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  • December 7, 2009

    Travel to Beverly Hills to See World’s Oldest Cheese for Sale

    Filed under: Destinations,Food — anne @ 3:09 pm
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    Whipping up a batch (opening up a box) of macaroni and cheese for the kiddies? Need to top off some chili? Well, here’s news you can use!

    Just get yourself down to Beverly Hills (swimmin’ pools, movie stars) later this week, and you too can grab a hunk of a 15 year old cheddar cheese, born and raised in Wisconsin. Cost: $50 a pound.

    But it’s worth it, they say: the 1,200 pound cheese, produced by Julie and Tony Hook of Mineral Point, Wis., was placed “in airtight plastic at 38 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 years”, and checked on regularly.

    It first went on sale at Larry’s Market in Brown Deer, Wisconsin – a place I’d visit for the name alone – and later this week will appear at The Cheese Store at 419 N. Beverly Drive in B.H. I’d call ahead – you don’t want to arrive too early and go home cheeseless.

    By the way, getting there is easy – just use Farecompare’s “Where-to-Go” Flight Finder, and head for LAX or Burbank.

    July 27, 2009

    Guy Tries to Get Arrested – Breaks Law – Doesn’t Work

    Pity poor Mytchell Mora, a 39-year-old “freelance entertainment news producer.” This guy can’t get arrested!

    Literally. Mora traveled to Cuba, breaking the U.S. travel ban there, and upon his return, ‘fessed up to the Customs folks, and – nada.

    He didn’t even get his purchases confiscated – including his red-and-green souvenir Che Guevara beret!

    His point, of course, is to challenge the travel ban, and I suppose, do away with it. However, this is the fourth time he’s apparently broken the law by traveling to Cuba, with little to show for it. Apparently, no one cares – or else the feds got bigger fish to fry.

    July 20, 2009

    Fly to Bahamas, Swim with Pigs!

    Filed under: Animals,Destinations,Water — anne @ 11:12 am
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    Here’s what we know about pigs:

    1. Pigs are cute

    2. Swimming pigs are cuter

    3. Swimming WITH swimming pigs is cutest

    By now you’re probably thinking, “How can I swim with these amazing pigs?” Easy: just go to Pig Beach on Big Major Spot Island in Exumas of the Bahamas. Got that?

    Here’s the location explanation from the Bahamas tourism website:

    “A highlight for many vacationers is the famous swimming pigs at tiny Major Cay, a short boat ride from Staniel Cay. Not only is it a great place for snorkeling and beach bumming, it’s a hoot to frolic in the surf with the pigs. Remember to bring a snack for the swimming swine.”

    Just watch where you step (not a good time to forget your flip flops). And thanks, Jaunted.

    June 25, 2009

    Want to Stay in a Giant Beagle? Go to Idaho.

    Filed under: Animals,Destinations,Hotels,Pets — anne @ 3:46 pm
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    Yes, only in Idaho (I think) can you stay in a giant Beagle.

    Just go to the Dog Bark Park Inn in Cottonwood, Idaho (population 942); the inn only has the one unit – the giant dog (seen at left, with smaller “decorative” dog beside it) – but they call it a B&B anyway, and it’s yours for $92 a night.

    Amenities? Well – they have no phones, no TV – but they do have a nice breakfast, thick fluffy towels – and a nifty gift shop, where you can buy wooden Beagle statues (or other dogs) – all hand-carved by the proprietors using chainsaws. They’re a manly breed out in Idaho, you better believe it.

    And yes, the Dog Bark Park Inn is pet-friendly. Bring Sparky and BoBo.

    So retro – in a good way. And why not? Beagles are the most charming of dogs.

    Thanks to the Los Angeles Times for finding this gem.

    June 19, 2009

    Biggest Airbus Customer of the Year So Far? Wizz Air. You Heard Me.

    Filed under: Airlines,Airplane,Destinations,Did You Know — anne @ 9:18 am
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    So you’ve never heard of Wizz Air?

    Airbus has – and I’m sure they love Wizz Air, especially since the airline said it plans to buy 50 Airbus A320′s – for nearly $4 billion (at least, that’s the total according to list prices, but maybe those Wizzards cut a deal).

    Wizz Air who? It’s a Hungarian budget airline that flies all over Europe – including places like Kyiv, Timisoara, Poznan as well as London, Paris and more. The CEO of Airbus calls it the “EasyJet of Central and Eastern Europe” and notes that it’s growing at a rate of 30% despite the fact that these are dog days for airlines.

    Maybe they really are wizards.

    June 8, 2009

    Best “Second” Cities

    Filed under: Destinations,List — anne @ 12:10 pm
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    Our friends at Gadling score again with a look at overlooked cities – you know, if you’ve only got time for one city, you go to Tokyo, not Osaka. But this report celebrates the charms of Osaka – and other “second” cities.

    I can see their choice for Ireland – yes, obviously you go to Dublin – but don’t miss Galway. Good call – it’s a fun and charming city.

    Wellington, New Zealand and Melbourne, Australia? I can see that too. But Chicago as the alternative to New York and LA? Sure it’s a great city, but – why not San Francisco? Or Boston? I’d rather go there – but, hey, it’s all so personal.

    Take a look at their list – I like Barcelona in the Spain section – see what you like, and don’t like.

    June 4, 2009

    Hard Times in Hollywood – Hellooo Bargains!

    Filed under: Celebrities,Destinations,Tours — anne @ 4:13 pm
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    Did you know that Hollywood is one of the top tourist destinations in the world? And did you know that the movie star footprint place – Grauman’s Chinese Theatre – gets 4-million visitors a year? Did you know that’s more visitors than the Empire State Building in New York gets? More than the Palace of Versailles in France gets??

    Well I didn’t know either, which is why we’re lucky to have the Los Angeles Times around to clue us in.

    However, right now, business is down – the crowds are thinner and they’re not buying those little fake Oscars and other Tinseltown crap souvenirs. What to do?

    Look for the discounts. If you’re ogling those movie star footprints and are approached by a representative of the venerable Starline Tours (think movie star houses) – bargain with them – chances are, they’ll cut the price of the $38 ticket. Or get a discount by purchasing online.

    Or, if you can’t decide whether to go to the Hollywood Wax Museum, the Guinness World of Records Museum or Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum – understandable. After all, the first two are $12.95 each and Ripley’s is $14.99, but – hold on to your hats – you can buy a ticket for all three for just $26.95. You do the math! God knows I can’t.

    April 24, 2009

    Get Cheap Airfare to Spain and Throw Tomatoes at People

    Filed under: Destinations,Food,Weird — anne @ 12:48 pm
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    Feel the squish.

    You will if you join the La Tomatina – the annual festival where people throw tomatoes at eachother.

    Nobody knows why they do it, but they do – and judging from the pictures, it’s a ton of messy, decadent fun – and you can join the melee this August.

    Read all about it here on our Deals Blog — which also tells you how to find cheap airfare to the festival.

    Don’t worry, Mom: according to the official website, La Tomatina has?rules (rules? for a tomato fight??). One rule is, “Tomatoes must be crushed before throwing so that they don’t hurt anybody.”

    Ole!

    April 20, 2009

    Mom Helps Son Plan a Big Trip. Son is in his 50′s.

    Filed under: Children,Destinations,Family — anne @ 9:47 am
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    Love this letter from the “Travel Diva” in the Detroit Free Press:

    Dear Travel Diva: Where can I find a bed-and-breakfast in Oslo? It’s not for me. It’s for my son. He’s in his 50s. — Helpful Mom

    Travel Diva tells Mom that he should plan his own trip – then adds, “Better yet, go yourself and leave him at home.”

    Amen, sister.

    Let the boy fend for himself. It’ll make a man out of him.

    April 15, 2009

    Take Pictures of America, Win Valuable Prizes

    Filed under: Beauty,Destinations — anne @ 12:43 pm
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    What’s an iconic image of America? I got it – a cowboy riding the range. Okay, go ahead and take that picture, but you must split your winnings with me.

    Or not. But do go to this site on USA Today and they’ll give you the details.

    The winning photos will actually be displayed on a new site called DiscoverAmerica, which is part of the U.S. Travel Association’s marketing campaign to lure more foreign travelers here. And that’s what you have to keep in mind -your picture is supposed to be an “iconic image of America that will attract foreign visitors to the USA.” Like I said — cowboy.

    You can win hotel stays, air travel vouchers and more. Plus, the judges will include some of those cool dudes from National Geographic -so – get going.

    April 10, 2009

    Free Airfare to Exotic Destinations? Go to “Survivor” Casting Call

    Filed under: Celebrities,Destinations — anne @ 12:55 pm
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    Saw a note in the Baltimore Sun that alerts us to a “Survivor” TV show casting call – tomorrow in Baltimore.

    Hey, if you win- you will go to exotic destinations – for free!

    Of course, you will probably have to eat grubs or something and hang out with a bunch of weirdo’s, but hey – free is free. If you’re in Baltimore, you’re in luck: the casting call is being held at Antwerpen Hyundai (yes, a car dealership – don’t ask me) on Saturday, April 11 from 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. in Catonsville – just west of Baltimore.

    You will have to fill out an application that asks questions like, “What are your pet peeves?”

    Okay, so it ain’t rocket science, but you do have to pass a physical and, ahem, psychological exam.

    April 6, 2009

    Do You Care About the Favorite Travel Destinations of Celebrities?

    Filed under: Celebrities,Destinations — anne @ 3:54 pm
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    Of course you do. Which is handy, because the Los Angeles Times has the scoop on a new book on the subject, and here’s what we learn:

    Alex “Mr. Jeopardy” Trebek likes England.

    Suze “Show Me the Money” Orman likes San Francisco.

    Matt “Homer’s Homie” Groening likes Hawaii.

    Tom “I Used to be a Famous Anchor” Brokaw likes Tibet.

    But, enough with the stars – where do you like to go? We’re not going to put it in a book – but your favorites will appear in our celebrity-friendly comments section, below.

    March 20, 2009

    Visit Obamaland II

    Filed under: Celebrities,Destinations,Food,Hawaii,Politics — anne @ 4:50 pm
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    We already told you about Obamaland I – it’s Hawaii – or more specifically, the parts of Hawaii that used to be the stomping grounds of our 44th president (who was born in the 50th state).

    Tourism officials there are making a big deal out of Pres. Obama to lure in visitors — and it’s inspired the folks in D.C. to do something similar.

    Our nation’s capital – Obamaland II? Why not? In fact, a group called Destination D.C. is already planning a tour that may well include the inaugural route, the White House and more.

    We’d prefer to tour the places Pres. Obama has gone to eat – including Ben’s Chili Bowl and the Equinox.

    And – Obamaland III? Gotta be Chicago. Stay tuned.

    February 11, 2009

    Don’t Go There: America’s Most Miserable Cities (Blame Forbes.com)

    Filed under: Destinations,Top Ten — anne @ 11:47 am
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    My goodness. Forbes.com has just made a lot of enemies.

    But I suppose you wouldn’t be real happy with them, if you made their list of America’s Most Miserable Cities. I’m sure it’s nothing personal though – they just wanted to come up with a snappy list because they know that’s all anyone on the web wants to read anymore.

    So who’s number one? Stockton, California (“Only 15% of Stockton adults have a college degree”). For what it’s worth, I like Stockton – it’s home to the delightful Asparagus Festival.

    Number two? Memphis, Tennessee (“Incredibly high rate of violent crimes”). C’mon, FedEx is there, how bad could it be?

    Number three? Chicago (“Lousy weather, long commutes, rising unemployment and the highest sales tax rate in the country”). Ouch, but hey – they’re also home to America’s Team.

    See the complete list here.

    November 14, 2008

    Now Here’s A Problem We Only WISH We Had

    Filed under: Destinations,News — anne @ 9:35 am
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    The venerable International Herald Tribune reports that “troubles in the budget airline industry could send ripple effects through second-home markets around the world”.

    Second homes. Hah! We’re too busy keeping foreclosure at bay on the first one.

    The article cites the example of Ryanair canceling its direct flights to the Moroccan city of Fez, which as a result, apparently, then saw property sales plummet by 80%.

    As always, I like to look on the bright side: it sure sounds like you can now find great deals on vacation homes in Fez – and I’d say it’d be worth it, if only for the opportunity to boast, “Yes, I live in Fez.”

    November 3, 2008

    Didn’t they used to call this, having “a girl in every port”?

    Filed under: Destinations,Passengers,Sex — anne @ 3:22 pm
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    Something new for you racy road warriors – it’s called TravelingEncounters.com and it helps, uh, those “who have a difficult time establishing and maintaining relationships due to heavy business travel schedules.”

    Yeah, it’s a dating site — for travelers.

    You get a “profile” in your hometown, and in at least 4 cities you travel to.

    The people behind this site keep referring to potential users as, “progressive-thinking adults”. I’m not sure what they mean by that. Prudish political wonks? Toga-wearing tycoons? Sign up and find out (and then let ME know).

    October 14, 2008

    MYTH BUSTING: Hate group travel? Maybe it’s not as bad as you think.

    Filed under: Destinations,Tours — anne @ 10:10 am
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    When you think group travel, you think expensive, and, you think just hanging around with fellow tourists, right?

    And you pronounce “tourist” with a sneer, don’t you?

    Well, you just might be wrong, according to an article in Australia’s theage.com. Their point: work with a travel agent (or research it yourself) to find a group that caters to YOU.

    The article busts some myths along the way – group travel need not be expensive (in fact, it can save you money, and the author gives a nice example of a solo traveler getting in the wrong toll lane in Portugal, and having to fork over about $85 for his mistake). Then there’s the matter of “not being able to mix with the locals” – and you won’t mix, if you just spend your time in restaurants and bazaars – you have to get out and do something physical , i.e., go for a walk, rent a canoe, climb a hill – got that?

    You can travel in a group – and make it an authentic experience. Click here for ideas – but mostly, it’s up to you.

    September 4, 2008

    Arkansas’ Image Problem

    Filed under: Destinations — anne @ 12:26 pm
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    It seems the state of Arkansas suffers from a “dreary” image (saw this in USA Today today).

    But it turns out, that image is fixed in the minds of people who have never visited the state.

    For these “non-visitors”, Arkansas ranks low in the very things tourists are looking for, including nightlife, entertainment, and interesting cities. But, wait! When people DO visit, well, hold onto your hat: according to a consultant to the state, when people actually get to Arkansas, “you are overdelivering on people’s expectations by a huge margin.”

    Okay, but how to get them there – how to fix the image? I know – why not just change the state’s name? Instead of Arkansas, how about something like, oh, I dunno, maybe…New York?

    August 26, 2008

    OBIT: Dave Freeman, co-author of “100 Things to Do Before You Die”

    Filed under: Destinations,Rememberance — Rick Seaney @ 7:50 am
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    Dave Freeman, an advertising exec who co-wrote the wildly popular book, “100 Things to Do Before You Die: Travel Events You Just Can’t Miss” has himself died.

    Freeman was only 47. According to the Los Angeles Times, he died after falling and hitting his head at his home in Venice, Calif.

    The point of his book: live every day like it’s your last. And Freeman did a pretty good job at that — in the short amount of time he was allotted, he managed to cross off about half the things on his book’s list.

    June 10, 2008

    Zoo-a-licious

    Filed under: Destinations,Zoo — anne @ 11:17 am
    Comments (0)

    Did you know that zoos attract more visitors annually than all U.S. spectator sports combined??!!

    Amazing, huh? Actually, I stole the above from an AP review of a new guidebook called “America’s Best Zoos: A Travel Guide for Fans and Families.”

    It points out that we visit our hometown zoos, but we don’t bother to visit Dumbo when we’re out of town.

    Maybe that would change if there were more programs like San Francisco’s “Woo at the Zoo” night; it features, uh, the romantic lives of our animal buddies. But as the website notes, this is for people “21 and over only“. Sorry kids.

    May 26, 2008

    Even MORE vacations from hell

    Filed under: Cruises,Destinations,List — anne @ 12:26 pm
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    Radar Online has a new and improved list of places you don’t ever wanna see.

    And I thought this list would be hard to top. I humbly stand corrected.

    Radar’s list includes diseased petting zoos, brain-damaging midway rides and a hotel in Virginia Beach that Radar says “has plenty of availability since it won traveladvisor.com’s distinction as the dirtiest hotel in the United States.”

    Oh, and don’t miss the section on cruises, where you can take your pick of “rampant food poisoning” or capture by Somali pirates.

    May 19, 2008

    Top 10 vacations in hell

    Filed under: Destinations,List — anne @ 10:18 am
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    Well, these 10 vacation destinations are not exactly IN hell but I guess you could say these hot spots (ha) are hell-ish.

    Included in the list: Papua New Guinea (dissed because of disease), North Korea (for their interesting ideas on good governance), and Yakutsk, Russia (where temperatures often drop to minus-58F). I saw the list in this Reuter’s article, so don’t yell at me, I didn’t make this up.

    Did the U.S. make the list? You betcha! Oklahoma City is #5.

    I’ll let you guess why (HINT: funnel-shaped windiness).

    Again — I didn’t choose any of these. Chill.

    February 14, 2008

    Disneyland to open new “house of the future”. No aliens. No Jetsons.

    Filed under: Destinations,Disney,Future — anne @ 11:58 am
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    Back in the 60′s, Disneyland had a cool, house-of-the future you could poke around in.

    How cool? Well, according to an AP report in USA Today, it was “pod-shaped” and loaded with all the gizmos: “oddities included hands-free phones, wall-sized televisions and electric razors.” Electric razors!

    Now, they’re doing it again. The new “future house” will open in May. Want to know what’s inside this one? This is good, keep reading.

    (more…)

    February 8, 2008

    Los Angeles Times Travel Show

    Filed under: Airlines,Destinations,Hotels — mike @ 1:10 am
    Comments (0)

    We’re off to cover the biggest travel event in the West. The Los Angeles Times Travel and Adventure Show is this weekend, and we’ll have stories, photos, vacation ideas, and news on everything else that has to do with travel and adventure when we return next week!

    February 6, 2008

    When in Rome, Drink as the Romans Do

    Filed under: Destinations,Drunk — mike @ 5:28 pm
    Comments (0)

    Now, we’re not ones to encourage drinking in any way. But if you are a world traveler who likes to enjoy the occasional cocktail, it can be helpful to know which countries specialize in which drinks. What’s their national drink of choice, if you will.

    Well, those crazy kids at Forbes have put together a list of the top 10 signature drinks from around the world. It’s a little cultural, a little decadent, and a lot of booze. Keep reading for a look atwhat I believe to be the scariest drink on the list. It involves rotted shark meat. That’s all I’m saying…

    (more…)