Posts Tagged ‘Travel’

Top 5 Sites for Top Cities

July 15, 2010

With all of the social media sites, friends’ blogs and daily emails directing you to the latest and greatest items and ideas, we are on information overload. It seems everyone is a self-professed foodie, fashionista, techie, or (fill in the blank) guru and want to share their expertise with you.  So how do you decide which sites are the best resources? 

Each of us have a few “go to” sites that help us filter through the options and provide us with some quick ideas. When I am planning an event, it is important for me to learn about the city and culture where the event will take place. I look for information on the local venues, vendors and of course… food.  I particularly enjoy websites and emails that are city specific so I can pick up some helpful tips and discounts when visiting the area.  

Here are my Top 5 Sites for Top Cities:

 1)    Tasting Table – This site covers New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and Washington D.C.  Since TT also has a national edition, they often cover other cities as well.

Tasting Table is a free daily email that delivers the best of food and drink culture to adventurous eaters everywhere. Each weekday, we send our subscribers one delicious idea about dining, wine, cocktails, cooking or restaurant personalities. We feed you only first-hand recommendations that we have tested thoroughly ourselves—one bite at a time.

In our local editions in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and Washington D.C., we’ll alert you to a must-try dish at a forgotten restaurant, a hot new bar that deserves its buzz, under-appreciated cook shops and neighborhood food purveyors who may otherwise go unnoticed.


2)    Blackboard Eats – Currently, this site offers restaurant discounts for New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.  I have a feeling this will expand to more cities because the discounts offered are great and easy to use.  When there is a discount available, you receive an email with the details. If you are interested in the deal, simply click on the email that day and receive the code. Bring the code to the restaurant and enjoy the deal!

BlackboardEats is a free e-mail and website delivering exclusive deals on restaurants handpicked by seasoned food editors. We also highlight the best food-related specials LA, NY and SF have to offer, including prix fixe discounts, tasting events, weekly dinner bargains and more.

Unlike other sites that focus on the newest openings, BlackboardEats features both hot spots and hidden gems—some of which are new, some of which have been around for years. And we cover everything from the fancy to the no-frills…just as long as the place rocks.



3)    The Daily Sip – This website is focuses on the wine industry… and what’s an event without wine?!  The emails are quick reads and I like that they feature different wine regions.

Think “Daily Candy” meets “US Weekly” of the wine industry. Start your day with insider tips on truly delicious wines, behind-the-scenes stories from winemakers, Celebrity Sips, insider special offers, and much more. Each short email features a winemaker, region, wine, chef or celebrity, or gadget. No one stops after just one sip.



4)    Great Places – Check out this website and blog for some venue ideas and trends. While venues open and close often this is a good starting place to look through venue ideas in different cities, including New York, Las Vegas, Boston, Chicago and more.


5)   Groupon While I have never actually purchased a coupon through the site, I think it has some great offers in most major cities. Just make sure to read the fine print. For example, if you buy a coupon for a hair salon and you are already a customer there, they may not let you use the deal.  (Also, check out Lifebooker for NYC beauty deals!) 

Groupon features a daily deal on the best stuff to do, see, eat, and buy in a variety of cities across the U.S., Canada, Europe and soon beyond.



 Happy Exploring!


Travel Tips Everyone Should Read

June 22, 2010

We’re big fans of the ThoughtLEADERS, LLC blog. We were so geeked out by the below post on travel tips for non-road warriors that we had to share.

If you’re an “every-once-in-a-while” air traveler, take these words to heart.

If you’re a frequent flier, I KNOW you’ll get a kick out of it 🙂

Critical Tips Every Traveler Must Know

Most days I work from home but lately I have a lot of travel coming up. A *lot* of travel. And outside of airline delays (and terrorists), there’s nothing worse than dealing with a clueless traveler.

These are the people who cause massive delays in lines. They’re the ones who make the flight miserable. They’re the ones you want to introduce to your alter-ego Mr. Stabby McStabStab. And most horrifyingly, they’re sometimes YOU (but no one has ever told you).

So in the spirit of making the skies a little friendlier, I’m going to offer some simple, tactical tips on how to be a better traveler and reduce your risk of someone tipping TSA off that you need a cavity search because you were muttering something about “bomb in my pants.”

Feel free to pass this along to all the traveling rookies in your company. They were college kids a few weeks ago and they don’t know any better yet. Let’s see if together we can’t lick this travel stupidity epidemic.

Here’s everything you ever needed to know about traveling like a pro:

Packing: If you have to sit on the bag, you have too much crap in it. Leave something home. You’re coming back and wherever you’re going I’ll bet they have stores there. When you overpack your “carry-on” you decrease the chance it will actually fit in the overhead (see below points on use of the overhead).

Arrival at the airport: Get there EARLY. I’ve begun saying “no” to the people who ask to cut in front of me in the security line because their flight is leaving soon. Wake up earlier. I did. You can too. Now, if you’re late because of a car accident or because your connection arrived late, that’s cool. If you’re late because you can’t plan, I have no sympathy. News flash: airports are more crowded and security is slower. Arrive earlier. Have a drink at the gate or something. Unless you can prove to me that a stampede of mastodons attacked your car en route to the airport, you’re not cutting me in line.

Security (part 1): When you get in line GET YOUR ID AND BOARDING PASS OUT. It’s not a shock that TSA will ask for it. When you get up to the TSA agent after standing in line for 20 minutes then you take 2 minutes rooting through your bags/wallet for your ID, it makes my head explode (and more importantly slows up the line). Doing this is the equivalent of standing in line at McDonald’s for 20 minutes then when it’s your turn you begin reading the menu to figure out what you want. Be prepared with your papers please.

Security (part 2): THEY’RE METAL DETECTORS PEOPLE! Please don’t be the guy who goes through, sets it off, then remembers he has 863 keys and a steel ingot in his pocket. Empty your pockets. This shouldn’t be a surprise. This guidance also applies to all your gallons of toiletries. The guidelines are simple. Follow them. Otherwise we get to sit there patiently thinking of various ways to disembowel you while you go through the metal detector 6 or 7 times.

Security (part 3): Once you’ve successfully navigated the x-ray and metal detector, it is not time to repack all your things perfectly nor should you be primping your clothes to look just so WHILE YOU’RE STILL IN LINE AT THE X-RAY CONVEYOR BELT. Grab your junk, move along, and commence repacking operations in the always-empty Jamba Juice lounge on the other side of security. While you’re repacking, stuff is piling up on the x-ray belt and we’re all waiting for you to get out of the way.

Boarding (part 1): Zone 4 means Zone 4, not “Zone 1 because no one can see the Zone 4 on your boarding pass.” Board when called. Simple concept. Even Southwest figured out they had to give us cattle numbers to maintain some semblance of order upon boarding. It’s like grade school folks – no cuts. No backsies, no erasies, stamped it to infinity plus one.

Boarding (part 2): If the overhead is closed IT’S FULL. DON’T open it to see if you can fit your oversized bag in it. You’re slowing things down. If it doesn’t fit you must check it (said in my best Johnnie Cochran voice). Also, put it in the overhead over YOUR seat. None of this “chuck it in the first overhead I see then saunter back to my seat in row 735” stuff. If you’re in the back, bring your bag with you. They have overheads back there too. When you put it in the overheads in the front row, you cause a chaotic mash of bag shuffling, gate checking, and general orneriness.

Boarding (part 3): SIT DOWN. If you’re having trouble handling your grande iced no foam double whip half cream half milk double pretentiousness triple snotty latte, your 6 magazines, your iPad, and your iPod maybe you need to rethink your whole carry-on strategy. Sit down. Please. Let everyone else board so we can get where we need to go. Related: 1 carry-on and 1 personal item mean just that. It doesn’t mean 1 oversized bag + 1 purse + 1 fanny pack + 1 souvenir too big to ship + 1 laptop case. I’ve stopped blaming the airlines for our late departures and now lay the blame where it belongs – on the people who can’t get seated so we can take off.

In flight:  If you strike up a conversation, bully for you. If you are instead greeted with monosyllabic replies and furtive attempts by your conversation partner to extricate their attention back into their book, take the hint. They don’t want to talk to you. And if you do find a chat partner, please keep it below 974 decibels. Some of us are trying to sleep on this 6 hour flight. Also, if you insist on bringing your own food aboard, please rethink the tuna sandwich with garlic, onions, and a side of prune juice. Please.

Baggage claim: Grab it and get out of the way. No prolonged inspections. No repacking in the baggage claim area. Grab it and leave. ’nuff said.

Car rental: Betcha $50 they’re gonna ask to see your license. If you’re the person who was in front of me this morning who had to get out of the car, open the trunk, rummage through luggage to find his wallet in order to present his license, you really need to reevaluate your cognitive skills. Please be ready with license in hand.

Look, I know it’s about the journey and not the destination but I’m sure the author of that quote wasn’t referring to air travel. I’d actually like to enjoy the journey as I’m sure you would too. If we all simply think a little more about what’s coming next in the airport, the world will be a better place and the journeys that much more enjoyable.

Mike Figliuolo at thoughtLEADERS, LLC