Egg Hunter: The Best Easter Egg Hunts

April 17 2014 by James West

best easter egg hunts.jpgRemember that feeling of sitting in the living room with your little wicker basket, waiting anxiously for your parents to finish hiding the eggs outside? Every nook and cranny flashes through your 7 year-old mind as you try to predict where the juiciest prizes will be hidden. The back door flies open and you stiff arm your siblings and parents on your way out. Only Christmas morning compares to the pure bliss experienced when you scoop those colorful plastic orbs off the ground and into your basket. Once the last egg is found, you stare at your pickings with pride, knowing that you had enough candy to keep you sick for weeks. The Easter Egg Hunt is the stuff dreams are made of. And if you're looking to give your kid the Easter they'll never forget, head over to one of these top hunting grounds.

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I'm Dreaming of Blue Hawaiian Waters this Summer

April 17 2014 by Manny Ruiz

hawaii dream vacation.jpgI feel very blessed that, as our family has grown to four children, we've still been able to claim summer as our most sacred time together for road trip vacations. The thought of "road trip" and "four kids" makes most parents cringe but, as anybody that knows me could tell you, for the Ruiz clan, this is normal. We live by the motto that a familia that road trips together, stays together, even if road tripping for us means traveling with two adults and one-, five-, 10- and 14-year-olds.

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Foodie Road Trip

April 9 2014 by Mike Mason

foodie road trip.jpgMaybe it's because we watch too many cooking programs on TV, but the standard for restaurant quality has gone through the roof in recent years. A decade ago you may not have thought to choose your destination for the delicious food. Today, foodie road trips are all the rage. So, where do you need to go to get that Iron Chef experience without hopping on an international flight? The East Coast of the United States has a flavor for every meal.

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Wondering About Mt. Rushmore

April 7 2014 by Sam Lowe

mount rushmore south dakota.jpgKEYSTONE, S.D. - Mount Rushmore, located here in the Black Hills about 23 miles south of Rapid City, has always been an awe-inspiring source of wonderment for me. And now, as I grow older, it increases rather than diminishes because I still can't figure out how they did it. I check history books, video presentations and computer representations, but am still mystified about how Gutzon Borglum and 400 workers were able to turn a granite mountain into the heads of four presidents.

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More Than Cheesesteaks

April 4 2014 by Sam Lowe

philadelphia travel.jpgPHILADELPHIA - In troubled times like these, when nobody seems to be doing anything right politically, this city is a refreshing reminder of how things were originally intended to be. Even though they didn't quite work out that way.

It is steeped in the history of the nation's earliest days, securely quartered in such places as Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell Museum and Franklin Square. And the Italian Market and the cheesesteak.

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Wild For Wildflowers

March 21 2014 by James West

spring wildflower destinations.jpgYou've seen it in just about every dream sequence or happy flashback, a person frolicking in slow motion through beautiful wildflowers on a hilltop. Even though it's typically used for comedic effect, there is something appealing about this image. Is it the colors that paint the landscape, the warm sunny weather, or maybe the look of pure child-like joy on the actor's face? Whatever the reason, we can all agree that we'd like to be there, picking dandelions and singing our worries away. In celebration of spring, we've compiled three of our favorite wildflower destinations so that you can re-enact your own dream sequence.

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Getting Married Soon? Best Wedding Destinations!

March 20 2014 by Claudia Kunkel

wedding destinations.jpgSpring is here, flowers are blooming and love is in the air. We all either know someone that is getting married this year or possibly you're the one getting married! Everyone has their own opinion and views on attending weddings and whether it's the food, beverages or entertainment that makes a wedding a success or, for some, makes it enjoyable. And, let's not forget the real reason we joyfully attend the weddings - to see people we truly care about exchanging vows.

Of course, there is the destination wedding. A popular choice for many couples as it helps to narrow down the guest list to close family and friends. There is the additional benefit of having all of the wedding details wrapped into package deals relieving much of the stress related to planning a wedding.

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Spring Break Splash - Best Beaches

March 18 2014 by James West

best spring break beaches.jpgSchool's out for spring! The month of March brings beautiful weather for a majority of the country and Spring Break is a great time for some family bonding and vacation time. If you're looking for a change of scenery and plenty of sunshine to recharge yourself until summer, keep reading. We've listed our top picks for beaches that will make for an unforgettable vacation.

First up is Hawaii! Hawaii boasts some of the best beaches in the world, especially on the island of Kauai, our favorite being Poipu Beach. It is the perfect location for you and your family to relax on the sand, swim with the dolphins and even take surf lessons at the Kauai Surf School. Kauai also has world class deep-sea fishing adventures for those who want off the beach and on to the water!

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Drop Everything and Ride to Daytona!

March 6 2014 by Jason Fogelson

Daytona Bike Week.jpgHoly Cow! How did this happen again? It's March already, and it's time to drop everything and get down to Daytona, Florida for Bike Week!

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British Columbia - An Elegant and Exciting Year-Round Getaway

March 5 2014 by James West

british columbia travel.jpgFew cities are as charming as Victoria, B.C. English roots and French influence shine through in every beautiful detail. When arriving by ferry, you are met immediately with the stately Fairmont Empress hotel and the British Columbia Legislature Building. Both of the massive buildings reflect the proud heritage of Victoria as one of the oldest cities along the North American Pacific coast. If you continue past the Empress down the famous Government Street you'll find yourself encircled by coffee shops and cafes. Stop by Murchie's for tasty pastries and drinks and swing into the Soda Shoppe on your way home for a one-of-a-kind milkshake. Other Victoria must-sees include the Craigdorrach Castle and the Butchart Gardens.

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Rio! Rio! Rio!

March 4 2014 by Claudia Kunkel

rio games.jpgWith the Winter Olympics wrapped up in Sochi, it's time for Brazil to take the spotlight for the Summer Olympics - and if anyone knows how to throw a carnival, it's Rio!

When the wide brimmed hats with the 2016 Olympic logo popped up at the London games we knew Brazil would be ready to entertain the world with their beaches, breath taking views and party ready fans.

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"HURRY HARD!" to the Brier in Kamloops

March 4 2014 by Bryson Forbes

canadian curling.jpgAfter winning double gold in Sochi, Canada has once again cemented the fact that we are the best curlers in the world! Curling, like golf or darts, is one of those sports that looks easy until you actually try it. If you have the opportunity to attempt to throw a curling stone, I highly recommend giving it a go! Two things will strike you immediately, first is that the rocks are really heavy! Picking them up is nearly impossible. The second realization is that keeping your balance while trying to slide along ice to propel the stone is ridiculously difficult. Looking foolish during your first few shot attempts is a given. This is likely why alcohol is usually encouraged, which truth be told likely makes the process worse, but it aids in getting people to at least try!

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Where's The Best Place To Travel For Cuisine?

March 4 2014 by BW Innsider
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couple at restaurant_foodie travel.jpgTell Us and You Will Be Entered for a Chance to Win a $250 Best Western Travel Card!

We all love travel and we all love food - put the two together and you've got a perfect match. Now we want to know where YOUR favorite place to travel is for the food? Is there a city that has the most amazing BBQ? Maybe a destination that has great seafood? Wherever your favorite "foodie" destination is, we want to know about it!

Share your best place to travel for cuisine and you will be automatically entered for a chance to win a $250 Best Western Travel Card!

Limit 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. Winner will be announced via comment post on youmustbetrippin.com after winner is verified. Contest ends March 31st, 2014.

Things That Bug

February 25 2014 by Sam Lowe
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graffiti memorial.jpgIn more than 40 years of motoring, sailing, cruising, riding on the backs of large animals, flying and other means of transportation that have taken me from one destination to another, I have encountered all sorts of situations and incidents that have made the trip pleasurable. And, unfortunately, some that detracted from the enjoyment. I try not to let those distractions create inner turmoil, but sometimes they just do. So I've steeled myself to live with them rather than let them upset me.

But, being a senior traveler, it is my right to gripe about them.

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Past Winter Olympics destinations - Where are they now?

February 21 2014 by Claudia Kunkel

olympic cities.jpgMillions of people around the world have been watching the XXII Olympic Winter Games being held in Sochi, Russia. Not only do we have the opportunity to watch athletes at the top of their game, we also are given a guided tour around the Olympic venues and surrounding region.

As I was watching the beautiful scenery in and around Sochi, I recalled that several cities have hosted the Winter Olympics more than one once. In fact, I have even visited a few of them myself...here are my favorite three host cities:

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Capitalizing on Capitols

February 18 2014 by Sam Lowe

State Capitols.jpgWhenever my travels take me to a state capital, my first destination is the state capitol. Capital? Capitol? Is there a difference?

Besides the spelling, yes, there is a difference. The capital is the city in which the legislature meets. The capitol is the building in which the legislature meets. The "o" in capitol is the key to remembering which is which: since many capitols are domed buildings, think of the "o" as the dome.

Well, it works for me.

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Valentine's Day - Chocolate Lovers Destination

February 14 2014 by Claudia Kunkel
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chocolate lover destinations.jpgThis year lovers across the country get to celebrate the most romantic holiday of the year on a Friday! This Valentine's Day leave the standard box of candy at home and step up your game. Whether you want to propose or just steal some kisses, plan a long weekend at a lovely destination and make memories together.

Speaking of love, what goes hand in hand with love? The world's most famous confection, of course, chocolate! While folks love to surmise that the debate continues to whether chocolate is actually an aphrodisiac, it certainly is a little slice of heaven here on earth.

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Presidential Road Trip

February 13 2014 by James West

Thumbnail image for presidential hometowns.jpgAre you a fan of presidents and American history? If so, why not take a Presidential road trip to Virginia for your next family vacation? The state of Virginia calls itself the "Birthplace of Presidents." With 7 presidents, several Founding Fathers and more historical presidential landmarks than any other state, it's easy to plan an interesting and educational road trip that will take you and your family into a treasure trove of American History and just in time for Presidents Day!

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Sochi-ya goin' to the Winter Olympics?

February 11 2014 by Mike Mason

sochi 2014 travel.jpgThere has been a lot of talk lately about Sochi and travelling to the 2014 Winter Olympics. We thought it would be nice to put all other political discussion aside and just focus on the travelling experience the city offers. Whether you are the die hard Winter Olympic fan or merely looking for another beautiful destination to add to your bucket list, you'll find that Sochi has a lot to offer.

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Winter Destinations For Seniors

February 11 2014 by Sam Lowe

senior winter travel destinations.jpgHaving spent my formative years in North Dakota, I am not a big fan of cold weather. But since moving to Arizona, I have made peace with winter and have actually found many destinations that feature chilly weather and even some snow, but they don't make my knees ache and my nose run.

Two of my favorites - the Grand Canyon and Canyon de Chelly - are in my home state. Both are crowded during the summer months, but the masses diminish when cold arrives. The Grand Canyon is quiet, almost surreal, in winter. The canyon walls echo the bird calls without being drowned out by tourist chatter. On many days, a rare condor will soar overhead then swoop down close to the snow-covered upper levels. If weather conditions are right, low-lying clouds will descend into the canyon and blank out everything below until they dissipate.

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Swords Into Plowshares

February 5 2014 by Sam Lowe
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tuscon historical church.jpgIN ARIZONA - We who are seniors can well remember that frightful era known as the Cold War. At that time, several Titan intercontinental ballistic missiles armed with nuclear warheads were planted in deep holes in three states and aimed at the Soviet Union as a matter of national defense or, in a worst case scenario, as retaliation. Fortunately, none was ever fired so the world can only speculate what the consequences would have been, which is just as well.

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5 Reasons to travel in Canada this year

February 4 2014 by Bryson Forbes

5 reasons to travel to canada 2014.jpgI know I have a major bias and I want to get that out and declared early but this is a fantastic year to travel in Canada. Whether you are Canadian and looking for a domestic adventure, American and have always wondered about the great white north or an International traveller looking for a different vacation this year there is no time like the present.

Here are my five reasons to choose Canada this year:

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H.O.G. Rallies Across the USA

January 28 2014 by Jason Fogelson

harley-davidson owners group.jpgThe Harley-Davidson Owners Group (H.O.G.) celebrated its 30th Anniversary last year, and it looks like Year 31 is going to be even more active. H.O.G. Rallies are the major events for most chapters. Did you know that as a national H.O.G. member, you are welcome to attend any of the state rallies across the country? You could plan a tour that takes you to more than one rally, and really make a trip of it.

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Polar Vortex

January 27 2014 by Bryson Forbes
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canada weather 2014.jpgOne absolute truth about Canadians is that we love to talk about the weather. In the winter, we commiserate about the cold and then a mere six months later can be found huddled around the air conditioning unit disturbed by the latest heat wave.

In my four plus decades of this patriotic ritual I have never heard about a "polar vortex". In fact when I first heard the term, my initial thought was "Sounds cool, is it available on Netflix?" Apparently not yet!

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All Newspapermen Were Not Created Equal

January 24 2014 by Sam Lowe

Hearst Castle 2.jpgSAN SIMEON, Calif. - Before becoming a senior and a retiree (in that order), I worked as a reporter, editor and columnist for several newspapers. So when, a few years ago, a traveling companion insisted that we visit the former home of publisher William Randolph Hearst, I jokingly remarked that, because of my professional background, I had already been to several newspaper guys' homes. So, I wondered aloud, what's the big deal?

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Motorcycle Events 2014

January 22 2014 by Jason Fogelson
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motorcycle events 2014.jpgJanuary's almost over, which mean riding season is approaching again, quickly. I've put together a list of some of the significant motorcycle event around the country to help you plan out some trips now! Visit BestWestern.com to start booking hotel rooms before it's too late.

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Hollywood North

January 8 2014 by Bryson Forbes
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Canada Film.jpgThe Canadian dollar (or loonie) has been steadily losing ground against the US dollar. A year ago we were basically at par but now it's dropped down under ninety-five cents. As the rates drop it becomes more attractive (financially) to do business and travel in Canada and Hollywood has started to film up here again. It appears that Canada is officially on sale!

Toronto is a hot bed for movie production and is in fact the third largest behind Hollywood and New York. But, it's not just Toronto, here are some movies that you may not have known were filmed in Canada:

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Travel Resolutions 2014

January 6 2014 by Mike Mason
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Travel Resolutions 2014.jpgAre you one of those people that write New Year's resolutions and then a week later forget all about them? I admit it, I am. Nobody's worse at sticking to their New Year goals than me. "At least I'm writing them down. That's something, isn't it?" we tell ourselves. Perhaps, but what good is a goal without a plan of action?

Now that 2014 is here, I'm finally sitting down to write, for the first time ever, my Travel Resolutions for the year. My challenge to you (and myself) is to pick one of the following destinations, or one of your own, and map out a plan of action for how you will get there. How much do you need to set aside each paycheck? When is the best time to get away? Which activities should be a must-do?

Ask yourself all of these questions while I reveal the top travel destinations of 2014 for consideration.

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Unique Holiday Foods

December 26 2013 by Claudia Kunkel
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holiday mince pies.jpgWhat's your favorite part about the holiday season? Is it giving and receiving presents? Spending time with family? Or listening to Christmas music on the radio? My personal favorite is the food. Fudges, sugar cookies, mint-flavored everything, I love it all. Before you start that dreaded New Year diet, join me and go out with a bang by trying some of these delicious holiday dishes from across the globe.

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Holiday Traditions Across the Globe

December 23 2013 by Mike Mason

international holiday traditions.jpgIf you're like me, the holidays wouldn't be half as fun if it weren't for the traditions we've put in place. Whether it's singing carols, performing kind acts of service or taking home an ugly stuffed animal from a white elephant gift exchange, traditions are part of what gets us in the holiday spirit. All around the world, this joyful season is celebrated in a unique way. Here are some interesting traditions you might not have heard of.

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Canada's Best Christmas Displays

December 23 2013 by Bryson Forbes
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canada christmas displays.jpgI recently came across a great article from CNN that ranked the twelve best Christmas trees around the world. I have to admit there were some really outstanding trees including one made entirely from Lego in Malaysia, another made from recycled bottles in London and last but not least a tree made with more than 8,000 macaroons in North Carolina! All were definitely worthy of the list, but I was shocked and if I'm honest, a little disappointed not to see any from The Great White North. Baffling since the top five real Christmas trees according to the National Christmas Tree Association (yes there is one) are all found in abundance in Canada. For the record they are the Balsam fir, Douglas fir, Fraser fir, noble fir and Scotch pine.

Just like Best Western, Christmas spirit is everywhere in Canada and I love seeing both, so here's my list of the top five Christmas displays you can find in Canada:

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Travel Spotlight on Italy

December 18 2013 by Claudia Kunkel

best places in italy 3.jpgAhh, my search for La Dolce Vita "the Sweet Life."

That is the sole reason I have traveled to Italy now three times over the past few years. Italy has all the attributes I look for when traveling - excellent wine, rich espresso, mouth-watering cuisine, art that takes your breath away and of course, the friendly people that make you feel like you're part of their extended family.

This past October my husband and I decided to go back to Italy and visit a few places we had missed on our previous excursions. Here are a few highlights from that trip that I hope will peak your travel interest as well:

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Lonely Nevada Ride, Day Four: Topaz Lake to Henderson and Home Again

November 25 2013 by Jason Fogelson

nevada harley davidson road trip.jpgI love motorcycle travel. Not just for the riding. The riding is a given. And not just for the destinations. I love motorcycle travel because I get to meet the most interesting people, and the fact that I'm traveling on a bike opens up great conversations.

This morning, I met Shyam Patel, who is the Manager of the BEST WESTERN Topaz Lake Inn. Shyam is not a motorcyclist, but he could be a traveling motorcyclist's best friend. He knows the roads and attractions in his area like the back of his hand, and he loves talking about routes and day trips. He says that motorcyclists are among his best customers, and he'd love to see more bikes at his hotel. The BEST WESTERN Topaz Lake Inn is perfectly situated for great motorcycling, right on the Nevada/California border, south of Lake Tahoe and north of Death Valley. Some of the best roads in the United States are just minutes away from Topaz Lake, fantastic mountain twisties through the eastern part of the Sierra Mountain Range. Shyam can suggest a myriad of routes, from short loops to long, and his enthusiasm is contagious.

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Lonely Nevada Ride, Day Three: Eureka to Topaz Lake

November 22 2013 by Jason Fogelson

Harley Davidson road trip nevada.jpgBack in 1986, Life magazine called US-50 "The Loneliest Road in America," and rather than feeling insulted, Nevada took it as a rallying cry. Today, I'm going to ride most of the lonely road as I depart Eureka and head to Topaz Lake.

I stoke the fire with a free breakfast in the lobby at the BEST WESTERN PLUS Eureka Inn. I slept really well last night, exhausted after a long day yesterday. I remembered to drink plenty of water before going to bed. In the high desert climate, it's easy to become dehydrated overnight, even in an air conditioned hotel room. I've found that if I don't drink plenty of water when I'm above 6,000 ft, I wake up every hour, and in the morning, I'm not rested. I feel great this morning, and ready to ride.

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Lonely Nevada Ride, Day Two: Ely to Elko to Eureka

November 21 2013 by Jason Fogelson

Nevada Road Trip.jpgI'm up early this morning. I think it's the elevation -- Ely is at 6,437 feet above sea level, higher than Denver, Colorado. The air is thinner, and it can definitely have an effect on you. It does on me, anyway.

I have a great chat with Larry and Brenda, the BEST WESTERN Park Vue Motel's managers, while I eat breakfast in the lobby. Larry is a real character. He wouldn't be out of place in any Old West scenario you could imagine. He's a wiry guy with long grey hair and a quick wit, and Brenda, his wife of 27 years, is his laconic foil. They tell me all about Ely, and what a great place it is to live. Larry came to town to work on the construction of the nearby prison -- his specialty was as a carpenter, hanging doors. The town has gone through a number of booms and busts, with the mining of minerals and precious metals from the rich earth in the area. When a mine hits big, the town flourishes; when the vein is depleted, the town sinks back into its doldrums. From the look of things, Ely is in a bit of a slump right now, with a lot of businesses and properties sporting "For Sale" signs. Larry is positive that things are about to turn around again, as a local mine is on the verge of a hot streak.

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Lonely Nevada Ride, Day One: Pahrump to Ely

November 20 2013 by Jason Fogelson

Nevada Motorcycle Road Trip.jpgA good night's sleep. That's what we all really want, and need. I got one last night, at the BEST WESTERN Pahrump Station. Now I'm ready to ride into the high desert in Nevada -- right after I eat a free hot breakfast in the hotel's Draft Picks Sports Lounge.

Yesterday, I rode from my home in Los Angeles to Pahrump, a distance of about 315 miles, on a 2014 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Ultra Limited. I've been looking forward to this ride for weeks, because the new Electra Glide really is new. It's a product of Harley's Project Rushmore, an initiative that the Motor Company just unveiled this fall. As a result of extensive customer research, the entire touring lineup has been redesigned, with the biggest changes coming to the top of the line Electra Glide Limited. The batwing fairing has been reshaped, and ventilation has been added below the windshield. New gauges, and a new Boom! audio system with a color screen and GPS navigation now lives in the dashboard, incorporating Bluetooth audio, a USB input and a 12-volt power port. The bike's ergonomics have been subtly improved, with revised geometry and a more comfortable seat.

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A Northern Ireland Doubleheader

November 19 2013 by Sam Lowe

Ireland Travel.jpgThe Titanic Museum and the Giants Causeway, the two major tourist attractions in Northern Ireland, are particularly interesting to those of us who fall into the senior category because they both have something to do with history. And they're both easily accessible.

There are more than 200 museums across the world dedicated to the tragedy of the Titanic, the huge ocean liner that hit an iceberg and sank on April 14/15, 1912. I haven't seen all of them, but the best one (in my opinion) is the new one in Belfast. It is not only a magnificent structure, but it also presents a detailed and excellent account of how the ship was built, who built it, and what happened after the launch. (The people of Belfast readily declare that "it was okay when it left here.")

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Fall Travel Personalities

November 14 2013 by Mike Mason
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fall travel destinations.jpgWhether you are longing for another month of summer weather, anxiously anticipating the first winter powder-day or joyfully living in the colorful fall season, there is always a seasonal destination for you. Take advantage of low-rates and smaller crowds during travel's off-season in any of these destinations.

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Happiest Countries in the World

November 12 2013 by Chris McGinnis
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happiest countries.jpgWhen you hit the road on business, isn't it nice to land in a place where everyone seems happy? It makes the trip so much easier- you feel more productive, content and engaged in your surroundings. Being in a happy city makes you want to invite someone special to join you when your trip is over to enjoy a long weekend--or longer!

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San Antonio, Texas

November 11 2013 by Bryson Forbes

San Antonio Texas.jpgI recently scratched another city off my must see list and this time it was San Antonio, Texas. In fact, if we are keeping score it was my first time in Texas. Although my visit was brief and was officially classified as a business trip I did get some time to explore the city.

Here are five things I never knew about San Antonio, maybe you were not aware either:

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Spookation

October 30 2013 by Mike Mason

Halloween Travel.jpgSometimes you need a break from taking the kids trick or treating. They only share a small portion of their candy with you anyway. It's time to put away that embarrassing pumpkin costume and really experience the holiday for what it is. Here are three vacation spots that will get you spooked this Halloween:

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More Peace, Quiet and Surprises

October 28 2013 by Sam Lowe

church travel.jpgYou may recall that in my last episode, I told of three churches in New Mexico that combine peace, quiet, contentment - all assets for the weary senior traveler looking for a place to sit down and ponder - and some religious surprises. Things like miraculous cures, kachinas and Madonnas. And now, here are three similar tales from Arizona.

One of the most famous structures in the Southwest is Mission San Xavier del Bac, also known as the White Dove of the Desert, a magnificent building rising from the Sonoran Desert on the Tohono O'odham Reservation south of Tucson. The mission was founded in 1692 by the Jesuit missionary Eusebio Francisco Kino, who preached in the area. The original church was destroyed during an attack by natives. The current building was started in 1783 and completed in 1797.

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International Motorcycle Shows

October 24 2013 by Jason Fogelson

Motorcycle Show.jpgI love bike shows. I can't help it — I love to ride, and I love my bike, but I really love looking at new bikes. So holiday season for me is bike show season. And the biggest of them all, the one that travels across the country, is the Progressive International Motorcycle Show.

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Great Places to Relax and Reflect

October 21 2013 by Sam Lowe

zuni.jpgOccasionally, all the walking and gawking associated with traveling get to be hard on the feet, back and stamina. Especially when the walking and gawking are being performed by those who, like me, have taken up residency in the vicinity of seniorhood. At times like that, I try to find a church where I can sit down, reflect and enjoy some quiet because churches are usually filled with solemnity and most visitors respect that.

While only a few North American cathedrals match the grandeur of those in Europe, for example, there are some wonderful smaller places of worship that offer even more peace and contentment, as well as some inter-cultural surprises. Here are three I have come across in New Mexico:

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The Retro Road Trip

October 17 2013 by James West

retro road trip best western.jpgHave you ever looked at your kids in the backseat as they text or play on the tablet and think, "what happened to the classic family road trip?" It seems as though technology has taken over the adventure of the family journey. Sure electronic devices keep the kids from screaming and punching each other's lights out. And what parent doesn't want to take a nap in the passenger seat for a couple of hours? But think of the good memories those kids are missing out on. It's time to put on our goggles and check the flux capacitor cause we're travelling back 20 years to remember what made those family vacations so great. We're going on a Retro Road Trip!

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Great Oktoberfest Celebrations Across the U.S.

October 10 2013 by Claudia Kunkel

oktoberfest celebration.jpgBy the calendar, fall has officially arrived. It's time to turn our thoughts to all the fun things there are to celebrate the cooler temperatures. You know, the start of fall, Monday night football and oh, one of my favorites, Oktoberfest! Why, you ask? Because I associate it with the beginning of fall and what's not to love about sampling a few pale ales along with a brat or two? This year should be a particularly good year for those people who enjoy a refreshing frosty mug or two due to the increase in popularity of brewpubs and their IPA's.

So, call a few friends (and a designated driver), and check out these local Oktoberfest celebrations -hopefully coming to a town near you.

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Leaf Everything Behind - Exploring Fall Foliage in Arizona

October 3 2013 by Matthew Clyde
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Sedona in the fall_Best Western_Sedona.jpg
When you think of the fall season, the picturesque New England landscape comes to mind--the fall foliage, the quaint wooden bridges, apple picking weekends in country orchards and warm apple cider. But the reality for many across the United States is a different experience, especially in the Southwest region. But surprisingly for a state like Arizona where I live there are a few fall excursions that capture the spirit of fall and a reason to escape the arid desert and climb to higher elevations. A few worth considering if you are in or near Arizona this fall.

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Biketoberfest

October 2 2013 by Jason Fogelson

Motorcycle Daytona Beach.jpgThere's a little bit of a chill in the air. Thoughts turn to Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's beyond. For many of us, that means putting the motorcycle away for the season, and counting the long nights until it's time to ride again. There's still one big riding event before it's time to huddle up with our parts catalogs, and that's Biketoberfest.

Held every year since 1992 in Daytona Beach, Florida, Biketoberfest is a weekend of riding, parties, music, food and vendor fairs, all directed at motorcyclists and motorcycle enthusiasts. The 21st annual Biketoberfest will be held from October 17 - 20, 2013. Events take place in and around Daytona Beach, and all throughout Volusia County.

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My Canadian Bucket List

October 1 2013 by Bryson Forbes

Bucket List TravelI started researching the best travel movies of all time; I thought it might be an interesting topic to blog about. Google (as always) spit back list after list from around the world. After reading a handful of the posts I started to see one movie that seemed to be in the top five on everyone's list, The Bucket List.

I am sure you are familiar with this 2007 blockbuster hit starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. In case you aren't it's the story of two terminally ill men who escape from a cancer ward and head off on a road trip with a wish list of to-do's before they die. It has inspired a myriad of lists and here's yet another, my top five Canadian things to do and see before I kick the bucket:

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Go out for pizza - Seattle Family Travel

September 30 2013 by Amy Graff
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tutta-bella.JPGA tale of two pizzas: Dining out at Tutta Bella and Serious Pie

My husband's cousin lives in Seattle with her kids and she recommended two pizza places for dinner: Tutta Bella and Serious Pie. We tried both and liked them both but for entirely different reasons. Here's the lowdown.

Tutta Bella
Tutta Bella dishes up fresh, plentiful salads and chewy, charred thin-crust pizzas. You can start with a plate of brushetta and order a nice glass of pinot grigio. This is a place that will please adults palate but it's also kid friendly. Children can order the margherita pizza (cheese and a little basil) and choose a flavor from the gelato bar. There's also a spacious outdoor patio where families can sneak away and not be overly concerned about bothering fellow diners. We felt entirely comfortable and welcome dining here with our baby and two older kids. We could easily walk to the Westlake location from our hotel, the BEST WESTERN PLUS Executive Inn.

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Save money by purchasing a CityPASS - Seattle Family Travel

September 30 2013 by Amy Graff

Seattle city-pass.jpgSeattle is loaded with family attractions, from the Experience Music Project where you can check out George Lucas's original sketches of Darth Vader to the Aquarium where a 64-pound octopus gets fed twice daily at noon and 4 p.m. And then there's the sleek and slender Space Needle topped with a saucer that looks like it's meant for space voyages to Mars.

All of these places charge admission and if you want to do it all, you'll need to spend some money. But you can drastically cut back on the expense with a CityPASS. By purchasing admission to several attractions you get nearly 50 percent off the price. You also get to skip ticket lines.

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Go quackers on a Duck tour - Seattle Family Travel

September 30 2013 by Amy Graff

Ducks-family-shot.JPGThe best--and most--entertaining way to see Seattle is on a Ride the Ducks Tour, which you can pick up in Seattle Center just a block from the BEST WESTERN PLUS Executive Inn.

On these wild and raucous tours, a group of tourists load into a World War II amphibious landing craft that whirls around the city past the top sights and then drops into Puget Sound, offering breathtaking views of the Seattle cityscape.

Along the way a flamboyant and high-energy tour guide--who either drank eight cups of Starbucks before coming into work or is a close relative of Richard Simmons--shares facts about the city, plays funky music and cracks jokes that are laugh-out-loud funny. The tourists are all invited to enjoy the fun by blowing on yellow duck-bill-shaped noise makers.

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Take public transportation from the airport into town - Seattle Family Travel

September 30 2013 by Amy Graff

monorail.jpgWe landed at Sea-Tac airport at 4:30 p.m. Our next stop was the BEST WESTERN Plus Executive Inn in downtown Seattle.

But how to get there? If we rented a car or took a taxi we knew we'd hit the roads smack in the middle of rush hour. Seattle supposedly has some of the worst traffic in the United States.

We decided to take the Link light rail--a great decision. The clean, modern train whisked us downtown in 45 minutes and cost only $8 for our family of five (obviously the newborn was free).

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Visit the Space Needle at the right time - Seattle Family Travel

September 27 2013 by Amy Graff
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view-from-space-needle-1.JPGWe arrived in Seattle on Friday night and after dinner we decided to visit the top of the Space Needle. With our CityPASSes in hand, we walked right into an elevator and in 41 seconds we shot to the top of the city's world-famous icon, originally built for the 1962 World's Fair.

Even on an overcast night, the view was breathtaking and resembled something out of a Batman movie, with twinkling skyscrapers giving the fog a yellow glow.

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20 fun things to do with kids in Seattle

September 27 2013 by Amy Graff

Seattle Space Needle.jpgTraveling to Seattle with kids? Here are 20 fun things to do.

1) Catch the octopus feeding at the Seattle Aquarium. The aquarium's most famous resident is undoubtedly Olive Oil the Octopus. She's curled up in a big ball most of the time but she spreads her tentacles and swims around twice a day during special feedings at noon and 4 p.m.

2) Go "quackers" on a Ride the Ducks tour. The best and most entertaining way to see Seattle is on one of these wild and raucous tours. A group of tourists load into a World War II amphibious landing craft that whirls around the city past the top sights and then drops into Puget Sound, offering breathtaking views of the Seattle cityscape. All along the way a high-energy tour guide, who must have consumed eight cups of Starbucks before coming into work, plays funky music and cracks jokes.

3) Enter a dreamy world of color at the Chihuly Garden and Glass. Massive brightly colored blown-glass sculptures fill this museum showcasing designs by famed artist Dale Chihuly. It's a magical world that you thought only existed in a Dr. Seuss book.

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Trip Ideas for Fall Break

September 25 2013 by Claudia Kunkel

fall break travel.jpgFall Break is approaching, and it seems like there's been too much school already. Instead of staying home over the school break, there are plenty of opportunities for your family to get out and have some fun.

If you're ready for a getaway with your family before the holidays, here are our top recommended places to visit:

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One Very Good Twofer

September 23 2013 by Sam Lowe
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Bryce Canyon.jpgAs we enter into seniordom, we are supposed to get smarter and here's one very smart idea: Twofers.

In technical terms, it means getting two for the price of one. And in this case, it's even better than that because it's two for the price of nothing. If you're smart enough to acquire a senior pass.

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Motorcycle Swap Meets

September 12 2013 by Jason Fogelson

MotorCycle_Swap.jpgSome people have the shopping gene, some don't. It crosses gender lines, age lines, and all ethnic lines. You either enjoy shopping, or you don't.

I have the shopping gene, but mine is mutated. I love shopping for motorcycles, parts and accessories. Without even meaning to, I find myself idly leafing through parts catalogs, haunting Craig's List, trolling eBay Motors and checking prices at Kelley Blue Book. I'm not actively in the market for anything -- I just can't help shopping. Not buying. Shopping.

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Seattle--Here We Come!

September 10 2013 by Amy Graff

Seattle On the Go Amy.jpgOur family welcomed a new baby two months ago. For obvious reasons we spent our summer at home changing diapers. This is unlike our family. We're usually on the go in July and August.

And so we decided that as soon as Julia hit the two-month mark (the time when most experts agree babies are ready to travel), we'd leave town.

Since our two older kids are in school a long weekend is our only option.

Where to go that's close to San Francisco? Seattle!

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10 things you didn't know about Hamilton, ON

September 6 2013 by Bryson Forbes

HamiltonOntario.jpgFor most Canadians when they hear the word Hamilton they immediately think of "Steel Town" and associate the city as a blue collar, hard working, industrial place. It should be a badge of honour and celebrated but if we are honest it's often used to convey a rough and tumble place.

I has guilty of forming an opinion without having spent much time there myself but over the last two years, that has all changed. I have had the pleasure of spending more time in this fantastic area and I thought I would share ten facts that may help change any pre conceived notions you may have about Hamilton.

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Top 5 Zoos

September 4 2013 by Bryson Forbes

TopZoos.jpgEarlier this summer while at a charity golf tournament we came to a hole sponsored by The Toronto Zoo. After speaking with a Director from the Zoo who was set up at the tee box he gave me a pass for a behind the scenes tour for me and my family. I vowed that this would not be a coupon that I would find years later at the bottom of my golf bag and regretted never taking advantage of a great opportunity to see a different side of the zoo.

I am happy to report that last Thursday we went behind the scenes and what an experience it turned out to be. We were able to get up close and personal with the orangutans, gorillas and giant pandas but the highlight was meeting with three of the veterinarians and lab technicians in an area of the zoo that many never get the chance to see. My kids were actually able to hear the heartbeat through a stethoscope of a ferret who was in for a check up. It was amazing and we got a real sense for how committed to the conservation of wildlife these people are and what a positive impact they are having on the survival of threatened species in the wild. In addition to leading research, enabling breeding programs and ensuring the highest standards of animal care, the team at the zoo are focused on educating the public and promoting an appreciation of the importance of wildlife. A goal that they certainly accomplished with us!

Visiting the zoo is a fabulous family activity. It's exciting, it's educational and can be very inspiring! Here is my list of the top five zoos in North America, I have had the pleasure of visiting three of the five so far!

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Hall of Fame Ride Through Ohio, Day Six: Canton to Cleveland and Home Again

September 3 2013 by Jason Fogelson
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RockNRollHallofFame2.jpg
I wake up early after a good night's sleep at the BEST WESTERN PLUS North Canton Inn and Suites. I pack a little carelessly. I'm headed home today, so I'm not worried about finding things in my luggage anymore. Everything's going to get washed, so I don't care about segregating clean from dirty. It's just a matter of stuffing things into the bags at this point, and making sure that it'll all balance from side to side in my saddlebags. I enjoy a quick breakfast of eggs and sausage in the lobby of the hotel while I reflect on the ride ahead. I check out, thanking the staff for an excellent stay. This was a great hotel for my last night -- clean, comfortable and, most of all, very friendly.

I load up the Blue Glide for the last time, and hop on the freeway for a 90-minute ride to Cleveland. I'm riding directly to my first destination of the day, and another longtime dream visit. I'm going to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum.

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Hall of Fame Ride Through Ohio, Day Five: Caldwell to Canton

August 30 2013 by Jason Fogelson
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OhioTripDay5_2.jpgMore rain. That's the forecast for today. I don't mind. I've got some cool destinations today, and several of them are indoors. The temperature is scheduled to be moderate, in the low 80s, and though the rain will be constant, it should be light. No problem.

Breakfast for the BEST WESTERN PLUS Caldwell Inn is over at Lori's Family Restaurant, which is fine by me. I wolf down a portion of sausage and eggs, washed down with a few cups of hot coffee and I'm fueled up for the ride. I check out of the hotel, load up the Blue Glide, and ride out into the misty rain.

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Hall of Fame Ride Through Ohio, Day Four: Cincinnati to Caldwell

August 29 2013 by Jason Fogelson
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OHIORIDEDAYFOUR (2).jpgI wake up in my beautiful room in the BEST WESTERN Mariemont Inn with the great realization that I have a day ahead where the agenda is simply to ride. No appointments, no landmarks -- just me, some great roads, and another Best Western Hotel at the end of the day. I'm completely relaxed, at ease and in the zone. This is what motorcycle travel is all about.

I dawdle a little bit over breakfast in the hotel's restaurant, the National Exemplar. I study my maps, and contemplate the weather. Maybe if I wait another half hour, the rain will pass. But the longer I wait, the warmer the air temperature gets. I'd better saddle up and ride.

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A House of Mystery

August 28 2013 by Sam Lowe

HouseofMystery1.jpgSAN JOSE, California - Like so many who have achieved seniordom, I am a tinkerer and a putterer. I patch holes, repair damaged windows and paint walls when they need it. So it's not difficult to imagine my excitement when, during a visit to San Jose, I visited the Winchester Mystery House. It is Utopia for fixer-uppers.

As well as those who believe in ghosts.

The house has a colorful history, dating back to 1886, when construction began, all the way up to 1922, when the building process ended. In between, Sarah Winchester spent about $5.5 million (nearly $75 million in today's dollars) to keep workmen busy day and night, constructing staircases that led to dead ends and blank ceilings, twisting halls, confusing turns and endless remodeling. It was an eight-room farmhouse when she bought it; by the time she died, crews had added (and ripped apart) more than 500 rooms.

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My Kind of Museum(s)

August 27 2013 by Sam Lowe

Avon.jpgHaving reached that advanced age where I want to see everything and I want to see it in a hurry due to some time constraints, I have discovered small, out-of-the-way museums. Unlike the major museums that require more than two days to view all their contents, these are lesser institutions that a visitor can tour in less than an hour.

Here are some I have explored:

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Hall of Fame Ride Through Ohio, Day Three: Mansfield to Cincinnati

August 22 2013 by Jason Fogelson

DayThreeOhio3.jpgWhich would you rather be -- wet or hot? How about both at the same time? That seems to be my option today in Central Ohio.

I think about the state of affairs as I have some sausage and eggs in the breakfast room at the BEST WESTERN Richland Inn-Mansfield. A hearty hot breakfast always helps me to sort things out. My original plan was to return to Mid-Ohio and watch some of the final day of the AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days activities. If the weather was a bit more pleasant, that's exactly what I would do. But the weather is horrible -- heavy rain and temperatures predicted to rise into the 90s by noon. It's going to be another muddy trudge at the race course. I check the weather prediction on my iPhone, studying the Doppler radar map like a meteorologist. It looks like I can expect clearing to the south. So, I'm heading south.

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Hall of Fame Ride Through Ohio, Day Two: AMA Vintage Motorcycle Day

August 21 2013 by Jason Fogelson

DAyTwoOhio5.jpgI wake up to the sound of rain pattering against the window of my room at the BEST WESTERN Richland Inn-Mansfield. Uh-oh. I get geared up and head to the hotel's breakfast room, where a hearty buffet is on display. I weave my way through the pipeline workers, load up a plate of scrambled eggs and sausage, and find an empty table where I can figure out my day's plans.

I'm headed to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days. It's only about 8 miles west of the hotel, a quick 15-minute ride in perfect conditions. But conditions are far from perfect. The forecast calls for heavy rain, occasional thunderstorms and overcast conditions all day, and temperatures in the 90s. I make a mental note to stay hydrated today, promising myself that I'll drink water at every opportunity.

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Hall of Fame Ride Through Ohio, Day One: Home to Mansfield

August 20 2013 by Jason Fogelson

HallofFameRideOhio1.jpgOhio is the "Birthplace of Aviation," but I'm having a hard time getting there by plane to begin my motorcycle ride.

I arrived at Los Angeles International Airport in plenty of time to make my direct flight to Cleveland, scheduled to depart at 6:02 am. It's now 9:00 am, and we still haven't departed. We've loaded on to the plane, then back off of the plane again. Mechanical issues. I'm beginning to get concerned about schedule. When I land in Cleveland, I have to take a cab across town to Avon, a western suburb of the city, in order to pick up my bike for the week at Lake Erie Harley-Davidson. The dealership is scheduled to close at 6:00 pm, and if my flight gets delayed much further, I may not make it there in time. My carefully planned itinerary will fall apart before I even hit the ground in Ohio.

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A Unique Theme Park Experience

July 31 2013 by James West
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RollerCoaster.jpgIn 2012, Disney-owned parks comprised 6 of the top 10 most-visited theme parks in North America. This isn't necessarily surprising, since most families vacationing at a theme park are there to introduce their children to real-life princesses or to satisfy their own nostalgia. But, what if you don't fit that mold? Here are some suggestions for destinations for the single theme park enthusiast in their 20's.

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International Summer Festivals

July 31 2013 by Mike Mason
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DragonBoatFestival.jpgWhile North America has been celebrating summer with the Fourth of July and Canada Day, many other continents have their own methods to welcome the warm weather. From water sports and dancing to religious observance, summertime is actively diverse in all corners of the earth.

Here are just a few to take note of and remember for the next time you explore travel options:

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Favorite Rides: Minneapolis

July 30 2013 by Jason Fogelson

MinneapolisMotorcycle.jpgI live in Southern California for a reason: Year-round motorcycle riding. Pretty much any day that I've got the notion, I can hop on my motorcycle, and the weather will accommodate.

Folks in Minneapolis don't have that option. Most riders reluctantly admit that they get between six and seven months per year of good riding conditions. Sure, there are the extreme riders who make a point of putting spikes on their tires and riding across the ice in the dead of winter, but those guys are the exception that proves the rule.

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Kissing the Stone, Then and Now

July 24 2013 by Sam Lowe
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blarney stone.jpgBLARNEY, Ireland - My first visit to Blarney Castle centered around a kiss. There was no romance involved, mind you, because it was only a brief encounter between my lips and a rock slab. However, it was one of those things one never forgets because it required hanging upside down about eighty feet above ground level. But that was more than thirty years ago, when I was younger and had less trepidation about putting my body in peril. Besides, I figured at the time, thousands of others had already kissed the Blarney Stone and nothing bad happened to them.

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Tips to survive a Heat Wave!

July 22 2013 by Bryson Forbes
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heat wave.jpgThe last two weeks in Canada have been down right hot! In Toronto, we have experienced six straight days where the temperature surpassed thirty-five degrees Celsius. That's ninety-five Fahrenheit! For us that's scortching.

As usual we Canucks love to talk about the weather and this topic generated a discussion for me this week with a disgruntled friend living this week without air conditioning! He started going through his list of tricks to stay cool, some I knew but others were novel. It got me thinking and has inspired my list of quirky tips to keep the sweating masses cool during a heat wave.

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Walk With the Ghosts

July 19 2013 by Sam Lowe

Ghost.jpgMANSFIELD, Ohio - We who belong to the older generation have long since overcome most of our fears about visiting weird places, seeing eerie sights and traveling to strange destinations. In other words, we're too old and too tough to get scared about much of anything anymore, including the heebie-jeebies.

That makes checking out the Ghost Hunt and Ghost Walk in the Ohio State Reformatory ideal for those of us who may have become just a bit jaded about seeing more castles, cathedrals and cascades as we roam about the world.

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Great Staycations at Best Western This Summer

July 12 2013 by Mike Mason

Island Palms Main Pool Area.jpgSummer's here and the heat is on. The temperature outside is sweltering, the kids are bored and everyone needs to chill. Do you just want to get away without the headache and hassle of dealing with loading up the car, mapping out a destination and listening to "are we there yet" at least a million times?

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Motorcycle Auctions

July 8 2013 by Jason Fogelson
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iStock_000000584472XSmall.jpgI've been thinking about buying a new motorcycle recently. Actually, I've been thinking about buying an old motorcycle.

When I go on motorcycle trips, I almost always wind up renting a bike from Harley-Davidson Authorized Rentals. My bike Manny is a 1993 Sportster, which is great for quick solo blasts around town, but not really conducive to two-up riding. I've been looking for a bike that would entice my wife to ride along with me, and maybe even a bike that would be fun for my dogs.

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Calgary Stampede is ON!

July 7 2013 by Bryson Forbes
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calgary stampede.JPGIt was only a year ago, that we took the entire family for a ten day tour of Alberta and attended the 100th anniversary of the Calgary Stampede. You may recall a series of blogs as we attended opening ceremonies, visited the fair grounds and stopped by Banff, Jasper and Canmore along the way. It's amazing and truly hard to believe that a year has already passed and Calgary is back in the news but this year under much different circumstances.

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The Villages Less Visited

July 7 2013 by Sam Lowe

.oraibi.jpgORAIBI - My foreign colleagues gasped at the raw beauty of the scenery as we approached the villages perched atop the mesas of the Hopi Reservation. Reacting instantly, they whipped out their cameras, bent upon capturing what they considered verbally indescribable. In that same instant, our Hopi guide warned them against it. Taking photos was forbidden, he said, and those who violate that rule face confiscation of their equipment

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Celebrating July 4th

July 3 2013 by Claudia Kunkel

fireworks 2.jpgOne of my favorite holidays of the year is celebrating our nation's independence - the Fourth of July. No presents, no toiling away in the kitchen and no stress. Celebrating Independence Day conjures up images of bringing together family and friends for a backyard barbeque, sun and swimming pools and finding the best spot to watch the sky light up with thousands of exploding fireworks that turn the nighttime into magic.

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Google's Top Searched Cities

July 1 2013 by Matthew Clyde

new york at night.jpgSummer on the road, summer travel, summer destinations - where to go and where to stay? Many of you may have long-planned ahead with already set plans, but for those of us still trying to unpack from spring break, here are a few ideas here to help focus in on the right destination to make for a memorable and unique summer vacation. One approach that has a modern, internet spin to it, is basing your vacation destination by checking on trending locations via Google Trends. One breakdown shows the top-searched urban cities for leisure travel. Here are a few of those destinations you might want to add to your summer travel list.

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A Pirate's Life For Me

June 30 2013 by Mike Mason

route 66 sign.jpgBuried treasure isn't as rare as you think it might be. In fact, "X" marks the spot all over historic Route 66. A new feature on BestWesternRoute66.com sends users in search of hidden treasures along the 2,400 mile roadway. The hidden treasure we speak of? Geocaches!

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The Mother Road Is Calling

June 29 2013 by Mike Mason

the mother road.jpgWho hasn't dreamed of taking the great American road trip? Throwing caution to the wind and setting out on the road, nothing but open landscapes ahead of you and no particular destination in mind, just plenty of stops along the way to see more of the country. No other American highway, past or present, has represented the epic road trip more than iconic Route 66.

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Summertime Means Great Deals

June 28 2013 by James West

savings ahead.jpgWhat's the best part about summertime? Is it the vacation time, road trips, fireworks, baseball...or the great deals?

If you're traveling this summer, before you set out on your journey, take note of some of the great summer promotions held by Best Western. These promotions can you save you some money and could even make this summer the very best yet.

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Unique Best Western Hotels to Visit This Summer

June 27 2013 by Claudia Kunkel
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Holland.JPGSummer is finally here! You've worked hard all year, kids are out of school and it's time to hit the open road. For me, as a kid, and now as a parent, staying at a hotel along the way was sometimes even more exciting and fun than the actual destination itself. The excitement (and relief) of pulling into a hotel for the night after a long day in the car with the kids was something I always looked forward to.

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The Big Apple & BEST WESTERN PREMIER Herald Square

June 25 2013 by Claudia Kunkel

NYC.jpgI recently returned from a trip to New York City - my second time visiting the city. People say that it's a city that never sleeps and how true that is! With so much to do, see and eat in NYC, it's easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the big city.

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Northern California Motorcycle Road Trip Video

June 21 2013 by Jason Fogelson
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Northern California in Style, Day Five/Six: Garberville to Healdsburg/Healdsburg to Oakland and Home Again

June 18 2013 by Jason Fogelson

Day5_1.jpgI wake up to the sounds of V-Twin engines revving, just moments before my alarm goes off. Looking out the window, I see a group of leather-clad riders warming up their bikes and getting ready to ride off. By the time I am showered and dressed, the parking lot has thinned substantially. I make my way to the breakfast room at the BEST WESTERN PLUS Humboldt House Inn and enjoy my sausage and eggs. It seems like everyone staying at the hotel this weekend is here for the Redwood Run. Excitement is high, and I'm eager to get going.

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Northern California in Style, Day Four: Anderson to Garberville

June 17 2013 by Jason Fogelson

Day4_4.jpgI love to sleep, and I sleep very soundly when I'm on the road. I have to admit that if I don't set an alarm, I can easily sleep until noon. I've always been that way.

Last night, however, I set my alarm for 6:00 am, and when it goes off this morning, I leap out of bed. I want to get on the road before the heat sets in, and I'm very eager to spend some time exploring today. I'm on my way to the Redwood Forest.

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Northern California in Style, Day Three: Napa to Anderson

June 14 2013 by Jason Fogelson

BW Nor Cal 1.jpgI wake up from a sound sleep in my plush room at the BEST WESTERN PREMIER Ivy Hotel Napa Valley, thankfully free of any lingering effects from yesterday's wine tour. I was careful to drink plenty of water during the day yesterday, and plenty more before bed last night. I feel fresh and alert this morning as I join the crowd in the hotel's breakfast room. It looks like everybody else has been out jogging or exercising already this morning, and they're now gobbling down fruit and granola for nourishment. I go right for the sausage and eggs, thankful that I'll get some real fuel for my ride today. I gulp down a couple of cups of coffee, and I'm ready to ride.

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Northern California in Style, Day Two: Wine Country

June 13 2013 by Jason Fogelson

BW Napa 5.jpgToday is going to be a special one for me, unique on a motorcycling trip. That's because I won't be riding a motorcycle. I'll be riding in a tour bus.

Spending a day touring California's Wine Country is not what comes to mind when most people picture a motorcycle trip. But why not? The average motorcyclist is remarkably similar, demographically, to the average wine connoisseur. The only challenge is that wine tasting and motorcycling do not mix. Not safely, anyway. But I found a solution to that challenge in Platypus Wine Tours. For $99 per person, you can join a wine tour. The price includes visits to four wineries, a picnic lunch, shared cheese tray and water along the way. Tasting fees at the individual wineries (usually $10 or $15 per person) and driver gratuities (optional) are not included. All you have to bring is your camera and credit card. A sense of humor helps, too.

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Northern California in Style, Day One: Home to Oakland to Napa

June 11 2013 by Jason Fogelson
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BW CA 3.jpgThere's a myth that California is one state. It's really many more than that. Southern California, where I live, is dominated by the urban megalopolis, Los Angeles. Northern California has its own dominant city, San Francisco. But there are vast stretches of California that live outside the urban influence. There are the deserts, the mountains and the coastlines. There is farmland, there are forests. And there are great motorcycle roads crisscrossing all of them. I'm exploring the northern half of the state on this week's ride, and I'll just have time to hit some highlights.

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Canadian Leisure Travel Summit

June 4 2013 by Bryson Forbes

canadian leisure summit.jpgFor the 8th consecutive year Best Western held their Canadian Leisure Travel Summit in Toronto. This year the event was held at the Best Western Primrose
in the heart of downtown Toronto, just down the street from the historic Maple Leaf Gardens. By the way, If you are planning to stay in Toronto, make sure you look into this property, the location is terrific, the staff are friendly and knowledgeable and you can never go wrong with underground parking, free high speed Wi-Fi and restaurant on site!

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Factory to Museum Trip Day Three: Woodstock, IL to Milwaukee, WI and Home Again

May 30 2013 by Jason Fogelson
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KC image 31.jpgI wake up early this morning. I'm like a kid on Christmas morning. I'm finally going to get to tour the Harley-Davidson Museum today.

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Factory to Museum Trip Day Two: Alton, IL to Woodstock, IL

May 29 2013 by Jason Fogelson
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KC image 12.jpgThe weather seems to be following us. A light mist falls over Alton, Illinois as we eat the first meal of the day in the breakfast room in the BEST WESTERN PLUS Parkway Inn. I stoke the fire with scrambled eggs and sausage, along with a few cups of hot coffee. I'm sure I'm going to need it today.

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Factory to Museum Trip, Arrival and Day One: Home to Kansas City, Kansas to Alton, Illiniois

May 28 2013 by Jason Fogelson

KC image 2.jpgI usually ride alone. Alone, or with my favorite companion, my wife Robin, riding pillion. This trip will be different. I'm joining a group of journalists and a few Best Western and Harley-Davidson executives for a group ride from Kansas City to Milwaukee. There will be eleven bikes, all 2013 Harleys -- a mix of Electra Glides, Street Glides, Road Glides, Road Kings and a couple of Heritage Softails. A chase van will follow us with most of our luggage, emergency supplies and a tool kit.

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Southwest Travel & Cuisine

May 21 2013 by Mike Mason
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AZ Diner.jpgIt's no surprise that Southwestern cuisine is one of the more popular choices of foods Americans love to eat. With delicious chili and sauces to spice up your burrito, taco, or nachos- what's not to love about Southwestern food? Southwestern food started in the early days of old Spanish colonial era with a mix of Mexican, Native American, and Western dishes. There are no better places to get Southwestern dishes than the region that it originated from: Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona.

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Take a Walk Along the River

May 20 2013 by Sam Lowe

san antonio river walk.jpgSAN ANTONIO, Texas - Of course, the Alamo is been around much longer, has been the star of a John Wayne movie, gets most of the publicity (except when the San Antonio Spurs are winning another NBA title), and maintains a legendary status. But frankly, one visit to the historically significant shrine is about all it takes to see everything there is to see.

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Springtime Festivals in the U.S.

May 15 2013 by Mike Mason
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biltmore estate.jpgNow that spring is in full bloom it's time to take advantage of what it has to offer. Flower festivals are a great way to enjoy nature and participate in social activities with the community. Many people travel from faraway places to see the beauty of the grand floral affair. Almost every state has their own flower festival, but there are a few in the country that really stand out. Just think of acres and acres of tulips and you will think you've died and gone to heaven.

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Blooming Tulips! (Best Spots to See Spring Flowers)

May 14 2013 by Claudia Kunkel

tulips.jpgThere is nothing like spring season. The world is starting to wake up from its winter sleep and the flowers are opening up to greet the earth like old friends. It's the time of the year where inspiration hits us like the break of dawn and we are overflowing with plans to get out on the road and seek adventures. There is no better way than being surrounded by earth's beautiful bounty to appreciate nature. Areas with good rain and sunshine are the perfect ingredients for a blooming field of flowers. Here are some states bursting with all sorts of flowers to make spring time absolutely magical.

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Pinterest Travel Printables

October 31 2012 by BW Innsider

BW Printable_Travel Shadow Box Paris.jpgLooking for some travel inspiration? Need some visuals around the home or office to keep your eye on the prize?

Follow us on Pinterest to check out some of these fun and creative visuals, repin your favorites, then download them here to print them and frame in your home, office or as gifts!

We love travel and want to share the joy of it with everyone to hopefully inspire others to get out and travel! We have lots more ideas for more printables but let us know what kind of variations you would like to see us make in the comment section below.

We're always looking for great travel boards to follow so comment below with a link to your travel inspired boards for us to follow.

San_Francisco.pdf

Love_the_Trip.pdf

BW Printable_Travel Shadow Box Paris.pdf

BW Printable_HomeisWheretheHeartis.pdf

BW Printable_Route66 Postcard.pdf

Travel is where the heart is Rome.pdf

Travel is where the heart is Texas.pdf


Kid Travel Games - Printables

October 31 2012 by BW Innsider

Kids Activities_Crossword.jpgLooking for fun activity sheets that you can print off to keep the kids occupied during a trip? Print off these fun and cute activities, sure to entertain the kids for part of your next trip.

Follow our
Pinterest Printables board
for more unique inspirational travel images.

Kids Activities_Word search.jpgHappy Travels!

BeachFun.pdf

WhatToPack.pdf

5 Hour Flight, 4 Hour Battery Life, No Problem

October 16 2012 by Claudia Kunkel

cpu.jpgHave you found yourself suffering from boredom on your business travel or while traveling with family for vacation? Sure there's plenty to do on your laptop or iPad, but the juice only lasts so long. If you're looking for something to do on your flight or while in your vehicle and worried about the battery running out on you - fear not, we have you covered!

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Most Scenic Highways and Byways

October 15 2012 by Matthew Clyde
Comments (1)

Sedona.jpgI'm now a mini-van driving dad. Not by choice. I was forced into this decision by the other powers in the household - my wife and her cohorts, my 2 daughters and son. They are in heaven in our fully-loaded, state of the art family mobile for the new millennium. And if our kids had their way they would permanently move into the van.

Despite my hesitations, secretly I have enjoyed the new supped up transportation. Recently we took a drive through Northern Arizona and Southern Utah - which holds some of the most spectacular scenery and landscapes in the nation. A key benefit to the new mini-van set up is the second the kids inquire "Are we there yet?" we can easily flip a switch and they can be entertained with a DVD or game and my wife and I can enjoy the scenery on the road ahead.

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The NHL Strike Effect

October 11 2012 by Bryson Forbes

nhl.jpgAs each passing day goes by and the news about the NHL Labour dispute, officially labeled a "lockout", doesn't change it seems more and more likely that there will not be any NHL hockey this fall and potentially all winter. In Canada, this is a major story, to put it in perspective especially for people in Southern States, this is our equivalent of the NFL or MLB. This is big news north of the 49th parallel.

As TSN (Canada's version of ESPN) scrambles to fill hours and hours of weekly content it is becoming more and more evident to Canadians that another season with no professional hockey is looking more and more likely. We endured a lost season in 2004-05 and now that we are less than two weeks away from what would have been the start of the regular season, it's starting to feel like a real possibility that another season will be lost.

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2012 Top Game Picks for College Football Tailgating & Travel

October 2 2012 by Mike Mason
Comments (1)

tailgating.jpgCollege Football season is finally here (FINALLY) and as a NCAA Football enthusiast, I'm thrilled to once again spend my weekends entranced by the tradition of collegiate gridiron. Not only do I love the grit of age-old competition but hitting the road to see my favorite teams is an experience itself. I have great memories of traveling to see games, of which a majority have been Ohio State (raised in Ohio, Saturdays in the fall are not complete without a Buckeye battle cry) and this season has me dreaming of the games I would like to see live, on the grass with the roar of the crowd.

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Embracing Peer Reviews

October 2 2012 by Bryson Forbes

comment.jpgAnyone who has followed my blog over the last four years already knows that I profess my adoration and respect for www.BestWestern.com almost every week but this week I am kicking it up a notch.

I recently received a press release that was issued announcing how Best Western has made improvements to their already impressive website. One very notable enhancement is the addition of Trip Advisor reviews embedded directly within the site corresponding to each of Best Western's properties. To me it was another example of Best Western addressing an issue head on and putting the customer experience first.

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Oktoberfest 2012 - The Fine Art of Navigating the Beer Gardens of Munich

October 1 2012 by Claudia Kunkel
Comments (2)

oktoberfest.jpgBy the calendar, fall has officially arrived. However, when you live in the southwest and temperatures are still hitting over 100 degrees, it makes it a little more difficult to accept that fact. Nonetheless, fall is here and my thoughts start turning towards holiday travel and fall festivals. One of my personal favorites is Oktoberfest whether I celebrate here in my own neighborhood or travel to Munich for the mother of all beer festivals. This year should be a particularly good year for those people who enjoy a refreshing frosty mug or two due to the increase in popularity of brew pubs and craft beers.

So, here are a few hints for any of you that might be thinking about going to Munich for Oktoberfest, which runs from September 22 - October 7, 2012.

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Packing Precious Pills

October 1 2012 by Sam Lowe

pills.jpgSeveral years ago, maybe even longer ago than that, I never had to worry about how to pack pills, potions, capsules, cure-alls and other forms of medicine while preparing for a trip. But now that I have inadvertently become an elder(ly), I am forced to readjust my pre-trip packing routines as they apply to health matters.

One of my first decisions was to purchase a plastic pill box with several (but never enough) compartments marked with the days of the week on the lids. For normal pill-popping, this would have sufficed, but when I reached that point (as so many of us do) where I began counting meds in double figures, the little squares were no longer large enough to hold a full vacation supply.

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Never Too Old For Zipping

September 18 2012 by Sam Lowe
Comments (1)

Zip line.jpgBack in those long past days when I still had all my hair and it was brown, not white, I volunteered my body for some rather Adrenalin-rushing adventures. Among them, wing-walking and para-sailing. But now well into my senior stage, I no longer have any need for such foolhardy stunts. (Read that: There ain't enough tequila in the world to get me to stand on top of a biplane while it's flying 2,500 feet above the ground ever again.)

However, while traveling through the Hocking Hills area of Ohio, I was introduced to zip lining and a small portion of the desire for the thrills of my youth popped up again. It was exhilarating with just a slight hint of danger, and quite safe even for those who might have qualms about riding a steel cable high above the landscape.

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Canadian WiFi

September 17 2012 by Bryson Forbes

airplane.jpgLadies and Gentlemen this is your captain emailing. This maybe a little premature but Canadian air travellers will soon have access to email and the internet onboard flights after federal regulators recently signed off on a plan to begin offering the service north of the 49th parallel.

The service is currently available with some carriers in the U.S. and has been launched as a fee-based option with rates around $2.00 for 15 minutes or a $20 flat fee for access for the entire flight.

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September 11th in Canada

September 11 2012 by Bryson Forbes

CoBrand.JPGAnyone from Canada born before 1990 knows exactly where they were and what they were doing eleven years ago. To me it is one of the days that I can easily call to the forefront of my mind and I remember vividly almost every aspect of that day. In fact, this year the weather reminded me of September 11, 2001, it usually happens in early to mid September, we get one of those bright and beautiful days but it's a little brisk. Given it's the end of summer it's a day that reminds you that jackets and mitts aren't too far away and you better get out and enjoy it, after what happened that's especially true, because you just never know.

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Visit to the 9/11 Memorial

September 11 2012 by Bridget Daly
Comments (4)

911 (4) (3).jpgOn this 11th anniversary of the tragic events that took place on 9/11, we look back on a recent trip we took to the September 11 memorial, which has now been open for 11 months. The site is breathtaking and has attracted millions of visitors from around the world.

The project is still under construction and (once complete) is expected to house the National 9/11 Memorial Museum as well. If you are ever in NYC do not pass up the chance to visit the 9/11 Memorial.

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Corporate Travel in Canada looking robust!

September 5 2012 by Bryson Forbes
Comments (1)

Air Canada.jpgBy all accounts it appears that corporate travel in Canada looks as healthy as ever!
In fact, a recent study co-authored by Deloitte and the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) has some pretty encouraging stats. Here are just a few:

  • 84% of Canadian Business travelers are planning to travel as much or more this year, up 5% from last year, AND
  • International travel outside North America is expected to jump dramatically with 62% of corporate jet setters planning to be overseas in the next twelve months - that's up from 47% only a year ago.

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Spelunking For Seniors

September 4 2012 by Sam Lowe
Comments (2)

Sam Caves.jpgSpelunking doesn't necessarily have to include scraping your knuckles and knees against rock formations in previously unexplored caverns like those shown on the television documentaries. Not hardly. Although you might miss the thrill of being the first one to see the stalactites and stalagmites that lie hidden beneath the Earth's surface, those of us in the upper ages brackets can get just as excited if we can ride an elevator down to the sights.

In fact, the Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico does have an elevator that takes visitors on a nine-minute ride from the surface to the depths. It's 750 feet one way and makes the trip a lot easier than taking the alternate entryway known as the Natural Entrance Route, which follows steep, narrow trails through a tall trunk passage. It's not for the weak-of-kneed or pot-of-bellied.

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Strange Roadside Attractions

August 31 2012 by Mike Mason
Comments (7)

T rex.JPGAnyone who thinks that road trips are dull doesn't know how to road trip!
The world is full of wacky roadside "wildlife" to bring excitement and hilarity to any road trip. We've collected a couple pictures to show you how to make your next road trip larger than life.

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Best Western's Hot New Properties - France! Italy! China!

August 30 2012 by Claudia Kunkel
Comments (2)

Italy.jpgSo anybody who knows me knows how much I love international travel. The food, the trains, the hotels, the history, and the culture! There isn't anything about traveling internationally that I don't like. I don't even mind all the extra passport checks and security pat-downs. It really isn't so bad! I've been through Ireland and Great Britain, the Caribbean, and parts of Africa and South America. However, I have yet to get to France or China. I would like these countries to be next on my list.

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Smartphones and Travel

August 29 2012 by Bryson Forbes
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Smart Phone.jpgI was laughing to myself this morning. I drove by a fairly busy corner and there were five people waiting for the light to change all of them fully distracted by their smartphone or mobile device. The thing that really struck me was the diversity of this sample. The range was from a blue haired punk rocker teen to an elderly woman with her poodle. The scene got me thinking about how much our devices have changed our lives and I decided to research the impact it's had on travel.

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The Afternoon Snack: Travel Edition

August 29 2012 by Claudia Kunkel

Kids.jpgTraveling with your kids is one of life's greatest adventures. It can be a splendid memory that they'll remember when they have children of their own, or if your kids are like mine, there had better be plenty to do while on those long hours on the highway or airplane otherwise chaos will ensue.

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Great Hiking Sites on the Westcoast

August 28 2012 by Julie Drossos

hiking.jpgHere are some of my favorite hiking spots and trails on the west coast of North America, all worth considering exploring before we lose this lovely summer weather. These are (mostly) for all ages and can be a great family trip to take before we head into the busy fall and holiday season!

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Summer Rock Climbing Destinations

August 27 2012 by Mike Mason

Santa Barbara.jpgIf you're a rock climber in the US, the final month of summer can be some of the most frustrating. Hot stone, a burning sun and crowds of campers make for an uncomfortable hike in and a poor night's sleep. But, don't despair. There are lots of climbing destinations within North America where you can go to avoid the crowds, sleep comfortably and climb in ideal temps for descending. Check out one of our favorites below.

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Our State Fair is a Great State Fair

August 24 2012 by Claudia Kunkel
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State Fair.jpgIn Rodgers and Hammerstein's classic 1945 musical State Fair, viewers were able to watch the drama unfold of the glory and excitement surrounding a state fair, whether attending as a contestant or to revel in the American tradition of bringing the best of a state into one central location. It's no wonder that the most popular song from the musical is, " Our State Fair is a great state fair... it's the best state fair in the state!"

Over 65 years later, a lot of state fairs have faded into history, but there are a few that are as popular as they ever have been. Here are three that still put on quite the show each summer:

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Things you should stop packing

August 23 2012 by Bryson Forbes

Suitcase 2.jpgThere is a litany of information out there about all the things you should consider packing for your next trip or vacation. In fact, I've even written a few blogs on the topic myself. Today however I wanted to talk about all those things you can stop packing. There are many benefits to packing more efficiently including saving money with reduced weight on checked baggage fees, more flexibility and mobility and ultimately a more enjoyable trip.

Let's look at some things you can take out of your next pack.

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MY 5

August 14 2012 by Bryson Forbes

Scottsdale.jpgWe recently moved and yes I am still living out of boxes! As you can imagine, I have gone through the grueling task of changing my address seemingly a thousand times. While doing this I had to change my mobile phone plan and update my five favourite (or most popular) numbers I call, which got the creative juices flowing. Inspired by my mobile phone plan, I have created a travel version of "MY 5" which is a mini version of my travel favourite places. The five places I can count on and enjoy going back to again and again. Without further adieu, I give you MY Travel 5:

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Finding the Funky

August 8 2012 by Sam Lowe
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A2.jpgThe major tourist attractions have always held my attention, but deep down inside, I harbor a strong and well-rooted desire to see and touch the little offbeat sights that don't draw the big crowds. It has nothing to do with reaching seniordom; it's more like a return to a childhood that included nurturing pet frogs and planting my own sunflowers.

So I seek out things like:

The University of Georgia's Marine Extension Service Aquarium in Savannah, Georgia. It's small (only 17 exhibit tanks and one "touch" tank), but it contains more than 200 creatures that represent most of the 50 species that inhabit the Georgia coast. Almost equally important on the funky scale: The facility is located on Skidaway Island, a name that sort of sticks to the inside of your brain when repeated 15 times in succession.

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Get Culture While Waiting for Your Plane

August 2 2012 by Sam Lowe

Sac.jpgAirports are not on my list of favorite places, but I have learned to tolerate them because ... well, if you're going to fly, you're going to wait. And wait. And, sometimes, wait and wait and wait. But I have also learned that the time goes faster, even slips by in a hurry, when I'm waiting in an airport that features art exhibits on the various levels. Many terminals have been displaying works for a long time; others are getting on board in an effort to not only reduce boredom, but also enhance their city's image.

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Travel Packing Tips

July 31 2012 by Claudia Kunkel

Suitcase.jpgSo, you've decided to go on vacation, awesome! Well, nothing will get your trip off on the wrong foot than the stress of packing.

Remember, you'll be hauling your luggage in and out of your car, through the airport, on and off the airplane, on and off the bus, we've all been there - so here are a few tips so you will thoroughly enjoy your vacation - without throwing your back out.

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Before Summer is Over - Popular Travel Destinations and Things to Do

July 31 2012 by Matthew Clyde

Summer.jpgSummer's here (for now), school's out and kids are home. But the kids will be back to school before you know it. Looking for a last minute vacation? Never fear, BEST WESTERN has put together a few of our favorite kid-friendly destinations along with several ideas on things to do once you get there. For those who love Pinterest, this will make your summer planning a little easier.

Here is a list of our top 5 favorites:

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3 Reasons My Kids Love BEST WESTERN Hotels

July 30 2012 by Amy Graff
Comments (2)

Amy.JPGAny time our family is driving down the highway and my kids spot a blue and yellow sign they shout out BeWe--in our family that means you've seen a BEST WESTERN hotel! These kids, ages 7 and 9, have fallen in love with the hotel chain. It makes sense. I work for BEST WESTERN and my kids have stayed in BeWes all over the country. But there are three main reasons why this hotel chain continues to win over their hearts.

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Another Great Trip Comes To An End

July 30 2012 by Bryson Forbes

Rockies.jpgToo soon, it was time to bid Calgary, the Stampede and the glorious Rocky Mountains farewell. This trip was definitely one of our best as a family and it was really special to have thirteen of us together for most of trip. Travelling is all about experiencing new things, growing, learning and most importantly making memories. I can safely say mission accomplished on all fronts.

For my mother-in-law it was the first time in her sixty-six years (we were able to celebrate her birthday during the trip) that she had ever been west of Ontario. It's always amazing to see the reaction of people who witness the beauty of the Rockies for the first time. They really are inspiring. Mary also loved the warm buffet breakfasts we enjoyed from BEST WESTERN to BEST WESTERN across Alberta!

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The 2012 Olympics Are Here!

July 27 2012 by Mike Mason

London 2.jpgWith the Olympics finally here, my travel scope is tending to be to be a little more worldwide. So, in the spirit of these Olympics and my love for worldwide travel, I have constructed a Gold, Silver and Bronze ranking of summer travel destinations around the world.

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Destination Weddings

July 25 2012 by Claudia Kunkel
Comments (1)

wedding.jpgIf you've ever had to plan a wedding, you know how stressful it can be. These days, destination weddings are becoming more and more popular. Packaged deals fitting any budget can make planning easier on your wallet. Destination packages can also eliminate the stress of interviewing countless caterers, bakers, florists and other wedding vendors. Additionally, as soon as your wedding is over, you can roll right into your honeymoon as the last of your guests leave.

I've listed my top 10 favorite destination wedding spots around the world, from faraway weddings to destinations closer to home. Regardless of where you decide to have your wedding, you can be sure there's a Best Western nearby! What other places would you add to the list?

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Jasper to Canmore

July 23 2012 by Bryson Forbes
Comments (1)

CW.JPGAnother beautiful day in Alberta, literally our eighth consecutive day of high twenties, sunshine and no rain at all in the forecast. We started our day, with a similar pattern that I have really adapted well too, a buffet breakfast at Best Western. I can't emphasize enough what a tremendous benefit this has been for us on our family vacation. For me, breakfast is the best meal of the day and to have a warm buffet, prepared for me with no clean up is becoming a staple of any vacation I take moving forward. If you are planning a trip in the near future, remember to include things like breakfast, parking and internet access in the budget. Breakfast alone on this trip saved the five of us approximately four to five hundred dollars!

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Jasper: Maligne Lake

July 19 2012 by Bryson Forbes

A00.JPGOur great weather experience continued as we woke up to sunny skies. We headed over to The Inn restaurant at the BEST WESTERN PLUS Jasper Inn & Suites and Suites for an excellent buffet breakfast. What a great start - scrambled eggs, sausages, bacon, pancakes, French toast, hash browns, assorted yogurts, fresh fruits and juices, oatmeal and cereals and coffee and teas.

The highlight of our day was heading over to Maligne Lake, which is about 50 km's from Jasper but well worth the drive. In fact, this was the highlight of this leg of the trip. The drive from Jasper followed a rushing river that was spectacular and provided great opportunities to wildlife sightings. With 7 of us in the car there were lots of eyes peeled for bears, caribou, moose and deer. Despite all the eyes, we only saw one deer on the drive up.

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The Road to Jasper

July 17 2012 by Bryson Forbes

A3.jpgThe plan for today was to get from Banff to Jasper which is about three hundred kilometres northwest through the Columbia Icefield and Jasper National Park. We really got lucky because the weather was ideal to do one of the world's most scenic driving experiences. Highway 93 weaves through the most majestic mountain views, emerald coloured glacier-fed lakes and abundant forest landscapes. Everywhere we looked we were surrounded by breath-taking beauty. Everyone in the car was pretty quiet just taking in all in.

We made a quick stop at the Columbia Icefield which as the name suggests is the home of a huge glacial icedrift. Unfortunaely all the glaciers in Western Canada are receding glaciers which means more snow and ice is melting that is being replaced each year. Experts claim that within 75 years there will be no glacial ice left in this part of Canada which is unsettling after having the privilege of just seeing them in all their magnificence.

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Travel Packing Tips

July 16 2012 by Mike Mason

B.jpegSo, you've decided to go on vacation, awesome! Well, nothing will get your trip off on the wrong foot than the stress of packing.

Remember, you'll be hauling your luggage in and out of your car, through the airport, on and off the airplane, on and off the bus, we've all been there - so here are a few tips so you will thoroughly enjoy your vacation - without throwing your back out.

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The View from Banff

July 12 2012 by Bryson Forbes
Comments (2)

A3.jpgAfter another wonderful pancake breakfast at the BEST WESTERN PREMIER Freeport Inn and Suites we packed up, checked out and hit the road north-west for "The Rockies" and a couple days in Banff.

Banff
is about an hour from Calgary and consistently voted Canada's number one travel destination. Nestled in the Rocky Mountains you definitely cannot beat the breathtaking views and mountain air. We arrived just before lunch and checked into the BEST WESTERN PLUS Siding 29 Lodge. Just to answer your first question right away, the name Siding 29 dates back to the early days of Banff in 1883 when the Canadian Pacific Railway made it's way west and the work camp, which later become the town of Banff was known as "Siding 29".

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Family Day at Stampede

July 11 2012 by Bryson Forbes

A2.jpgWe woke up Sunday morning to Toronto-like conditions. A rare heat-wave in Alberta has temperatures climbing up to thirties celcius (nineties fehrenheit) so we felt right at home here.

One of the great traditions of stampede are pancake breakfasts where businesses, clubs and associations host a full western breakfast featuring pancakes, sausage, scrambled eggs, juices, coffees and teas. Of interest, the BEST WESTERN PREMIER offers a pancake breakfast every day with but they also feature waffles, fresh fruits, cereals, custom made omelettes, oatmeal, muffins, pastries, yogurts, juices, coffees and teas. Sixteen of us showed up at the Calgary Winter Club to stompin' country tunes, face-painting, cowboys & cowgirls as far as the eye could see.

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Calgary Stampede- Opening Day Parade - Day 2

July 10 2012 by Bryson Forbes
Comments (1)

Z.jpgWe touched down in Calgary last night in the early evening and were met with fanfare and cowboy hats. After picking up our rental chariot for the week we checked into the BEST WESTERN PREMIER Freeport Inn and Suites and were immediately impressed. This was my first experience with a BEST WESTERN PREMIER and it did not disappoint (more details in tomorrows blog).

One of the great benefits that we experienced immediately was the onsite restaurant and lounge and they were extremely accommodating. There were 11 of us and they provided us with a private area, superb service, food and a great selection of wines.

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Festival Season has begun

July 7 2012 by Bryson Forbes

A1.jpgI just came off a grueling weekend helping launch Oakville's inaugural ribfest! I was asked months ago to help our local rotary club and sat on the marketing committee to promote the festival to officially start summer! I am still suffering from Smokey Hickory withdraw from the sweet aroma that seven "Ribbers" from across north America emitted overt the last seventy two hours. The event was held at Sheridan College and it attracted almost 24,000 people crushing the initial goal of 15,000.

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Calgary Stampede: Here we come!

July 6 2012 by Bryson Forbes
Comments (2)

A3.jpgThe countdown has been on for months in my house as we get set for a fantastic summer vacation in 2012. We are heading to Calgary this afternoon to start a nine-day getaway with lots of action.

The first cool point is the "we". Leaving from Toronto are my wife, Ruth and I with our two kids, daughter Caira who is nine and my son, Ethan who is 8 along with my mother-in-law, Mary. We are meeting up with my Mom and Dad in Calgary and my sister and her family. She has two girls, Alicia who is 4 and Julia who is almost 2. My Aunt and Uncle are also in Calgary, so for some of the events there will be thirteen of us!

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Off the Beaten Path

July 6 2012 by Sam Lowe

21 palace.jpgLike many of us seniors, I am no longer interested in scrambling into uncharted territory just so I can view something most everyone else hasn't already seen and photographed. I prefer the attractions that are easily reachable, even though thousands have been there before me. But I have also come across a good sampling of lesser-knowns that have been well worth exploring.

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Celebrate America from the Heart

July 3 2012 by Mike Mason
Comments (4)

fireworks.jpgNothing says Independence Day quite like a colorful and thundering fireworks display. The only thing that would make it even more special is if you were celebrating it in the beating heart of the United States of America: Washington, D.C.

The National Mall with the U.S. Capitol and Washington Monument on either side creates a stunning backdrop for fireworks that annually light up the 4th of July night sky. Make sure to claim your seat early in the day after the mall opens to the public at 10:00 a.m. You will need to enter through one of the security entrances, but once you've selected your spot, there is plenty to do. Activities on the mall include readings of the Declaration of Independence, a folk life festival and an evening concert by the National Symphony Orchestra out on the West Lawn.

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Caption Saturday Favorite Picks

June 28 2012 by Claudia Kunkel

A.jpgWe love Best Western fans. We love their sense of humor. Nowhere else is this more evident than with the Best Western Travel Caption contests. So we wanted to showcase a few of our favorite Travel Caption contest winners and celebrate their humor. You can find some of our favorite images below (HINT: We really love puns!) and if you're on Pinterest feel free to pin away!

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Best Western's I Care Clean Making Headlines

June 26 2012 by BW Innsider

remote.JPGBy now we hope you've heard of Best Western's new advanced cleaning technologies program - I Care Clean. It's certainly been making a buzz in the national news and is being recognized as a benchmark for hotel cleanliness.

The new program empowers Best Western's Housekeeping to set a new standard for customer care with the use of UV Wands, Black Lights and Clean Remotes.

Take a look at what some of the media has to say about Best Western's I Care Clean!

LATimes.com, "Best Western Hotel Chain Goes After Overlooked Grime," Hugo Martin

NYDailyNews.com, "Hotel Cleaning Goes High-Tech"

CNN.com, "Hotel Chain Rolls Out Black-Light Inspections, UV Sterilization," Marnie Hunter

USAToday.com, "CSI Hotel Room: Best Western Goes High-Tech To Clean," Barbara DeLollis

CNBC (CNBC) TV, "Squawk on the Street"

ChicagoTribune.com, "Germ Warfare In Hotels," Josh Noel

SFGate.com, "What's The Dirtiest Thing In Your Hotel Room?," Chris McGinnis

Some Senior Travel Alerts

June 22 2012 by Sam Lowe

old couple.jpgIt is not my intention to dissuade anyone our age from going to any particular travel destination, but my time on the road has left me with several impressions that might serve to alert others to possible danger. Well, not so much danger itself, but situations that might prove uncomfortable for some.

The Astronomical Clock in Prague, Czech Republic, is a magnificent attraction. Originally installed in 1410, it is the oldest working clock of its kind anywhere in the world. It was placed on the south side of the Old Town City Hall and has suffered repeated damage due to war, time and the elements but it keeps on marking the hours as it has done for more than 600 years. Every hour on the hour, wooden figures of the twelve Apostles march past windows on the face, while other figures flanking the clock are also set in motion.

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Canadian Summer Music Festivals

June 19 2012 by Julie Drossos
Comments (5)

Bass.jpgSummer is here, and what's better than spending a warm summer's day or night enjoying great music and people watching? You might not think it but Canada actually has some pretty sweet music festivals that take place in the summer months. Below I have included a list of some sure-to-please events happening across Canada; there's a little something for everyone.

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Father's Day Getaways

June 15 2012 by Amy Graff
Comments (2)

Father.jpgPity the dad who opens his Father's Day gift to find a pinstripe shirt or a box of golf balls. Why not surprise the man of the house with a weekend getaway the entire family can enjoy? Here are a few ideas for travel adventures geared to dad.

Catch a fish on Idaho's Salmon River
Riggins lies deep in a canyon at the confluence of the Salmon River and the Little Salmon River in west central Idaho. It's a hub for outdoor adventure and you'll find a myriad of outfitters. You can cast for steelhead or sturgeon or hop in a raft for white-water thrills. Or, take a hike in nearby Hells Canyon Recreation Area.
Where to Stay: BEST WESTERN Salmon Rapids Lodge (Riggins, Idaho)

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5 Tips to Survive Sharing a Hotel with friends

June 13 2012 by Bryson Forbes

iStock_000001282156XSmall.jpgI am only days away from my annual golf retreat. This year we have twenty-eight guys and are heading up to the Muskoka region of Ontario for 3 days and 3 nights of great friends, good food and mediocre golf! I should clarify the golf courses are among the most beautiful in Canada, it's the golfers that don't do the game justice. Nevertheless it's an event I look forward to for months!

The second biggest challenge behind keeping your golf ball in play is sharing accommodations with three other friends for 72 hours. If you find yourself in this position here are my five tips to survive:

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Keeping Things Tangle-Free

June 8 2012 by Jason Fogelson
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iStock_000008527225XSmall.jpgI bring a lot of electronic equipment with me on every motorcycle trip. I have at least two cameras, two video cameras, an iPhone, an iPod, a MacBook, a Kindle and a GPS unit. Each piece of equipment seems to have its own cables, plugs and chargers. And cables love to tangle, which annoys me and wastes my valuable time.

I used to consolidate all of my cables in one small carrying case to make sure that I didn't lose any. Cables being how they are, I discovered that every time I went to get a cable out to use it, a whole tangle of cables came out at once. No matter how neatly I put them away, the cables took on a life of their own and tangled up.

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Raising the bar on Room Cleanliness

June 7 2012 by Bryson Forbes

iStock_000020153777XSmall.jpgEvery once in a while, a company finds an innovative way to dramatically enhance the customer experience. The result can be so impressive that within a short time frame the competition will have no choice but to follow suit and mimic the product or service.

In my opinion, Best Western has implemented just such a service enhancement. As part of its continued dedication to lead the hospitality industry in customer care, Best Western International is rolling out its "I Care Clean" program throughout 2012 that will bring advanced cleaning technologies used in hospitals, such as UV wands and black lights, to the more than 2,100 Best Western hotels in North America.

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Something To Live By

June 6 2012 by Claudia Kunkel

iStock_000009773738Small.jpgWhat do all 50 states as well as the ten provinces of Canada have in common that also make each unique? They all have a motto, many of which are abstract, but others that today live up to the short phrase coined years ago. Canada's motto, A Mari Usque Ad Mare means "From Sea to Sea," and the United States of America's E Pluribus Unum is translated to be, "Out of Many, One."

When each of these states, provinces or countries were formed, their motto was chosen to formally describe the general motivation or intention of that particular territory of land. There are many mottos that are completely ambiguous, but others that do a great job of describing the experience there. Here are five favorites who live by their mottos that I really love to visit:

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Getting to Your Destination with Road Signs

June 5 2012 by Mike Mason

iStock_000004456406XSmall.jpgWith summer travel approaching, drivers are taking it to the nation's highways to explore the four corners of North America. This can be an exciting adventure, full of new sights and experiences, but it can also be confusing. Many motorists find themselves in a new place without really knowing what the local driving laws or road signs mean. Whether you're taking a trip to San Francisco or Louisville, here are five refreshers to help you stay safe on the road:

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Best Western Introduces New Cleaning Technologies For Hotels

June 1 2012 by BW Innsider
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Maid.JPGYesterday marked a special occasion For Best Western, as our new program - I Care Clean - was launched via an exclusive in USA Today. Best Western continues its dedication to lead the hospitality industry in customer care with advanced cleaning technologies throughout 2012 in the more than 2,100 Best Western hotels in North America!

The new program empowers Best Western's Housekeeping to set a new standard for customer care with the use of UV Wands, Black Lights and Clean Remotes.

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New York City

May 31 2012 by Bryson Forbes

iStock_000015374278XSmall.jpgI really do love being in Manhattan. I'm not sure I can articulate exactly what it is, but it is definitely palpable.

I have been very fortunate to host the Leisure Travel Summits for Best Western in both Toronto and New York the last two years and in mid May I was back in the big apple for the annual event.

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Canadian Leisure Travel Summit

May 25 2012 by Bryson Forbes
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iStock_000016555156XSmall.jpgFor the 7th year in a row Best Western brought together a panel of industry executives to discuss the state of leisure of travel in Canada. Once again I had the pleasure of moderating the discussion that was held at the Board of Trade in downtown Toronto. My task was made much easier with the strength of the panel. Dorothy Dowling, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Best Western participated in her seventh summit along with Tony Pollard, the President of the Hotel Association of Canada who was here for his fifth. Joining Dorothy and Tony as a panel rookie was Brenda Kyllo, Vice President of Travel at CAA.

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Travel Apps and Gadgets

May 22 2012 by Mike Mason
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iStock_000017233306XSmall.jpgAdvancements in travel gadgets over the past ten years have made business travel a lot less stressful and no gadgets have had a bigger impact than smart phones and tablets. Armed with the right apps these devices can provide their owners with tools that once would have taken an entire suitcase to fill. Here are few great travel apps that will help you get the most out of your smart phone or tablet:

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North Dakota Travel

May 18 2012 by Claudia Kunkel

iStock_000016177373XSmall.jpgThis year, I've decided to break out of the old routine and pack my bags for a road trip to new places that are slightly off the beaten track. Having grown up in the Midwest, my family traveled to surrounding states, but North Dakota got left out of the plans. I thought it was way past time to check out the state for myself and see what I missed seeing.

The first step in planning a road trip is to do your research and for me, that is learning about the state's past as well as the present. North Dakota sits in what is called the "Great Plains" - something I know I was taught in grade school, but it wasn't until now that I actually was interested in that bit of information. One other interesting fact is that North Dakota is considered to be the "Geographic Center of the North American Continent." This is actually a good piece of information to keep in mind for the next trivia game.

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Great Meals On the Road

May 15 2012 by Sam Lowe
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iStock_000019456187XSmall.jpgIn those halcyon days I still longingly refer to as "my youth," dining while on the road was rarely more than a burger and fries, or a Twinkie with a chocolate shake. But as I continue the march into 'seniorhood', my away-from-home eating habits have undergone drastic changes. Now, rather than rush into a convenience market or a fast food outlet, I look forward to sit down, white napkin experiences that are a far cry from candy bars and salted peanuts (although they remain at least a minor part of my diet when traveling alone).

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Let's Celebrate Mother's Day!

May 11 2012 by Claudia Kunkel

iStock_000019781956XSmall.jpgThe first Mother's Day celebration was held on the 2nd Sunday of May in 1908 and in 1914 US President Woodrow Wilson declared the 2nd Sunday in May Mother's Day. The rest, as we say, is history.

Mother's Day is this Sunday and if you haven't made plans for Mom's big day - time is quickly running out. Trust me; if you just put a little planning into the day, everyone wins by seeing mom so happy.

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Business Layover Activities

May 9 2012 by Mike Mason
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iStock_000019482663XSmall.jpgFor most of us, airport layovers can be almost unbearable. Spending several hours in a packed and uncomfortable airport lounge flipping through a magazine or fiddling with a smart phone just isn't the most enjoyable part of business travel. The good news is it only takes a little bit of prior planning to turn that dreaded layover into a fun and entertaining way to start your business trip.

The first step to planning a successful layover activity is figuring out approximately how much time you will have on the ground between flights. Obviously, flights aren't always on time and the exact time you have may be more or less than you planned, but at least you'll have a general idea of what activities will work for you.

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A Soup Spoon Vs The Center of the Earth

May 8 2012 by Claudia Kunkel
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iStock_000016031396XSmall.jpgI remember in my younger years, thinking that if I could dig a hole all the way to China and jump through it, I would fall all the way through and end up standing on my head. You know, because it's on the other side of the world and, obviously, that's how gravity works. Well, when I was about 8 years old I decided to try it - I'm sure you did too when you were a kid.

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Take Life Easy On a Train

May 7 2012 by Sam Lowe

iStock_000018023154XSmall.jpgMany years ago, during my youth, the Soo Line Railroad tracks ran directly behind our house, so my brothers and I learned to tell time by the blasts from the old stream engines that belched across the North Dakota prairies. Taking the train to grandmother's house was a major adventure. When our dad got a job with the railroad, he'd let me ride in the caboose, where I'd sit up in the cupola and wave down to my pals. As I mentioned, that was a long time ago.

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Cinco Celebrations in the Southwest

May 4 2012 by Claudia Kunkel
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iStock_000019644304XSmall.jpgCinco de Mayo! Here in the United States, it is a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride. Ironically, the day is barely noted in Mexico. Commonly mistaken with Mexican Independence Day (which is September 16th), it is actually an observation of the day that the Mexican Army had an unlikely victory over French forces in the Battle of Puebla. If you travel the country on May 5th, particularly in the Southwest, you are likely to find the kinds of festivals, concerts, and celebrations that rival those of St. Patrick's Day.

If you happen to find yourself in the Phoenix area, there is a great family-friendly celebration downtown that includes live bands, boxing, dancing and other entertainment, as well as plenty of food and drinks. Around town, there are many other celebrations as well. Visit Macayo's annual 'Cinco de Macayo' at the Depot Cantina; Aunt Chilada's Squaw Peak; the Enchanted Island at Encanto Park and the Chandler Cinco de Mayo Festival in Chandler.

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How to Be Healthy While On the Road

May 2 2012 by Mike Mason
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iStock_000016505888XSmall.jpgThere is something about traveling that makes me forget about all my food morals. I'm sure I'm not alone. With fast food joints at practically every freeway exit across the country, it is quite tempting to give in and jump on the fast food band wagon. It seems so easy to just pull into the drive-through, grab a burger, fries, and a soda, and be on your way. However, if you plan ahead, and stay vigilant, you can have a guilt free trip - at least when it comes to food.

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Basking in the April Showers

April 30 2012 by Mike Mason

iStock_000016544728Small.jpgFeeling too sunny? Want to go cloud watching, but you live in the middle of the blue skies in Las Vegas or Tampa? There's nothing wrong with loving the view of a gentle drizzle falling over the mountains or sporting a raincoat next to the sea. As the month of April (and April showers) concludes, we take a look at three U.S. cities that are known for having the most rainy days each year, visit them and you may just catch a few drops:

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Be an On-the-road Exercise Warrior

April 30 2012 by Mike Mason

iStock_000009109571XSmall.jpgIt's almost the end of March, you're amazed at how well you've been holding on to this year's resolutions and then it comes- your assignment to travel for work. Don't let a small business adventure put your exercise goals at risk. With some planning and preparation, you can stay in peak condition while away from home and the office.

Here are the 10 tips to stay healthy and happy while working abroad:

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Travel to Canada

April 27 2012 by Bryson Forbes
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iStock_000017715869XSmall.jpgAfter a very difficult three years, the Canadian Tourism Commission is full of optimism. The reason to smile is that for the first time ever in a single month (February 2012), the eleven markets that they have identified as the key markets for Canada were all up in visitor numbers to Canada. This is great news for all of us as travel and tourism has such a positive impact on our overall economy!

Leading the charge were Brazil and Australia and interestingly February is an attractive month for them to come to Canada to ski! Both Brazil and Australia are very active cultures and they came in droves this year to hit our slopes.

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Mild Spring Means More Travel

April 25 2012 by Bryson Forbes
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iStock_000019970994XSmall.jpgHave any of you been watching Frozen Planet on the Discovery Channel lately? What a great show. In some weird and unexplainable way it makes me feel even more proud to be Canadian. But I wonder if that's because this year in my neck of the woods it's been so mild?

Having been somewhat de-sensitized to the cold at least for this year, what will it do for travel and tourism in Canada?

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Going All By Yourself

April 23 2012 by Sam Lowe
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iStock_000019969888XSmall.jpgIn my younger years, when I was a carefree bachelor, most of my travels were solitary. I would, for example, select a destination but not a definite route, then hop in my car and drive there without concerning myself with trip durations, accommodations (I frequently bedded down in my hatchback), or lack of companionship.

During those times, I met several other travelers with similar agendas, and we discussed such important issues as fast food, parking lots that let you sleep in your car and, most importantly, rest stops. Life was good.

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No End in Sight to Rising Gas Prices

April 17 2012 by Bryson Forbes

iStock_000004322888XSmall.jpgIt seems that experts agree that there is no end in sight for rising gas prices in Canada. Even during the Hurricane Katrina, crisis prices for regular unleaded gasoline in Toronto never surpassed $1.40 per litre. According the National Post, analysts predict we could hit $1.47 before the end of this month.

It certainly sounds bad, but what does it actually mean to the average Canadian at the pump? I have had some trouble finding a reliable number for how much gas people buy in a typical month but it seems like it's between $250 and $500 depending of course on your vehicle and driving habits. So let's slice it down the middle and use $375. Gas prices have jumped about 20 percent in the last year and therefore it means an extra $75 a month right in the tank.

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Travel Gadgets

April 16 2012 by Sam Lowe
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iStock_000014944984Small.jpgWith airlines getting pricier and TSA getting fussier, going small is becoming important(er). So here are a few lesser-sized travel gadgets that we seniors could find particularly useful when it comes to finding, packing and retrieving.

Worried about the possibility of being accosted or even assaulted while walking along the streets and byways in an unfamiliar town? Buy a tiny alarm unit. They now make them so small that they can be attached to a belt, but they emit a 100-decibel shriek once the user pulls the cord. That'll scare off any mugger.

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Service Versus Price in Travel

April 12 2012 by Bryson Forbes
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Family Room Mom Paper.jpgOne of the age old debates for people choosing a hotel has been whether service or price was more important and to what degree. The "luxury" hotels polarized those who were willing to shell out lots of money to get a premium service experience, while budget conscious travellers chose to forego extra amenities to save money.

Although there is still that divide, the Hotel Association of Canada's recent Travel Intentions Study confirms that most travellers now want the best of both worlds.
Travellers expect or at least place significant importance on a number of amenities and services but at the same time are not prepared to break the bank to get them.
Here are a few of the results that illustrate this:

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A Grapefruit and a Cactus walk into a baseball stadium...

April 3 2012 by Mike Mason
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iStock_000003184796XSmall.jpgWhen it comes to baseball, Spring Training takes the cake. $8 tickets? Don't mind if I do. Seats so close you can see the players blink? Yes, please. I tip my hat to whoever came up with Spring Training games. However, after tipping my hat, I can't help but scratch my head at the locations.

You have two choices - you can bake and hang out with the local cacti while you enjoy Arizona's finest spring baseball, or you can steam and slurp on a juicy grapefruit while you enjoy Florida's finest Spring baseball. Whatever you choose you are likely to walk out with a sunburn and, possibly, a minor to severe heat rash, and, if you're lucky, a fly ball. It sounds unpleasant but, believe it or not, that doesn't stop thousands of people from flocking to Arizona and/or Florida to see their favorite players and teams play every spring - and sometimes for less than ten buckaroonies at that.

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Golf Season...Already

March 29 2012 by Bryson Forbes

iStock_000001941164XSmall.jpgIt's true, with such a mild start to 2012 in many parts of Canada, golf courses are opening up about a month earlier than normal. As an avid golfer in Ontario, Masters weekend (also referred to as Easter weekend) is when I start to look forward to the new season. In fact, I have never played in Ontario before mid-April in my life. This year, although I still haven't played, I have had offers to play in early March. What's even more bizarre is many of my friends who have played already, played comfortably in shorts!!

The other benefit of the mild weather is the fact the courses are not only opening early but they are in great shape. With the extended golf season, great weather and courses in fantastic shape this is a great time to start planning a spring golf getaway. Off season rates will still be in effect so thinking about an April or early May golf trip will combine the best of both worlds and you can enjoy mid season conditions at pre season prices!

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Southern Hemisphere Travel

March 28 2012 by Claudia Kunkel
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iStock_000016946926XSmall.jpgDoes it still feel like winter in your neck of the woods? Is spring disappointing you and the sun shining just a pleasant memory? If your thoughts are turning to summer already, don't despair. It is summer - you just have to go a little further to find it. While it may be winter here in the Northern Hemisphere, there are many exciting new destinations just waiting for you to explore in the Southern Hemisphere. So spread your wings a little and head out to countries that are in the throes of their summer. Here are a few suggestions to get you started.

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Traveling With the Team

March 27 2012 by Claudia Kunkel

iStock_000014536486XSmall.jpgTaking on the planning for a traveling sports team can be overwhelming. If you know the ins and outs of making the plans and how to have a successful trip, everything will go much more smoothly and you will be able to sit back, relax and enjoy the trip once it finally arrives.

Kids are notorious for losing their homework let alone losing their important travel documents like IDs! You will want to make copies of all of the documents to have at home in case you would lose anything and need them faxed or sent to you.

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Be an On-the-Road Exercise Warrior

March 26 2012 by Mike Mason

iStock_000018330951XSmall.jpgIt's almost the end of March, you're amazed at how well you've been holding on to this year's resolutions and then it comes- your assignment to travel for work. Don't let a small business adventure put your exercise goals at risk. With some planning and preparation, you can stay in peak condition while away from home and the office.

Here are the 10 tips to stay healthy and happy while working abroad:

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Travel Trends 2012 from the Hotel Association of Canada

March 22 2012 by Bryson Forbes

iStock_000018426579XSmall.jpgI have just finished reading, "Advancing the Issues," the annual report that is produced by The Hotel Association of Canada (HAC). My good friend, Tony Pollard, who happens to be the President of the HAC sent me my advanced copy. This report has become THE barometer for travel intentions from Canadians from both a leisure and business travel perspective.

Each year in January the HAC get survey responses from approximately 1,500 Canadians and compare their intentions going all the way back to 2006.
Here are a few of the key highlights from this years report:

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Revisiting an Old Friend

March 19 2012 by Sam Lowe

iStock_000012623350XSmall.jpgIn our ongoing rush to go everywhere and see everything, we sometimes forget about the destinations that endeared us years ago but are now often ignored because they're close to home. So we tend to adopt a "been there, seen that" attitude toward them. I thought about that recently while Lyn, my wife, and I drove toward the Grand Canyon. We've been there several times, and we still marvel at its beauty, but perhaps we get a bit jaded even though it's one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.

So we look for something different every time we visit. And, fortunately, they're easy to find. This time, we approached the Bright Angel Trail and looked down into the chasm below. But we didn't trod upon its well-traveled path. I did that once, many years ago when I was younger, stupider and very much out of shape. The trip down was a lark. I made it to the Colorado River in less that three hours. The return was an embodiment of everything hellish I could imagine at the time. Every step was agony and my legs grew heavier each time I plopped a foot down upon the wicked and rocky slants leading to the top. More than eight hours after leaving the river, I reached the South Rim and vowed never to (a) laugh about it and (b) do it again.

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FAMOUS IRISH PUBS

March 17 2012 by Claudia Kunkel

iStock_000015695814XSmall.jpg"La Fheile Padraig Sona Daoibh" and "Erin go Braugh". No, it's not gibberish, translated it means Happy St. Patrick's Day and Ireland Forever in Gaelic.

Just in time for St. Patrick's Day, I've come up with a list of the notable Irish Pubs around the U.S. and Ireland; who knows, some of you might just be lucky enough to live by one of these popular institutions. I can attest to the wonderful pubs in the Temple Bar area of Dublin, having wandered into one or two of them. I would be hard-pressed to name my favorites, since I thought every one of those pubs were delightful, charming and perhaps offering the best draw of a Guinness that I have ever had the pleasure of enjoying. For those of you that enjoy a draught or two, a Guinness is something to be savored and leisurely lingered over, while joining in on a chorus or two of Danny Boy. (Warning, singing along with Danny Boy while enjoying a Guinness may produce a tear or two).

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St. Patrick's Day in America

March 16 2012 by Claudia Kunkel
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iStock_000014696465XSmall.jpgSt. Patrick's Day is here again! What a great holiday celebrating Irish culture and heritage! Since its original parade in 1783, March 17 has evolved into feasts and festivals and celebrations of the pride and culture of Ireland - regardless of your own national heritage. As they say, "Everyone's Irish on March 17th!"

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Looking Back to Vancouver as The London Olympics Draw Near

March 15 2012 by Bryson Forbes

iStock_000015739020XSmall.jpgIt really does seem like a long time ago since Sidney Crosby's golden goal, which became the unofficial closing ceremony on Vancouver and Canada's Winter Olympics. It has been more than two full years and in the coming weeks and months memories will be rekindled as we turn our attention to London for the summer games. The games start on July 27th.

As we look back, Canada now views the Vancouver games as a cultural turning point and without fail, Canadians take great pride in what happened on the West Coast in winter of 2010. But, it didn't start that way.

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Last Minute Travel

March 13 2012 by Claudia Kunkel

iStock_000017108927XSmall.jpgAre you thinking the ol' same ol' has got to go and it's time to take a little trip to get away from it all? But you don't have the time to stray too far from home, but you want to go far enough away to feel like you're not home. Who hasn't been there before?

First things, first - decide where you want to go. Are you driving or flying? Warm or cold weather preferred? Is Fido or Fluffy coming along for the trip? Well, no matter where you chose, you can be sure a Best Western hotel will be there and you're sure to be welcomed as well.

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Girls Getaway

March 12 2012 by Bryson Forbes
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iStock_000017786859XSmall.jpgOne of the fastest growing segments that we are seeing in travel and tourism today is "Girls Getaways". In fact, according to the Canadian Tourism Commission female bonding vacations in North America have spiked by 230% over the last 6 years! No longer considered a niche, travel providers are starting to take notice and cater to this powerful group's wants and needs.

Here are just a few examples of neat ideas as spring draws near that you can hopefully use as inspiration to begin to plan a well-deserved escape.

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Social Media and Travel

March 8 2012 by James West
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iStock_000017466099XSmall.jpgBy now, you're either very familiar with social media, or at the very least, heard of sites like Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, etc. Social networking is often thought of as boring status updates or annoying friend requests. Look beyond that, and you will discover much more usefulness with it, especially when it comes to travel.

Smart companies have a prevalent presence in social media. That can mean a number of things, but just a little research during your travel into the places you're visiting and staying at can produce surprising discounts. Take Best Western for example. They have numerous benefits to being a participant in their social media.

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March Break Road Trip

March 6 2012 by Bryson Forbes

iStock_000019019144XSmall.jpgIf you are not so keen on skiing during March break,, how about a good old-fashioned road trip?

Some of my fondest memories as a child are from family road trips. My parents always stressed the importance of getting to know your local area, and now that I have my own family, I truly appreciate that advice and like to hit the road when possible.

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Seeing it From the Front Seat

March 5 2012 by Sam Lowe
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21 pen.jpgI have reached an age in which extended walking has lost most of its appeal. I'd much rather drive there.

For that reason, a recent foray into the wilds of Ohio to drive the Shawshank Trail earned my personal high marks. There are a whole passel of things to see and, more importantly, I didn't have to wear hiking boots and carry a gallon of water to enjoy them.

The Shawshank Trail came about because of a movie, "The Shawshank Redemption." It was based on a short story by Stephen King and, although set in Maine, it was filmed in and around Mansfield back in 1996. Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman portrayed the major characters. The plot revolves around inhumane prison treatment, corrupt prison officials and a happy ending where everybody gets what's coming to them.

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Getting Ready For The Calgary Stampede

March 1 2012 by Bryson Forbes

iStock_000017270021Small.jpgFor years now we have been talking about a family trip to go to the Calgary Stampede. The only reason we haven't done the trip already is a self-inflicted scheduling conflict with our annual family camp getaway. The Stampede and our week at Red Pine Camp unfortunately are always at the exact same time. This year however, we could no longer resist the allure and will be heading west for 10 days, leaving on July 4th.

If you have never heard of the The Calgary Stampede it is an annual rodeo, exhibition and festival held every July in Calgary, Alberta. The ten-day event, which bills itself as "The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth", attracts over one million visitors per year. Literally the city shuts down and turns into a massive 10-day cowboy and cowgirl party! And yes, you are expected to be in some variation of a cowboy hat, boots and chaps the whole time! To add even more excitement this year it is the centennial celebration marking the 100th anniversary of the first event held back in 1912!

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Best Spring Travel Destinations

February 28 2012 by Claudia Kunkel
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iStock_000016972379XSmall.jpgSPRING HAS SPRUNG!!!! How great is that?! I don't think it matters where you live, the 'spring feeling' has to be world-wide phenomenon. I also believe that the best spring travel destinations kind of depend on where you live and what you like.

For me personally, living in Arizona now, my favorite spring travel destination is southern California. Did you know there are more than 26 Best Westerns in the greater San Diego area? Including Coronado Island! I love walking around the Gaslamp Quarter, wandering the streets of Coronado, golfing for a few rounds, and of course hitting the beach!

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Super Bowl 2013

February 27 2012 by James West

iStock_000013986668XSmall.jpgNow that the Super Bowl has come and gone, we can reflect on the event as a whole - and you can't ask for a better Super Bowl than having it come down to the very last play of the game. Whether you were cheering for the New York Giants or the New England Patriots, you got an exciting game! A special congrats to the champions, the New York Giants, on a well deserved win. So... now what?

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Visiting Black History

February 24 2012 by Mike Mason

iStock_000018400488XSmall.jpgSince being named Black History Month in 1976, the month of February has accomplished a goal set by Dr. Carter G. Woodson, a historian, who dreamed of seeing Black History recognized in mainstream America. February is a significant month in Civil Rights history, including birthdays of both President Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation that ended slavery and Frederick Douglass, born into slavery, managed to escape and became a great advisor to President Lincoln during the Civil War.

Whether you chose to visit Black historical sites as part of a winter getaway or as a trip in itself, it will be something unforgettable for anyone who has a desire to learn about the events and people who have shaped the United States to be the place it is today. Here are three relaxing cities to instill civil rights history into anyone.

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Reopened State Parks

February 21 2012 by Mike Mason
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iStock_000018187182Small.jpgWhile traveling I've always enjoyed exploring the natural wonders to be seen in the area. One of the best ways to do this is through state parks. They are well maintained, with basic amenities and offer the best landscapes each state has to offer. Unfortunately whether for updates or as a result of natural disasters, many parks have to close to clean up and update the park. Here are a few reopened parks available for adventure.

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Yay for President's Day!

February 20 2012 by Claudia Kunkel

iStock_000009217209Small.jpgPresident's Day is here! And who doesn't love President's Day? I know, most of you hear "President's Day" and immediately think of sales - everything from cars and refrigerators to old Christmas blow-outs. But Presidents Day is more than fighting for parking spots, finding the best deals, waiting in lines to check out.

Did you know that Presidents Day was originally created to honor George Washington's birthday? In fact, some states still refer to it as that. For me, President's Day makes me think of a 3 day weekend and where I can travel next. On this President's Day it seems only appropriate to consider Washington DC as a travel destination. And while DC may be the seat of our federal government, that is only one VERY small part of what makes the city so great.

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Celebrating Family Day

February 17 2012 by Bryson Forbes
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iStock_000015546136XSmall.jpgThis coming Monday, February 20, I'll be celebrating my fourth Family Day. It's a holiday that is not necessarily widely celebrated but still a day I like to enjoy with my family. This year, I plan to make Family Day more of a priority just like we do for Good Friday, May 2-4 weekend (Victoria Day), Canada Day and Labour Day.

Family Day was first celebrated in Alberta in 1990 to highlight the values of family and home that were important to Alberta's founding pioneers and give workers the opportunity to spend more time with their families. Family Day was introduced in Saskatchewan in 2007 and Ontario in 2008.

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Don't Be a Scam Victim

February 15 2012 by Sam Lowe

iStock_000014983644XSmall.jpgA recent newspaper story noted that seniors are susceptible to scammers and con artists because, according to the writer, we are "gullible." Although I find this a bit insulting, I'm also aware that as we grow older, we tend to become more trusting. And nicer. Unfortunately, that makes us targets for those who prey on people of our age.

Many of the scams center on travel. And, since many of us travel, we inadvertently become victims. This one surfaced recently:

Families show up at a residence, frequently a large house in an upscale neighborhood, expecting to spend their vacation living in high style. But they're greeted by the homeowner, who has no idea of who these people are and why they're there. When they say they have rented the house for their vacation, they are informed that the house has never been for rent. Even worse, they're probably not going to get their up-front money back.

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Romantic Road Trips for Valentine's Day

February 14 2012 by Claudia Kunkel

iStock_000018681437XSmall.jpgGentlemen (and Ladies) - start your engines! It's not too late to plan a romantic road trip with your favorite sweetheart this Valentine's Day. This year, forget the box of chocolates and flowers and surprise your loved one with planning a romantic weekend for two by hitting the open road. The possibilities are endless! You can pack your bag with clothes for every occasion and see where the road takes you or come up with a detailed itinerary with a planned destination in mind. Personally, from a woman's perspective, I would like to know where I'm headed so I can pack too many outfits, 10 pair of shoes that I will never wear and everything in my cosmetic drawer! Of course, this itinerary all depends on what part of the country you live in. Here are a few suggestions along with several great Best Western hotels to help you enjoy your romantic Valentine's Day:

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Choose Companions Wisely

February 9 2012 by Sam Lowe

iStock_000018926441XSmall.jpgMy wife, Lyn, and I have used a variety of travel methods, including tour groups, senior-oriented junkets, solitary trips all by ourselves, and making arrangements with other couples. There are upsides and downsides to each. Fortunately, the good times have vastly outnumbered those that were not so good.

Since we are madly in love with each other, there are never any serious problems when we go it alone. And tour groups are always large enough so it's relatively easy to avoid those who talk too loud, those who have been everywhere and want everyone else to know about it, and those who crack their chewing gum. But traveling with another couple, or a couple of other couples, presents some situations that can often turn into problems so big that they can terminate friendships.

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How Do We Know When Spring Has Sprung?

February 2 2012 by Mike Mason

iStock_000009115074XSmall.jpgNow that I am past the mad rush of the holidays, my mind turns to the next really big thing. Not Valentine's Day (I don't really like chocolate). No...for me it is GROUNDHOG'S DAY!!! I know. It seems a little "off," but where I grew up (in Massachusetts) it meant that spring was finally coming! It meant that sooner or later, hopefully sooner, the snow piles would melt, street sweepers would come, and I could put my jacket, mittens, hats, boots, and snow pants away.

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March Break at Disneyworld (or Disneyland)

January 25 2012 by Bryson Forbes

iStock_000018766600XSmall.jpgMarch break is fast approaching and last week I highlighted a few great ski vacation options for your consideration. Thanks to everyone who shared other great ski destinations and tips to help inspire a well-planned and enjoyable March break vacation.

This week I am considering a Disney vacation and here are my top 10 tips and tricks to get the most out of a March break at Disney.

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Come on Back!

January 23 2012 by Mike Mason
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iStock_000014124342XSmall.jpgDespite an oil spill that devastated the Gulf of Mexico coast in 2010, things are back to normal, making a vacation getaway that is a perfect way to escape the snowy North. The beaches are clean and Southern hospitality is waiting to cater to your every relaxing desire.

Here are some of my favorite beach-front cities that are sure to give you the vacation of a lifetime and a reprieve from your stress.

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Learning Some Terms Might Help

January 20 2012 by Sam Lowe
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iStock_000015675640XSmall.jpgBefore embarking upon a journey to a foreign land where English is not the primary language, my wife and I try to acquaint ourselves with some of the more common terms we will more than likely be using during the trip. Simple things, like "please," "thank you," "you're welcome," and, of course, the more important phrases like "two beers" and "where's the bathroom?"

We have found that it's a great ice-breaker because the locals respect our senior-oriented attempts and at least know we're trying. And over the years, we have also picked up more of the language because people are always willing to help us get beyond the hand-gesturing and loud-talking phases that usually accompany our attempts to communicate. Especially when asking for directions.

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Documents, Documents and Pills

January 19 2012 by Sam Lowe

pill.JPGAs we graciously move into the more advanced stages of life, we are finding that travel is no longer a simple matter of tossing some clean underwear and a toothbrush into an overnight bag and taking off. Now, every trip requires substantially more pre-planning, particularly in the areas of medicine, insurance and health care.

So before every extended trip, we create a check list of items that are absolutely vital to assure us that we'll get there and back without legal or medical problems.

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New Year's In Scottsdale, Arizona

January 17 2012 by Bryson Forbes
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iStock_000014449856Small.jpgHappy New Year! We were lucky enough to ring in the New Year in style in beautiful Scottsdale, Ariz. We had two weeks of the most consistently amazing weather you can imagine. It also was the longest period of time I have avoided some form of precipitation! I found it uncanny to check the long range weather forecast on my iPhone and see a beaming sun icon with zero percent chance of rain---day after day! What do weather forecasters actually do in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area?

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MLK Memorial In Washington D.C.

January 16 2012 by Mike Mason

iStock_000017531626XSmall.jpgIn honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day we take a look at the new MLK National Memorial that stands as a tribute to the great civil rights icon, Dr. King. In what has quickly become one of the must-visit sites in Washington D.C. the memorial is a mixture of water, stone and landscape that is tied to other landscapes and monuments.

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City & Slope: 4 Days, 3 Slopes, One City

January 13 2012 by Julie Drossos

A.jpgHot off the press. I just caught wind of a very cool festival about to kick off its inaugural year this February in my hometown of Vancouver!

City and Slope is a four day event jam packed with fun, music, exhilarating time on the slopes and entertainment, held on Vancouver's local mountains of Grouse, Cypress and Seymour as well as within downtown Vancouver. If you haven't already figured it out, there are two main parts to this four-day destination event.

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Cowboy Museum - OKC

January 12 2012 by James West

OKC2.jpgDo you think of Oklahoma, and an image of a cowboy is one of the top things to come to mind? Well then the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum is a must see attraction for you during your visit to Oklahoma City. Formerly known as the Cowboy Hall of Fame, this museum is a great family-friendly place that everyone will enjoy.

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Must-Visit Snowboarding in British Columbia, Canada

January 11 2012 by Julie Drossos
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iStock_000002526109XSmall.jpgIt's that perfect time of the year - especially if you're a snowboarder! With the winter cold comes loads of that glorious white stuff for boarders to ride on the mountain(s) of their choice.

Since I'm located up on the west coast of Canada, and am lucky enough to live in one of the best places to ski or board in - in the world - I thought I'd share some highlights from the local spots that are near and dear to me.

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All Roads Lead To Graceland

January 9 2012 by Mike Mason
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Front of Graceland.jpgOne of the most unique things about business travel is that it can take us to some really unique locations. While many of us dream about that summer vacation to Disney with the kids or a romantic getaway to Hawaii with our spouse, not many of us are planning leisurely trips to the more cultural places in America. Business travel has allowed me to travel forgotten highways in Pennsylvania, dine at roadside cafes in Iowa that can only be described as hidden gems, and most recently, took me to one of America's most renowned residences.

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Travel Tips With Kids On Winter Break

January 6 2012 by Claudia Kunkel
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iStock_000017572812XSmall.jpgIf you've traveled with your kids over the holidays, you know exactly how exhausting and taxing it can be for everyone involved. From deciding on whose relatives you're going to stay with this time, how you're going to travel there and how you're going to get all those presents there without ruining the surprise. It's a challenge, to say the least. It takes a lot of pre-planning and most of patience! Here are a few of my tried and true travel tips for traveling with the kids over the winter break.

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Where Will You Travel To (Or Would Like To Travel To) In 2012 That You Didn't Get To Travel To In 2011?

January 3 2012 by BW Innsider
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iStock_000017115651XSmall.jpgTell Us and Enter for a Chance to Win a $250 Best Western Travel Card!

Share your travel regret for 2011, or your travel resolution for 2012, and you will be automatically entered for a chance to win a $250 Best Western Travel Card!

Limit 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. Winner will be announced via comment post on youmustbetrippin.com and via Facebook/Twitter posts after winner is verified. Contest begins Jan. 3rd and ends Jan. 31 st.

College Football Bowl Game Travel

January 2 2012 by Claudia Kunkel
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iStock_000015332124XSmall.jpgThe holidays are over, but College Bowl Games have just begun!

It always makes for an interesting, rousing discussion at parties about the differences between college and pro football and which one is more exciting. Personally, I'll watch all of it and enjoy each and every game. But for the purpose of this blog post, I'm going to focus on the College Bowl games. It may not be too late to get your tickets, hop in your car and head out to the nearest bowl game for a real thrill of watching these collegiate athletes leave it all on the field, some for the last time of their college career.

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New Year's Eve Celebrations

December 30 2011 by Mike Mason

NYE.jpgAs the clock strikes midnight and we ring in 2012, where will you be? We look at some at the biggest and best New Year's Eve celebrations in North America, and of course Best Westerns to stay at along the way!

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Visiting The Holiday Cheer

December 21 2011 by Mike Mason

iStock_000015244970XSmall.jpgHoliday festivals are exciting because they emit the feeling of the season and only come around once a year. They offer a great reason to explore other parts of the country or spend time together as a family. Here are some of my favorites across the USA:

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Hanukkah Festival Travel

December 20 2011 by Claudia Kunkel

iStock_000018285441XSmall.jpgThis year, beginning at sunset on December 20th and concluding at sunset on December 28th will be the time when many Jewish Americans will celebrate the Hanukkah holiday. Hanukkah is generally known as the festival of lights and is an eight day celebration that commemorates the rededication of the Holy Temple. This is recognized by the lighting of the Menorah (or candelabrum) and an exchange of gifts, along with traditional games and songs.

Each year there are many festivals that take place across the U.S. inviting people to enjoy the holiday together in celebration. Take a look at some of the festivals below and the Best Westerns to stay at along the way!

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CAMBODIA

December 15 2011 by Claudia Kunkel

Pam_Cambodia.jpgThose of you who follow my blogs probably know by now that I have a passion for travel. When I am not traveling, I am dreaming and plotting my next adventure. I'm happy to say that this love of travel has been passed along to our daughters and they are searching out their own new adventures to destinations either close to home or halfway across the world. This past fall, our youngest mapped out her own dream vacation backpacking through Southeast Asia.
A plan that both excited me but also made me more than a little nervous as she would be making this journey entirely by herself. Well, she spent five weeks meandering around Lao, Thailand and Cambodia and made it safely back home, to my relief. Simply put, she had an amazing time and fell in love with all of the countries she visited. For this blog post, I've decided to focus on Cambodia and three of her favorite stopovers.

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Travel Related Gifts For Seniors

December 13 2011 by Sam Lowe
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iStock_000017826601XSmall.jpgMany of us have reached that slightly-elevated age where we don't really need any more stuff, things like neckties and bracelets, knickknacks and coffee table items. But since we also have more time to travel, now that we have achieved seniordom, we can appreciate gifts that can be useful on tours, junkets and getaways.

A GPS system is a good example, particularly for those who take leisurely motor trips across the United States. They're easy on the budget, and relatively simple to operate, even for us non-nerds. Some are also small enough to be hand-held and adaptable for foreign travel, which can be a blessing for those who get confused while walking along the back streets and crowded byways of such places as Venice, Munich and Tokyo.

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Avoiding Sneaky Fingers

December 12 2011 by Sam Lowe

iStock_000003269177XSmall.jpgThe holiday season brings out the big crowds. Shoppers and carolers. Santas and lap-sitters. Children and elves. And pickpockets.

In my travels, I have encountered a pair of quick-fingered young Russians who lifted all my unexposed film from a hard-to-open camera case, an Argentinian couple who sprayed the back of my jacket then pretended to be drying it while trying to steal my wallet, and a Ukranian who was beating his son because he hadn't picked enough pockets that day.

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The Happiest Province In Canada

December 7 2011 by Bryson Forbes
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iStock_000002194344XSmall.jpgI was recently doing some research for a corporate client regarding a project in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island (PEI) and discovered an amazing statistic. According to the Canadian Centre for Standard of Living, the happiest province in Canada is, in fact, PEI.

As we often travel to pursue happiness, this statistic would lead me to believe that PEI would make an excellent destination for travellers. Happiness is difficult to quantify, which of course makes this more of a perception index than reality, but I started to do some thinking as to what PEI offers that could make its residents happier than anywhere else in Canada.

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Travelling This Holiday Season

December 6 2011 by Bryson Forbes

iStock_000013920094XSmall.jpgIf you are like me, the (holiday) dread is just starting to sink in. The clock is ticking and with every passing minute, the pressure to find that perfect Christmas gift mounts. My routine is both predictable and dysfunctional. Every year as time winds down until Christmas, the amount of time I spend worrying increases day by day.

This year will be particularly challenging because my family, including my mother-in-law, brother-in-law and his girlfriend, my sisters' family and my parents are all spending our first Christmas away in Scottsdale, Ariz. There will be no white Christmas for us this year...at least there better not be!

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Staying Healthy While Traveling

November 30 2011 by Matthew Clyde
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iStock_000016423713XSmall.jpgWith business travel back in full swing and with countless travelers traversing the airports and highways soon for holiday travel, the spread of germs and sickness become almost inevitable. Many people will become exhausted from travel, thereby weakening their immune system and increasing the risk of travel induced illness. Some travelers will tend to not eat as well as they might at home and may also get off track with exercise goals and sleep habits, which can also increase the risk of getting sick. So what can you do to combat illness and make sure you stay healthy during your travels?

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Film Festivals

November 29 2011 by Claudia Kunkel

iStock_000016277762XSmall.jpgAs the weather turns cold, now is the perfect to time to visit a film festival. There are many great film festivals coming around the corner. So silence your phone and prepare yourself for new, innovative and often independent stories on the silver screen.

Sundance Film Festival
Park City, Utah
January 19-29, 2012

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Tips From A Road Warrior

November 28 2011 by Bryson Forbes
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iStock_000006612131XSmall.jpgI had a great conversation last night with a hockey teammate who is definitely what one would consider a "road warrior." He works in sales for a manufacturing company and spends more time in his car than anyone I know covering his territory of Ontario. In fact, he racks up nearly 40,000 kilometers every year working!

Last night I got the chance to probe him for some tips and tricks he deploys along his business travels. Here are some of his recommendations for anyone who is on the road often:

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Thanksgiving Food Traditions across America

November 23 2011 by Mike Mason

iStock_000004723851XSmall.jpgWhile it's usually a given that most families across America will be enjoying turkey this Thanksgiving, there are some regionally distinct Thanksgiving foods you may not be aware of. Depending on what part of the country you reside in, these unique dishes can range from fried Southern fare to classic Italian favorites.

With many people traveling to different regions for the holiday, we examine some of what you can expect at the dinner table this Thanksgiving, wherever you may be.

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Celebrating Thanksgiving in Plymouth, Massachusetts

November 22 2011 by Claudia Kunkel

iStock_000017509725XSmall.jpgThe changing of the seasons and the approach of Thanksgiving always bring to mind the history and charm of the New England states and in particular the picturesque village of Plymouth, Massachusetts. Also known as "America's Hometown", Plymouth offers a glimpse into the United States' early history as well as a sophisticated, thriving community offering many diverse outdoor recreational and cultural activities.

I must admit that I mainly associate Plymouth with the pilgrims' voyage across the Atlantic aboard the Mayflower and the landing at Plymouth Rock. When I visited the area several years ago, I was surprised to discover the town and surrounding area have so much more to offer. As Thanksgiving is rapidly approaching, I thought it would be a good time to check out a few of the seasonal celebrations surrounding this holiday.

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Best Travel Apps for Business Travelers

November 21 2011 by Bryson Forbes
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iStock_000015945410XSmall.jpgI am officially an "Apple" guy after two recent purchases. The first purchase was my new MacBook Pro (which I am using to write this blog) and the latest was my new iPhone 4S, my third generation. I was one of the 4 million consumers who rushed out on the first weekend and bought the new device.

Apple and iPhone have a done a masterful job lately demonstrating that their products are not just fun toys but well suited for the business crowd. I remember having a debate a while back with a friend who happens to be a lawyer. At the time, she felt that the white-collar crowd would never embrace the iPhone. I actually took a picture about a week later as our doctor used his iPhone to create a prescription, which he then sent wirelessly to a printer - and voila a literate prescription!

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Traveling Through Tough Times

November 18 2011 by Mike Mason

iStock_000014121535XSmall.jpgI am no economist (you only need to look back to my Economics course in college to verify that), but you also don't have to be a financial genius to know there is plenty of anxiety about the economy. And that is felt everywhere, including in the way we approach travel. But maybe these times provide an opportunity to think about our travel differently or at least take a different approach. Here are a few ideas for tackling travel in the midst of tougher times:

Make Loyalty Points Your Traveling Companions: Cash in points from air miles, credit cards and of course, Best Western Rewards points and use them to get discounts, vouchers and even free stuff for the trip. If you haven't jumped on the loyalty points bandwagon, now is a good time to start storing them up.

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Rock Out In 2012

November 16 2011 by Bridget Daly
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iStock_000016962742XSmall.jpgAs 2011 comes to an end, concert fans start buzzing about what concerts will be the "must-see" concerts of 2012 and therefore, worth traveling for, no matter how far you may be from the venue. U2, The Rolling Stones and Guns N Roses have all held the title in the past and here's what us live music lovers can expect for big shows in 2012 worth traveling for...

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Tips For Small Business Owners To Save Money On Travel

November 14 2011 by Bryson Forbes
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iStock_000001263418XSmall.jpgI was asked last week by PROFIT magazine to provide tips for small business owners to save money on their corporate travel budgets. As the owner of a corporate travel management company who deals with small and medium-sized businesses every day, my list of tips came pretty easily. Here are some of the money-saving highlights I shared with PROFIT:

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Parks Canada Celebrates 100th Anniversary

November 10 2011 by Bryson Forbes
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iStock_000017483193XSmall.jpgI was a very lucky child growing up with easy access to a number of national historic sites just outside of Ottawa, Canada's capital. I also spent most of my summers at my grandparents' cottage on the St. Lawrence River in the 1,000 Islands region, near one of Canada's oldest national parks: St. Lawrence National Park.

Yellowstone National Park in the U.S. was the first designated national park in the world, established in 1872. Almost 30 years later in 1911, Canada was the first country to create an agency specifically devoted to its national parks. This agency, Parks Canada, is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year and is responsible for assigning, managing and preserving these glorious landscapes. Its scope now includes 42 national parks as well as 167 of the nation's 950 national historic sites, and four national marine conservation areas.

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Scenic Drives for Stunning Fall Foliage

November 7 2011 by Claudia Kunkel

iStock_000017144829XSmall.jpgFall has arrived! A time for nostalgia, personal reflection and the beauty of Mother Nature at her finest in the changing landscape from summer to fall. Although living in the Southwest sometimes makes it difficult to tell the difference between one season and the next. Personally, I love the fall and the way the light plays out across the sky in the early morning and evening. Every year, I plan a trip back to the Midwest just to see an Iowa Hawkeyes football game and to experience the display of changing leaves near the banks of the mighty Mississippi. It is a breathtaking sight.

This year, I thought it would be nice to have a change of scenery and branch out to other locations around the country to see how this fall ritual plays out across the United States. Below are several outstanding scenic drives worth considering this fall:

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Running New York

November 4 2011 by Mike Mason

iStock_000001389283XSmall.jpgA trip to New York can be the experience of a lifetime, but your trip to the Big Apple doesn't have to be all about eating and watching shows, but instead about setting healthy goals or seeing the limits of human endurance. Around the world, the word "Marathon" describes images of runners running through the streets of all five of New York's boroughs, over the Queensboro Bridge and to the finish line in Central Park. On your mark, get set, go!

The ING New York City Marathon, which will be held on Sunday, November 6, 2011, has gone from a humble beginning 127 runners running in circles around Central Park in 1970 to over 100,000 enthusiasts entering a lottery each year to participate in the world's most prestigious race. It has become a staple of New Yorkers and visitors who endure chilly November weather to see people from all over the world take life to the limit.

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Summer Trip to Helsinki

November 3 2011 by James West
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IMG_2089.JPGWhen thinking of summer vacations, one typically doesn't think of Helsinki, Finland. Nonetheless, it is one of the most beautiful places to visit during summers. While it doesn't have the wildly famous attractions as a Paris or London, there is plenty to see, do and experience in "The Land of a Thousand Lakes."

One of the coolest things about being in Finland in the summer is that because it is so far north, the sky is lit up long into the night. The "night" isn't really that dark at all. It's more like dusk. This gives the locals an energy that is much needed after long, cold, dark winters. The Finns appreciate summer because of the dismal winters and it shows. People are out on the streets until 11 pm and midnight just to enjoy the light and beautiful weather. Because Finland isn't a huge tourist country, all the people outside are locals so you're guaranteed to get an authentic experience.

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Celebrating The Harvest

November 1 2011 by Mike Mason
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iStock_000017374530XSmall.jpgWhether it is lower temperatures, the changing colors of the leaves or the abundance of the harvest, fall is a favorite among travelers of all ages. It might be the crisp feeling in the air or those scents we've come to love, but around the country, there are sights to see and fun to be had. Here are a couple family-friendly festivals to enjoy in this nostalgic season of the year.

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Travel Superstitions

October 31 2011 by Mike Mason
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iStock_000016765894XSmall.jpgOften it's the little things that make a big difference. And for those who are superstitious, one superstitious blunder or forgotten lucky item is believed to begin a shower of bad luck. With so many components and moving parts when traveling, it's no surprise that travel can invoke an extra superstitious nature in many individuals and companies. Take a look at some of the superstitious measures taken by travelers and travel companies I've seen during my travels.

Unlucky 13

If you fly Continental Airlines, Air France, AirTran, or KLM you're boarding pass will never see row 13. All of these airlines go from row 12 to 14. But even those who aren't particularly suspicious say if given the option they'd prefer not to sit in row 13. So why not eliminate the row altogether?

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Pumpkin Carving Contests

October 28 2011 by Claudia Kunkel

iStock_000017571912XSmall.jpgThe costumes are ready. The candy bowl is full. And the jack-o-lanterns are set--glowing like a beacon to Halloween lovers nearby. While most people look at carving pumpkins as a fun and gooey family activity, for some individuals it's a serious competition.

Some competitions are regional and require all participants to carve their pumpkins at a pumpkin carving showdown. Others merely require a photo to be sent before an appointed deadline. Here are a few favorite contests:

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Hockey Is Back In Winnipeg!

October 27 2011 by Bryson Forbes

iStock_000011703960XSmall.jpgAs you very well may know, Winnipeg is the capital and largest city in the province of Manitoba. In fact, Winnipeg is the seventh largest city in Canada based on population. In relative terms, the seventh most populated city in the United States is San Antonio. The number seven is especially meaningful this year as the city welcomed back Canada's seventh NHL hockey team, The Jets, after a fifteen-year hiatus!

The city has been abuzz all summer and that excitement finally boiled over on Thanksgiving weekend as The Jets hosted their first home game. It was the hottest ticket in the country and many famous Canadians were on hand including Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

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Get Lost In A Corn Maze

October 20 2011 by Amy Graff

CornMaze1.JPGScary movies and haunted houses--they're overrated. At least that's how you'll probably feel when you're lost in the middle of a gigantic corn maze. It's the ultimate Halloween thrill. These labyrinths cut into fields of corn are cropping up all over the country and there's probably one within driving distance of your home. To find one near you log onto the Corn Maze Directory or The Maize.

Italy!

October 13 2011 by Claudia Kunkel
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iStock_000015986585XSmall.jpgI'm packing my bags again and this time we're off to Italy. I've been busy planning our itinerary down to the last detail. The planning is almost as fun as the actual travel in my book. Once I decided which country to visit the rest was easy as this would be our third time traveling to the country that is full of history and culture.

Our first destination after landing in Rome will be Florence, located in the heart of Tuscany. It's a quick and easy train ride out of the Roma Termini Station to Florence, just about 90 minutes. Florence is known as the "cradle of the Renaissance" because of the many treasures it holds - Santa Maria del Fiore, probably better known as the Duomo, the Medici Chapel which holds the remains of the most powerful family in Florence from the 15th to the 18th century, the Uffizi Gallery and the Accademia housing the famous statute of Michelangelo's David. There are so many historical places to see in Florence not to mention making time for the shopping and dining. Yes, pasta, pasta and more pasta! If you need a break from the museums, the hills of Tuscany are waiting just outside the city.

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Rock Cities Suspended In Air

October 13 2011 by Sam Lowe

93 met.jpgKALAMBACA, Greece - The ancient ruins at Athens, Delphi and Olympia are impressive, awe-inspiring, and everything I had expected from reading about them as far back as grade school, which was several years ago, maybe even longer ago than that. But the site that affected me the most was the Meteora, located on the plains of Thessaly in the northeastern sector of the country.

It is mind-boggling, and that's putting it mildly.

Basically, the Meteora is a number of monasteries that were built on top of huge rock pinnacles centuries ago by monks using nothing but hand tools, ropes and pulleys. Alexander Eliot, writing for the Life World Library, described them as "monasteries perched upon the pinnacles like storks' nests on chimney pots."

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Dive In!

October 11 2011 by Claudia Kunkel

iStock_000015663524XSmall.jpgIf you think you've seen the sights and sounds of the world, you haven't seen anything unless you've experienced life under water. More than 70 percent of the earth is covered by ocean occupied by 230,000 forms of marine life. Scuba diving is truly awe inspiring and should not be missed during coastal travel.

To fully experience the world below the surface, you better plan ahead. Although some tourist destinations have scuba adventures for non-divers, you'll be able to explore more of the underwater world when you become scuba certified before your coastal vacation. If you don't live near the ocean, don't worry, there are scuba certification courses available in many landlocked states. By certifying before your trip you'll be able to become familiar with scuba safety and equipment before you dive into another world.

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Changes In College Football Is Opportunity For New Travel Destinations

October 10 2011 by Mike Mason

iStock_000013986668XSmall.jpgThose following college football have probably noticed change is in the air for conference allegiances. Most of the changes, so far, are in the West and Mid West, but as I write this Oklahoma is considering a move from the Big 12 and Texas A&M seems to be headed to the SEC and the ACC is adopting Syracuse and Pitt. The PAC-10 (now PAC-12) had Colorado and Utah join their ranks and the Big 10 now has Nebraska. Boise State, Nevada, Fresno and Hawaii left the WAC to join the Mountain West and Brigham Young University shunned a conference all together as an independent in football.

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Can't Leave Home Without It

September 30 2011 by Bryson Forbes
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iStock_000016610956XSmall.jpgThis week I am expecting the delivery of my new MacBook Pro and needless to say, I am very excited! The last two times I have upgraded my laptop I have been tempted to make the switch to Apple, but at the last minute I have chickened out. This time, however, I finally made the plunge.
The decision became much easier now as I have three years of experience with an iPhone and a full year under my belt with an iPad. In fact, the last year with the iPad has truly changed how I travel. Whenever possible, my iPad is my default travel device and I leave my laptop at home.

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We Brought Our Dog!

September 28 2011 by Bryson Forbes
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iStock_000014720976XSmall.jpgWe were nervous - but we did it! On our recent trip to London (see my last blog - would like to create a link once it's posted) we decided that Ellie, our 8-month-old pup Bernedoodle was ready to make the trip with us. And if I'm being honest, we decided we were ready to bring Ellie.

The decision was actually very easy for a number of reasons:

First, Ellie is the best dog that ever lived. That may be a slightly biased exaggeration but we are very lucky. She is well trained and gentle and given that she now weighs 67 pounds, that's very important.

Second, we were staying at the BEST WESTERN PLUS Lamplighter Inn & Conference Centre and Best Western is the best hotel chain for catering to pets and pet owners! In fact, there are more than 1,600 hotels worldwide ready to welcome you and your pet. Lastly, this was the perfect time to test the traveling with your dog concept as we were relatively close to home and only away for one night.

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Points Pay With Being Loyal

September 27 2011 by Bryson Forbes
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bwrcard.jpgI am really good at collecting points with reward programs, but, aside from my local coffee shop that rewards patrons with a free cup after ten purchases, I have not been as good about cashing in on my loyalty points. Last weekend, however, that all changed!

I have been a member of Best Western Rewards now for four years and until last week had not cashed in a single point. If you are not a member, you should enrol now, as it's quick and easy! My work with Best Western, its timely and valuable promotions and my travel schedule have allowed me to accumulate quite a few points over the past four years.

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New York: September 11th Memorial

September 26 2011 by Mike Mason

iStock_000017277570XSmall.jpgThe ceremony and attention of the 10th anniversary of September 11th has passed and the official memorial in New York now stands as a permanent marker. Many Americans will reflect at the site and remember those who lost their lives on that tragic day 10 years ago. There have been many tributes and memorials over the years, but probably none more anticipated than the memorial now at ground zero, where the World Trade Center twin towers once stood. The memorial opened to the public on Monday, September 12th 2011 in New York City, and features a bronze engraving of victim's names around the edges of two waterfalls that cascade down into two acre-sized pools below.

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TSA Relaxes Rules For Screening Kids

September 21 2011 by Amy Graff

TSA.jpgGood news for traveling families: Today, the TSA announced that it's relaxing rules for screening children.

The organization is beginning to pilot programs that don't require children under 12 to take off their shoes or endure thorough pat-downs, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano shared before the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee.

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Happy New Year

September 20 2011 by Bryson Forbes

iStock_000014299760XSmall.jpgLabour Day feels like the start of a whole new year - especially for students and parents of students (like me!). Labour Day is also the unofficial end of summer and the start of fall and in my neck of the woods, Mother Nature agreed as we woke up to a chilly morning with a temperature of only 12 degrees.

For Canadian travellers, fall is when most of us start to think about a winter getaway. For people with kids in school, it's important to think about travel and act sooner than later before popular school breaks like Christmas and spring are all booked up. Just last week we booked our first Christmas vacation in the desert and are looking forward to a big family get together in Arizona. We are leaving in 105 days, but who's counting!

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Splurging On Wetsuits In San Diego

September 9 2011 by Amy Graff
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bbb.jpgHotels rooms under $100, hole-in-the-wall restaurants, cheap flights with long layovers and strange departure times. I'm used to seeking out deals when traveling. Our family can only afford to travel on the cheap.

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Georgian Bay: Canada's Number One Hidden Gem!

September 2 2011 by Bryson Forbes
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iStock_000010179944XSmall.jpgIt's true, only 90 minutes north of Toronto lies a hidden gem of Canada - Georgian Bay. My wife, kids and I recently spent a weekend along with a couple of great friends on Georgian Bay in Midland, Ontario. After our weekend there, I can sure see why it was voted "Best Hidden Gem in Canada" by The Canadian Tourism Commission's Local's Know campaign from 2010. Okay, so you've got me - it may be closer to a 120 minute trip if you leave on a Friday after work, but it's worth the drive!

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It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

September 1 2011 by Bryson Forbes

iStock_000014355001XSmall.jpgSummer break is coming to an end for students in Canada and the Tuesday after Labour Day, we'll see everyone back in school for another year. Weather wise, this year was the warmest and driest in recent history. Although it went quickly, as it always does, I think we all can agree that we had a true summer!

As it comes to an end, parents are scrambling to make sure their kids are ready to go back to school in style and the annual shopping ads are taking over. One of my favourite ads is from Staples. If you have seen the commercial, you know it has become cult-like in the suburbs and can make even the Tiger Moms and Dads chuckle .

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La Jolla Tide Pools

August 31 2011 by Bridget Daly
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iStock_000006277940XSmall.jpgOne of my favorite adventures that I used to do as a child with my family was visit the local tide pools in La Jolla, California - a beach town that is a suburb of San Diego, California. These day trips consisted of my brother and I running around the natural tide pools looking in the smallest holes and crevices to see the sea creatures. Because this location always had a low tide, it was bursting at the seams with tide pool wildlife. On any given day during the year these tide pools are frequented by local and visiting families, as it is a fantastic activity to do with children.

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Retail Travel Trends In Canada

August 25 2011 by Bryson Forbes
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iStock_000003542796XSmall.jpgIn early August, Canadian Travel Press ran an exclusive story highlighting a recent survey from Distinctive Travel Planner Services (DTPC) in Vancouver. The survey,conducted in the spring of 2011, polled more than 400 travel counsellors and owners across Canada and dissected the state of retail travel in Canada.

As part owner of a retail agency myself, the article and survey were of particular interest to me and the data highlighted a number of key trends. As more and more travelers turn online to research and book, it is forcing agencies to fight harder to find ways to add value to retain existing client and attract new clients.

Are you noticing some of these trends too?

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Riding The River

August 15 2011 by Mike Mason

iStock_000002005078XSmall.jpgBefore we had the convenience of trains, planes and automobiles one of the world's most comfortable methods of travel was to take a boat to the heart of a city on the smooth surface of river. Whether it was the British army sailing up the Hudson or Mark Twain's characters having an adventure on a paddleboat down the Mississippi, America has beautiful sights to be seen from the water level.

Riverboats give visitors a unique way of seeing cities from the interior on a relaxing pace. You can expect some rides to offer an evening meal, while others help your family take part in the history and culture of the area. Whatever you're looking for, we're sure one of the riverboat rides below will suit your goal of living a little part of the American dream during your visit.

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Universal Studios

August 12 2011 by Claudia Kunkel
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iStock_000004770289XSmall.jpgIf your family loves the silver screen and thrill rides that may cause some to scream, Universal Studios is the place for you and your family this summer. Universal Studios is one of the oldest movie studios in Hollywood. The first theme park originated in Hollywood when it began giving studio tours. This theme park has expanded and has also led to the creation of other Universal Studios theme parks located in Hollywood, California, and Orlando, Florida.

Between the two locations and handful of Universal Studios theme parks there are plenty of rides and attractions to keep the family busy for days! Since time is of the essence I'm highlighting the "must see" attraction of Orlando and Hollywood.

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Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

August 11 2011 by Jason Fogelson

iStock_000002152597XSmall(1).jpgAnother year goes by, August rolls around, and I'm not in Sturgis. How did this happen?

This year marks the 71s annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. This year, the bikers are gathering from August 8-14. The party is already underway as I write these words.

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Touring Our Nation's Capitol: Washington D.C.

August 9 2011 by Claudia Kunkel
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Washington D.C. is one of the most picturesque spots in the entire country. Situated on the banks of the Potomac River and with so many things to see and do, it's difficult to see it all, but you can be sure that a Best Western Hotel is in the middle of it all.

You can start your tour with a visit to the Smithsonian Museum one of the largest museums in the world, you can see the countries national treasures and a range of subjects exhibits from art to space exploration.

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Big Plans for Rio de Janiero

August 8 2011 by Mike Mason
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iStock_000003438561XSmall.jpgRio has big plans. Though it has long been a popular tourist destination on the world stage and perhaps the most widely recognized party town anywhere, Rio is getting ready to host two of the world's biggest events. As one of Brazil's major cities, it will play host to the 2014 World Cup as well as the 2016 Summer Olympics. It feels like this party town is getting serious on the world stage.

It feels like this party town is getting serious on the world stage. Soccer blood runs through most Brazilian's veins, so the World Cup seems like a natural fit for them (they hosted a World Cup back in 1950) and Brazil is the home of the most famous soccer player in history, Pele.

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My Three Travel Wishes

August 5 2011 by Bryson Forbes
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iStock_000008108132XSmall.jpgLast night I watched the animated movie "Aladdin" with my two kids. As my mind started to wander while watching the kids' classic with the big blue genie, I got to thinking about the notion of being granted three wishes. From a travel perspective it would be easy to pick my top three dream destinations, but I thought it would be more fun to think about the three things I would choose to improve about the travel experience in general.

Here is what I came up with:

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Zorbing

August 1 2011 by Claudia Kunkel
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iStock_000005438266XSmall.jpgJanuary may be the time for making life improvements, but summer is the time for seeking adventure. The increased intake of revitalizing sun, the more carefree way of life during summer makes me hungry for something new, something daring.

This summer I hope to break out of the norm with a unique outdoor adventure that originally hails from New Zealand -- Zorbing. In this extreme recreational activity the individual climbs into a double-sectioned, large, plastic orb (almost 10 feet in diameter) and rolls down a hill.

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Panning For Gold

July 29 2011 by Claudia Kunkel
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Ever heard the expression "everything that glitters is not gold"? Well, if you're going to go panning for gold, you might want to keep that saying top of mind.

How did panning for gold get started? Well, talk of gold in California had been around for years before the Gold Rush and in December of 1848, President James Polk told Congress there were confirmed accounts of finding gold in California. By 1849 the Rush was on and people from all over the United States were jumping on the wagon train and heading to California with a touch of "Gold Fever."

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Birding In Canada

July 28 2011 by Bryson Forbes
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Did you know that there are more bird watchers in North America than golfers? Some birders are passionate about traveling to remote places to get a glimpse of a rare species.

Canada alone has 630 different species of birds with 85 specialities or bird species only found in Canada. Our national bird, the common loon, is even found on our dollar coin. Check out this great list of provincial statistics on camacdonald.com

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Montana Road Trip: We Made It!

July 27 2011 by Amy Graff
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iStock_000007118560XSmall.jpgWe did it! Our family drove across Montana, zigzagging up and down the state to hit some of the best spots from the Big Hole Valley to Yellowstone.

We covered some 800 miles, ate nearly a dozen bowls of chili between all for of us, and hiked, canoed, and fished in the state's prettiest areas.

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Montana Road Trip: Billings

July 26 2011 by Amy Graff

IMG_3757.JPGWe spent our last full day in Montana driving through Yellowstone. We just hadn't gotten enough the day before and my husband desperately wanted to see the Lower and Upper Yosemite Falls. Due to heavy snow falls the rivers were higher than normal and the falls were dumping remarkable amounts of water. The water would fall down the face of the cliff, hit the river, and then bounce back up. The power of the water was tremendous.

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Montana Road Trip: Livingston

July 25 2011 by Amy Graff

livingston1.JPGIn Montana, towns with red-brick buildings dating back to the 1800s and a few guys walking around in cowboy hats are a dime a dozen. Or so we learned on our road trip through this state filled with vast spaces and spectacular scenery and western towns.

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Montana Road Trip: Yellowstone

July 23 2011 by Amy Graff

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I'm from California where Yosemite is our go-to national park, and Half Dome and the valley surrounding it are beautiful. But it's really just a drop in the bucket compared to Yellowstone. The park is massive, covering over 2 million square acres, and stretching into Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming. It could actually be its own state and is larger than Rhode Island and Delaware combined. And it's beauty is overwhelming. I knew that it would be spectacular but I wasn't prepared for it to take my breath away.

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New Detailing Products for Motorcycles

July 22 2011 by Jason Fogelson
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I'll let you in on a little secret: Motorcycles aren't all that different from cars. Not when it comes to cleaning and detailing, anyway.

So, when new products hit the market for automotive detailing, I take notice, and think about how I might use them to keep my motorcycle sparkling.

Before I start prattling on about new products, let me remind you of the Detailer's Hippocratic Oath -- Above all, do no harm. There are few worse feelings than discovering that you've just discolored your chrome when you were just trying to get some bug juice off. Before you apply any chemicals or products to your bike, try a little bit of good old-fashioned water first, and see how that does. Always work in the shade, and if you must try a new product, test it in an inconspicuous spot first (inside a saddlebag, on the bottom side of a pipe). You'll be surprised how often "no product" works as well as "new product."

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Montana Road Trip: Bozeman

July 21 2011 by Amy Graff
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We spend the sixth day of our trip exploring Bozeman. Here are the highlights:

1) Best Western Plus GranTree Innswimming.JPGThis hotel is right off the freeway and only a couple minutes from downtown. The staff are friendly and helpful and the rooms comfortable and clean. And the indoor pool is heated--and super fun. At least that's what my kids would tell you. They spent the entire morning making up synchronized swimming dances in the pool.


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Montana Road Trip: Helena to Bozeman

July 20 2011 by Amy Graff

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After a few fast-paced days packed with driving and sightseeing we decide to spend a lazy morning at our hotel, the Best Western Premier Helena Great Northern. Our room is spacious and comfortable and its large curved windows look over the town. We take an hour to work and read. When you're traveling, sometimes you have to slow down.

Later the kids splash around in the heated indoor pool. We grab lunch at the nearby Bagel Company and the kids take one last spin on the Great Northern Carousel, just a block from the hotel.

At 1 p.m., we hit the road and drive to Bozeman.

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Montana Road Trip: Helena

July 19 2011 by Amy Graff


We wake up early and drive directly from Dillon to Helena. Montana's capital is lively little town (pop. 28,000) with lots of history. We decide to dig right into its storied past and spend the day touring historical sights. Here's what we did:

1) The Parrot Confectionary, Helena

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My kids' eyes get as big as saucers when they walk inside this old-fashioned soda fountain. As soon as you pass through door, there's a colorful display of hand-dipped candies.

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Montana Road Trip: Hamilton To Dillon

July 18 2011 by Amy Graff

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We wake up early on our third day in Montana because we have a packed itinerary. Our plan is to continue our drive through the Bitterroot Valley along Highway 93, and then drive over Chief Joseph Pass, crossing the Continental Divide. We'll then cut through the Big Hole Valley along Highway 43, before hopping onto 278, which will take us to Dillon, where we will spend the night.

Here are a few highlights from our day:

1) Blodgett Canyon, Hamilton
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Hamilton locals refer to the box canyon just outside of town as a little Yosemite. And as we walk the Canyon Creek Trail, which follows a rushing river, we understand why. Granite peaks loom overhead. Not Half Dome, but still impressive.

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Montana Road Trip: Flathead Lake and Hamilton

July 18 2011 by Amy Graff

iStock_000014221333XSmall.jpgOn the second day of our road trip we drive an hour from Missoula to Flathead Lake and then we opt to take the scenic route on our drive to the Bitterroot Valley. Here are a few highlights from the day:

1) Mission Mountain Range
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We're driving through rural countryside (lots of hay bales) outside Missoula on our way to Flathead Lake, and then, Bam! Jagged, snow-topped mountains are staring us in the face. I'm so startled and excited that I scream. My husband points out that the mountains are spectacular because there aren't any foothills. They shoot right up from the valley floor. This is the moment when I fall in love with Montana and its mountains.

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A Royal Occasion: The Duke and Duchess Tour Canada

July 13 2011 by Bryson Forbes
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By now, we all know the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge chose Canada as their first official international travel destination since their April nuptials captured world attention. Canadians welcomed the couple with open arms as they made a jam-packed, nine-day, cross-Canada tour.

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Best Western Plus Grant Creek Inn, Missoula

July 12 2011 by Amy Graff
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Let me count the ways our family loved the Best Western Plus Grant Creek Inn in Missoula

- The front-desk staff is friendly. Two lovely ladies checked us in to our room. They directed us to the amazing local hike to the top of Mount Sentinel.


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Montana Road Trip: Missoula

July 11 2011 by Amy Graff
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Our Montana road trip starts in Missoula, Montana's second-largest city located in the western part of the state. We instantly fall for this laid-back college town with leafy tree-lined streets and spend an afternoon exploring its riverfront park and downtown.

These are the highlights from our day in Missoula:

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Montana Road Trip

July 10 2011 by Amy Graff
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My husband and I have decided to drive through the state of Montana with our two kids--ages 6 and 8--this summer. Our plan is to fly into Missoula, dip down into the Bitterroot Valley, swoop up to Helena, spend a couple days in Bozeman and Yellowstone, and then finish up in Billings.

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The Best of Contest Posts: Part 2

July 7 2011 by Claudia Kunkel

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Back in March, I decided to revisit some of my favorite posts to a few of You Must Be Trippin's contests. I hope you enjoyed re-reading them as much as I did. I love that so many of you take the time to respond and write your touching, funny and always entertaining comments. I am following up with Part II - Sit back, relax and read-on!

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School's Out for Summer - What To Do With All This Free Time?

June 30 2011 by Bryson Forbes
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Let the fun begin! Summer is here and kids across the country are ready to enjoy Canada's long days and warm nights. As we recently learned at the Best Western Leisure Travel Summit in Toronto, vacationers - and the optimism they bring - are back in a big way this year. The result is an action-packed summer full of fun, adventure and new experiences.

Here are my top five things to do with the kids this summer:

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Car Games Only Requiring a Brain

June 29 2011 by Claudia Kunkel

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The kids are finally out of school. Now you have time to relax and the open road is calling your family to take an adventure. Whether you decide to go to another part of your home state or to take a drive from sea to shining sea, there is no more fun-filled method of travel than hopping in your car with the kids in the back seat and miles of pavement ahead.

When I was growing up my family drove thousands of miles each summer to places like Yellowstone National Park, the shore of Lake Superior in northern Minnesota and the Gateway Arch in Saint Louis. Although these trips made great memories, the younger siblings sometimes didn't get as much enjoyment from the hours of togetherness and sitting in a car. To help beat backseat boredom, we played car games that didn't require a board, cards or pieces and could begin within seconds of those younger children being on the brink of a panic attack. Here are four of my family's favorites that the whole vehicle can play together, no matter how big, small, young or old your family may be.

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Loving it Lakeside

June 22 2011 by Bridget Daly

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This summer you don't have to go to the ocean to have a great beach vacation. For many people, especially in the Midwest, going to the ocean leads to a long car ride or expensive plane tickets. There are a variety of benefits of making your next vacation lakeside. The beaches are generally less crowded giving you a more private experience on the lake. The mild-mannered waves are perfect for boating, fishing, tubing, jet skiing and swimming. To top it off, a freshwater getaway is less expensive than their ocean side counterpart--giving you a superb vacation on the beach without making waves on your budget.

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Slipping Through the Parthenon

June 21 2011 by Sam Lowe

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ATHENS - If you come here expecting to find solitude and spend time running barefoot through the ruins while communing with the gods whose spirits are, allegedly, still hanging around the Acropolis, you will be in for a certain amount of disappointment. An estimated 12,000 people visit the site every day, and on most days, every one of them shows up. So if several tourist buses arrive at the same time, there's a potential for human traffic jams.
And that situation will be worsened if you're not wearing the proper shoes.
Since the Acropolis is an absolute must for sightseers, historians, dealers in antiquity and just plain curious folks, most are already familiar with at least some of its history. They'll know, for instance, that this isn't the only acropolis in Greece. The word is derived from akros (Greek for "edge" or "extremity") and polis ("city"), and there are many others in the country, usually situated on hilltops so the gods would have a better view of their realms.

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Summer Solstice

June 20 2011 by Julie Drossos
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Summer solstice is coming up - June 21st to be exact! Not that the sheer fact that summer is in full swing - cue leaving work with hours of sunshine to spare, warm nights for barbecuing, playing in the park past 9 and catching late sunsets - isn't enough, but there are a lot of cool events and festivities you can partake in, in a variety of areas and communities to honor the Summer Solstice. Here are a few that are worth checking out.

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Father's Day Getaways

June 16 2011 by Mike Mason
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I love Father's Day. Mostly, because I can use it as an excuse to do whatever it is that I want to do on that day. Or if I am lucky it can extend out to a Father's Day weekend. All dads are different and I am sure everyone has their own special way of celebrating, but if I was to celebrate Father's Day with travel, these are the top spots on my wish list.

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School's Out For Summer!

June 15 2011 by Julie Drossos
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iStock_000010102580XSmall.jpgIt's that loved (especially if you're a teacher) yet dreaded (if you are a parent) time of year again - another school year over and another summer of finding things to occupy your kidlets and keep them out of trouble! If you don't want to send your kids away to summer camp or day camp, here are a few ideas for you to consider that can easily be coordinated at your end.

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Best Beaches in Canada

June 9 2011 by Bryson Forbes
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Do you know which country in the world has the most coast line? You guessed it, it's Canada. Most people think of Canada's natural beauty to be our magnificent mountains, amazing national parks and glorious lakes, but there are some world-class beaches across this great land that can't be forgotten.

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Hoh Rain Forest

June 8 2011 by Claudia Kunkel
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iStock_000007257058XSmall.jpgA few years ago when planning our annual summer road trip with the kids, my husband suggested that we visit the rainforest in Washington state when traveling through the Seattle area. I must admit at that time, I didn't know there was a rainforest in the United States.

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Bright Outlook for Michael Waltrip Racing Team

June 7 2011 by Mark Deyer
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183100_10150106894553371_66499758370_6652263_157647_n.jpgAfter a slow start to the 2011 season, it seems that Best Western sponsored Michael Waltrip Racing has turned it on and created a bit of luck for themselves. With high hopes going into the season, the newly semi-retired Michael Waltrip and newly refocused David Reutimann, had a bit of hard luck to kick off their year. A crash to start the season at Daytona for Waltrip and a series of mediocre finishes for Reutimann weren't what the Charlotte based team was hoping for. In a quick change of luck, however, May couldn't have been sweeter for them.

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Deal Meccas of America

June 2 2011 by Claudia Kunkel
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iStock_000015395495XSmall.jpgMy girlfriends and I are planning our annual 4-day getaway. We like to pick a place where we can do some heavy-duty discount shopping with a side of sightseeing. We want no distractions for the main event: finding deals.

We love outlet malls because there are so many different kinds of stores grouped together--we can all find something we love. The bargains are easy to find and we like the outdoor walkability of most modern outlet malls.

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Top Cheesy Destinations in France

June 1 2011 by BW Innsider
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guest_1.jpgThis is a guest post written by Roxanne Bridger, a travel blogger for flights comparison site CheapFlights.co.uk. If this post inspires you to travel to France, you can search lots of different dates for your flights to Biarritz, Corsica or Perpignan on their site to make sure you get the best deal around.

You do not have to be a cheese lover to enjoy France, but if you are, this is certainly the destination country for you.

Every region has its own specialty, and what is regarded as special in one place may not be so in another. A French proverb holds that "there is a different French cheese for every day of the year." Apart from the joy of taste, consuming cheese has many benefits. It's rich in protein, phosphorus, calcium, and many more essential nutrients.

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Tips and Tricks for Saving on Gas This Summer

May 27 2011 by Amy Graff
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amy_gas.jpgMy family will be hitting the road this summer. We've mapped out a week-long trip through Montana that takes us from Missoula, down into the Bitterroot Valley, up to Helena, back down to Bozeman and then onto Billings. We'll be covering about 700 miles.

We hope to make this a budget trip--limiting ourselves to only $150 a day. Sound tight? Yes, especially with gas prices expected to go through the roof this summer.

How will we ever manage to meet our budget goal and keep our gas prices low? We'll follow many of the tips and tricks offered up in a recent New York Times article, "13 Ways to Save on Gas this Summer."

Here's a look at a few of the tips:

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Marathons. Always a Spectator, Never a Runner

May 25 2011 by Bridget Daly
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iStock_000005108177XSmall.jpgWatching thousands of runners, from professional to novice, tackle 26 miles and 385 yards is never short of spectacular! I tend to always be a marathon spectator, never a runner, but the energy is exhilarating and the determination is contagious no matter if you choose to don the running shoe or the sit on the sidelines and cheer on the crowd walking shoe.

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Homosassa Springs State Park, FL

May 24 2011 by Amy Graff
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amy_manatee.jpgIn the morning I let the kids watch a little TV while I packed up. They were fully engaged in an episode of Dinosaur Train when the screen suddenly went blank and the TV started to beep loudly.

"What happened to our show?" the kids screamed.

A message about a tornado warning appeared on the screen. A tornado just east of Tampa was spotted.

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