weeks in a carry on bag. But, if you are typically an overpacker or think you need to take so much stuff with you, check out some ideas that may help you think about what you really put in your suitcase.

First, make a list of what you need. By writing it down, you won't forget an important item. You also may see where you can eliminate items.

Having said that...don't pack at the last minute, especially for a long trip. You may forget things, something may need to be cleaned before you pack it, or you may throw too many things in...just in case you need them.

Speaking of the just in case items...don't pack them. A rain coat...just in case it rains. Check the weather first and if no rain is anywhere in the forecast...your just in case rain coat is unnecessary. A fancy dress or nice suit...just in case you go to an upscale restaurant or event. Are you really planning on this type of event and do you often frequent places where these type of clothes are required? If so...pack them. If not...these just in case clothes are unnecessary.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Travels: Long Flights

On a long flight you need to take some extra precautions. 

Make sure your neck is supported adequately. Use a pillow to support the lumbar region of your neck and keep it aligned parallel with the center of your seat.

You can roll up a sweater or blanket to support your lower back.

Walk the aisles every 30 minutes to keep your blood circulating. If you have room, stretch out your hamstrings and hip flexors to ease tension in your lower back.

Move your ankles and toes regularly.

Make sure your shoes aren't too tight. Loosen or remove them if possible. Just make sure you have something to wear when you get up to walk around.

Drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol. Flying dehydrates your body and the high altitude promotes drying out of the skin and mucous membranes. Alcohol furthers that dehydration.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Travels: Use Your Smartphone

Share your itinerary with friends, family, or travel companions through an app on your smartphone. TripIt is just one of them. I do know TripIt will automatically create an itinerary from all of your confirmation emails, including flight status. You won't have to search through a bunch of emails as all the information will be in one spot.

Have you wondered how long that security line is going to be at the airport? Download the My TSA app as it provides security line wait time as well as a list of airports that have TSA Pre Check lines, other airport information, and a list of which items are okay to be carried on to the plane.

Before you leave on a trip, download a book to read, games to play, or a guidebook for information. Don't download them at the airport as that could waste your battery or take forever to download.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Travels: Tips Using Everyday Items

Pack some common everyday items you already have around the house instead of buying one-time use items.

You probably already know you can use bubble wrap to keep those breakable souvenirs safe. Did you know you can fold a sheet of bubble wrap, staple it, and use it to protect your tablet computer?
Forgot your make-up remover? Use some petroleum jelly…just don’t get it in your eyes. 

Do you have static in your hair or clothes? Next time, pack a dryer sheet. It works wonders and takes up just about no room.

Dental floss works for more than just your teeth. If you have a needle with a larger hole, you can sew on a button with dental floss.

A padded oven mitt is great for curling irons. But, did you know you can pack other things inside to keep them protected in your suitcase? Your curling iron, hairdryer, or electric razor are just a few things that will stay contained and won’t damage anything else by being loose and moving around in your bag.

Don’t have a separate bag for dirty laundry and don’t want to use a plastic bag? Use a pillow case. Toss in a dryer sheet to keep the dirty laundry from smelling up the rest of your bag.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Travels: Free National Parks

In 2015 you can visit our National Parks free on nine different dates. 

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day: January 19
Presidents' Day Weekend: February 14 to 16
National Park Week's opening weekend: April 18 and 19
The National Park Sevice's 99th Birthday: August 25
National Public Lands Day: September 26
Veterans Day: November 11

If you are a member of the US military or permanently disabled, your visits are always free.

See our National Parks, forests, grasslands, wildlife refuges, and other federal lands. There are more than 2,000 total.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Travels: Weather

Traveling in the winter? Did you check the weather of your destination before you packed? Good. 

If you are flying, did you check the weather of your flight route? It would be a good idea, especially if you're flying through weather prone airports. Denver, Chicago, San Francisco, and more...all have weather related issues during the winter months.

This way you'll know if delays can be expected, if you'll miss any connections due to weather, or have any plans that may be upset. Download a weather app to keep updated on the conditions along your route and at your destination. Many airline apps include weather, but you can download an independent one as well.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Travels: Ill Passengers

If you travel on planes very often, you've probably encountered a sick passenger. Could be a sneezer, a cougher, or someone who sounds like they're on their last breath.

You're thinking...why did the airline allow these people to board? It appears there are no federal laws or regulations stating sick people can't get on a plane. However, airlines do reserve the right to refuse a passenger to board if the ground crew thinks that person is too sick to fly.

Keep in mind, these crew are not medically trained. Instead, they are trying their best to assess the situation regarding a sick passenger.

So, what do you do if you're seated next to someone who is sick? These days, planes are almost always full, so switching seats may not be an option. Chances are, you'll just have to put up with the sick person seated next to you. 

Do your best to avoid any contact with that person, wash your hands often, use hand sanitizer, and hope for a quick flight. 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Travels: Unique Program to Check Out

A California Indian BasketWeavers Association Educational Program
 In Collaboration with K.R. Martindale Show Management and California Academy of Sciences

9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Saturday February 21
and Sunday February 22, 2015

Art of the Americas Show, Embassy Suites Hotel, 101 McInnis Parkway, San Rafael, CA 94903
$75-$120 tax-deductible contribution

Yesterday and Today: The Symposium - Reconnecting the Artist with the Art offers insights into one of California’s oldest art traditions, basket weaving. The two day symposium explores the challenges of identifying early California Indian basketweavers whose names were not recorded at the time their art was collected by museums and others.  This educational program includes presentations by contemporary California Indian basketweavers, a study tour of  “Yesterday and Today: The Exhibit” and of Art of Americas basketry vendor booths., and more. The event takes place 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.  Saturday February 21 and Sunday February 22, 2015 at the Embassy Suites Hotel, 101 McInnis Parkway, San Rafael, CA.

Key presenters include California Indian Basket Weavers Association (CIBA)  Board Chairman and Master Weaver Clint McKay Dry Creek Pomo/Wappo/Wintun and Jan Timbrook, Ph D, Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, who will explore how to recognize the characteristics of a fine California Indian basket; its possible origin, its materials and the techniques used by many scholars, museums, weavers, and collectors to reconnect the artist with the art. Other presenters include Benjamin Benson, Sonoma State University and Bryn Potter, of the Riverside Metropolitan Museum and the Buffalo Bill Center of the West.

Yesterday and Today: The Symposium topics range from how to buy a basket to art in the lives of California Indians, and more. The “study tour” at the Art of the Americas Show will help participants hone new skills concerning California Indian basketry identification and evaluation and to visit the premiere of “Yesterday and Today: The Exhibit” to engage with California Indian basket weavers as they work.

CIBA is a non-profit organization established in 1992 with approximately 1,000 members statewide. It provides opportunities for weavers to convene, learn, exchange information and showcase their work and also offers non-members educational opportunities throughout the year, such as “Tending the Wild – The Workshop” which focuses on California Indian environmental stewardship methods that come before the basket.

Symposium cost is $75 for one day, $120 for both, and includes lunch with the presenters.  CIBA Members: One Day $60 - Both Days $100. Symposium tickets are a Tax Deductible contribution to CIBA. Registration details: 530-668-1332 or .

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Travels: 2015 Tips to Start Off the Year

 Now that 2015 is in full swing, have you made any travel plans? Or, are you still wondering how and where to start?

How about making a list of where you'd like to go? Think about what you like to do. Do you love to experience new foods? Add destinations with interesting food to your list. Want to eat like a local? Where can you do that? It may be close to home or far away.

Read a travel book to whet your appetite...both literally and figuratively. 

Learn how to pack like a pro...for a weekend trip and for two weeks in Europe.

Visit a small town. Take your time to see how what's going on.

Start now...and then refine your list. Finally...make the reservations.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Travels: Budweiser Clydesdales

The Budweiser Clydesdales visit from time to time at breweries around the country. This week I had the opportunity to see them in Fairfield, CA. We've probably all seen them on commercials. I know I can't wait to see the new ones each year during the Super fact these are often the most awaited commercials.

On screen they are beautiful. Up close, they are magnificent. Their handlers were eager to give us facts and the horses were patient while we petted them and took their photos. Did you know that to qualify as one of the traveling horses in the hitch they must be at least four years old, a gelding, 72 inches at the shoulder when mature, weigh between 1,800 and 2,300 pounds, have a bay coat, four white legs, white blaze, and black mane and tail?

And, those furry feet...all with special horseshoes. The shoes weigh about five pounds each and are about 20 inches from end to end. Big shoes...for big feet.

Located in stables in three places around the US, they travel and perform in events about 250 days a year. How do they get to those places? In comfort, in three 50 foot semis with air suspension and cushioned floors. Cameras are mounted inside so the drivers can see what the horses are doing and each night they stop at stables so the horses can rest. 

If you ever have the chance to visit them...go for it. Each one is stunning and can be a bit of a they try to grab the handler's jacket or whatever else is handy.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Travels: Miscellaneous Tips

Tight connections that can't be helped? Reserve your seat near the front of the airplane. If those seats are already taken, check in at the counter and explain your situation. 

Does your suitcase expand? If you're shopping for a new bag to use as checked luggage, you may want to look at ones that expand.

Have you used packing folders? Similar in concept to packing cubes, these folders come with boards to help fold your clothes. How about space saving bags? These allow you to shrink bulky items like sweaters into smaller bags. Plus, they tend to keep out the wrinkles.

Pack things inside of other packed items. Shoes can hold socks or underwear.

Baby shampoo can be used as laundry detergent and to defog your scuba or ski goggles.

Dental floss can be used as thread or when you need some extra string. 

Friday, January 9, 2015

Travels: Flying Tips

Choose your travel days to get the most out of your fares. Most times Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays are the least popular travel days for domestic flights. This may work in your favor when booking your next flight.

Fly in the morning, if you can. There is less chance of a flight delay in most places. One notable exception is San Francisco where the fog often delays early morning flights. It burns off by late morning or early afternoon.

Get to the airport early. Check before you leave home if your flight is delayed or on time.

Allow at least 45 to 60 minutes for a connecting flight when booking your flight. This will vary by airline and by airport. At any rate, allow enough time to not be stressed out by missing your flight.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Travels: 2015 Helpful Tips

If you don't travel with a lint brush, use your baggage tag.

Have a long layover in an airport? Here are a couple of things you can do to pass the time. Buy a day lounge pass in the airport lounge. The chairs are more comfortable, often there are free snacks, Wi-Fi is available, and many have customer service counters. Take a free tour of the airport

Pay attention to germs on the airplane...on the bathroom handles, arm rests, tray tables, seat pockets, and hand held remotes. Wash your hands often and remember to pack some hand sanitizer and wipes.

If your flight is a long one, roll up a blanket or scarf for added lumbar support.

Drape a folded scarf or sweater over your armrest to add some padding. 

Bring your own tasty and better snacks.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Travels: Packing Tips

Traveling in 2015? Do you have your packing list ready? Want some more tips to help pack everything you'll need? Check out these tips:

Pack a scarf. I know I've mentioned this one before, but it makes so much sense to pack a lightweight scarf. Use it for everything from a pillow (wad it up on the plane) to a cover up in churches (remember to keep your shoulders covered) to a sarong or skirt when you forgot to pack one.

Pack lip balm. Dry airplane air, walking around in the sun, cold weather, eating salty helps with all of these and more. Need to tame some frizzy hair ends or unstick a zipper? Try lip balm.

Pack sunscreen stick. Since it's not a liquid you can pack it in your carry on. And, there's no chance it will leak onto the rest of your items.

Next time your hotel has a disposable shower cap, take it and pack it. Use it as a shoe cover to keep your good shoes from getting scuffed and use it to cover your sandy or dirty shoes to keep them from getting everything else sandy or dirty.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Travels: More Travel Tips

Use the hair conditioner in hotels as shaving cream.

Pack clothing items that do double duty.

Use compression sacks to pack more items in your suitcase, as long as you stay within the weight limit.

Duct tape is a traveler's friend. Cover blisters, repair a backpack, remove lint, make a simple, so much more.