Thursday, March 31, 2016

What Do You Wear on the Plane?

Do you plan ahead of time what you're going to wear on the plane? Does it change from a short hop to a trip to Europe?

Comfort is necessary, especially on long flights. But, that doesn't mean you need to look like you just crawled out of bed. You might want to take a shawl to use as a cover up in case you get cold. Layers are also a good idea.

How about shoes? We've all seen someone in the security line trying to take off complicated shoes or laced up boots. Flats that slip on and off usually are best. You can toss some socks in your carry-on to keep your feet warm on the plane.

I have many ideas...what are some of your favorites?

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Travel Apps...Do They Work For You?

Have you tried these travel apps?

Wayn...this one lets you search for new travel destinations based on the type of activity you'd like to do. If diving or skiing or mountain biking is your thing...this might be an app of interest to you.

HelloTel...apparently this one creates a social network around the location where you are staying. You can connect with other travelers in that area. can explore exciting world destinations through the photos of other travelers. Either look at these Instagram similar galleries or get ideas for your next trip.

Steller...create an online book of your photos.

Any others you've tried?

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Happy Easter

Have a joyous Easter...

Friday, March 25, 2016

Pack Your Dental Floss

When you go to the dentist, do they give you small packages of dental floss? My dentist does.

Did you know you can toss it in your carry on bag when you travel? Why, you might ask?

Sure, it's good as dental floss. But, it's also good for sewing on a button, provided you have a needle with a large enough eye. Double or triple a strand and use it as a make shift clothesline. Use it as string when you need to tie up something.

Use it when you break your shoe lace, or you need to fix your eye glasses and can't find the little screw, or as a hair tie...the list goes on and on.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Have you Visited the Cinque Terre?

This photo is not the Cinque's Morro Bay.

Many people visit the Cinque Terre in Italy every year. About 2.5 million last year, if you can fathom that many people. These five small fishing villages perched on narrow cliffs are being overrun by tour buses and by day trippers from cruise ships docking at nearby ports.

That has led to the Cinque Terre National Park limiting the number of visitors to no more than 1.5 million visitors this year. They will outfit the roads leading to the villages with devices to check the number of people. Once that number is reached, the roads close.

Tickets will be sold ahead of time online and an app is being created so you can see which of the villages are most congested.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

What Do You Think?

Have you visited Italy's Cinque Terre recently? Did you find the area to be overrun with tourists? Apparently, many in Italy and specifically the Cinque Terre feel that way. 

As the UK newspaper The Guardian reports: “About 2.5 million tourists poured into the picturesque park in north-west Italy’s Liguria region last year to visit the five small fishing villages, which are connected by narrow cliffside trails.

“Residents say day-trippers from cruise ships docking at nearby ports have overwhelmed their communities and the head of the Cinque Terre park said no more than 1.5 million visitors would be let in this year.

“Roads leading to the area are being fitted with devices to gauge the number of people heading to the villages and once a certain number has been reached, access will be closed.

“Tickets will be sold ahead of time online and an app created for tourists to show which of the villages are most congested.

“Accessed by steep, winding roads, the Cinque Terre, with their brightly coloured houses, used to be a remote backwater. However, tourist numbers have risen sharply in recent years partly as a result of cruise companies adding more Italian destinations to their itineraries as other Mediterranean ports, such as Tunisia, lost their appeal following militant attacks.”

Let me know your thoughts.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Who Really Owns This?

Walk into a rental car counter in any major airport and you'll see lots and lots of companies. Right? Did you know many of those are owned by other rental car companies?

They're not all independent.

Avis owns Budget and Zipcar
Hertz owns Dollar and Thrifty
Enterprise owns Alamo and National
Advantage owns EZ Rent a Car

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Travel and Food...

How many of us travel to a destination because of food? If that fits you, you should head to a Tavel & Adventure Show near you.

Chef Garth Blackburn and Amy Kushnir show us how to make seafood tostadas...then we get to taste.


Sunday, March 13, 2016

Extra Large, Please!

Check out the size of these dumplings at the Taiwan booth at the Bay Area Travel & Adventure Show last weekend in Santa Clara.

If you ever have the opportunity to go to a Travel & Adventure show...go. They have them in cities across the US; DC, Chicago, Bay Area, LA, San Diego, Denver, Philadelphia, Dallas.

Amazing amount of info for travelers of all kinds.

Friday, March 11, 2016

What Does Your Boarding Pass Say?

Did you know that the letter F on your boarding pass means first class and that Y means economy?

What about Z or X or L or Q? What do they mean?

When you book online, those letters do mean something. For instance, it means whether a ticket is refundable or not. It also means whether your ticket can be upgraded.

These letters are about fare distinctions. If you're really not sure about the ticket you're about to purchase, you can always call the airline or go to their website to see what that letter means.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Tumi or Samsonite...or Both?

Recently, I read about Tumi and Samsonite joining forces in the luggage business. Check out this from The Washington Post...
Two of the biggest names at the baggage claim are about to join forces.
Samsonite, the world’s largest luggage company, said Friday that it agreed to pay $1.8 billion to acquire Tumi, a deal that would bring together an every man’s travel brand with an ultra-luxe one whose suitcases start at around $500. Samsonite hopes the purchase will allow it to become a more dominant force in the upscale corner of the market.
“We always wanted to have a play in this segment, but we have never been able to do it in a very credible way,” said Ramesh Tainwala, Samsonite’s chief executive, on a conference call with investors.
David Schick, a retail analyst at Stifel, said the move was a logical one for Tumi, which pulled in $548 million in sales last year.
“What we see in the evolution of luxury is that brands understand that they can only get so big,” Schick said.  
In other words, at a certain point, it’s helpful for them to become part of a larger suite of brands if they want to increase scale and find operational and logistical efficiency. 
Tumi’s stock was up 2 percent in Friday’s trading session, though its stock was up about 35 percent for the week since rumors of the tie-up had been circulating in preceding days.
Tumi, founded in 1975 and headquartered in South Plainfield, N.J., is known for inspiring serious customer loyalty.
“It’s the perfect suitcase,” said Justin McNulty, 34, who lives in Austin and runs the travel blog Justin Does. “It fits in every overhead compartment, it’s durable and it looks cool.”
When the handle fell off his previous suitcase, McNulty took it to a Tumi store. “A week later, I got a phone call saying ‘we’re going to send you a brand-new suitcase. Tell us which one you want.’” McNulty said the deal with Samsonite made him worried that such customer service might be affected.
“Just like with any other consolidation of companies, you worry. Are we going to get higher prices and less quality, just like with the airline mergers?” McNulty said.
Still, Samsonite seems committed to maintaining Tumi’s premium positioning in the marketplace, saying that the acquisition made sense in large part because Tumi brought something different to Samsonite’s portfolio:  In addition to its flagship brand, Samsonite also includes Hartmann, American Tourister, High Sierra and other travel bags that aren’t at Tumi’s upscale price point and aren’t as focused on the needs of business travelers.
Samsonite said it intends to expand Tumi’s reach in international markets. Currently the brand gets 68 percent of its sales in North America, with just 17 percent coming from Asia and 14 percent from its Europe, Middle East and Africa division. Tainwala also said it thinks Tumi could do a stronger business in hardside luggage, which today makes up a relatively small share of the brand’s sales.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Where Am I?

Often you see a photo and know exactly where it was taken. Any guesses with this one?

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Do You Travel For Food?

I'm looking forward to listening to and watching these chefs at the Bay Area Travel and Adventure Show... I'll report on what they had to say after the weekend. 

THE TASTE OF TRAVEL STAGE The Taste of Travel Stage, hosted by Chef Garth Blackburn and Amy Kushnir, provides visitors with insights from professional foodies and a taste of local, regional and global cuisine prepared by local chefs.
Special guests include:

· Chef Garth Blackburn of Sub-Zero Wolf in Dallas and Houston, Texas, and Amy Kushnir, host of “Taste Texas” and author of “Red Dirt Recipes”: Texas is all about fresh ingredients with a little heat! Come learn professional cooking tips for the home cook with the dynamic Texas duo who will show you how to make a quick and flavorful tostada that is guaranteed to impress your friends!

· Jerry Stone, food and wine blogger (Cooking Stoned and Green Wine Guide): The American food blogger, vegetarian chef, activist, and Internet personality is known for simple gourmet recipes and advocacy for the sustainable food and wine movement. In 2015, a Sierra Club magazine article named him one of nine chefs changing the world.

· Ben Simon – chief executive officer, Imperfect Produce: Ben Simon is a serial social entrepreneur and founder and executive director at Food Recovery Network (FRN). FRN unites students at American colleges to fight food waste and hunger by recovering surplus food from their campuses that would otherwise go to waste and donating it to hungry people. Ben founded FRN in Fall 2011 while a student at the University of Maryland, College Park. FRN is now at over 110 colleges and has donated over 450,000 meals to hungry Americans.

· Allan Karl, renowned motorcycle adventure traveler, photographer and best-selling author of “FORKS—A Quest for Culture, Cuisine, and Connection”: Allan is an author, photographer, professional keynote speaker, committed adventurer, and digital marketing strategist. With an insatiable passion for travel, culture, people, and food, he has explored more than 60 countries all over the world, photographing, writing, and blogging about them along the way. A dynamic and inspiring professional speaker, Allan shares his message with captivating storytelling and award-winning photography.

 · Sergio Monleón and Emily Sarlatte, Chef/Owners, La Marcha, Berkeley, Calif.: Chef Monleón and Chef Sarlatte opened Ñora Cocina Española in 2012, the popular mobile catering business specializing in paella and Spanish-influenced cuisine. Since its inception, the San Francisco Bay Area-based company has catered countless high-end weddings and special events, and made appearances at food festivals like Off the Grid and Eat Real Festival. Much to the delight of their loyal and growing customer base, Chef Monleón and Chef Sarlatte joined forces again in Fall 2015 to open a full-service restaurant: La Marcha, a critically acclaimed Spanish tapas bar in the heart of Berkeley with a menu of tapas and paellas.

What's Too Touristy?

Lately, I've been reading about places that are too touristy. What's that mean to you? Do you look for a place that has been mentioned frequently on travel shows and in travel blogs? Or, do you look for someplace that isn't too touristy?

For instance, the Galapagos Islands control how many people they allow to visit at any given time. Many museums do the same and you pick a time when you book your tickets.

But, places like Cancun and the Riviera Maya exist for tourists. You probably expect to see many people and it doesn't really feel too touristy.

What's your definition of too touristy? Does it affect your travel plans?

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Bay Area Travel & Adventure Show

Regardless if your next destination is half a world away or somewhere right in your own backyard, planning your next vacation is exciting.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a three-week long dive trip to Australia or a weekend trip to Yosemite, you want your vacation to be special and this is the place to learn how to accomplish that.

Head to the Bay Area Travel & Adventure Show this weekend in Santa Clara, CA.

Whatever you do…have fun. After all, this is for travel enthusiasts.

If You Go: March 5 and 6 at the Santa Clara Convention Center

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Check Your Passport

I know I've mentioned checking your passport well in advance of booking your trip. Here are some more reasons you should check it early.

For the first time, 10 years ago Americans needed passports to travel to Canada and Mexico. As you can imagine, the number of people applying for passports spiked. According to the State Department, they added about 17 million that year.

Guess what? Those passports are expiring this year. Many of those 17 million are applying for renewals. That doesn't count the number of new applications.

In order to avoid the rush or get behind when you need your passport renewed, these tips can help:

1. If you apply by mail, your passport should arrive in about six weeks.

2. Only go to a passport office to expedite your request. It will cost an extra $60.

3. If you go, make an appointment to cut down on wait time.

4. Make sure you've checked the address of the closest passport office. Some of them have changed.