MEVANS, for all your travel needs...

So...I like to travel..a lot! These are my stories.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

What's the Deal-io Wednesday/Thursday: Spring Awakenings???

What is it about February that makes it so blah? Is it the 28 days? Is the endless winter days (although we have had some nice previews of Spring recently). I guess February is a good month to hibernate before next month's more than overdue Spring Fever.

After debating on what I should share this week, I got an update from my trusty Travelzoo VIP Newsflash - to literally just find out now that it is already sold out. You win some, you lose some. Sorry guys, I didn't know if there was anyone REALLY interested to heading to Barcelona in the next 6 weeks anyway....

So instead, I figured I would highlight a new website I found that offers some cool discounts. A "sister" website to Trip Advisor, Snique Away is a unique website that emails you updates on discounted rates on high-end resorts and hotels. These discounted rates are not generally released to public and offered "auction style", meaning that the discount will run out by a certain date and time (there's actually a countdown clock!). 

What I like about it is that since it is linked with TA, the reviews and information on the hotel, amenities and surround activities is already there! It's like a one-stop-shop for travel. So efficient, I love it!

Happy planning everyone!

xoxo mevans  


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I Love Technology (but not as much as you and me)

Whoa! Napoleon Dynamite throwback. OK, I got that out of my system. I've had a bit of cabin fever lately, so please forgive my wackiness.

Did you ever stop to think about what booking and planning trips used to be like? As a late twenty-something (ouch) I can slightly recall what days were like without computers, the Internet, cell phones, and navigation systems. My recent trip to Cali made me think about these things. Bud and I were roaming around San Francisco and got into the discussion of, what did people DO before all this technology? Carry maps around? Ask strangers for help? Plan all of their routes ahead of time (not using Mapquest mind you)? What if you were in a foreign country?

I roughly remember my Moms spending hours on the phone with travel agents and airlines trying to book the best deals possible. Isn't it nice that in literally seconds you can have an entire trip planned? I like being in charge of my plans in that way (Type A personality people, what can I say). I hate to be all "golly gee the Internet is amazing", but it really is - and has certainly made my life much easier.

When we were lost in San Francisco, almost the whole weekend mind you, the Google Maps app on Bud's phone and the car's navigation system got us through each time. We didn't even have to pull out the Hagstrom, and seriously, I wouldn't even know how to read one! Shout out to the car's navi by the way, because it found the best Mexican food of my life. Yes, it was life changing Mexican food (and yes, I stole that from Spencer Pratt).

I can go on, and on, and on, but I won't. I'm interested to see how much more the travel industry changes in the future, and what impact technology will have on that change. Wow, that sounds like an essay conclusion.....feel free to discuss amongst yourselves :) 

xoxo mevans  

Thursday, February 10, 2011

What's the Deal-io Wednesday: Broadway or Bust

So, I scoured the Internet for hours (OK, you got me, maybe not hours, but at least 20 minutes) trying to find a deal this week. I've done my research, and unfortunately February is a VERY tough month for travel. Everyone is certainly sick of the winter, and travelers are flocking to get to warmer climates. Not to mention the February break that most school-aged kids have is right around the corner. You know what that means: the rate increase game. This makes it almost impossible to get a deal, especially a deal on short notice.

My deal-io for this week is pretty close to home for all of you within the Tri-state area. My recent jaunt to NYC reminded me how fun it is to go and explore the city. My trusty Travelzoo "local deals" helped me out this week, and provided me with a fun entertainment idea: Phantom of the Opera discounted tickets. 

Unfortunately I've missed this show on about 3 occasions that I can think of, however I heard it is wonderful, and for the price it is being offered at, it's worth it. Who doesn't love the whimsy of a Broadway show? A discounted show at that! You know how much I love whimsy AND a discount; I might take myself up on my own offer! 

xoxo mevans 

Monday, February 7, 2011

Gripe-fest 2011

Well, before I start griping, I just have to give a shout out to "ma fans" LOL, because we reached 600 page views today! Thanks guys!

OK, maybe it's just that I'm in a bit of  a funk this week (yes, it does happen to the best of us), but my recent travels have made me develop a mental list of travel-related things that I wanted to gripe about. So when I formulate my mental list, it's only natural that I need to share it with you guys!

Numero uno on my list-y, and this is probably one of the most awkward things that has every happened to me (other than losing my bathing suit in public) is opening the door when someone else is in the bathroom - in an airplane no less. There's a lock on the door for a reason. There's a red sign that says "occupied" for a reason. I had the "delight" on my recent flight back home from Cali of opening the door to find someone already occupying the stall (even after I politely knocked to check). Yes, it was a scene. Yes, I was mortified.  Let's move on.

Number two, you should ALWAYS say thank you to your flight attendants and captains that got you to your destination safely. Why you may ask? Because it's polite and you should! That's why!

Number three, please do not cough in my face. Do I even need to explain?

Number four, why does EVERYONE insist on getting up immediately after the plane lands. Like you are going to get out ANY quicker by jumping up, grabbing your bag out of the overhead bin and standing in the aisle when there's 100 people in front of you (and this usually results in me getting hit in the head by someone's carry on at least twice).

Last, but certainly not least, number five. Give me some space when I go through security check?!?! Personal space my dears, personal space.The last thing I need is to have a fellow passenger all up in my grill trying to get inches closer to get through security faster. Playa puh-lease....

Man, gripe much???? I hope this post didn't sound as angry it looks......

What are YOUR travel gripes????

Happy Monday.

xoxo mevans     

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Pic(k) of the Week: Exploring Alcatraz

I wanted to highlight our second day in San Francisco via pic(k)s of the week this week. You guys obviously saw how much Ioved the Sunshine State. Our second day was even better. We spent the night at the San Francisco Hilton (shout out) and the next day toured the city. We found the most amazing Crepery (is that even a word?) while touring the area around the hotel. Later we walked down to Fishermen's Wharf, where Alcatraz Landing is located for a tour. Alcatraz Island is small island located in the San Francisco Bay. 

Alcatraz is infamous for its penitentiary, which housed the most notorious criminals (Al Capone being one of them). There is a ferry service that takes you to and from the Island - much like the way the prisoners were transported back when the prison was operating (it closed in 1963). For $30 a person we were transported from the Pier to the Island, and toured the whole Island for about 3 hours. Most of the Island is in shambles, but there are helpful explanations and pictures of what the Island "once was".

Here are some pic(k)s:

Alcatraz Island view from the Ferry

I don't think I need to state the obvious 

Jail cell - kinda creepy, right?

 Kinda hard to see, but Alcatraz Island view of the Golden Gate Bridge

I honestly don't remember what this is but I like the pic(k)

Welcome to "D" Block 

Check back for more highlights of our Cali trip!

xoxo mevans 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

California Looooveeeee

I always get butterflies in my stomach every time I get to travel. There's always that semi-nauseous feeling I have when I'm ready to go, especially when I need to get to my destination via air. There's something extremely unsettling about airports. The food, the hostility, the disgruntled employees...I don't know what it is, but it makes me kind of cranky.

My whirlwind California Adventure (San Francisco & San Jose in 2.5 days!!!) started last Saturday. Bud had some work to do in the Sunshine State, and I was able to tag along for a few days. I had the best flight experience ever, with Virgin America. Seriously guys, check them out!! It's really not your run of the mill airline, with your run of the mill "wait all I get is peanuts" food options. Also, WiFi on a plane? Sign me up! Not to mention interactive games, TV, and a really cool interior. It made my 6 hour flight seem, well, like only 3 hours. You know how I can get antsy

We landed at around 2:00 pm Pacific Time and were on the freeway by 3. I love the Cali air. It was "short-sleeve" weather with a little bit of a breeze. The sun was shining and one word came to mind: PERFECTION. I could move there. On second thought, with the earthquakes, super-storm warnings and what-not, ehhh...but still - simply gorgeous! We'll put that one on the back burner for right now.

One thing though, holy jet lag Batman! I was exhausted by the time the first day was through. I'm a sensitive one with the time change apparently. Plus we did so much in a short period of time! More to come, but here's some views from our first stop, the beautiful Golden Gate Bridge!!!

Over the Bridge, heading into Sausalito 
(home of the Salsalito Taco Shop - featuring the best Mexican food I EVER had) 

Yeah, I really need a digital camera (sorry Blackberry)

Check back again with some other fun Evans Adventures from TBA (the Bay Area), including Alcatraz Island and the Fisherman's Wharf! 

xoxo mevans