Baja Adventures

November 29 2008 by Neal Mueller

Baja1c.jpgNothing screams adventure like a holiday weekend. This past Labor Day I weekend warrior'd the Baja. In this blog post I'll disclose two secret campsites, two primo snorkeling holes, and two great local eateries.

Two secret seaside campsites.
Camp VII. This a secret with an expiration date. Soon this isolated camp spot will be cliff-side golf course filled with men in bad pants chasing small, white, dimpled balls. Thankfully, this site is yet undeveloped and has untouched seaside cliffs, panoramic vistas, and gorgeous snorkeling. Ask Dale at La Bufadora Dive Shop how to get to "Camp VII". It's up the road from him about 10 minutes. Turn-left at the bright yellow house. The gate attendant at the turn-off will charge you either $3 or a Tecate for parking (your choice).<

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THANKFULLY!

November 26 2008 by Chris McGinnis

thankfully.jpgHere it is Thanksgiving week. Despite all the gloom and doom these days, there is still plenty for business travelers to be thankful for. Here are three things for which I'm grateful. Check them out and then please click on the comments button and tell me what YOU are thankful for when it comes to life on the road....

  • Lower gas prices. After a summer of discontent at the pump where I cringed each time it cost $60 to fill up my car, gas prices have crashed, and now stand at less than $2 per gallon on average. They've not been that low since early 2005. You should have seen me beam last week when the nozzle popped and the tank was full at $31!
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Thanksgiving, Gratitude and Tradition

November 25 2008 by Claudia Kunkel
Comments (1)

thanksgiving.jpgI love Thanksgiving Day. I love that it is a day to gather with our family and friends to simply give thanks and express gratitude for all that we have. No shopping for presents, eggs to dye, candy to hand out or hearts to sprinkle with glitter. I like to do those things, but I find pleasure in the simplicity of this holiday and the opportunity to give thanks. As we all were taught in grade school, Thanksgiving is the day we commemorate the Pilgrims persistence and courage in coming to America to a "new world" filled with possibilities, hope and gratitude. So, with that thought in mind, I thought it would be a nice time to mention a few places connected to the spirit of gratitude and some traditions that reflect the history and traditions of the Thanksgiving holiday.

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Tech Tips: Hotel WiFi

November 24 2008 by Mark Deyer
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wifi.jpgI'm guilty of it. Aren't we all? Its 11 pm, you've just checked into the hotel after a long day of travel, and the only thing you want to do is crash. But you have to check your email. So, instead of paying an outrageous fee for 3 minutes of Internet service you squat in the hotel lobby and mooch the free Internet.

I've done it more than I can count; and every time I end up wondering, "If it's free in the lobby, why isn't it free 12 floors above when I'm in my own room?"
Hotel WiFi can be one of the most frustrating aspects of traveling. The rate gouging, weak signals, port changing, and the time restrictions have always left me scratching my head. I put together a short list for Hotel WiFi Survival:

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Endurance Adventures

November 21 2008 by Neal Mueller

Last week a 10-year old boy in Minnesota wrote me an email and asked, "what adventures are there?" Kids always ask the best questions, and his question really got me thinking. I decided to compile a list of endurance adventures. There are just so many cool things to do out there, check it out...

7 Summits - climb the tallest mountain on every continent including Mount Everest

Peak and pond - climb Mount Everest and swim English Channel. Done by 3 people, never done by American.

Eight-thousanders - climb the 14 mountains in the world that exceed 8000 meters

Explorers Grand Slam - climb the 7 summits and reach both the south and north poles

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Best Western Hotels in Prime Spots

November 20 2008 by BW Innsider

If you are heading out on vacation, a weekend getaway, a holiday road trip or other related travel adventure, our hope is you find a Best Western hotel that will meet your needs. And similar to all real estate, location is important when looking for a hotel. Below are some Best Western hotels in prime spots:

hollywood.jpgHollywood, California
Best Western Sunset Plaza Hotel
If you find yourself out west with the sun and glamour of Hollywood, check out the Best Western Sunset Plaza Hotel, located right on the Sunset Strip and close to favorite Hollywood attractions. The Best Western Sunset Plaza is just a short walk to the Mann's Chinese Theatre, the Hollywood Wax Museum and the Hollywood Stars Walk of Fame. Enjoy an afternoon of shopping on Rodeo Drive or trendy Melrose Avenue. The Getty Museum, Page Museum and Griffith Observatory are also close by, not to mention the variety of amusement parks within a short drive.

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Change is Coming

November 18 2008 by Chris McGinnis

ChangeIsComing.jpgAfter a year of watching the economy cool off and wondering how--or if--it would force changes in business travel, I've got my answer. Big changes are on the way. Companies worried about the future are clearly cutting back on the number trips they are willing to authorize and they are cutting costs on the ones still allowed.

Just this week, the National Business Travel Association, a trade organization based in Washington, D.C. predicted that cost cutting measures will continue well into 2009 as a result of the economic slowdown. It expects business travel costs to increase and the number of business trips to grow at a slower rate than in previous years. "Across the board, we can expect to see some changes in the way travel is managed to further maximize value," said the group's president in a recent press release. In addition, the Airlines Reporting Corp this week said total U.S. travel agency transactions in October fell by 15 percent year over year.

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Best Ever Holiday Travel

November 18 2008 by BW Innsider
Comments (26)

spotlight-travelcard.gifShare your best ever holiday travel experience with us and enter for a chance to win a $100 Best Western Gift Card.

We love the holidays! We love the time spent with family, friends, and all the fun activities that holiday celebrations bring. Whether your travels have brought you to gatherings of old acquaintances or to exotic locales to escape from it all, they make for great memories. And we want to hear about them.

To submit your experiences (and at the same time enter for a chance to win a $100 Best Western Gift Card), select the Comment button and enter in your response to the question, "What is your best ever holiday travel experience?" Once you enter a comment you are entered into a random drawing for one commenter to win a $100 Best Western Gift Card!

The contest promotion ends on December 5, so get your experiences in now. Happy holiday travels!

Airport Log - Ranking the Best & Worst of Airports in the U.S.

November 17 2008 by Matthew Clyde

airporttravel.jpgReady for takeoff? Not quite...usually there is a layover, delay or extra security line to make some airport visits longer than your time spent on the actual plane. Recently I spent a distressed 3 hours in the Fort Lauderdale airport with a dead laptop battery and zero luck finding an available or functioning power outlet. It made me start to log in my head my favorite and most dreaded airports to travel through while on business. Here is what I jotted down on paper during my three hour wait. I'm sure there are lots of airport tips and recommendations to share...so let us know what your favorite airport for business travel is and why. Note I left off most of the mother-ship airports like JFK and LAX because they often frustrate me more than they provide ease of travel. Here are the airports that were on my list:

TAMPA INTERNATIONAL (TPA)
Access to Gates/Planes - Tampa's airport has a clever system of unmanned trains that take you to a pod with a cluster of departing gates, so you never really have to walk that much. But beware if you are in a mad dash to catch a flight, waiting for the next train may end up with you seeing the plane door close without you on the inside.

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Cheesy Travel Songs We Love

November 14 2008 by Karla Henriquez
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travelsongs.jpgWhether you're driving across the plains or in the mountains, for two hours or for eighteen, music is an essential element of a road trip. It's a time to plug in the iPod and listen to all our favorite bands. However, let's not forget about the unique opportunity a road trip provides us to turn the stereo OFF and sing what can only be described as cheesy travel songs.

In my experience, singing Cheesy Travel Songs during a road trip is a great way to teach children some great American folk songs. Additionally, they serve one of two very important purposes: 1) to express common excitement and joy, or 2) to make the children in the car stop bickering or complaining.

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Cafe My Way On the Highway

November 12 2008 by Chris McGinnis

coffeemyway.jpgNearly everyone has a morning routine when it comes to coffee. And that routine is always thrown out of whack when you hit the road on a business trip.

When I wake up at home, I'm in the kitchen within five minutes performing a precise coffee-making ritual. And it always comes out just the way I like it. Dark roast, ground fine and dripped through a cone filter into a large mug. About a tablespoon of half and half to cut the heat and the acid. No sugar. Don't mess with my ritual!

But out on the road, it's tough. In-room coffee rarely hits the spot. To me, it's always too weak, and there's no half and half--only that fake-tasting powder. I'll drink it if I have to, or just to partially partake of my morning coffee-making ritual, but it's never as satisfying as home.

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Tech Tips: Traveling with a Laptop

November 10 2008 by Mike Mason

stk164469rke.jpgLaptops are to business travel as popcorn to movies....today most business travelers have them and frequently negotiate the ups and downs of traveling with them. There are a few tips to keep in mind if you are new to the laptop traveling business or maybe just need a refresher. When you get too comfortable, that's when things can happen. True confession time...I checked a laptop in my luggage on a transatlantic flight. I knew this was not recommended, but I had some unusual circumstances that made this necessary. I took some extra precautions in the packing (layers of bubble wrap and duck tape) but I have never talked to anyone or read anything that would recommend this practice. It worked out okay for me, but I was very nervous. And probably got lucky. Our luggage was new and when it arrived at the destination it looked like it had been dragged behind a car. I had a sick feeling that my laptop was going to be in multiple pieces inside. Luckily it had survived. But, I wouldn't take the chance again. Here are some other items to consider when traveling with your laptop.

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Negotiate Your Way to a First-class Vacation

November 7 2008 by Neal Mueller

During my adventure travels I keep coming back to two central truths:

  1. It's amazing what you can get just by asking

  2. A little kindness goes a long way

This post will focus on how to upgrade your vacation with a little negotiation.

I'll start with a few over-arching negotiation principles that apply across many facets of life. These should be no-brainers, but are often minimized or forgotten in the heat of a negotiation.

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The San Francisco Treat

November 5 2008 by Chris McGinnis
Comments (2)

sanfranciscotreat.jpgA colleague of mine from Atlanta discovered this blog recently and sent me a query that I think bears repeating for everyone. Why? Because nearly every business traveler comes to San Francisco at least every few years for a meeting and for a good time...and good food. I can't think of any other business travel destination where there's more of a convergence of business and pleasure.

Here's the query:
Hey Chris,
A good friend of mine has a conference in San Francisco shortly after Thanksgiving and I wondered if you might have a couple of restaurant recommendations for breakfast, lunch and dinner. She's staying by Union Square and loves cozy places that are good for people watching (not the uber-trendy snooty tube-top crowd type stuff). And feel free to toss in a couple divey or low-brow places, too.

And my advice:

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Getting Ready for the Olympics: Vancouver 2010

November 3 2008 by Julie Drossos

Vancouver.jpgWith less than 16 months to the next Winter Olympics games in Vancouver, many winter sport enthusiasts from Canada, the US and around the world are planning their February 2010 vacation plans around the XXI Olympic Winter Games. The opportunity to take in competitions as exhilarating as ski jumping , snowboarding and speed skating, enjoy the athleticism and grace of Figure Skating and of course cheer on the world's best ice hockey players as they compete for Olympic gold is hard to resist. Even for those uninterested in the sporting events themselves, the thrill of experiencing the energy and grandeur of the Opening Ceremonies is reason enough to pay a visit to Vancouver and Whistler, two of the world's most beautiful destinations. Here are a few tidbits of useful information to help you in your planning.

When to Go. The 2010 Winter Olympic Games run from February 12 to 28, 2010, followed by the Paralympic Games from March 12 to 21. The events will be split between metro Vancouver and Whistler Mountain which are roughly 2 hours apart by car. Traveling by helicopter or float plane is a significantly faster but more expensive option. Depending on how much time you can afford to be away from home and work, you'll definitely want to plan to make time for some "non-Olympic" activities. With our without the Games, Vancouver and Whistler are "must-see" destinations with something to offer for everyone.

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Philly Trip: Rules #6, #7, #8, #9

November 1 2008 by Amy Graff

IMG_8018.JPGRule #6: Bells don't stand. They ring.
"What are you going to do in Philadelphia?" the man sitting next to us on the plane asked Dante.
"I don't know," Dante responded.
"You must see the Liberty Bell."
"What's that?"
"Oh you must see the Liberty Bell. It's the most important thing to see in Philadelphia..."
So of course, Dante became fixated on the Liberty Bell. When we woke up on Friday morning in Philadelphia all Dante could say was, "Liberty Bell! Liberty Bell! Liberty Bell!"
After breakfast, we walked right into Liberty Bell Center, where we shared the bell with another small tour group.
"Is that it, Mommy?" asked Dante, who was clearly disappointed by the 2,000 pounds of copper.
"Yes, that's it."
"What does it do?"
"Well, it stands for freedom."
"Mommy, bells don't stand. They ring."
"Uh...this one doesn't ring."
"Mommy, this is boring."

As we left the center, I realized we made a wise decision to visit the bell first. There was a huge line out the door and we had beat the crowds--but more importantly my son's expectation were now lowered. Everything in Philadelphia would seem extraordinary when compared to the boring bell that doesn't stand--or ring.

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