Tuesday, December 30, 2014

San Francisco - Travel Tip

Room with a view: San Francisco cable car turnaround from the Buena Vista at Christmas. Travel tip: enjoy over an Irish Coffee. 

#travel #travelpics #traveltips #traveltuesday #travelingcynthia 

San Francisco - Travel Tip

Cafe au lait at Brenda's French Soul Food in San Francisco provides a New Orleans-style start to the day. 

#travelpics #travel #traveltips #traveltuesday #travelingcynthia 

San Francisco - Cable Cars - Travel Tip

Best seat on San Francisco's cable car . . . standing on its running board. 

#travel #travelpics #traveltips #traveltuesday #travelingcynthia 

San Francisco - Travel Tip

A must-stop in San Francisco at this 'most wonderful time of the year' is the Fairmont for a look at its Christmas tree and life sized gingerbread house. 

#travel #travelpics #traveltips #traveltuesday #travelingcynthia #sanfrancisco #fairmont

Friday, December 19, 2014

Southwest Airlines - 2014 Airline of the Year

Southwest Airlines is the 2014 Airline of the Year, according to Air Transport World (ATW). In selecting Southwest as Airline of the Year, ATW cited Southwest's extraordinary and consistent standards of service, financial performance, safety, and environmental and corporate responsibility. Southwest remains the world's only airline that can claim 41 consecutive years of profitability.  Congratulations, Southwest!
Photo by Cynthia Dial

#southwestairline #southwest #airlineoftheyear #travel #traveltips #travelingcynthia

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

15 Most Affordable Destinations for 2015

Excerpted from ETurboNews.com

As the New Year rolls around, the latest data from priceline.com reveals that the majority of travelers will be heading to warm-weathered cities, which dominated its annual list of top 2015 destinations, based on advanced hotel reservations. From Orlando to Oahu, travelers are in favor of ditching the snow for sandy beaches and enjoying a relaxing getaway. 
Photo by Cynthia Dial
Las Vegas continues to be a hot spot for 2015.  But for the most bang for your buck, travelers should consider taking a vacation in either Dallas, TX or Salt Lake City, UT, both of which showed the lowest average daily hotel room rates on priceline.com in 2014. Dallas boasts many attractions, including a lakeside Botanical Garden and an indoor ice rink in the Galleria shopping complex connected to a major hotel that’s convenient for travelers. Salt Lake City claims to be the Genealogy Capital of the World where travelers can check out the Family History Library, all while enjoying sweeping, mountainous views.
Among the value destinations with the lowest average daily room rates are: 
Dallas, TX
Salt Lake City, UT
Orlando, FL
Charlotte, NC
Phoenix, AZ
Tampa, FL
Las Vegas, NV
Atlanta, GA
Louisville, KY
San Antonio, TX
Houston, TX
Orange County, CA
Minneapolis/ St. Paul, MN
Denver, CO
Portland, OR
#affordabletravel #affordabledestinations #travel #traveltips #travelingcynthia #dallas #saltlakecity

Friday, December 12, 2014

Travel Quote - Canada - Britney Spears

“The cool thing about being famous is traveling. I have always wanted to travel across seas, like to Canada and stuff.” 
Britney Spears
Quebec City
Photos by Cynthia Dial

#travel #travelquote #traveltips #travelingcynthia #britneyspears #canada

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

8 Top Airline Passenger Complaints

Excerpted from boston.com

Today's top eight airline passenger complaints regard:
Photo by Cynthia Dial

1)  Flight problems

2)  Baggage

3)  Reservations, tickets and boarding

4)  Customer service

5)  Refunds

6)  Disability issues

7)  Oversales

8)  Fares

#airline #airlinetravel #travelcomplaints #airtravelcomplaints #passengercomplaints #travel #traveltips #travelingcynthia

Monday, December 8, 2014

Antarctica Day

Happy Antarctica Day, either one week late for 2014 or 51 weeks early for 2015.  
Celebrated annually, Antarctica Day commemorates the December 1, 1959, signing of the Antarctic Treaty by 48 nations (to date).

Photos by Cynthia Dial

#antarctic #antarctica #antarcticaday #penguins #snow #travel #traveltips #travelingcynthia

Friday, December 5, 2014

Best Caribbean Golf Destination is Dominican Republic

From ETurboNews.com
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - Dominican Republic is thrilled to announce its title of Caribbean's Best Golf Destination 2014 in the World Golf Awards.
Cynthia Dial at PuntaCana, D.R. 
"As a regular golfer (translation: once every 1 to 2 years), this was a top fav course, especially after meeting P. B. Dye at breakfast on the morning before my first round."

Offering 26 award-winning courses of ranging difficulty throughout the scenic island country, Dominican Republic is the preferred escape of the golf aficionado. Currently, Dominican Republic boasts courses designed by the renowned Pete Dye, P.B. Dye, Jack Nicklaus, Robert Trent Jones Sr., Gary Player, Tom Fazio, Nick Faldo, Nick Price and Greg Norman – many with stunning oceanfront greens.
"We could not be happier to be recognized for our destination and excellent tourism product by such a prestigious award in this sector," said Magaly Toribio, Marketing Advisor for the Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism. "We are confident that our successes will continue to grow as both amateur and professional players are drawn to our picturesque designer courses and world-class accommodations."
The country has been working diligently to update course and club options and position itself as a leader in golf tourism. This past fall, the first DR Golf Travel Exchange showcased this like never before through seminars, workshops, course tours and more.
The inaugural World Golf Awards are part of the World Travel Awards, now celebrating over two decades as "the Oscars of the travel industry." Winners were chosen based on the votes of golf travel and tourism professionals, such as senior executives, travel buyers, tour operators, agents and media professionals.
#travel #traveltips #travelingcynthia #golf #caribbeangolf #dominicanrepublic #dominicanrepublicgolf

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Price Tag on the 12 Days of Christmas.

The real cost of Christmas:
All 364 items in the popular song "The Twelve Days of Christmas" would cost $96,824 in 2010, an increase of 10.8% from the previous year, which at that rate calculates the cost for Christmas 2014 to be $145,927. #christmas #12daysofchristmas #twelvedaysofchristmas #travelingcynthia

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Fine for Bad Review on Trip Advisor

Trip Advisor couple 'fined' £100 by hotel for bad review

BBC News
A couple say they have been "fined" £100 by a Blackpool hotel for leaving critical comments on travel review website Trip Advisor. 
Tony and Jan Jenkinson posted the negative comment after being unimpressed with the one night they spent at the Broadway Hotel.

The couple, from Whitehaven, later found £100 charged to their credit card. The hotel said its policy was to charge for "bad" reviews.
Trading Standards are investigating.
Officials believe the hotel may have breached unfair trading practice regulations.
The manager of the hotel, on Burlington Road West, was unavailable when contacted by the BBC.
'Freedom of speech?'
The hotel policy, contained in a booking document, reads: "Despite the fact that repeat customers and couples love our hotel, your friends and family may not.
"For every bad review left on any website, the group organiser will be charged a maximum £100 per review."
Mr and Mrs Jenkinson were on their way to visit family in Oxford when they decided to split up their journey.
They said they only chose the hotel because it had a car park and paid £36 for the double room.
Retired van driver Mr Jenkinson, 63, said the details of the charge were in the booking documents, but his wife did not have her glasses on and signed it without reading the small print.
Mr Jenkinson said he intended to fight the charge, adding: "Annoyed isn't strong enough for how I feel about this, what happened to freedom of speech?
"Everybody we have spoken to says they (the hotel) are not allowed to do this."
John Greenbank, north trading standards area manager, said it was a "novel" way to prevent bad reviews.
'Get service right'
He said: "I have worked for trading standards for many years and have never seen anything like this.
"The hotel management clearly thinks they have come up with a novel way to prevent bad reviews, however we believe this could be deemed an unfair trading practice."
The couple have sought a refund via their credit card company.
Councillor John McCreesh, cabinet member for trading standards, said: "Customers need to be free to be honest about the service they're getting.
"Other customers depend upon it. Hotel owners should focus on getting their service right rather than shutting down aggrieved customers with threats and fines.
"People should have the right to vent their disappointment if a hotel stay did not meet their expectations and should not be prevented from having their say."

#review #badreview #hotelreview #tripadvisor #tripadvisorreview #travel #traveltips #travelingcynthia

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Historic Tour - Hotel Del Coronado - California

As I travel writer sometimes I ignore special experiences in my own backyard . . . but not yesterday when I was invited by a friend to tour The Del.  Here are just a few tidbits about the 126 year old hotel: Chandeliers of the historic Crown Room were designed by L. Frank Baum, author of the Wizard of Oz; Otis Elevator Company's 61, 62 and 63 elevators are in the hotel; its resident ghost, Kate Morgan, stayed in room 307 (today's room #3327).

Photos by Cynthia Dial

#coronado #delcoronadohotel #del #hoteldel #travel #traveltips 

Friday, November 7, 2014

5 Great Locations in Canada

TORONTO, Canada - Five locations in Canada have been named this year's Great Places.
They join the ranks of 20 other Great Places which have been honored since the competition started in 2010.
La rue du Petit-Champlain, Quebec City
Photo by Cynthia Dial
There were 32 nominations this year, and more than 14,500 votes were received from Canadians across the country over the seven-month contest period. 
"The winning places this year accentuate just how diverse Canada truly is. Great Places in Canada always showcases the best our country has to offer and this year is no exception. The winning places are inspiring and impressive," says Michael Gordon, President of the Canadian Institute of Planners which hosts the annual contest. CIP is the professional association of urban planners.
The Grand Prize winners – selected based on planning excellence as judged by a panel of experts – are:
Great Neighbourhood: Inglewood, Calgary, AB
Great Street: La rue du Petit-Champlain, Québec, QC
Great Public Space: Antigonish Town & County Library (The Peoples' Place Library), Antigonish, NS
The People's Choice Award winners – based solely on the number of votes – were announced as well. They are:
Great Neighbourhood: Old East Village, London, ON
Great Street: La rue du Petit-Champlain, Québec, QC
Great Public Space: McAdam Lake Campground on Waulklehegan Lake, McAdam, NB
La rue du Petit-Champlain in Québec is a double award winner – taking both a Grand Prize and a People's Choice Award. "The architecture and the atmosphere make La rue du Petit-Champlain one of Canada's great streets," says Joe Nethery, a member of the judging panel "The jury observed how well modern shops and restaurants are accommodated within a strictly preserved historic streetscape. The interaction between people and the street is something to be cherished and is deserving of recognition in the Great Places in Canada Contest."
#canadagreatplaces #canada #peopleschoiceawards #laruedupetitchamplain #quebeccity #travel #traveltips #travelingcynthia

Berlin Wall - 25th Anniversary

This weekend celebrations begin for the 25th anniversary of the November 9 fall of the Berlin Wall.

Photos by Cynthia Dial

#berlin #berlinwall #fallofberlinwall #25anniversary #travel #traveltips #travelingcynthia

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Travel Quote

Travel Quote: “If God had really intended men to fly, he’d make it easier to get to the airport.” George Winters
Photo by Cynthia Dial
#travel #traveltips #travelquote #travelingcynthia

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Vacation - Wellness Resort - Health Retreat

Recharge Mind, Body, & Soul by Traveling to a Wellness Resort

It’s no secret that taking time off work for a vacation is beneficial to your health and wellness. Travel helps us to relax and recharge, while immersing us in different cultures and locations. Statistics show that timely vacations can help with a reduced risk of heart disease and a reduction in stress levels.

Why not increase those benefits by traveling to a wellness resort? While many destination vacations provide health benefits, often when returning home from long flights and tourist attractions, you feel even more exhausted than before your vacation.

 Photo by Cynthia Dial
There are many reasons to travel to a wellness resort, but the main one being the focus on health. Allowing your health and wellness to be at the core of your vacation can help to unplug from the noise of the world, help you to detox, with prepared meals that focus on your body’s needs, as well as helping you to relax through spa treatments and meditation.

Health retreats offer different combinations of activities like yoga, meditation camps, spa sessions and detox holidays. Helping individuals to focus on both their physical and mental health is the key goal of health and wellness resorts, ensuring that visitors leave feeling rejuvenated.

It’s these kinds of activities that also help people focus on themselves for a change, and provide an escape from the pressures of their daily lives. Many people who have visited well-being retreats in the past, claim that such holidays help them to treat issues like sleep disorders, high blood pressure, stress, reduced energy levels, and mood swings effectively.

A break from routine is often needed to help the mind rest and reset. When visiting a wellness retreat you can expect to have time for hiking, socializing, enjoying a myriad of spa treatments, and a complete and total focus on your physical and mental health.

Visiting a wellness resort is more than refreshing, it’s necessary in today’s fast paced environment to take time to focus on your needs as a person. We often get so bogged down in the day-to-day that we forget how important it is to take care of our minds and bodies, and traveling in this fashion is the best way to refocus.

Vacations are great when you want to travel and see the world, but when you need to relax it’s best to travel to a health and wellness retreat. Indulge in everything that helps to slow down your mind’s rapid thinking and unplug.

There are steps that we can all take to work towards a more peaceful and healthy state of being. Rewire Me is a website dedicated to promoting spiritual growth and transformational journeys, which has a wealth of information on happiness and well-being. The site lists some of the best meditation and wellness retreats, as well as ways that travel can improve your quality of life.

Retreats help you reconnect with nature and yourself, and they can help spark creativity back into your life. Relaxing and enjoying the solitude of a wellness retreat may be just the trip you need to reduce stress and focus on your well-being.

#vacation #healthretreat #wellbeingretreat #travel #traveltips #travelingcynthia

Monday, October 20, 2014

Top-Earning Deceased Celebs

As I'm still in Vegas mode, here's a factoid from the list of Top-Earning Deceased Celebs:

~ #1 - Michael Jackson earned $160 million last year.  Much of the money comes from two Cirque du Soleil shows, including One, which opened at Las Vegas' Mandalay Bay in May and is routinely sold out.  Big bonus: a hologram-like illusion of Jackson performing "Man in the Mirror" occurring at the show's end.
Photo by Cynthia Dial
~ #2 - Elvis Presley

~ #3 - Charles Schulz, the creator of "Peanuts"

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Tips on Tipping on Cruises

From VacationsToGo.com

Cruising is the easiest way to see the world, but there is one part of the cruise experience that can cause anxiety for otherwise carefree passengers -- tipping. Here's a look at how tipping is handled by each of the world's major cruise lines.
Photo by Cynthia Dial

On most cruise lines, but not all, gratuities are expected and encouraged. The traditional tipping procedure is to hand cash gratuities to the service staff on the last full day or evening of the cruise. For longer itineraries, tipping on a weekly basis may be the norm. The cruise lines that follow this tipping procedure are American Cruise Lines, Blount, Hurtigruten, Lindblad, Quark Expeditions, Star Clippers, Viking Cruises and Voyages of Discovery.

Tipping recommendations from these lines range from about $8 to $18 per passenger a day, depending on the company. In some cases, passengers hand the money to the ship's hotel manager or reception desk, to be distributed among the crew later.

It is customary to tip bartenders and wine stewards 15%, and many cruise lines automatically add this gratuity to the bar or beverage bill. Gratuities for special services such as spa treatments usually are left to the discretion of the guest, but 15% is considered typical.

Most other cruise lines automatically charge tips, usually around $12 per person, per day, to shipboard accounts and divide the total among all dining room personnel, cabin stewards and others who are involved in serving passengers. These lines include Carnival, Celebrity, Costa, Croisières de France, Cruise & Maritime Voyages, Cunard, Disney, Fred. Olsen, Holland America, MSC, Norwegian, Oceania, P&O, Princess, Pullmantur, Royal Caribbean and Windstar.

These amounts do not cover tips for bartenders and wine stewards, which again are generally 15% added to the beverage bill at the time of service.

If a passenger feels that the amount automatically charged to his or her account should be adjusted higher or lower based on the service received, some cruise lines will make that adjustment when the bill is settled at the end of the cruise. If you have a shipboard credit on your onboard account, it can be applied to automatic gratuities on most cruise ships.

A few cruise lines specifically state that gratuities are included in the cruise fare and that tips are neither expected nor encouraged. Azamara, Crystal, Hebridean, Paul Gauguin, Ponant, Regent, Seabourn, SeaDream, Silversea, Swan Hellenic and Voyages to Antiquity fall into this category. Even on these lines, some passengers still tip for outstanding service or special favors.

Does any tipping policy tend to encourage better service than the others? I'd love your thoughts.

#cruises #cruising #cruisetipping #tipping #travelture

Monday, October 13, 2014

Kings Canyon National Park - California

Welcome to Kings Canyon National Park! It 's home to the nation's largest canyon, Zumwalt Meadow, John Muir Rock, Grant Grove and more. 

#sierrafam #seki #jonhmuirlodge #grantgrove #travel #travelpics #traveltips #travelingcynthia 

Yosemite - Tenaya Lodge

Goodbye Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite and room 152 on its newly renovated Suite floor. 

#SierraFam #Tenaya #travelingcynthia #travel #traveltips #traveltuesday #yosemite 

Tenaya Lodge - Yosemite

Tenaya Lodge's evening 'Flashlight Hike' gave an entire different perspective of the forest at Yosemite.

#SierraFam #tenaya #travel #travelpics #traveltips #travelingcynthia #tenayayosemite

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Yosemite - Tenaya Lodge

Two-night home in Yosemite in Tenaya Lodge. 

#tenaya #tenayalodge #yosemite #travel #travelpics #traveltips #travelingcynthia 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Yosemite - Valley View

Yosemite's Valley View, a popular photo op, may be the photo on your Visa card. Check it out. Better yet, check it out in person! #sierrafam #tenayayosemite #yosemite #valleyview #travel #travelpics #traveltips #traveltuesday #travelingcynthia 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Fashion Week San Diego

Fun evening, fun fashion. Only one peek of the finale event at @FashionWeekSD. Another success for founder and director Allison Andrews. 

#fwsd #fashion #sandiego #travelingcynthia

Friday, October 3, 2014

Newport Beach Country Club News

So Cal news: Ground breaking for the Newport Beach Country Club (NBCC) and its new $40 million clubhouse that will offer ocean, coastline and 180-degree golf course views.  Scheduled for completion October, 2015, it will be followed by the 21st Annual PGA Champions Tour Toshiba Classic the weekend of November 1, 2015. It was a fun day of celebration!  Congrats NBCC!

#newportbeach #nbcc #travel #golf #californiagolf #travel #traveltips #travelingcynthia

Priciest Hotels in Canada - Toronto - Montreal - Vancouver

From eturbonews.com
TORONTO, Canada - Canada's most expensive city-situated hotel is located in Toronto, according to the latest survey. In fact, as the survey reveals, six of the country's 10 most expensive hotels are located in the most populous city of Canada.
Four Seasons Toronto
The survey specifically compared luxury hotels in cities across the USA and Canada based on their average rates for a regular double room. The month of October 2014 served as the basis of comparison. Only such hotels located inside major cities were considered.
With an average rate of $532 per night for a standard double room, the Four Seasons Toronto, located in the Yorkville district, leads the list of Canada's costliest hotels. The Ritz Carlton Montreal takes the number two spot with an average price tag of $505 nightly. Vancouver's priciest hotel is the Fairmont Pacific Rim, ranking eighth most expensive in the country with an average overnight rate of $358.
In the United States, eight of the 10 most established hotels are located in New York City. The SoHo House NYC tops the rankings. At an average price of $1189 per night for a double room, this establishment is more than double the rate of the most expensive city hotel in Canada.
Following are the 10 most expensive city hotels in Canada. The rates listed reflect the daily rate, on average, for the most affordable double room in each hotel during the month of October 2014.
1. Four Seasons Toronto $532
2. The Ritz-Carlton Montreal $505
3. The Ritz-Carlton Toronto $468
4. Trump International Hotel & Tower Toronto $464
5. Hotel Le St-James (Montreal) $400
6. The Hazelton Hotel (Toronto) $370
7. Shangri-La Toronto $364
8. Fairmont Pacific Rim (Vancouver) $358
9. Windsor Arms Hotel (Toronto) $356
10. Shangri-La Vancouver $341
#priceyhotels #canada #toronto #montreal #hotels #canadapriceyhotels #travel #traveltips #travelingcynthia #torontohotels #montrealhotels  

Monday, September 29, 2014

Travel Quote - Joan Rivers

Travel Quote: “Every time you make someone laugh, you give them a little vacation.”

A Joan Rivers’ favorite quotation

Thursday, September 25, 2014

America's 10 Most Expensive Hotels

From ETurbonNews.com
NEW YORK, NY - The most expensive city hotel in the United States is located in New York City, according to the latest survey. In fact, as the survey reveals, nine of the country's 10 most expensive hotels are located in Manhattan.

Photos by Cynthia Dial

The survey specifically compared luxury hotels in cities across the nation based on their average rates for a regular double room. The month of October 2014 served as the basis of comparison. Only such hotels located inside the USA's major cities were considered.
With an average rate of $1,189 per night, the Soho House, located in the heart of New York's buzzing Meatpacking District, is the most expensive city hotel in the United States. Snagging the runner-up position, with an average price tag of $1,134 nightly for a double room, is the Skylofts at MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The Peninsula, located in Midtown Manhattan, rounds out the Top 3 with an average overnight rate of $1,014 per night.
Boston's most expensive hotel is the Four Seasons. With an average price of $725 for the cheapest available double room, the hotel ranks 14th most expensive in the United States and comes in behind the Skylofts at MGM Grand as the second most expensive non-NYC hotel.
Following are the 10 most expensive city hotels in the USA. The rates listed reflect the daily rate, on average, for the most affordable double room in each hotel during October 2014.
1. Soho House (New York City) $1189
2. Skylofts at MGM Grand (Las Vegas) $1134
3. The Peninsula (New York City) $1014
4. The St. Regis (New York City) $995
5. Four Seasons Hotel (New York City) $943
6. The Plaza Hotel (New York City) $927
7. The Ritz-Carlton, Central Park (New York City) $923
8. Park Hyatt (New York City) $875
9. Trump International Hotel & Tower (New York City) $846
10. Mandarin Oriental (New York City) $821