Cheap Travel Fixes for Winter Doldrums

Groundhog Day has come and gone. Winter’s still here. You’re paying holiday bills. Here are a few inexpensive ideas to keep you going until spring. Host a travel movie night The best way to save money is to stay home. How do you indulge your wanderlust from your living room? Rent a movie that transports you somewhere else. Invite a few friends and enjoy dinner and wine inspired by the movie’s locale. Here are some of my favorites. Research your …

There’s a Good Reason April in Paris Spells Romance

As we just start to hit the depths of winter in most parts of the United States, I long for spring. I am sure many of you have heard that the best time to go to Paris is in April. The recent AARP Romantic Getaways Survey shows springtime (35 percent) is the most anticipated season for romantic travel, and 30 percent of those romancers want to go to Europe, specifically France (13 percent). The top two activities romantic travelers engage …

Away From Home for the Holidays

I looked out at the setting sun, and twisted the ring Pop Pop gave me, the one I always wear on my right hand. I forgot the candles. I cannot believe I forgot the candles. It was the first night of Hanukkah, and I had failed. I was without candles, matches and a menorah. But more importantly, I was without my family and friends. I felt fortunate to be traveling in Thailand, where I’m studying for the year (so very …

Fa La La or Fraud? Sneakiest Holiday Scams

The toppers to scams that prey on holiday shoppers: Watch out for these sneaky seasonal ploys that continue to prove their success at getting a quick buck or sneaking malware onto devices for longer-lasting fraud. Bogus Charities The season of giving is a peak time for taking. Top cons aimed at older donors allege help for police, firefighters, veterans and children, so be on guard for phone calls with heartstring-pulling scripts. Also beware of sound-alike organizations of well-recognized legitimate charities, such as …

Blessings Near and Far: A Lesson in Honoring Elders

We arrived with jasmine garlands and two rosettes folded out of Thai baht. We slipped off our sandals and felt the cool, smooth tiles beneath us as we walked toward a woman sitting on her front porch. The woman was my friend Fon’s 90-year-old great grandmother, Chid. Fon had invited us – my friend Jess, my boyfriend Joe and me – to go to the beach, a few hours south of Bangkok. But first, she asked, could we stop to …

I’m Celebrating With a Vacation This Summer, and It Turns Out I’m Not Alone

I have to admit I am one of those people who never uses all my vacation time each year. I feel like work will pile up when I’m gone, and I’ll be more frazzled on my return than before I left. I’m not alone in leaving my vacation time on the table, either. The average worker in the U.S. gets 13 days of paid vacation a year, but only 57 percent of Americans use it all. But this past June, I …