The Summer Go List: National Parks, Cuba, San Francisco,  and more

It was the beginning of a miserable summer vacation. 
My father thought it would be a great idea to embark upon a last minute weekend from San Jose to Southern California by just winging it with a wife and three kids in tow.  He thought, "Hey, we don't have to make any hotel reservations, and we'll find something once we get there."

Oh yeah. We did. Driving down to Marina del Rey, we parked the car in the middle of the night along its motel row only to see a string of red neon blaring, "NO VACANCY," at each and every two-bit motor lodge... each one was full except one.  You can probably figure out what happened next, but I will tell you anyway. 

We all got out of the car and walked our luggage down the street.  In those days, wheels for luggage was not invented yet.  I was fuming mad.  Dad did get a motel.  He got us the last remaining room.  Upon entering, it smelled musty, clammy, and had a tinge of bathroom spray cleaner in the air. We all fell on the hard beds.  We all slept. We were all upset.  The next day, we drove home.  

I'm telling you this because ever since then, I have become a fastidious planner. Sure, serendipity is the mother of invention etc., etc., but when it comes to vacations, I believe in planning.  A failure to plan is a plan to fail...for sure.  

That's why you have this travel website at your disposal.  I want you to enjoy these articles and use them to plan your vacations well.

This summer, for instance, consider getting a jump on your planning by reading our Consumer Update on new activities and renovations at national parks in Alaska, Washington, and Colorado. And if you want to stay in the state of California, you may have a lot of fun visiting and collecting artistic key cards from select Hilton Hotels that are providing a summer promotional.  See our Deals page here

As you plan your summer travels, you may want to try something new in the transportation category.  Have you ever wondered what it would be like to fly on a private airplane, but you always thought it would be too expensive.  We introduce to you JetSuiteX, a new entrant to the private jet market which offers the convenience of first-class treatment for budget rates.  See How Suite it Is on JetSuiteX  in our review. 

We recently returned from Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau, and we are celebrating our international travels wtih a three-part series.  In this edition of BAFT, we offer up a review of the island country of Taiwan. Read our story, Taiwan's Melting Pot will Melt Your Heart.  We also offer to you, Hong Kong's new art focus.  Bring the kids, and you'll never be sorry!  

International travel is an adventure and education for all families. Our latest story Cuba: A Country of Contrasts is an eye-opener as the country is still very old world in many ways.  Learn about Havana and the various places you can bring the kiddos to enjoy. 

NorthBayJuly18-1.jpgHowever, staycations are not a fad, people!  Enjoy your local treasures.  Joyce Kiefer takes us to the redwoods... in Silicon Valley. Find her story, and be amazed at how close it is to home.  She has also traveled to San Francisco where she has found hidden gems in staircases and swings. It's a Must Read, so click on  Having a Swinging Good Time.  If you plan to stay in the city for a weekend, we recommend Hotel Zoe for kids. See our  review on Hotel Zoe, a family-friendly place to take everyone. While you have probably been to San Francisco a million times, keep coming. There is so much more to see each and every time. 

And since we love our big city so much, check out the views of our fabulous San Fran. 
 Read Where to Find The Best Views in San Francisco – North Bay   During your time in SF, book tickets to see Soft Power, a hilarious look at what it means to be American, Chinese-American, and how to view this post-election age. Since language is R-rated, it's probably best to see with older teens or just as mom and dad. See Gwen Leong's review here.    

Next, we go up north, and we hit up the Westin Napa Verasa. Check out our review here.  It's a place right in downtown Napa, and you will have access to activities, restaurants, and all you need to have a great time.

And it comes to practical matters, learn how to go green on your next vacation - Consumer Lookout. It's not that hard.

Don't miss this summer issue's other relevant and timely columns:
Healthy Recipe for Cacao Bites - Consumer Lookout
Kids Eat Free Tuesdays, New York Hotel Specials - Deals
Alkaline water bottles - Products

 Happy Summer and save a s'more for me!

Kathy Chin Leong
Executive Editor


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