About this blog

If your travel budget is unlimited, a really good travel agent should be able to handle most of your needs. If you’re backpacking, well, that’s reasonably easy too: buy a Lonely Planet or Moon guide and go with the flow.

But if you’re like most of us, your needs vary with mood, occasion, the economy. Sometimes you want to splurge — if only for a day or two. Sometimes you need to cut back from your usual style.

A trip with friends may call for museums by day, gourmet dining by night. With the kids, we may be looking for a clean-but-safe lodging or a quirky roadside attraction.  For a special anniversary, we may want the Ritz — or just a splurge above our regular style of lodging.  An important birthday may call for a bit of pampering — or a multi-day hike along the Inca Trail, just because we can.

No matter how fat or thin the wallet, whether we’re traveling Five Stars or Under-the-Stars, we all want memorable experiences that feel fully worth the time, the money, the airport aggravation of having forgotten to drag out our laptops and our liquids in 3-ounce containers.

This blog is dedicated to helping travelers find the information they need to plan their trips — regardless of their wallets.

Got a question? E-mail me at [email protected]. I’ll do my best to answer it from my own experiences and from those of my network — other travel writers and travel communicators (many of them members of the Society of American Travel Writers) and other travelers. And, I hope from you. If you’ve got a tip to share, please add it to the comments!

This blog is born out of my own passion for travel — 100-plus countries, 45 states. You can read more about me under the Author tab. But the following story is a good start:

A dozen or so years ago, when I was travel editor at the Miami Herald, I invited my husband to come along on a part-work, part-vacation trip to southern Africa.

The first two weeks we’d spend on a backpacker tour, traveling by van and sleeping in campsites as we visited Kruger National Park, Victoria Falls and Botswana’s Okavanga Delta. The second 10 days we’d spend in luxury lodgings, tasting aged Scotch at the Capetown’s Cape Grace Hotel and sipping V&Ts at the end of each day’s safari at a private game camp, complete with baths drawn just to our liking. It took less than two minutes on the phone for my husband to decide his schedule was too booked to make the first part of the trip, but he could squeeze out those days for the second leg.

Good call. At 6’5” and being even then a fellow with graying hair, The Husband would have hated being crammed into a van sans air conditioning. Me, I had just as much fun on the $800 backpacker trip as I did on the subsequent $800-per-day private tour.


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