Friday, December 15, 2006

OBX For Those in the know

Ahhhh...a family vacation...a week with the in laws...a 14 (yes I said 14!) hour car ride...sound like fun? Well it should. Our first trip to the Outer Banks of North Carolina was, in a word, great and will not be our last either.

One thing noticeably different about the Outer Banks is the lack of huge condo developments and big hotels. Beach house rentals are the lodging of choice here and that, I think, sets the tone for the area. Because of this the OBX is more family focused than some other beach destinations. This for us is perfect. We rented a great beach house with a view of the Atlantic out the front and a nothing but marsh out the back. Eight bedrooms with eight and half baths were more than we needed but made us feel very spoiled. Our house, like many others, came with a private pool and hot tub. Both of which got plenty of use. When we go back I can't imagine renting any other house.

As far as activities go there are of course the mandatory putt putt and go cart establishments that are required for any tourist destination. I will say that there are not as many nor are they as big and annoying as some I've seen in other parts of the country. Other activities include the Wright Brothers Museum, Jockeys Ridge State Park (with huge sand dunes which are perfect for kite flying or hang gliding if you are brave enough) and of course lighthouses.

We took a day trip from our South Nags Head location to visit the Cape Hatteras Light House and Ocracoke Island. If you find yourself in the OBX don't miss this great trip. While the Hatteras lighthouse provides great views for me it was Ocracoke that was the highlight. This is a tiny island that time could have easily forgotten were it not for the free ferry that shuttles tourists back and forth (allow plenty of time for the ferry). This is a quaint seaside village with adorable shops and good restaurants. I can recommend the Parmesan Crusted fish at Cafe Atlantic. Moist flavorful fish encrusted in a delicious parmesan crust that had me from the first bite. Also try any of there wonderful homemade desserts. The coconut cream pie was a hit with my wife and I. Cafe Atlantic was recommended to us by Brian at BW (Big Waves Big Water) Surf Shop. One of the great little shops in town. Brian is super friendly and has a great selection of flip flops if you are in the market. If you stop by tell him we sent you. Ocracoke is definatly worth the trip.

During my stay I had the opportunity to play a couple of golf courses. Goose Greek Golf Club was okay but not worth the money. At the opposite end of the spectrum is Kilmarlic. This is a gem of a course and as head pro Dan O'Boyle says any level player can enjoy it. This course is a lush as they come. You will find an open course with plenty of water and sand to make you feel not far from the beach. Unlike many of the other courses in the area this is not a links style but more of a North American traditional. At Kilmarlic you will find greens that roll true, beautiful fairways and rough that will not overly penalize you. Be sure to bring a few extra golf balls for #11 though. The island green took two from me bofore I finally got on and made a 20 footer for a double! The entire staff was helpful and the pro shop is well stocked without gouging you on price.

In my next post I will give you a couple of restaurants not be missed in the OBX and one that I wouldn't bother with.

Tuesday's Tip: Allow plenty of time to take the ferry to Ocracoke. They leave every thirty minutes but you will, more than likely, have to wait in line for at least one or two ferrys before you can get on. The wait is worth it though.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

It's Alive!!!


The new and improved TuesdaysTraveler.com is now up and open for business. Jump over and take a look at what we now have to offer! We now offer fully integrated travel options for your next trip as well as new reviews and the most current travel news we can bring you.

Thank you to each of you that have made the Blogger version of TuesdaysTraveler.com a huge success...Please make the move with us as we continue to build one of the most exciting travel communities on the web!

ps- coming Tuesday part one of an incredbile review of Sonoma California!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Patience Grasshopper


Okay...We are getting close...Real close to launching the new and improved TuesdaysTraveler.com. We are excited about the new look and I think everyone will be pleased with the new tools available. We have set a 'go live' deadline of September 5th. Hopefully it will be sooner but we ask that you have patience and get ready for a new TuesdaysTravler.com!

Upcoming Reviews: Destin Florida, Cabo San Lucas, Sonoma California and many more.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Exciting Changes On The Way!


Wanted to keep all of our readers up to date on some exciting TuesdaysTraveler news. We are in the final test phases of a brand new web site. This will take TuesdaysTraveler from a simple travel blog to full resourced travel site.

The new site will have more of the great reviews you have come to love plus a fully integrated travel booking system that will make searching for the lowest internet travel prices easy. The new and improved TT will also include a great travel resource center containing some of the webs greatest travel tools as well as an 'Ask Tuesday' section where readers can get travel advice from our team of experts.

TuesdaysTraveler will also strive to bring you the most up to date travel news on the web. Whether it's an industry wide price hike or a brand new hotel opening in Vegas TT will be your source.

We Hope that you will continue to make TuesdaysTraveler a regular stop for you on your world wide web travels and let us help you go places.

ps- We have some great reviews of the California Wine Country, Cabo San Lucas and cruises coming up...But you'll have to check the new site to see them each Tuesday!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

We've got the 511 on Tennessee


Tennessee has become the first state to implement a state wide traveler information system. Simply by dialing 511 (out of state callers can dial 1-877-244-0065) callers will be connected to a voice activated system that will give them real time traffic, road conditions and road closures. Travelers can also log on to www.TN551.com for the same information.

To put the new system to the test TuesdaysTraveler went online to check it out for ourselves. How did it work? Well...the new web site could not be found when we tried that it provided some good information. Will it change you life? No but it might take some of the suspense out of future travel through the Volunteer State.

Monday, August 14, 2006

TSA Updates Air Travel Restrictions


A recent ban of all liquids has been lifted (slightly) by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) on Sunday. The ban which first would not allow even medicine or baby formula on to flights has been softened to allow up to 4 ounces of liquid nonprescription medication. In addition bans on baby food (when traveling with an infant), and medicine for diabetics (including gel packs) were eased.

TSA also said all passengers will be instructed to remove their shoes during security checks. The shoes have to be placed on an X-ray belt for screening before passengers can put them back on. Until now, the agency had strongly suggested putting shoes on the screening belt but hadn't required it.

TSA officials noted that they did not foresee a ban of all carry on items at this time. This may good news for those who can't live without their iPods and laptops for more than 15 minutes.

The bottom line...patience is one piece of luggage you can't leave home without!

Alaskan Cruise Price Hike?


For those who dream of taking an Alaskan Cruise you might want to hurry. Alaskans are heading to the polls on August 22nd to vote on a measure that would tax each passenger $50 for travel to the 49th state.


While other cruise destinations have similar taxes the $50 dollar fee would be the first for Alaska. The estimated $50 million in annual revenue would be used for upkeep of the harbors and docks. Something that in the past has been shouldered by the local governments.

Also part of Measure 2 on the ballot is stricter enforcement of commission disclosures to passengers. Many local merchants and tour operators pay large commissions to the cruise lines to be listed as recommended or preferred. Companies that opt out of paying the commissions to the cruise lines are black listed. A similar law has been on the books in Alaska since 1994 but this provides for greater enforcement.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Travel Just Got...Tougher


With the arrests this past week of terrorists who were planning on using liquid explosives to blow up planes traveling just got allot tougher. TuesdaysTraveler is working on helping you get through this with as little pain as possible.

The US Department of Homeland Security yesterday banned from carry-on luggage all ‘‘beverages, shampoo, sun tan lotion, creams, toothpaste, hair gel, and other items of similar consistency.’’ The new rules resulted in long lines at airports and garbage bins full of discarded cosmetics. So how’s a traveler to cope? Here are five strategies from travel experts to help.

SCHEDULES: Allow for plenty of time when arriving at the airport. Federal officials advise checking with your airline and airport to determine how much time is needed for your flight. United Airlines said passengers should arrive at least three hours early for all flights. Northwest Airlines advised passengers to arrive two hours before domestic flights and three hours before international flights. And beginning today, passengers will go through double screening to make sure they are not carrying liquids on to planes — with carry-on luggage getting checked not only at the main security checkpoint, but also a second time at the boarding gate.

PACKING: In case your checked luggage is lost in the confusion, label your bags well, with name, business address and phone on the outside, and an itinerary and contact information packed inside, on top, said Susan Foster, author of Smart Packing for Today’s Traveler. Rather than throwing away banned items, bring a checkable bag big enough to accommodate items you can’t take on board. Business travelers ‘‘must carry essential tools with them,’’ Foster said, but be prepared in case a ban on all carry-on luggage is suddenly imposed domestically, the way it was in England. Leave room in your checkable luggage for that stack of reports. Consider faxing, e-mailing or FedExing copies of important documents ahead to your destination.

PERSONAL CARE: ‘Airplane air is as dry as the Sahara,’’ said Linda Wells, editor-in-chief of Allure magazine. But new rules ban moisturizer and similar items from carry-ons. So put on heavier-than-usual moisturizer before you leave home, with either a moisturizing self-tanner or tinted moisturizer on top. ‘‘You want to wear as little makeup as you can. What’s worse than not having your makeup with you is having it smear all over your face and not being able to fix it.’ Other cosmetics that will last include waterproof mascara, and lip and cheek stain. Apply hairstyling products before you leave for the airport and then ‘‘reactivate’’ them before you land by running your hands under the water in the lavatory sink and running damp fingers through your hair, Wells suggested. Pack shampoos and other lotions so they don’t spill, Wells said. Take the cap off the bottle, squeeze the product so it reaches the lip of the open top, then screw the top on again tightly, forming a vacuum like seal. There will still be an indentation in the bottle. You may want to put them in a sealed plastic bag as well.

TRAVELLING WITH CHILDREN: Prepare kids for long lines and stringent security. ‘‘Tell the kids, ‘this is what we have to do to make sure everyone is safe,’’’ said Eileen Ogintz, a syndicated columnist who offers advice on family travel on her Web site. Explain to toddlers ‘‘why they need to put their blankie or teddy on the belt,’’ she added. Give a lollipop or other small reward for cooperation. Check kids’ backpacks for toy guns, plastic swords, etc. ‘‘I just came back from Disney with two 10-year-old boys,’’ she said, ‘‘and with Pirates of the Caribbean out, everything they bought was stuff like that.’’ If your kids are flying unaccompanied, make sure they understand the new rules. Remind them to get something to drink before they get in line, rather than bringing a water bottle, and warn them against making sarcastic comments or jokes about security threats, Ogintz said. Teenagers should notify airline personnel if they are flying alone, so that they get priority to stay on the flight in case passengers are bumped. To entertain young children, bring a deck of cards, and paper and pencil. ‘‘You can draw pictures, make designs, play Hangman,’’ Ogintz said. Play ‘‘I Spy’’ on a long line or if you are forced to check the toy bag, she added.

CRUISES: If you miss your cruise because of a delayed flight, ‘‘you fly to the first port of call,’’ advised Carolyn Spencer Brown, editor of a Web site that offers advice to cruisers. Contact your cruise company to see if schedules or policies have been revised because of the new rules and delays, or if their staff can help you rebook. Holland America delayed the weekend departure times for several ships around Europe and North America to give passengers extra time to make connections.

INSURANCE: If you bought trip insurance, you may be eligible for compensation related to delays, according to John Ansell, president of the US Travel Insurance Association, which represents 90 percent of US-based travel insurance firms. Comprehensive travel insurance typically covers rebooking flights, hotels if you are stranded, loss of personal belongings and other problems related to missed connections and cancellations, he said. Most travel insurance companies have hotlines to assist you. If you want to buy insurance for a future trip, a comprehensive cancellation policy — which typically includes medical insurance — will cost four to seven percent of the total price of your trip, Ansell said.

Here at TuesdaysTraveler we believe that this is just the beginning of more restrictions for airline passengers. We would not be shocked to see all electronic devices banned by years end. This would include ipods, laptops, cell phone and the hand held gaming systems that keep younger travelers occupied. Let's hope it doesn't come to this.

Some content provided By Beth Harpaz – New York - AP