How One Airline Made Me Fall in Love Again

shutterstock_41676637Flying sucks, right?

Cramped seats. Delayed flights. Baggage fees. According to USA Today, 9542 passengers filed complaints against US airlines with the Department of Transportation during the first half of 2015, a 20% increase from a year ago. If you want to travel any distance, you’re willing to put up with inconvenience and discomfort and pay a high price for it, grumbling all the way.

And then an airline goes and does something so great, that you’re willing to look past their many flaws and fall in love again. Like that boyfriend you couldn’t dump back in 1983. Continue reading

It’s 3 PM. Do You Know Where Your Coffee Is?

cupI’m an aggressive tourist.

During our recent family trip to Paris, I launched a Napoleonic assault on the city, beginning immediately after my morning croissant and ending with wine on the terrace in the late evening.

“Slow down,” my daughter, advised. “Paris will wait.”

No. It won’t. Continue reading

6 Tips to Make Your Weekend Trip a Breeze

shutterstock_83012428

That’s your plane taking off. But you’re still in the parking lot. Ugh. (Photo: Shutterstock)

I have a series of upcoming quick weekend trips with flights out on Friday nights and dreaded early Monday morning returns. These are the jaunts that try one’s soul. I decided to try break some of my usual travel habits to make these weekend getaways easier and less stressful. Continue reading

Is The West Coast The Best Coast?

The Pacific Coast Highway

Remember Kathleen Turner in “Body Heat“? Seductive and dangerous. The Pacific Coast Highway is like that. The sweeping ocean views are tremendous and without meaning to, you swerve into the wrong lane while driving because your mind is busy processing the “wow” factor.

But is it better than my beloved Atlantic coast?
Continue reading

Forget Free WiFi. Here’s What I REALLY Want In A Hotel

The Liberty Hotel @The Open Suitcase LLC

The Liberty Hotel in Boston was a prison. The cellblocks overlook the lobby that transforms into a dance club on the weekends. “Jailhouse Rock” anyone?

What defines a great hotel? A billion-dollar location certainly. Would the Plaza Hotel be the Plaza if it wasn’t sitting at the entrance to Central Park? Spectacular rooms? Of course. I’ll take a 4-poster bed with sumptuous pillows and a Juliet balcony at The Gritti Palace in Venice any day.

But I think the hotel industry has forgotten the one feature that can easily take a hotel from good to GREAT. And it’s not free WiFi, heavenly beds, or fragrance butlers. When renovating or building hotels, I’m suggesting that the Marriotts, Hiltons, and Hyatts of the world ignore the rooms, forget modern amenities and bring back a feature of legendary historic hotels: the killer lobby. Continue reading