A Taste of Stellenbosch: Exploring South African Wines and Food

Stellenbosch is the dramatically beautiful, wine-producing region in South Africa. No visit to the country is complete without a Stellenbosch wine tasting (or two). Pair the wine with a food tour and learn about South Africa’s favorite foods, like biltong and bobotie.

Driveway flanked by foliage at Waterford Estate in Stellenbosch, offering South Africa wine tours

What waits at the end of this dramatic driveway? A wine safari at the Waterford Estate in Stellenbosch. Photo: Cathy Bennett Kopf/The Open Suitcase.

Continue reading

Gifting Outside the Box

Let’s start with the facts. No guy wants another tie. And no woman wants a gift card.

What do you get for the boomer who has more than they need or want? Most of my friends are packing up their possessions and selling them on eBay, giving them away on Freecycle or donating them to local charities.

But ‘tis the traditional gift-giving season. In addition to Hanukah and Christmas, I’m still attending milestone birthday parties. Since I hate to shop and am a terrible wrapper, I usually choose experiential gifts to mark these occasions. I’ll take a friend to dinner or give them concert tickets. There are so many great new bands out there playing in small, local venues; it’s an easy way to make a 50-year old feel twenty again.

Or, if you know someone who’s longed for a bit of Indiana Jones-like adventure, how about the chance to play amateur archeologist? It’s a unique gift for person in your life who wants nothing.

Looking for a unique gift for a guy? Consider an Adventures in Preservation trip.

Photo: The Fairfield Foundation.

Continue reading

When Bad Things Happen to Good Travelers

Savannah-dawnI need to make a confession.

It’s a bit embarrassing, since I’m a travel writer, consider myself an organized and experienced adventurer, and routinely dole out advice to others. But, here goes…

During my last vacation, I lost my rental car.
Continue reading

Want to Travel Light? Here’s the One Item You Must Pack

Ladies.

I’m about to reveal the answer to one of life’s nagging questions.

What’s the secret to packing light?

Have one top that you will wear multiple times during your trip.

Great, Einstein. But what is that one top?

My vote is for the classic white button down. Continue reading

Bad Case of Wanderlust? Cure it With a Bedroom Makeover.

Got a bad case of wanderlust and no money for a vacation? There’s a super simple cure – give your bedroom a beach villa makeover! Here’s how.

One cure for wanderlust are dreamy beach pictures like this one of Colombier beach.

An aerial view of Colombier beach. Photo: The Open Suitcase LLC

We go to St. Barth every April.

I know what you’re thinking.

“My, aren’t you a fancy Nancy?” Continue reading