Travel tip of the week

Time to check that passport expiration date. Don’t have a passport? Well you’d better get one if you’re going to Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean. You see a new law now requires a valid passport for re-entry for U.S. citizens. Due to the crush of requests (less than 20% of us had passports at the time), the Bush Administration had to hold off enforcement to allow summer travelers to get to and from their vacation destinations. That is ending on Monday, Oct. 1st.

USA Today has a great article with tips on getting a passport or renewing one you already possess. You should definitely check it out.

Great travel accessory

Here’s something cool for those family trips where you go the extra mile and rent a cabin or room with a kitchen. You know you’ll be grocery shopping, but you don’t want all those pesky plastic bags. ChicoBags are $5 each on They are made of sturdy nylon and shaped like your regular grocery store plastic bag. They even come with a pouch into which they can be folded and stored. Earth friendly and packable, brilliant!

What do you look for in a boutique hotel?

Ever since Starwood rolled out the W Hotels I have been a huge fan of the boutique revolution. I love high style, a great bar, and rooms with a simple yet elegant feel. When I bought my first home I found myself trying to recreate the experience. What I’ve since learned is that you really can live the brand. W Hotels online store allows you to take home all the things you love about the hotel right down to the Havaianas. You can even buy the bed!

Where shall I go?

October is just around the corner, so I’m thinking why not celebrate with a trip to one of many Oktoberfests across the nation?

Can’t get the time off? How about a brewery tour right in your own backyard? Here in San Francisco you can tour our famous Anchor Steam Brewery and get a history lesson along with your brew.

Double duty – key holder

I carry a pretty deep purse, so I’m often left standing in front of my hotel room fumbling to the very bottom to find my door key. A solution? Buy a double sided business card holder like this one from Kenneth Cole and keep your door card in the windowed compartment. It’s a lot easier than emptying out your entire laptop bag or purse.

Great travel accessory

Have you ever wanted to take your iPod to the beach, but stopped because you feared water and sand damage? Well no more. The Ego waterproof soundcase turns your iPod into a floating boombox. It’s shatterproof, waterproof and transparent so you can still see your video screen. It even has a click wheel membrane that allows you to operate your iPod without ever having to remove it.

Your list

There have been a lot of books recently discussing the places you must see before you die. My friend Franki over at Life in Venti Cup has recently posted her short list of places she must travel to before departing this earth. Even Travel & Leisure has published their “super travel agents” dream trips. I’m curious to hear what’s on your lists.

Here are some trips I long to take:

– Sail down the Nile in a felucca
– Drive the Amalfi Coast (in a convertible of course!)
– Take the Orient Express from Paris to Istanbul
– Walk in Volcanos State Park on Hawaii’s Big Island
– Stay in an overwater hut in Bora Bora, Seychelles or Maldives
– Travel to Tallinn, Estonia
– Hike or bike in Bryce Canyon, see Zion and Arches National Parks
– Sail up the Dalmatian Coast
– Tour the walled city of Dubrovnik on the Adriatic Sea

Where shall I go?

The cooler Fall months are the perfect time to head South. Savannah, Georgia is one of my favorite cities. The center of the city is a dedicated historic district. The Historic Savannah Foundation fought to preserve the area’s character and many houses have since been renovated.

Set up on a grid pattern Savannah is the perfect walking city. You come upon square after square (24 in all!) with lovely gardens or public parks. There are sculptures, museums and hotels aplenty. There are also nightly ghost tours for the stout of heart.