Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Great Barrier Reef: A Natural Wonder

For many of us, we may have on our bucket list to visit the Great Barrier Reef. One of our valued vendors, Eagle Creek is giving away a trip for two to the Great Barrier Reef. You can enter to win the trip online or at one of our stores. You have until July 15th to enter to win.

What makes the Great Barrier Reef special? For one it is larger than the Great Wall of China and is the only living thing on earth visible from space. It has the world’s largest coral reef system with over 2900 individual reefs and 900 islands.  A closer encounter with the Great Barrier Reef’s impressive coral gardens reveals many astounding underwater attractions including the world’s largest collection of corals (in fact, more than 400 different kinds of coral), coral sponges, molluscs, rays, dolphins, over 1500 species of tropical fish, more than 200 types of birds, around 20 types of reptiles including sea turtles and giant clams over 120 years old.

Some would say, and I would agree with them, that it is unlike anything else of its kind. A trip that cannot be substituted by snorkeling around your favorite vacation spot, despite how beautiful that may be. The Great Barrier Reef offers a diverse range of options to explore its seemingly endless area. You can go on day tours, overnight and extended tours. Snorkeling and scuba diving are both offered along with fishing charters, long range roving tours, aircraft or helicopter tours, glass bottom boats and opportunities to go whale or dolphin watching along the reef. Really… the choices are endless. And let’s not forget where the Great Barrier Reef is located. Right off the coast of beautiful Australia.

So what are you waiting for? Get in to a Colorado Bag N Baggage Store today to enter. Or sign up online. But get your name in, because the lucky winner and the even luckier person who gets to ride along with them will have an unforgettable experience.


Golden Gate Turns 75

Golden Gate Bridge

A true iconic architectural marvel of American history is the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. On May 27th, this modern wonder of the world celebrated its 75th anniversary. In 1937, when the bridge was first opened to the public it was then the world’s longest suspension bridge.

Here are a few facts about the Bridge:

* Golden Gate refers to Golden Gate Strait—a name that originated around 1846.

* On May 28th, 1937, President Franklin D. Roosevelt announced the opening of the bridge by pressing a telegraph key at the White House

* The bridge cost $35 million to build and came in under budget and ahead of schedule.

* The Golden Gate Bridge’s 4,200 foot long main suspension span was a world record that stood for 27 years. It is still the second longest in the United States after the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge which links Staten Island to Brooklyn in New York.

* The bridge’s two towers rise 746 feet making them 191 feet taller than the Washington Monument.

*The five lane bridge crosses Golden Gate Strait which is about 400 feet, or 130 meters, deep. Simple yellow markers are used to switch the center lane so that there are three lanes into San Francisco for the morning commute and three leaving The City in the afternoon and evening.

Golden Gate Bridge Tolls are only collected on the way in (going south). The toll on the Golden Gate Bridge increased to $5.00/4.00 FasTrak on September 1, 2002, later raised to $6.00/$5.00. Multi-axle vehicle rates (3 or more axels) will rise on July 1, 2012. There are no carpool lanes on the Golden Gate Bridge.

 

Here is a great video on the history of the GGB:

Have you rode a bike, walked or drove across the Golden Gate Bridge?  Visit www.goldengatebridge75.org for more information on the bridge and a special app that you can download. What other man-made architecture do you think is a must see?


Travel Your Passions

Excursionist Booking Information

Excursionist.com reasons on why to book with them.

Looking for a travel site that caters your trip based on your passions? Check out the Excursionist. We recently came across the site after reading a blog post by Pure Wow which talked about this new site and its great features.

The site allows you to search for your next trip based on your passions or destinations or both. From getting to spend a day with an archaeologist digging up dinosaur fossils, cooking with local chefs, or tracking animals on a safari with animal scientists, Excursionist finds unique experiences for your trip that you cannot find anywhere else online.

The new site has been mentioned in magazines such as Air Magazine, Conde Nast Traveler, In Style and Luxury Travel as the next hot travel site. The great thing about the Excursionist is you can either add the special excursions onto your already existing trip or work with the Excursionist to create a whole itinerary including hotel accommodations. Can’t find what you were looking for, contact the Excursionist and they can help customize an experience for you.

Visit Pure Wow to find out how Pure Wow readers can receive a $100 credit to use towards the Excursionist.com’s services.

What adventure would you like to find for your next trip? Do you wish more sites were like this where they customize trips based on your passions?


Money Saving Travel Tips

With gas prices going up everyday, many of us are looking for ways to save money. Another “staycation” may not be what you want to do, but there are ways to save on your trips. It may take a bit of research but its worth the  money savings in the long run.

At a the recent LA Times Travel show, three travel writers gave their tips on how to save money. Here are their tips.

Here are a few more tips we found to save money on your next vacation.

Airfares
a) Be flexible on dates and locations:
The day you travel can affect the price of your airfare. Also, if you are not looking for a specific location but maybe just a beach locale, search a variety of destinations to find the best deal. Also, if you don’t mind the time it may take, connecting flights vs direct flights can save you money.

b) Travel during “shoulder seasons”: This is the time between peak and off-peak season. You can often find a better deal during these times.
c) Buy package deals: A hotel/airfare combo deal is usually better in the long run.
d) Useful websites and codes: Check out the following websites for help with airfares and special discount codes: Travelocity, Airfarewatchdog, Kayak.com/explore, Yapta.com, Itasoftware.com, and bing.com/travel.
e) Smartphone Apps: many travel sites offer special offers through their mobile apps that you cannot get via their website.
f) Know your Hub: Try to book with the airline that has the closest hub to your home. It will offer the most flights and usually the best deals from your city.
g) Fees: Know the fees that an airline charges.

Hotels
a) Family travel: research family-friendly hotels that over perks and discounts for kids
b) City next door: Often the city next door to where you are going may have cheaper hotels. Investigate on if the drive is worth the savings.
c) Vacation homes: planning a longer trip than a few days? A vacation home most likely will be a better deal than a hotel.
d) Home Exchanges: save on hotel costs completely by exchanging homes with someone. Check out Homeexchange.com.
e) Opt for suites: Typically a two bedroom suite will be less expensive than two individual rooms. Check to see which is the better deal.
f) Useful websites: BiddingTraveler.com (helps you execute the optimal bidding strategy on Priceline), Hotels.com (find good last minute deals on Tuesdays and Wednesdays), Luxurylink.com (discounts on high end villas and hotels), and homeaway.com (rentals).

Car Rentals
a) One way car rentals: When you are visit multiple locations, you may pick up a car at one spot and then return it at a completely different spot. If you can split the car rentals between the destinations, you can usually save a some money.
b) Insurance: A lot of auto insurance companies and some credit cards provide rental insurance. Check to see if your insurance or credit cards provide this to save on rental insurance from the car rental business.
c) Size: Don’t need much room, opt for a smaller car to save on cost and gas
d) Filling up: It is usually a better deal to fill the car up on your own before returning it vs. taking the car rental business’ offer.
e) Autoslash.com: Offers discount coupons on car rentals, continually checks on lower rates and coupons until your trip date and will automatically apply any discounts that it finds.
f) Car seats: check to see how much car seats are to rent. This cost to rent the car seats may be cheaper than the fees you will have to pay with the airlines for checking them.

Food and Entertainment
a) Deal sites: Sign up for Groupon or Living Social where you will be visiting to get deals on restaurants and more. Or use Yipit.com that gives you deals from 787 services in 118 North American Cities.
b) Ask your Concierge: Often your hotel concierge will know about the best deals around the city and will have coupons and connections for you.
c) Food: Bring snacks and your own water bottles to your hotel room. If your room has a microwave, stop by a local grocery store to pick up some meals that could save you on meals during the day. Ask the restaurant where you are eating dinner if they will give you extra bread. You can use that bread for the next day for breakfast.

Social Media
Use your social media sites to find recommendations from friends and family. Follow airline and travel site Facebook and Twitter pages for special deals. Follow bloggers that have the inside scoop on deals and more.

It may take a little digging but the money savings and the getaway will be worth it. What are your saving tips when you plan a vacation?

 


Spring Luggage Cleaning

It’s that time of year when many of us are thinking of tackling spring cleaning around our house.  As you are cleaning your closets, attics and garages, don’t forget that your luggage needs some special cleaning as well. In fact, it is recommended to clean your luggage after every use. From cars, airports, airplanes, hotel rooms and more, your luggage is put in many different environments where it could have been exposed to germs and more. A recent spot on the Today Show featured Budget Travel Editor Nina Willdorf and she featured her tips on keeping your luggage clean.

Here are a few tips shared on the show on little things to do after a trip to your luggage:

1) The Once-Over: Purchase some Lysol wipes and and wipe down your bag including the wheels and handles. Make sure to spot test your luggage first with a wipe to make sure it doesn’t damage the fabric.

2) Wine spills: Ever had a wine bottle or some other liquid spill over your luggage? First make sure to use a hand vacuum to clean up any glass that may be in the suitcase. Use newspaper to absorb the liquid. Leave the rolled up paper in your closed bag for 2 – 3 days. Wine Away is a great tool for dissolving red wine stains. Febreze Auto is also great for removing odors. Avoid mishaps like this by purchasing the Vinnibag which keeps your fragile items safe and secure.

3) Bed Bugs: Think your bag may have been exposed to bed bugs? Immediately, dump everything washable into your laundry on a hot wash and dry cycle. Wipe and spray down your bag with 91 percent isopropyl alcohol which will kill any bugs on contact. Vacuum all the crevices in your bag. If all else fails, you can use a product like Nuvan Prostrips. Simply place your luggage in a garbage bag with one of the strips  and the strip releases a gas that kills the bugs. Make sure to put your case in a plastic bag for storage afterwards.

4) Grease stains: Grease stains may occur after having your luggage go through a baggage carousel. Hard case and nylon cases, you should be able to clean but leather and canvas bags will require professional treatment.

5) Shampoo explosions: Use a spray bottle with water and spray it on the saturated area. Use a wet/dry vac to suck the moisture out. Try not to get your case too wet. This will only drive the soaps deeper into the fabrics. Try to avoid this hassle by putting your liquid items in ziploc bags or toiletry bags.

Other great products to invest in for cleaning your luggage:
a) Aluminum luggage: use a mild cleanser and gently go over the entire bag. Rinse and dry of with clean towels.
b) Ballistic Nylon luggage: Use gentle soap and water to wipe away stains.
c) Hardware: Using oil on hinges, handles or locks will cause more harm than good. To maintain the luster of the hardware, best to polish them lightly with a good quality steel wool and “re-seal” them with a clear nail polish or by using lacquer.
d) Hardside luggage: Use a gentle soap and warm water and rinse well. Cleaning erasers, mild abrasives and toothpaste can work well to remove scuffs and scratches. Use any good silicone-base automobile or furniture polish to preserve the luster of the covering. Do not use a combination cleaner-polish.

Before cleaning any luggage, make sure to read the instructions provided by the luggage brand. Certain solutions may not be suitable in particular brands of luggage. Always spot test an area of a piece of luggage before cleaning all of it. Always make sure to use mild soaps and wipes when cleaning. Harsh chemicals can destroy the beauty of your bag.

When storing your luggage, make sure you allow it to air out regularly. This will help prevent mildew from forming as a result of humidity. Extreme temperatures can also age your luggage as well.

How do you keep your luggage fresh and clean? We would love to hear your tips. Happy Spring Luggage cleaning!


Does your Luggage Reflect your Personality?

They say, “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” but what about by the luggage that you carry. We found this article on VisualNews.com that designates different personalities with the bag that you carry. Do you agree? Which description best describes you. Click on the image for a larger view.


Spring Travel Has Sprung

Hard to believe that it’s March 1st! With the start of March, many of us are thinking of Spring travel. In fact, we were inspired to make some Spring Travel windows in our stores this month.

With gas prices rising, many of us are looking for the best deals out there this spring season before price hikes occur this summer on airline fares, hotel rates and more.

Travel Ticker put together a list of hot spots for spring were you can find reasonable rates at hotels.

Here are their picks:

1) New Orleans: Don’t miss out on Jazz Fest in April and May. The average hotel rate during this time is $87.

2) Miami: Hurricane season starts in June and peak travel time in Miami is December – March. it makes sense to book during Miami’s shoulder season in April and May. You can save anywhere between $25 – $80 during this time frame.

3) Tahoe: Find prices as low as $69 a night during March and April.

4) China: Great weather and find fewer crowds in Beijing and Shanghai in March and April.

5) Ecuador: The peak summer rates occur in May so you can beat those prices by going in March or April. Galapagos Islands anyone?

 

 

Looking for new hotels to try out this spring break season? Travel & Leisure gave their picks for top hotels:

Country Destination: The Pig, Brockenhurst, England: Perfect for adventurous foodies.

Beach Locale: St Regis Bal Harbor Resort, Miami Beach: Includes twenty-five beachside cabanas and personal butler service.

City Bound: Sofitel, Bangkok: Has rooms inspired by the 5 Chinese Elements

Rain Forest Ambitions: Mashipi Lodge, Ecuador: Aerial Gondolas that take guests through a cloud forest

Island Seclusion: Anantara Bali, Uluwater Resort, Bali, Indonesia: Spend some alone time on sprawling suite terraces that have over sized whirlpools on them.

These are just a few suggestions. Where will you be heading for your spring travel this year?