Tourist First

Above, the daily flight from Managua at the San Carlos, Nicaragua, airstrip.

Welcome to Steve Bailey's Tourist First. You can use the search function in the upper left corner of this screen to look for particular destinations. You can also simply scroll through the more than 100 postings. Or you can click on one of the terms below to find postings on a variety of topics and destinations.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Worst Airline

Do you often think that the worst airline is whichever airline you happen to be using?
Well, you may be right, especially if you're traveling on Delta. The Airline Quality Rating Report gives Delta the worst score of all major U.S. carriers. Read about it here.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

These Routes Are Made for Walking

California is known as a place for dreaming, drinking and debauching. It's also a place for walking. The web site (click here) discusses traveling 85 miles on foot in Marin County in five days and five nights. There are also similar adventures suggested along the McKenzie River in Oregon and along the Oregon coast.
I've previously mentioned another web site for walkers (click here), In a recent posting on this site, the author Paul Schneider discusses a foot-powered visit to Big Bend National Park in Texas with his father.
You don't have to go to Texas or the West Coast to plan a walking trip. Look for areas where small towns are relatively close to each other, and where the roads have wide shoulders (or there are hiking paths off the roads). And where there are places for you to stay. Cape Cod, the Eastern Shore of Virginia, the Upper Potomac, and the Massachusetts and New Hampshire coasts are just few of the places that might be walkable.

Hotel Deals Around the World

If you're planning to travel outside the U.S. anytime soon, you ought to see if Epoque Hotels is offering deals at your destination. Great prices are available at hotels in London (that's the houses of Parliament at left, as seen from the the giant ferris wheel the London Eye), Singapore, Shanghai, Taipei, Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao, Vienna, Bogota, Athens, Lisbon, Venice, Paris and more. There's even Design Suites in Salta, the center of a wine district in Argentina. Like Epoque's other hotels, it's small and features avant-garde design.
Click here for more information, or call 866-376-7831.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

"Best" vacations

A popular question: What has been your best vacation?
That can be a tough question for anyone. How can you choose between Yosemite and Yellowstone? Or between Italy and France? Block Island and Martha's Vineyard? Every destination is unique in some way, and every vacation has its own dynamics.
Nonetheless, I think my wife, my kids and I all agree that our best family vacation -- and probably the best overall, for that matter -- was a Christmas trip to Ecuador that included a week cruising and exploring the amazing Galapagos Islands. (The photo is of Pinnacle Rock at Ilsa Bartolome.) The column on the right-hand side discusses both the Galapagos and a hacienda in the Andes of Ecuador.
No. 2 on our list is probably Yellowstone, also a family trip. We planned the trip too late to stay in any of the park lodges, so we stayed at four different places outside the park: West Yellowstone; Chico Hot Springs in Montana; Cody, Wyo.; and Jackson, Wyo., which is just south of Grand Tetons National Park, which in turn is south of Yellowstone. We went rafting on fast-moving rocky rivers. We went to a rodeo in Cody. In Yellowstone, we swam in a geothermal-heated river, we saw loads of bison and moose, and we also saw loads of geysers.

What about you? What's your "best" trip?
What's the best place to take kids?
What's the best couples destination?
You can post your comments here or send me an email. I'm looking forward to hearing from you.