Archive for the ‘Travel tips’ Category

Travel tips during the holiday season

 

First, the hard to believe news.

You don’t need half the stuff in your closet and drawers. Emulate travel writers.

On a recent trip to South Padre Island, none of the four of us travel writers had more than a roller board carry-on plus handbag.

The spinner (four turning wheels at the base) is best for easy walking and the handbag strap fits easily over the suitcase’s pop-up handle so you are basically hands free.

Ladies, you probably, strongly disagree but you don’t need to travel with six pairs of shoes. Pare down to a pair of walking/running shoes, a casual pair of sandals and a dressy pair of shoes/sandals.

The carry-ons out nowadays are roomier than you think and they look. There is room for a hanging bag which means you will already have the tops/dresses you like on hangers, ready to hang in the closet when you get there. If you carefully fit at least two tops inside each other they don’t wrinkle as much and you can fit six tops that way into the hanging bag.

Fit makeup (or shaving kit) and underwear on the bottom of the case between the wheel bars, shoes on either side with and then fold the hanging bag with its hangers on top. Really, try again. It does fit.

If not TSA approved, put liquids in the outside zipper compartment for easy access going through airports.  You should be TSA approved. If not, apply. You won’t have to take out liquids from your suitcase.

Don’t forget sunscreen. No matter where you’re going you will be outside sometime. Also, pack or wear a hat. Skin cancer is real.

spinner carry-on, hanging bag and cell-phone wallet on a strap. (J Jacobs photo)

spinner carry-on, hanging bag and cell-phone wallet on a strap. (J Jacobs photo)

Now, for the easy stuff you think you know but often forget. You likely have a smart phone with everyone’s info on it but have you left your itinerary with contact information with friends, neighbors and family back home?

I know people whose basements have flooded when the electricity went off and the sump pump stopped working and people who have had a tree topple on the roof from wind or heavy, icy snow.

Now the handbag/ briefcase know-how.

Make a copy of your driver’s license and or passport. Also make copies of your credit card info and phone numbers to call. Keep it in a zippered compartment attached to your handbag/briefcase, not in a separate wallet that could easily be slipped out.

Wallets are taken out of pockets and purses more often than you may think. The time spent doing this is well worth the time. Even if you don’t need any of that this time you might need it back home because holiday shopping season is also pick-pocket/purse season.

Two examples: In Prague, the American Embassy has a stolen-wallet desk and there are warning signs on public transportation. In Chicago, a friend just had her wallet stolen downtown.

It doesn’t hurt to be old-fashioned and wear a money pouch/belt. It used to be common for travels outside the US but it is still a way to safeguard foreign and US currency.

Or be new-fashioned. Look for a Bandolier or Goldno cell-phone wallet on a strap. I wear one whenever I go downtown Chicago. My buss and train pass fit as do a credit  and and couple of dollars.

And guys, you may think your back pockets are so tight a thief can’t access your wallet. Wrong. They are adept at bumping people in crowds and often work with an accomplice.

Because you’re smart and do only carry-ons you shouldn’t have to worry about what happens if your luggage is lost. But if you do check luggage through, put an extra pair of underwear/shirt and small make-up, sewing/ shaving kit into your handbag-briefcase.

 

If you have a tip to share, please put it in comments. Travel tips are welcome.

Have fun and travel wisely.

Jodie

 

 

Shoe boots made for traveling

Shoe boots ready by the door. (Photo by J Jacobs)

Shoe boots ready by the door. (Photo by J Jacobs)

Sometime a travel product is so good it should be mentioned on a travel site.

I admit I have bad feet. My high arch, wide foot, poor balance, bunions and hammer toes make it hard for me to find comfortable shoes and even boots.

But upon a recommendation I tried a pair of Arcopedico stlye L19 in black. Oh my. I’m not sure what is in the arch but I feel these shoe-boots were made with me in mind.

When I told a friend I was going to wear them downtown Chicago to cover an event, she said I was nuts to try something that I would not be able to change if it didn’t work out because I was an hour train ride from home.

Not only did they work just fine but for once I could forget what I had on my feet.

After checking on the product I found out that they are machine-washable even though they are water resistant. I also learned that this style is made of Lytech, a blend of Lycra and Polyurethane, that is a bio-degradable, vegan material unique to Arcopedico.

That info is fine but as someone who is always traveling I like that they are lightweight and pack well.

When I first tried them on I thought they looked too small, particularly with my wide foot. Maybe they expand but they fit fine. So I checked out the Arcopedico ® brand further. It features a Techno-Elastic upper section, an anatomic foot bed and a twin arch support system. Wow.

When I took a cruise to South America last spring, I went to a lecture in the spa about foot problems. The expert handed me a pair of arch supports to try which I liked a lot but lost on the plane home. These shoe-boots seem to have a similar arch support so now I have to look for more Arcopedico footwear.

Gues that shouldn’t be too hard because I learned they have been around since a Professor Elio Parodi created them back in 1966.

I will look for them next time in a store’s shoe department but I also found them on Zappos and Shoes.

 

Five fall getaway tips

A back road drive in Door County.

A back road drive in Door County.

The itch to getaway to a colorful scenic vista is upon us. The weather is showing signs of fall with warm days and cool nights and some trees in the neighborhood are beginning to show tinges of gold and orange. But before you throw a suitcase in the car and drive off there are a few tips that could up the fall color experience.

 

1.Don’t use your neighborhood color changes as the definitive guide. Colors in states or area of your state to the north and west may be in full fall color palette or just beginning to change south or east. In the US check fall foliage map or weather map for where the foliage is turning. Some states have color reports. Among the best in the Midwest is Wisconsin.

2.Make accommodation reservations ahead of time. You’re not alone when looking for a fall destination but to avoid bumper-to bumper traffic go during the week, not om the weekend.

3. Take advantage of local Visitors Bureaus to find the best place for what you want. . As an example, Door County in northeastern Wisconsin, and Traverse City in northern Michigan (below the Upper Peninsula) and Brown County (Bloomington and Nashville) in central Indiana keep tabs on what is available and know price points and type. The visitors centers’ websites also show where pets are welcome. Also stop at the Visitors Center for a map, brochures and suggestions because GPS will work some places but not all.

4. Because you are driving, not flying, throw those extra boots, hiking shoes, jackets, sun protector hats and sprays, water bottles, first-aid kits and backpacks into the car. Don’t be afraid to bring your own pillow for a good night’s sleep.

5. Don’t forget chargers for phones, ipads, cameras or whatever other electronics you take everywhere. Also check your accommodations before you leave, they already have enough chargers from previous visitors.

Enjoy!

Jodie Jacobs

 

Visit Great Smoky Mountains for fall color and terrific crafts

 

I love all parts of Tennessee but if you only have time for a color drive through one section you won’t go wrong choosing the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Great Smoky Mountain National Park offers more than 800 miles of well-maintained hiking trails and wonderful fall color. (Tennessee Tourism photo)

Great Smoky Mountain National Park offers more than 800 miles of well-maintained hiking trails and wonderful fall color. (Tennessee Tourism photo)

BTW if you see bear cubs, pull to the side to take photos because “bear jams” instead of ordinary fall color “peeps” make it hard for people merely driving through the park from Nashville to get to Ashevill, NC.

Put Sugarlands Visitors Center (above Gatlinburg) into your GPS to start the color drive. It’s a short drive south of Gatlinburg on US 441.

Ask there about road closures. You should be able to continue up to Clingman’s Dome for an amazing view and a fun picture op

At 5,048 feet you can stand with one foot in Tennessee and the other in North Carolina. The Tower is closed but the parking lot which also has great views is open.

After going back down to Gatlinburg, drive the eight-mile Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community loop on Glades and Buckhorn Roads.

The art in the studios complement the park’s natural wonders.

You are likely to return home with great photos and probably a well-turned bowl or gorgeous painting.

For more information call (865) 436-1200 or visit the park headquarters at 107 Park Headquarters Road Gatlinburg, TN 37738.

 

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