Marianne McClary is well-known for being grammatically correct, and when it comes to traveling, you can be sure her Ts are crossed and Is are dotted as well. He are some nuggets of wisdom she’s learned over the course of her travels that can help make your trip a little more enjoyable.
Q: What’s your all-time favorite vacation destination? What made it great?
A: Definitely the Cinque Terre region of Italy – we went there on our honeymoon. It’s so quaint, no cars allowed in the five towns that make up this coastal area. They say it’s where pesto was invented, and I can tell you it was delicious! Charming homes, tasty espresso, what’s not to love?
Q: What’s the best or most useful travel tip you’ve ever heard?
A: Ask the restaurant what their specialty is – they love to make their favorite dish for people who seem like they really want to try it!
Q: What’s your biggest travel mistake?
A: Wearing the wrong shoes for days and days of walking around a foreign country. Bring good walking shoes. Get over the fact that they’re not cute. Trust me on this. Also, not buying that “thing” you saw that you thought you’d see again but never did.
Q: What’s your favorite local weekend or day trip?
A: Sonoma is fantastic. Just spent a weekend there for the first time and took the “Wine Road” – wonderful! Combine it with a B&B and a spa, and you had me at “Let’s go!”
Q: Do you have a favorite website you use for travel deals?
A: Trip Advisor, for sure to find out what people say about hotels in cities we’ve never been to. If hotels don’t read it, they should!
Q: Is there a place you dream of visiting?
A: I would love to visit the BVI, the British Virgin Islands. We’ve talked about renting a sailboat with friends and a crew and living on it for a week, pulling into small harbors and beaches and hanging out all day. It’s “on the list”, as they say!
Q: A day at the beach or a day touring vineyards?
A: Hmm, that’s a tough one. I’m such a wine fan, and love finding new favorites to pour for guests and ourselves! I guess I’ll choose vineyards. Plus, I sunburn easily.
Q: Aside from the basics: clothing, toiletries, etc., what is the one thing you can’t travel without?
A: Earplugs. Not only for that certain person who snores, but for plane noise, traffic noise, hotel noise, especially when you’re trying to adjust your sleep schedule to a new time zone. You can only hear yourself breathe. Get the “Hearos” brand, they’re the best!
Q: You seem like a really organized person. How far in advance do you plan your trips?
A: I’m terribly organized, but Hubby does 99.9% of the trip planning. He starts at least 9 months in advance for a big one, and maybe a month out for a weekend trip. It’s great to be married to a geography major!
Follow Marianne on Twitter @GoodDayMarianne