Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Reading Reviews

Do you read reviews before you book a hotel, a B&B, a restaurant, etc.?

By the same token, do you write reviews when you are back home? Did you have some awesome wine and a fantastic experience in a little known bar in Venice? Was the apartment you rented in Victoria the absolute perfect spot? Did the hotel in Milan provide customer service that was over the top?

If so, write a review. Other travelers appreciate it and you may help someone decide what they want to do and where they want to go.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

What do you do with your Travel Photos?

You've returned home from vacation and have a gazillion photos. Now is the time to sort them, label them or group them by city or event, and delete those that aren't quite in focus.

I know it seems like this is something you can do later. But, will you? A few months from now you'll look at them and try to remember which castle was which, or if that's the Duomo in Florence or somewhere else, and why on earth do I have so many photos of the Rialto Bridge...

Schedule a day to go through them now. You'll be glad you did.

If you have a few that are really special, or that you love, or capture your trip perfectly...why not make a small album. Fifteen or 20 photos in a small album can be shared with friends and can remind you of your favorite times.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Travels: Awesome Event

International Package on Your Smart Phone

If you've had an international package put on your phone while away from the US, be sure to remember to have it turned off when you return home.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Look at Your Credit Card Statements

When you arrive home after vacation, do you check your credit card and bank statements? For that matter, do you check them while you're on vacation?

If you have a safe wifi on vacation, you can keep tabs on your activity. If not, wait until you're back home and then check. That way you can report any charges you didn't make to your bank or credit card company. They may have already called you.

Just one more reason to let them know where you are traveling, how long you'll be gone, and how to get a hold of you.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Grapes into Wine

It's hard to believe such small berries turn into such fantastic wines. Any guess what type of wine these will be?

Friday, June 19, 2015

What if it Rains?

You've checked the weather and there's a chance of rain at your destination. Your rain coat takes up a lot of room in your luggage. Should you take it?

If you really aren't going to need a rain coat for an extended period of time, think about picking up a couple of ponchos at a discount store. They don't take up much room in your luggage and if you need them, you have them. You can always leave them behind when heading home.

Forgot your umbrella? Don't stress. Almost every city has vendors selling cheap umbrellas. You can always buy one and leave behind as well.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Tips for using packing bags

Do you use packing bags...the kind where you compress all the air out before you place it in your luggage? Did you know you can also use the resealable 2.5 gallon ones. Just place your clothes inside, seal the bag part way, sit or squish the air out, and finish sealing the bag. It takes up less room in your luggage.

You can also group clothes together and place in one bag. Or, have your kid's clothes in one resealable bag and yours in another. You could even do one outfit per day per bag.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Quick First Aid Kits

When hiking in the back country, first aid kits are always a good idea. But, should you pack one for other types of trips? If so, what should you include?

You can easily make a small kit that includes things like a few individually wrapped alcohol ads, small packets or a stick of antibiotic ointment, some bandages, and a small LED flashlight.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Whistles Can Save Your Life

Do you ever pack a whistle in your carry on bag or purse? Traveling in areas where earthquakes, blizzards, avalanches, or tornadoes are frequent...a whistle might be a good thing to have. Speaking of earthquakes...we hear about earthquake survival kits we should have ready. These should also include a whistle.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Travels: Great time in Vacaville June 20

“Downtown Vacaville’s 6th Annual Blues Festival”

Vacaville, CA (June 10, 2015-  Downtown Vacaville’s 6th Annual Blues Festival is almost upon us! It’s back for another week of the Blues in the Heart Of The City! On Saturday June 20th there’s going to be a Pro-Jam at Theatre DeVille on Main Street. This is a chance for some of this year’s performers to get together and just have a little fun as they get ready for the following weekend. On Friday evening at the Creekwalk Concert Series June 26th, Shane Dwight will be bringing his powerful rockin’ blues sound to our festival. Shane has been a favorite at the Creekwalk for years and we’re glad to have him back to kick things off.

Then on Saturday morning, June 27th, we have the Charlie Wade Blues Band followed by Val Starr and the Blues Rocket. We also have performing the Delta Rockets, Two Tone Steiny and the Matty T Band closing out the evening. Sunday’s fun begins with Bill Watson and the Wicked Sensation, Uncorked Blues Band and closing the day out is the Used Blues Band.

You can visit our web site at www.downtownvacaville.com for more information on the Blues Festival and all of our calendar events that take place in Downtown Vacaville.
 Downtown Vacaville…the place to be for the best music in the county!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Convert A Hanger Review

Face it, those hook-less hangers in some hotel closets are a pain to use. They are meant to stay in the closet on the specifically made rod. Some of them never come off.

That might be okay if you don’t ever intend to remove the hanger from the closet. But, what if you need to hang your dress near the shower to steam out the wrinkles? Or, what if you want to hang up your travel shirt after you’ve given in a quick wash? It just doesn’t work.

That’s where the ConvertAHanger comes in. When I first saw this, I thought it might work. I was right…and then some. It’s great. Not only is it easy to pack and takes up very little room, it seems to be very durable as well.

It’s also made in the US…which is always a plus in my book.

I’ve used it and I love it. It’s going to be a permanent part of my luggage.

Check out more about it at http://www.convertahanger.com/.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Will You See Everything?

You're in Florence, or Rome, or Paris, or anywhere for the first time. You want to see everything. This is a special trip. You have a list of things to see and do.

Slow down. There is no possible way you can see everything in one trip. If you continue to speed through a city or a country...you really won't see anything. And, you certainly won't remember anything.

Plan on a few 'must see' spots. Then, relax and take time to wander around. Get to know the city or the country instead of speeding by at mach five. Whet your appetite for a return trip.

Sure, those 'nine countries in 12 days' tours sound like the way to get an overview. But, in reality...all you see is the view from a speeding train or tour bus. You never get to walk the streets of Venice at sunset, or watch the Eiffel Tower come alive with lights at dusk, or savor your wine while you watch the river boats along the Rhine.

Relax and take your time. Your vacation will be much better...

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Travels: Boarding on Delta

I just read this post in Independent Traveler. Let me know what you think.
According to USA Today, Delta will be offering a complimentary Early Valet service on select flights this summer, which will involve having airline employees take passengers’ carry-ons at the gate and put them into the overhead bins nearest their assigned seats.
The airline’s hope is that its employees will be more efficient in loading the plane than passengers would, helping ensure a timelier departure. USA Today reports that the airline has previously tested this strategy and found “some reduction in boarding time.”
The theory makes sense. After all, how often have you seen fellow passengers holding up the line while they heave and ho to get weighty bags into the bin? And then there are the fliers who force others to find other spots for their bags because they put their rolling suitcases in sideways instead of wheels first, taking up twice as much space. Let’s face it: Airline employees are almost guaranteed to be better at loading a plane than we passengers are.

Will this really save time in boarding? It remains to be seen.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Is the Guidebook Worth It?

You've probably read a guidebook or three before you travel. Now, what do you visit, what do you see, where do you eat...? There can be so much information that you really aren't sure which guidebook to follow.

Keep in mind, guidebooks are great at giving information, at pointing you in the right direction, and giving you background information on places you're visiting. They can be a valuable resource.

However, they are not the only source of things to see and do. There's much more to the world than the guidebooks can include.

So, what do you do? Read the guidebooks and use them as a base. Then, ask locals or people who have traveled where you are going. Does someone know of a little cantina in a back street that serves the best wine in Venice? Does the bartender at that cantina know the best place to eat lunch? Does your waiter at lunch know where you should go to buy pastries for breakfast?

Guidebooks are important...just not the only source for a great trip.

Travels: Yountville Event

Jessup Cellars’ 2015 “Dress to the Vines” Weekend Circles Globe & Sips into Something Comfortable!

Jessup Cellars announces their next fun event...Dress to the Vines. It's a fun event, great wines, and even a K-9 event that supports the Napa Humane Society. 

Check out all the particulars and schedule here: http://jessupcellars.com/dress-to-the-vines-2015/

Sounds like another great time at Jessup. Will I see you there?

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Doors locked...check; Garbage taken out...check; What else?

You've probably already made sure the thermostat was set correctly, the house sitter has the keys, and your bag is packed before you leave for that two week trip to Venice.

Have you also charged all of your devices? Recently...like in the last hour before you leave?

Have you unplugged home electronics or shut down your home computer? Anything you or your house sitter won't be using...unplug it before you leave.

Have you double checked your documents you will need while traveling? Do you know where they are in your purse or carry on bag?

Have you checked your flight status?

Have you checked your email for any last minute changes to reservations?

Have you checked the wait time at the airport?

Have you checked traffic on the way to the airport?

Have you placed all important medication in your carry on or purse instead of your checked bag?

Have you taken photos of your checked luggage and your travel documents? Take photos of both the exterior and interior of your luggage. Take photos of your passport vital info. Take photos of your itinerary, any other identification, reservations, and anything else you will need. If you take these with your phone, make sure your phone is password protected.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Travels: Event Worth Checking Out

Wine Lovers...support this great cause and enjoy the possibility of winning some amazing wines.

Yippie Foundation’s First Annual
“Best in the Cellar” Wine Raffle, 2015

Only 100 Wine Raffle tickets will be sold for this first prize 50-bottle lot of fantastic wine. And Wine Donors will have first opportunity to purchase tickets! Wine Raffle tickets will be available June 15 – August 21, 2015 or until all 100 tickets are sold.  (The winner need not be present to win).
Wine Donors will also be honored with their names on Wine Raffle literature and name or logo on a large “Thank You” Board at our “Sunset in the Vineyard” dinner fundraiser at Wooden Valley Winery on August 21, 2015 from 6:00 – 8:30 pm. General Sunset tickets are $30 each and VIP Premier tickets are $50 each. We hope you will come!  Please purchase your tickets now athttps://eventbrite.com/event/16058447248/
Wine donations will be stored in a climate controlled wine cellar.
The Yippie Foundation is a local 501 (c) 3 nonprofit, EIN# 27-3252623 www.YippieFoundation.org and www.YippieYogurt.org

Yippie Yogurt® 1955 W. Texas Street, #4 (next to Nation’s Burgers) in Fairfield      

“We don't train youth to serve yogurt; we serve yogurt to train youth!"

The Yippie (Youth Initiating Professional Preparedness In Employment) Foundation’s mission is to develop and empower underserved youth to reach their potential through training and work experience.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Travels: Travel App

Has anyone used the app Google Flights?

It is supposed to search many flights in a short amount of time and give you the results you want. After all, that's what you would expect from Google.

I've looked at it and it shows a map with prices of flights from your home base. You can even pick a non-specific destination like California or Western Europe and it shows a map of airports in that area with the cheapest flights. It gives better dates to fly for the same or lower prices as well.

These are supposedly the best flights...not always the cheapest, based on Google info.

This app is free and users tell me it works great. Let me know if you've used it and what you thought of it.