How many times have you been stuck in the security line at the airport behind some inexperienced traveler that walks through the metal detector with change in their pockets or leaves their laptop in their bag or even forgets to put their liquid items in a clear plastic bag?

Well now you can bypass all those long lines at 21 select airports with the Clear Card

More than 20 Airports in the US accept the Clear Card

More than 20 Airports in the US accept the Clear Card

Here’s how it works:

You start online by creating an account and fill-in basic biographic information.  After you fill out your application, you have to go to a Clear enrollment location, where they will verify two forms of government-issued identification, and capture a photograph, your fingerprint images and your iris images. This information is used to allow you access to the designated Clear lane at the checkpoint.

Fly through airport security

Fly through airport security

Once you’ve got your Clear Card, you have to verify a fingerprint or iris image (collected during enrollment) in order to enter the Clear Lane at the airport.  An attendant will greet you and check your boarding pass, Clear card and government-issued photo ID. You will then  be asked to insert your Clear card into the kiosk, which also verifies the fingerprint or iris image that you selected during enrollment.

Don’t get me wrong even with a Clear card you still have to proceed through metal detectors and x-ray machines operated and regulated by the Department of Homeland Security BUT everything else moves along much faster (they claim lane speed is more than 30% faster than the regular lane!).

Total Cost: $199 per year

So I know they’re a little bit out of your grandma’s closet, but Vera Bradley duffle bags are the best.  Not only do they have TONS of room to fit everything you need, fold up nicely for post-vacation storage and best of all, they’re washable which means you can get rid of all that icky airport dirt that gets on your bag when you check it.

Perfect for the weekend or overnight

Perfect for the weekend or overnight

Just enter promo code PROMO110208 to save an additional 10% on your purchase of sale items at VeraBradley.com-The large duffle is pretty cheap in general ($80), and right now select styles Duffles are cheaper than ever (only $48-60, minus the 10% discount!)

There’s nothing I love more about the holiday season than tacky Christmas lights.  You know, the kind that make it look like Christmas threw up on your front lawn?  In our family when I was little it was a post Thanksgiving dinner ritual.  We’d eat, then the adults would load all the cousins in the cars and drive around to look at area Christmas lights.

More=Better

More=Better

Since I didn’t grow up in Philadelphia and don’t know where all the houses with lights up are, I did a Google search for tacky lights, hoping to maybe find a tour (they have them in Chicago and New York) and stumbled upon a site called tackylighttour.com.  It’s the easiest way to find all of the Griswold families in your neighborhood.

Basically users can go in and enter addresses of homes that qualify with dates/times the lights are up and then other visitors can look them up (by city, state, zip code, etc.), check them out and then vote on them.

Here’s a quick snapshot of the site:

More=Better

Inflatables AND Animation!

This commercial really resonated with me after a recent AWFUL experience with airport personnel.

The entertainment alone that roadies could have provided would have definitely gotten me through the 2 hour wait on the runway…

Yes, literally and figuratively, the Ice Bar in London is definitely the coolest bar I’ve been to and is tucked away on Heddon Street which is lined with other hot night spots.  The entire bar (walls, floors, bar, tables, seats and even glasses!) is made of crystal clear ice transported especially from the Torne River in Jukkasjarvi, Sweden.

Since the temperature in the bar is so low, they had out fur trimmed ponchos with fleece gloves to wear during the 40 minute period that each guest is allowed in for.

What's cooler than being cool? Ice Cold

What's cooler than being cool?

The cover charge (15 British Pounds~$30 USD) includes entrance and one complimentary beverage is given to each guest-refills are on your own dime.

Definitely an experience to be had.  Try to avoid the temptation to lick the walls.

Consistently ranked in the top 10 ski resorts in the world, Beaver Creek is my favorite place to ski and one of my favorite places to vacation (I’ve been going for 23 years now…)

New Years Eve in Beaver Creek

New Years Eve in Beaver Creek

Best of Beaver Creek:

Slope: Birds of Prey-runs are all long, steep and mogul studded.  If you want to feel like a world class racer, the downhill course, one of the most difficult in the world, is groomed as often as possible for a long and super fast double-diamond cruiser.  For beginners or intermediate skiers, you’d better stick to Larkspur bowl, or Red Buffalo.

Lunch: Beanos Cabin (members only)

Dinner: Blue Moose Pizza

Shopping: Roxy & Gorsuch

Spa Treatment: Grande Feet Treat at the Ritz Carlton Bachelor Gulch Spa-This decadent pedicure starts with a scoop of Milk & Honey bath ice cream in the foot bath to detoxify and soften feet.  Then, a matching sorbet scrub rids the feet and legs of tired skin.  A chocolate foot mask is applied to firm and tone.  The legs and feet are then massaged with a Milk & Honey Icing and dipped into warm paraffin.  As an extra indulgence, an ice cream sundae or sorbet medley is served during this luxurious treatment.  Total cost: $125 + tip and is 100% worth it (get the sundae).  FYI-this only available to Ritz guests and Beaver Creek/Bachelor Gulch home owners

Dial-A-Ride: Embracing the resorts tagline “Not Exactly Roughing it” there’s complimentary transportation for Resort guests ANYWHERE in the resort (24/7). Just call 10 minutes before you want to leave and a suburban will come and get you

Thursday Night Lights: a glow stick ski-down to music with a fireworks display afterwards, hosted each Thursday night during the season.  All you have to do is register at the Children’s Ski School at 5:30 that day

Freshly Baked cookies: Yep, at the end of each ski day, resort hosts stand at the bottom of the mountain with baskets of WARM freshly baked chocolate chip cookies

Shannon Tanner: Best Live music.  He plays at McCoys everyday during the season beginning at 3PM to a crowd full of resort guests still in their snow bunny bests drinking and dancing.

Just writing about this is making anxious for the first snow of the season.

Better to GIVE than Receive

Better to GIVE than Receive

With the Holiday season fast approaching, it’s easy to get caught up in the frenzy of traveling, gift giving and  parties and forget about those less fortunate.

There are many ways to give back, but one of the easiest ways is sometimes over looked-Airline mile donations.  There are many organizations out there that accept airline mile donations and put them to good use.

Below are some of my favorites:

Give Back to our Troops:

  • Operation Hero Miles allows troops stationed in Iraq or Afghanistan to fly home on leave for free. It also gives family members of wounded servicemen and women free plane tickets to visit their loved ones recovering at military hospitals across the country

Give to those who are Ill:

  • Air Charity Network provides access for people in need seeking free air transportation to specialized health care facilities or distant destinations due to family, community or national crisis
  • Cool Fact: The pilots generously donate their time and the entire expense of their missions, including fuel costs, any landing fees and the standard operational maintenance costs of the aircraft

Give to children:

  • Make a Wish Foundation grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy.  Since many wishes involve air travel, donating frequent flier miles is an easy way to help grant wishes.  The Make a Wish Foundation Estimates that they need more than 2.5 BILLION miles each year to grant wishes

Just an FYI-Unfortunately The Internal Revenue Service does not recognize donations of frequent flyer miles as tax a deduction since taxes were not collected from individuals when they earned the miles.

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