Archive for February, 2010

Is it too expensive to change travel plans when you’re sick?

Nothing drives home the “communicable” part of communicable diseases like traveling with hundreds of strangers in a confined space. All it takes is one person to walk onto your airplane looking like a “before” shot in a NyQuil advert to make you wish you could deplane immediately.

Most cruise veterans know if you confine thousands of people to a ship for a few days, you’ll find an illness can spread like wildfire. Just this week, more than 350 passengers and crew on board the Celebrity Mercury cruise ship fell victim to a bout of upset stomachs, vomiting and diarrhea. They are responding to medical treatment, and the cruise line is conducting “enhanced cleaning” to prevent the illness from spreading further. At this point, officials do not know what sparked the outbreak.

I have never knowingly traveled while I was ill. I have had the good fortune to avoid nighttime, sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, stuffy-head, fever, need-more-rest symptoms before or …

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Motel chic hits the beach

Beachfront motels had to have been THE place to be for the average traveler in their heyday of the 1950s and 1960s. While many of the independently-owned “motor courts” went gently into the good night of larger chain hotels years ago, the ghosts of more than a few still dot the nation’s landscape.

It happened before I was old enough to rent a hotel room, but I admit I’m the type of customer that killed off the mom-and-pop motels of yore. If I’m paying for a place to stay, I want to be assured of its cleanliness and amenities. I don’t want surprises when I roll into a destination after dark, tired and hungry. So fair or not, I tend to reject lodgings that have doors directly to the outside. In fact, if the word “motel” appears anywhere in the establishment’s name, I usually keep on driving.

As a kid, however, I was fascinated by the classic allure of the beachfront motel. Every summer, as my family neared our beach vacation, we would pass by several …

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Searching for a sexy hotel for Valentine’s Day?

Lovebirds, take note. Valentine’s Day is only four days away AND it falls on a weekend, giving you added incentive (or pressure?) to make this year’s celebratory day of love a big one. When Valentine’s Day falls on a Wednesday, it’s pretty easy to settle for a dinner out or a few chocolates and roses.  Squeezing in an extravagant display of love is difficult to do with work, school and other weekday obligations bearing down.

A weekend Valentine’s Day, however, screams for something special, and many people choose to say “I Love You” in a location far from home.

Some couples choose spa getaways where they can pamper each other. Cozy, mountain retreats call for other lovers to snuggle together in the warmth of romantic firesides. Resorts offer “engagement specials” for the soon-to-be-betrothed; restaurants and hotels advertise indulgent dinners designed to be as rich as your love for your partner. In short, travel options for Valentine’s Day are …

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Go for winter gold on southern slopes

The 2010 Winter Olympics will begin in just a few days. A friend of mine is heading out to the Raincoast of Canada with her family for the first week in Vancouver, and I am seriously wishing I could stow away in their luggage. While they have family in British Columbia, perhaps most importantly, they have snagged tickets to a couple of choice events — one of them hockey.

Even without the coveted tickets, I would love to be Vancouver-bound right now. I have always preferred the events of the Winter Olympics to those of the Summer Games – probably because things like bobsledding, ski-jumping and curling are so out of reach to Georgia girls like me. (The host city itself isn’t too shabby either.) But for someone who has lived through many winters without ever needing to bundle up, the idea of all of that ice and snow seems exotic and fascinating.

Of course, not all winter sports are foreign to southerners.  Ice skating rinks aren’t abundant, but they can be found down …

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