“Don’t Drink and Book”: 5 Tips To Avoid Costly Reservation Mistakes

©The Open Suitcase LLC

Press the button. Don’t press the button. Press the button. Don’t press the button.

Do you panic as your finger hovers over the “Submit Payment” button? It never happens when I’m impulse buying a case of Mt. Difficulty Roaring Meg Pinot Noir, but, when it’s travel-related, I immediately assume that a terrible mistake is about to happen that will cost me thousands of dollars in non-refundable fees. This carries over to my evening slumber and after booking, I’ll continue to wake up startled wondering if I’m supposed to be somewhere and, if so, where that somewhere is supposed to be. Continue reading

We are Here!

Photo:  Random House

Photo: Random House

In the Dr. Seuss classic Horton Hears a Who!, a pachyderm attempts to rescue a population of microscopic critters living on a dust speck. The outside world cannot hear their individual, tiny voices; but when they collectively shout “We are here!”, they are discovered and saved.

Travel agents these days must feel a bit like the Whos. What do you do when the leader of the free world declares you extinct? In August 2011 at a town hall meeting, President Obama said “… one of the challenges in terms of rebuilding our economy is businesses have gotten so efficient that — when was the last time somebody went to a bank teller instead of using the ATM, or used a travel agent instead of just going online? A lot of jobs that used to be out there requiring people now have become automated.” Continue reading

Say Hello to My Little Friend

To dismantle the contents of your suitcase in the middle of San Juan airport and redistribute your dirty laundry among your carry ons requires a prodigious lack of shame. My husband meekly suggested that I leave behind the wine. “Why don’t I just get rid of THESE!” I hollered, brandishing his size 13 EEE slip-on mocs like a ramper parking an airplane at the gate. It wasn’t my finest moment. I got the checked bag down to 48 pounds but we lumbered through the airport laden with bags heavier than 5-year old twins.

I choose my splurges carefully when traveling. Hire a local guide to show me the sights? Yes. Enjoy an extravagant meal at a legendary restaurant? Yes. Buy a unique piece of art from a local crafter? Yes. Pay overweight baggage fees? Never!

Photo:  Shutterstock/bikeriderlondon

Photo: Shutterstock/bikeriderlondon

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Calling All Wannabe Winos

Author’s Note: This post includes a giveaway; details in the final paragraph.

Can you really enjoy something if you’re utterly ignorant about it?

I think you can. I like playoff hockey even though I don’t know what icing is. I often go to museums with only one Intro to Art History class in my arsenal. And I enjoy wine. I know for sure that I prefer red to white and don’t like ones that cause you to smack your tongue against your lips. That’s the extent of my oenology.

pinot noir St. Barts Continue reading

Cheeseburgers and Pirates: A Brief Encounter in St. Barts

Le-Select-St.-BartsThere was simply no time to react.  The wind inflated our umbrella like a randy gust blowing up a lady’s skirt. The table pitched, launching our meals and I felt uncomfortably like Wile E. Coyote when he realizes the Road Runner’s releasing the anvil…again. Continue reading