Here I go!

I've been told many times over the years that I should write travel guide books, but this is as close as I plan to come to that!

Since getting my first passport at age 43, I have gotten to go places in this world that I never dreamed of seeing, and I'm an inveterate note taker. My travels since 1986 have been as a professional travel agent...which only increased that note taking. I hope to share some of the things I've found interesting for one reason or another -- maybe for cultural or historic reasons, maybe just beautiful, maybe ultra good, maybe just hilarious. And sometimes just because I liked it, related to travel or not.

My speciality in the travel business is Italy, though I handle travel pretty much worldwide..and if I don't keep up with a particular area, one of the great agents in my office does. See for more about the professional side of my life.

Your comments and shared tips are very welcome! I truly believe "we get by with a little help from our friends."

Monday, January 31, 2011

If you lived in Italy instead...

Kind of a fun list of things that would be different for someone living in Italy instead of the US:,0

Saturday, January 29, 2011

How to Spot ATM Card Skimmers

I've never had a client fall prey to an ATM card skimmer while abroad, but Bootsnall has a fine article on how to recognize and avoid such.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Train Travel in Italy, from

Thanks to Jessica and Why Go Italy for this lovely tribute to travel travel in Italy.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Italy really did ban plastic bags as of January 1st

Shopkeepers in Italy have been banned from giving out plastic shopping bags to reduce "white pollution." Italians use about 20 billion of those plastic bags a year and they are non-biodegradable. The new law took effect January 1. Stores can only give out plastic bags till they run out.There have been similar restrictions on the bags in about 200 Italian communities but now the ban is nationwide. If you are travelling to Italy this year, pack a cloth shopping bag to carry around. (Association of Retail Travel Agents newsletter)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Smoking prohibitions in Spain as of January 1, 2011

From newsletter: Warning to smokers: Don't light up in public places when traveling through Spain anymore. The country has enacted a ban on smoking in enclosed public spots, including restaurants and bars.

If you get caught puffing away, it will cost you; a first-time offense carries a $40 fine, and repeat offenders will have to cough up as much as $134,000 after the third strike. However, enclosed spots aren't the only places where where your pack of cigs and lighter are prohibited. You also can get slapped with a fine for smoking in some outdoor areas as well, including playgrounds and near hospitals.

This is a big change for the formerly haze-filled country, which was one of the few last remaining Western European nations to allow smoking in public places. Plus, according to the Christian Science Monitor, government officials estimate that 35 percent of residents above 16 are regular smokers

Monday, January 3, 2011

Buy Paris metro tickets on the other side

Did you know that if you're taking the EuroStar from London to Paris, you can buy Paris metro and RER tickets right at St. Pancras station before boarding? They are available in the departure lounge, and even on the train.