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The Hopeful Traveler by Steven Berrier and Leslie Coles

For those who already know the joys of travel and those who want to discover them, we offer tips and advice for keeping your journeys as stress-free as possible. We discuss items such as international travel, tour operators, traveling with kids, online travel sites, and travelers with disabilities or challenges. "To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive..." --Robert Louis Stevenson

Latest Posts:

10 Tips on Scoring Hotel Upgrades

Getting a better room is easier than you might think – and it never hurts to ask.

Most travelers never think to ask for a hotel room upgrade, which is regrettable. During the off-season, large hotels frequently run high vacancy rates, and moving a guest into a nicer room doesn't cost anything except for some extra laundry expenses. As with so many other things in life, there is simply no harm in asking politely.

Here are 10 tips for securing a hotel room upgrade.

1. Contact Management Before You Arrive: If you are celebrating a special occasion, feel free to mention this in an email. A personable and enthusiastic call to confirm your reservation also can help.

2. Book a...


posted on: 4/11/2008 1:00:00 PM  by Steven Berrier
category: Travel

Istanbul, Turkey

Hello from Istanbul! The past couple of months I've been (in order of importance) traveling a lot, going to school part-time, and working- so I haven't blogged much, but I can't wait to tell you what a great city this is! First, let me give you a brief social studies class. Turkey has a long and tumultuous history- because of its unique location between Europe and Asia it's been controlled and fought over by just about every Empire from the ancient Greeks to the Ottomans, and only in the early 20th century did it become an independent nation, thanks largely to the reforms of Mustafa Pasa, known as Ataturk. This guy's picture is all over Istanbul. To say that he is the national hero is a vast...


posted on: 3/28/2008 1:00:00 PM  by Steven Berrier
category: Travel

Come On Down!

Greetings from Panama! What the heck am I doing here, you ask? My friend, Hector, was coming down for a conference so I came along for the ride. It's my first visit to Central America. It was an easy flight from San Diego, changing planes in Dallas, (where the weather tossed us around a bit), then we finally arrived in Panama City at midnight after a few weather delays.   Guess what! They have a canal down here! It's right outside the city—Tuesday, we drove over with one of the locals, Gaspar, to have lunch at the Miraflores Restaurant, which overlooks the Miraflores Locks. It was spectacular. While eating we could watch as the huge tankers came through the lock right below. It's really an amazing show....


posted on: 2/22/2008 1:00:00 PM  by Steven Berrier
category: Travel

Traveler's Checklist

Being in the organizing business, it only makes sense that I would be enamored with lists. Shopping lists, to-do lists, reading lists, favorite destination lists—all are my intimate friends. When it comes to travel, I think it makes sense to get organized. Glitches are to be expected when traveling, but a little advanced planning can save countless headaches. Remember that time you were at the Taj Mahal and it suddenly hit you that you hadn't reserved your hotel in Marrakech? Don't want that to happen again, do you?   I begin by printing out a calendar of my travel dates, so that I can fill in all my reservation information. I like to see it all laid out so that I can confirm that I haven't double...


posted on: 2/2/2008 12:11:22 PM  by Steven Berrier
category: Travel

More Travel Websites!

Researching travel online is a bit like getting lost in a glorious maze. Explore one website and it will lead you to another, even more informative site, which leads you to another and another… you get the picture. It may be that this is your idea of hell on earth, but for me (and, clearly, many others) it is pure heaven. I've mentioned some good travel websites here before but here's a few more that offer something special:   What's your travel personality? Are you the adventurous type or will you be better suited to a cruise? Take this simple quiz to find out. It got me to a tee! (and I'm not telling.) www.besttripchoices.com   Are you dreaming of a special...


posted on: 1/25/2008 1:00:00 PM  by Steven Berrier
category: Travel

Healthy Travel

I was once on a short flight from San Diego to Dallas and had just settled into my seat for the journey when I happened to notice a young woman a few rows ahead of me. She sat down very delicately in her seat, dug around in her oversized purse, and pulled out an enormous packet of sanitizing hand wipes. First, she began to wipe her hands thoroughly, using 2 wipes. Okay so far. But then she pulled out a fistful of the things, took a deep breath and proceeded to scrub every square inch of her armrests, then she pulled down her tray and scrubbed it, wiping the latch as she replaced it, after which she went to town on the back of the seat in front of her. It was like she was wiping down the scene of a crime. She polished her seatbelt buckle...


posted on: 1/11/2008 1:00:00 PM  by Steven Berrier
category: Travel

The Redwood Highway, part 2

Listen, I'm no wine connoisseur. I love to drink it, I have my favorites, and I know the difference between a French Burgundy and a Chilean Chardonnay (one is red and the other is white). But I have yet to sniff a cork and the sight of someone sloshing wine around in their mouth with a thoughtful look on their face is highly amusing. However, if you are one of these people and have not yet been to the Wine Country of California—then this is the place for you. Actually, this place is for you even if you're not one.   After leaving Mendocino, I headed inland to the 101 and pretty soon I was in the California Wine Region. Sonoma County is rolling and green and the vineyards popping up along the roadside make...


posted on: 1/6/2008 2:44:28 PM  by Steven Berrier
category: Travel

The Redwood Highway

It is a well known fact that when one receives a postcard from a traveling friend that says, "Wish you were here!" what it really means is: "Wish you were here just long enough to see what a fabulous time I'm having without you, then I wish you'd leave!" So it is with my trip right now. I really, really want you to see all these incredible sights… but please wait until I'm gone because I want it all to myself.   Two years ago I did the coastal California drive from San Diego to San Francisco (locally referred to as the Big Sur Drive), and I was enchanted by the rolling green hills around Santa Barbara, I fell in love with the coastal towns of Pismo Beach, San Luis Obisbo, Carmel and Monterey and was...


posted on: 12/28/2007 1:00:00 PM  by Steven Berrier
category: Travel

Happy HolidayTravels!

Here's wishing you all happy and exciting holiday travels. I'm leaving sunny San Diego on a driving trip to Northern California, a beautiful part of the state still unvisited by many Californians. I'll be staying two nights in a cabin near Trinidad, a perfect location for hikes in the Redwood National Forest, home to the oldest Redwood trees in the world. Then I'll head down the coast to Mendocino, a refurbished replica of a New England fishing village. After two days there, I'm going to the beautiful Kenwood Inn and Spa, in the heart of California's Wine Region. Wrapping it up, I'll be staying two nights in San Francisco, to revisit some favorite...


posted on: 12/21/2007 1:00:00 PM  by Steven Berrier
category: Travel

Gajan Kristnaskon

Ah, nothing says Christmas like a svelte Saint Nicolas crawling up the drainpipe of your hotel, right? After childhood holidays with plastic front-yard reindeer and blaring carols at the mall, my first Christmas overseas was like waking up in a childrens' story book.   Some version of Christmas is celebrated in virtually every country of the world, although most of them don't resemble the overstuffed orgy of consumerism we know as Christmas. But one thing we all have in common is the desire to be with friends and family on Christmas Eve. Experiencing a family Christmas in another culture (even another culture inside the USA!) is something you'll never forget. It may be too late for this year's getaway but here are...


posted on: 12/14/2007 1:00:00 PM  by Steven Berrier
category: Travel

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About Steven And Leslie:

Steven Berrier and Leslie Coles are the owners of Natural Order, specializing in home organization in San Diego and Southern California. Both are avid travelers who can't resist giving advice.

Steven And Leslie's Website:


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