travelgirl magazine March 2006

Editorial Written by Stephanie Abrams


This is the time of the year when the travelgirl's thoughts are turning to Spring and Summer getaways!

Don't wait a minute longer so that you get to select exactly what you want rather than settle for what is left.

Here are some thoughts for destinations near and far and some tips to make your travels smooth sailing along the way:

• May is the most beautiful month on the planet but it's still a bit cold in places like Alaska. On the other hand, because May is early in the season for travel to Alaska, you'll find more space, better value, and less crowded attractions and shops which translates into more attention for you! Remember that Juneau, the only US capital that cannot be reached by car, is in a mild, more temperate climate, and you'll find a rainforest, totem poles, a wildlife preserve and boat trips you can take for the day to visit glaciers, waterfalls, whales, and bears without committing to a week-long cruise. You can also travel with ferries to all of the ports you've heard about and immerse yourself in the fascinating culture of Alaska. You'll have an up-close and personal Alaskan experience your way!

• Ifyou're travels require an overnight airport stay for a flight or connection and you're looking for a little pampering, look for that French touch of elegance and joie de vivre that you can find worldwide at Sofitel Hotels. Most airport hotels offer convenience and express treatment but most Sofitels can provide that extra service you'd only expect at a resort including spa facilities and great dining! If you have to fly to another city, almost anywhere in the world, to meet colleagues for a meeting and an overnight stay before flying onward, see if there's a Sofitel on your route. With orchids everywhere in sight and streamlined elegance coupled with meeting space, gourmet food service, spas, swimming pools, and services you'd never expect at an airport location, recharge your batteries a la francaise! Sofitel Miami and Sofitel O'Hare Airport are 2 of my favorites!

• If you can travel to Europe before summer is in full-swing, you'll be able to catch more economical airfares and less crowded planes and airports. For a great website with economical fares, backed up by travel professionals with buying clout and experience, ready to help and serve you, visit That's also a great place to start any adventure! You'll find information and airfares to get you to every continent, to countries big and small, and to Caribbean destinations. You'll also find some business and first class fares at savings for select destinations using major airlines worldwide.

• Watchthat luggage! The last thing a travelgirl needs is an aching back and what I call "luggage elbow," that awful ache from dragging around and lifting far too much. After you've packed everything, put your luggage on a scale and check the allowable rate for free luggage service with your air carrier. If you are flying across the Atlantic or Pacific and then flying onward when you arrive, there is a good chance that you will be allowed 70 pounds of luggage. But if you are continuing onward when you arrive at your destination, you may find that you are only allowed 50 pounds! That means that you are now 20 pounds overweight for which you will incur a fee or be asked to eliminate the over-weight portion! Solution: Pack your luggage for the least allowable amount so that you will be underweight for your ocean crossing and right on target for the rest of the trip. Note that the 2 most dangerous times to handle luggage are when you are removing your luggage from the trunk of a car and when you are lifting your carry-on to place in the overhead compartment. You can do damage to your back very easily if you don't pay attention to using your leg and arm muscles instead of your back!

• If you're trying to minimize your luggage weight, start out with a lightweight suitcase. Some suitcases weigh as much as 30 pounds or more. They may be beautiful but they are using up your allowance! Find those big bags that boast they are the lightest. My favorite suitcase only weighs 12 pounds and I take it everywhere, giving me all the space and weight I need for my favorite travel items.

• Choose light weight fabrics, pick a color combination, and stick with it! I find the easiest way to slim down the items I'm packing is to stick with black and navy slacks and dresses and red, white and pink tops with a few scarves. Wear that heavy sweater on the plane. . . it'll be cold at 35,000 feet anyway. . . and boots or rain shoes rather than packing those heavy items. Pack one pair of black dress shoes and your walking shoes and/or sneakers and stick to your commitment to travel light! After I'm all packed, I take out 20% of what is in my suitcase and I still come home with items I never wore! If you find you've really underpacked, what a good excuse the go shopping and by wonderful items that continue to remind you of your adventure long after the trip is over!

• Don't waste luggage space with big cosmetic bottles and detergent to rinse your lingerie as you travel. Those items add weight quickly to your suitcase. Buy those travel sized items or small plastic bottles to fill from your bottles at home. And for your nightly rinse-outs of stockings and personal items, use your shampoo or those left for you at your hotel. Shampoo is a mild detergent and makes a great substitute for those travel detergents on the market.

• Fill your pockets and purse with 2 essentials: tissues and sanitizing hand-wipes. It's your best defense again germy encounters like the handrails in airports and other crowded public places. When you are in a busy airport or foreign destination whose customs and sanitary conditions don't quite meet the travelgirl's standards, having a supply of tissues often saves the day! So simple but so necessary!

• If you're looking for real economy, choose out of season destinations when you travel. Try the Caribbean in the summer for more value. And if you want to know how much the trip is really going to cost you before you leave home, buy a package at an all-inclusive resort. Check with your travel agent who will be able to give you insights into what your money is buying. It's not only about the cost but about the quality of your vacation experience! Looking for a new and trendy place?

• Check out Sun Village Resort & Spa in the Dominican Republic where the new film, LoveWrecked, expected out in this summer, was filmed. With 7 swimming pools, suites and villas with private pools, gorgeous architecture and lush tropical landscaping, this all-inclusive resort is a real bargain in the off-season and an incredible value in the height of season.

• Check out their Celebration Series of events with Food & Wine Festival and their International Film Festival, Right now, Robert Dinero and Angelina Jolie are in the Dominican Republic making their newest film. Clearly, every travelgirl needs to see why this beautiful destination makes for a great photographic backdrop.

• Be sure to visit my award-winning website, and for travel tips, travel news and information and scheduled guests on my radio shows! • March 2006

Gotta Fly Now! sm
Stephanie Abrams

Other TravelGirl Editorials by Stephanie Abrams:

March 2006, Spring Time Travel

May 2006, (coming soon)

September 2006, Castle Hopping


Related Site Links:
How important is it for children to travel?

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams Sends Eleven Rescued Homeless Children on Vacation With the Help of Thrifty Car Rental, Woodfin Suites Hotels and Choice Hotels

Travel Girl Magazine welcome Stephanie Abrams to Editorial Team

Visit with the publisher of "travelgirl" magazine! - Travel With Stephanie Abrams Shownotes for February 12, 2006

A discussion with Renee Werbin, Publisher of “travelgirl magazine” - Travel With Stephanie Abrams Shownotes for July 16, 2006


Stephanie Abrams, recognized as a leading radio travel expert and as one of the "100 Most Powerful Women in /travel," is host of the weekly Travel WITH Stephanie Abrams, heard coast-to-coast on the Business Talk Radio Network and appears weekly on radio's nationally syndicated, "Traveling Feet!" Visit Abrams' award-winning website and Stephanie welcomes travelgirls' travel questions at