Archive for May, 2009

CONTEST: We want your family vacation stories!

travel contest logo

It’s that time again. Planning for this summer’s getaway brings back memories of vacations past. The memorable moments weren’t always the best parts of the vacation, but they usually make the best stories.

We want those stories. And we have prizes.

Ever slept on a luggage carousel? Do you think you have the best vacation from hell story?
How about a family roadtrip saga that would put the Griswolds’ expeditions to shame?
A summer camp story you’ve repressed for 20 years (or that your kids wish you would stop repeating)?
A wild and crazy weekend in Vegas, Miami, Cancun or where the names still need disguising to protect the guilty?
Or maybe a strangers in a strange land story from travels abroad (Well, I thought they would cook the octopus before they brought it to the table….)

June 1 marks the starting line for our summer vacation story contest. Every two weeks, we’ll focus on a different category of vacation memories. You share your stories. We’ll pick three and during the …

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Is a Dr. Beach destination on your list for vacation?

School is out for summer, and it’s time for Atlantans to pack their bags and head to the beach. But where do you go for your fill of sun, sand and surf? An array of beautiful beaches along the Atlantic and Gulf are within easy reach for Georgians. Many other shores are just a short flight away.

Every year around this time, Stephen P. Leatherman, a.k.a. Dr. Beach, releases his list of America’s Best Beaches to help narrow down the best destinations. Leatherman, the Director of Florida International University’s Laboratory for Coastal Research, evaluates water and sand quality, well as safety, facilities, environmental management and dozens of other criteria to hone his list.

Hawaiian beaches tend to reign supreme on Dr. Beach’s annual lists. This year is no different, as the Hanalei Beach on Kauai is ranked number one in the U.S. for 2009.

But Southern beaches typically favor well with Leatherman too. The Ocracoke Lifeguard Beach on Ocracoke Island, NC garnered the …

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Are you concerned about whole-body imaging machines at airports?

airport-security

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CNN reported that there is a growing concern about the TSA’s use of whole-body imaging machines at the nation’s airports. In fact, privacy advocates from the Electronic Privacy Information Center will lead a national campaign to educate the flying public and try to get regulations passed on these airport security machines.

The Transportation Security Administration stands by the whole-body imaging machines and says they are confident in their detection abilities. Furthermore, TSA officials claim that passengers would prefer to go through the body imaging machines over being physically patted down by a TSA official. They also have implemented policies and procedures to protect a passenger’s privacy, such as not allowing cameras or cell phones in the area where the body imaging machine is used, and by not storing images taken of passengers.

But critics are not convinced and want more safeguards put into place to protect the privacy of passengers who go through …

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Trek to World Granite Capital makes for a solid day trip

For the first time in months, we recently had a day free from sports activities and other engagements. Though we had tickets to an event in the evening, the world – or at least that part within a short drive of Atlanta – was ours for the day.

So we piled the kids in the car and drove to the middle of nowhere to look at six slabs of granite.  About 90 minutes northeast of our metro ‘burb, lies Elbert County, Ga. – home to the Georgia Guidestones.  From the road, these 16-foot upended markers might look a bit like a smaller version of Stonehenge, but ancient ruins they are not. The slabs were placed on a farm at the top of a hill in 1980 as “guidestones to an age of reason” by a mysterious benefactor known only by the pseudonym, R.C. Christian.

Some may take to heart the stones’ ten points of advice for survivors of a post-apocalyptic world, carved in English, Russian, Hebrew, Hindi, Arabic, Swahili, Chinese and Spanish.  Others may take them for a load of …

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Graduates with wanderlust can still see the world during recession

May, the graduation month, is in full swing. While dismal jobs news is not exactly the present university grads were hoping for, it doesn’t mean they have to crawl back home to Mom and Dad’s. Graduates with wanderlust can actually treat themselves to travel adventures and a paycheck in this recession if they’re willing to seek employment opportunities abroad.

 

The summer after college graduation is traditionally a prime time for American students to really travel. During college, summers are often used for career-boosting internships or earning spending money for the next year. Seeing the world – or a slice of it far from home – after graduation has long been considered the reward for four years of hard work. It’s also that last bit of freedom before the hard slog of building a career, buying a house, settling down or whatever else adults do for the rest of their lives.

 

Like virtually every student who read Kerouac’s On the Road, I always planned to travel …

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Would you let your pet fly on Pet Airways?

pet carrier airplane

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Over the years, there have been tragic stories about people’s beloved pets dying while flying on a commercial airline. Whether it’s a question of temperature or improper handling, pets have lost their lives and owners have been left distraught. Now, Pet Airways is stepping forward, claiming to offer a superior, safer way for your pets to travel by plane.

You can read the details on their Web site about how the process works, but basically, you drop off your pet in the Pet Airways lounge area at least 2 hours prior to the flight. Your pet will receive a potty break before being boarded onto the plane by a Pet Attendant. These attendants make sure the pet is safe and secure in their carrier by doing rounds ever 15 minutes. When the plane lands, the pet attendant removes the pet from the plane, gives them another potty break, and then the pet is made available to their owner at the pet lounge area.

Introductory prices are pretty comparable to what the commercial …

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Have you taken a southern bourbon, whiskey or wine tour?

Over the weekend, many Atlantans tuned in to watch the annual Run for the Roses at the Kentucky Derby. The Derby conjures iconic images of horses hurtling out of the starting gate, ladies donning huge hats and gentlemen sipping mint juleps out of silver cups.

 

Like the Derby, the state of Kentucky itself is known for three big things: horses, bluegrass and bourbon (the star ingredient in the South’s beloved julep). For visitors to the Bluegrass State, a tour of one of Kentucky’s bourbon distilleries can be as intoxicating as a wine tour through Napa Valley, Calif. or single malt tour through Scotland.

 

Now that the Derby crowds have headed home, it’s a great time to get a taste of all that the beautiful Kentucky countryside has to offer. Several major distilleries south and east of Louisville offer tours and tastings along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.  East of Louisville in the state capital of Frankfort, you’ll find Buffalo Trace Distillery. A bit further south, …

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Do you travel for music festivals?

bonnaroo festival

AP Photo/Mark Humphrey

This week, we are diving into the wild and wonderful world of music festivals. From Bonnaroo to Coachella, music lovers can get their groove on in a wide variety of settings.

There are many music festivals to choose from in the Southeast, and we are highlighting the family-friendly music festivals that you can drive to for a quick getaway.

Do you travel for music festivals? How far have you traveled to catch some of your favorite music acts? What’s your best memory of a music festival?

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