Travel: Preparing for Travel

Here is a great list of things to do in preparation for travel. I hope these guidelines help!

1. Talk to your doctor if you have an medical concerns and ask if you need immunizations. Fill your prescriptions so you have enough while you are gone. Check to see if you will need a vacation override.

2. Bring your health insurance information and travel insurance policy. I can’t stress enough what peace of mind travel insurance can be.

3. Provide family and emergency contacts with a copy of your itinerary including phone numbers, etc.

4. Call your bank and credit card companies so they know where charges can be coming from. Otherwise distant charges may look like fraud.

5. If you have pets, find a good caregiver so you don’t worry about them while you are gone.

6. If you will be traveling for a long time be sure to have someone check on your house, alarm the house and or keep lights on so it looks like someone is home. Stop mail and newspapers too.

7. Arrange for rides to and from the airport. If we have an early morning flight we stay the night in a Park, Sleep Fly hotel that keeps your car there for free for up to two weeks.

8. Get special luggage tags so you can spot your luggage in baggage claim.

9. Start putting clothes and shoes aside that you will want to pack ahead of time. Packing aides. I am in love with E-Bags, toiletries bags, shoe bags, messenger bags, travel purses etc. They help you stay organized and wrinkle free. Pack two extra collapsible bags for extras you are bringing home and one for dirty clothes.

10. Go online to check your seats on the plane. You can find your plane online and if economy comfort seats are available I highly encourage you to upgrade. It’s often as good as business class.
Check on seat guru! You can also check in for your flights 24 hours ahead of time and print your boarding passes. Also confirm flight times and how far ahead of time you will need to be at the airport.

11. Bring a book, kindle, ipad, tablet, cell phone, computer and camera. Downloading books and movies to watch on the plane is great. Don’t forget the chargers!!!

12. Check with your airlines what luggage size and weight restrictions they have for checked and carryons are.

13. If you are traveling out of the country don’t forget your birth certificate, passport and electrical converters.

14. We all pack our toiletries last yet we often forget some. Make a list to check off before you leave.

15. New RFID wallets keep your credit card numbers from being stolen. I use one all the time now.

16. Make sure to keep essentials in your carry on in case you lose your luggage. Remember the rule for liquids is that everything needs to fit in a quart size zip loc bag.

17. Don’t Over Pack Like I Do! Less is usually more.

18. Enjoy every moment of your trip. Things don’t always go as planned but you come home with the best stories.

*This blog post by Margie Dingfelder


Travel: Seattle

Hi Everyone! Lauren is back, and so am I!

The only place we traveled to recently is Seattle. I have been there before but this time we saw totally different things.

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We were lucky to dodge rain drops so I got some good photos. I love Seattle when it’s not raining! This time we stayed at the luxury boutique hotel called the Hotel Ballard. My college roommate lives in Ballard so we got to see her charming neighborhood. I highly recommend the hotel. It’s new and very beautiful. Ballard has great restaurants, shops, a beautiful garden and the locks where you watch boats go through them after changing water levels. You can also see salmon jumping there.

Our favorite place was the Chihuly Museum right next to the space needle which I also love. For those of you who don’t know who Chihuly is, he’s known for his Fabulous Glass structures! I had seen his traveling exhibit in San Francisco, his glass ceiling in the Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas and his work in Palm Desert. This is his Mecca though. The museum in Seattle has the ultimate collection inside and out. If you’ve never been there don’t miss it. Here are some photos of Seattle and some from the Chihuly museum.

What’s your favorite place to visit in Seattle?

*This blog post and pictures by Margie Dingfelder

Travel: Foothill House, Calistoga

This week we will be staying at the Foothill House located in Calistoga…Enjoy!

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The Sonoma and Napa wine country has fabulous B&B’s. Our favorite used to be Foothill House in Calistoga. There are many wonderful ones to choose from in Yountville north of Napa. You can walk to all the shops and fabulous restaurants. Spend your days checking out the terrific wineries especially off Silverado Trail. Get a wine map and discover great wineries. The famous restaurant The French Laundry is also in Yountville. St. Helena is a little further and quite expensive. The luxury places you read about in books are Meadowwood Resort and Auberge du Soleil. A warning they come with a big price tag whether you stay there or eat there. They are more like inns a bit bigger than bed and breakfasts.

Blog Post by Margie Dingfelder

Travel: Hotel Coronada San Diego

This week we will be staying at the beautiful Hotel Coronado…Enjoy!

Are you planning a family trip to San Diego, California? Here is a wonderful hotel that I would recommend. The historically famous Hotel Coronado is on Coronado Island and is a great wedding location and it has great beachfront cottages and villas some with kitchens, living room and dining area with gorgeous views. They have great restaurants with views as well. The Hotel also has a great children’s program. The beach itself is great but so are the pools. There are huge convention areas and a state of the art fitness center and Spa.
Have you stayed at Hotel Coronado?

Blog Post by Margie Dingfelder

Travel: MacArthur Place in Sonoma Valley

This week we will be staying at the MacArthur Place in the Sonoma Valley Wine Country! Enjoy!

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MacArthur Place is in the Sonoma Valley Wine Country only 4 blocks from historic, charming Sonoma square with other great restaurants, shops etc. My two favorite restaurants in the square are La Salette and The Girl and the Fig. It’s a luxurious Inn with 64 guest rooms and suites, fitness and fabulous spa. It is set amongst 7 acres of spectacular gardens, original sculpture, heated pool and whirlpool. The beautiful inn has its own wonderful restaurant called Saddles. It is a very classy place. Enjoy the great wineries in the Sonoma Valley.
Please let me know if you go what you think.

Blog Post by Margie Dingfelder

Travel: The Tenaya Lodge/Ahwahee Hotel

Welcome back! This week we will be visiting the Tenaya Lodge!

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If you are going to visit Yosemite and don’t want to camp, there are two great hotel alternatives. The Ahwahnee is inside the park and The Tenaya Lodge is about 40 minutes away in Fish Camp. They are both luxurious. Nature lovers who hike, bike, love rock climbing, swim, skating, dining etc. will be in heaven. The views of Yosemite Falls, Half Dome, and Glacier Point will take your breath away. There is transportation all over the Valley Floor. There are other hotels like the Wawona Hotel and the Yosemite Lodge but they are far less luxurious and cheaper. Finding a hotel room is not easy. They are booked often year around. Book far ahead of time and let me know how you liked it. Enjoy!

*Blog Post by Margie Dingfelder

Travel: Monterey Plaza Hotel

This week we will be staying at the Monterey Plaza Hotel! I hope you enjoy!

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The Monterey Plaza Hotel has got to be at the top of my list of favorites. It is a fantastic first class hotel with an amazing location overlooking the ocean. It is in walking distance of the beach, where you can rent kayaks, shop at Cannery Row, eat at great restaurants and best of all it is in walking distance to the famous Monterey Bay Aquarium. The hotel has new spa and fitness facilities and their restaurant called Schooners is great. They also have a bar/lounge with live music on the weekends. My advice is if you are going to stay there splurge on a spacious ocean view room with a balcony. From the balcony you can see and hear sea lions and otters. I love otters so I got my husband to take a kayak so I could take photos of the otters up close. You are not allowed to get too close though to my chagrin. Be sure to rent a car and venture into Carmel and the 17 mile drive. If you have more time go a bit past Carmel to Point Lobos State Park. It’s all gorgeous! The best weather months to go is September and October. Other months can be foggy and cold.
If you go please let me know how you liked it.

Travel: Nepal

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This week will be a bit different, as I want to dedicate this post to the people of Nepal who have just experienced one of the biggest earthquakes the world has ever seen. The people of Nepal need our help. Whether its prayer or a few dollars every little bit will help. Yahoo and the American Red Cross have set up a site where you can donate here. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.