Travel tip of the week

Hoarding those frequent flier miles? Well, it’s time to stop. I’ve noticed a trend by airlines to change their frequent flier programs. I’ve gotten a couple of messages recently indicating that my frequent flier miles would start to “expire” if I didn’t fly their airline within a certain period of time. Now Delta has added a caveat to their mileage agreement that says in effect that a frequent flier seat will not be available on all Delta flights. This is a policy change, and one that’s being done quietly. If not for the sharp eyes of Joe Brancatelli over at USAToday.com this might have escaped the public.

My advice, start planning to use those frequent flier miles.

Double duty – website

Did you realize that you can not only use an airline’s website tracking to be sure your flight is on time, but also to track the progress of your connecting flights? Most people are so worried about their outbound flight that they never check their connections. Individual airline websites or flightstats.com will allow you see if your connecting flight has been delayed or cancelled because of weather or other reasons elsewhere in the country. No more surprises when you arrive at Chicago O’Hare, Dallas or Denver to catch that next flight.

Great travel accessory

I won’t get on a plane without my iPod. If you too are addicted to music you should check out Apple’s iPod shuffles. They’ve recently expanded the range of colors available. At about the size of a quarter, you can clip them on just about anywhere. Each shuffle holds 1 gigabyte or about 240 songs. That’s enough to keep you buys for most flights. You can even do some good with your purchase. Chose the RED special edition iPod shuffle and a portion of the proceeds goes to benefit the Global Fund to Fight AIDS. The (Product) Red campaign has raised $39.5 million already to fight AIDS.

Things that are always in my carry on bag

These days you’re down to fewer and smaller carry on bags. I had to sacrifice my cosmetic bag to checked luggage after TSA declared no bottles larger than 3 oz. on board the plane. I now have to strategize what is going on the plane with me carefully. Here’s what I always pack:

– Magazines: At least 2 to keep me occupied if there’s no in-flight movie

– Water and a snack: I need to stay hydrated and these days often don’t get fed by the airline

– My jewelery: I just don’t trust this to anyone, if I’m not wearing it, I’m carrying it on

– Camera: Or anything breakable for that matter

– My iPod: With a special mix for my flight. It cuts down on noise and chatty seatmates.

– A cashmere wrap or sweater: I’m always cold on planes, cashmere is warm, thin and much softer than airline blankets

What’s in your carry on bag?

Where shall I go?

I apologize for the late post. I have to admit I’ve been wracking my brain all day for where to send you. The truth is, it was such a gorgeous day here in Northern California that I really want to send you to San Francisco. That’s right, my hometown, the City by the Bay as Journey would say. The weather in October and November here is usually stellar, but this year it’s a cut above. The forecast this week has temperatures in the 80s. You see we’re having an El Nino year, which means you don’t want to be here between December and February (rain, rain and more rain). However, the Fall (our Summer) is absolutely beautiful. Crisp blue skies, temperate weather, and lots and lots of outdoor cafes where you can hang out and people watch. Add the cable cars and you have heaven on earth. You can see why we all move here, right?

Travel tip of the week

Have you ever gotten yourself lost in a strange city and wondered, “Who should I ask for directions?”. I have and I discovered a little trick that really works. When you check out the people around you, see who is looking up. It’s a truism that in tourist cities (like my own beloved San Francisco), only tourists look up. Locals are looking straight ahead. Those are the people you want to stop and ask for help.

Double duty – dry cleaning bags

If you’re packing for a business trip and don’t have time to iron or steam your suits when you arrive, pack a plastic drycleaning bag around them in your luggage. The slipperiness of the plastic will allow your clothes to move and shift in your suitcase without creating wrinkles. It’s weird, but it works!

Great travel accessory

For years now I’ve been a skittish flyer. I’ve also been a huge fan of Salon.com’s Ask the Pilot column. Patrick Smith (a.k.a. the Pilot), has a no nonsense way of addressing even the most ridiculous questions without belitting his readers. He’s collected his musings into a book Ask the Pilot. Now you too can share his wisdom. Pick up a copy from Amazon.com or at your favorite airport bookstore. It’s bound to be a gripping read.

For a peek at my own Ask the Pilot moment, click here.

Get Wired

Going to be in L.A. on business or pleasure any time soon? Why not stop in at the Wired LivingHome. It’s a prefab domicile designed by architect, Ray Kappe. Wired spent $4 million dollars to make this home green and give it all the amentities. It even sports a low voltage car, Beamer of course. Tours are taking place from October 27th through November 11th. Proceeds from ticket sales will benefit Global Green USA.

Where shall I go?


How about a cozy little East Coast B&B? Overlooking the harbor, this gorgeous inn is just a short walk from downtown. It has a full wraparound porch so you can enjoy breakfast or wine and cheese outside on sunny days. The backyard also has a Zen garden if you just want to contemplate or chill out. Interested in booking a weekend? Drop me a message. You’ll be enjoying a hearty bowl of fresh clam chowder and watch the leaves turn in no time.