Travel often tops new-year resolution lists. Mine usually includes something grandiose that gets sidelined –mostly due to work schedules or lack of planning. So this year my husband and I are trying a new tactic to ensure travel. Rather than say (again) that we’re going to make it Tokyo, we’ve agreed to take smaller trips more often. Our goal is simple: one place, once a month. To keep it attainable, it can be near or far, any amount of time (even a quick weekend). Just so long as we go somewhere.
I’m off to a good start. I just booked tickets for a weekend in LA to visit a friend. I found some fun ideas in our Los Angeles travel guide of things to do but would love to hear from you! So tell me: In a Friday night to Sunday morning trip…what must I do/see/experience? (Thanks in advance!)
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The newest “Travel Temptation” is a 2-night stay at South Beach’s Hotel Ocean Miami: A four-star, beach front luxury hotel. Just minutes from the Art Deco district and near the shopping district, this boutique-style hotel is a refreshing change from the typical hotel. See it for yourself and say for two nights—on us!
Around this time of year my sister, niece, nephew and I bake an impressive medley of cookies to give as gifts. We drive to all our holiday parties so sharing treats is easy. But if you’re one of the many travelers flying during the holidays, packing home-baked/homemade gifts to loved ones is a bit more challenging. Here’s the short and sweet list for traveling to the airport with food and gifts.
Food Make life easy for you and everyone in line behind you: place any baked goods in your checked bags. Or better yet, ship them ahead.
You’re allowed to pack a variety of edibles including jam, cheese and wine, in your checked bags. Obviously, pack them well with lots of cushion. When I travel with anything liquid I like to wrap them in their own Ziploc bag, then around really bulky sweaters or tucked into shoes for extra protection.
You can, according to the TSA web site, bring wrapped pies and cakes through the security checkpoint. I’m a bit skeptical of this and think maybe that page just hasn’t been updated in awhile? The article does point out that these “carry-ons” are subject to additional screening. To be on the safe side I’d wait until reaching my destination….then whip up that famous pie or fruit cake.
Do not wrap any gifts. Security officers may have to unwrap for security purposes. Again, the mantra here is a simple “ship ahead”. Or just wait until you arrive at your destination to wrap your gifts.
Before you change that flight, pack an extra bag, tote along Fido or ask for headphones, take a peek at the current costs for flying. Here’s a handy list of airline fees, compiled by USA Today. And with the holiday season fast approaching, it’s a great time to square away your budget.
The NY Times has an article up with what purports to be a true air passenger wish list. In it are things like clean restrooms, timely and correct flight arrival and departure information, and a safer better place to rest before or between flights. Those all seem like pretty good ideas. But here are a few of my suggestions for Airports that really want to make customers happy:
1) Redesign security check points so they are not a bottleneck. Frankly, I feel less secure waiting en mass to pass through a metal detector than I do on the otherside. So anything you can do to make that shorten that wait time and make it less like a group the better.
2) If you’re going to charge for parking how about offering proper lighting and regular patrols.
3) Vending machines at the Cell Phone waiting lots. I’m picking up someone whose flight is late, rather than running to Denny’s for a cup-o-joe, how about a vending machine or two and a restroom out at the cell phone waiting lot.
4) Better transportation options to and from your facility. I know the taxi lobby won’t want to read this, but Airports should be the champions for getting Light Rail stations right at the terminal with easy access from around the metropolitan area. No car, no fuss, makes for less stressed out passengers.
How about you, what should airports be doing better?
I had heard that high altitudes can dull the taste buds; airline kitchens make sure to add extra bursts of flavor to compensate. But what will they do about this discovery? A study by the University of Manchester says that white noise in the background can make food taste less appetizing and airline noise is the perfect combination to produce poor flavor.
SeaWorld Orlando’s Discovery Cove and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay both announced major new attractions this week. A new ground hugging Cheetah themed coaster is coming to Tampa and Orlando is getting an 875,000 gallon Saltwater Reef where you can swim with sharks and tropical fish. The Orlando Sentinel has details of the announcement.
A story in the Oregonian has a good lesson on how to make sure you’re eating sustainable fish even when you’re traveling. Check out the guidelines in the sidebars.
Past Survivor winners and players gather at SeaWorld Discovery Cove
Dozens of winners, heroes and villains of Survivor got together at Discovery Cove in Orlando for a day of outwitting, outplaying, outlasting and out-and-out relaxing. Discovery Cove offers visitors the sort of personal one on one experience with wildlife that you can’t get anywhere else in Orlando.
Survivor Winner Natalie White at SeaWorld Discovery Cove
Swimming with dolphins and rays and hand feeding exotic birds were Survivor’s first winner, Richard Hatch; the game’s only two-time winner, Sandra Diaz-Twine; villains Russell Hantz and Courtney Yates; and players Yau-Man Chan and Terry Deitz.
Also at the park were players and winners from The Amazing Race and Big Brother, including Amazing Race winner, Jordan Pious.
The winners and players were in Orlando to benefit Give Kids the World, a non-profit organization that exists only to fulfill the wishes of all children with life-threatening illnesses and their families from around the world to experience a memorable, joyful, cost-free visit to the Central Florida attractions, and to enjoy the magic of Give Kids The World Village for as long as there is a need.
It’s Summer and if you’re looking at your vacation days account at work and seeing a surplus, you’re not alone. As it turns out, Americans are terrible at actually taking a vacation. Here at Last Minute Travel, the premier online travel booking site, we are encouraging Americans to break the habit of not using all of their hard-earned vacations days and have some fun.
A new survey by LastMinuteTravel.com finds that close to half (45%) of working Americans did not maximize their vacation days in 2009; in fact, 39 percent admitted to losing 10 or more of those days. As we reach the halfway point of 2010, the survey finds that more than three-quarters (78%) of Americans plan to repeat this trend by leaving their paid vacation days on the table.
According to the survey, reasons for lost vacation days is that many find it difficult to take time away from work, coordinate family schedules or they cannot afford a “real vacation.” Nonetheless, working Americans yearn for time off and fantasize about the type of vacation they would take, time and money permitting: close to four in ten (35%) would choose a beach destination where they can relax and unwind; 19 percent would opt for an all-inclusive cruise; 16 percent would go to a family (theme-park) destination; and 15 percent would take a road trip across the country.