Thursday, September 18, 2014

Travelers: Food Safety Tips

Depending on the country where you will be traveling, food could be an issue. No one wants to get sick at home, let alone in an unfamiliar city.

Drinking water can pose a big problem when traveling. It's obvious you don't want to drink the water in many countries. But, what about countries where you thought it was safe to drink the water? Before you go, research your destination. Is safe water an issue? If you're not sure, drink only bottled water. Ask your hotel to recommend a brand that is a known safe one. Along those same lines, if you're unsure...don't brush your teeth with tap water and keep your mouth shut when taking a shower. Also, avoid ice cubes in drinks.

What about eating street food? If you aren't sure about the cleanliness of it...avoid it. If you see lots of flies hanging around the food...avoid it. If the food vendor looks like he has unclean hands...avoid it. You might want to stay away from food that's been sitting in the sun for hours also.

If you're still unsure about the water...avoid foods that were washed in local water. Salads, fruits, and vegetables might be good ones to avoid. If you can peel it or cook're probably okay to eat it.

Travelers: Exciting Workshop

Check out this unique workshop...

10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday October 25 or Sunday October 26
Pepperwood Preserve/ 3450 Franz Valley Rd, Santa Rosa, CA 95472
Enrollment is limited/pre-registration required.

Master Weavers from California tribes will share stories of their journeys as basketry artists and their unique relationship with the natural environment at Tending the Wild – The Workshop at Pepperwood Preserve in Sonoma County. The one day presentation runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will be offered on Saturday October 25 or Sunday October 26.

The event is designed to provide insights into this one of California’s oldest art traditions. Presenters will discuss the concept of Indigenous Stewardship Methods (ISM) that reflects traditional Native perspectives of land management, including the advantages of periodic burning.

Workshop participants will have an opportunity to learn about and work with the plant fibers California Indian basket weavers use. Attendees will identify, clean, trim and split fibers from juncas, sedge, willow, bracken fern root and redbud. They will also be introduced to special instruments that can analyze historic hand-crafted baskets.

Highlights include presentations by M. Kat Anderson, ethno-botanist and author of the book “Tending the Wild”. Ben Benson, Native Studies educator and Pepperwood Preserve’s Cultural Resources Manager will also participate in the day long program.

The non-profit California Basketweavers’ Association (CIBA), established in 1992 has approximately 1,000 members statewide and provides opportunities for weavers to convene, learn, exchange information and showcase their work.  

Advance registration is required as enrollment is limited. Saturday or Sunday tickets (includes lunch): $60 general, $50 CIBA members, or $40 students currently enrolled at a local university or college. Registration details: www.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Travelers: Camera Tips

When you travel do you pack an extra memory card? If you do, it will save time trying to find a place to buy one in an unfamiliar city.

Do you pack an extra battery or your battery charger? Again, a good idea to have.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Travelers: Simple Travel Tips

You've probably read that it's a good idea to learn a few words and phrases if you're going to a foreign country. Please is a good one to learn and so is Thank You. Do You Speak English is one that might come in handy. One more that you might want to learn is No Thank You.

Take a couple of extra plastic bags along. They don't take up room in your suitcase and are so useful in many ways from dirty clothes to wet swimsuits to seashells to muddy shoes. The uses are almost endless.

If you are getting a taxi from your hotel to a restaurant or attraction, be sure to take a business card from the front desk. That way you can show it to the taxi driver when you want to come back to your hotel. Before you leave the hotel, ask the concierge or front desk what the approximate rate will be.

If you bring a hard copy of the city's map, you can save your phone battery for other uses.

Ask the locals for advice on restaurants, etc.

Do you know where the embassy is located? Is it in the same city as you? It would be a good idea to write down the phone number and address. You never know when this may come in handy.

Scan your passport and travel documents and send one copy to yourself and one to a family member.

Check out the airports on line ahead of time. This might save you some time to know the general direction of the rental car companies, the different terminals, rest rooms, etc.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Travelers: Smooth Flying

We all know flying can be stressful. We also know taking a trip requires some planning. Check out these easy-to-do tips as you plan your next trip. Plan ahead and make your trip enjoyable.

Pack your essentials in your carry on bag. In case your checked luggage is will have what you need with you.

Make sure your quart size bag with your liquids in it is within easy reach. You don't want to be the one standing, holding up the line in security, looking for your bag that has somehow found its way to the depths of your carry on. Keep it handy.

Keep your hotel information handy. If your bag is lost and airline wants to deliver it to need to know the address. Or when you rent a car or give a taxi driver your sure to give the correct one.

Keep your boarding pass until you return from your trip. You can use it to make sure you receive the correct air miles on your frequent flyer plan.

Make sure you can recognize your bag on the sea of black bags going around and around the baggage carousel. Put a colored piece of tape on the handles or use a sticker from an attraction on the back side of your bag. You can see it much easier and much quicker as it makes its way onto the carousel.

Remember your flight number. Looking at the departure sign with dozens of flights to San Diego or multiple flights to Paris...if you know your number, it makes things easier. If the sign appears in another language first and then your language...knowing your flight number is definitely quicker.

Leave a little extra time to get to the airport. It may be only 30 minutes away...but leave some extra time for that unexpected accident blocking your highway or the downpour you just encountered or the slow moving traffic. There's no point in making yourself all stressed out before you get on that plane. This is vacation...right?

Once you're at the airport parking lot and have your luggage sitting beside you, double check your car. Do you have all your luggage? Who wants to run back for that small piece still sitting in the back seat? Are all the interior lights in your car off? No sense coming back to a dead battery. Did you lock it? Check.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Travelers: Product Reviews

New travel products and apps seem to be developed faster and faster all the time. I'm always reading about a new app to help plan your trip or a new travel product to make your travel life easier. Do they work, are they better than what I'm already using, are they worth the money, would I tell my travel friends, can I wait to try them out on my next trip...

Here at Travels and Escapes, I am adding a new feature. I will start reviewing products. This means I will actually use them. I'll install a new app and try it around here. If it's worth it, I tell you about it. As for new products, I will look carefully at them and might buy them. If that product is an improvement over what I'm using...I'll let you know. If it isn't, I will tell you that as well.

Then, when I go on a trip, I'll report back on using the new app or the new product. You will get a genuinely tested review.

If you know of a product or app that is new, or is being developed, or one you absolutely love...let me know. I would love to give it a try.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Travelers: TSA Screening

Did you know that passengers leave a variety of items behind once they go through the TSA screening process?

TSA tries to reconnect those passengers with their items, but sometimes they can't find them. So, the items go to lost and found. Keys, laptops, jewelry, belts, large items, stuffed animals, bags, money clips, eyeglasses, pens, wallets, and so much more.

One thing you may want to do is keep your valuables in a small bag in your carry on bag. Put anything that you may have to remove in the bag ahead of time. That way you won't have to put it in the bowl or bin to go through the security scanner by itself.

If you have a large bracelet that you need to remove at the last minute, you don't want to place it in a bowl that might not make it through the scanner until after you're already gone from the screening area. Or, maybe you think you need to remove all jewelry. If it's already in your carry on worries.

Less danger of forgetting to grab everything.

If you do forget something, contact lost and found immediately. The web page has phone numbers for every airport.