Travel Marketers Want You

May 29 2009 by Chris McGinnis

Pointing.jpgSome conferences are so much better than others and I've just returned from a zinger. The Association of Travel Marketing Executives (ATME) met in Las Vegas this week and I picked up several nifty nuggets of business travel intelligence that road warriors will see play out in this era of the "New Normal."

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Strolling Through Savannah

May 29 2009 by Sam Lowe

Savannah_Stroll.jpgThree key words for anyone planning a vacation in Savannah - good walking shoes.

Although he probably didn't realize it at the time, Gen. James Edward Oglethorpe must have had senior travelers in mind back in 1733 when he sketched the original plans for this charming Georgia city. It is flat, it has more than 45 cultural attractions, it has massive oak trees with branches draped in Spanish moss. But most of all, it has 27 historic squares and each square is a thing of rare beauty.

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Are You Ready for June 1st?

May 28 2009 by Bryson Forbes

Passports.jpgGet ready - another acronym is hitting the travel industry. This time it's WHTI, which stands for the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. After much debate and delay, June 1, 2009 marks the introduction of this new U.S. law requiring every Canadian above the age of sixteen who enters the U.S., via land or water, to present a valid passport.

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Keeping Your Cool On the Road

May 27 2009 by Jason Fogelson

Freezing.jpgAs I've mentioned before, I'm an ATGATT guy (All The Gear, All The Time). But as temperatures begin to creep up, even the most devoted safety gear wearer can find it challenging to balance safety and comfort.

Here are some DOS AND DON'TS to help you stay comfortable, cool and safe on your motorcycle when the heat is on.

DON'T lose the jacket. One of the big mistakes riders make in hot weather is to take off their riding jackets and ride in a t-shirt or tanktop.

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Hershey, Pennsylvania - Oh, So Sweet!

May 26 2009 by Karla Henriquez
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chocolate.jpgHershey, Pennsylvania may very well be the perfect family town that Milton S. Hershey intended it to be. Of course it's heaven for chocolate lovers (read Moms), but there is great fun to be had there even for those rare individuals, like my niece, who do not even care for chocolate.

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Congratulations to Michael Waltrip Racing!

May 26 2009 by BW Innsider

Rain didn't dampen the excitement of Best Western Racing driver David Reutimann on Monday. David raced his way to his first NASCAR Spring Cup victory with a rain soaked win in a shortened Coca-Cola 600 at Lowes Motor Speedway. A hard driven race by David and a strategic move to stay out under caution late in the race by crew chief Rodney Childers put the No. 00 team in position for victory when the race was officially stopped due to rain.
This win puts David 13th in Cup standings and only 6 points out of the chase. Congrats Reuti!

Charleston by Tour (With a Twist)

May 23 2009 by Sam Lowe

Lakereflection.jpgIn my earlier years, I disdained the city tours. Upon arriving at a new destination, I always struck out on my own to see the sights for myself rather than have them pointed out by a guide wearing a neck microphone. But then there comes a time when ease of travel is nearly as important as the adventure itself. This usually happens when the knees weaken, the inhalations and exhalations quicken, and finding a place to sit for a spell takes on greater importance.

However, rather than give up my wandering ways entirely, my wife Lyn and I have formulated a method that combines my free-spirited younger days with my current need for resting weary bones that no longer share my enthusiasm.

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Last Minute Memorial Day Travel

May 22 2009 by BW Innsider

memorial day2.jpgAre you surprised that Memorial Day weekend is already staring you in the face? Did you wait until the last minute to start making plans? Perhaps, we can help.

Check out some last minute travel packages.

Have a happy and safe Memorial Day weekend!


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The Best Business Travel Bites

May 21 2009 by Chris McGinnis
Comments (8)

Business-Man Eat.jpgIf I were not a travel writer, I'd be a food writer. My gastronomic passion is wide ranging...I'm fascinated at how eating at airports has evolved in recent years. I even frequently arrive early just to see what's on the menu. In-flight fare has never bothered me all that much and I enjoy the break from the monotony of a long flight.

I'm an arbiter of taste when it comes to the hotel breakfast buffet. I'm happy to know that May is National Hamburger month. I love judging the quality of the "krinkle kut" French fries and homemade pies at a roadside diner as much as the foie gras at the latest, greatest bistro in New York or Paris.

All of that brings me to this question: What are the best foods for business travelers? I've got some ideas, but would like to hear yours, too. Please post your favorites or comments below!

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Taking Your Pet on the Road

May 21 2009 by Jason Fogelson

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I love my motorcycle. I also love my dogs and cats. Until recently, I had resigned myself to the fact that my two loves would always compete. Spending time on my motorcycle meant time away from my pets; spending time with my pets meant time not riding my bike.

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"Keeping It Weird" (and Really Fun!) in Austin, Texas

May 20 2009 by Julie Drossos
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Austin.jpgIf you're looking for a fun-filled and easily accessible travel destination, look no further than the capitol of the glorious state of Texas - the city of Austin. After all, any city that has a motto like "Keep Austin Weird" has to be a good time! Austin is a city like no other in Texas. Yes there's a lot of barbecue and the expected Texas honky-tonk spirit, but Austin also boasts a thriving and world renowned art community. Known as the Live Music Capital of the World, Austin's diverse culture encompasses filmmakers, sports fanatics, an impressive 200 different live music venues and a plethora of festivals including the Austin Film Festival, The Austin Chocolate Festival (I don't know about you, but any city that has an entire festival dedicated to Chocolate is right up my alley!) and the infamous Austin Batfest (yes, bats, as in that creepy black flying species!)

There is absolutely no shortage of things to keep you and your family entertained in Austin, but to help narrow things down, here are five activities that I promise will not leave you disappointed.

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Dog Days

May 20 2009 by Casey Bower
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Puppy.jpgIf you're like me, you can't wait to get home from work, and you can't wait for the weekends. It's not that I hate my job; it's that I love my dog.

I have a big happy golden retriever. He sits at home and waits for me all day while I work, and every day when I come home, I see his face in the window. He runs in circles for about 5 minutes moaning and saying his hellos as his whole body wags from side to side. Trust me; it's a pretty great welcome home after a hard day.

Needless to say, when the weekend rolls around, it's play back time. We take runs, hang out at the dog park, and he comes along in the car everywhere we go. On Fridays, he is extra happy to see me and on Monday morning, he hangs his head and sits by the door. There is no doubt in my mind that he understands the weekly work cycle, but, weekends belong to him, and I plan accordingly.

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Guilt-Free Travel

May 18 2009 by Jason Fogelson
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Open-Road.jpgIf you've got a motorcycle in your garage right now, you have the first ingredient in my recipe for guilt-free travel.

Traveling by motorcycle requires clever use of resources. Especially if you're taking a passenger along and traveling two-up, every little item that you carry with you must serve a purpose. So, motorcyclists travel light.

Traveling by motorcycle consumes less fuel. Even a full-dress touring bike like the Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic Electra Glide is rated to achieve 35 mpg city/54 mpg highway.

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Los Alamos

May 15 2009 by Sam Lowe

blog-9.jpgMy primary reason for a trip to Los Alamos, N.M., was curiosity. Like many senior travelers, I have some vivid memories of World War II, so I wanted to see the Los Alamos National Laboratory where the first atomic bomb was developed. I didn't get the close look I wanted, but I did manage to tour a Black Hole and eat breakfast in a chapel.

Visitors don't get to see much at the laboratory because they're not allowed inside, but the Bradbury Science Museum at 15th Street and Central downtown presents interactive exhibits and displays about the Manhattan Project and its role in the creation of the first A-bomb. Operated by the lab, it also explores current research and technology being conducted in the facility. And, as a bonus, it's free.

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A winter well served...

May 14 2009 by Bryson Forbes

Canadian.jpgVictoria Day, more affectionately named May Two Four weekend, is upon us already! The holiday officially recognizes the birthday of Queen Victoria (May 24, 1819) and has been a holiday and cause for celebration in Canada dating back to 1854, her 35th. It is celebrated the Monday prior to May 24th and this year is as early as it can ever be, with the holiday falling on May 18th.

Unofficially however, this weekend signifies the end of winter in Canada and that warmer weather is ahead. "May Two Four" is a double entendre used to indicate the date, or the case of beer (24 beers total) that many enjoy to help celebrate the weekend.

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Summer Business Travel Outlook

May 14 2009 by Chris McGinnis
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Businessman.jpgEvery year at about this time travel prognosticators and pundits hit the airwaves with their forecasts for the approaching summer vacation season. It's usually a time when business travel is pushed off the air or to the back pages. Just because it's beach weather doesn't mean business travel stops. In fact, demand for business travel is just as high during the dog days of summer as it is at any other time of year.

Here's my take on how what's happening on the leisure side is going to affect your business travel in the coming months.

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Machu Picchu

May 13 2009 by Claudia Kunkel
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I absolutely love to travel. I get that dreamy look in my eye when I read about places I've never seen and I immediately start planning, plotting and scheming a way to get there. Machu Picchu in Peru is one of those places and I knew I had to see it for myself. Last September, my husband had a business trip to Peru and I knew there might not be another opportunity to see the Incan ruins if I didn't accompany him on this trip.

For those not entirely familiar with Machu Picchu, the ruins were discovered in 1911 by Yale archeologist Hiram Bingham. However, there is some evidence to suggest that a German businessman and a British missionary arrived earlier than Bingham. It is theorized that Machu Picchu was an estate of the Inca emperor, Pachacuti. They are considered one of the most stunning and enigmatic ancient sites in the world. The ruins are some of the best preserved as they were never found during the Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire. And I have to agree - they are breathtakingly beautiful. The ruins are situated on an Andes mountain ridge above the Urubamba River in the Sacred Valley, which is roughly 50 miles northwest of Cuzco, the capital city of Peru. The 50 miles that separates Cuzco from Machu Picchu would seem to be a quick jaunt, but the journey getting to the ruins is as much of an adventure as the ruins themselves.

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Share Your 'Unforgettable & Unplanned' Summer Vacation Experiences and Enter to Win a Flip Video Digital Recorder!

May 12 2009 by BW Innsider
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Video-Cameras.jpgSummer is about adventure. Veering off the main road, taking that extra detour, heading off into new territory....or doing so by accident. Either way, they usually lend themselves to unforgettable vacation experiences. And we want hear about them. Whether you inadvertently drove to the wrong travel destination, accidentally discovered a great travel spot or wandered into other unplanned vacation experiences that were unforgettable, we want to know!

To submit your Unforgettable & Unplanned Summer Vacation Experiences (and at the same time enter for a chance to win a Flip Video Digital Recorder), select the Comment button and enter in your response. Once you enter a comment you are entered into a random drawing for one commenter to win a Flip Video Digital Recorder!

Maybe the next time you stumble upon an exciting vacation adventure you can capture it all on your flip video!

In addition, get an extra entry into the contest for adding this blog post to another site (track back). Copy and paste the URL under the Trackbacks section to add this post to your blog.

The contest promotion ends on May 31, so submit your travel experiences today.

To rent a car or not a rent a car, that is the question?

May 12 2009 by Bryson Forbes
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carrental.jpgThe first week in August you will find the Forbes family in Fripp Island, South Carolina for a little beach time with friends. Three families are all making the 1,600 kilometre drive from Oakville over the civic holiday weekend.

I asked my wife whether she thought we should rent a car. She gave that look like I just sprung antlers. So now I feel obligated to demonstrate the logic of the question and stubbornly build a case for why it makes sense. So here goes...

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Trippin' Deal: Countdown to Savings is Back!

May 11 2009 by BW Innsider

alarmclock.jpgThis week on bestwestern.com, extra great travel deals will be available, but only from 12pm EDT - 4pm EDT.

The travel can take place anytime this year, though prepayment is required to get the low rates. Make sure to set your alarm for noon EDT and check out the savings that everyone is talking about.

Find out more >

Getting Around the "AIG Effect"

May 8 2009 by Chris McGinnis
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Due to the current, tough economic climate, U.S. companies canceled an estimated $1 billion worth of conferences in the first two months of this year and trimmed back on others, according to a recent article in the Los Angeles Times.

I've created an two-minute video for this post illustrating how this trend is playing out at two hotels on the seaside golf course in the scenic central California coastal town of Half Moon Bay. (Let me know what you think about the video and if you'd like to see more videos included in the future! Quality will improve as time goes on...)



Two-for-One

May 7 2009 by Sam Lowe

blog-8-photo.jpgIn these times, when so many of us retirees are concerned with stretching the budget as far as possible, two-for-one deals are a welcome form of travel. One of my favorites is the combination of the Petrified Forest and the Painted Desert in eastern Arizona.

Travelers can take a delightful 28-mile drive through these two natural wonderlands for a mere $10 per vehicle. (The deal gets even better if you own a Golden Age Passport because then it's free.) Either way, a trip through the 93,520-acre piece of high desert is a journey into spectacular scenery.

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Road Trippin'? Enter for Chance to Win a 'Then & Now' Family Road Trip!

May 7 2009 by BW Innsider

roadtrip-main.jpgBest Western and AAA are giving one lucky family a summer road trip that starts in the past and ends in the present day! To enter for a chance to win, submit a photograph of you or your family on a road trip or vacation! The photograph can be recent or from any other decade.

The winning family will embark on a road trip that hits some of North America's most popular destinations. The trip will start in "retro" style, complete with an old-school car, paper maps and car games, as well as other familiar supplies of yesteryear. Mid-way through the trip, they'll fast-forward to "now" and be equipped with a modern vehicle, GPS device and DVD players and all the conveniences of modern day.

Get details on how to enter >

The World's Toughest Riders

May 5 2009 by Jason Fogelson
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Tuff-Rider.jpgThey're not part of a gang. They don't start fights. They don't scare little old ladies. But they are tough, and you can join them if you dare. They are the Iron Butt Association (IBA) , the World's Toughest Riders.

35,000 members strong, the IBA is "dedicated to safe long-distance endurance motorcycle riding." They conduct an annual ride called the "Iron Butt Rally," an 11,000 mile timed road ride. To qualify for the Iron Butt Rally, you have to complete an official Saddle Sore 1000 or a Bun Burner 1500.

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Great Hotel = Simple Fun

May 4 2009 by Bryson Forbes

Happy-Swimmer.jpgIf you are a parent like me you likely had this experience when your kids were toddlers. You research the best, must-have gift, only to realize your child invariably plays and enjoys the colourful box it came in, while the actual toy remains untouched. We had a similar experience while traveling on a quick getaway this past weekend.

Saturday morning we packed up the SUV and hit the road for a quick one-nighter in London, Ontario. It's less than 150 kilometres from home and a very easy straight forward drive, especially when you have a GPS (dads - this is a great investment and you'll only ever have to stop at a gas stations for gas)! Our original plan was to check in to The Best Western Lamplighter Inn by lunch, hit a local theme park for the afternoon, have an early dinner and then go see Monster and Aliens, a movie we been eyeing for weeks.

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Tips from Experience

May 1 2009 by Sam Lowe
Comments (2)

Nightlight.jpgWhen traveling alone I pack a night light, one of those little plug-ins with a small bulb. It's one of the tips I've picked up over the years to reduce those minor stressful situations encountered on the road.

Shortly after finding a room, I check the bathroom. If it has a night light, mine stays in the suitcase. If it doesn't, mine goes to work. The reason: Because of my senior status, there'll be at least one nocturnal call of nature and I'll need a light to guide me.

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