Thursday, March 31, 2016

Get Packin' for Saturday, April 2nd

Get Packin' is our weekly travel show heard Saturday afternoons at 4:00 on Freedom 95 Radio (95.9FM and 950AM).  If you're outside the Central Indiana area, you can stream it online at  This week we're joined once again by our friend Scott McCartney (@MiddleSeat), Middle Seat columnist for the Wall Street Journal.  We'll chat with him about the rapid growth of discount airlines, like Allegiant Air and Spirit Airlines, and what that means for you. And while Scott points out, "They (Spirit) lead the world in consumer complaints," it's not all bad news.

SCOTTeVEST.  No, it's not really see-through.
X-Ray is for demonstration (and TSA) purposes.
This week's Travel Tip is about how to make your luggage tamper-proof.  The key is making your bags too much of a hassle for thieves bother with.  And certainly never pack valuables in your checked luggage.  But then how do you carry all those valuables with you?  We have just the thing: the SCOTTeVEST.  It has 42 pockets to carry everything from your sunglasses and passport to headphones and full-size tablet.  It's like you're wearing your carry-on.

We'll tell you the story of a British woman who tried to swim to her cruise ship after it left the port. She'll recovery from the hypothermia, but maybe not from the broken heart.  All that, along with the latest travel news, Hot Destinations and more.  Tune in Saturday afternoon at 4:00 to Get Packin'.

To hear past episodes of Get Packin', click this link.  Be sure to scroll down the page to "Get Packin' with Ann and John."

And please Like our Facebook Page and Follow each of us on Twitter:
Ann - @TravelinAnn
John - @JohnCinnamon

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Shower Cap Travel Tip

Oh, YOU'RE the one.
Does anyone use shower caps anymore?  For those that do, the free shower cap amenity in hotel rooms (along with the cotton ball and four Q-tips) must be like manna from Heaven.  But for the rest of us, the otherwise useless shower cap is actually even better.  So before you toss it aside with the three-inch emery board and makeup-removing swab, let's take a look at at least two travel tips for the humble - and FREE - shower cap.

1 pair size-12 sneakers.
1 shower cap.
For years, we've collected our hotel room shower caps and used them to wrap our shoes for packing. This keeps the dirty bottom of your shoes away from your clean clothes in the suitcase.  If you really want to splurge, you can use one shower cap per shoe.  But generally, one standard cap will cover the pair.

Cover your fudge.  (That's not a euphemism)
A more recent use we discovered for the shower cap was as a food covering.  The elastic band holds the cap snugly in place around the food bowl or pan, and you don't have to fight with an unruly roll of plastic wrap (is there any other kind?).   Granted, we're probably not the first to use a shower cap like this.  In fact, you can buy colorful versions of essentially the same thing at the grocery store in the Saran Wrap aisle.  But why pay for them when you have access to at least one per day per hotel stay?

Oh, and one more travel tip in relation to the shower cap: while you can reuse a shower cap over and over to wrap your shoes or cover your food, do not use the same cap to cover your food that you used to wrap your shoes.  And vice versa.

We welcome your inventive uses for hotel room shower caps or any other general travel tips.  And we invite you to Like our Facebook Page.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

This Week's Edition of Get Packin'

You're in a far off land, walking the streets of an unfamiliar city.  It could be the very Westernized boulevards of Paris or the more exotic, dusty avenues of Marrakech, Morocco.  Either way, you're bound to encounter food vendors selling the 'delicacies' they've cooked right there on the street.  It might be something as innocuous as corn on the cob.  Or it might be some kind of animal on a stick.  The question is, Is any of it safe to eat?

Fish sticks?
We'll get the answer from our personal travel doctor on this week's edition of Get Packin', Saturday afternoon at 4:00 on Freedom 95 (95.9 FM/950 AM and streaming at  Dr. Jeffrey Jones is a physician with St. Francis TravelWell and has been our travel doctor since 2006 when we first traveled to Kenya.  "Indiana Jones" - as we like to call him - has since been our go-to doc prior to trips to Southeast Asia and in preparation for our climb of Mt. Kilimanjaro.  He'll have some good advice about what to eat, what not to eat, and what to look for in good street food.

Speaking of Marrakech, that city made the list of TripAdvisor's Top Ten Travel Cities of 2016.  We'll give you the other nine as our Hot Destination(s) of the Week.  We'll also let you know the best mileage programs for frequent fliers.  And we'll have the story of a flight attendant who bolted from a security checkpoint at LAX, leaving behind her Gucci high heels and her carry-on bag filled with... well, you'll just have to tune in Saturday afternoon to find out.

While you're here at our blog, please take a couple of minutes to read about some of our excellent adventures, like the singing cab driver of Quito and what it's like to spend a day exploring the ancient city of Petra.  And if you'd like to plan your own excellent adventure, call Ann at Travel Leaders: 800-525-1570.

Friday, March 18, 2016

The Equator Drain Experiment

Equatorial selfie.
Ann in the Northern Hemisphere and
John in the Southern Hemisphere.
You are no doubt familiar with the theory that water spirals down the drain in opposite directions, depending on whether you're in the Northern or Southern Hemisphere.  But like the vast majority of the population of the Northern Hemisphere, you've not had the opportunity to travel south of the equator to see for yourself, so you pretty much have to take science's word for it.  Well, we're here to give you the visual proof.   

Would you like a
little head?
During a recent trip to Quito, Ecuador, we visited the Museo de Sitio Intinan (literal translation: Museum of the Site of the Path of the Sun).  It's an interactive open-air museum featuring ancient Ecuadorian culture, including thatched huts, totem poles and a shrunken human head.  Yes, you read that right, a shrunken human head.  That may be a post for another time.  Suffice it to say the shrinking of heads was not always done for malign purposes.

Anyway, back to the drain thing.  The main reason for the existence of this museum is that it's located directly on the equator.  A red line painted on the ground (and a sign) indicates the exact mitad del mundo (middle of the world).  There are various demonstrations done to show the effect of being at the middle of the world has - or doesn't have - on balance, strength, and physics.  Of course, the highlight is the water draining experiment, which you can see in the two-minute video below.  We'll let the video speak for itself.  Just a couple of things to point out: the small leaves are used to help visualize the direction of the water as it drains.  And, Ann's mind was blown.  But don't take my word for it.  Listen:

If your mind is blown, as well, please Share, Tweet, Like, Re-Blog, +1, Pin, etc.  Thanks for sharing another one of Ann & John's Excellent Adventures.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

This Week on Get Packin'

Get Packin' is our weekly travel radio show that airs Saturday afternoons at 4:00 on Freedom 95 in the Indianapolis area (95.9 FM, 950 AM, and streaming worldwide at  We run down the latest travel news, talk about the week's Hot Destination, pass along some travel tips, count down a fun Top Ten, interview travel experts, and generally impart our travel wisdom.

In front of the Treasury
at Petra during our
G Adventure tour.
On this week's show (3/19/16) we talk to Sean Simmons of G Adventures (@GAdv_SeanS).  G Adventures isn't your typical travel provider.  As the name implies, their tours are of a more adventurous nature: hiking, snorkeling, animal encounters, cultural immersion, and more.  We've had the pleasure of traveling through a G Adventures program twice.  Our February 2016 trip to the Galapagos Islands was through G Adventures and its partnership with National Geographic.  And in 2014 we toured Jordan with G Adventures, seeing the amazing sights of Petra (right), Wadi Rum, and the Dead Sea.  We'll talk to Sean about G Adventures' multitude of itineraries that span the globe.

Would you like some
meth with your decaf?
In our Top Ten, we'll countdown the ten best TV & Movie-themed Bars and Restaurants around the world. They're not where you'd expect them to be.  A Greek restaurant based on the film Mama Mia! in Stockholm? A Breaking Bad-themed coffee shop in Istanbul?  We'll have more details on the show.

Having your neighbor mow your lawn while you're on vacation is one of several travel tips we'll have about how to keep your home safe while you're away.  Tips on how to convince your neighbor to mow your lawn? Well, that's up to you.  And finally, we'll have the shocking story of a woman who tried to smuggle a child onto a flight in her carry-on luggage.

All that and more on this week's edition of Get Packin'.  You can hear past episodes on the Freedom 95 Podcasts Page.  Be sure to scroll down to the Get Packin' links.  And to plan your own 'excellent adventure', call Ann at Travel Leaders in Carmel, IN, 317-573-6666 or 800-525-1570.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Welcome to the Hotel Quito

It was our last night in Quito, Ecuador.  We had spent the week touring the Galapagos Islands where we saw the famous giant tortoises, as well as land and marine iguanas, sea lions, and all manner of boobies (the red- and blue-footed flying variety, for those of you with your mind in the gutter).

The Boobies!
Nazca, Red-Footed, & Blue-Footed.
But it wasn't until this night that we encountered Eagles.  I'll explain the capital E in a moment.  After dinner at Mama Clorinda, a Quito restaurant where guinea pig is featured on the menu, we hailed a cab for the short ride back to our hotel.  We said to the driver, "Hotel Quito,"  He nodded politely as we climbed in the cab.

Before pulling away, he removed the Spanish-language music CD that had been playing in his car stereo and replaced it with something that we assume he assumed would be more amenable to his American riders. "Hotel California" by the (capital E)agles.  He was right, we did find the song a welcome piece of Americana far from home.  But that wasn't the best part.  As Don Henley belted out, "On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair," so did our driver!  In the best English he could muster, our cab driver sang along with the American classic rock standard.  So we decided to make it a trio.

NOT the Hotel Quito.
About the time we reached the entrance to the hotel, the three of us had reached the first chorus.  "Welcome to the Hotel California!" we sang together.  As we paid the fare and started to get out of the car, it was clear our driver wanted the sing-along to continue.  "Plenty of room at the Hotel California.  Anytime of year, you can find it here," he sang.  Had it not been so late, and with an early flight the next morning, we might have stayed to sing with him to the end. Instead, we gave him a smile and a wave and got out of the cab.  He drove off into the night with the sound of the Eagles fading into the distance.