A Best Western Dance Party

December 30 2010 by Bryson Forbes

iStock_000006670060XSmall.jpgEarlier this month, I had the pleasure of meeting Alyson Stoner and her mother Luane. Alyson, if you don't already know, is a star from the Disney Channel and has appeared in a number of movies including "Cheaper by the Dozen" with Steve Martin and both "Camp Rock" movies that feature the Jonas Brothers.

Alyson was in Toronto showing off her hip-hop dance prowess during a private party at the Best Western Roehampton Hotel & Suites with more than two dozen tweens from the Toronto area. Best Western and the Family Channel literally rolled out the red carpet for a very lucky Toronto family.

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Business Travel Rates Increasing

December 29 2010 by Chris McGinnis
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iStock_000013528423XSmall.jpgBusiness travel price increases are holding steady, according to the latest American Express Business Travel Monitor. In the third quarter of 2010, year over year prices for both airfare and hotel increased.

Amex says airlines have been able to raise fares and maintain more financial stability mainly by constraining capacity. Domestic airfares in Q3 increased six percent year over year, while international fares climbed eight percent. Hotel rates across the U.S., meanwhile, increased just two percent on average in the third quarter compared to the same time last year.

Cities with the highest year-over-year hotel price increases include New York City, where rates are up 10 percent, as well as New Orleans, Washington, D.C., Las Vegas and San Francisco.

Holiday Foods Steeped in Tradition

December 27 2010 by Mike Mason

iStock_000013919354XSmall.jpgWhat's not to love about this time of the year? Whether you're celebrating Hanukkah, Kwanza, Christmas or other special holiday, it's all about being with your family and friends and traditions.

We all have ancestors that arrived from other countries or maybe we're the first generation to celebrate the holidays here, either way, traditional holiday foods have come with us. In my family, we adhere very closely to traditions. If I try to move the Christmas tree even one foot to where it always goes, there's an outcry because that's "not where we ALWAYS put it." The same goes for the foods we bake, cook and serve at our gatherings and at the dinner table. I'll start with what my family's traditions and work my way around the country.

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Motorcycle Rider Training

December 20 2010 by Jason Fogelson

iStock_000012535518XSmall.jpgRiding a motorcycle is not like riding a bicycle.

Once you have learned how to ride a bicycle, your body doesn't forget. It remembers, and it just takes a few moments to regain your ability to ride after a long layoff.

Don't make the same mistake with a motorcycle. Riding a motorcycle is much more complex, and much riskier, than riding a bicycle, and if you haven't ridden for a while, you should consider taking a training course before you attempt to ride on public roads again.

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To Ship or to Check? That is the Question.

December 17 2010 by Chris McGinnis

iStock_000008479380XSmall.jpgAbout this time of year, frequent and infrequent travelers alike are faced with the hassle, uncertainty and expense of checking bags for trips home for the holidays.

Most business travelers reading this rarely check bags when on the road for business, anyway. But for holiday trips home, bag contents frequently expand to include winter coats, formal wear, gifts and plenty of other extraneous items--especially if kids are involved.

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The Curse of the Rocks

December 16 2010 by Sam Lowe

iStock_000001267575XSmall.jpgThe northeastern sector of Arizona is separated from the Hawaiian Islands by more than 3,000 air miles, a large body of water, climate, humidity and innumerable geologic and cultural differences. Despite that, they do have one thing in common - the Curse of the Rocks.

Visitors to the Petrified National Forest near Holbrook, Ariz., are warned that picking up petrified wood is not only illegal, it can also be costly. Fines for those caught trying to smuggle out pieces of the wood, even the tiniest sliver, can run as high as $275. Even worse, those who steal often run afoul of the curse.

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More Motorcycle Books

December 15 2010 by Jason Fogelson
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iStock_000014904837XSmall.jpgI love reading almost as much as I love riding. So, during the winter months when riding is a little less fun, I hunker down with books about motorcycles and motorcycling.

This winter, I'm going to revisit Bill Hayes's history of the Boozefighters Motorcycle Club, The Original Wild Ones. Hayes is a great storyteller, and his book really brings the atmosphere of the post-WWII biker club to life, dispelling rumors and misconceptions in the process.

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Holiday Travel Gifts Contest

December 15 2010 by BW Innsider
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iStock_000014726721XSmall.jpg

Tell Us Your Holiday Travel Gifts and Enter to Win!

With the holiday season now here, we want to know, what are the best travel gifts to give this holiday? Is the best gift a GPS to keep you from getting lost? Is it a PSP to play while at the airport? Is it a travel book or gift cards?

Tell us what travel gifts you would like to give/receive this holiday season, and you will be automatically entered to win a $250 Best Western Travel Card®! Tell us your answer in the comments below and one randomly selected entry will receive the Gift of Travel® from Best Western. Contest ends Dec. 31, 2010 so enter today!

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Limit only one entry per person. Must be 18 years of age or older and a resident of the US or Canada to be eligible to win. Winner will be randomly selected from all entries posted in the comments below.

Travel Wish List

December 14 2010 by Bryson Forbes
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iStock_000014436698XSmall.jpgIt's starting to look and feel a lot like Christmas. As I write this blog, I'm without my car because it's off getting winterized. Between that and putting up our tree this past weekend, I think it's time to write my Travel Wish List for 2011.

  • My first wish is for travel statistics to continue their rebound. This can be labelled a selfish wish since I make my living through travel, but honestly that's only partly true. The overall economy and travel numbers are correlated, and since travel is usually one of the first things both people and corporations cut when times get tough, their rebound is a very good signal for economists.
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Crystal Ball for 2011

December 10 2010 by Chris McGinnis

iStock_000013236582XSmall.jpgIt's that time of year again...when folks like me do their best to gaze into the future and predict what may or may not happen in the travel world for 2011. Here are 10 of my best guesses:

  • Business travel prices will continue to rise, but not enough to dampen renewed demand.
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Winter Motorcycle Projects

December 9 2010 by Jason Fogelson
Comments (1)

iStock_000001604711XSmall.jpgThe truly mechanically inclined motorcyclists relish the winter, because that's when they can attack major projects. Top-end rebuilds, carburetor jet swaps, transmission overhauls, or even engine blueprinting might be on the agenda for December through March.

Not at my house. My mechanical abilities have been generously described as "basic," but I still find time for simple bike projects over the winter.

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Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree

December 9 2010 by Bridget Daly

iStock_000014467843XSmall.jpgThe tradition of cutting down a Christmas tree has deeper roots than you might think. Egyptians brought date palms into their homes for the winter solstice. Romans used green flickering candles to celebrate the time of year. Legend has it Martin Luther began the tradition bringing a tree into a home as far back as the 1500s.

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How To Put Joy into the Drive to Grandma's House

December 8 2010 by Amy Graff

Amy_grandmas house.jpgFor many families grandmother's house isn't simply over the river and through the woods. Rather it's a long, four-, or six-, or even eight-hour straight shot down the highway. For kids in the car, this can be rather...b-o-r-i-n-g. And when the kids become bored, they drive mom and dad nuts.

Here are a few tips on keeping everyone happy and entertained on a long holiday road trip:

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The Top Five Must-Attend Canadian Sporting Events

December 7 2010 by Bryson Forbes

iStock_000011700180XSmall.jpgThe top five must-attend Canadian sporting events

About a year ago, my good friend Bruce announced that he and his wife had officially created their "bucket list". Ever since the movie by the same name came out, people everywhere seem to be taking note of the things they must do before they die. Lucky for me, I see Bruce once a week for our old-timers hockey and rarely a week goes by without some mention of the list. Last week, however, it led to a great discussion about the top five must-attend sporting events in Canada. Here is what we came up with:

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Put Your Bike Away for Winter

December 6 2010 by Jason Fogelson
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iStock_000003401422XSmall.jpgUgh. Cold weather. It's bad for cars, worse for motorcycles. Every year, I write to remind you that putting your bike away for the winter is an essential part of motorcycle care. This year is no different. I hate to be the harbinger of bad news, but if you don't care for your bike, your bike won't be there for you when the weather turns nice again.

There are two basic aspects to long-term motorcycle storage: cosmetic protection and mechanical protection.

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Best/Worst Days for Holiday Travel

December 6 2010 by Chris McGinnis

iStock_000000525354XSmall.jpgDespite the dire warnings about a Thanksgiving travel meltdown, most of those hitting the roads and skies this year found smooth sailing. There were no major upsets at airport security, the weather cooperated and airlines and airports performed well. To the surprise of many, it all went off without a hitch.

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Why Visit the Capitals?

December 3 2010 by BW Innsider
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iStock_000014234301XSmall.jpgThis is a guest post from Rebecca Kelly, a European travel expert blogger.

Most tourists on a European trip flock to the capital cities looking for history, culture and beauty. Paris, London and Rome are among the most popular tourist cities in Europe attracting thousands of visitors each month. The popularity of the capitals however can limit the amount of sights you see and increase the amount you spend. To avoid the higher than average prices and increased queuing times, avoid the capitals and try these cities:

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Oprah Visits Australia

December 2 2010 by BW Innsider
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VIC - Melbourne Tram_Flinders ST_RGB.jpgIn the 25th season premiere, Oprah gave her 300 of her biggest fans the surprise of their lives. "You're going to Australia! We are going to Australia! You and you and you are going to Australia!!"

On December 14, Oprah will tape two shows at the Sydney Opera House, the first time the show has been filmed outside of the United States. From the gorgeous beaches to the spectacular vineyards, the awe-inspiring Great Barrier Reef to the legendary Sydney Harbour, Oprah's lucky audience will experience it all. Have you been inspired to plan a trip Down Under? Here are our top Australian experiences:

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Business Travel Easing Into Positive Territory - Part Two

December 1 2010 by Chris McGinnis
Comments (1)

iStock_000001707518XSmall.jpgEarlier this month, we asked a core group of Best Western's best customers about their outlook for business travel in 2011. Overall, these members of Best Western's Diamond 100 Advisory Board (BWD100) see gradual improvement when it comes to trip volume, spending levels and economic recovery. This brighter outlook comes to light when we compared findings from a similar survey taken one year ago.

The below is the second in a two-part series that examines some key findings. Part one can be found here.

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