Norwalk Oyster Festival

August 31 2009 by Karla Henriquez
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Long-Island-Sound-wr.jpgSeptember is just around the corner and I'm looking forward to The Norwalk Oyster Festival at Veterans Memorial Park, right on the water, in Norwalk, Connecticut. This year, the festivities begin on September 11th and go through the 13th. The festival is always delicious, and this year promises to be no different with the spotlight event being The Bar-B-Q Pit. New England's grill masters will be competing for some pretty serious prizes while the rest of us walk around watching people and licking sauce off our fingers.

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There's Money To Be Saved

August 28 2009 by Sam Lowe

senior-savings-wr.jpgAs senior citizens, it's our right and our duty to seek out and utilize travel tips that save us enough money so we can go again. Here are a few I have used or read about.

The free weekends at the nation's national parks are over, but there will be a fee-free day on Public Lands Day, Sept. 26. It might get a bit crowded, considering the zero admission charge, but those with Golden Age Passes can avoid the throngs by going any other time, and for the same price.

Some of us face mobility challenges when traveling. These can be substantially alleviated by renting small travel scooters. Most major cities offer them, but always check with either travel agencies or visitors bureaus first. It might take some planning, but the results are worth the effort.

On one of my last overseas trips, I needed access to my passport number six times and each time was a hassle because once I dug my passport out of its safe hiding place, I had to find my glasses so I could read the dinky little number. So now, I take ballpoint pen and a piece of white paper in hand, write down all the vital information (number, date of issuance, where it was issued, expiration date) in large letters and numbers and tape them on the front of the passport.

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Travelling with a Dog

August 27 2009 by Bryson Forbes

dog-on-the-beach-wr.jpgDog ownership is on the rise--one-third of all Canadian households have a dog and, according to Ipsos Reid, we spend a whopping $2 billion a year in dog-related pet expenses.

With the number of short domestic excursions on the rise as well, it makes perfect sense that I have had a number of questions lately about people hitting the road with their dogs.

I am a dog lover currently between canines. My last cocker spaniel/poodle Buster--I just can't bring myself to call him a cockapoo--and I had a number of travelling experiences together. So to help out my fellow canine lovers, here is the skinny on travelling with your dog:

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BWFF.COM - The Inseparator

August 26 2009 by BW Innsider

BWFFPET2.jpgHate being apart from your pet? Now you don't have to, inseparate yourselves! Check out our new site ( where you can create hilarious images of the two of you as one! All you have to do is upload an image of yourself, one of your pet, press the inseparate button, and presto, you will be inseparated forever (ok, not really forever). With this new site, and 1900 Pet Friendlier Best Western properties, we are making sure that you and your best friend never have to be apart again. So log on, have fun, make some inseparations, send them to friends, and enjoy the laughs!

Inseparate! >

Leading The Charge Out of Economic Doldrums

August 26 2009 by Chris McGinnis

travel-expense-report-wr.jpgDespite numerous reports of dramatic reductions in corporate travel, the Best Western Diamond 100--a group of Best Western's most frequent guests expect to travel as much (68 percent) or more (11 percent) this autumn compared to the same time last year. Twenty-one percent say they will travel less. (Check out full survey results here )

Many of those who are planning to travel as much or more than last fall explained how business trips are an integral part of maintaining relationships. "In a down economy, it's worth the extra cost to get in front of my customers even more. My competitors are cutting back and I'm there to pick up the slack," said an employee of a Utah building products company. A BWD100 member from Seattle commented that while her business overall is down, "I still have to make the same number of trips to maintain relationships and business." Another member who works for an aerospace company in California stated, "My work has not been impacted by the recession and my travel schedule remains the same from month to month." Another member, speaking for many, commented, "We are watching our money, but so far, thank goodness, I am still traveling the same amount."

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Scrub Your Scoot

August 25 2009 by Jason Fogelson

shiny-motorcycle-wr.jpgI get a lot of pleasure out of keeping my motorcycle clean. My SUV usually looks like it just came back from a race through the desert, but my bike always gleams like new.

Keeping your ride clean isn't just a matter of vanity, it's good preventative maintenance. As you clean your bike, you'll have the opportunity to inspect every square inch of machine. You'll notice any loose fasteners before they fall off. You'll discover fluid leaks before catastrophe hits. You'll be able to solve problems before they keep you from riding safely.

Over the years, I've developed a number of tips about bike cleaning that I will now share with you:

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Deep Freeze: Summer Treats (And Where to Find Them)

August 24 2009 by Karla Henriquez
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iStock_000008449071XSmall.jpgSince Boston's Frederic Tudor, known as the Ice King, began introducing people around the world to ice from New England ponds, we have enjoyed cold drinks, ice-cream, and other chilled foods. We also began developing amazing recipes and products that rely on cold or frozen ingredients. Soon, almost every home, and certainly every bar and restaurant had an icebox. Today, we've traded in the icebox for the freezer and refrigerator and we can make ice almost anywhere and enjoy icy products year round.

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The Duomo From Above

August 20 2009 by Sam Lowe

11 fduomo.jpgOne of the initial impressions many people have of Florence, Italy, is derived from a photo or painting of the dome of the Cattedrale de Santa Maria del Flore (Il Duomo) as it rises above the city, a giant multi-colored sphere hovering over the landscape. It's an image that has been recorded countless times by artists using oils, acrylics and watercolors, and by photographers using slide film, zoom lenses and digital cameras.

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The Great, Unmanaged Masses

August 19 2009 by Chris McGinnis

business-driver.jpgIn a previous blog, you may have read about the Best Western Diamond 100--a group of Best Western's most frequent guests, most of whom spend more than two weeks a month traveling on business.

These are folks who drive more than they fly and they work for themselves or for small- or medium-sized companies. They call the shots and pick up the tab for their trips.

They don't normally stay at 4- or 5-star downtown hotels and they don't fly business class--or even fly that much at all. Furthermore, they rarely spend more than $100 per night for a hotel and they don't work for giant companies that manage their business trips. Few have access to video conferencing facilities and many don't even have a travel agent or an expense account to fall back on.

Among travel industry insiders, these types of people are known as an "unmanaged travelers" (as opposed to "managed travelers" whose large corporations dictate how business travel will be conducted).

But just how many unmanaged travelers are out there? That's a tough question to answer. So I called in an expert.

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Budget Travel Trip #5: Opt for the Smaller Car

August 19 2009 by Amy Graff

Untitled1.pngWhen you're piling the family into a car for a road trip it might be tempting to opt for the roomier SUV parked in your garage. But if your family's fleet also includes a smaller car consider driving it instead because you'll pay less for gas. Your SUV might get 20 miles to the gallon while your little four-door sedan gets 30 to 35. You'll pay about $2.75 to drive 25 miles in the SUV and only $2 in the smaller car. If you're driving 1,500, you'll save $45 in the smaller car--and emit a lot less CO2. (fuel cost based on gas price of $2.30 a gallon.)

Take a Kid to a Museum

August 18 2009 by Jason Fogelson

iStock_000006092797XSmall.jpgAs summer winds down, the kids are getting restless. They're bored with math camp; they're waterlogged from swimming lessons; they've made so many lanyards that your keychain looks like a vinyl peacock. Why not take the kids to a museum?

I can hear the groans now. Not another museum! Exactly, not another museum - a motorcycle museum!

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A Glimpse of Yosemite

August 17 2009 by Claudia Kunkel

iStock_000008448094XSmall.jpgOne visit to Yosemite is not enough given the 747,956 acres of impressive granite cliffs, waterfalls, glaciers, streams, giant sequoia groves and flora and fauna waiting to be discovered.

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Tips to Survive a Long Car Ride

August 15 2009 by Bryson Forbes

Kids-in-Car.jpgWe just got back from a week in South Carolina and the trip was fantastic. The weather, the beach and yes, even the drive went famously. With two kids ages six and five, we were certainly a little nervous about driving across the United States.

Here are my top 10 tips to make a long car ride a good experience:

10. Pack a small cooler, some ice and pick up some healthy snacks. Juices, yogurt (don't forget plastic spoons) and fruit. Without the snacks you'll end up stopping more and likely eating exclusively fast food.

9. Make sure you pack some treats. We found Skittles to be a great currency to bribe our children. It sounds cruel as I write it, but trust me; it works and makes everyone's trip a lot better.

8. Pre-plan your route and make hotel reservations. Try to stay with the same hotel group throughout the trip and make sure you are a member of their loyalty program. For instance, if you stayed with Best Western twice over the summer and are a member of Best Western Rewards (like me!), you got a free night voucher!

7. Plan to stop every two to three hours to stretch, use the facilities and fill up on gas. No need to have the gas gauge under a quarter tank, especially on long Interstate highways in the evening. Make sure you encourage the kids to use the facilities. If you don't, invariably ten minutes later they'll magically need to go.

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Mystical Sunrises and Sunsets in the Andes

August 14 2009 by Sam Lowe

52 bari.jpgWe found Bariloche, a city of about 100,000 located in the Andes Mountains, somewhat of a paradox because we were Argentina, which is a foreign country to us, but it looks and feels like a different foreign country. Switzerland, perhaps. Or the Tyrolean areas of Germany and Austria. Even northern Italy. Regardless, it is a beautiful place where the sunrises and sunsets are as magnificent as anywhere else in the world.

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Budget Travel Tip #4: Stay at Hotels with Pools

August 13 2009 by Amy Graff

IMG_5113.jpgMy kids and I recently visited Disneyland. At about 3 p.m., after riding It's a Small World three times, my daughter said, "Let's go back to the hotel and swim in the pool." After paying over $200 for admission for myself and two kids, I wasn't about to give up on Disneyland. But I realized that on a family vacation all children really need is a swimming pool and they'll be happy. When you stay in a hotel with a pool, it offers great free entertainment and you can easily skip out on some of the pricier attractions.

Show Me Your Avatar (Video)

August 12 2009 by Chris McGinnis
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Did you know that business travelers use online video throughout the trip-planning process more than leisure travelers? 'Tis true according to a recent study by Google and OTX called "The Traveler's Road to Decision."

The study showed that about 60% of us road warriors access online video when thinking about taking a trip, when thinking about what kind of trip to take and when deciding on accommodations and transportation related to the trip.

So without further ado, here's my latest video. It's only two and a half minutes, so please tune in and let me know what you think of the content and my still-budding video production skills!

Link to video >

Smooth Riding Around Lake Placid

August 11 2009 by Jason Fogelson

iStock_000009678573XSmall.jpgRiding through New York State can bring a surprise at every turn. If those turns bring you to the Lake Placid area, you're in luck. You've just discovered a little slice of motorcycling heaven.

The town of Lake Placid lives along the shores of Mirror Lake and Lake Placid, two adjacent bodies of water in Northeastern New York State. It's a five or six hour ride from Manhattan to the South, about two hours from Montreal to the North and about an hour from Burlington, Vermont to the east. That's if you're in a hurry to get to Lake Placid.

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Day 10: Retro to Now Road Trip

August 11 2009 by Retro to Now Road Trip

Family-in-ponchos-_Niagara.jpgThe Monteith family hit the road as the winners of Best Western's "Retro to Now Road Trip" contest.

We had an afternoon flight so plenty of time for another swim before we had to pack up and leave. The flight was easy; as road trippers we obviously don't fly often and I have to be honest wasn't too keen on it. Especially flying into NYC right after the small plane flew into the helicopter. That was lovely news as I was waiting to board the plane! Happy to report not even major turbulence. We had plenty of time for lunch at JFK and then our last leg home. I crawled through the door and headed upstairs to bed claiming, "I'll unpack in the morning!" The kids however, not being tired, were like "see you tomorrow we're watching the Disney Channel". Another great vacation completed!

I would be remiss by not thanking the people who made this great memory making vacation possible!

AAA- Great plans, great gifts, and a great company!!!

Best Western- Obviously the "Best" hotel!

Hertz- Who facilitated our first car pickup which was very easy and started us off on a great trip.

Volkswagen- Great car with all the amenities a family could want! And, a very helpful gent who dropped the car off and met us at the hotel so we could go all the way to the airport in "our" new car. The kids were even allowed to watch a DVD on the way to the airport.

Our Friends and Family - who voted for our photo and gave us the chance to go on the trip!

Thanks to everyone behind the scenes this was a dream come true for a big Army Family!


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Day 9: Retro to Now Road Trip

August 10 2009 by Retro to Now Road Trip

Niagara-_back-of-kids.jpgThe Monteith family hit the road as the winners of Best Western's "Retro to Now Road Trip" contest.

Last day of the road trip and the kids are still going strong. We let them swim in the morning in case we came back from the falls late. Which was a good call as we ended staying for the fireworks. We never thought we would be there that long, but time flies when you are having fun!

Niagara was like that. We had been there several times before and I actually thought it would be a short day. We decided to purchase the discovery ticket that gives you entrance to everything. That was sooo worth it! We started out at Cave of the Winds. Absolutely phenomenal! I would recommend always starting the day there, A. you are going to get soaked and you need all day to dry off and B. it gives you a whole new appreciation for the power of the falls. Basically you take an elevator down to the bottom of the Bridal Veils which is the small part of the American falls. You then proceed to walk up into the falls as they crash down on the rocks. It is called Hurricane Deck and while I have never been through a hurricane I imagine that is what is feels like. The force is amazing and the kids loved it. It can be a little scary too; Scotty did not really dig it and clung to the rails as his sisters ran in and out of the spray. I clung to Madie not wanting a stray big wave to knock her between the slats, you know - that mother in me.

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Pizza Cities

August 10 2009 by Karla Henriquez
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iStock_000005299846XSmall.jpgA few weeks ago, my sister and my dad drove across the country. I talked to them while they were in Chicago, eating at the original Uno, where the Chicago deep dish pizza was born. They were duly impressed by the mass and flavor that each slice was offering. A few days later, their trip complete, we stopped in at Modern Apizza, a beloved restaurant in New Haven, Connecticut. While he was wolfing down an Italian Bomb and a White Clam Casino, my dad said: "Chicago does a great pie, but I don't think it beats this." His comment got me thinking about the different styles of pizza around the country and the various cities and restaurants that claim to make the best pizza. I also started thinking about planning vacations around pizza. My husband, who loves pizza above all other food, would be thrilled if this were a new motivation behind my travel planning madness.

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Day 8: Retro to Now Road Trip

August 7 2009 by Retro to Now Road Trip

The Monteith family hit the road as the winners of Best Western's "Retro to Now Road Trip" contest.

The big drive!

So this was the day of the big drive. Even by our standards this was going to push the max driving range for the kids. Eight hours or more in the car - all the way from Boston to Buffalo! Good thing the Volkswagen Routan is so well-equipped; that DVD player sure is handy.

The day went alright only one good melt down which Bryan managed to capture on video. The kids are going to rue the day they have fits when Dad has the camera. We also were planning to stop for dinner in Syracuse and meet our cousin Rob. Dinner was very enjoyable; as we met at "the Dinosaur BBQ" in Syracuse which has great food and you can sit outside and watch the "choppers". Plus, the roar of the motorcycles muffles anything the kids can attempt.

After dinner we were within striking range of the hotel so we all knew we would make it. It's also so nice to know there is a comfortable room waiting when you arrive. Let me tell you - Best Western never looked so good as last night after ten hours of traveling! What a treat it was too! The hotel is brand new and the beds were super comfortable! We were all just super tired. Tomorrow the last day of the trip and we are off to see Niagara Falls!


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Day 7: Retro to Now Road Trip

August 7 2009 by Retro to Now Road Trip

Ready-to-Go.jpgThe Monteith family hit the road as the winners of Best Western's "Retro to Now Road Trip" contest.

Boston is one of our all time favorite cities and we were happy to have an excuse to visit it again. The kids made a few stipulations after having me drag them all over for the last four days. No walking and nothing historic! I hated to break it to them that they would have to spend the entire day with their eyes shut!

We started the day by meeting Madie's God Father, Dale, at Bunker Hill. The kids overlooked the fact that we were starting the day at a key piece of history because we were meeting Dale there. I have found that when dealing with my kids it's all in the delivery - we weren't visiting Bunker Hill, we were meeting up with Dale. The two oldest also decided to walk the 250+ stairs to the top of the monument to see the view of Boston - so there went the no walking thing.

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Locally Owned and Operated

August 7 2009 by Bryson Forbes

OwnedandOperated.jpgI have noticed a brilliant trend in marketing and advertising in Canada lately that I think is really resonating with Canadians. In the face of a challenging economic environment, increasing competition, and perhaps the influence of Canada hosting the upcoming Winter Olympic Games, Canadians are being encouraged to get out and explore their own backyards when travelling. Supporting businesses that are "locally owned and operated" has never been more important.

That being said, here are some tips for vacationers looking to support Canadians by travelling domestically:

  • Look for hotel properties owned and operated locally - bed and breakfasts, small inns and locally-owned chain properties are a great place to start. Best Western is a great example of large chain where properties are owned by independent hoteliers across Canada.
  • Eat at smaller, independent diners and restaurants in addition to visiting the larger chain restaurants. These establishments are often cheaper and may serve local favorites too!
  • Visit community-based festivals that offer goods and activities from local artists, bakers and entertainers. A great Web site to find these types of events is

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Funny Name, Beautiful Town

August 7 2009 by Sam Lowe

128-cbury.jpgIf you go to the English town of Bury St. Edmunds, and you really should go there sometime, one of your first questions will be: Where'd they get that name?

The answer is quite simple: It's where they allegedly buried St. Edmund. But there's a mix of fact and fiction involved here, so the story takes on a legendary status that often blurs the edges of truth. In brief, it goes like this:

King Edmund, the ruler of East Anglia and a devout Christian, was captured by raiding Vikings in 869 A.D. The invaders tied him to a tree and demanded that he renounce his faith. He refused so they shot him full of arrows, decapitated him and threw his head into the nearby woods. While searching for the head, his followers allegedly heard a voice calling, "Here, here, here!" and found the severed head being guarded by a wolf. When laid in a coffin, Edmund's head and body were mysteriously reunited and he was proclaimed a saint.

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Day 6: Retro to Now Road Trip

August 6 2009 by Retro to Now Road Trip

Monteith Family.jpgThe Monteith family hit the road as the winners of Best Western's "Retro to Now Road Trip" contest.

Yesterday was spent doing what everyone should do when they go to the city; at least a little bit: Shopping! Times Square has changed so much since I used to come to town. It is way more family-friendly. We started out by going to M&M World. The kids were just mesmerized by how big everything was. There was actually so much shopping they sort of froze and in the end I had to pick out their souvenirs for them. We also walked up 5th Ave, into FAO Schwartz (of course) and peeked into Central Park. I am known for putting too much into a day so instead of doing much exploring in the park I told the kids we would come back another time. We then jumped on the subway and headed back to Times Square so we could see the Toys R Us. This store actually has a Ferris wheel inside the store. So we all rode the Ferris wheel, bought our souvenirs (with help from mom) and headed back to the hotel to pick up "our new car" as the kids keep saying.

The "new car" is a fully-loaded Volkswagen Routan and getting it was every bit as exciting as the kids thought it would be. There are buttons for everything! As soon as they pulled the car in the kids all took turns trying out all the seats and deciding who would sit where - they all tried to claim the driver's seat. I had to remind Teddy that I would be sitting up front with Dad.

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Shopping Vacations - Hottest Spots

August 6 2009 by Julie Drossos

Shopping.jpgI love shopping. It's as plain and simple as that. No matter where I am, no matter what I am shopping for, I get a high (yes I know, that sounds dangerous however, there are worse addictions one could have) from shopping. I pretty much epitomize the phrases "shop 'till you drop" and "retail therapy" and friends have often asked me if the book "Confessions of a Shopaholic" makes me feel better about myself (and yes, if you must know, it does).

What's better than plain old-fashioned shopping? Shopping on VACATION! There is nothing more exciting for a shopping fiend like myself then exploring new shops and shopping destinations... it's uncharted territory! Here are 3 of my favorite cities I love to hit up when I need a good shopping fix.

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Business Travel as a Barometer

August 5 2009 by Chris McGinnis

iStock_000005026641XSmall.jpgLater this month I will be traveling to the National Business Travel Association's annual convention in San Diego along with more than 4,000 travel industry execs.

I've been attending this all-important gathering for nearly 20 years and always walk away with tons of new information, trends, contacts, ideas and announcements to share with my readers.

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Day 5: Retro to Now Road Trip

August 4 2009 by Retro to Now Road Trip
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The Monteith family hit the road as the winners of Best Western's "Retro to Now Road Trip" contest.

Left Philly this morning, what a great city! We had not had a chance to see this city before and after the day we decided we definitely need to go back.

From there we headed to New York City - which is always so cool because you see the city skyline as you drive in so it was very fun to point it out to the kids. The kids were just amazed at all the activity and lights. The hotel was at the best vantage point for the kids, right by the M&M World store. There is a huge screen with M&Ms doing crazy things. We were outside the hotel for about 20 mins. while we were unloading and it was the quietest the kids had been the whole weekend!

Family in front of hotel_nyc.jpgWe are staying at the Best Western President Hotel at Times Square - what a hotel!!! It was a great end to the retro portion of our trip as we walked into our room and it was all white (white tables, walls, couch, linen) and black. Not the best for a mom though. "Oh my gosh kids go wash your hands and don't touch anything!" Actually it was very fun for the kids as they have never seen anything that modern. There was also a box waiting for us from AAA. Inside was DVDs and electronic car games. The kids don't have any electronic car games, so getting them to sleep was a chore.

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Harley-Davidson for 2010

August 4 2009 by Jason Fogelson

harleyzoom.jpgChristmas comes early for Harley-Davidson fans, as the Motor Company announces its new lineup every summer. And, despite a downturn in the domestic motorcycle market, Harley-Davidson is heading into 2010 with an aggressive push that they call "the most expansive new-product introduction in the history" of the company.

Here are some details about the new lineup:

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Day 4: Retro to Now Road Trip

August 3 2009 by Retro to Now Road Trip
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Ben Frank's Grave - philly.jpgThe Monteith family hit the road as the winners of Best Western's "Retro to Now Road Trip" contest.

Gettysburg was a blast! We thoroughly enjoyed the nice weather. We also got the chance to talk to some of the actors that reenact the battles by accidently wandering up to their campfire! The interaction between the kids and the actors was the highlight of the trip. The men truly seemed exhausted from a whole day of maneuvering, but the kids sat down and chatted up a storm. Asking questions that are extremely important to a nine-year-old like, "how can you sleep if a bug crawls on you?" The funny thing was, we thought we were at reenactment campfire discussion advertised in the National Parks Service newspaper, but when we left
found the "real" campsite discussion not too far from where we had been!

On our way out of Gettysburg we paid tribute to "Sallie", the 11th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment's mascot. Their historical marker has Sallie lying at the feet of her soldier. Great story and if you ever visit Gettysburg, go see her.

Gettysburg_junior ranger badge.jpg

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Day 3: Retro to Now Road Trip

August 3 2009 by Retro to Now Road Trip
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The Monteith family hit the road as the winners of Best Western's "Retro to Now Road Trip" contest.

The Monteith Clan arrived at Gettysburg today! The first leg of the trip was pleasant as the kids were very involved in the car games AAA sent them. They even had invisible ink games that I played with in the car when I was a kid. I am sure they will have no problem doing the first half of the trip with no in-car TVs because the assortment of games AAA sent is perfect for all my kids. Every family should try this next time they hit the road - unplug that DVD player and pick up some car games!

After arriving we went immediately to the visitor's center and saw the movie about Gettysburg. We then went to the National Park side of the visitor's center and signed up for the junior ranger program. We love this program as it is a very economical way to see the park and get a souvenir. The programs are very informative and the kids really have to pay attention and work to fill out the books, but in the end they all receive a badge which they can add to their collection. We try to do the programs whenever we are visiting a National Park.

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Day 2: Retro to Now Road Trip

August 3 2009 by Retro to Now Road Trip

The Monteith family hit the road as the winners of Best Western's "Retro to Now Road Trip" contest.

OK so it's a little later than I had hoped to leave on the great adventure. We were hoping to get out at 9:30 but its 10:00 - oh well. I managed to find my backpack from when I was a kid and went on road trips with my parents and grandparents. It actually still has all the postcards I got when I was a kid! I threw it in the car so my kids could look through it. Their one comment was, "Ewwww it stinks!" Ok, the slight odor of mildew maybe there!

I also managed to grab all my music from the 50s, 60s and 70s that my parents used to listen too. Teddy informed me she does not like Buddy Holly, but, oh well - kid torture in a car is an amazing thing. I also grabbed some of the music I liked when in college like Ace of Base, etc.

Our rental car is packed with probably more than we should take. It was so convenient that Hertz let us pick up the car yesterday so we could get a jump start on packing! Well, the van is packed, we are ready to go and the kids have already started to fight! What's a good road trip without kids fighting though, right?


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Day 1: Retro to Now Road Trip Takes Off!

August 3 2009 by Retro to Now Road Trip

Retro to Now Winner_sized.jpgAs grand prize winners of the Best Western and AAA "Retro to Now Road Trip" sweepstakes, the Monteith family will hit the road and tour some of the Northeast's most famous cities and landmarks in a way most modern day families don't - in a standard family van, without access to a CD player, cell phones or other technology. While traveling in the vehicle, provided by Hertz Rental Car, video games and DVDs will be replaced by road games and paperbacks to keep the children - a five-year-old, eight-year-old and nine-year old twins - occupied. The journey will be guided by a TripTik® Travel Planner provided by AAA.

Midway through the journey, the family will switch to "now," with all familiar and modern amenities returning. In addition the family will drive a fully-loaded 2009 Volkswagen Routan, the only minivan in America with German engineering. Features include power sliding doors, U-Connect Bluetooth cellular phone wireless connection, DVD navigation with wide touch screen, built-in single-disc AM/FM/CD/DVD/MP3, USB connection, 30GB hard drive, music storage feature, Sirius Satellite Radio and rear view backup camera.

Follow the Monteith family on their "Retro to Now Road Trip". Their first blog post is below. Check back to see how their retro to now journey progresses!

Preparing to Go Retro
One day and counting. The kids are so excited. They have been packing for the last month. Every time I am looking for something I find that it has been stashed in one of many bags that is for the big trip! Tonight is the moment of truth though as I go through the kids bags and explain to Madeline (5) that she does not need to take all her Barbies on the trip and Scotty (8) does not need to take all of his favorite stuffed animals. Teddy and Katie are always within limit but I sometimes find that after they "help" the younger kids pack their favorite items are stashed in someone else's bag so they don't have to carry it!

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Revised: 5 Most Important Things to Pack

August 3 2009 by Bryson Forbes

babyblanket.jpgYou may have caught my recent blog about the five most important things to pack for any getaway. I am writing now to correct myself and add one thing to the list that any good husband and father should never forget.

That item is whatever the last thing your significant other tells you to pack. No matter how trivial or seemingly unimportant you may feel it is as you try to configure the space in your car trunk. Learn from my mistake and just make the room.

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Great American Road Trip

August 3 2009 by BW Innsider

GART.jpgCheck out NBC's summer series, The Great American Road Trip, tonight on NBC, 8/7c as the families snake through the Grand Canyon and stay at the Best Western Inn of Sedona.

The reality based show features 8 families traveling through cities large and small, all while competing in a medley of humorous challenges that will ultimately lead one family to victory. Along the way, the families visit iconic American backdrops like the majestic Grand Canyon and the regal Washington Monument. The families also discover quirky American landmarks, ranging from the World's Largest Chair to a sneaker the size of a car. Although family fun is the centerpiece of the show, the competition is real and one family will be eliminated each week based on their performance in the challenges. Ultimately, only one family will return home with a dream prize that perfectly complements their extraordinary and memorable summer vacation.

Check out more details on the show >