Category Archives: Seattle
Travel, Vacation, Holiday what ever you may call it. What does it mean to you?
Time to enjoy family and friends, or relax and see the world. Vacation means different things to different people but one thing is a constant “It’s WORK.”
Have you ever sat down and figured out how much time you spend looking for places to go and places to stay. Then more time on how to get there and how to pay for it. And “LADIES” we know in addition to all that research we also have to pack for our children and that includes the “Big Ones.”
On average according to several different research companies prospective travelers spend between 46 and 60 hours minimum, researching before they travel. Do you have that much time to waste? If you do are you sure you found Reputable places to spend your hard earned money.
I spent a lot of time over the years doing just that. I decided to go in to Business as a Travel Planner and have obtained connections with the Top Companies in the Industry that use only Vetted suppliers to insure your satisfaction. So take the WORK out of your vacation and let me do the planning for you. www.atouristlifetravel.com
Check out my website and have a look around, there are answers to lots of questions and many travel options. When you are ready email me or just sign up for email blasts on specialized travel locations you may be interested in at a later date.
One of the most important pieces of information I obtain for ANY vacation is,how I will get my STARBUCKS . I must have my coffee. I like it strong and black. I hate waiting in line behind the half/caf skinny blah blah blah. If you can’t take the heat get out of the kitchen as they say. Next I do a search in the area I am staying to see where the nearest Starbucks is located. On occasion,there will not be any. I have a fix for that. I always bring a bag of French Roast with me and include an assortment of different filters to fit any machine the Hotel has available. I have suggested to Starbucks offering a passport to fill showing all the Starbucks you have visited. I use my Gold Rewards card but it only gets me the occasional free coffee and then only if the location participates and is not independently owned. I would like people to know that I have visited Starbucks from Seattle to The Bahamas and beyond. In the unlikely event there are no Starbucks or available coffee brewers, I check the local hangouts for the good stuff. I have found great coffee in Alaska in a few places. And in Jamaica luckily the first thing I smelled when we stepped off the ship was the coffee. Being a connoisseur of all things coffee, I have previously tried coffee from all over the world and usually know what to look for. When I have run out of all these options I just go for the double esspresso.
With so many people getting ready for the big Alaska cruise season I figured it was appropriate to repost this. Don’t forget to click on the highlighted things for direct link’s to the business web site, Happy Travels.
Before our trip I had pre-paid for pick up. Since we had four people and at least six large suitcases a taxi was out of the question. We used the same reliable shuttle company as our previous trip. I had searched for a better price, that was a BIG mistake. We were able to have a large SUV and the driver waiting in baggage claim with a sign. The company said they would keep track of our arrival and call my cell phone when they see us land. As I mentioned we arrived late. My cell phone rings it is our ride (or so I thought) he asked where we were and said he would meet us at the curb where the shuttles drop off. I was a little angry this is not what I was promised and that area is huge so we may be dragging bags all over…
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Getting there is always a challenge. This was my second trip to Seattle. Even though I am from a small rural community there is just something I love about Seattle. The people around me think I am nuts. I was born too late to be a hippie and too early to be a goth. The Airport is over an hour away from home so I always book a room at my favorite hotel, the parking is free as long as you are a guest and they drive you to the airport and pick you up. It doesn’t cost much more than you pay for Airport parking.
We got up and headed to the Hotel and the fun begins. We are on the interstate when suddenly the van in front of me goes through a pot hole which causes a huge chunk of asphalt to launch in the air towards us. It was at least as large as a softball and I could not avoid being hit. First it bounced off my hood then hit the windshield and broke up. Somehow pieces also hit the underside of the vehicle. I did not have time to waste filing a report so we kept on going. I was furious it is a brand new vehicle and that highway has needed repair for years. Miraculously when we arrived and looked over the car there was no visible damage. Next we are being dropped at the Airport and there is a motorcade of bikes. We check our bags and see what we only assume to be a military funeral. As we are clearing security we asked what was going on. There were news crews filming also. They were all there to send off a lot of Veterans to Washington, they call it an honor flight. Now guess whose plane they were on? We get to the gate to find two large rows of wheel chairs. So much for the early bird fee we paid for. Too bad no kids in need of a book report were on board, it was better than Google. Finally we are all buckled in. Believe it or not those guys got seated faster than your usual travelers. Too bad we couldn’t stay seated. The pilot said there was a warning light on and it needed to be checked out so we would be about 15 minutes late. (To be continued…..)
Fifteen minutes later the Pilot makes another announcement to tell us we can get off the plane. There was a problem with one of the thrusters. The airport does not have their own repair crew so it would be a while for a crew to show up with the parts. By now I am beginning to wonder if someone is trying to tell me something. I forgot to mention the reason we are going to Seattle is for a cruise which we were also notified had mechanical troubles and would not be going to all of our scheduled ports. Most of us get off the plane. I am very concerned. I have been around planes my father was a pilot and to me this is a serious repair. I tried to get the airlines to send us on another flight. We have a connecting flight and it is looking like we will miss it. No luck, we are told we should be there on time.
Finally we all get back on the plane and safely arrive in Baltimore nearly two hours past our scheduled arrival time. Even though I had my Airport map we were left off at a different gate the signs in that Airport are not clear. We headed the wrong direction and had to turn around. Finally we arrive at the correct gate where the plane is already half loaded. Again we had priority boarding but it did us no good. I am especially tired of seeing people roll up in a wheel chair or push the chair full of bags to get the best seat. Then, they arrive and run off the plane leaving the chair behind practically knocking over everyone on the way. We will be landing at SEA TAC soon. I hope our ride got the update that our arrival is going to be late there also. ( To be Continued….)
Before our trip I had pre-paid for pick up. Since we had four people and at least six large suitcases a taxi was out of the question. We used the same reliable shuttle company as our previous trip. I had searched for a better price, that was a BIG mistake. We were able to have a large SUV and the driver waiting in baggage claim with a sign. The company said they would keep track of our arrival and call my cell phone when they see us land. As I mentioned we arrived late. My cell phone rings it is our ride (or so I thought) he asked where we were and said he would meet us at the curb where the shuttles drop off. I was a little angry this is not what I was promised and that area is huge so we may be dragging bags all over. We are at the carousel picking up our bags and I get another call. The service is spotty and I couldn’t understand the guy so I hung up. My husband taps me on the shoulder and says our driver is with him. I was thrilled there he was with our name on the sign as they promised. We all headed out to a beautiful Escalade just outside the door. We felt like big shots.
We are pulling out of the Airport and my phone rings again. There is an angry man on the other end asking where we are. He says he is waiting to pick us up. I am assuming the dispatchers got there wires crossed. I ask our driver if there is a mix up and he said no. I told the guy on the phone we were already on our way to the hotel and I hang up. Now I get a text telling me not to get in the car. Again the phone rings and now this guy is arguing with me saying I contacted them for a ride. I hung up on him again. I realize he knows all of my information, the flight and our hotel. Remember when I mentioned earlier that I was comparing prices for rides from the Airport….. BEWARE the company I asked for a price quote said they required the details to give an accurate quote. When I submitted the information I specifically reminded them I was only looking for a quote, NOT A CONFIRMED RESERVATION. If we had arrived at the Airport on time I fear we would have been picked up by this town car company and they would have wanted money when we arrived at the Hotel. I pre paid for our Shuttle as always. I actually was afraid he would show up at our hotel. I had a dozen text messages and even more phone calls before the evening was over. I answered one more time and told him I would turn him and the town car company in if he called me again. What a SCAM! I wonder how many unsuspecting people they do take advantage of. Think about it, once you are in their car you are at their mercy.
After a few fun days in Seattle (I will post a page on things to do in Seattle) we finally headed to the Port for our Alaskan Cruise. This was our second visit but with a few changes. As I mentioned after our earlier Plane troubles there was a change in our cruise itinerary as well due to engine trouble. Originally we were scheduled for Skagway, Ketchikan, Juno and Victoria. Because of the engine trouble we could not go fast enough to make it to Skagway and instead we went to Sitka. It was a nice change but our traveling companions really missed out. On our way back to Seattle the last port we stop in is Victoria but guess what? We could not visit Victoria either there was not enough time, engine trouble. We just could not catch a break. Finally we arrived back in Seattle. We were scheduled to debark very early to catch our flight. When we got our luggage, I had a damaged bag. We had to wait nearly twenty minutes for someone to fill out the paperwork to file a claim when I got home. Finally we head out to the bus that is now full and there we sat waiting for a driver. Most of the other buses were leaving ahead of us. This guy gets on the bus with two bottles, one he takes a swig of and puts in the overhead and takes the other with him. He gets back off the bus wanders around and gets back on the bus. Finally he starts the bus and heads out never saying anything to a soul. By now we are about the last bus and nearly about to miss our plane. We pull in to the Airport and we stop. I recognize the area, we were dropped off here our previous trip. There is a lot of construction at the airport and this is the wrong drop off spot. Now he drives around the airport again and heads into an area with huge signs that said DO NOT ENTER. He pulls into the lot, parks and gets off the bus to talk to a couple of airport employees that are sitting outside. He is clearly in no hurry. Everyone on the bus is now having a LOUD discussion, wondering why he doesn’t know where to go. We are all going to be late if he goes around the airport again. The ticket entrance is in front of us but the buses are not permitted to stop at the curb there. I decided I was getting off there and everyone agreed. I got off the bus first and yelled at the driver to get the F…….g Bags out now! We were not giving him a choice. Sorry but this guy was a jerk. The entire trip he never spoke to anyone not even to apologize for being lost. Because this was not a drop off spot we had to drag our suitcases back away from the terminal to get to the ramp but we made it. Even though we all had several large bags my husband still managed to drag two more bags that belonged to an older couple. I never understood how you could send an idiot like him to drive a timed route. Earlier we had all commented on the bottles he had, joking about one being alcohol. I am not so sure it was a joke. When we finally got home I called the Cruise Lines to report him and received credit back for the cost of the Bus. We barely got to the plane on time. Believe it or not the drama isn’t over yet. Continued …..
Finally we are landing again in Baltimore. The Pilot announces we can turn on our electronics. I get a text from Southwest saying our flight is delayed. Before I can finish reading the first text another one shows up. Our connecting flight was delayed twice due to a fire in the air control tower in the Chicago airport. Our flight was supposed to leave at 9:30 pm and did not leave until 12:30 am that is one airport you don’t want to be stuck in. We went for dinner and were eventually asked to leave so they could close. Then we headed for the coffee shop to find they closed also. Even the security staff was nowhere to be found. The people we were traveling with smoke and when they went out for a cigarette there was no one to let them back in. I had tried to get the airlines to get us a different flight and was told nothing was available until morning. I also asked for a hotel and was told they were all booked. We eventually took off for home after the pilot loaded the handicapped passengers (I told you the Airport staff was gone). We landed around 1:30 am I was so glad I had reserved my hotel for the return. We slept until nearly check out time. Traveling is always an adventure but this was exhausting. I would like to say you learn from your mistakes but the only mistake I can see is that after the first disaster we didn’t turn around and run for home.