With My Dog as My Co-Pilot

When I decided to quit my job and make my first cross-country trip, I could picture it perfectly: a mix of taking in beautiful mountain and water scenery, visiting monuments and museums, consuming unhealthy and fresh food alike, hiking through our national parks and walking through new cities. Transportation would be in my four-door sedan and accommodations in rented homes and motels. And right there, riding shotgun beside me, would be Reuban, my chocolate lab. This was so easy for …

Road Trips the Right Way

I love road trips. I’ve been crazy about them ever since the days when my parents loaded my two sisters and me into the Pontiac station wagon and went off to visit relatives or take a family vacation. On Sundays we would go for long family drives, and I always secretly wished my dad would aim the car toward the unknown and we’d be off on an unexpected adventure. Flying will never hold the anticipation and joy the highway does …

Cruise Tips: Keys to Smooth Sailing

I have 10 cruises under my belt – enough so that I’ve developed a protocol that helps me start enjoying myself as soon as I’m on board. Here’s what I do. I always bring a carry-on. That huge bag I packed might not be delivered to my room for hours (and I know it’ll have to be ready to go again the night before the cruise ends). In a carry-on, I’ll have the things I want to use immediately: swimsuit, …

Luxury Travel: To Spree or Not to Spree

Sometimes we want to indulge on a special vacation. We read “Zen-like ambience.” How peaceful. “Oasis.” Ah, yes. “Holistic therapy for body, mind and spirit.” How rejuvenating. But how do those eat-your-heart-out amenities really stack up? Couples massage? A butler-drawn bubble bath strewed with rose petals? An elegant seaside dinner served at a table right in the sand? Some luxuries are sure to please, and others … not so much. As a travel-show host I’ve been treated to just about every form of …

Beach-Bound? How to Pack a Cooler So Food Stays Safe

Packing up the car for a beach or lake vacation? Keep food safe by making sure  your cooler stays cold enough during the drive. The key is keeping food below 40 degrees F. so that bacteria can’t grow, say the food safety experts at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Follow their handy cooler checklist and you’ll truly be able to chill out: Use plenty of ice or frozen gel packs; have one insulated cooler for raw meat, poultry and seafood, …

What Is a ‘Real’ Vacation?

This would seem to be an easy question, but I think many of us would define “vacation” differently. For some it’s simply days off - not being at work. For others a true vacation means getting away – traveling – to someplace different than home. I’ve encountered many folks who regularly do not take any vacation. Workers accrue unused vacation days, their firms do not let them roll them over to the next year, and they just let them expire. I …