Today in Napa

No travel tips today…just ramblings from my day.
Oreo cows and calves (baby Oreos?) against bright green grass welcomed drivers to the south end of Napa Valley. Most drivers probably didn’t give these unusual cows a second glance. After all they are there most days. Spring, however, makes their unique look stand out even more. They aren’t really “Oreos” but that’s what everyone calls them as they are black on both ends with a white band around their middle. One of these days they will be close enough to the fence for me to get a photo!
They are really Belted Galloway cows or Dutch Belted. But it’s more fun to call them Oreo Cows.

Stay Healthy and Fit While Traveling

Anyone who travels a great deal needs to stay healthy and fit. But just do you do it? Here are a few tips from Olympic athletes and frequent business travelers.
Drink…and then drink some more.
It doesn’t matter if you are on a flight from San Francisco to Amsterdam or from Phoenix to Vegas…you need to stay hydrated. Carry an empty refillable bottle through security and fill it before you get on the plane. On a long flight, ask the attendants to refill it from their bottled water.
Exercise.
Take a walk, go for a run, do some sit-ups or some squats. Whatever is your exercise of choice, don’t forget about it when traveling. Have a long layover in an airport? Go for a walk. Depending on how long your layover is, you may be able to walk to the next terminal! Heading to the beach? Take advantage of jogging or walking in the sand. Your body will thank you for it.
Eat right.
Almonds make a healthy snack and so does fruit. If you pack some in your backpack or carry-on you won’t have to buy the airport not-so-healthy food and it won’t cost you as much. Don’t forget to start your day with a good breakfast, especially if you have a big day ahead of you.
Plan ahead.
Packing the right snacks and a water bottle, scoping out the airport ahead of time and allowing some time for exercise while traveling will make your next trip a healthy one.

Less Expensive Trips

Let’s say you want to visit your favorite city or big time attraction…but you don’t want to spend tons of money. What do you do? Here are a few suggestions that may work for you.
Plan ahead…
Look at websites for the city or attraction. There may be special coupons or event passes available only online. Check out places like www.budgettravel.com or www.fodors.com to see if there are any specials coming up in the near future. You may have other favorite sites you check. Sign up for email alerts for that city. You can always “unsubscribe” after your trip. Download coupons, specials and tickets in advance.
Plan your days…
If possible plan on mid-week stays rather than week ends. Many hotels and attractions offer better rates during the week. And try to go when everyone else is NOT going there. It may be cheaper and less crowded.
Shopping…
Want to take home souvenirs? Try the local supermarket instead of tourist shops. You never know what you might find for considerably less than in the tourist shops. Purchase some local specialties for your friends and family. What’s better than English Tea…from a corner grocery store? Or real vanilla…from a grocery shop in Mexico?

Pack Your Bag

These packing tips are not new but are always good reminders, especially when planning a trip longer than a weekend.
Make a list before you start packing for your next trip. Not only are the chances of forgetting something less but it may help you to organize your luggage better. Include clothes as well as tickets, guidebooks, ID’s, passports, money, camera, batteries, chargers, vitamins, etc. etc. etc.

Once you have your list, try laying everything you plan to take on your bed. Take a look at the amount of items, the number of outfits, how many shoes you have in the pile, how many sweaters you really have, etc.
Does it all fit in the luggage you were going to pack? Do you really need everything you have in the pile? Can you consolidate outfits to eliminate some shoes or extra tops or bottoms? Will one black sweater fit the bill for the whole trip, allowing you to leave your navy and cream ones at home? Shoes can take up a lot of room. Can you coordinate so fewer pairs are needed?
You may be amazed at what you can leave home!

February Trip Ideas

Looking for someplace different to head off to this February? Check out these destinations.

Head to the Canary Islands off the coast of Spain…

Summer is not the only time of year when the Canary Island of Tenerife celebrates fiesta. On February 7 islanders will head to the city of Santa Cruz to elect a Child King and three days later the Carnival Queen is chosen. By February 17 on Ash Wednesday visitors to Tenerife can witness a colorful funeral procession where a paper mache sardine packed with fireworks is set alight. Celebrations conclude on February 21 with a big festival procession. Go to www.webtenerife.com for more information.

Or take a trip to Italy and celebrate Caravaggio Year…

Rome has declared 2010 Caravaggio Year in honor of the Baroque artist. This year marks the 400th anniversary of his death which is being marked by several special exhibitions of his works. Thirty of his works of art are going on display in Rome at the Scuderie del Quirinale from February 17. In May, a Caravaggio exhibition is opening in Florence at the Palazzo Pitti while at the end of the year Rimini will host paintings by Caravaggio in Castel Sismondo. Right now some of the artist’s most important works are on display in Forli. More information can be found at www.scuderiequirinale.it.