AirBnb guest guide to Portobello Road: 5 essential shops

One of the fun things about being an Airbnb guest is the opportunity to have a fantasy local life during your stay. If you’re near bustling Portobello Road, the commercial heart of Notting Hill, here is the ultimate guide to shopping in the neighborhood.  You will feel positively native… without breaking your travel budget.  Continue reading “AirBnb guest guide to Portobello Road: 5 essential shops”

Best of the best: 5 favorite destinations in 2017

US Passport cover

2017 was a banner year for my travel.  Some destinations were carefully planned but others were just serendipitous, popping up out of the blue. Either way, believe me, the travel gods cranked  it out on my behalf.   During this remarkable stretch of travel and exploration, the trips were chronicled in this space.   And now, as the year winds to a close, here are my 5 favorite destinations for 2017.  I hope you’ll find some ideas and inspiration for your 2018 travel plans.

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How to make your family holiday an outstanding success

Chaplain's House, Tyntesfield

Imagine a family holiday in a 19th C English country setting with 21st C amenities. You’re settled in a comfy, period cottage on the grounds of an exquisite  Victorian Gothic mansion, endowed with a history Downtown Abbey’s fictional Grantham family would envy. Add a couple of sophisticated gastro-pubs, an easy drive through the bucolic countryside.  Toss in berry picking, farm visits and an enchanted forest to charm the youngsters. Some interesting stuff for older kids. Perhaps a quick visit to Bristol,  a thriving destination with a pretty impressive history of its own.

The holiday venue is Chaplain’s House at Tyntesfield, a gem of Britain’s National Trust rental cottages. Here’s why it’s a recipe for success, and worth the travel from North America.

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3 reasons why intergenerational travel is the best gift

Intergenerational travel is a bonding experience, the stuff of family lore.  It’s an opportunity to pass along core values, skills, and interests, embedding them in the context of experiential travel. Whether a grandparent-grandchild experience or inclusive of parents as well, it is something unique.  It has never been done exactly as you will do it and it will never be exactly replicated.  You own it along with your children, grandchildren or whoever makes up the family tribe on this adventure.  Intergenerational travel is about gifting an experience, not a physical, shiny thing.  If you are not yet convinced it is the best gift you can offer your family, read on…  Continue reading “3 reasons why intergenerational travel is the best gift”

5 Things not to miss in Budapest

Budapest straddles the Danube in a proud manner,  a foot on each side, like a regal grande dame.   For those of us coming of age during the height of the Communist domination of Central and Eastern Europe, Budapest was not a welcoming place to visit, even if possible.  At a distance, we learned of its political and cultural significance at the height of the 19th C. Austro-Hungarian empire and of its drab existence behind the Iron Curtain.  But today Budapest sparkles and beckons, rivaling London or Paris as amongst the grand destination cities of Europe.  If you have only a few days in  Budapest, here’s what should be on every 3 Score traveler’s bucket list… Continue reading “5 Things not to miss in Budapest”

Want the real low-down on REAL ID? It’s here…

picture of New York State REAL ID driver's license

This updates an earlier post on the topic….

The most recent update on REAL ID appears here

The bottom line is that all states have a compliant REAL ID plan in place. Travelers have until October 2020 to update their state-issued driver’s licenses and satisfy TSA standards. 

Confused about exactly when  REAL ID kicks in?  Confused about the acceptability of your state’s driver’s license by the TSA for domestic air travel after January 22, 2018?

Don’t panic. 

You won’t be turned away at security with your long-standing license or ID in hand.  If you live in one of the 20-odd states just now issuing REAL ID driver’s licenses (New York is one of them), the Department of Homeland Security has granted extensions until the strict, we-mean-business deadline of October 1, 2020. Therefore you have a bit of time. 

Here is what you need to know about REAL ID… Continue reading “Want the real low-down on REAL ID? It’s here…”

REAL ID UPDATE: What you need to know

  • NOTE:  A more recent post on REAL ID can be found here.

The updated top line: your current driver’s license will remain valid as TSA-approved ID for boarding aircraft on domestic flights for a while.  The DHS  compliance deadline for states to provide REAL ID driver’s licenses is expected to be extended to October 2018.

Here’s the background and what you should know about REAL ID and the TSA security protocol.

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Magical Mendoza: How to catch the best of it

Mendoza is often associated with the other Argentinian M-word: Malbec. The region is indeed the heart of Argentina’s  prodigious wine production and the focus of many a trip. The wine tasting was certainly high on my list and I did plenty of it.

But there is more to explore: Mendoza is sophisticated yet laid-back; beautiful parks reflect the regions’ rich history and Spanish heritage. Culinary expertise pairs nicely with the renown wine. Traveling with the expertise of Yampu Tours, here’s how two friends and I caught the best of Mendoza, from Malbec to aflajores.

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The solar eclipse through a colander: 3 amazing photos

Those of us in the U.S. expecting a partial solar eclipse on August 21st were duly warned:  looking directly at this phenomenon without special viewing glasses would result in certain damage to our eyes. Alternatively, we could use the “pinhole” method and track the sun and moon pas de deux through a small opening harmlessly casting the shadow play on to a flat surface.

Enter the lowly kitchen colander – repurposed to serve as a  “pinhole” device creating a repeated pattern of celestial beauty. Who knew?  Continue reading “The solar eclipse through a colander: 3 amazing photos”

How to experience the eclipse without the hassle

Solar eclipse 101: this is hysterical.

How will you experience this cosmic phenomenon?  Some tips follow… Continue reading “How to experience the eclipse without the hassle”