Archive for June, 2010

Feeling free to travel for the Fourth?

The Fourth of July is almost upon us, and many Americans will celebrate the 234th anniversary of our independence by traveling freely throughout the country. Auto club AAA is predicting 35 million Americans will take a trip for the holiday, an increase of 17 percent over last year.

So where are we all going? There are many choices from which to choose. Some will seek out a good (oil-free) beach to relax in the sun by day and watch a brilliant display of fireworks over the water by night.

Others will be heading to classic 4th of July destinations to indulge in a little early-American history, a la Philadelphia, DC, Boston, or New York. Still others will be chasing down the best fireworks show they can find.

We were originally heading to West Virginia to meet up with a group of college friends and their families over the Fourth, but that trip was put off because some friends are in the process of moving and/or adding members to said families this summer. So instead of a big …

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Hot, sticky cities worth getting away to this summer

Travel and Leisure magazine has released its list of Best American Cities for Summer Travel, and not surprisingly, few southern cities rank highly due to their heat and humidity during the summer months. Those that did make the top 20 – Charleston (12), Nashville (13), Orlando (15) and Washington, DC (18) – offered visitors outdoor spaces or family attractions enough to brave the hot, sticky environment during a southern June, July and August.

Atlanta came in at number 28 on the list. Travel and Leisure said “Hotlanta” can often feel “too hot for people to stomach this time of year without the incentive of better parks, farmers’ markets or something for the kids to do.”  (A strong market for farmers’ markets really seemed to be a big attraction for summer travelers in this list.)

While our region may not draw many outsiders to visit our cities in during the hottest parts of the year, those of us in Atlanta are used to the heat and we’re not afraid of …

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Harry Potter’s theme park in Orlando opens Friday…are you going?

While filming for the final installment in the popular Harry Potter movies may have wrapped last week, fans of the books and films can keep the magic alive starting Friday when Universal’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter officially opens to the public in Orlando, Fla.    

Harry Potter’s world is one of two theme parks located at the Universal Orlando Resort. Visitors can purchase park-to-park tickets, which allow access to both Harry Potter and the Islands of Adventure theme park throughout the day; or choose a one-park pass for about $30 less per day.  A one-day, park-to-park pass runs about $109 for adults and $99 for children between the ages of three and nine years old (booked online).  

Once inside the park’s gates, guests can stroll the streets of Hogsmeade village, explore Hogwarts Castle, shop at famous Potterworld stores like Zonko’s and Dervish and Banges, or dine on pub fare at the Three Broomsticks. The Dragon Challenge, Flight of the Hippogriff and …

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Who serves up the best tennis vacation?

I have played tennis ever since I was child, growing up in Atlanta. Our typically-mild winters make it so easy to play year round that Atlanta has been called “the tennis capital of America”.  With so many courts, players and leagues to choose from, what could possibly make Atlanta’s tennis aficionados take their games on the road? For me, it’s our city’s hot and humid summer months.

My husband and I both play multiple tennis leagues throughout the year, but the heat can be stifling during summer matches.  When we plan our getaways, we occasionally look to get away from that heat or humidity to play tennis in a more comfortable clime.

Unless you count a few days at the Dennis Van der Meer Academy in Sweet Briar, Va. when I was in high school, I have never taken an official “tennis vacation” – where you stay at a well-known tennis resort, participate in clinics or take lessons on site.  Still, I like to check out the court situation at our destinations before …

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Do you support a peanut ban on planes?

If you enjoy munching on that complimentary bag of peanuts when you fly, you may not be for much longer. According to CNN, the Department of Transportation (DOT) is considering a ban of all peanut products served on planes. The prevalence and the potentially deadly consequences of severe peanut allergies have prompted the DOT to consider such a ban on flights covered by the agency’s disability rule.

The DOT is considering banning peanuts on commercial flights. Clipart.com

The DOT is considering banning peanuts on commercial flights. Clipart.com

Some carriers, including AirTran, already have a peanut ban in place. Other airlines will offer a “buffer zone” around a passenger with a peanut allergy, in which several rows of passengers around the allergic passenger will be peanut-free. The DOT is considering three different options for its peanut policy, ranging from a comprehensive ban to providing buffer zones to air passengers who request a peanut-free flight. You can read more about the options and give the DOT feedback at the Regulation Room.

Do …

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Are hotel stays a thing of vacations past?

As business travel slowly declined over the past several years and travel in general took a hit during the recession, room rates and hotel occupancies fell to their lowest levels in decades. Now that leisure travelers are beginning to ease their way back out on the roads, trains and skies, how many of them will return to the traditional hotel?

Not long ago, I read a news article discussing the troubles the hotel industry is facing. It’s not just the recession (though that has clearly played a part), but it’s also a fundamental change in the way many vacationers travel, brought on in part by the internet.

The article got me thinking about my family’s approach to lodging when we go on a trip. Early in our marriage, we would always book a hotel wherever we traveled. With three children and an aversion to hearing the TV in the next room or the footsteps in the hallways, however, we began to limit our hotel stays considerably about ten years ago.  

When the kids were smaller …

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