Table of Contents Inside You’ll Find: References for Travel Articles …………..4 How to Choose Good Travel Photos ……..5 Adventure and Outdoors…………..8 Beach Vacations…………………….9 Budget Travel………………………..10 Campgrounds and RV Parks……....11 Cities and Countries………………..12 Cruises……………………………...13 Destination Weddings……………..14 Family Vacations…………………..15 Festivals and Events.....................16 Guided Tours and Safaris………...17 Honeymoons and Romance……...18 Hotels and Resorts………………..19 Rental Cars………………………...20 Restaurants………………………...21 Sightseeing and Attractions……....22 Ski and Snow Vacations…………..23 Spa and Fitness Vacations………..24 TRAVEL WRITING FOR DEMAND IS ALL ABOUT GIVING YOUR READERS THE INFORMATION THEY NEED TO MAKE INFORMED DECISIONS. As Demand Media’s travel editor, I’m often asked what information writers should include in their Demand Studios travel articles. The question always surprises me, because the answer seems obvious: You should include the details you’d want to know if you were planning your own vacation. The Demand editorial team has years of combined experience in travel service journalism–we’ve put in time as editors for Citysearch and city magazines like Austin Monthly, freelanced for local and national travel magazines, and have learned the hard way what kind of details a travel article should include. We will expand this handbook in the coming weeks and months to include more information on how to write a good travel article. For now, the following cheat sheets are meant to be suggestions for information to include, not requirements. When you’re researching and writing your travel articles, we encourage you to take a glance at the tips here and do a quick run-through of any questions applicable to your article. It will strengthen your writing and give us both even more reason to be proud of the work we’re doing together. We’ll update this book regularly. Please tell us what you’d like to see in the future in the Demand Studios Travel Forum. Thanks so much for writing for us. Anna Travel Editor | Demand Media Introduction References for Travel Articles GOOD REFERENCES Researched, fact-checked, trusted. Star ratings (i.e. “Four-star hotels in Miami”) Best choice: Forbes Travel Ratings (formerly Mobil) for Hotels for Restaurants. Acceptable: AAA Diamond Ratings Magazines & newspapers (print & online) Major city magazines: “Los Angeles,” “New York,” etc., “Where Magazine” Major travel magazines: “Conde Nast Traveler,” “Travel + Leisure,” “Budget Travel,” “Sunset,” “National Geographic Traveler,” etc. Travel sections and restaurant reviews of reputable papers (city dailies and weeklies) Blogs linked to publications (such as Intelligent Travel from “National Geographic”) Travel websites Online cityguides (editorial content only, not usergenerated content or advertising): Citysearch, Metromix, Gayot Leading Hotels of the World City and state visitor’s bureau websites Forbes Traveler Travel Channel James Beard Foundation Government websites, especially travel.state.gov Travel books & websites Guidebooks (include year): Lonely Planet, Zagat, Rough Guides, Rick Steves, Frommer’s, Fodor’s, Eyewitness, etc. Travel reference books: Lonely Planet’s “The Travel Book,” “1,000 Places to See Before You Die,” etc. Any other travel-related reference book that is not self-published. BAD REFERENCES Unreliable, opinionated, potentially advertorial Star ratings Merchandising sites: Hotwire, Expedia, Priceline, Orbitz, etc. User-generated content Reviews and star ratings on: Yelp, TripAdvisor, Urbanspoon, Yahoo! Travel, Nile Guides, IgoUgo, etc. Forums like Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree forum, Chowhound and eGullet Personal blogs Social media Facebook and Twitter updates First-person travelogues How to Choose Good Travel Photos PICTURES SHOULD LOOK CANDID AND PROFESSIONAL. The best photos look like they were captured by luck. The activity or action has to look authentic. In a medical photo, the actor needs to look like a real doctor instead of a model wearing a stethoscope. ACTUAL BACKGROUNDS ARE BETTER THAN WHITE SPACE. When an object or a person sits in the middle of a white void, it strips the subject of any context. Seeing a kayak on the water is infinitely better than just seeing a kayak. PICTURES WITH PEOPLE ARE IDEAL. A person gives the location context and tells a story. If the subject of the article is a tool, it’s nice to see someone using it. How to Choose Good Travel Photos THE ACTION IN THE PICTURE SHOULD BE CLEAR. These images show up in related article modules on some sites, and they are literally the size of the thumbnail. Make sure it’s still entirely clear what’s happening in the picture. CLOSE-UPS ARE PREFERABLE TO WIDE SHOTS. Images are always more dynamic when they focus on one leaf of poison ivy rather than a picture of a whole bush. BRIGHT COLORS ARE KEY. Vibrant photos draw the eye and make the article “pop.” Travel FAQs Adventure and Outdoors WILL THIS HOTEL OR HOSTEL FIT MY NEEDS? Will they care about muddy or dirty clothing and gear? Do they offer storage for kayaks, skis or backpacks? Is a good night’s sleep important to the next day’s activities, and if so, are the beds comfortable? Do the rooms offer Jacuzzis or soaking tubs? Is it better to visit in summer or winter? WHAT SHOULD I DO IN THIS CITY? Are there guided tours (whale watching, canopy tours, floats, ghost tours)? Are there nearby climbing gyms? Does the city have day hike opportunities? Scenic park walks? Designated camping? Local watering holes, lakes, rivers or beaches? Great gear stores? Places to repair gear? Good running routes? How close are national parks and forests? Is the town conducive to scenic drives? WHAT SHOULD I PACK? Will I need hard gear (tents, sleeping bags, ropes, stoves)? Water treatment options? Will I need waterproof clothing, warm layers or sun protection? Biodegradable hygiene products? Water containers? Cooking sets and utensils? Flashlight? Lantern? Headlamp? Locator beacons? Will a map and compass be necessary? Will I need bug spray? WHAT ARE THE TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS? Can I travel with white gas or butane? Carry a survival knife? How will I transport my kayak, snowboard or tent poles? Are professional guides necessary for where I’m going? What dangerous animals, parasites or viruses could I encounter? Do I need to get immunizations? Are fishing licenses required? Do I need a wilderness permit? WHERE SHOULD I EAT? What restaurants are close to trails, camping areas, river runs, beaches, etc.? What are the portions like? Where do fellow outdoorsmen hang out? Is there a dress code? Can I wear my dusty bike shorts? Beach Vacations WHAT DOES THE BEACH LOOK LIKE? Is it sandy or pebbly? Cliffs or other unusual characteristics? Driftwood or seaweed? What color is the sand? Is the water clear or cloudy? WHAT CAN I DO IN THE WATER? Can I go swimming? Is there good surfing, snorkeling or scuba diving? Can I do anything unusual, like swim with dolphins, feed sharks, go cliff diving or paragliding? Can I use my sailboat or catamaran? Are there boat ramps? Can I rent kayaks or snorkeling equipment? HOLD ON. THIS ISN'T A NUDE OR TOPLESS BEACH, IS IT? WHAT CAN I DO OUT OF THE WATER? Are there tide pools? Driftwood? Shelling? Is there any shade? Sand dunes? Am I allowed on the sand dunes? How far down the beach can I walk at low tide? Which direction should I walk? Is there a chance I’ll get stranded if the tide comes up? Is there a good spot for a picnic? WHAT’S WITHIN WALKING DISTANCE? Are there public restrooms? How about a snack bar? Are there restaurants and shops nearby? Is there a boardwalk? Restaurants? WHEN SHOULD I GO? Is the water warm enough for swimming year-round? Should I make a point to be there at sunrise or sunset? Do I need to worry about monsoon or hurricane season? WHAT ARE THE DANGERS? Are there lifeguards on duty? Are there riptides? Any sharks, jellyfish, submerged rocks or other water hazards I should be aware of? Are there a lot of bugs on the beach? Other animals like sea turtles? WHAT CAN I GET AWAY WITH? Can I have fires or barbecues? Let my dog off-leash? Go fishing? Is the fishing good? Do I need a license? Can I go crabbing or clamming? Can I camp on the beach? Drive on the sand? Ride horses? Use a metal detector or jet ski? Budget Travel WHEN’S THE OFF-SEASON OR SHOULDER SEASON? What am I sacrificing for it? What do I need to know about hurricanes or other seasonal considerations? Are they deal-breakers or just inconveniences? WHAT’S THE CHEAPEST WAY TO GET AROUND? Is hitchhiking legal or common? Is the bus significantly cheaper than the train for longer distances? Can I take public transportation in cities? HOW CAN I SAVE MONEY ON FOOD? Is there an awesome local food market and a good place for a picnic nearby? What are the grocery stores like? Can I eat street food without getting sick? What’s the local word for “tap water”? If I splurge on one restaurant meal, where should I go and what should I order? Where do the locals eat? WHAT SHOULD I KNOW BEFORE I GO? What’s the tipping policy? Can I bargain for goods or services? Are there notorious travel scams? WHAT CAN I DO FOR FREE? Do museums have free nights? Is there free theater or other entertainment? Are there any charming city parks, amazing stores, cool markets, free attractions or good streets to walk down and neighborhoods to visit? WHAT ARE THE CHEAPEST PLACES TO STAY? Is there a hostel with a great location? Should I talk to people offering accommodations at the ferry terminals and train stations? What are the camping laws? Is it safe to camp anywhere? Are there unusual locations that offer seasonal self-catering rooms like university dorms during the summer? WHAT PERKS DO I ALREADY HAVE? Does my museum admission get me into another museum? Does my rail pass get me a discount on the ferry? What insurance does my credit card offer? Is there VAT or other taxes in the country, and how do I get that back? Can I use my memberships and associations to get deals on hotels or hostels? Campgrounds and RV Parks HOW DO I GET A CAMPSITE? How many sites are there, and how close together are they? Can I make a reservation, and if so, do I need to? Is there a campsite I should request or avoid? What time do I need to show up to guarantee a campsite if I don’t make a reservation? Is there another campground nearby if all the sites are full when I arrive? WHAT ARE THE CAMPGROUND RULES? How many people can stay in one campsite? Are there group sites? Are there minimum or maximum night requirements? Can I ride my bike? Can I bring my dog? Can I drink alcohol? What are the quiet hours, and how strictly are they enforced? WHAT’S THE TYPICAL SEASON? Are the rates the same the whole year? How cold does it get at night in May? August? January? HOW FAR IS THE NEAREST STORE? Is there wood for sale at the campground? Ice? How much food should I pack? WHAT’S THERE TO DO? Are there hikes from the campground or nearby? Are there nightly ranger talks? Is there a lake, river or swimmin’ hole? Can I fish? Do I need a license? Is there a boat launch? WHAT ARE THE BATHROOMS LIKE? Are there pit or flush toilets? Is there running water? Hot water? Showers? Electricity? WHAT LIVES IN THE AREA? Do I need to worry about bears, ticks or snakes? Are there lots of bugs? Is there a month when the bugs are bad? Are there poisonous plants? Will I be okay with my allergies? CAN I BRING MY RV? Is there 50 amp service? Pumpout service? A dumping station? CAN I HAVE A CAMPFIRE? If this varies by season, how do I find out? Can I bring firewood from home or collect it from my campsite? Are all fire rings equipped with grills? Cities and Countries WHAT’S UNIQUE? What do locals do on Saturday afternoons? What are the native foods, and what are the best places to try them? What are the best-kept secrets? Where is the tourist information bureau? WHEN SHOULD I GO? When is the weather best? Worst? When is it the most crowded? When is the tourist high season? Do prices drop dramatically during the low season? Is there a rainy season? Is there a month or time of day when the whole city shuts down? Are things open on Sundays? Any awesome festivals or holiday displays? WHAT SHOULD I BRING BACK? Where should I shop for souvenirs? Any one-of-a-kind markets? HOW CAN I PROTECT MY SAFETY AND HEALTH? Am I in danger if I’m out at night? What if I’m a solo woman? Any big travel scams? Can I drink the water? Do I need vaccinations or medications? WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO GET AROUND? Is there a good hop- on, hop-off bus tour? Should I rent a car? What’s the deal with driving and parking in the city? Is public transportation worth taking? How do I catch it? Do locals take taxis? How do I hail one? Do locals hitchhike? WHAT SHOULD I PACK? Do I need good walking shoes? A travel umbrella? Hand sanitizer? An extra suitcase for all the stuff I’ll buy? ARE THERE AMAZING DAY TRIPS? What are the details? HOW CAN I SAVE MONEY? Is there a city pass that offers deals on a bunch of attractions? Can I get half-price tickets for theater? How can I eat on the cheap? What can I do for free? WHAT ARE THE LOCAL CUSTOMS? What’s the tipping policy? What time to locals usually eat lunch? Dinner? What should I wear to blend in and not offend anyone? HOW CAN I FIND OUT WHAT’S GOING ON IN TOWN? What newspapers, websites, magazines do locals use? Are they free? Cruises WHAT’S COOL ABOUT THE SHIP? Any special classes or theme nights? Out-of-the-ordinary fitness options? Shopping? A casino? Rock climbing? A pool with a waterslide? An onboard photographer? WHAT’S IN MY CABIN? Bathrobes? Mini-bars? Beach towels? Hair dryers? Can I get an extra cot or crib? Do I need to pack an adapter for my electronics? Is there a safe in my room? Are there laundry services on the ship? Can I order dry cleaning? WHAT’S THERE TO EAT? Any special packages for alcohol or soda? Are there a-la-carte restaurants in addition to the main dining room? Do I need reservations for them? Can I get room service to my cabin? How do I order a special meal for my dietary restrictions? IS IT FAMILY-FRIENDLY? Is there babysitting? What activities will my kids like the most? Are there kids-only pools or clubs? Can they stay in a cabin alone? Are there adults-only clubs or shore excursions? WHAT’S THE AVERAGE PASSENGER AGE? Does it vary by season? HOW MANY DAYS DO WE SPENT IN PORT? Do I get to explore on my own, or do I have to stick with the group? How early do I need to book shore excursions? Do they fill up quickly? How do I find out if I’m physically able to do them? Is there a kids’ price? IS THERE A DRESS CODE? Should I pack a tuxedo? Should I pack a formal gown? CAN I GET IN TOUCH WITH THE OUTSIDE WORLD? Is there Internet? Will my cell phone work? If so, are there additional charges? Should I even bring my laptop? WHAT IF IT’S MY BIRTHDAY/ANNIVERSARY? Can I order a cake? WILL I NEED CASH? Is there an ATM? Will the ship accept traveler’s checks or foreign currency? How much cash should I bring with me? CAN I BOOK ADJOINING CABINS? Are there group meeting rooms? Destination Weddings WHERE CAN I HOLD THE CEREMONY? Do I get a choice? Is there a really scenic spot, like on the beach or under a gazebo? WHAT’S THE BEST SEASON TO GET MARRIED HERE? Why? Is there a month to absolutely avoid because of crowds or weather? HOW MUCH DOES A WEDDING COST? What’s included in the price? IS IT EASY TO GET A MARRIAGE LICENSE IN THIS COUNTRY? Is it easier to get the documentation cleared up before I go? WHAT DOES THE VENUE PROVIDE? Is there an on-site wedding planner? Music during the ceremony, reception or dinner? Catering? A wedding cake? Table linens? Flowers? Guest parking? Is there a dance floor? A DJ system and audio-visual supplies if I want to do it myself? CAN I BRING IN MY OWN FOOD AND LIQUOR? Or do I need to use the resort’s vendors? Does the resort have a list of preferred vendors? Can I bring my own decorations? HOW MANY PEOPLE CAN COME? What’s the reception room’s capacity? Can we get a group rate for hotel rooms? Can I ensure that all of my guests stay in the same area? Can I get a group rate for the resort’s spa and golf, if applicable? HOW LONG CAN MY CEREMONY LAST? What time does the typical ceremony begin and end? Can I have a rehearsal ceremony or dinner? Can I have my bachelor or bachelorette party on the premises? WHAT HAPPENS IF IT RAINS DURING MY CEREMONY? Do I need to worry about hurricanes? Are there tents or canopies available? WHAT ARE MY DINNER OPTIONS? Can my guests choose between two entrees? Can I do a vegetarian entree? Passed appetizers? Does the resort print menus for guests? CAN I SHIP MY DRESS OR OTHER SUPPLIES IN ADVANCE? Family Vacations WILL THIS APPEAL TO KIDS OF ALL AGES? How can my surly teenager and rambunctious 5-year-old both have a good time? Is this a good choice for a toddler? Can I bring my newborn? WILL MY KIDS LIKE THIS HOTEL? Is there stuff just for kids, like cool swimming pools or a playground? If it’s a resort, is there a kids’ club? WILL I LIKE THIS HOTEL? Is it near major attractions, in case I need to return to the hotel early? Can I get a babysitter? WHERE SHOULD I TAKE MY KIDS? Is there a children’s museum, aquarium, zoo, popular city park, water park, etc., in the area? WHAT LOCAL FOODS WILL MY KIDS LIKE? Which restaurants will my kids like? Which restaurant will like my kids? Can I order a child’s portion of a regular dish? WHAT SHOULD I PACK? Will I need a stroller or car seat? HOW DOES THIS CULTURE REACT TO CHILDREN? Can I breast- feed or change diapers in public? How should my children dress? WHERE CAN I GET DIAPERS AND FORMULA? Are there popular brands? How do I ask for them in the language? HOW CAN I AVOID CROWDS AND LINES? When is the quietest time to visit this attraction? Is there a pass I can get to dodge long lines, or can I reserve tickets online in advance? HOW CAN I SAVE MONEY? Can I get a family discount on attractions or public transportation? Can I book a self-catering apartment instead of a hotel? HOW CAN I PREPARE MY CHILD FOR THE TRIP? Are there any good books or movies that will give them cultural context? Festivals and Events DO I NEED TICKETS? How much do they cost? Where do I get them? How early in advance do they sell out? Are there day-of or rush tickets released? How can I get cheap or free tickets? Can I save if I buy tickets in bulk? Can I volunteer at the event in exchange for admission? HOW DO I GET THERE? Is there parking? Bus? Shuttle? How early should I get there? Is there a line before doors open? What are the advantages of getting there early? IS IT INDOORS OR OUTDOORS? What’s the weather like? Is it hot and humid? Does it get cold at night? What should I do if it rains? Are there bugs? WILL I BE SITTING OR STANDING? Are there chairs at the venue? Does my ticket guarantee a seat? What are the best seats to reserve? Is there a good spot to stand? Can I bring my own chairs to sit on? Should I bring a picnic blanket? Is the ground grass, sand or concrete? WHAT CAN I BRING INSIDE? A camera or video camera? My cell phone? Can I bring my own food and water in a cooler or picnic basket, or just a water bottle? Can I bring stuff in a backpack? IS THERE FOOD? What kind? How about bottled water? Is it super expensive? If cash-only, is there an on-site ATM? Is there a beer garden? CAN I BRING MY KIDS? Will they be miserable? Are there age restrictions? Is on-site babysitting available? ARE THERE BATHROOMS? Or just portable toilets? How long are the lines? Are there alternate restrooms not many people know about? CAN I GET BACK IN IF I LEAVE? If so, is there anywhere to go nearby if I want to kill a few hours? IS THERE CAMPING NEARBY? Is it fun or kind of a nightmare? Is there any privacy? How far in advance do I need to book a campsite? Guided Tours and Safaris WHAT’S THE TOUR PACE? How long can I expect to spend at each stop? How much ground is covered each day? How much time is spent in transit? How much downtime will I have each day at my hotel? WHAT’S INCLUDED IN THE PRICE? Gratuity? Tickets and admission fees? Travel taxes? Do we get to bypass the line at attractions? ARE MEALS INCLUDED? How much time do we get to eat? Are meals eaten as a group? What if I have a special diet? Do we get snacks? WHAT SIZE IS THE VEHICLE? Are there restrooms onboard? TVs? Is there air conditioning? Is it handicapped-accessible? How is seating determined? What if I don’t like the person sitting next to me? WHERE DO WE SLEEP? How were the hotels chosen? Are there rooms for families or singles? Can I get a discount on a triple room? Do we sleep outside? Should I bring a sleeping bag? Pillows? Mosquito nets? WHAT’S THE AVERAGE GROUP SIZE AND AGE? Does the age vary by season? Who are the tour guides? WHAT SHOULD I PACK? If I need special gear, how much is supplied? How big can my suitcase be? What should I wear? Is there a local dress code? Should I bring medications with me? ARE THERE SPECIAL ADD-ON EXCURSIONS? How much do they cost? How far in advance do I need to book? IS IT FAMILY-FRIENDLY? Age restrictions? Can I bring a stroller? Are there kids’ rates? Is there babysitting? Can I bring my pet? WHAT ELSE DOES THE COMPANY OFFER? Travel insurance? Price guarantees? Included or reduced airfare? Can I save money by booking multiple tours? Is there a loyalty program? Honeymoons and Romance HOW PRIVATE IS MY HOTEL ROOM? Are there rooms I can reserve that are more private than others? Can I request a private room or room block? Is there a honeymoon suite? HOW ROMANTIC IS MY HOTEL ROOM? Do any of the rooms offer extra-large Jacuzzi tubs or whirlpools? Private pools or hot tubs? Fireplaces? Balconies with amazing views? King-sized beds? IS ROOM SERVICE AVAILABLE 24 HOURS A DAY? How extensive is the menu? WHAT ROMANTIC EXTRAS CAN I ORDER? Is there a particularly decadent dessert at a restaurant? Can I have champagne and flowers sent to my hotel room in advance? HOW FAR IN ADVANCE DO I NEED TO MAKE RESERVATIONS? Is there anyone who can help me with honeymoon or event planning? DOES THE HOTEL OR RESORT OFFER A HONEYMOON REGISTRY? How much does it cost? What kinds of deals and discounts can we get through it? HOW DOES THE COUNTRY REACT TO COUPLES? Are public displays of affection acceptable? WHERE CAN WE BE ALONE? Is there a tucked-away corner in town where we can canoodle without public scrutiny? An isolated part of the beach that’s good for a romantic interlude? WHERE ARE THE BEST PLACES TO KISS? Is there a specific time that’s extra romantic or atmospheric? WHAT’S FUN TO DO AS A COUPLE? Can we go wine tasting, take a zipline tour, go snorkeling or anything else? Hotels and Resorts HOW DO I GET THERE? Is there parking? Is it free? Can I take public transportation? Is there a shuttle service from the airport? WHAT’S THERE TO DO? Is there a pool? Does it have a diving board, water slide, swim-up bar or hot tub? Are there games like tennis or horseshoes? Board games or a DVD library? On-site ATM? Shopping? Golf? A spa? Can I get in-room massages? Can I use the spa’s sauna? WHAT COOL AMENITIES ARE IN MY ROOM? Fireplace? Balcony? iPod dock? Snazzy coffee maker? In-room jacuzzis? Beach/pool towels? WHAT SETS IT APART? Are there amazing views? Any rooms to request or avoid? Is it eco-friendly? Can I walk to shopping or nightlife? WHEN SHOULD I GO? Is it open year-round? When is it the most crowded? Is it significantly cheaper during the off-season? What’s there to do during the off-season? What time is check-in and check-out? WHERE CAN I EAT? Is breakfast included? Do I need reservations for dinner? Is the room service anything special? WHAT CAN MY KIDS DO? Is childcare available? Is there a kiddy pool or a playground? Is there a kids’ club? HOW CAN I SAVE MONEY? Is there a loyalty rewards program? Any hints for getting a room upgrade? Discounts for members of AARP or AAA? Is there free Internet? Can I negotiate my room rate? WILL MY WORKOUT STAND OUT? Special fitness classes? A lap pool? Does the hotel have any affiliations with nearby gyms? ARE PETS ALLOWED? Dogs and cats? Size limitations? Are there extra fees? Does the hotel have special perks for pets? DO ALL ROOMS HAVE PRIVATE BATHROOMS? If it’s a hostel, are there private rooms? Storage lockers? Rental Cars WHAT ADD-ONS CAN I GET? Can I get a ski rack and snow chains? Is there GPS in the vehicle? An iPod hookup? DVD player? Sirius or XM radio? CAN I RENT A CHILD SAFETY SEAT? Do you have options for both infants and toddlers? Do I need to reserve these in advance? WHAT HAPPENS IF THE CAR IS DAMAGED OR STOLEN? Does the company have especially good insurance or driver protection? Does my rental come with roadside assistance? Do I need to show proof of my own insurance? ARE THERE HYBRID OR LOW-EMISSION VEHICLES AVAILABLE? HOW OLD DO I NEED TO BE TO RENT A CAR? Is there an extra fee if I’m under 25? How about to add an extra driver? CAN I RENT A HIGH-OCCUPANCY VAN? Are there group rates? HOW CAN I SAVE MONEY? Is there a loyalty rewards program? Can I use my frequent flier miles or receive miles for my rental? Is there a fee associated with that? How do I ensure that I get the best rate available? Is it cheaper to rent on a particular day of the week or month? Any tips for getting vehicle upgrades? HOW MUCH FLEXIBILITY DO I HAVE? Can I pick up the car in one location and drop it off in another? Can I take the car out of the state or country? DOES THE COMPANY OFFER SHUTTLE SERVICE FROM THE AIRPORT? Pick-up and drop-off service at other locations? Restaurants and Bars WHAT SHOULD I EAT? What’s the most popular entrée? Does it ever run out? How big are the portions? What can I order that’s not on the menu? Is there a dish I need to order in advance, i.e. a dessert soufflé? WHEN SHOULD I GO? When is it the most crowded? How long is the average wait for a table during the week? For lunch? On weekends? Can I eat at the bar? Is breakfast served all day? Is it open year-round? Is there a special night to go, i.e. pub quiz, karaoke or live jazz? WHERE SHOULD I SIT? Is there a view or outdoor dining? Is there a particular table that will make or break the experience? Are there noisy areas or spots with lots of foot traffic? WHAT SHOULD I DRINK? Does it serve alcohol? How’s the wine list? Is there lots of beer on tap or in bottles? Does it brew its own beer? Offer lots of specialty cocktails? BYOB? Is there a corkage fee? HOW KID-FRIENDLY IS IT? Are there highchairs or booster seats? Is there a children’s menu? Crayons or other distractions? Will they sing “Happy Birthday”? ARE THERE SPECIAL MENUS? Low-calorie, vegetarian or vegan? Prix-fixe or tasting menu? WHAT’S NOTABLE OR NOTORIOUS? Is it organic, local or seasonal? Is the chef famous? Does the building have historical importance? Do celebrities go there? What movies were filmed there? WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW BEFORE I GO? Is there a dress code? Does it take reservations? How early do I need to get there to guarantee a seat? Can I go somewhere else to wait? Where? HOW CAN I SAVE MONEY? Are there any bargains or lunch specials to know about? A happy hour? IS IT CASH-ONLY? Is there an ATM on-site or around the corner? Sightseeing and Attractions HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE? How much time do I need to allow to see it thoroughly? What if I just want to see the highlights? Is there anything that’s overrated? HOW CAN I SAVE MONEY? Does my admission cover everything? Is there a special pass I can buy to get deals? Is there a free day or evening? Rate for locals, seniors, children or students? Do I need a special student ID card like an ISIC? Are there any other affiliated museums I can get into with my admission? WHAT ELSE IS ON-SITE? Is there a place to eat? A gift shop? Public restrooms? Parking? Is there a good place for a picnic? ARE THERE GUIDED TOURS? Audio tours? Do I need a reservation for them? WHEN SHOULD I GO? When is it the most crowded? Any fun annual festivals or events? Special nights? WHAT SHOULD I KNOW BEFORE I GO? Any local customs or dress code? What shoes should I wear? Is there re-entry if I leave? What is the history or when was this built? WHAT ARE THE RULES? Am I allowed to take photos and/or videos? Can I use my cell phone? Is there Wi-Fi? Can I carry outside food or drink? Can I bring pets? DO I HAVE TO CARRY ALL MY STUFF? Are there lockers or a coatroom? How much do they cost? WHO SHOULD STAY HOME? Can my kids do this? Is there an age or height requirement? Is this good for seniors? Does seeing this require a lot of walking around? If it’s outside, is there shade? HOW CAN I AVOID LINES? Can I reserve tickets online? Do I need to reserve tickets online? Ski and Snow Vacations WHAT ARE THE MOUNTAIN’S STATS? Elevation? Average snowfall? Vertical drop? Average cost for a lift ticket? HOW DO I GET THERE? Do I need a 4WD and chains to get to the mountain? What is the traffic like on the way up? ARE ALL SKILL LEVELS WELCOME? How many runs are there, and what difficulty level? How many chair lifts? Is this a good place for beginners? What about children? WHAT CAN I DO IN THE SNOW BESIDES SKI? Can I snowboard? Does the resort have any parks or pipes? Is there cross-country skiing? Is there anything for me to do, like snow tubing or ice skating? CAN I TAKE LESSONS? Are there any special packages for firsttimers? Do I need to make a reservation for lessons or rentals? How far in advance? WHAT’S AT THE LODGE? Is there a snack bar? Are there locker rooms? Is there a roaring fire? WHEN SHOULD I GO? When does the season typically begin and end? Is there anything to do at the resort in the summer? Is there night skiing? Which lifts are open? Which days of the week is it offered? HOW CAN I SAVE MONEY? What benefits are offered to season pass holders? Any deals for state residents or students? WHAT SHOULD I DO WHEN I’M DONE SKIING? Is there a nearby village where I can get dinner? Do any places have apres-ski deals? What’s the nightlife scene? WHERE SHOULD I STAY? Is there only one hotel at the mountain or several? Is there a cheaper place to stay within a short drive? Spa and Fitness Vacations WHAT DOES THE SPA ITSELF OFFER? Is there a wet or dry sauna? A hot tub? Do the lockers have heated floors? Do they serve wine or tea? Can I get lunch ordered in? WHAT ARE THE SIGNATURE TREATMENTS? Anything unusual? What brands do the aestheticians use and sell? ARE GRATUITIES AUTOMATICALLY ADDED TO THE BILL? At what percentage? If not, what’s the proper tipping etiquette? CAN I GET A SAME-DAY APPOINTMENT? How early in advance do I need to book? What is the cancellation policy? HOW ISOLATED IS THE RETREAT? Can I use my cell phone or check my email? Is there a way to get in touch with the outside world? HOW REGIMENTED IS THE PROGRAM? Do I get to choose my daily activities, or is a schedule provided for me? Do I get to choose what I eat? WILL I LOSE WEIGHT? How much? Will this help me stop smoking? WHAT KIND OF FOOD IS SERVED? Is it just salads or weird vegetarian dishes? Can I drink alcohol? HOW IN SHAPE DO I NEED TO BE? Can seniors participate? What if I have former injuries or health problems? If I’m a triathlete, will this program be too easy for me? WHAT ARE THE ROOMS AND GROUNDS LIKE? Can I have a single room? Are there hiking trails in the area? Is there a place to meditate? HOW SHOULD I PREPARE FOR MY VISIT? What gear or exercise equipment should I pack? Should I go on a special diet before I come?
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