SFO Layover

Have a layover at San Francisco International Airport (SFO)? According to Fodors SFO is one of the best airports to spend time, with activities and exhibits for the whole family.
Check out the exciting new exhibits at the SFO and Aviation Museums, window shop at the SFMOMA store, watch the aquarium’s fauna from tropical rain forests and South Pacific coral reefs, or wander through the 70 major, original works of art decorating the airport’s clean, airy terminals.  Terminal Two, home to domestic flights from Virgin America and American Airlines, debuted in 2011 as the U.S.’s greenest terminal. Featured are a free Google-sponsored Wi-Fi, club-like gate seating, an Xpres spa, hydration stations for reusing water bottles, and paperless ticketing. In January 2012, T2 debuted the world’s first airport yoga room, open to any ticketed passenger (mats provided). Meanwhile, at the massive International Terminal (measuring some 35 football fields in length), Cathay Pacific and Emirates Airlines’ new top-notch lounges feature special Solus privacy chairs, showers, a noodle bar at Cathay, Rolex wall clocks, and a Mecca-facing prayer room (Emirates). Need a shower, but not a club member? Stop by the Freshen Up! Store, where they’re $15 a pop.
Hungry? SFO is full of healthy, local, and organic fare. Try the juicy porchetta sandwich at Tyler Florence inside Terminal 2’s Napa Farms Market or wash down beet salad and quinoa with fresh juice at Plant Cafe (T2). Famed local haunt Anchor Brewing Company’s airport outpost stocks a full range of uniquely brewed craft beers (T3), plus panoramic views of the tarmac. Alternatively, grab a bottle of Napa or Sonoma wine for an unbeatable price at the duty-free San Francisco Wine Gourmet.
Need to sleep? Plans for in-airport sleep pods are on hold for now, so in terms of off-site overnighting, cozy boutique The Inn at Oyster Point (10 minutes away) is the best bet, with its complimentary breakfast, free airport shuttle and Wi-Fi, stylish lobby lounge, and bay views from every room; from $109/night.
Have extra time? Take BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) from SFO to famous downtown San Francisco attractions like Fisherman’s Wharf, just 20 to 30 minutes away. If you have more time head to Golden Gate Park (25 minutes) for 1,000-plus acres of botanical glory (including an arboretum and Japanese tea garden), primo bridge views, and 27 miles of footpaths to stretch your cramped legs.

Lost Passport

What if you lose your passport while traveling?

If you are traveling overseas, first contact the police and then your embassy. You will need to show up in person to apply for an emergency one, which is only valid for a limited time. Once back in the US, you will need to apply for a new passport.

To make things easier create a passport emergency kit and take it to the embassy with you. This includes two passport photos, a photo ID, proof of US citizenship like a birth certificate or social security card, airline ticket or booking confirmation, and a police report if necessary. Seem like a lot of stuff that you do not normally travel with in your luggage? Most embassies will allow you to present an affidavit of identifying witness. This will be filled out by a fellow traveler, with a passport, who can attest that you are who you say you are.

If you are in the US you can report your passport stolen by first contacting the police. Then fill out a DS-64 form and mail it to the National Passport Information Center or call 1-877-487-2778.

It’s a hassle any way you look at it. Keep your passport safe!

Hotels

Searching for hotels for your summer vacations? How many sites do you search? I really don’t think there is a one-size-fits-all site out there. But there are several great ones you can use in combination with each other to find some amazing deals.

You may want to add these sites if you don’t already have them on your list:

dealbase.com: find the breakdown of all amenities included in your hotel’s cost

hotelsweep.com: for travelers who prefer staying at independently owned properties

hipmunk.com: previously a metasearch site for airfare, you can now find hotels

momondo.com: find hotels overseas using this metasearch engine

room77.com: this unique site researches room by room for amenities you want

roomkey.com: seven hotel chains (Best Western, Choice Hotels, Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt, InterContinental, Wyndham) list their rooms together in a new search engine

yourroomkey.com: mostly for business type hotels located at America’s largest airports and financial districts

Some of these you need to create an account, some offer email deals, some you just need to look at for great deals. Check them out.

Beach Blanket Babylon

Beach Blanket Babylon continues to delight audiences with its witty somewhat irreverence to the city by the bay. Amusing audiences since 1974, Steve Silver’s hit show has become a jewel of San Francisco.

One thing you will notice is the hats…the HUGE and crazy hats. In fact, they are supposedly the largest hats in the world. No photos are allowed inside. Trust me…the hats are amazing if not crazy at times.

This is a treat everyone should see. We keep going back because the show keeps changing. Nothing is left out. If it’s in the news…you’ll find it here. If it’s outrageous…you’ll find it here. Pop culture, politics, music, love, the world, San Francisco, Elvis…you just can’t describe it. You have to see it to believe it.

Good luck…Snow White. Or was that Snow Cone?