June, 2011

Featured Line: Kipling Wheeled Duffels

Summer is here and the sirens of Lake Tahoe are calling.

Their chorus of activities can be almost overwhelming. From kayaking to biking, hiking, horseback riding and stand-up paddling, days in Tahoe are spent outdoors.  Add in the nightlife from gambling at casinos, to going to outdoor events, to sipping wine with locals and fellow tourists, and it appears that a ton of luggage is going to be required to fit in all the different outfits needed.

With the Kipling Madison 22 Wheeled Duffel,you have the perfect bag.  Its large U-shaped main compartment allows rooms for the casual clothes and various footwear a vacation in Tahoe demands. Continue Reading »

Samsonite LIFT – The New Super Light Spinner Luggage – 20% Sale.

If you are looking for an extremely lightweight yet durable luggage, then we have the bag for you. The New Samsonite LIFT is remarkably lightweight and yet durable.  The Spinner wheels glide with ease when traversing the airports or just to the car. With airport fees for overweight baggage on the rise, Samsonite LIFT has come to the rescue for many travelers wanting to avoid costly fees. Simple yet attractive, Samsonite L.I.F.T. is one of the lightest luggage lines we have seen to date.

LIFT by Samsonite combines durable fabrics, smooth riding wheels, and durable handles system using a unique groove channel that reduces damage and give it a stable and solid feel. Going with the 21″ upright, we found the case to weight only 6.2 lbs. The TPR construction really makes the Samsonite LIFT look very clean an tight. Remember, hard to break but easy to lift.

For a limited time you can get an additional 20% off the Samsonite LIFT by using the coupon code: BASE20 at LuggageBase.com

Featured Product: Eagle Creek Cloudstream Wheeled Tote

After years in the hospitality business, the stories of impolite hotel guests never cease to amaze me. Of course we all know the garden-variety offenses like smoking in a no-smoking room, stealing the complimentary robes, or sneaking in a pet are so ubiquitous that hotels have posted fees for such repetitive transgressions. Rarely does anyone get away without being charged if they dabble in these forbidden behaviors. Housekeeping, the first to notice odor, pet fur or missing items, can earn a small reward for reporting it to the front desk, where the credit card number on file is easily charged.

However, there are a plethora of much more egregious conduct that keep hotel staff members shaking their heads in disbelief but looking the other way.

A Secret Service security team was being given a hotel property tour, prior to a high-profile politician’s arrival. The manager was chagrined, when, during the tour, a guest opened the door of her room, and the hallway immediately reeked like a reggae concert. The uniformed officers all exchanged glances, which did not go unnoticed by the guest, who soon called the front desk to say that she had an emergency at home and would be checking out early. Continue Reading »

Looking for a true Celtic connection?

Let the wonders of Islay wash over, and through, you.

Pronounced EYE-la, the island sits almost midway between Ireland and Scotland. She is known as the “Queen of the Hebrides” and can be reached via a 40-minute flight from Glasgow International. Packing light with a piece like the Piel Leather Complete Carry–All Bag is suggested.

Many choose to take the ferry from the Kennacraig, on the Scottish mainland, to either Port Askaig or Port Ellen.  Lock up your luggage (a TSA-approved luggage lock is suggested)  and place alongside others in the outside storage bins.

Two hours of cruise time gradually ease you into Islay’s island mentality, where sheep run free, the roads are often one lane and many of the world’s very best whiskeys are produced. Continue Reading »

Several years back I was offered the opportunity of joining a three-day cruise sailing from Los Angeles to Ensenada, Mexico. It was a specialty cruise designed for belly dancers and featured onboard belly dancing, Flamenco dancing lessons, and Middle-Eastern musical evening entertainment. The cost, which included airfare from Reno, Nevada and meals, was really low. Although I am not a dancer, my friends needed another roommate to secure the stateroom at that low cost and I thought it would be a great adventure. Belly dancing aficionados are fun-loving women who adore colorful costumes, Mediterranean music and a good time. Continue Reading »

American Tourister Expectation 29″ Upright – Blowout Special $69.90

If you need a large capacity piece of luggage but don’t need to spend a lot, consider this very large American Tourister luggage.

This American Tourister 29″ suitcase has plenty of room, durable fabric and wheels yet lightweight. Size: 29″ x 20″ x 11″ Weight: 12 lbs, 11 oz

  • Push-button locking upright handle
  • Side mounted chrome wheels for increased stability and maneuverability
  • Bottom and side lift handles
  • TPR rubber infused ergonomic pull handle
  • #10 self-mending zippers
  • Multiple pockets inside and outside for organization
  • Elastic cross straps to hold your belongings in place
If you are looking for a slightly smaller suitcase, we also have the American Tourister Expectation 25″ Upright on Blowout Special. Hurry though, we have limited supply.

What is in your luggage?

Shirts?  Check.

Jeans?  Check, check.

Ghost repellent?

If you are among those who enjoy vacations with a bit of paranormal activity, there are plenty of American places you can enjoy a spirited good time.

The Myrtles Plantation of St. Francisville, Louisiana is considered by many to be one of the most haunted houses in America.  With its wispy strands of Spanish Moss hanging from boughs of gently swaying live oak trees, the antebellum mansion, near Baton Rouge, is a great combination of old Southern charm and gothic tales. Continue Reading »

As luck would have it, our return flight  to Los Angeles was the Tuesday after the death of Osama bin Laden the previous Sunday. We knew that the Miami Airport would be on high-alert and all airport routines would be met with an increased diligence. We allowed ourselves extra time and did not begrudge the slow pace of the TSA’s (Transportation Security Administration) conscientious attention to detail.

As we approached airport security to our airline’s gate we were greeted with the obligatory commands to remove our jackets, belts, shoes, and everything from our pockets. Ordered to place those items in the plastic bin and our carry-on bags (for ease of transit in the airport, consider wheeled carry-on luggage) on the conveyor belt, we obliged. Continue Reading »

Vienna, or “Wien” as the natives call it, is the perfect place give into your indulgences.

Foodies, music and history lovers or anyone looking for a good time will find nirvana in this city seemingly designed for hedonists.

Be sure to pack a pair of good walking shoes in your luggage (I recommend the Travelpro Hydrogen Lite 22″ Expandable Carry-on) as Vienna is best seen by foot.

Although the Hapsburgs no longer rule the extinct Austro-Hungarian Empire their existence is easy to see in government buildings and entertainment venues.  Make it grandiose  and then pile on the gilding seemed to be their central design theme.

Start your tour at the Hofburg Imperial Palace.  Once the royals’ Winter Palace, it is hard to miss in the center of Vienna.  But should you fail to find the huge fountains and statues of mounted military leaders marking the entrance, simply ask a passing Viennese for “Die Burg”.  Although there are over 2,000 rooms in the imposing complex of many buildings, you can visit only a few.

However, do not despair as one of them includes the arena where the famed Lipizzaner Stallions train.

Every morning, except for Mondays and during the months of July and August, a ticket will allow you entrance into the stands of the Spanish Riding School.  Sometimes the music of Chopin accompanies the horse’s high stepping maneuvers in classical dressage.

Vienna celebrates music.  While Mozart, Brahms and Beethoven were among her celebrated residents it was the waltzes of the family Strauss that continue to give Vienna her youthful zest.  Pay homage to the Johann Strauss II by heading over to Stadtpark.  There ablaze under a coat of gold and with a violin tucked under his chin a statue of the “Blue Danube’s Waltz”’ composer appears ready to burst into joyful melodies sure to get everyone dancing.

Speaking of dancing, Vienna enjoys a winter season filled with hundreds of balls.  Adorn your garment bag (see: Delsey Helium Pro H-Lite Rolling Garment Bag) with the proper attire of gowns and tuxedos.  If you are more gangling than graceful on the dance floor sign up for lessons from a local master.

Many choose to enjoy the music by attending a concert with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra at the Musikverein.  If you cannot make it to their globally televised New Year’s Concert do treat yourself to a ticket to another event.  Sitting in the “Großer Saal” (Large Hall) is a unique experience due to the opulence of the surroundings with massive crystal chandeliers and cherubs and lush paintings adorning walls and ceilings. Plushness is scant in the upper balconies where hard wooden stools provide individual seating.

Even without much furniture the grandeur of Schönbrunn Palace is unmistakable.  A multitude of taped tours cover a series of the 1,400 rooms in the palace such as the stunning State Apartments. Marie Theresa, one of Europe’s most powerful monarchs, transformed the rather bleak surroundings into glowing examples of Rococo styled where bright colors dominate.  She was also a master arranger of marriages.  One of her daughters became the last queen of France – Marie Antoinette.

Her thoughts of “let them eat cake,” probably started young.

Like with music, Vienna’s fascination with elaborate pastries and coffee are deeply rooted in the past.

Café Demel, outside the Hofburg Palace, was Emperor Franz Joseph’s favorite supplier of Sacher Torte. Dense layers of chocolate cake are separated by a thin coating of apricot jam and then covered with a dark chocolate icing.   Completing the decadent departure from a diet is a dollop of whipped cream.  A cup of coffee, with or without whipped cream, is the crowning touch.

Vienna’s caffeine revolution began as a siege by Turkish troops ended. Their remaining sacks, of unknown beans, were thrown into fires.  Luckily, the tantalizing aroma quickly halted the destruction.

Now coffeehouses abound in almost every neighborhood.  It is perfectly acceptable to sit for hours, however with all Vienna has to offer you will not want to linger.

The adventures continue next week as we visit some of the most haunted places in America.

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