French Visitors To the U.S. Told To Keep It Cool

Tho we admired Charles Boyer and his amorous ways many years ago, recent instructions from Paris tell their citizens not to emulate him when they travel in America.

The advice includes being aware of drinking restrictions, slower driving speeds, stormy weather and “to adopt a reserved attitude toward those of the opposite sex.” Today, Monsieur Boyer would be restricted to just offering his platonic friendship to Hedy Lamarr.

Travel ideas: Shop for top home swaps PDF Print E-mail

Condo signs

Q: We live in a high rise in downtown Los Angeles. It’s a two-bedroom condo, just across the street from MacArthur Park, and ten minutes from Hollywood and Beverly Hills. This year, instead of paying high prices for hotels and restaurant food when we travel, we’d like to try swapping homes with another senior couple for several weeks. We’ll mostly do our own cooking, with occasional visits to cafes, entertainment and other local features.

We haven’t quite made up our minds about where we’d like to swap. High up on the list are New York (Broadway shows), London (museums, history), St. Petersburg (Russia’s royal past) or San Francisco (Chinese restaurants). Maybe Rome, Venice or Paris to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. How do we get started?

Last-minute travel: There's no place like home(town) PDF Print E-mail

Cruise ship

You suddenly find you’ll be getting a week off, and you want to find a place to relax. You don’t have much time for plans, because you don’t want to waste any of those days. You need to find last-minute travel pronto.

To choose the best locations for last-minute vacation travel, there are many variables. If you're willing to pay for the convenience, vacations to favorite cities, including Las Vegas, New York, Los Angeles, London, Paris, Rome and others can offer anything you need for a fulfilling, if very expensive, vacation experience.

Airport Tips: Watch your bags at all times! PDF Print E-mail

Cartoon of people with suitcases

A Phoenix man and woman were arrested recently for stealing at least a thousand checked suitcases from the baggage carousels in the city airport during the past year. How could that happen? Imagine the conversation between an airport cop and his boss last June:

Cop: Duh, chief, didja know that more than 500 checked bags have been stolen from our carousels since January. Shouldn’t we do sumpin’ about it?

Chief: Only 500? Nah, not to worry. We wait ‘til them crooks take at least a thousand. Then we gotta think about doin’ sumpin.

Those airport security guys are great at checking shoes and waving electronic wands. But, how could they ignore this obvious in-their-faces crime spree? They never caught on, and it took city cops to catch the crooks in action, then follow them and find their house full of hundreds of empty suitcases.

Tips: Make holiday road trips more comfy PDF Print E-mail

Flock of turkeys

Here are a few ideas about making things easier if you’re going over the hills and through the trees to grandmother's house by car.

1. Gasoline prices may no longer be the highway robbery they were last year, but you can still expect your friendly neighborhood gas station owners to jack up the price and gobble greedy profits for the holidays. Check local prices before you fill up, or go online to gasbuddy.com, where daily price changes are noted in your area and along your route. To avoid crowded highways, plan to do your driving between 11 pm and 6 am.

Ready to take the plunge for winter travel? PDF Print E-mail

Polar bear

Personal stuff first: Just as soon as my December retirement party ended, my spouse, I and our packed car hit the highway from snowy, foggy, humid PA and headed 2,000 miles west to always sunny, hot, dry AZ. That winter vacation has lasted every day for nearly 20 years. I’ve no urge to have anything to do with winter except to watch TV scenes of poor slobs slushing and sneezing through snow.

That said, here are some suggestions I have, and have experienced, for nice, warm winter vacations that offer both hot and cold features:

Some family members enjoy winter sports, and I do reluctantly get my snow experience about once every three years. I relax in cozy, warm welcome at Homewood Mountain Resort (skihomewood.com) at the winter wonderland of Lake Tahoe in Northern California.


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