Archive for the ‘travel tips’ Category

All Nippon Airways Innovative New Website: Let’s Do Japan!

best travel website

For Nippon Lovers like me, you have to check out All Nippon Airways (ANA) awesome new website. Yes, Japan’s leading airline has just launched an innovative new site called “Let’s Do Japan” (, which lets visitors create their own Japanese manga personality while they learn helpful tips about Japanese culture and trends. A quirky little intro to the culture before you set your sights on sushi and kabuki, the clean design and tongue-in-cheek style is enough to make anyone with a pulse and a smile want to book a ticket ASAP. And, if you are a true Japanophile and anime enthusiast, you also don’t want to miss, Manganizer.

Visitors can immerse themselves in their own story through Manganizer, or discover other helpful tips and interesting facts about Japan and Japanese culture through 360 Japan, another fun, high-tech glimpse into what to expect when you visit Japan for the first time or the tenth. Who wouldn’t want to be the hero of their own manga-style story?





Looking like the Beach in Winter


Finally, someone thought of the perfect solution. The marriage of blush and bronzer! Thanks, Cargo. Our winter skin was wan and bland when four shades came sauntering in. Swept together, these create the perfect color for the skin, giving a flushed cheeks/sun-kissed glow. Just don’t you dare over do it. It’s easy because it’s so much fun, but one sweep each cheek will do. Otherwise, you’ll have to rub it all off. Its formula contains light reflective shimmer particles that highlight the skin and soften the appearance of fine lines, but what’s more… a light sweep and you’re looking fresh faced and healthy, Cali style.

Price: $30

Available in six shades (Cable Beach, Coral Beach, Echo Beach, Miami Beach, Sunset Beach and Tenerife). These are avail. via the link below or Duane Reade, and Cargo.

Get Geared Up For Coachella

Coachella Style

Coachella Style

Yes, we’re already looking toward Coachella 2013 (and damn that Bowie rumor… is it true?!). So, from the fashionable to downright fundamental, that will help you survive six intense days of musical mayhem that is Coachella. Trust us, you’ll get dusted and drunk, but enjoy every minute of it. Well, minus the ‘finding your car’ part at the end of the night if you’re not camping (or glamping) onsite.
1. Find a go-to outfit to look hot and stay cool. Try Element Eden Shannon tank and concert shorts from their Spring 2013 collection.
2. Keep your essentials within reach with this Element Eden backpack for Summer 2013.
3. Think cool thoughts with these VonZipper Cletus sunglasses from their Frostbyte series.
4. The VIP pass is optional, sunscreen isn’t. Save your skin with Epicuren’s X-treme Cream sunscreen with SPF 45.
5. Brave the wild world of the Girl Talk crowd with Spirithood’s new Coyote from their Spring 2013 line. Too hot for fur? Their Summer 2013 line includes NEW Terrycloth Spirithoods!
6. Channel your inner Feist-iness with Element Eden’s Polynesian Tea maxi dress for Summer 2013.
7. Another no brainer. Never be caught without a bottle of water. Icelandic Glacial Water is the perfect refreshing choice.
8. Missed Deadmau5’s set because you were sidetracked at the new beer garden? Keep track of time with NEFF’s Flava watch.
9. You might be hot in the daytime, but don’t forget you’re in the desert. Stay warm at night with Stance “Kingston” socks.
10. Let’s face it, your shoes are going to get dirty, but these Etnies Woozy hi-tops, from Spring 2013, will look cute in the process.
11. Stuck in the long entrance line? Start your own dance party with the portable wireless Phoenix speaker by Beacon. Try one of the new spring colors for these tiny speakers.
12. Keep safe from the sun with the Bungalow hat by Element Eden from Summer 2013.

A Design Star’s Eco Tips

David Bromstad

This week, adorable design guru, David Bromstad, the original winner of HGTV Design Star, tells us some of his eco-adventure tips.  Now host and designer on his first hit series for HGTV, Color Splash, he’s completed more than 100 makeovers for Color Splash around the country including San Francisco, New York and Miami. David has also appeared on HGTV programs including HGTV’d, HGTV Showdown, and Bang for Your Buck. His infectious blend of energy, creativity, and dedication to each project distinguish him as a truly unique artist, design personality, and television host so we’re thrilled he’s here to share his insight.

1. What is your favorite vacation spot and why?

Mykonos, Greece. I go nearly every Summer with a big, wonderful group of people.  Mykonos is such an amazingly beautiful place! The people are wonderful, the food is unbelievable and it’s very gay friendly. My favorite place to stay is Hotel Hermes and I absolutely love Elia Beach. For more tips, you can also check out this website:

2. Are there any natural wonders of the world you’ve visited or places on your bucket list?

The Grand Canyon is the US’s own natural wonder of the world, and it is spectacular! Pictures don’t nearly do it justice. The vastness of the Canyon, and the sheer scale of nature is something everyone should see for themselves.  I would really love to see the Harbor of Rio de Janeiro; plus the Great Barrier Reef and Mount Everest definitely have a place on my bucket list.

3. Any eco-travel tips for our readers?

As much as I love the convenience of little travel toiletries, that is one way you can be more eco friendly. Using re-usable bottles is a great way to bring the products you love while still being eco conscious. Also you can now research your Carbon Footprint or “offset” your Carbon Footprint with tips from sites like this:

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

4. When – and why  – did you become passionate about up cycling?

Upcycling is the next step up from Recycling. It’s taking old, unusable products and making them into something wonderful! I have always been passionate about finding design in unusual places and using thing in interesting new ways… Recycling and being environmentally conscious is something that is so so important. And creating something beautiful is one of my all time favorite things to do.

We agree, David, which is why we love sites like and Why buy new when you can get the same thing for less and save a little of the planet while you’re at it?

Group Fund Anything: Crowdtilt

Planning a group trip can be a stressful task, especially if you’re the one collecting the money for travel and accommodations, trust us. We recently coordinated a trip to St. Barths for July and it felt like a full time job.

Well, that’s where comes in.  A new ‘groupfunding’ website, it allows groups of people (friends, co-workers, family, neighbors) to easily pool money online, with no one’s credit card being charged until the trip has tilted or reached its tilting limit.  Once a campaign has raised the money, all the funds will be sent via direct deposit or check, eliminating the problem of waiting on people to pay the organizer. Crowdtilt can help fund bus trips, hotel rooms, group flights, a car service, concert tickets and other events/activities at your destination.

We think it’s brill.

5 Websites for Travel Gear

Flight 001

Did you know that nearly one-third of Americans anticipate spending more on travel in 2012, with almost half intending to spend the same amount as they did in 2011? That’s right, and consumers continue to master the web for making travel plans as annual online travel bookings are expected to increase from $102 billion to $143 billion over the next five years.

But once the flight is booked and the hotel room reserved, what online resources are available to help those people get ready to get away? Here are five websites for stocking up on travel gear for your 2012 vacation:

1.       Flight 001 puts the fun in function! You’ll be the envy of your fellow travelers with unique travel products from across the globe, including retro luggage tags and passport holders, whimsical eye masks, and laundry bags with something to say.

2.       Carrying on? Not a problem with the TSA-friendly beauty and personal products available at With products in 34 different categories, ranging from moisturizer to hair care, they have you covered!

3.       Travel with peace of mind, knowing you’ll be clean and comfortable snuggled up to your travel blanket and disposable pillowcase from PB Travel. With product lines including PB Cashmere, PB Baby, Eco Friendly and Germ Freak, PB Travel specializes in personal belongings (PB) that are cool, fun and colorful.

4.       No more trekking to the store to purchase last-minute travel essentials. Online shopping program ShopRunner allows you to purchase all the sunscreen, beach towels, flip flops and blow up rafts you might need, along with books and movies, snacks, and a new digital camera – and have them delivered straight to your door, with unlimited free, two-day shipping and no minimum order size.

5.       For everything else, there’s Magellan’s, a one-stop-shop for unique and useful travel products, from luggage and packing aids to adaptors and convertors.

Happy travelin’!

Frugal Foreign Travel Tips for Baby Boomer Ladies

Kate Forgach, Baby Boomer Specialist

This week, Kate Forgach, gives our Baby Boomer adventurer’s some travel tips for the road. Forgach has written about senior issues for 11 years and has been featured in USA Today, Detroit News, New Orleans Times-Picayune, New Yorker magazine, “ABC World News,” NBC’s “TODAY” show and many other media outlets. So, needless to say, she knows the drill.

The obviously American gentleman was eating dinner while reading at a cozy French restaurant, but I just had to interrupt with a somewhat rude question: “Why do so few older men travel alone in Europe?”

I’d been on the road for two months, touring the world as a travel writer, and this was the first American male I’d seen flying solo. He responded with just one word: “Fear.” I thanked him and went on my merry way, only realizing later I hadn’t asked, “Fear of what?”

The flat fact, however, is that older women are more comfortable traveling to foreign countries without a partner or tour group. You see them sitting in cafés, diligently scribbling in their journals and taking in the passing scene with genuine smiles. I formed easy friendships with many of these women everywhere from Abu Dhabi to Krakow, and learned quite a few frugal foreign-travel tips, which I’m delighted to pass on to men and women alike.

1. Hostels
I can’t stress strongly enough how much cheaper and more enjoyable it is to stay in a hostel. Other overnight residences are not only more expensive, they tend to segregate you from the reality of a city or region. Hostels throw you right into the mix, which nowadays includes travelers of all ages — not just the young. Hostels usually provide breakfast, the heftier ones yielding leftovers from which you can use for lunch. Free Wi-Fi access and front-desk workers who can point you to unique sites worth seeing round out the many benefits of staying in a hostel. To make reservations before you leave or while you’re on the road, Lonely Planet and Hostel World allow you to search by location, price and type of hostel, with photos and a description of the accommodations.

2. Food
Shopping local markets is a great way to interact with residents, learn about new foods, and how to prepare them. It’s amazing how easy it is to converse about food when you don’t share a common language.

You’ll want several Ziplock bags of varying sizes to store bread and dry foodstuffs. In France, I’d make a to-die-for baguette sandwich with any of their hundreds of cheeses, then stuff it into a large bag for train travel.

Arabic coffee... and dates!

A couple extra tips: If you’re heading to Spain, I found a cheap and delicious dinner of tapas came free with sangria orders placed during “happy hour.” Most stores in Arab countries will offer you a cup of coffee just for stepping across their threshold, should you need a caffeine jolt while shopping.

3. Guide Books
Thanks to online guides, there’s no need to fill your luggage with heavy books. I printed out the pages I needed and created a list of vital foreign words I’d need, like “please,” “thank you” and “How much does this cost?” Omniglot has an easy-to-use website that will get you started.

Lonely Planet has some great PDF guides and you can buy them by the chapter (roughly $5 each). and Hostel World offer free online guides, but they’re not as comprehensive and the selection is limited. If computers aren’t your thing, buy a bound guidebook, read it, and cut out only the pages you’ll need.

4. Trains
Boy do I love train travel. It’s cheaper than renting a car or flying, helps you meet new people, and usually drops you off close to the action in major cities. The trick, if you’re traveling to a rural destination, is to know the stops before your destination so you can be ready to hop off at a moment’s notice. Another couple handy phrases you should learn in each language:

“How much does a ticket cost?” and “From which platform does the train depart?”

It’s best to buy your Eurail train passes before leaving as it’s cheaper in the United States. My pass ran out once, however, and Eurail provided free shipping on the second one.

5. Money
Rule #1: Never, never, never exchange money at the airport. You’ll pay the highest rate possible. Instead, look for an airport ATM and take out the maximum amount (usually around $200). You’ll pay a fee, but not nearly as high as the airport exchange rate.

Rule #2: If you’re going to travel a bit upscale, buy gift cards at a discount from sites like GiftCardGranny to purchase American services found in foreign countries. This might include airlines, hotels or car rental agencies for which you can realize up to 25% savings.

6. Plastic Safety
Notify all credit card companies you plan on traveling outside the U.S. so they won’t place a hold on your account for unusual activity. Finally, note your credit/debit card numbers and foreign contact phone numbers and keep this info in a safe place, separate from the cards. I stored mine in my email account with a bogus “subject” line. You might need this info should your plastic be stolen or problems arise.

That’s about it, except I highly recommend you keep a journal. Traveling alone can be lonely sometimes and writing out your thoughts and experiences helps fill in some gaps. As a bonus, you’ll have a personal record of your adventures and the ability to reflect upon where you were… and where you want to go.

Happy trails!

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