Travel tips

Traveling with Global Entry and TSA Precheck

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Even though I am British by birth, I am not found of queues, aka standing in line. So when I heard about Global Entry, the preclearance program that sends you to the front of the U.S. Customs line when you return from abroad, I signed up right away. And now that you can use your…

Euro Shop: Getting your tax rebate with Global Blue

Louis Vuitton flagship on Champs Elysees, aka Heaven. /Photo Michelle Locke

Louis Vuitton flagship on Champs Elysees, aka Heaven. /Photo Michelle Locke

Let’s face it, as fabulous as sightseeing can be, there are times when you want to look at something a little more portable. Leaning Tower of Pisa: great example of distinctive Italian style. Over-the-knee scrunchy Prada leather boots: ditto.

I’m talking a serious Euroshopping spree here.

Luckily for you

Gadget Green Light

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My fellow gadgeteers, rejoice. The FAA has announced it’s OK to use your cell phones during all phases of flights. This means you, too, Alec Baldwin. We have all known for a while that the “turn off your cellphones and other electronic devices” routine is a bit weird. I mean, really? You have a multimillion-dollar…

Travel Tips: Phone Phobia

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David Pogue of The New York Times has an interesting column about T-Mobile that is a must-read for anyone who wants to use a cellphone abroad. The company is announcing that not only will it not be charging the usual arm+leg for using your phone overseas, they’re not going to charge anything at all unless…

Parisian politesse

One of my favorite lines in the Pixar movie Ratatouille occurs when the young chef and his chic Parisian girlfriend have to leave a roomful of people in a hurry and she announces bluntly, “We hate to be rude … but we’re French!” Who doesn’t chuckle at the thought of those brusque, supercilious Parisians? So I…

Seven ways to straighten up and fly right

  Somewhere around hour 11 of a recent 26-hour marathon trip by train, plane and automobile from Soave to San Francisco I was struck by a thought: Have you ever noticed that the people hauling the biggest suitcases around airports are often not really dressed that well? As in you almost want to ask if…

Picture yourself in wine country

  If you’re going to San Francisco, be sure to wear flowers in your hair. But if you’re headed for wine country, forget the flowers and pack your camera. Doesn’t matter if your photographic equipment consists of a battleship of an SLR you paid way too much money for or a point-and-shoot _ there are…

Napa Valley Basics

Located about an hour’s drive northeast of San Francisco, the Napa Valley has a big reputation. But it’s quite small _ only about 30 miles long from the southern tip, just south of the city of Napa, to Calistoga in the north. Still, there’s a lot to do and see tucked into this compact treasure known…

What not to wear, vineyard version

  What should you wear when you’re going to get out in the vineyard to observe the nitty gritty, emphasis on gritty, of grapegrowing? Here’s a hint. Don’t follow the example of a group I  encountered recently who showed up for a vineyard tour wearing sleeveless tops and flip-flops _ and here’s a bulletin folks; toes are not pretty _ not…

Cracking the wine country dress code

It’s party time in the Napa Valley and the invitations are flying _ swell soirees, tony tastings, delectable dinners. Which means it’s time for that annual brainteaser _ cracking the wine country dress code, which can range from the straightforward _ casual or cocktail _ to the more ambivalent ”dressy casual,” ”festive,” or simply, “sassy.” I’ve always envied those…