Archive for the ‘ travel ’ Category

Tip-Top Laptop

Business travelers have laptops. Business travelers rely on those laptops to keep them connected with their lives. The whole idea of the laptop becoming dysfunctional during a trip can strike fear into the most fearless of flyers. So, here are some tips on keeping your laptop in tip-top shape.

  1. happy-laptopDon’t put it on your lap. I know, weird right? It is called a “lap” top for goodness sake. However, your laptop will be better off on a smooth surface, allowing for that ever-important airflow.
  2. Don’t leave it plugged in at all times. Let’s say you have a stint of non-travel, but you are so accustomed to plugging in while not traveling that suddenly your laptop is never unplugged. Not ideal. Unplug it a few times each week. Think of it as exercise for your battery.
  3. Power down a few times a week. Though it is tempting to keep your laptop on, it is a good idea to shut it down.  Just like you, your laptop needs some downtime.
  4. While traveling, keep your laptop with you at all times. I know you know this, but we have all been in situations where we are just going to “leave it there for a second to go get a latte.” Don’t. Take it with you.
  5. If you have sensitive data on your laptop, encrypt it. For an on-the-go solution, check out TrueCrypt.
  6. Back up your data. You know this too, but do you do it? Buy an external hard drive and back it up once a week.
  7. No updating or installing while traveling. Sometimes those updates and installations do not go as predicted. Save such activities for when you have time to deal with any bugs that may come your way.

If you have any other awesome happy laptop hints, please do share them with me on my Facebook Page!!!


Happy Fly Year

The Flight Forecast is out via The Wall Street Journal (12/27/12) and here is what travelers can expect for the coming year.

Trusted Traveler: The Transportation Security Administration, TSA, is looking to expand its list of “trusted travelers.” A background check and finger print can land you in the lane where all clothing stays on and everything stays in your bags, including your laptop. For $100 you get a five-year enrollment. It is a lengthy form, but may be well worth the fill out time for frequent flyers. To find out if you are eligible, check out this site.

Wi-Fi Fly By: More and more airlines will be adding in Wi-Fi so you can fly the friendly skies and surf your social media sites (ahem! Like this one ) at the same time.

Get Out Your Wallets: Hey tall people, be ready to spend extra money if you are looking for extra-legroom. Hey late people, if you are not going to make the flight you may wish to call ahead or you could risk a no-show fee.Examining X-Rays: Are those X-ray machines really safe or are they emitting unwanted radiation into your cute self? The National Academy of Sciences will be conducting a study this year. In the mean time, think positive and non-radiating thoughts.

Profits Take Off (Sort Of): 2013 is looking profitable for the airline industry. Though not brag-worthy profits, they are profits none-the-less.

Fly the Sleepy Skies: United, Delta and American will be adding beds on cross-country domestic flights.

dreamlinerHot Model: Making its entrance into the skies this year is the 787 Dreamliner, according to The Wall Street Journal it is “built with composite materials rather than aluminum, allowing more-comfortable cabin pressure and slightly higher onboard humidity.” Not sure if this makes it “dreamier,” but perhaps I will get to find out if I fly to Tokyo or London this year.

New Look, New Logo: American is updating its look with paint. The unpainted silver birds made sense as the paint added hundreds of pounds of weight; the new composite material planes, however, require paint. Recently a plain plane with an all-gray tail and no logo was seen on the runway and delivered to American. Perhaps the new look and logo will be seen on this plane first and will soon make its fashion debut.

Also: Check out this report on The Today Show.

Happy Traveling to all for 2013!

*Thank you to Composites Today for the image!

More Haunted Hotels

Last year we peeked in on hotels that have been deemed haunted! This year I thought I’d scare up a few more to share with you – will you book with any of them? I dare you ; )

The Hotel Alex Johnson is located in Rapid City, South Dakota and has a legendary history for being haunted. It is surrounded by the Black Hills, so named by the Lakota, due to the hills’ dark appearance from a distance. But it is the “Lady in White” that is the most notorious haunter of this hotel. It is said she jumped out of the window to her death, from room 812, however those that know her best called it foul play. Either way, she hangs out there to this day.

Dalhousie Castle in Edinburgh is an upscale luxury hotel and spa. It is said that Sir Alexander Ramsay roams about; he was starved to death in 1342 in Hermitage Castle by William Douglas. Also, the ghost of Lady Catherine, known as the ‘Grey Lady’, has been seen around the turrets and in the dungeon of the castle.

Hotel Galvez in Galveston, Texas is known for the ghost of a young woman which walks the halls of the fifth floor. It is said that she is distraught over the loss of her fiancé, who perished at sea. Room #500 would be your best bet for meeting up with her, though it has been noted by staff and guests that she is a rather active spirit on the entire 5th floor.

Hotel Burchianti is located in Florence, Italy. If you check into the Fresco Room, you may get a bit more than you bargained for, there are multiple reports of sightings of a pink, translucent figure. As well there have been sightings of a young girl giggling in the halls, an early morning maid that travels from room to room and an elderly woman sitting in a chair knitting. Perhaps the most distressing reports are by those that were awakened in the middle of the night with the feeling that someone was pressing on their chest and they were unable to breathe!

Langham Hotel located in London has guests seeing a man in military dress, presumed to be that of a German Prince, standing by the window on the fourth floor. It is said the Prince jumped from the window. But this is not all, there are several more; a doctor who murdered his wife, then killed himself while on honeymoon, a wounded man who hangs out in the hallways, a footman in powdered wig, a ghost that has been reported as shaking and tipping guests from the bed in room 333 (strangely, these reports only seem to come around in October), even Napolean III who likes to hang out in the basement.

Hawthorne Hotel in Salem, Massachusetts has a reporting of  “phantom hands in Room 325 and the spectral woman on the sixth floor.” The General Manager denies it, saying that even TAPS (The Atlantic Paranormal Society and stars of Ghost Hunters) investigated and didn’t find anything. If you ever go, let me know if you experience a haunting!

Bourbon Orleans in the French Quarter of New Orleans has no issues with sharing their ghost stories. They talk about the Confederate soldier, children and nuns, and the haunted Orleans Ballroom at their site.

Scary hotels aside, I am happy to help you find the rooms you need for you next meeting, be them haunted or not. Call me at 636-797-3405!

*Thanks to HotelChatter for the image!

Business Travel Minus the Hassle

Hear ye, hear ye! Seasoned or newbie business travelers alike! Here are some hints and tips for achieving a trek with less hassle:

Know the charges: Each airline has put forth its own twist on fees for luggage, meals, extra legroom and the like. Check out this page to find out how much you may be adding on to your fare.

Avoid luggage charges: Say goodbye to your trusty huge roller bag and divide that baggage bounty up between two smaller bags. One carry-on that will fit all your essentials and fit under the airline seat, along with a more flexible bag that will fit in the overhead bin.

Revolve your wardrobe around one color: For men, pack one color pants and jacket, then bring along different colored shirts and ties. For women, think mix and match pant, skirt, and jacket/sweater. Bring along easy-to-pack camisole tops in different colors and interesting, if not bold, jewelry to achieve varied looks. If you need to pack exercise gear, get a pair of the new lightweight workout shoes. Exercise in your undies (stay in your room for this one) with this 20 minute routine.

In your carry-on, make sure you have designated areas for your electronics, cords, notebooks, reading materials, pens, etc. This will help you to know exactly where to reach for what you need while in flight. Also, invest in smaller pouches for protecting anything that may get lost at the bottom of your bag:  vitamins, makeup, glasses, etc.

International travelers, check out Countryplug and know ahead of time the type of adapter you will need for wherever your travels take you. Make sure to have exactly what you need to recharge your electronics! Not taking this important step ahead of time is sure to create many a headache for you.

Security lines have become the bane of travel! Before you step up to the closest line, check out the other lines. Look for lines filled with mainly business travelers and less with families. Steer clear of anyone with strangely shaped baggage (think musicians, snowboarders, golfers).

Stay aware! Being aware of your surroundings is a must. When traveling you may not be as aware, you are focused on just getting there. But being aware of where you are at any given point during your travels can make a world of difference when it comes to leaving things behind or being a victim of crime. Make it a point to check in with yourself here and there.

Seasoned business travelers do not party hardy, sleep little, and stray so far from their routine that they return exhausted. Stick to a schedule, eat and drink healthy, sleep, keep up on your emails, stay connected, come back just as sane as you left.

Have safe travels. Be sure to share with me your savvy travel advice on my Facebook page!

Food Trends – Some Happened, Some Did Not?

I came across an article in Huffington Post from this past January talking about food trends in 2012. I travel to plenty of places during a given year and I have to say that I have yet to see many of these come to pass.  You may want to check out all 16 of the predicted trends. Here are the ones that caught my attention:

The first food prediction claims that mini gourmet donuts were to be the next “cupcake.” Donuts with flavors such as Crème Brulee and Chai Latte were to take over the gourmet cupcake scene. In my neck of the woods there are plenty of cupcake places; Jilly’s, The Cup, and Sweet Art come to mind. I have yet to come across any Gourmet Donuts places. So, I decided to see if it had hit in any other areas. I did find a spattering; of these, I wouldn’t mind seeing Utah’s Beyond Glaze come to my town. This next place may have good donuts, but its name is rather unfortunate: Gourdough’s. Alas, it seems the gourmet donut has yet to see its heyday. I say recycle this prediction for 2013.

Another trend prediction was Posh Pork Scratchings. I am in no hurry to find out any more. (But if you must, check out this site.)

Edible dirt. Yes, edible dirt. This was predicted by a food blogger named Andre Dang, who says the following, “Using dried, dirt-like infusions of pine needles, douglas fir and eucalyptus to flavor sauces and broths, adding an earthy taste to our dinner.” I am sure Andre Dang is a fine food blogger; in fact one look at his blog woke up my taste buds a bit. Edible dirt, however…..I’m thinking this one should pass by the way-side.

Baguettes to go is apparently a hit in France, soon to hit the UK, have not seen it in the USA. These are 24-hour baguette dispensers, you put some “dough” in the machine and out comes bread. This one, well, I like it. Why not? Though I am thinking a 24-hour Platform Shoe Dispensers may be a much bigger hit (and they should include a frequent buyer program).

Pie-Pops were to follow up Cake-Pops. As a dessert lover, this one should definitely be taken seriously. Recycle this one for 2013 as well.

Molecular Cooking or Molecular Gastronomy is where Science Class meets HomeEc. This is a thing! There are blogs, online communities, restaurants, even at home kits all dedicated to Bunsen burner bakeries and petri dish dining.  I have yet to try it, but must say that the food looks like something Chef Spock may cook up.

With that I say, “Dine Well and Prosper!” Share your food thoughts with me on Facebook!


*Thank you to Ghandoora’s Blogspot for the image!

Take It With You Tech

Did you know that the technology in your smart phone used to fit in a computer the size of a warehouse? Eventually they were about the size of a foot long sandwich? Now they are nice and compact and can be carried easily in pockets and purses.

Check out these technologies that are small enough to fit in your carry-on bag, but do not compromise in functionality:

Brookstone’s Virtual Key Board allows your typing to tag along in a container the size of a key chain. Utilizing Bluetooth®, laser technology and a USB cord for easy recharging, this is the perfect way to take notes, write blogs or update files on your tablet or smartphone.

Wifi/USB Cufflinks, also by Brookstone, provides for the dual need of wifi on the go and a 2GB USB Flash Drive for storing documents. All of this is well and good, but a price cannot be placed on the cool secret agent factor!

HDMI Pocket Projector is another Brookstone offering (Brookstone may need to pay me a commission). This is an awesome way to take your presentations on the go! Weighing in at only ½ pound, a single charge is good for 2 hours, and the device will connect to your iPhone, tablet, laptop, camera and more!

MyKey Flashdrive is another data storage option, especially if the $250 cufflink option above is a bit more than you wish to spend (and you are good on the wifi front). It’s small, compact, fits on a key chain, holds 4GB of data and there is no cap to keep track of.

Mini Surge Protector with USB Charger will alleviate the need to search your hotel room for numerous places to plug in. The charger includes three AC and 2 USB outlets, plus peace of mind surge protection.

ComboSaver® Combination Portable Notebook Lock will keep your notebook safe from theft. Priced at less than $25 this is practically a must have item!

Which gadgets do you carry along with you when you travel? Share with me on Facebook!

*Thank you to Brookstone for the image!

Festivals for Foodies

Food is included at most, if not all festivals! But some festivals are created around food. Here are some interesting festivals about the nation that you may want to check out:

  • National Cherry Festival is celebrated at Traverse City, Michigan. It will be here before you know it, so head on over soon (July 7 – 14). There is plenty of music, an air show and tons of other entertainment lined up for the week. Oh, there is also an app for that.
  • Slugburger Festival is also coming up, so book your tickets and head on over to Corinth, Mississippi (July 7 – 9). What’s that? What’s a Slugburger? Thankfully, it is not made from slugs, instead it is a patty made from beef or pork and soybean grits, then deep fried, served on a bun with mustard, pickles, and an onion ring. Wow! Hold me back!
  • Yarmouth Clam Festival (July 20 – 22) in Maine features clams, but also many other foods! As well, there are plenty of other activities, including a craft and art show, parades, kayak races and more.
  • Gilroy Garlic Festival (July 27 – 29) in California will be the best place to be if you are looking to steer clear of vampires (lol!). There are recipe contests and cookoffs, a Miss Gilroy contest, music for every taste and garlic goodies galore. Take a look at who thinks they can cook with garlic with videos posted to their Facebook Fan Page!

Watermelon lovers will gather (August 23 – 25) in Winterville, North Carolina for the Watermelon Festival. Talented folks can sign up for a chance to be a Watermelon Idol. Expect to see some beautifully carved watermelons, enjoy plenty of music and plenty of fun!

If you could have a festival around any food, what would it be? Cheesecake, sardines, oranges? Tell me on my Facebook Page!

*Image found at the Watermelon Fest Photo Gallery.