JOANNE'S TRAVEL TIPS: STAYING CONNECTED & TRIPPING THE LIGHT FANTASTIC

A TRAVELER’S BEST FRIEND

Having a reliable internet connection while on the road is important to any traveler, especially for journalists. While many tech pundits claim that free WiFi is available all over Europe, we had just the opposite experience during our recent cruise down the Rhine river and subsequent week-long trip through Switzerland and Italy.

That is why, this time around, we decided to give VisionGlobal WiFi, an international, pocket-sized portable WiFi hotspot that works without SIM cards or cables, a try.

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It became our best friend as we traveled from Amsterdam to Basel on our cruise. While we did have complimentary WiFi on board, it was often inaccessible as the ship meandered through gorges and remote areas down the river.  Thank you, VisionGlobal WiFi, for giving us access during all those dead spots we encountered!

The device also became our salvation while we traveled by train through the formidable mountains of Switzerland, which otherwise often blocked out any cell phone reception.  But we happily were able to access Google, as well as our social media accounts, thanks to this amazing device.

VisionGlobal WiFi offers a variety of plans to service your needs, depending on your length of stay and internet plan. Feel free to call them at 1-424-219-9224 for live help in designing the best plan for your travel itinerary.

As working journalists, it was such a pleasure to be able to effortlessly access the internet to download maps, research visitor information, keep up with email, and post our travels on social media in any situation. Whether we were on a bus, train, or walking along Europe’s city streets, we certainly appreciated our effortless internet access along the way!

WALKING ON AIR

I’m always on the lookout for lightweight shoes I can pack in my carry on, which is the only way we travel. The Boulder-based Lems shoe company knows exactly what I mean. Their minimalist footwear mimics the natural shape of the human foot and is designed using the bare minimum, which makes for the perfect shoe to stuff into your luggage.

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I trekked through Europe with Primal 2, a fantastically comfortable hiking shoe which, despite its light weight, stood up to all the rigors of travel….from walking over endless cobblestone streets in Italy to hiking the trails of the Swiss and Bavarian Alps. It’s made of microfiber and air mesh and features a full length rubber outsole. Another great feature for weary feet is its innovative design, which naturally spreads the toes to avoid many common foot ailments.

Another great feature, which I learned when I accidently slipped into the Rhine River as we were hiking along the shore, is that these shoes dry super-fast!

Oh, and did I mention they are vegan-friendly? So if you’re ready to hit the trails or the city sidewalks in comfort and style, these shoes are, indeed, a perfect fit!

 

Disclaimer:  Please note that the opinions expressed in this review are strictly my own and will not receive any future compensation based on sales arising from my recommendations. My goal is to share my favorite travel tips with my followers, in an effort to improve the travel experience for us all.

 

PERFECT FATHER'S DAY GIFTS FOR THE TRAVELING DAD

As Father’s Day approaches each year, many of you will again be at a loss to come up with that perfect gift for your special Dad. If your father loves to travel, you’re in luck, as there is always something he can use to make his travels more comfortable and efficient.

Since our father travels all year round, it didn’t take too much thought to come up with some travel-related products to make his life on the road easier.

This is not your Dad’s Old “Leisure Suit” —Hip combines with comfort for a great style

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It’s always a challenge to find a comfortable travel garment that will take you from a long flight to your destination--and make you look stylish each step of the way.  The venerable San Francisco-based Mission Workshop has specialized in a wide variety of travel gear, clothing, and other products for more than 20 years.

They just introduced the Blackwell High Performance Track Jacket & Pant which features a unique vapor management system that doesn’t have the “clingy” feel of traditional moisture wicking garments. While ideal for runners, it is also perfect for the frequent traveler, as it has a high degree of tailoring and design that will provide comfort and style in every airline class, from coach to business to first.

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Its 4-way stretch makes it a perfect travel outfit where comfort is concerned, and the state-of-the-art vapor management never washes out. Both the jacket and pants have several zippered pockets, so you’ll always have a secure spot for your passport and valuables. Dad especially loved the comfortable elastic waistband with drawstring on the pants, especially after enjoying a bountiful meal or two on his travels.

Oh, and did I mention it is wrinkle-resistant and doesn’t mind being repeatedly stuffed in a bag or back pack?

Pops never looked so good on the road!

In Vino Veritas

Dad’s parents came from Sicily, so we never go wrong giving our Papa Italian wines. He especially loves Prosecco, known in Italy as “The Welcome Wine” and we found just the right wines for him, the Mionetto bubblies, which include Prestige Brut , Prestige Rosé Extra Dry ,and Luxury Cartizze DOCG which we will open on Father’s Day in a few weeks. Salute!

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A Place for Everything, Where Everything is Safe

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If your father is the active type, he will definitely appreciate the gift of Pelican’s new waterproof case designed for protecting personal valuables in any conditions. The Go Case is a watertight storage case for electronics, cell phones, keys, and more. The case is crush proof, dust proof and actually, everything proof.

There are two sizes to select from. The one we bought Dad, as he has a Samsung Note 9, is a G40 model (10.6” X 5.4” by 2.4”).

So if your father likes to engage in water sports of any type, fish, hike, or be the great adventurer, these strong cases will ensure that his items are kept dry and safe even in the most adverse of circumstances.  

Certainly better than another tie for Dad, this protective case keeps on giving wherever his travels take him!

We’re In La Loop

I recently wrote about one of my favorite travel accessories, the La Loop eyeglass holder.

One day I was waxing poetic about it when Dad mentioned that he, too, was always losing his glasses on his many trips, and needed a place to secure his shades instead of in his shirt or waistband. I gave him a pre-Father’s Day present of a La Loop holder for men as he was off on an Amazon cruise. He reported that it was the best gift ever, as he got used to securing his sunglasses on the loop when he didn’t need them.

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I bought him the black sports La Loop and it was the best $25 I ever spent, to be honest—and Dad definitely agrees.

 

JOANNE'S TRAVEL PICS: STYLISH EYEGLASS HOLDERS, LIGHTWEIGHT RAIN WRAP, & MORE

Viva La LOOP—no more lost glasses!

My La LOOP Lady in Gold arrived in its own beautiful pouch. What a wonderful pre-Mother’s Day present!

My La LOOP Lady in Gold arrived in its own beautiful pouch. What a wonderful pre-Mother’s Day present!

I wish I had a list of all the sunglasses I’ve lost on my travels over the years. Most recently, I dropped my Gucci sunglasses while hiking over the cliffs of the Shetland Islands; my Maui Jims plopped into the waves as I leaned over the railing on a cruise; and my Dolce & Gabbanas met their end when they fell from my head as I was photographing the Grand Canyon. Trust me, propping your sunglasses on your head or stuffing them in your clothing, doesn’t quite provide the security you need to protect those expensive shades.

Those standard schoolmarm eyeglass holders were no solution, as not only were they unattractive, they constantly got tangled in my camera strap—to my constant annoyance.

This is why I was so excited when I learned about La LOOP, a company that specializes in stylish and functional eyeglass holders.

There are a wide variety of lovely styles and materials available at all price ranges, but my eyes lit up when I discovered the LADY IN GOLD.  I knew this lovely design would take me through all sorts of press trips, from casual to formal.

Thanks to my daughter and family for an early, and much appreciated, Mother’s Day gift.

Comfy, and Effective, Eye Mask

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I’m always on the quest for travel items that help provide comfort during the long hours we spend strapped in airline seats.  Eye masks are crucial for me, not only on the plane but in hotel rooms, as I simply can’t sleep if there is ambient light in my vicinity.

 I can recommend the Manta Mask for a variety of reasons. The mask is super comfortable and boasts deeply molded eye cups, so your eyelashes have no contact with your mask, no matter what. This is so important for us ladies if we’ve applied full makeup on a business trip and just want a few quick winks on the plane without disturbing our makeup. The mask offers a super soft fabric and 100 percent black out, which makes it a wonderful traveling companion on long, transcontinental flights.

These Gloves Got You Covered

No matter what time of year, it is cold somewhere on this earth and you may need a pair of good gloves to fight off the chill while having the oh-so-necessary ability to operate your cell phone’s touch screen.

Photo courtesy @falzuh

Photo courtesy @falzuh

We tested out the touchscreen gloves from Mujjo both on a frigid trip to New York City in January, as well as an equally cold trip to the Grand Canyon just a few weeks ago.

The gloves provided an excellent degree of warmth, but their forte was being able to easily operate a cell phone and camera with the excellent touchscreen tabs provided on the glove’s tips.



When It Rains……


My home in Southern California has been hit with unprecedented rainfall this winter, and so I have had the opportunity to try out the innovative RAINRAPS “Pashmina for the Elements.” The wrap, which is super lightweight and water-repellent, has taken me through a few major downpours. It is without doubt a practical alternative to traditional bulky rain gear, is fast drying, and reversible too.

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Best thing is, I still looked fashionable while staying dry. My RAINRAP is going to be a packing staple when I travel to wetter climes around the world, especially since it will take up very little room in my carry-on (the only way I travel, incidentally).

 

 

 

IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT TIME OF YEAR YOU VISIT, HEALDSBURG IN CALIFORNIA’S SONOMA COUNTY WINE COUNTRY IS A PERFECT DESTINATION

We’ve had the pleasure of visiting Healdsburg, California in every season of the year. As a photographer, my favorite season is the fall because of the colorful leaves, but you can find an unbelievable vacation experience every month of the year in California’s lovely Sonoma County. And of course, wine tasting has no seasonal limits!

Enjoy the food, wine, and ambiance of this beautiful destination. We invite you to explore our photo gallery for first-hand experiences and personal photos of our visit to one of California’s most beautiful wine destinations.

HEALDSBURG, SONOMA COUNTY CALIFORNIA PHOTO GALLERY

PLAN YOUR SPRING BREAK NOW AT SAN DIEGO'S HIP AND HISTORIC KONA KAI RESORT AND SPA

We recently had the opportunity to tour the newly-expanded Kona Kai Resort and Spa on San Diego California’s beautiful Shelter Island. As long-time San Diego residents, we remembered this venerable property which has quite a fascinating history, having attracted its share of famous celebrities over the decades, from Presidents to pop stars.

And baby, look at it now!

View on the marina from our suite’s balcony. © Joanne DiBona Photography

View on the marina from our suite’s balcony. © Joanne DiBona Photography

The property, now a Noble House Resort, boasts its very own private beach, multiple swimming pools, waterfront restaurants, an award-winning spa, 55,000 square feet of versatile indoor and outdoor event space, a 500-slip marina, and a renowned private club— the Kona Kai Club.  Paloma Pool and Bar, a new and exclusive pool area for adults only, allows guests to enjoy poolside craft cocktails and California Coastal cuisine while overlooking some of the region’s most breathtaking sunsets.

Since a photo is worth 1,000 words, we would like to share our gallery of original photos taken during our two-night stay at one of the property’s brand new suites that featured a pleasant island decor, a balcony overlooking San Diego Bay, and a deep soaking tub. I must admit the tub was the ultimate in relaxation after a long day of kayaking, hiking and other activities we enjoyed during our stay.

JOANNE & TONY DIBONA PHOTOGRAPHY: KONA KAI RESORT AND SPA

The only photos missing from our experience are from our oh-so-relaxing couples massage, which we relished as part of our experience at SpaTerre, the property’s state-of-the-art spa. We put down our cameras for an hour to luxuriate in the outstanding massage therapy we received under our therapists’ excellent hands.

For those of you who may be bird watchers, we were astounded at the number of magnificent sea birds that make their home in the marina just steps away from the hotel. It was such a pleasure to photograph them from the shore and as part of our exciting kayak excursion down the marina. Click on our photo link to see some lovely images of the amazing sea birds we encountered during this kayak adventure.

As San Diegans, we can honestly suggest the Kona Kai Resort, located just minutes away from San Diego International Airport, the historic downtown Gaslamp Quarter, and all of the city’s top attractions, for a Spring Break experience that is sure to please.

The property is currently offering a variety of Spring travel specials. These include:

Stay Four or More

Guests who book four or more nights at the resort will receive a $300 resort credit and a cabana rental at the new Paloma Pool and Bar overlooking the Kona Kai Marina, steps away from the new luxury suites. The credit can be used for additional amenities at the hotel, such as brunch at Vessel featuring bottomless mimosas and live music every Saturday and Sunday, signaturecocktails enjoyed at the pool or bar, stand-up paddle boarding, couples massages and more.

SoCal Suiteness

The resort’s new spacious, waterfront, adjoining suites are the perfect coastal accommodations to keep the family close this spring break, but with enough space to relax. The SoCal Suiteness package offers guests the following:

  • Two of the resort’s brand-new waterfront suites

  • Adventure credit for water sports of $100 per day

  • A couple’s amenity and kids’ amenity

  • Poolside cabana rental

Spring it On

This package provides all you need for a fun and stress-free getaway for the whole family. The

package includes:

  • Daily breakfast credit for four

  • A daily $100 adventure credit to enjoy all the amenities and activities the resort has to offer, such as kayaking, pedal boats, or Jet Ski rentals

To learn more about other spring travel packages, call 619.221.8000 or visit www.resortkonakai.com.